There’s no shortage of opinions out there on whether you should or shouldn’t moderate comments on your blog. Though everyone has a preference of how they handle blog spam and real blog responses, one thing is certain: you need to have a plan for how you want to approach blog comments.
TO MODERATE OR NOT TO MODERATE …
Don’t moderate: You can loosen all controls and let all comments go up without your intervention. Some say this is a good way to go because it makes your blog more transparent and it doesn’t stifle conversations from happening.
Don’t allow comments at all: This is an option you do have, but it’s not a good option. It actually is an option that makes little sense. Why would you want to shut down the conversation with readers?
Moderate: Here’s the category I fall into. Moderating comments before publication gives you a chance to keep on lockdown all the bad stuff and allows you to never miss any of the good stuff.
WHEN TO REPLY
My answer to this is simple. Always. I reply to every comment. Doing so shows the reader I am reading their comments and care about what they have to say. A hidden benefit to responding is that the reader receives an email letting him or her know you’ve replied. This pulls them back to your blog to continue the conversation.
There may come a time when your blog gets so interactive that you can’t reply to all comments. First off, congratulations! Secondly, even if you can’t reply to everyone, having made replied to comments in the past, your readers will know you value their input.
NICE FOR A PRICE
Not all spam is created equal. Most spam is nonsensical, but some people spam with purpose. If you blog for very long at all, you will likely encounter “splog” comments. These comments are often niceties – because negative comments would likely get them deleted and thus thwarting their plans — that don’t add any value to the blog. “Love the article!” “Thanks for sharing!” … You get the idea.
Their real purpose isn’t to give you a big ego. Instead, the comments serve only to get links to a specific site in front of your readers for the intent of gaining search engine traffic. You’ll easily pick them out of a crowd by the usernames they choose. They tend to use the name of their product or a catchphrase as their username: “Easy money fast.” “Great mortgage deals.” … You get the idea.
You should feel free to delete these.
CREATE A COMMENT POLICY
Speaking of deleting, you receive the right to do so on your blog. When it comes to the rules for deleting (if you don’t moderate) or not approving (if you do moderate) a comment, it’s your blog, therefore it’s your rules. I can’t tell you where to set the bar for your blog. It’s something you have to do for yourself. You have to decide what you’re comfortable with. Once you decide what your comfort level is, it’s a good idea to institute a blog comment policy and post it on your blog. It’s a simple mission statement of sorts, outlining for your readers what types of comment won’t be allowed. It will help avoid frustration and confusion later on.
A FINAL THOUGHT
If all this sounds really overwhelming and you don’t know where to begin, you can always look into the option of third-party moderation. There’s no shortage of services out there to help you moderate your blog comments. We here at Success Agency use Disquis, just to give you a jumping-off point.
But no matter what avenue you choose, you’ll find that if you set the bar to your comfort zone, you’ll easily find value in blog commenters.
Thanks for reading,