Tutorial Details
Subject: Comments
Difficulty: Beginner
Updated: March 14, 2014

This guide is designed to provide you with an insight to the comments tab within the WordPress dashboard, what options are included as well as how to use the section effectively for your business.

The Comments tab within your WordPress dashboard is the central location for you to manage and edit all comments made on your website. By default all comments will be held in moderation under the Comments tab until they are approved.

If you have any prior experience with managing or owning websites then it’s likely that you are aware that your website will sometimes receive genuine quality messages, although there will also be instances of spam messages. This is why all comments are held in moderation until they are approved to appear on your website.

Don’t worry it should be very easy to spot to which messages are spam and those that are not. A genuine comment should be related to your web page or post contents, the comment should be also coming from by a genuine source (spam comments often use odd looking names). A spam comment is likely to include un-natural content, spelling mistakes, poor grammar, poorly formatted text and hyperlinks to other websites. The comment is more than likely to be irrelevant to the page or post they are commenting on and it’s very likely that an automated bot or cheap link building company overseas is running such comments.

You may ask why someone would produce false comments or develop a bot to do this, and nowadays I also am very unsure. What I do know though is that some less popular and some older versions of todays leading search engines used to use links and in most instances any form of hyperlink as a vote of confidence from one website to another. This vote used to be of value regardless of the source, and of course those links can easily be obtained through comment spam. Essentially, links (votes) are / were used to rank a website and dependent on the number of votes the website had (regardless of quality), the higher up the search results the website would display.

This is why people designed such systems and it’s likely that they just keep running them; this is largely the reason as to why you receive / will receive some odd looking spam comments.

Thankfully search engines moved away from this old fashioned and un-controllable algorithm many moons ago. This has reduced spam comments significantly as there is little to no added benefit to be had from obtaining them.

Please find an example of a spam comment below:
[G-WP-0008] - Comments

As you can see, it should be very clear as to when a spam comment has been posted due to the unnaturalness and irrelevance of the comment.

WordPress provides you with all of the tools and options you need in order to manage spam comments such as this.

Once you hover over the comment with your cursor you should find six options appear:
[G-WP-0008] - Comments 2

Each of those options will provide its own solution and those are explained below:

Approve
If you are happy with a comment held in moderation simply select the Approve button. Once selected the comment will no longer be held in moderation and will appear publicly on your website.

Reply
It’s likely that a large proportion of the comments you receive will ask a question and will require a response, to do this simply select the Reply option. Your response will display publicly on your website so be careful as to what you say.

It’s always best practice to respond to comments if you can as this will increase engagement and build relationships with your potential customers.

Quick Edit
To retain your overall website quality and presentation it’s likely that you will want to amend some of the comments you receive. Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors will certainly lower the tone of your site, so ensure to make simple alterations before the comment goes live.

Edit
If advanced alterations are required, it’s more than likely you will need to use the full editing options.

Spam
Marking a comment as spam not only prevents the comment from being published on your website but it also helps prevent future comments from being posted from that user.

Trash
Don’t like it, bin it, simple!

Spam Prevention
Few websites are completely spam free and unfortunately this rule applies to WordPress based sites as well. There are plugins available to help reduce spam and one of the leading plugins available is called Akismet.

Spam is significantly reduced once the Akismet plugin is installed and activated. Be sure to activate the plugin as it will not work otherwise.

If a spam comment manages to make its way through the Akismet preventions, then be sure to label the comment as spam and to copy the senders email address into the Akismet’s blacklist as this will prevent that sender being able to post comments onto other WordPress websites that have Akismet installed.

Summary
I hope that this guide provides you with sufficient information on the comments section in WordPress and how to manage, as well as prevent spam comments.

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