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5: Managing User Comments

Running Time:  7:56

Encouraging your blog readers to leave a comment is one of the most important things you can do.

Blogging is not just your words on the web. It’s about engaging users to converse and WP makes that pretty simple by default. A page that has lots of comments is a page that your readers will consider as providing useful information. Plus Google will reward you with a search engine rankings boost. (Remember, Google thinks like a person).

All user comments are moderated by you. A comment cannot be published to your blog unless you approve it. Don’t worry if someone tries to span you or post a nasty to your blog.

I show you what happens when a comment is made to your blog and how to manage it. Like all of this course to this point, I’m not using any plugins to give you the feeling of what WP does out of the box.

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Transcript Of This Video

Here I am back at one of my favorite blogs, the WP Tavern, which is like a WordPress water cooler. It’s the place to go to get all kinds of WordPress news, and where people hang out in the WordPress community to discuss, “What do you think WordPress?” If I scroll down here, what I want to show you are the comments that are left by this post’s readers. Let’s go down here. So you can see there’s one, two– A whole bunch. Each one of these gives us this the person who posted it, the date, what they said, and on it goes. At the very bottom of this particular article is a place to leave your comment, to enter your name and your email address, and so forth. You can see, I’ve been here before. Also, there’s a little thing over here to join the discussion by email. That’s an option, which means that once I post something and once it’s approved, anybody else who makes a comment to this post, I’ll get an email. What that does is engenders a conversation between me and other readers of this blog. That’s something you want to aim for, to look at your blog as a vehicle to start a discussion and to encourage others to discuss things that are of interest to themselves. It is much like building a community. Anyway, let’s take a look at the In My Garden site. This is the site that I’ve been working on. I’m not logged in, and the reason why I’m not logged in is I wanted to show you what certain things look like from a not logged in perspective. In other words, somebody comes by and sees my article on garden security and here is the “Leave a Reply” section, much like we just saw it at the WP Tavern. What I want to do now is leave a comment. So let’s say my name is Steve, and I want to say, “I love this post.” Perfect. I’m going to need to leave my name, that’s required. OK. I need to leave my email address, that’s required. So, we’ll make it up. I don’t have to leave a website or my website if I’m Steve, so I’m just going to leave that alone. Now I’m going to post the comment. Now here’s the thing, the comment won’t be approved until I, Bud– The site owner will approve the comment. You don’t have to worry about people coming to your site and putting all kinds of bad stuff on there because they won’t, and they can’t unless you approve the comment. So let’s see how that approval will take place. Go back here, and here it is. It’s in the “Comments” section, and you can see there’s a little one over here, which indicates that there’s one comment pending my approval. Now look over here, I’ll see the name of the person who created the comment, the IP address where he came from, the actual comment itself and the post to which it applies. Now if I hover over any part of this area where the comment is, I have some options here, and this is important. First I have whether or not I want to approve it, so if I approve it, it’ll be published to the garden security post. So, I do, and I’ll take a look at that right now. I’m going to go over here, and let’s refresh the page..

Now you can see the comment has been published. OK, perfect. That’s all I have to do to approve and have that comment published. Let’s say I don’t want it anymore, well I can unapprove it. There, it’s that simple, and it won’t be there anymore. But if I want to reply to it, which would be very common, you probably would want to reply to a user’s comment. Maybe you get excited and say, “Somebody commented on one of my posts.” You could click this, and you could reply right here, that’s one way to do it. The other way to do it, let me show you real quick, is to go over here and you can leave a reply right from here. Either way, it’s going to be a reply to what Steve said.

I like this idea over here, to leave it right here and say “Thanks, Steve. This is Bud.” OK, and I’m going to now just– You’ll see, here I am, I have made my reply. Of course, it’s already approved. That would make sense. Now if I go and look at it on the site, I have to refresh, and I just made a reply. So I could have gone this way, or I could have gone the way I did and reply to Steve. One other thing to note when it comes to managing your user comments. If you want to remove the comments, let’s say you want to trash them. I’m going to trash both. I’m going to go to “Bulk activity,” I’m going to move to trash, and I’m going to click “Apply,” and they’re gone. They’re in the trash bin, so they’re right over here. If I want to restore them, I could click these two over here and hit “Restore.” I could also delete permanently, and as I’ve said before when you see the words “Delete me permanently,” in WordPress, they’re not kidding so be careful. I’m going to restore these.

It will take me back to “All,” I clicked on “All,” so I see all of my comments. Another thing to note is you always have the ability to mark this as spam, so any comment could be marked as spam. Which means that you should not be getting a similar comment if it’s a spammy comment. Now, controlling spammy comments is something taken up by a plugin called Akismet, which I will do when I talk about Akismet in the plugins module. One other thing to note is if I go to “Settings–” Let’s go to settings. Let’s go to “Discussion,” WordPress talks about leaving comments as a discussion. So there’s a lot of different discussion settings here, how you want your comments to appear in your blog. A lot of those things that deal with managing your comments can be set right over here. Again, that’s in the “Settings” and in the “Discussion” area.

You might also note if we scroll down here, there’s some other settings here that are kind of interesting. Those little avatars, those are the little graphics by the person’s name. You can set those as defaults, for example here’s the default. If you want to put a picture in, you could do that. If you want your own picture to show up like I do, then you check out a service called, and you can put your picture in there. Which means that whenever you leave a comment, whether it’s on your blog or someone else’s, your image will be next to your name. That’s a Gravitar.

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