A blog tip that's guaranteed to bring you more comments

March 22, 2010

The best part: it’s easy.

Turn off your word verification.

Yes, you. You probably didn’t even know it was on, right? But unless you turned it off, it’s likely keeping people from commenting on your blog.

Think it’s not that big of a deal? It is. It’s one extra hoop we have to go through to leave a comment. It forces us to spend an extra minute out of our busy days to engage in your conversation. Sometimes, when I try to leave a comment and word verification pops up — or worse, a little box that requires me to register — I decide not to bother. (I’m not talking about logging in so my name and blog URL show up with my comment. That I don’t mind.)

You want commenting to be easy. Because comments mean you’re creating conversation and engaging your blog community. It’s also sometimes used as a measure of how many people are reading your blog.

Turning off word verification will not allow a black cloud of spam to descend on your site. You have a spam filter to catch nasty comments. If you get tens of thousands of hits daily, you might want to reconsider. But if you’re reading this post, you probably don’t get that many hits or tons of comments. And when your blog becomes uber-popular and develops a spam problem, you can always turn the verification back on.

Not sure whether your blog uses word verification? Ask your readers.

How do you turn it off?

  • After a quick search, I confess I can’t find instructions for WordPress.com. Can anyone help with that in the comments?

Who’s in? Got any other easy blog tips to share?

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    20 Replies to “A blog tip that's guaranteed to bring you more comments”

    • Freya says:

      I agree with you Alexis that the text verification is a turn off.

      I’ve replaced mine by signing up at Disqus (http://disqus.com/)

      Discus is a great way to keep track of comments across blogs that I comment on and it moderates comments on my blog too.

      Since it allows readers to sign-in for comments through various networks. Its great for networking!


    • Great tip, Alexis!

      Heads-up…the link to Blogger’s instructions comes up forbidden…could you ck it?

      I’ve tweeted this one…very helpful. I hate those word verifications!

      Mystery Writing is Murder

    • Susana Mai says:

      I have to admit, the word verification always annoyed the bejeezus out of me!

    • Do to spam, I’ve been tempted to turn on verification, but the fact that I do find completing the step irritating on blogs I visit keeps me from doing so. I will usually still leave a comment, however.

    • Karen Walker says:

      I’m with you guys, it is very frustrating when a blog has word verification. I turned mine off during Dani’s book blog tour class, because it was recommended. But I’m noticing more and more people are putting it on their blogs. Why, if it doesn’t catch spam anyway?

    • simonemarie says:

      Great idea. Didn’t even think of that. I have WordPress, so I’ll look around. I guess I can ask you, though, Alexis — does my blog have word verification?

    • jessiecarty says:

      ya know i was looking in my wordpress dashboard and i can’t figure out how you turn it on? under general settings discussion the only thing i can think that would turn it on is
      Users must be registered and logged in to comment

      Word verification won’t keep me away on my PC but when I am viewing on my iTouch it absolutely does!

    • Carolyn Yalin says:

      I think the similar thing for wordpress would be to go to Settings>Discussion
      In there, I guess, uncheck “Comment author must fill out name and e-mail ”
      Could you imagine the amount of spam that would give!

    • Paper Rats says:

      Thanks for the tip! I don’t know whether I have that on my blog, but now I know to check. (I feel like I SHOULD know, but sometimes things just are and you don’t bother to verify.)

    • Word verifications are a real pain and pretty much innecessary. I usually skip leaving comments on these sites. Honestly, how much spam does on receive anyway? I receive one or two a week, and since I moderate my comments I easily delete the spam when I approve and release the comments.

      Stehen Tremp

    • littlehousesouthernprairie says:

      embarrassed to say i am pretty sure my eyesight is 20/20, but i often get the word verification wrong. they smoosh the r too close to the n’s, makes it look like m’s! argh

    • Surfed in from Twitter thanks to Freya 🙂

      On my WordPress blog I have only got three options before a comment appears:
      * An administrator must always approve the comment
      *Comment author must fill out name and e-mail
      * Comment author must have a previously approved comment
      I’ve chosen, comment author must fill out name and e-mail!

      Good blog post, well worth a read.

    • Greg Pincus says:

      For some perspective, I was averaging around 10 spam comments a day on my Blogger blog before I turned on word verification. Waking up to 30+ spam comments was not unheard of. Now, spam comments are rare (though not non-existent). My average number of “good” comments-a-day did not drop when i added verification… which doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be higher without, of course. Still, the blog is a better place for my readers with verification on, even if there’s a higher barrier to commenting. Which leads to the question… which is more important – raw commenting numbers or a better experience? Each has tradeoffs. Also, each blog will be different – you might get no spam, in which case, the verification is a barrier to commenting that you might not need. But the point is… there are valid reasons to add verification or Disqus or registration, even if it’s potentially a barrier to readers.

      WordPress has the Akismet plugin that makes it so that word verification is not necessary. If Blogger had such a thing (and hey, maybe it does and I don’t know about it), that would be wonderful.

      • Alexis Grant says:

        Thanks for sharing this with us. Sounds like you’re one of the people who need a spam filter! In that case, by all means, use word verification.

        I didn’t realize us WordPress users had it so good 🙂

    • I MUCH prefer word verification to moderation. I hate it when it takes hours and hours for my comment to post. It’s impossible to have a discussion in the comments section!

      Although, I suck because I do have moderation on someone’s first post, but it’s needed because a distant family member doesn’t quite understand the meaning of discretion. She doesn’t mean anything by it; she’s just clueless, god bless her soul.

      After you’ve been on Blogger for awhile, the spam does suck. They don’t have a spam catcher like WordPress does, so it’s word verification or constant deleting. It’s why I switched to WordPress.

    • Great, simple advice.

      One of the reasons I chose WordPress was for the Akismet spam software. It has caught all my spam & I’ve never needed word verifcation. The only drawback is when writer’s put links directly in the comment body – such comments get delayed because I have to pull them out of the spam folder.

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