How we customize our Comments Settings affects how our readers feel about our Blog. What? Yes. It’s true. And our Comments Settings also influence how people feel about US, as Blog owners. Really? Absolutely.
Comments sections are often seen as a cross between a total pain in the neck and an optional extra we might (or might not), offer our readers. Many site owners also see the Comments section of their blog as a honey-pot attraction for unwanted Spam Comments.
Of course the Comments section of your website can be all of those things, but they don’t have to be. It all depends on how we customise the Settings of our Comments section, and how we protect our Blog against Spam with effective Anti Spam Plugins.
So I’d like to offer an alternative point of view: Your Comments section of your blog or website is…an OPPORTUNITY! Yes! Controversial I know, but very true.
OK. Allowing Comments on your articles can attract Spam. This is true. But… you can block these Evil Spammers with a combination of WordPress Discussion Settings, and some hefty Anti-spam Plugin ‘Bouncers’, guarding your Blog’s front door.
So Why Is Our Comments Section an Opportunity?
Why do I love Comments?…let me count the ways. First, you have already blocked the Evil Spammers at the front door (see How To Customize Comments Discussion Settings & Plugins). But the real value of Comments, is that Comments made on our blogs are made by people. And these people are not just anyone. These lovely people are SPECIAL people because…..
- they have visited my blog
- they have probably read at least one of my articles
- they have taken the trouble to leave a genuine (non spam) comment
In fact, only readers who Subscribe to my Newsletter are even-more-loved-by-me than these lovely Comment writing people. [Steady on, Carol….. OK, fair point]
Readers who leave Comments are exactly the sort of people we want to encourage: we want them to feel wanted, and appreciated, and yes – loved, and to come back time and again to read the articles on our blog. We want to ATTRACT these people, not restrict their opportunity to interact with us, and with other readers.
Psychology Rule No 1: If people like us, they are more likely to Trust us, and are more likely to buy our stuff……uh? Sorry, I couldn’t resist. [Settle down Carol….oh, alright.]
How To Use Our Comments To Encourage Loyal Readers & Attract More Visitors
How best to do that?
Leave the Front Door Open for Comments.
It’s OK. Don’t panic. We have our big beefy bouncers (anti-spam plugins) guarding our front door, so only the good guys get through. And leaving the front door open does not just mean that we ‘allow’ Comments the ‘privilege’ of leaving Comments on our Articles.
It means allowing our readers to leave a Comment Link back to their own blogs or websites by letting them embed a Link (nofollow or dofollow) in their Name when uploading a Comment. Yes! An Open front door AND a Welcome Mat.
I know from my own experience that I am much, much more likely to leave a Comment on a blog where I am also given the opportunity to leave a link (even a nofollow link) back to this blog embedded in my Comment on the other site.
Bloggers are busy people, and we are all looking, all the time, for ways to promote our own blogs. We are not going to ‘waste’ our time making Brilliant Comments on someone else’s website unless there is ‘something in it for us’. Don’t you agree?
I am no Spammer, but really, if you are trying to build up traffic on your blog, what is the point of making Comments on a website where I cannot also leave a link back to my own blog? We don’t do it. Well…I can’t remember ever doing it, myself. If you disagree, please leave a Comment!
So, if we want to attract high quality Comments to our Blogs, and make our readers ‘feel good’ about us, and keep coming back for more, we must leave the front door open PLUS a Welcome Mat. This Welcome Mat means: Allow Author and Website Links in our Comments.
How To Customize WordPress Comments to Allow Author Links & Website Links.
Go to: WordPress Dashboard>Settings>Discussions:
Notice that although I have my Front Door open: (Allow links, pingbacks etc), I also have a second line of defense in place: An administrator must always approve a Comment.
This means that if a Spam Comment ever gets past my Spam Free WordPress Plugin and my Akismet Plugin (yes, you can get Akismet for free), I will be notified by email. In fact, with these Settings, I am notified of all Comments (genuine and spam), that get through, past the anti spam plugins. And no Comment ever appears on this blog unless, and until I approve it.
Only a very small number of the Comments that get over the Threshold are Spam Commnents – and it’s an easy job to put them in the Spam folder where they belong.
Next: Spam Free WordPress Plugin Settings to allow Author Links & Website URL Links:
Again, don’t worry about these Open Door Settings. The Combination of Spam Free WordPress and Akismet Plugin will block 99% of Spam Comments, even with these ‘open’ settings. That is what has happened on this blog, and I have allowed these ‘Open’ settings.
