One of the best things about running a blog is seeing people comment and leave feedback about your content, or start up discussions based on what you’ve said. This not only gives you the satisfaction of knowing your hard work is being appreciated, but also does a lot for you from a marketing and brand development perspective.
By publishing and replying to comments, you can really engage with your visitors and give them a personal experience that will give them a strong impression of what you and your brand are like, helping encourage them to become long term readers. You can also answer questions, debate topics and really set yourself out as an informed and interesting person when it comes to your niche.
Of course, this means you’ll definitely want to allow comments on all of your posts, but what will that mean to you in terms of moderation work?
The Bare Minimum You Need To Do
When you are configuring comments on your site, you can allow anyone to publish with no prior moderation and without logging in. This will of course yield you the most comments, but you have to expect that many will be left anonymously, and people may write things you don’t really want them to say. If you are happy for this to be allowed, then you don’t need to moderate comments before they go live, but there are a couple of things you should still do. Firstly, make sure you install a plugin that will block spam comments, or you will end up with a lot of irrelevant garbage in your comments that has been put there to create links to other sites. A good spam filter will get rid of most of these, but as with your email, a few can sometimes get through, so you’ll want to be reading every comment that is published as quickly as possible so you can manually delete these.
You’ll want to be doing this anyway, so if anyone posts anything inappropriate you can also get rid of it, and also so that you can reply quickly to comments, especially those that ask questions.
Moderation Before Publication
If you want more control over what is posted, you can set your comments to require moderation by an admin before they appear on the site. This will mean you’ll get less comments, as the more obstacles you put in the way the less people tend to comment, but you can do things like avoiding profanity appearing on your site or any negative comments this way. If you decide to use this approach, it is worth turning on the WordPress shortcuts so you can moderate quickly and in batches. Make sure also, that if you run the site on your own, you plan for someone to cover your moderating duties when you won’t be able to get online – slow moderation looks very bad to users.
Whether you choose to do it before or after comments go live, make sure you read the input of your users regularly and reply quickly. It’ll improve the quality of your site, and really help you leverage visitor engagement.