No matter which blog site you use, some readers are always going to have a problem with commenting. It’s so frustrating! I can see comments successfully made on my posts, so I know the site isn’t broken. And the readers who can’t comment on my posts seem to be able to comment on everyone else’s sites just fine! So I thought I would do a run-down on how to comment on WordPress blogs, and how to set up your site for easy commenting, if you are a new WordPress blogger.
First of all, I will tell you my settings. It is possible for bloggers not to allow comments at all, or to stop allowing comments on a post at any time. My posts always allow comments and I have never “closed” a post to further commenting.
If you have a WordPress blog, you can change these settings by going to your Dashboard, then to Settings/Discussion. The Dashboard is harder to access these days, but you can go straight there by typing your blog name plus wp-admin, like this: anexactinglife.wordpress.com/wp-admin
Here are some of the settings I use:
I have the option to automatically approve every comment so it goes right on the blog before I even see it. Or, I can demand that every comment waits for my personal approval. I read it, decide if it’s OK to publish, and approve it so it gets published to the site. I have chosen an intermediate option. If you are commenting for the first time, I make you wait for approval. Once I trust you and know your comments are “legit,” all your future comments are automatically approved if they come from the same email address. If you comment using a different email address, you are treated like a new commenter until I approve that email address too.
WordPress has a spam filter called Akismet, which is always running. It automatically sends suspicious comments to the spam folder. I review them 2 or 3 times a week to see if any genuine comments have been blocked. If so, I approve them. I am very happy with Akismet. Maybe 1 out of 100 spam comments gets through, if it is very clever and looks more real than the others – for example, if it uses good grammar!
If you are not a blogger, you should know that blogs get hundreds of spam comments a day, usually including dozens of links to bogus websites, advertising, malware, and so on. If we didn’t screen them out, the real comments would be buried!
One hint for ensuring your comments get through is to make sure they don’t resemble spam. A lot of “spammers” have an email address in this format: anexactinglife(at)anexactinglife.com (not a real email address!) So if you have a blog or a web site and your email address resembles this, your comment is more likely to get sent to the spam folder. If this happens on my site, I will almost surely find it in the spam folder and approve it, but some bloggers automatically delete everything marked as spam.
If you do have an email address in this unfortunate format, you may need to use a different email address to comment on some sites, such as a personal email address. If you have a gmail, hotmail, or yahoo email address in the usual format, such as anexactinglife(at)gmail.com, your comment is more likely to go through.
Format for Submitting a Comment
If you have a WordPress account and you are logged on, you can comment without filling in a form.
If you don’t have a WordPress blog but you follow a lot of WordPress sites, you can get a WordPress account and use it just for commenting. This option is not obvious when you go to the WordPress home page:
- Click CREATE WEBSITE
- At the end of the 4th box (labelled BLOG ADDRESS), look for and click the link SIGN UP FOR JUST A USERNAME.
- Register to create an account used just for commenting.
If you don’t have or want either type of WordPress account, you will need to fill out a form each time you comment.
My blog asks for your name, email address and website when you enter a comment.
I have the option to let comments through without a name and email address, but I choose not to – then all of the comments would be anonymous, and it might encourage commenters that didn’t want to be held accountable.
Typing in a name is required. For your name, you can type your real name, nickname, blog name, online identity name, or whatever you like. However, if you use the same name each time you comment, the blog owner and other readers will get to know you better!
Your email address should be in the usual format such as anexactinglife(at)gmail.com If there is an error in the email address, such as typing in “gmial.com,” WordPress doesn’t seem to notice.
Adding a website name is NOT required. It is a feature for commenters who want to promote their blog or website. You should enter it in this format: http://anexactinglife.com Then, if anyone clicks on the commenter’s name, it will go right to their blog/website so you can find out more about them!
So here’s an example. Let’s say your name is Jane Smith and you don’t have a blog or website. If you want to comment on one of my posts, in the NAME box, you can type “Jane” or “Jane Smith” or any nickname you like. In the EMAIL box you would type your personal email address such as jane.smith(at)live.ca (nonexistent account). You would leave the WEBSITE box blank. You’d type your comment and click POST COMMENT. If it is your first comment on this blog, you will get a message on your screen: “Your comment is awaiting moderation.”
Stop right there: this is the trouble shooting point! If you are a first-time commenter and you DON’T get a message like this, your comment has not gone through! Something is wrong. Very rarely, WordPress has some down time and no comments will work. But this really is uncommon. When it happens to me, it’s usually because of a glitch, such as: I accidentally navigated away from the comment page, or my Internet connection cut out, or I think I clicked POST COMMENT but I actually didn’t. I have to admit there are times I try to post a comment to someone’s site, and I truly don’t understand why it doesn’t go through. Maybe their server is getting too much traffic? Maybe their site is down?
How do you know if your comment has been approved? I usually check, approve and answer comments 2 or 3 times a day, so within a day, you will see your comment (and my reply!) under the post. This is something I do manually so you have to wait in “real time” for a reply!
If you are logged on to WordPress or you have commented before, you will get a brief message after you click POST COMMENT that will say posting comment and then it will appear, so that process is quite obvious.
You can also comment on WordPress blogs by logging into one of your social media accounts. These options are not easy to see. Under the comments area, there is a tiny row of icons: “Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in,” showing choices such as WordPress, Facebook, Twitter and Google+. The blogger decides which ones to enable. If you log in, a line will appear saying, “You are commenting using your Facebook (etc.) account.” Your Facebook (etc.) page link gets automatically added to your comment. If you stay logged in, you can comment on lots of different blogs without filling in another form.
Promoting Your Blog When Commenting
If you do have a blog or website, type in the site, such as http://janesblog.blogger.com (nonexistent blog) in the website box each time you comment. Then, whenever someone clicks the name Jane Smith above your comment, they will go to your blog/website. Do other readers really do that? Absolutely! I have found dozens of great blogs written by my commenters. Lots of my readers who aren’t bloggers also follow name links of other like-minded commenters to find new blogs. One hint is to use your blog name in the NAME box instead of your real name. For example, if I comment on someone’s blog using my name “Dar” or using my blog name “An Exacting Life,” readers are more likely to click on my blog name, because, well, it sounds like a blog!
You can also comment using a Facebook, Twitter or Google+ account that you created specifically for your blog or website.
I’ve noticed that Blogger offers the OpenID system which allows you to comment as a WordPress user. WordPress doesn’t allow you to comment as a Blogger user per se, but you can use Google+, if the blogger has enabled it.
Other Commenting Systems
I use the free, built-in commenting that comes with WordPress.com. It is also possible for bloggers to switch to another “brand name” commenting system such as Disqus or Intense Debate. I haven’t done this because they are only available as plug-ins for WordPress.org accounts (the self-hosted/advanced ones) or other blog platforms. Disqus and Intense Debate require you to register and make an account with them so you can comment. You log in each time you want to comment. You could just stay logged in if you read a lot of blogs that use Disqus or Intense Debate.
OK, that is everything I know about commenting on WordPress! Let me know what questions you still have, and I will try to find out the answers. Except this one: “I’ve done everything you say, but my comments still don’t appear on your blog!” If that is true, I regret I am completely baffled!
As a last, last resort, I do one of three things: close a bunch of windows and programs so not so much is running, close my browser and try a different one (such as switching from Chrome to Firefox) or…restart my computer…the low-tech answers!