After clearing out around 2,500 pending comments and over 3,000 spam comments, I thought it was time to do a little update post on how I do comment moderation and otherwise determine what comments to approve or delete.
The Overall Commenting Picture
Let’s start with the overall picture of what your comment will look like on Kikolani, starting with the comment form.
And when you’re comment goes live, the above will result in the following.
The above is a great comment, and easy to spot as one to approve (thanks Murray of Start an Online Business). Now, let’s take a look at the plugins and services that make it happen.
WordPress Comment Plugins and Services
The following are the plugins and WordPress services that create the commenting experience here on Kikolani and several of my other blogs.
The dofollow plugin basically gives commenters full, juicy links with their comments. Contrary to popular belief, so long as you do a good job moderating your comments and not allowing any bad links to slip by (bad neighborhood PPC links – porn, pills, and casinos), then having dofollow comments do not affect your rankings or your PageRank. I have PR 4 and 5 posts with TONS of out going links between the body of the post and the comments which rank well for their related keywords.
KeywordLuv essentially allows commenters to leave keyword anchor text of their choice for their website by using Your Name@Your Keywords in the name field of the comment form. This will give you the chance to use both keyword anchor text and your real name when commenting.
CommentLuv is a favorite of mine. It allows the commenter to leave a link to their latest blog post below their comment. It’s a great way for me to see whether a commenter is also a blogger and for bloggers to promote their blog posts with their target audience. If you haven’t already, register your blog for free at Comluv.com to ensure that you can select from your latest 10 blog posts in the CommentLuv dropdown.
Subscribe to Comments
Subscribe to Comments allows commenters to be notified when additional comments have been added to the post.
The perk for blog owners is that they have a dashboard that shows them what commenters have subscribed to the most posts (aka, they’re most loyal commenters), and what posts have the most comment subscribers (aka, the most commented on topics).
GASP – Growmap Anti-Spambot Plugin
GASP, which was created by the same guy who did CommentLuv, puts a simple checkbox under the submit button for your comment form to prevent automated spam bots from commenting on your blog. This eliminates 50% or more of your spam comments right off the bat, especially the ones that are super long and filled with bad keyword links.
Love it or hate it, Akismet (which comes pre-loaded into WordPress blogs) almost always gets the job done with the other 50% of spam that comes through your blog via human commenters.
I make sure to have the following settings to ensure that Akismet allows me to see anything it considers spam, as sometimes good commenters (even some A-listers) get caught up in its filter.
As far as marking things as spam, I exercise extreme caution doing this. What I might consider spam, someone else might consider a good comment. Hence, I only mark blatant spam (like ten Ugg boot links in one post or a full Penthouse like short story) as spam through the Akismet system. Anything else simply gets deleted, allowing the commenter the freedom to post elsewhere on blogs they might have a better fit upon.
Gravatar is not a plugin, but a built in functionality of WordPress that connects commenter’s email addresses with an image they have setup on Gravatar.com.
If you do not have a Gravatar and you frequently comment on blogs, I suggest you set one up now. As in stop reading this post, go to Gravatar.com, sign up with the email address you use for blog commenting, verify that email address, create a user name, and then upload an image to go with that email address.
It will take you less than five minutes, not counting how long it takes you to find an image of yourself (not a logo but of you) and resize it, and will probably result in getting more of your comments approved, both here and on other blogs using WordPress or any platform that incorporates Gravatar.
Comment Moderation and Policy
So how do I choose which comments to approve and which ones to delete? Here are some things I look for…
Signs of a Good Comment
- Gravatar Images – A person’s face in a sea of default gravatar images really stands out when I’m scrolling through 20 comments in moderation or in spam. So if you don’t have one, get one now.
- Good Comment Content – Just like a post has to have good content, so does a comment. I have the habit of being a bit of a speed reader, but if your comment in the moderation list makes me slow down and want to respond, it will probably get approved.
- CommentLuv Links – Not that you have to be a blogger to get a comment approved here, but seeing that you’re a blogger via a CommentLuv link helps.
Signs of a Bad Comment
- Links in the Body of the Comment – This is not always a comment-killer for me, as sometimes I ask for people to share links. But it’s easy to tell when links fit the discussion, or are stuck in for link building purposes. You have KeywordLuv enabled dofollow links just using the Name and Website field PLUS the extra link to your recent post via CommentLuv. Let’s not push it!
- Read it Before – Some spammers have gotten creative and think that they will get approved by simply commenting a good comment from someone else. Once noticed, comment plagiarism will be moderated.
- Foul Language – There’s a time and place for some $h!77y language, and I personally prefer my comments not be that place. Especially if the tone is abusive in any way. I (as all bloggers) do reserve the right to keep the discussion clean.
- Personal Attacks – Anything deemed as a personal attack, towards myself or another commenter will probably get moderated. Constructive criticism and disagreements are one thing – being downright abusive or rude is another.
- Comment Timing – If you comment on five posts in five minutes, this tells me that you probably didn’t actually read the posts because my posts take a while to read. So take a few minutes, really read the posts, browse through the discussion, then comment.
Last Little Tidbits
Here are some final little details about the commenting here on Kikolani.
- Once you have a comment approved, then your future comments will be automatically approved unless you change what you enter in the name, email, or website field. But this doesn’t mean you have the option of writing one great comment to be followed up with crappy ones. I can unapprove you and put you back on the moderation only list.
- If you are replying to a comment, please use the Reply link below the comment to keep things in order.
- If you are responding to a specific person, mention their name in the comment. This helps those who have subscribed to the comments know if one is specifically directed towards them. And yes, I need to do this better as well.
- Did your comment not get approved and you want to know why? Contact me! Maybe it ended up in spam and I somehow missed it, which is entirely possible.
Your Thoughts on Commenting and Moderation
After a lengthy post on commenting, you know what to do next.