Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Commenting 101: Technical How-To #1

Welcome back to my Commenting 101 blogging series! If you'd like to start from the beginning, please click here.

I told you that I'd share some blogging technical How-To Tips his week. As I looked over my list, I decided to break it down a little rather than write up one long, enormous post with several topics.

Today's topic focuses one of the biggest pet peeves of established bloggers: Word Verification

(excerpts taken from a post I wrote last year, but Blogger has updated the way they deal with spam)

1. What is Word Verification?
Word Verification is that annoying little "retype these character" message that pops up on a blog's Comment page after you've typed up a whole nice, thoughtful comment on someone else's post. Most annoying to me are the ones that look like the page is refreshing to add your comment...until it tricks you and pops up the WV box.

I can't tell you how many times I've typed a lengthy comment on someone's blog post, hit enter, and exited the site just as I see that annoying pop-up box. I make an effort to do a lot of visiting when I link up to a blog party, but those word verifications are just one more step for a visitor to leave you some feedback, especially when the words are sometimes hard to read or aren't really words but a string of 53 letters.

2. Why do bloggers use Word Verification on their blogs?
I'm not sure if Word Verification is an automatic setting when you set up a blog through Blogger, but I do know that you can change the settings.

Many people think that Word Verification will keep the spam comments off of their blog, but in reality it deters other bloggers from leaving comments. No one likes having to jump through hoops to leave feedback.

You want to encourage people to leave comments on your blog, not discourage them!

When I set Serenity Now up as a brand new blogger, I added word verification because it just seemed like the thing to do. I removed mine in early 2009, after reading a helpful tip from a successful blogger. Afterwards, I noticed that the number of comments on my blog went up bit by bit, and the amount of spam comments I receive is not enough to make me want to turn it back on.

3. How do I get rid of Word Verifcation?
  • Log in to your Blogger Dashboard and click on the "Settings" tab
  • Click on the "Comments" tab
  • Scroll down to where is says, "Show word verification for comments?" and hit "No." (Just do it!) Then save your new settings.

4. Blogger makes it very easy to trash those spam comments! (ie.You don't need Word Verification)

Since Blogger upped their spam "force fields" (I don't know the technical jargon for what they did, but it sure is working!), I rarely if ever receive a spam comment on my actual blog. They all go straight to a "Spam" folder on my Blogger Dashboard.

  • To keep track of those comments, you have to log in to your Blogger Dashboard and click on the "Comments" tab at the top:

  • You'll notice that the "Spam" file is separate from the "Published" file. Published comments are those that Blogger automatically publishes to your blog. You want to be sure you are in the "Spam" file so you don't delete the good comments!
  • Click on "Select All" and then hit "Delete." You may need to do this several times if you have an overload of spam in that file. (This is why it's a good idea to purge regularly.)

  • Yes, I realize this causes you to take a few extra steps you normally wouldn't, but isn't it worth it to remove the hassle from your readers and open yourself up to more communication from visitors?

5. How do I know if a comment on my blog is spam or not?

Let's play another round of "Guess Which Comment," shall we?

  • Can you pick the Spam Comments out of this group?

If you guessed the first and last comment, you are correct, although I could argue that the second comment is just as spammy and unwanted as the other two.

  • Spammers, spambots, robots, aliens...whatever they are that finds your blog and leaves comments...they aren't smart. Those spam comments are easy to pick out. They are often filled with misspelled words, extremely poor grammar, and they read as if a robot typed them. 
  • If it seems fishy to you, it is probably spam.
  • If it somehow makes its way to your blog, you can easily delete those by clicking on the trash can icon next to the comment and clicking the "delete forever" option.

In short, please, please, from one blogger to another...consider removing word verification from your posts. I don't know one successful blogger who has comment verification enabled on her posts. Coincidence? I think not.

With a little bit of effort on your part (in the form of occasionally deleting the spam comments in your folder), you'll take a big hassle off of visitors to your blog. Watch and see the interaction in your Comments section grow!

I'll be back next week with another How-To Tip related to Commenting.

{Have you removed Word Verification from your blog?}


  1. Good to know Amanda. Need to check on mine. I had it set originally, didn't know any better, but then removed it. I did put it back on because I was getting a few disturbing comments regarding my daughters! I made sure to set my account to ONLY allow those with accounts to comment and that seemed to help in that area as well. Keep the tips coming!!

  2. For the longest time I didn't have word verification set. Then a few friends mentioned that they weren't able to comment on my blog. I changed comments to a pop-up (instead of in-line), and I started getting spam. But you've convinced me to give it another try: I'll disable WV and hope for the best.

