Do You Crave More People To Engage With On Your Blog? Check These Settings Now.

How easily can all visitors engage with you on your blog?

Is it as easy as you think it is?

Banner for the blog post 'Do You Crave More People To Engage With On Your Blog? Check These Settings Now.'
Did you know that you could be preventing some visitors to your blog from leaving you comments?

After receiving an e-mail from Jean, who blogs at DelightfulRepast.com, who had seen one of my posts at the Senior Salon Pitstop weekly linky party hosted by Esme and Julie, I was somewhat concerned when she mentioned that it wasn’t easy for her to engage with me on my blog.

Jean explained that she didn’t want to leave her e-mail address, create a WordPress account or use social media to be able to leave me comments. I understand why she didn’t want to leave any of those details. After all, our information is private and shouldn’t be given out if we don’t want to give it out.

WordPress offers ‘Discussions‘ options where users can decide how easily readers can engage with them without leaving any personal details. I thought I already had this option switched off, so nobody needed to leave any personal details, and I was right, but it didn’t explain why Jean thought she had to leave her personal details if she wanted to comment on my posts.

Upon further checking my discussion settings, I saw where the confusion was coming from and want to highlight it so those who wish to engage with me without personal details can still leave comments knowing they do not need to give any personal information.

Let’s Look At The Discussion Settings On WordPress.

  • Ensure you’re viewing your blog’s dashboard in the Default view. To do this, click on the View button in the top right of the screen when viewing your blog’s dashboard.
  • Go to Settings – Discussion.
Screenshot highlighting the discussion setting on the dashboard of a WordPress blog
Make sure you’re viewing your blog’s dashboard in the Default view.
  • On the Discussions Settings page, look for the Comments box.
Image highlighting the Comments settings on the Discussion Settings page of a WordPress blog.
Look for the comments settings box.

As you will see from the above screenshot, I have turned off both the ‘Comment author must fill out name and e-mail‘ and ‘Users must be registered and logged in to comment‘ options. So why wasn’t Jean able to leave me a comment?

It seems that, for whatever reason, in their wisdom, WordPress has decided to still show visitors a login box when these options have been switched off. This is what Jean and visitors who are not logged in see.

Screenshot highlighting the login box when wanting to leave a comment on a WordPress blog.
The log in box tricks visitors into believing they have to leave personal details to be able to leave comments.

And this is what WordPress say –

Comment author must fill out name and e-mail: When this setting is on, anyone leaving a comment will be forced to leave a name and a valid e-mail address. If the setting is off, visitors can leave anonymous comments. While your commenters do not have to fill in the e-mail field if you’ve turned this setting off, it will still be visible to them when they comment.

So I understand why Jean thought I wasn’t making it easy for her to engage with me.

If you only want readers to engage with you who must leave their name and email address, ensure you have this option switched on.

If you only want comments from readers who are logged in and registered, ensure you have the ‘Users must be registered and logged in to comment‘ setting switched on.

If you want comments from both, ensure both settings are switched on.

However, if, like me, you’re happy to allow anyone to leave you a comment, then switch both of these settings off.

Don’t forget to click the ‘Save‘ button in the Comments settings box if you make any changes.

Are There Any Disadvantages To Switching These Discussion Settings Off?

The main disadvantage is that it could open the gates for spammers and trolls to leave you comments. However, the Akismet antispam software on WordPress catches and places the majority of spam into your blog’s spam folder, so you’ll never see it unless you check what’s in it.

Further down on the Discussion Settings page, there is more help to filter out spam and troll comments.

  • Look for the ‘Before A Comment Appears‘ box, and you’ll see these two options.
  1. Comment must be manually approved: If this setting is on, all comments will go into moderation, and they will need to be approved by you before appearing on your blog.
  2. Comment author must have a previously approved comment: If this option is on, any visitors that have had a comment approved on your blog in the past will get a free pass through approval and only comments from new visitors will go into moderation.

As you will see from the following screenshot, my blog is set for manually approving all comments before they appear on any of my posts.

Screenshot highlighting the 'Comments moderation' settings on WordPress
Decide which level of protection you want to stop the comments of spammers and trolls from appearing on your blog posts.

This helps me stop unprofessional, rude, nasty comments from appearing on any of my posts, even if they’re from somebody who has previously left a friendly comment.

My thanks to Jean for contacting me about discussion settings on blogs. And apologies for the confusion WordPress causes in insisting a login box shows when visitors do not need to leave any personal details when wanting to engage or leave a comment.

If you see a login box or are asked to leave your name and email address when leaving a comment, try leaving a comment without filling in personal details or logging in. If the blogger you’re engaging with has switched off the ‘Comment author must fill out name and e-mail‘ and ‘Users must be registered and logged in to comment.‘ options, your comment will go through.

If either or one of those options is switched on, you’ll need to follow the instructions to be able to leave a comment.

Let’s wrap it up.

  • Check the discussion settings on your blog to see if you’re preventing visitors from leaving comments.
  • Decide whether you want only certain visitors to be able to leave comments or if you’re happy for all visitors to leave comments.
  • The majority of spam comments will go straight to your spam folder. Remember to empty your spam folder regularly.
  • To stop comments from trolls appearing on your blog posts, switch on the ‘Comment must be manually approved‘ setting.
  • Consider whether comments from those who have previously left you a friendly comment do not need to be manually approved by you.

If you have questions about the discussion settings on your WordPress blog, leave them in the comments section.

Layout, content, settings, and format might differ on self-hosted blogs.

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