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The Five Words That Kill Your Blog

You’ve done the hardest parts of writing a blog post: Gotten the reader to your site, evoked a strong enough emotion to make them feel they need to add to the discussion and leave a comment, and they submit it and see this:

“Your comment is awaiting moderation”

“Your comment is awaiting approval”

“You need to register first”

Congratulations, you’ve just halted the conversation on your post.

For the most part, moderation is used to stop spam from appearing not necessarily to censor comments, but you’re hurting the voice of the very people that can be your biggest evangelists.

There are many issues with this:

  1. When a commenter sees those five words and has to wait for approval, it will stop them from spreading the post until it has been approved
  2. 99% of the time the commenter doesn’t get a notification that the comment has been approved, and so never spreads the original post at all.
  3. The flow of comments is dictated by the blog owners ability to approve comments in a timely fashion.
  4. As soon as a commenter sees that their original comment is awaiting moderation, they will hesitate to comment on anyone else’s comment in the thread.
  5. The commenter doesn’t know if it’s awaiting approval for being a non-spam comment, or that the blog owner is only allowing positive comments.

If the spam issue is your main reason for moderating blog comments, there are a few quick fixes.

  1. Install the Askimet plugin. This well-known, and free for personal use tool is amazing for filtering out spam comments. I average 100+ comments per post, and have only ever had to delete one spam comment that made it past Askimet’s filter.
  2. Use a comment management system like Disqus. That’s the system I use here. It allows threaded comments, meaning I or others can reply in-line to a comment and it makes it linked as a conversation, including emailing the original commenter that someone has replied, so they can return and continue the engagement. It also emails me every time someone comments, and I can reply on my Blackberry in the email, and it will post it as a comment. Not to mention if a spam comment slips through (or a troll) I just reply to the email with “delete” and it’s gone instantly.

There are some valid reasons to moderate comments, such as very sensitive topic-based sites (especially religion, politics, parents against Justin Bieber) and also large corporate blogs that have certain topics that bring out the “special” folks of the world.

But for the most part I see moderation being done on the very blogs that need comments: the ones that don’t have many at all. Especially when you’re starting out, let the conversation flow. Create community and engagement. The comments on my posts are 10X better than my original post. Why would I want to stifle that?

And don’t even get me started on captcha’s……

Speaking of comments, add yours below :) (Wouldn’t it be awesome if I then pointed to my comment section that was moderated?)

What do you think? Does it turn you off when a blog moderates your comment? Have you had issues that have lead to moderating your blog?

  • John Shelton

    Thanks for this helpful tip. I hope to get into blogging soon.

    • John Shelton

      Oddly enough, to post the above comment, I was required to ‘verify’ my email through disqus. Seemed a bit ironic.

  • Jeff Walker

    Great advice and right on point for new bloggers.

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  • Soleil2020

    That’s so true. Any time I have something to say, but am confronted with one of those phrases, I almost never go through with the post. I hate registering for things, so I move on. Maybe I’ll go through with this one, though….. grudgingly. UGH….

  • John

    Good tips. Thank you!

  • Marlene Olsson

    I don’t have so many comments and still i moderate it. Just like you said, I’m one of them🙄

  • ddd


  • Jason Rivest

    Very useful information. esp to keep us safe from spammers.

  • Karen

    I can comment and not have to register? Really? That is so unusual. I am not sure I can handle such a deviation from the norm…

    • Karen

      Yep, that was easy!! I would comment more often on stuff I read if it were this simple.

  • Troy Swezey

    Uh, ok. I am going to go turn off the moderation requirement and try that for a while. I can still go in on a daily basis or so and clean up the spammy stuff that Askimet missed. Thanks for the idea.

    • Troy Swezey

      PS- The Minimalists sent me here.

  • chris wilson

    Gr8t post. I just throw in the towel when asked to register, waiting or…lol capchas!

  • nita

    Your site has provided some great info on starting a blog. I love that I don’t have to create a username, password, security question etc just to say I like your site! I love when I’m given the option to post as a guest . Thanks Guys!

  • Iulian

    I’ll definitely try. I’ve never thought about this before. I agree with Shash

  • jurassicbond

    In all honesty, it can be a bit misleading when I have to wait for authorization. Sometimes I get a notification months later that my comment as been approved to which I either forget, or just don’t care about the subject anymore. It kind of kills the conversation. I understand the reasoning as to why people do it, but I choose not to approve comments on my blog.

  • Ron

    Great post. I hate it when I see my comment needs approval. I think most new bloggers who do this might not be too confident in their writing or they may be afraid of criticism.

  • Prakash Ghai

    You are absolutely right.