    Thanks for this series!

  3. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

    I hate WV. The worst is when I fill everything out, hit comment, and then just as I'm closing the window (since commenting is the last thing I do, generally) up pops the funky word but the signal doesn't quite get to my hand before I click the X. So then I have to decide if I want to do it all again, or not. It usually depends on how needy my kids are being at that moment. LOL

  4. WV annoys me too! Sometimes I will go through the entire process and it somehow deletes me comment after I have written one that is rather long! Then I have to think about what I wrote again, but it is never the same :(

  5. I hope a lot of blogger see this, because I hate WV! I do the leave a comment and them close the page before you realize they have WV all the time too. And more than likely I'm not going back to leave the same comment again!

  6. Thank you!! I detest WV for the same reasons you said, esp the ones that trick you. Half the time or more it's too late when I realize and I often don't go back to comment again.

    Something I've found helpful to keep spam at bay is changing the moderation setting to moderate posts 7 days old. Often spammers comment on older posts so this works to get rid of the comment before it's published.

  7. You make a really good point here, Amanda. Yes, removing word verification will likely result in a blogger's receiving some spam comments. But the number of spam comments isn't overwhelming. It's very much worth the effort simply to remove the spam when it occurs.

    I think of spam sort of like terrorism. If we allow the threat of it to control our actions, we've given the spammers a victory. Better to do what's best for our blogs and simply deal with spam if necessary. :)

  8. Great Post Amanda. I wish that blogger had the same feature as word press and you could respond to individuals comments instead of having to post a new comment. Not your fault of course :-)-- but wondering if you wish the same thing.

  9. I removed word verification after reading a blog of yours awhile ago explaining how to do it.

    But I did want to say that it is automatically set up like that. I think a lot of people might not know that or know they can get rid of it. So, thanks for posting about it.

  10. Thank you!!! I know when I helped my mother-in-law set up her blog, the first thing I had her do was turn off word verification.

    Posting this on our facebook page and tweeting this out asap :)

  11. Timely advice. I just realized recently that I had it on my blogger blog, and I went right in and got it off. It is a time waste and honestly, what spammer is it gonna stop because of those crazy letters that, you're right, are nearly impossible to read. While leaving comments, I've even had to be given a new set of nearly illegible letters because I messed up the first set due to illegibility! Thanks for sharing.

    Mary @ Redo 101

  12. Thanks, Amanda,for this post. Word verification is nuts. I notice a lot of 'new' bloggers have it. I always want to give them a little lovenote telling them to GET RID OF IT! {but I don't}

  13. Thank you sincerely for this blogging series - very useful info which I WILL follow! You were the very first comment on my blog, and I am so lucky because it made me visit your blog and now I have learned so much about blogging! Thanks again!

  14. LOL - I turned off word verification right after I commented here (three hours ago?). Since then I've gotten two spam comments. I'm going to deal with it for a while and hope it doesn't get too bad. :)

  15. Wow...great post Amanda! You are just a wealthy of bloggy info...lol!! The biggest thing for me is finding the time to comment with work and everything. Hey I just started a new design consultation business...and posted about it. Come check it out if you get a chance.

    Finding Fabulous

  16. Amanda,

    I can't thank you enough for posting this! I did not even realize that my blog was set to "yes" on word verification...so now it's changed thanks to you!!!!

    I hate those too...

  17. This is a good one! I had word verification on until just recently. The thing is I had NO IDEA it was on there until a friendly blogger asked me if I had ever thought of getting rid of it. Thanks to her sweetness, I promptly removed it! I think those word verifications are so obnoxious! I get more comments now too by the way :)

  18. Thanks for the tip! I got rid of WV and changed my comment box, so when readers click to leave a comment it pops up in a new window like yours does. I like it waaaaay better!

  19. LOL @ Barbie and the Magic of Pegasus....for FREE! Spam or not...I'm there ;)

  20. I hope this post encourages many to turn off word verification. Typing thoses letter is such a pain!

  21. I removed Word Verification a long time ago! But I would've had I not already after reading this! :) Thanks again for a great tip!

  22. Thanks for the post... since I never comment on myself I had no idea I had WV on.... just turned it off! Thanks for the tip!

  23. Thanks for the post... since I never comment on myself I had no idea I had WV on.... just turned it off! Thanks for the tip!

  24. Great tip - I hadn't thought about WV too much, apart from noticing how much it annoyed me on other blogs! I didn't realise that it could be disabled, and thanks to your tips I've now promptly disabled it. Many thanks!

