Even on a decent CMS platform like WordPress or Drupal, administering comments can be a bit of a pain. More than likely, while you’re starting out, most of the comments you receive will be spammy garbage that can’t be published to the site.
Don’t be discouraged though, because, provided you are producing genuine content that is of value to your target audience, you will be able to engage readers sufficiently to spark debates and get some great content flowing.
Encourage readers to leave comments
Readers will convert into contributors if you make it easy for them to do so. Consider allowing anonymous users to post comments, but only if you have a decent system in place to filter out spam – because you will get a lot of it. Ensure that you also put in place some form of motivation to create an account (it could be anything, like access to premium content, for example) since having members is far more valuable than having drop-ins, from a marketing and business perspective.
Not only will you need to have a good spam filter, but also a decent comment administration facility. Luckily both WordPress & Drupal, amongst other platforms, have excellent comment moderation facilities. Let’s take a look at what is available in terms of spam filtering on these CMS platforms.
WordPress & Drupal Spam filtering
WordPress.com users automatically have the Akismet comment spam plugin enabled so much of the hard work is already done, in terms of finding and removing spam. WordPress.org users can simply download and install it to their sites.
Drupal users can implement CAPTCHA which provides images or questions for commenters to correctly fill out before the comment is submitted. This does a good job of getting rid of most automated spam submissions. Drupal does implement Akismet, but the module is unsupported so the Mollom module is recommended instead.
SEO & marketing advantages of comments
By making it easy for people to leave comments, and ensuring that only valid, informative and relevant comments are published to the site, you do several super good things for your blog or site’s SEO:
- Keep your content fresh and cause search engines to regularly update their indexes
- Add new targeted and relevant content without having to manually create it
- Add a wider range of keywords as more comments are left on any given page
It’s not only SEO that benefits from content, your marketing and traffic will too:
- Increase reader engagement
- Encourages more readers to take action
- Encourages site “lock-in” because people who have invested time into one site are more likely to return
- Increases your chances of making new connections
- Increases your chances of converting readers to followers
- Increases the chances of receiving backlinks from commenters mentioning the debate on your site or blog
Remember that there is an SEO & marketing benefit for businesses and bloggers wanting to drive traffic to their own sites. This means that if you can convince enough people to take part in debates on your site, you can quickly become a hub of activity within your own niche.
You can learn more about how to harness the power of the Internet and your CMS (hopefully you are already using a good one) at the Online Internet Learning Program.