Feedback is an essential part of writing. Comments are one of the most common and most easy ways to receive feedback from your fellow readers. Not only does feedback help to improve your writing, it allows you to connect with others who are like-minded in your ideas and inspiration, and those who are running a website or have been blogging for a while will know that comments are often seen as opportunities to propel yourself further down the success path.
WordPress is one of those platforms that take comments seriously, and every WordPress theme usually supports the integrated WordPress comment system, whether website owners choose to enable or disable comments is up to them individually, though there usually has to be a good reason to keep comments locked away.
How to enable and disable comments in WordPress
Each WordPress installation has comments enabled by default. The only way to disable comments is either by removing the comments template code from your theme PHP files, or by using the admin dashboard settings panel. You will want to opt for the second method, the most convenient one. Start by opening up Settings => Discussion in your WordPress dashboard.
=> Commenters Settings, Guest Comment Options & More
The actual settings page for comments is quite large, but for many good reasons. You start off by selecting things like whether you want your commenters to enter their full data (name, email, website), or do you want to enable guest comment options (high risk of spam) and let anyone leave comments freely. You can also force users to make an account before leaving a comment, great option for membership sites.
=> Approving Comments, Enabling / Disabling Comments
You can select an option to approve all comments manually, or you can select an option that will automatically approve comments from the same person that has already been approved once (highly recommended), thus saving yourself time and unnecessary labor. The very top of the page there is a setting called “Allow people to post comments on new articles” – if you uncheck this setting, comments will be disabled globally. You can also rely on external plugins to help you manage your comments on all parts of your site; read more.
=> Blacklisting Words & Using Avatars
Other settings include a blacklist of words that you don’t want to appear in your comment section, as well as a list of words that you would like to moderate before approving. The bottom of the Discussion settings page features settings for Avatars; an image that goes next to the person name who left a comment, and the most common setting to pick here is Gravatar – almost everyone using WordPress has one.
How to protect WordPress comments from spam
Spam can be a problem for WordPress websites and blogs, but because of how intense the situation has gotten over the years, there are now several reliable WordPress spam protection plugins that will ensure that almost no bots or other automated devices can send comments through your comment system without you authorizing it first. Please refer to our previous roundup of the best WordPress plugins for avoiding spam.
Social media comments on WordPress websites
Another huge emerging trend with WordPress is social comments. What this means is that you are able to use a third party plugin to enable comments from sites like Twitter, Facebook and Google+ directly onto your WordPress website. And it’s much easier to do than it sounds. We have looked at this particular idea in the past, so please refer to our list of social media comment plugins for WordPress to learn more about the capabilities of social comments.