3 WordPress strategies for living with blog spam: Comments on, comments off

blog-comment-spam Photo Steve DavisIt’s official. The rising tide of spam is much higher than climate-change-driven sea levels!

It seems we’re all dealing with more noise in the form of comment spam but some of us are bogged down by it more than others.

Here are three strategies for finding your own way to live with spam.

Comments off

From Seth Godin back in 2006 to Copyblogger in 2014, some of the bigger names in popular blogging have decided to turn comments off.

Their arguments centre not so much around spam but around limited resources of time for dealing with comments.

More recent converts to ‘comments off’ proclaim the poor quality of comments do not warrant any effort, ie, do not lead to business outcomes.

Whether this solution is right for you depends on why you are blogging in the first place and what other methods you use for engaging with and growing your ‘community’. Of course, if you are still active in, say, your Facebook Page, you might use a standard line at the end of blog posts, encouraging people to join the conversation there.

In WordPress, to turn comments off:

  • Go to Settings > Discussion and uncheck  the box that says, ‘Allow people to post comments on new articles’.
  • That will stop comments on new blog posts.
  • To remove comments against older blog posts, go to your list of Posts, select them all, then in the ‘bulk actions’ tab choose Edit > Apply and then choose ‘do not allow’ in the comments area, Update.

Comments on with spam protection

We don’t let flies and mosquitoes ruin barbecues and picnics, we ‘remember the Aeroguard’.

So, an alternative to turning comments off is to up your protection.

At Baker Marketing, we use one of two plugins for this, Antispam Bee or Akismet.

My colleague, Charlie-Helen Robinson personally loves Askimet and her explanation applies equally to Antispam  Bee.

Charlie notes how the Akismet plugin claims, ‘to fight the latest and dirtiest tactics embraced by the world’s most proficient spammers, [it] learns and evolves every single second of every single day. Because you have better things to do.

‘It’s a protection I use on my own blogs for that very peace of mind.

‘By diligently deleting all spam permanently, my spam is reducing.

‘Why stop healthy conversation because of a negative?

‘That’s like feeding the trolls. Manage it and let the real conversations win the day,’ says Charlie.

Comments on with added activity

A third alternative, if you concern is not spam (because your antispam plugin is working well) but rather a lack of comments on your blog, is to use a plugin like Social by Mailchimp, and bring commenting about articles from social networking sites all under the one roof.

In essence, once Social is installed and configured correctly, you share links to your blog posts in Facebook, Twitter and other social sites and it listens.

When comments or replies are left in those places, Social adds them as comments to your blog post, and vice versa.

This means you can be active wherever your community is active BUT you also have the total conversation curated in one place for easy reference..


I suppose I could sum up the three strategies offered today as:

  • Cop out (if your focus is elsewhere and comments/spam are getting you down)
  • Toughen up (admit we have spam, be strong in applying yourself to its management so you can still find the gold amid the dirt)
  • Full throttle (not only manage your spam but boost commenting activity with each blog).

Of course, the method you choose should be one that is in harmony with your overarching marketing strategy and in keeping with your resources.

If you’re not sure which option is right for you, that’s what we’re hear for, contact us – hopefully you won’t get caught in our spam trap!



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