Your blog’s comment section has potential to be a great source of user engagement. However, it also has the potential to be ridden with spam, slowing down your site and cluttering it with superfluous nonsense. This can have several repercussions, from decreased impressions to a weakened SEO presence.
Since comments sections have both positives and negatives, evaluating whether it’s time to disable your comments section should be based on several factors.
Spam Filters Cease to Work
If your blog runs on the WordPress platform, as most do, then you likely have a spam filter plugin installed to automatically delete spam comments. However, many sites eventually reach a point in popularity where the spam is so much, that several spam comments per day begin to seep through.
If a top spam plugin like Akismet or SpamLord is not doing its job any more, it may be wise to disable your comments section – at least temporarily – so that spam bots are turned away.
Guidelines Are Not Being Enforced
The comments section can be home to very interesting discussion, but also to “trolls” who bait other users with offensive comments or photos. All web sites should have guidelines to not post offensive material or to engage in personal attacks, but if many users are not abiding by these guidelines it may be best to disable your comments section and start clean, as opposed to spending precious time each day banning them individually.
Community Leaders Are Absent
In some cases, web site owners can appoint respected members of their web site’s community to moderate their comments section or forum, with a product/service discount or monetary value as compensation. For example, a blog about Frederick or Harrisburg home improvement could offer discounted improvement services to a community leader who could oversee the user comments on their web site.
Some will even do it for free out of love for the blog or web site. If your blog does not have any respected community members for this role and you simply do not have enough time to handle comment moderation responsibilities on your own, it may be best to disable the comments section.
Social Media Is Becoming the Preferred Commenting Source
Many popular web sites, such as ESPN, only allow users to comment if they use their real Facebook account. By telling users that they must use their Facebook as ID, they are less likely to engage in offensive or distasteful discussion, since it would be posted under their real name as opposed to an alias.
The Facebook Comments plugin on WordPress is an effective alternative to traditional blog comments, which can be sabotaged by spam bots. With Facebook, you can disable your blog’s comments section, but still allow visitors logged into Facebook to post. This should cut down on spam and undesirable comment types significantly.
Evaluating whether or not to disable your blog comments should be done on a case-by-case basis by evaluating the aspects above. Even in the case that a comments section is disabled, there are viable alternatives, like Facebook comments, that can cut down on spammers while still allowing visitors the ability to comment.