Enabling comments to be posted on a WordPress blog allows readers to interact with yourself and others. A healthy following of visitors builds a sense of community and increases the popularity of your blog. Comments also create unique content, something the search engines love. A blog without comments appears dead and stagnant, however allowing comments can also open the door to comment spammers. Here’s how to get it under control.
Comment spam typically comes from online marketers wanting a backlink to their own site. It mainly consists of low quality content with no added value or contains blatant advertising.
Turning Commenting Off
Can WordPress comment spam be stopped? Yes, if you turn commenting off in the WordPress Dashboard: Settings: Discussion: Default article settings: Allow people to post comments on new articles.
Another form of spamming comes in the form of trackbacks. Trackbacks can also be turned off in the Dashboard in Discussion: Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks). Trackbacks inform a blog owner when another site has linked to theirs. It’s interesting to see which sites are linking, but not all trackbacks are real because they can be faked by robot scripts.
Using Plug-ins to Control Spamming
Captcha codes, those little numbers and letters that need to be entered when submitting a form, can drastically cut down on spamming from bots, but the codes can be difficult to read for human visitors. If entered incorrectly, the comment form may clear and there goes the comment. If your visitor gives up in frustration, that may leave your posts commentless due to “comment form abandonment”.
WP Captcha Free – This plug-in does a great job of blocking automated comment spam, yet allows human generated comments to be posted without the inconvenience of entering captcha codes.
Simple Trackback Validation – This plug-in is extremely effective at blocking automated fake trackbacks.
Bad Behavior – This plug-in is so effective at blocking spammy comments that in many cases it blocks spammers from ever seeing your site to begin with. It does that by first analyzing the delivery method and the program the spammer is using. If the comment appears to be generated by a human, it then examines the content of the message. It also has a whitelist feature. It can be used in conjunction with other spam prevention plug-ins.
There is one caveat, though. Plug-ins cannot be installed on free WordPress.com blogs. To install plug-ins, upload your own themes and even monetize your blog with affiliate offers or advertising such as Google AdSense, you’ll need your own self-hosted WordPress blog.