Oops!! I changed my WordPress settings so that all comments would be approved without moderation so that anyone who was nice enough to leave me a comment could see it posted immediately – big mistake!!!
DO NOT ALLOW COMMENTS TO BE POSTED UNMODERATED!
I had about 1,200 comments on a single post with links for “icelandic airline deals” and all sorts of other crazy, spammy stuff. I thought I was safe from getting comment spam because my blog is super obscure and I only had a few posts, but I guess even in those cases the comment spammers will find you sooner rather than later, and once they find you it’s a free-for-all.
Comment spammers put a bunch of links stuffed with specific keywords in the comments section of your post. They don’t do this to gain traffic – humans don’t actually click on that stuff – they do it to boost their rankings in search engines because search engine crawlers/bots do click those links in the comments when they trust the source (in this case, me). When google starts following thousands of spammy links on my blog, a red flag will go up that I might be a spammer too, and I’ll lose the search engine’s trust.
Somehow I only got comment spammed on one post, so I simply removed that post and then locked down my comments in the WordPress Admin under Settings – Discussions and choose the option that comments require moderation unless 2 previous comments have already been accepted.
Also, you may have noticed that I’ve gotten lazy with posting. I have no excuse, but I’m going to re-double my efforts to post weekly. I may stray from chronological order of how to build a blog (right, Anthony?) but I think its necessary for me to write on things I find interesting as opposed to a strict formula – I have a short attention span!!
Oh yeah, and I’m going to play around with some WordPress themes so my blog doesn’t look so lame, but expect a retroactive post explaining how I picked out my theme and how I installed it.
More reading on comment spam, and how to avoid it: Managing Comment Spam