Believe it or not, I've been around the web for a while and if it's one thing that I've learned, comments make the world go 'round. Not just random generic comment spam, but honest comments with conversations between readers and the author.
It's something, however, that many people have struggled with - especially those who are running little blogs such as myself. It's one thing to GET comments, that's hard enough, it's another to get people to come back.
First, let me direct your attention over to www.yoast.com where they wrong a post regarding WordPress and SEO. It was pretty well written and I agree with nearly everything said. The portion on comment optimization is where I want you to really look at >> http://yoast.com/articles/wordpress-seo/#comment It has some interesting comments.
Comments are one of the most important aspects of blogs. As Wikipedia states:
The ability for readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs.
Comments are not only nice because people tell you how special you are, or that you made a mistake, or whatever else they have to tell you. Most of all they're nice, because they show engagement. And engagement is one of the most important factors of getting people to link to you: they show you they care, and they open the conversation, now all you have to do is respond, and you're building a relationship!
I'm going to talk mostly about plugs that help you moderate your comments and use your comments.
Let's start by looking at administration.
Ozh' Absolute Comments
Reply instantly to comments, either from the email notification, or the usual Comments page, without loading the post first.
The description kind of speaks for itself.As you see in the screen shot there are a few nice options that will allow you to basically work with the comment right within the comments area of the admin. Very nice.
Delink Comment Author
Adds a link to comment e-mails for you to remove the URL the commenter left. Useful if you want to ditch the comment URL but keep the comment.
Again, self explaining. Adds an additional link to that menu. It's great if you love the comment (spam or not) but want to get rid of the questionable link.
The last plug for your comments is a bit different. It really has nothing to do with administration. It has all to do with making your commenters come back or help them to feel a bit more .. special. It's probably the most important, especially once you start getting a few comments at a time.
Comment relish is a WordPress plug-in developed to send an e-mail message to users who comment on your web site who have never commented before. The message dispatched to the user is defined within the plugin’s preferences. Numerous tags have been integrated to allow for information to be included in the message easily (I.E.: timestamp, author name, comment, ETC.).
All these plugs have been tested on my WP 2.6 installation and work flawlessly.