WordPress has come a long way since it was first developed as a blogging platform. Now it can be used as a full fledged CMS and is capable of powering the most complex of websites, not simple blogs.
As a blogging platform WordPress had some features that are still a part of the core WordPress code that you may not want to use on a non-blog commercial website. Also, your site may be a combination of commercial site and blog, like here at HayleStorm Interactive, and you might use those “blog” features on some of your content but not all of it.
Visitor comments is one of those “sometimes yes, sometimes no” features.
There are a couple of different ways to turn comments on and off in WordPress, depending on your philosophy on comments.
For those who do not want comments on their website at all, the most permanent way to turn them off is by editing the WordPress code itself. This is the a semi-permanent way to make sure comments are never accidentally allowed on any of your content. It is also for techie types, and here at HayleStorm Interactive we don’t think you should have to be fluent in Geek-lish to use WordPress on your site, so we’ll show you an easier way.
We will look at two scenarios regarding comments, but first lets talk about when you might want them and when you won’t, and then we’ll talk about how to accomplish each.
When you want comments, when you don’t, and why.
As a general rule, comments are more appropriate for blogs than for informational, commercial type websites. A product page on a company website is either strictly informational about the product or is a page to order a product from on eCommerce sites. Either way, the page is for information only, not discussion. Comments are typically not appropriate for those pages on a site.
A blog post on the other hand, either on a site that is strictly a blog or a site like HayleStorm Interactive that incorporates both the attributes of a commercial site and a blog, is a discussion with your site’s visitors. It is not a place for hardcore selling, instead it is for talking to your visitors and, usually, for answering questions. For example, if your site is for your lawn care business a blog post in late winter might be about how to get an early start on improving any bare spots someone had in their yard last season, and that will normally generate questions in your visitors’ minds. The comment section is where they can ask…and you answer…such questions.
Setting up your WordPress for each scenario
(Video at bottom of post shows both “fixes” described below)
Regardless of the kind of site you have, if you just do not want any comments at all, the way to accomplish this is simple. In your WordPress dashboard, go to Settings>>Discussion. Uncheck the third tic box down, then scroll to the bottom of the page and save the setting. Done.
A better option would be to give yourself the option, on a paage-by-page, post-by-post basis, to allow comments or not. At HayleStorm Interactive, since the site is both a business site to promote and sell our services and a blog to distribute tips and tricks on website construction and management, this is what we do. We have comments turned off on pages and turned on for posts.
To do this, in the discussion settings described above, check the tic box to allow comments globally on your site. Then, when editing an individual page or post, scroll down below the content box, almost to the bottom of the page, and use the tic box in the “Discussion” options area to either allow or disable comments on that individual page or post.
Note: Depending on how you have your dashboard set up, the “Discussion” area may be hard to find. See the video below for how to make it visible.
NOTE: The video below says the information is current as of February 15, 2015, which is obviously wrong. It is current for WordPress 3.8.1 as of February 15, 2014.