These Settings allow Commenters to leave a nofollow Link embedded in their Comments. This is a real ‘pull factor’ for boosting Site Traffic. And the low down Scumbag Spammers still don’t get through, past those Anti Spam Plugins.
How to Allow Avatars & Gravatars in Comments That Spread The Love – and Authority
Scroll down the Dashboard>Settings>Discussion: until you get to Avatars.
Here you can see that I have allowed Avatars; I have restricted the Rating to G: suitable for all audiences; and I have not checked the Hover Gravatar option. I don’t think this is a major point.
It’s just that I don’t want the Comments I make, or the Comments that other people make, being linked back to a large photo of me – or the person who commented on my blog. Why would I? The little one is big enough, and I don’t want my readers wandering off to investigate people’s Gravatars when they should be marveling at the brilliance of my articles…and Comments.
OK, so this again is an OPPORTUNITY. Comment Replies with no avatars are dead boring. No one can ‘identify’ with Comments, or a Commenter, that has no avatar. And the default Grey Man silhouette avatar is boring too, Yes.
But a Grey Man avatar also damages the impression you make online. Why? Using the generic Grey Man avatar tells the world that you are ‘an amateur’ or (horror!) a casual surfer – definitely not a serious professional, Big Time, Big-Cheese-Blogger like us! What? We can all dream…. and dreams are free….I think I feel a song coming on…[Carol! Focus! OK, will do]
If you are not sure how to get your own you-beaut Gravatar, check out How to Add Your Photo Gravatar to Your Online Comments.
Alright, so far we have covered: how to leave the Welcome Mat at our Open Front door, but barred Evil Spammers from entering. [How to Customize Comment Settings & Anti Spam Plugins] We have also encouraged our Readers to make Brilliant Comments at the end of our Articles by allowing a nofollow link in their Comment, together with their Personal Gravatar. That just leaves the Commentluv plugin.
Commentluv Allows Do Follow Links! Yes – Do Follow Links!
I will be writing more articles to come on the marketing and traffic building advantages of installing the Commentluv Plugin and the Do Follow Links it offers to Commenters. In the meantime, these are the Settings I currently have for my Commentluv Plugin. These Commentluv settings work, and do not interfere with any of the other Comment-related Settings or Plugins.
You will see that these settings mean that people who Register with this blog get extra privileges! If you Register at this Blog, you will have the chance to add a Dofollow Link with your Comment – but only if it is not a Spam Comment. Spam Comments include such things as ‘Nice Blog’ or ‘This helps me a lot’. You have to do better than that!
Update: I have changed the Settings for my Commentluv settings. After the recent Panda and Penguin Google Updates, it was clear that Google was focusing it’s eagle eyes on Links, especially Dofollow Links. So, I’ve changed my Settings for Commentluv. They are that you now get Nofollow links. But… if you Register for this site, you get to choose a nofollow link from a selection of your latest Articles.
Maybe you can’t always Write Brilliant Comments, but that is what you should aim for. I give, only if you give.
I think that’s fair. It’s not difficult to Register with My Second Million, and these settings give you extra motivation! Yes!.
Your Commentluv options looks like this:
this is a screenshot of a link to an article on my Addiction Rehab Now website. You can see the text that you see when you make a Comment via Commentluv, and how you will get the extra choice of linking to any of your Latest 10 Articles if you Register on this site.
Also if you are interested in seeing a real life example of how to ‘spread the love’ with your use of your Comment Replies set up, and the use of the Commentluv Plugin, see How Ana Hoffman Uses Comment Replies to Boost Traffic & Spread the Love. Alright!
Now we have our Comments on our Blog set up in just the way…. I like it. Hey, it ‘s my Blog! You can do the same on your own Blog if you wish. I can tell you that my visitor numbers have increased since sorting out the tangle that was my Comments section up until a few days ago.
And….I have not been hit with an avalanche of Evil Spammers either. These Settings have been a win-win for me.
OK – with this article, and the 2 previous articles, all the Comment-related-bases have been covered. Time for some well earned chips!
[Disclaimer: chips or no-chips is a personal choice for which I am not liable or responsible. Me? I like the low fat oven-fried variety: fat content is 0.5% – and what’s not to like about that? ….Get them while they’re hot! ……Yum! ]
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