In this article you’re going to learn some general tips for avoiding getting spam comments on your blog. Hopefully you’ve already read Article 1 in the series and understand what spam comments are and why you should stop them, and you’ve looked at some examples of spam and learned how to tell a spam comment from a real comment in Article 2.
How do I stop spam getting published in my blog comments?
There are two ways to stop spam appearing in your blog comments, and you do need to use them together to be completely effective:
- Make sure your blogging software’s spam filter is turned on to its highest level
- Make sure you moderate comments before displaying them
There are of course variations within both of these, so I’ll talk about them one by one.
Setting up your spam filter
This is general information, and I don’t have access to all of the blogging platforms, but most platforms (WordPress, Blogger, etc.) will have spam filter in place already. This will stop anything hugely obvious, like millions of links in a comment or keywords that we can all think of that we see a lot in spam emails, etc.
Often, you can set the level of spam filtering or what gets done with the spam comments.
For example, in WordPress.com, I can choose to set these options:
- Either the worst and most persistent spam is silently discarded OR all spam is put into the spam review folder so I can review it
- I can list keywords which I want to always make a comment go into spam (I haven’t bothered with this as my spam is very varied!)
- I can select how many links need to be in a comment before it automatically goes into the spam folder (I allow up to two, allowing people to share information, their own book review, etc. without being penalised
How do I select the spam filter options for my blog?
In WordPress, I find the spam filter options in Settings – Discussion.
All blogging platforms will have some kind of Settings area where you can find this information. If you use another platform than WordPress.com, maybe you’d like to add a comment detailing where to find the spam filters in your platform, and I’ll add that information to this article.
It’s essential to set up some sort of moderation on comments that people try to place on your blog. Although blogging platforms’ spam filters are pretty good, they won’t catch everything, particularly those cleverer ones disguised as praise with only one (or no) links that we saw last time.
When you decide to moderate comments, it means that when someone types a comment on your blog, you will receive an email with that comment, which you can then accept, delete or mark as spam. You click a link in the email, decide what you want to do with the comment, and your blogging platform will display it, delete it or note that the person is spamming (I use delete for an accidental spam or the odd duplicated comment).
There are options here, too, the most common being:
- Moderate every single comment that is made on your blog
- Moderate just the first comment from a particular commenter (usually defined by their email address) – each subsequent comment by someone whose first comment you’ve approved will be approved automatically
I have chosen the second option, because most spam is automated, so there’s little danger that you’ll accept someone’s comment and then find them spamming you all over the place.
I do have all comments emailed to me anyway, to make sure that I see and can respond to them, but moderating just the first one means I don’t have to click through and accept, delete or mark as spam every time I receive a comment from someone who’s commented previously.
How do I choose which comments to moderate?
In WordPress, comment moderation is in the same place as the spam filtering options: Settings – Discussion. In other platforms, look for Discussion or Comments in the Settings (again, please share where this is on your platform if you don’t use WordPress.
How do I check for comments that aren’t spam?
Occasionally, your blogging platform will get all over-excited and mark something as spam that isn’t spam. Maybe it contains a keyword it doesn’t like, or maybe it’s got more than the number of links you usually allow – but for innocent reasons.
Each blogging platform has a place to view comments which will include your spam queue, spam folder, etc. I just pop there and have a look every so often – you can mark a legitimate comment as not spam and it will show on your article.
This article has given some general information about how best to prevent spam comments from making their way onto your blog.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this article. Do post any questions or comments below; your comments may affect the content of my next article!
Other relevant posts on this blog
Reciprocity and Social Media – how to negotiate social media kindly and politely
How to maintain a good online reputation – my hints and tips
10 reasons to start a blog – why you should do it now!
10 reasons NOT to write a blog – and why you should stop and think, at least!
Top 10 blogging sins – avoid these if you can!
Scheduling blog posts and keeping going – scheduling the posts and the writing of them
How do I keep people engaged with my blog? – comments and reciprocity