At the beginning, it feels wonderful to see a comment pop up underneath our most recent blog post. More often than not, however, that wonderful feeling dissipates as soon as you take a closer look at the blog comment, which is actually nothing more than spam. When similar comments pop up over time and eventually flood your post, you’d be taking anti-hypertension medicine in no time at all.
That, however, shouldn’t be the case. As the owner of the blog, you have all the power in the world to delete any blog comment that makes your blood boil. Then again, from a marketing standpoint, it wouldn’t be too wise to delete a blog comment just because it makes you mad. While some of them deserve to be immediately wiped off, some maddening comments may still actually add value to your blog.
So which comments should you delete, and which ones should you keep? Here are some tips for moderating blog comments that might help.
1. Delete rude, crude and offensive comments
This is actually a no-brainer. Unless your blog is all about rudeness, crudeness and being offensive (yes, there are blogs that actually advocate them with glee), any blog comment that is loaded with expletives, bigotry and racism should immediately be dumped, no questions asked. To minimize the incidence of such comments, set up commenter guidelines and make them clear to all your readers. Ban or block outright anyone who violates such guidelines.
2. Delete shameless spam comments
When your post is about de-cluttering your home and you get a blog comment that tells you where to buy Xanax online at a cheap price, you can be pretty certain it’s spam. Any blog comment that is so out of topic and sells you something at the same time is spam, and they need to be fried, deeply and permanently. There are tools like Akismet that can help block spam comments, although it’s still possible for some to make it through. Then again, better be deleting a handful of spam at a time than thousands of spam comments every day.
3. Delete spam that pretends to be a legit blog comment
Maybe you’ve noticed some comments that seem to be genuinely reacting to whatever it is you posted. Upon closer inspection, however, you’ll see that they do not really have anything much to say other than to agree with whatever you had to say. They make contextual sense, but have no actual content. The biggest tell-tale sign is that they have anchor texts attached to them. Obviously, these commenter wants you to click on those anchor texts and help them get those precious inbound links.
Often they also use a search term like “Cheap Handbags” as their name, rather than an actual name like “Paul Smith”.
With this type of comments, use your good judgment and delete when you think it’s nothing more than spam. But if there is evidence the person has actually read your blog post and is adding value to the discussion, then you may well want to consider allowing the comment.
4. Don’t feed the trolls
No one blogger can really avoid having trolls show up in the comments section. They are on topic and not selling anything, but are really just there to get a rise out of you. Sure, you can just delete the comments, but they’ll just come back using another name and continue trolling you for the rest of your life or at least until your blog name and domain expires and you forget to renew them.
With trolls, the best thing you can do is simply ignore them. No matter how much they say how stupid your article is or that you’re getting it all wrong, don’t feed the trolls. Of course, if their trolling brings them to the rude, crude and offensive territory mentioned above, you will then have all the reason to wipe them off the face of your blog.
5. Consider comments in foreign languages
Perhaps your instinct would be to automatically delete a blog comment in a language other than English. While this is all right, it would be best to determine first if the blog comment, which you obviously can’t read, actually brings some value to the conversation.
First, see if the blog comment has links, and if it does have links, then it’s probably spam, so go ahead and delete it. But if the blog comment doesn’t have any links, try using Google Translate to see if the blog comment actually makes sense. If it does, keep it, and if you prefer, respond to it. You should be happy you actually have an international audience for your blog.
6. Keep argumentative comments
Some commenters just make your blood boil. They may not be using expletives, they’re not making a sales pitch and they’re not calling you a moron or anything. They just make you feel like one because they are, for instance, pointing out flaws in your post, and they actually make sense.
Now you want to defend your post, which you should do, but whatever you do, never delete comments of dissenters, because they actually make your blog a great place where fairly intelligent people can actually hang out and butt heads. Healthy discussion is what makes a blog an interesting place to comment, and it’s something that you should be encouraging, as a matter of fact. Delete dissent, and people who can actually add value to your blog are going to stay away for good.
Now, are you ready to jump into the big, bad world of moderating blog comments?