Many bloggers + website owners have a hard time deciding whether they want to allow comments or not. For many, the struggle with managing spam comments makes it not worth it. If that’s the only thing holding you back from having comments on your site — let this post guide you through getting rid of that headache to focus on what matters.
Close old posts to keep spam comments away
One of my favorite ways to ditch spam comments is by closing comments on old content. This may not work for evergreen content, but it does work for many WordPress site owners.
Head to Settings > Discussion + check the checkbox next to “Automatically close comments…”
I recommend setting the date range to 14 days or less, depending on how often you publish new content. For someone publishing daily, you may be able to get away with 7-10 days as a max. If you post new content every month, I’d extend the window out to 21 days.
You may have noticed the Akismet plugin when you first set up your website. That’s because it’s created by the team behind WordPress + a helpful way to combat spam comments.
In order to use this tool, you’ll first need to install +/or activate the plugin on your site. (It may already be installed, just not active.) After that, you need to create an account with Akismet to connect your site to their service.
For anyone running a personal site, use the free option to get your API key. All business sites can pick the best plan for them as they are all very affordable.
Get rid of the ability to add links in comments
The purpose of most spam comments is to link users to spam websites. If the commenter / comment bot can’t add a link, your site won’t be as appealing to them.
Start by disabling trackbacks in your settings tab. Head to Settings > Discussion + uncheck the box next to “Allow link notifications from other blogs.” That will eliminate trackbacks (which aren’t super useful for the majority of WordPress sites anyways) from your comments area.
When folks leave a comment on your site, do they have the option to include a website link?
Not sure if you do? You can open your website in a private or incognito tab. When you’re logged into your site, you won’t see what most commenters see.
If so, you’ll want to eliminate this field from the options. The only bummer is you need a developer to do it. Adding a bit of code to the functions.php file will strip away the URL field.
And if you’re going to have comments active on your site, make sure you know what alerts to watch out for from WordPress.