Spam is Gross: Control Your Comments in WordPress

Having a popular blog can often be a mixed blessing.  On the one hand, you’re fortunate enough to have hundreds, maybe thousands of readers that hang on your every word.  On the other hand, you are a prime target for exploitive and damaging web techniques such as comment spam.  Luckily, there are plenty of ways for a website builder to deal with and prevent the spam that all WordPress blogs will eventually face.

What is Spam?


Put simply, spam is any comment on a blog post that has no value to the discussion.  While a final call on what exactly this constitutes is up to you, most bloggers would agree that link spamming (where a robot posts dozens of links in your comment section) is their main concern.  People set up these link spamming systems to improve their page rankings with the major search engines and don’t really care if they have a negative impact on your blog or your readers.

What Can I Do?


There are several ways to battle spam when using WordPress as your website builder.  First and foremost, WordPress has quite a robust set of tools built right in that can help you deal with spammers.  Changing the number of links allowed in a post, setting a filter for spam words, blacklisting certain words from your comments, and restricting your comments to just registered users are all a default part of every WordPress download and should allow you a great deal of control over spam.

Besides that, WordPress also comes with the Askimet Comment Spam Fighter software.  This particular tool uses complex algorithms and user-modified inputs to learn which comments on your blog are spam, and which are not.  What’s really amazing about Askimet is that it can adapt to new threats as spammers change their tactics, so as long as you pay attention to your comments section you should be able to keep a tight reign on spam.

When using Askimet it is very important that you periodically check in on your Askimet Panel to ensure that no false positives are being trapped in the net.  Marking non-spam comments off in the panel will help the software to do a better job of discerning between legitimate and illegitimate comments and will ensure your readers are able to participate in your blog without worry of having their comments spam-blocked.

Spam comments and bad links can ruin the appeal and personality of a good blog.  If you’re interested in building a successful WordPress blog with many regular readers, protect them from spam by applying all of the techniques listed in this article.  Additionally, provide your readers with a way to get in touch with you should they have their comments block or pick up on some spam that you might have missed.  As long as you stop spam early or completely, you shouldn’t have a major issue keeping it under control.

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About the Author

Tom Harris

Tom Harris was writing about Wordpress before Wordpress existed forever seeking the ultimate tool to explode online business. Tom has been on the net since its inception at Universities and has been a proponent of “user friendly” technology all his life. He now covers the intersection of business and technology from the gulf coast of Louisiana. Previously, Harris was the tech reporter for several local daily newspapers in New York state, Pittsburgh and London. He is an avid fan of technology and its affect on society, business and politics around the world.