One of the tough decisions bloggers must make on a day-to-day basis is which blog comments to keep and which ones to delete…. assuming you encourage and receive comments, of course!
Some comments are obviously spam and can be deleted without hesitation, but some comments fall into a grey area that beg the question… how should you handle your blog comments?
==> The First Layer of Defense
First off, you should definitely have some sort of anti-spam mechanism installed on your blog. Askimet is a good anti-spam plug-in for WordPress blogs and usually is installed by default. However, you must register on the site for free and get an API key to activate it. This will help you get rid of 90% of the spam that you’ll encounter saving you ours of headaches.
==> Hand-Written Spam
If you get a fair amount of self-promotional messages that are actually hand written, these won’t get caught by Askimet, since the author isn’t in a spam database anywhere. If you see a message with a link in the body text that really doesn’t add any value to your site, or is unrelated, delete it. Remember, people doing this are wanting backlinks to their site or offer to get better rankings. Don’t help them or encourage them by thinking this helps you at all. It does not!
==> Subtle Self-Promotions
The next technique, is for spammers to write creative general comments, sometimes even related to you niche, but with a backlink embedded in their name or website. Whether or not you keep these comments depends mostly on the content of their comments and if it seems legit enough and related to your content.
If they’re genuinely reading your posts or content and adding value to your site, then of course you should keep their comments. But if they’re just commenting on your site generically to get a “free” link to their site, then use your discretion.
A lot of comments fall into this grey area. They might not add a lot of value, but they are clearly not automated spammers. Some bloggers err on the side of deleting, while others err on the side of approving. It’s up to you; there’s no clear answer in this grey zone. But it is true that comments on your posts do help your rankings as it shows the search engines that people are actively engaging with your content.
==> Remember That a Lot of People Have Sites
It’s important to remember that a lot of your commenters are going to be posting comments because they want a link to their site and to self promote. Heck, you might be engaging in this sort of activity your self. It’s not necessarily a bad thing… but again use your discretion.
It’s only really an issues when they’re detracting value from your site that you really need to worry about it. Don’t blame people for wanting to promote their websites. But there is an etiquette that should be followed as well.
==> Don’t Delete Disagreeing Comments
Deleting dissenting comments is a big mistake. People who take the time to read everything you wrote and then share a dissenting opinion should be rewarded rather than silenced. Why?… because it creates further engagement, adds some controversy, and everyone at the end of the day is entitled to their own opinion.
Someone might disagree with something you post this time, but could be a big fan of something you write next week. If you delete their comment, you’ll lose them forever. Furthermore, the people who take the time to write a dissenting opinion are probably people who really care about your topic – Which means they’re active buyers and networkers.
In short, approve comments that add value, insights, or opinions to your blog. Delete comments that detract value, are self-promotional, or are from people who clearly didn’t read your post.