Comments are one of the most important tools that readers have to interact with your site. Using comments on WordPress, they can leave feedback about pages and posts, and start conversations with other readers.
But interactivity isn’t always a good thing – at least not on certain pages. When designing your WordPress site, you should think carefully about what sort of content should invite commentary. The most important question to ask when establishing comments on your site is:
How will comments affect the experience of my readers?
Let’s say that I have a website dedicated exclusively to my cake company. I regularly update my blog with lots of lovely pictures and easy recipes. Having comments on my blog makes a lot of sense – people can compliment my craftsmanship, or suggest improvements, or exchange tasty recipes. This adds to the experience and creates a sense of community.
However, having comments on static pages – like price sheets and client lists – could be a recipe for trouble. At best, these types of comments are distractions from the main content on the page, and add almost nothing. What could anyone possibly have to say about my cake prices that would make it worth the time of other readers to read it? That sort of content belongs on Google Places or Yelp.
At worst, comments on static pages can reflect very poorly on your website. Maybe somebody thinks that my cakes are too expensive, or doesn’t like one of my clients. It’s the equivalent of someone scribbling “TOO EXPENSIVE” into a menu. So how can you disable comments on certain pages and posts?
Disabling Comments on WordPress
There are three easy ways to disable WordPress comments, depending on what theme you use, and what you want to accomplish.
1. Disable comments on all blog posts
You can access this option by going to Settings > Discussion from your WordPress dashboard. Uncheck “Allow people to post comments on new articles” to disable comments by default.
2. Disable comments on specific pages and posts
From your WordPress dashboard, click on either Pages or Posts. By hovering over the title of any particular post, you should see the “Quick Edit” option. Click on this and uncheck the “Allow Comments” option to disable comments on this page/post.
3. Disable WordPress comments in Genesis theme
Genesis also has easy options that allow you to disable comments. Go to Genesis > Theme Options, scroll down to “Comments and Trackbacks,” and then uncheck the boxes that you want to disable.
Pretty simple! By selecting which pages and posts should have comments enabled, you can allow your readers the space to start conversations, without having them scribble all over your menus.
Next week, we’ll take a look at some different WordPress plug-ins that make commenting easy and fun for your readers, while also discouraging spam and bad behaviour.
(Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons, Phil Parker)