I’m in a few blogger communities and I’m also currently taking part in the Ultimate Blogging Challenge. I take some time out of my day each day to scroll through the Facebook group and see what people are posting about and read a few interesting looking posts. Lately I’ve been noticing a really annoying trend though, and if you’re doing it you could be hurting your blog.
More and more bloggers are trying to stop spam by making it harder to comment on posts!
I don’t think they mean to make it more difficult, they just want to stop the automated tools that spam blogs with comments. The thing is, if you want to build a community or active readership those comments are so important. Getting comments on your blog gives you social proof that people value. They help people feel like they are part of the blog so they’ll keep coming back to read. You want people to leave comments.
Here are some of the things I’ve been seeing that deter me from commenting. (I’ve clicked away from over a dozen blog posts today without commenting because of these.)
- Captchas. They are one of the most common ways to stop spammers but they’re annoying, especially if the captcha doesn’t show up until after you try to submit your comment. Half the time there are weird special characters in the captcha making them impossible to solve.
- Facebook comments. I don’t like to post my business stuff on Facebook and I know a lot of other people like to either. That’s what fan pages are. I also don’t like connecting my FB in any way to random blogs. I know there is that little checkbox so it doesn’t post to my wall but that still means my comment links to my personal profile. I’m not a fan and I won’t comment on blogs that use Facebook comments.
- Disqus or other systems that require me to sign up. I don’t want to take the time to sign up just to leave a comment on a blog. I’m commenting to let you know that I liked your post or to add something to the conversation but it’s not worth the time and hassle of signing up for something new. Sorry.
- Too many check boxes. I went to one blog that had 6 checkboxes under the comment box for things like confirming you aren’t a spammer, signing up for the email list, registering for their site, and some other stuff. It’s too many options. Don’t make it too confusing!
In the end, you’re the blogger. It’s your job to keep spam off of your posts. There are things you can do to stop spam without adding more work for your readers. Keep it simple.
So, if you’re not supposed to use captchas or registration, how do you keep spam off of your blog?
- Install a spam filter. I use Akismet and it works wonderfully. It’s free for personal blogs and professional blogs can buy it for a low price. Out of the 100-300 spam comments I get a day I only get maybe one that doesn’t get caught. You will want to scroll through your spam comments from time to time. Every once and a while a legitimate comment gets stuck in there but after you click the “not spam” button their comments won’t get caught by you filter anymore.
- Use GASP with premium CommentLuv. Out of all of the tools that require an extra step from readers, this is the only one I don’t mind. It adds one little check box with the text “Check to confirm you are NOT a spammer.” It reduces spam comments to almost nothing. (As an added bonus, since I installed it my comments have almost doubled and I see my posts getting G+1’s and tweeted more often.)
- Set comments so they need to be approved. You may decide to let them auto-approve after they’ve had a certain number of approved comments but I prefer to manually approve them all so I can reply to them as they go live.
How do you deal with spam on your blog? As a reader, what keeps you from leaving a comment?