  25. Amanda, you are right, word verification is a pain! Half the time I can't even read the darn things.

  26. I have word verification for posts older than 14 days because I was getting a lot of spam, but mostly on older posts. However, I have noticed lately that Blogger is catching a lot more of them (as you mentioned), so I could probably take it off all together.

  27. Yes, I disabled mine quite some time ago...but wv doesn't bother me too much. I've lost a couple of comments clicking off the blog when they take too long, but for the most part...I think the words are entertaining. : ) Thank you for posting this series. Another thing I recently changed...and changed back...is the embedded comment form. Another blogger recommended it, but I much prefer the pop-up so I can see my comment in progress and refer back to the post for name spelling, etc...at the same time. Also, for those of us who enjoy music...clicking out of the current page to leave a comment cuts off where you were and starts everything over again...does that make sense?

    : )

    Julie M.

  28. Definitely agree Amanda! I also find that not too many big blogs have it but lots of little ones do. Take a hint. :P haha
    Everyone hates them!

  29. I recently removed the comment word verification thing and haven't had any problems. I think I had one or two spam messages, but it wasn't anything dramatic and I think that most people appreciate no longer having to remember to fill out the word verification.

    Good tip though, I can't stand doing them! :)

  30. Hi,
    Thanks for all the useful information in the post. I am really glad you put up such nice info in such a nice manner and I highly appreciate your work..

  31. Unfortunately, word verification is a default setting in blogger so most people don't even realize they have it!

    Since I posted about my blog pet peeves, I have only encountered one instance of word ver. among my loyal commenters! Yay!

    A small victory - Ridding the world of word ver. one blogger at a time :)

  32. Oh, and blogger tightened up on spam in the last few months and hardly ANY is allowed to filter into your comments now! Woot!

  33. I use wordpress, and installed the spam program there (I think it's called aksimet) instead of word verification. It works pretty well! BTW, thanks so much for stopping by my blog the other day, your comment made me smile.

  34. This is the most comprehensive article I've seen on why and how to turn off word verification. Great job!

  35. SUCH good advice! Those things are a pain in the booty. Sometimes it takes me 3 times to get the code right cause it's so hard to read!

  36. Good tips! I actually *thought* I had my word verification turned off, but I went to double-check, and it was turned ON. Oops! Maybe I'll see an increase in comments now too. :)

  37. I actually had it on mine for a few weeks. Then I came across someone else's blog and left a message and then the WV box popped up and didn't really see it before existing out of the blog. I didn't want to go back and retype everything I had just done. So I went it took it off of mine immediately after that. I rather deal with the spam.

  38. Great post! I get REALLY frustrated too when I'm excited to respond to a post I read only to have the wind taken out of my sails by word verification. You're right about that! I'm new to the blogging world and know I have alot to learn. There's so much I've learned already but know there's a TON more to learn. This series has really helped me. Thank you so much for sharing these tips!! =)

  39. I'm new to blogging and this is the first blog I've ever followed! I've been up for the past hour because I can't stop reading this series! Yours was the first blog I've come across without WV and it was so refreshing! I'm going right over to turn mine off. If you have a moment to read my very minuscule work in progress blog, please let me know if I disabled it successfully.

    (Sorry for the "!" overload, but I'm laying in bed with a newborn permanently attached to my body. I'm enthusiastic about distractions. )

    P.S. -I may have missed something because I'm on my phone, but I didn't see any way to link through the posts. I ended up going back to the initial post to link to the subsequent posts. Is there a way to go straight through?

  40. Amanda,

    Word verification makes me crazy because I try to visit everyone and be a good blog commenter, however it does take time and there is the spam file/tab as you pointed out!

    I hope more will consider turning it off.

    Art by Karena

  41. I'm just finding this now, but it's so incredibly helpful to me, as a newer blogger. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I had no idea I had word verification on, and it's something that seriously irks me to have to deal with when commenting on other blogs. Whew! Glad I know, now, that it's off!

    Again, THANK YOU for these posts. :)

  42. I am having a lazy Saturday, with my IPad in a lazyboy, cup of coffee and your blog. Yea. IThis is the first time I have ever seen anyone write about WV. I thought it was just me, that I was unable to complete the dern thing. By the time I get it write, I have spent more time doing that then writing the comment. I now, just blow by, remove the link from my feedler and pray I never accidentally run across that blog again. I do not have a bog, I love to craft, and enjoy learning from those of you who take the time to share with others. Thank you for a great series, I have not left any comments, this is my first one.....had to say something when I seen that WV topic....see you inspired me, to take the time and write!

    Bless you



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