How to Set a Minimum Length for Your Comments Section in WordPress
The comments section that follows a blog post is great for connecting with your audience, meeting fellow bloggers, and sharing ideas through thought provoking discussion.
Well, at least that’s how it’s supposed to be…
Blog commenting has been abused over the years by people whom are only trying to get a backlink from your site. These comments are usually in the form of “Great post! I agree with #3! thanks”, and linking to a website about private jet travel that’s loaded with Google Adsense ad blocks everywhere.
Comments like these SCREAM out, “Hi, I’m just here for a backlink… K, thanks, Bye” .
This does nothing for either party.
The measly backlink they are getting (assuming it’s approved to begin with) probably won’t help them very much, and it just clogs up the comments section with no added value. Added value blog comments nowadays are the only true way to get any benefit from blog commenting. Connecting with real people and sharing ideas will help your site grow WAY more than worrying about measly comment section backlinks for SEO. Plus, not to mention how annoying these comments can be to your other readers who try their best to contribute to the discussion. Sure, it’s nice for people to thank you for writing such a great post, but there’s no added value for the long run.
So, what can you do to encourage visitors to write better, more thought out comments?
Well there are no guarantees, but by setting a minimum comment character length, you can at least count on people trying a little bit harder to add some value to their blog comment. WordPress doesn’t have this feature built in yet, but luckily there is a simple WordPress plugin called “Minimum Comment Length” by Yoast that does just that.
Here’s the explaination of the plugin from Yoast.com:
If you install this plugin, you’ll get a new option page with 2 input fields, in the first of which you can set the amount of characters people should use at minimum for their comment to be accepted. It defaults to 15, which is a pretty nice number. If people then leave a comment of less than 15 characters, WordPress dies on them with the message “Error: Your comment is too short. Please try to say something useful.”, or whatever other message you decided to give to them, as this is the second option you can specify in the backend:
This is very useful, because you are in control of how many characters to set as your comment minimum. This is much nicer than simply not approving someone’s short comment. That’s because it’s not always the case that they are intentionally posting just to get a backlink. Sometimes people are commenting because they sincerely enjoyed your post. With this plugin, it simply encourages them to write a bit more. It’s a win-win in my opinion, because you get more thought provoking comments on your blog post, and and no ones feelings get hurt.
If you are tired of people leaving short comments that don’t add anything to the discussion, I suggest you at least try Yoasts Minimum Comment Length Plugin.
Comment time! What are your thoughts?