Since the day I launched my business, I’ve always allowed (and actively encouraged) readers to comment on my blog. In previous years I’ve found that it’s helped with online engagement and its had an impact on traffic to my website, but after months of deliberation I finally made the decision this week to disable the comments on my blog. Here’s why.
#1: Comments weren’t adding anything to the readers’ experience
The first question I asked myself was this … who do I actually write the blog for? The answer is simple. You!
The one trend I’ve noticed recently is that you (i.e. the reader) haven’t been making use of the comment section on my blog, but I’m still getting the traffic and the traction. Instead you’ve been emailing me or connecting with me on social media through shares, comments and DMs .
This isn’t a bad thing. I’m happy you’d rather connect with me personally than leave a comment on a specific blog to be honest – after all this helps build relationships – but this has highlighted to me that your behaviour is changing and I need to change to keep up with you.
The thing is, if you’re choosing to read my blog and you’d rather comment in a tweet or Facebook post, that’s fine with me! I’ll still be there to respond. To me this suggests that comments on my blog aren’t adding any value to you and your experience on my website, so why should I bother having them at all?
#2: It takes time to read and moderate comments
This is a good point to follow on from the last. One of the rules of content marketing is to be where your audience is. If I’m spending time moderating comments on my blog when I should be listening to what you’re saying and sharing via social media then how can I say that I’m giving you my full attention, listening to your needs and creating the content you want? I can’t because I’m not.
It takes time to read, moderate and reply to comments and I’d rather that I spend this valuable time talking to my readers on the platforms they choose rather than ones I want to use.
#3: I don’t want to write just for the commenters
This is a biggie for me and one Seth Godin summed up perfectly when he said “Instead of writing for everyone, I find myself writing in anticipation of the commenters.” This is one of the reasons he gave for not using comments on his blog. Yes that’s right – Seth Godin doesn’t allow comments on his blog and he hasn’t for a very long time. The quote I’ve just used from his was published in 2006 and it hasn’t done him or his brand any harm.
I don’t want to create my blog just for those who comment because they don’t reflect my entire readership. I know from my traffic that there are a lot more readers who just prefer to lurk and I need to take their needs into account too.
#4: The blog isn’t the end of the conversation … in fact it’s just the beginning
I love blogging. I read them, write them and pay attention to what’s being said within them, BUT I also love podcasts, videos and social media. My point is that when there are so many channels available to us all to have online conversations, why should our audiences feel pinned to one?
There are conversations to be had on all of these channels and while I’d love for website visitors to stay and have these conversations on the my blog, I’m also more than happy to continue having conversations with them on a wider public forum.
Should you disable the comments on your blog?
Erm, no not necessarily. I’m actually a big fan of comments on blogs, it just isn’t working for my readers at the moment.
I’m sharing why I’ve decided to switch off my comments, but I’m not doing this to make you feel like you should. If you’re considering disabling your comments then I’d suggest you think long and hard so you make a decision that’s right for you.
If you’re considering disabling the comments on your blog, here are some pros and cons to help you come to a decision.
PROS FOR DISABLING COMMENTS:
- No more spam or time wasting comments for you to moderate.
- You’ll save time moderating comments in general.
- You can take your conversations onto wider social media to help you grow your audience online.
- No more zero comments showing on your posts.
- Reduces the potential of people commenting on your blog anonymously – they’ll have to have a profile on social media.
CONS FOR DISABLING COMMENTS:
- No more conversations or evidence of engagement on your blog.
- Comment threads do have an impact on search engine results.
- You’re losing the traffic from your site as it heads over to more public forums (that doesn’t mean you will reduce conversions / sales though!)
- Conversations will happen on other people’s platforms rather than you creating a buzz via your own.
My final thoughts
I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to this as it all depends on your circumstances and the needs of your readership.
I really grappled with the whole concept of disabling comments for a while because I wanted the conversations to happen on my website, not on social media. At least that way I could have a little bit more control and I’d be talking on ‘my land’ so to speak rather than on someone else’s.
It was then I realised something. These conversations will happen with or without me after I press the publish button, would I not rather make the most of the opportunity to be involved in them instead of logging into my site wondering where the comments are? Yep. I know where I’d rather be …
As Chris Brogan says “I love hearing from you. You know how to reach me. If you subscribe to my newsletter, and have hit reply, you know I write back. Comment all you want. I’m listening and happy to hear your thoughts. I promise. We will all be okey. Comments off. Wishing you all love.”
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