The Ins and Outs of Comment Forms

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The WordPress comment form, or feedback form, allows readers to interact with authors and vice versa. Given that engagement is invaluable for any website, a direct line of communication is vital. In this article, we’ll take a look at what the comment form is used for, back-end configuration considerations and how to ensure secure WordPress hosting.

When a Form is More than a Form

In a sense, a comment form is a way to measure the success of a blog or web post. For digital marketers, metrics like rankings and page views are fundamental, yet comments also hold significant weight. Although some posts and content will have more page views than comments, it is important not to underestimate the comment form. Of course, the goal of most websites or blogs is to encourage traffic rather than engagement, yet it is shortsighted to only consider one metric.

Given that the current digital landscape is more dependent on social media than ever before, it is as important to build a community around a brand, as it is to appear in the top spots of search rankings. Therefore, a brand’s goal must be to foster engagement as much as traffic. Yet quantity is not the sole metric for comments. Quality is even more important since thoughtful comments add value to a post and can even take on a life of their own, creating new and interesting conversations around your site.

WordPress Comment Form & Data Protection

Given the endless cases of online data breaches and stolen personal information, users are more concerned than ever about how they interact on the internet. In the past, the WordPress comment form would set cookies when a user commented in order to remember users when they returned to the site. Now, however, since the 4.9.6 update that addressed cookies and privacy, the WordPress comment form cookies require explicit consent from a commenting user, which must be given by selecting a checkbox on the comment form. The checkbox isn’t automatically checked.

WordPress, like any website, can be subject to trespass if its software is out of date or as a result of user practices. This is why secure WordPress hosting is important. Given that 32% of the web is powered by WordPress, and nearly 60,000 websites are hacked every day, it is the responsibility of each administrator to ensure their web hosting is secure. By selecting a host that uses the latest security measures, monitors user sites every minute for uptime has tight software-based restrictions in place, detects DDoS attacks in real time, and actively stops malicious code from entering networks, users can ensure secure web hosting.

WordPress Back-end Configuration Considerations

The are several back-end configuration considerations to take into account before enabling comments on posts or page. First, you should review the options under Settings > Discussion, which features a list of options to let users decide how WordPress will process comments. These options include the following:

Notification: Enable your site to automatically notify sites that are linked to that they have been linked. Sites can elect to tell users that your site has linked to them through a trackback or pingback, and vice versa, thereby allowing sites to notify your site if it has been linked.

Commenter Rules: Allow users to post comments on new articles. Elect to have the comment author fill out their name and e-mail, which prevents users from leaving anonymous comments, or only allow registered users to post comments.

Comment Display: Enable threaded comments that allow users to reply to each other. The reply will be “nested” below the original comment, though you can limit the number of levels of comments your site allows.

Comment Administration: Choose to be notified if a user posts a comment and/or if a comment is held for moderation in order to stay up to date on comments and respond accordingly.

Comment Must Be Manually Approved: This option allows you to approve which comments can appear on the site, which will let you delete comments you consider spam.

Comment Spam: Choose to hold comments in the queue if they contain links, which will help you eliminate comments that contain links to other sites.

The advantages of the WordPress comments form far outweigh the disadvantages. Comments allow site administrators or owners to actively engage their visitors, thereby enhancing their brand’s visibility and popularity. Comments also allow users to provide constructive criticism as well as feedback that can help you to improve your site and maximize its effectiveness. Given that WordPress now allows you to moderate your comments in many different ways, you can capably control spam. Finally, the responsibility of having secure web hosting lies directly with site administrators, who must proactively seek out secure hosts and ensure these provide all the necessary measures and restrictions to guarantee the security of your site and its users.

At BionicWP we can help you get your comment forms set-up just the way you want!

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