WordPress gives you lots of options to help you manage your blog comments, you will find them in your Admin area under Settings -> Discussion settings.
Default article settings
These settings apply to all your blog articles, however you can override these for each individual article as you wish by clicking on ‘Quick edit’ for the article whose settings you wish to change. If you want to change a setting for for more than one article then you can bulk ‘Quick edit’ your articles. To do this just select the articles you want to edit and click bulk edit -> Apply, then update the settings accordingly.
In the default article section you have the following options.
Attempt to notify any blogs linked to from this article
If you check this box and you have a link in your blog to another website and that website allows link notifications then your website will send it a notification that it has linked to it.
Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks) on new articles
If you check this box then you allow other websites to send you a message if they put a link to your website in their blog post.
To understand this further let me explain what trackbacks and pingbacks are and the difference between them. Trackbacks are manual notifications that include an excerpt from the content while a pingback is automatic and contains no excerpt. Both notifications appear as comments in your blog.
If you have this box checked you may experience trackback spam. You will know you have this problem when you see a lot of spam comments appear on your blog. Spammers are hoping you are not monitoring comments and pingbacks so their comment appears on your website and they get a link back to their site. Uncheck this box to prevent trackback spam. If you have a lot of trackback spam but still want to be alerted when someone links to your site then you should consider ta further layer of spam protection in the form of a plugin.
Allow people to post comments on new articles
If you want people to comment on your blogs then check this option.
Other comment settings
This action can put manual spammers off leaving a comment but unfortunately the spam bots can still fill out name and email. I recommend to check this box though just to try and stop manual spam comments. If it is checked, the reader will see the following form fields at the end of your blog.
This setting depends on whether you allow registrations and whether that is part of your business / website model. More often than not it’s to to leave this unchecked.
Automatically close comments on articles older than x days
This setting depends on the type of content you are generating. If it is evergreen content i.e content that will still be relevant in a few years then keep commenting open. If your article will lose it’s relevance then you don’t want to be wasting your time moderating comments for it so I recommend closing comments after a certain number of days. Don’t forget, you can manually switch comments off for a blog post if you find you are spending time moderating comments but they are no longer relevant.
Checking this box gives the commenter the option to save their name and email in a cookie on their pc incase they want to comment again. It looks like this.
This setting lets you set how many comments can be nested within each other. Nesting happens when someone replies to a comment.
This setting lets you control the pagination of your comments to improve the user experience.
Comments should be displayed with the x comments at the top of each page
This setting give you a choice on how you want your comments to be ordered. New or old first?
Email me whenever settings
Check these settings if you want to be notified by email when you have comments.
Before a comment appears settings
I highly recommend checking these settings. Approving comments before they appear on your site stops spam from appearing. it doesn’t stop spam from arriving at your website but it does stop it from appearing.
Comment moderation settings
This setting is for when you want to have comments appear without you moderating unless the above rules apply. The rules are;
- If the comment contains links – you can specify how many links
- If the comment contains certain words – you can specify the words
This setting can be overlooked if all comments are being moderated.
Comment blacklist settings
This setting can be used for you to specify certain words or IP address that, if they appear, then the comment will be moved to the bin.
When a user creates an account on Gravatar they can specify what audience their content is suitable for. In these settings you get to say what you will accept on your website. You can also define how the image of the commentor should look if they have not supplied an image. See this article on gravatar usage for more info.
Now you should be able to set up your WordPress discussion settings to manage your blog comments and minimise the amount of comment and trackback spam you may get.