Last August I wrote a post asking people if they turned comments off on their blog, and overall it seemed many people hadn’t thought about it, though our friend Rummuser does after 60 days. At the time, I couldn’t ever think of a reason why I might do it, then another commenter, Doug, mentioned possibly doing it with posts that have a short message and wouldn’t need to be used again.
I started thinking about this again last week when I noticed some of the posts that spam seemed to be attracted to that was slipping through Akismet. The messages were going to those posts that were either put up announcing something specific and now the moment was gone, such as a webinar, or posts where the period for a comment wouldn’t make sense anymore, such as when I was writing commentary on WordPress 2.6.2, and here we are at WordPress 2.9.2.
Initially I thought about just going back through most of my 700 posts and eliminating the ability for those posts to get comments, then I started thinking about it a little bit more as I was looking at some of those posts. I realized that some of them not only didn’t need comments, but they really didn’t need to be seen by anyone anymore either. Once again, if I had a quick post about something, such as when I posted a quick post years ago when I launched my website marketing book (which is sitting up there at the top left, if you haven’t checked it out yet) reminding people that the launch date was fast approaching, why would I need to let it sit out there. It’s not going to help in SEO purposes, and I can’t figure out why anyone would need to see that particular page again.
I started thinking about making some of those old posts private. What privacy does is eliminates it from the general public, yet allows you to keep it within instead of just deleting it. That way, you still have your consistent count of posts, you can still go back and track demographics if you want to see what your traffic looked like during a certain time period, and who knows, you just might want to look at it again some day to see where you either went wrong or right on something.
To make a post private in WordPress, all you have to do is be in the editing part of the post, click on the Edit link next to Visibility, and select Private, which is at the bottom. Hit OK, hit Update, and you’re good to go.
Does it hurt or help SEO? Some people might say that removing those posts will hurt your SEO because you’re removing things that help you promote your branding. Some people will say that removing those posts will help because they were pretty much throwaway posts to begin with, which means search engines will penalize you for them anyway and thus it’s best to get rid of them.
I have no real clue; personally, I don’t care. What I do know is that it will eliminate the spam for those particular posts, just as eliminating comments will do, and I pretty much don’t have to bother with them anymore since, when I go back through posts, I’ll be alerted which ones I’ve made private.
By the way, based on the other thing I said about stopping comments, I might as well tell you how to do that also, in case you’re thinking about it. That would be near the bottom of the Edit area, possibly at the very bottom depending on your theme, and all you have to do is uncheck the box next to Allow Comments, then hit Update and you’re done.
It’s going to be a long process going back through over 700 posts, but I figure I’ll get it done in small chunks.