Spam comments on blogs are a big problem for a number of reasons. First, if they’re published on a live blog, they damage the user experience on that blog. Second, if the blogger moderates comments submitted to his blog, all of those spam comments can take a very long time to go through each day.
However, spam comments never stop. Whether they’re automated or submitted by real people who have their own agendas (and might even get paid for spamming your blog), they need to go. Following are 10 ways that WordPress bloggers can reduce spam comments.
1. Install, Activate, and Train the Akismet Plugin
The Akismet WordPress plugin is your first line of defense against blog comment spam. It’s not perfect and won’t catch all of the spam comments that are submitted to your blog (not even close), but if you install and activate the plugin, and then consistently flag spam comments as such, Akismet will get better at recognizing them and sending them directly to the spam folder for you.
2. Install the GASP Plugin to Reduce Automated Spam Comments
The Growmap Anti Spambot (GASP) plugin adds a check box to your blog comment form asking people to check the box to confirm they are not spammers before they can submit their comments. The check box appears with every comment form on every blog post and the creators claim that it can stop 99% of all automated spambots.
3. Close Comments after a Specific Amount of Time
Comments on older posts are more likely to be spam than real. You can reduce this type of comment spam by going into the Discussion settings section of your WordPress dashboard and configuring your comment settings so comments are closed on posts that are older than a certain amount of time. For example, close comments on all posts that are over 90 days old if you’re seeing a lot of spam comments on posts that are older than three months.
4. Require First Comment Submissions to be Moderated
Another easy trick to implement that can reduce comment spam and reduce some of your blog management workload is to configure your blog comment settings (in the Discussion section of your WordPress dashboard) so comments are only automatically published when they’re from people who have already submitted an approved comment to your blog. This saves you time be making sure these comments aren’t held for moderation, and it helps to reduce spam by not simply approving every comment submitted to your blog.
5. Limit the Number of Links Allowed in Comments
As you scroll through the Discussion settings in your WordPress dashboard, you’ll find an option to send comments with more than a certain number of links in them directly to the moderation queue. Spammers often include multiple links in their comments, so setting this to two is a good idea.
6. Actively Update Your Blacklists
Next in the Discussion settings of your WordPress dashboard are the Blacklists where you can add words, IP addresses, and email addresses that you know are spam and want comments that include any of these elements sent directly to your spam folder. For example, if you continually get a spam comment from the same IP address, add it to your blacklist.
7. Don’t Allow Comments on Pages
It’s highly likely that many of the pages on your blog don’t need to have a comments section at all. Edit each page that doesn’t need comments through your WordPress dashboard and uncheck the Allow Comments box. This will eliminate spam comments and trackbacks on those pages.
8. Require Registration to Comment
You can require anyone who wants to submit a comment on your blog to register first. This option will greatly reduce the conversation and growth potential of your blog. Only you can decide if you want to restrict the discussion on your blog to registered users.
9. Use a Comment Tool Like Disqus or Livefyre
There are a number of tools like Disqus and Livefyre that require people to log into a separate account (e.g., their Disqus account, Twitter account, Facebook account, etc.) to be able to submit a comment on your blog posts. Using these tools greatly reduces spam comments, but it also reduces legitimate comments because fewer people are likely to take the time to log in and publish their comments. Again, only you can decide if requiring a login through a third-party tool to publish a comment is right for your blog.
10. Close Comments on Posts that Get a Large Number of Spam Comments
If you notice a specific post getting a large number of spam comments, edit that post through your WordPress dashboard and uncheck the “Allow Comments” box. This will close comments only on that post. You can try to reopen comments on that post in the future if you’d like or leave them closed forever. It’s up to you.