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The Great Comment Debate: Should You Enable or Disable Them?

August 28, 2014
| Articles

Comments on blogs are often touted as the only reliable way to discern the success of a blog.



After all, comments are a sign of an engaged readership. If a post has a lot of comments, it means the blog’s getting traffic and that people are actually reading the content.


But with some notable blogs turning off comments recently, the debate of whether a blog should enable or disable blog comments, has started.


The most notable and recent example of a blog turning off its comments is Copyblogger.


With Copyblogger shunning comments, what’s a regular ol’ blogger like you to do?


To Do or Not To Do


If you have a blog, you’re probably wondering what to do.


Should you follow the unconventional example of the successful blogs that have turned them off? Or should you follow conventional advice and keep them on?


I’m sure a part of you is wondering if turning them off may be the right move. After all, if comments play such an important role in the success of a blog, why would anyone turn them off?


But then a popular blogger like Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income says:


Without comments, a blog isn’t really a blog. To me, blogging is not just about publishing content, but also the two-way communication and community building aspects behind it.


I’m willing to bet you agree 100% with Pat. I certainly do. It’s exactly why I started blogging. I wanted to build a community around my blog and turning off comments defeats the whole purpose.


With two authorities advocating opposite views, what are you supposed to do?


The answer is simple: you’re supposed to think for yourself.

Do Your Research


Instead of following a fad or blindly following what your blogging hero is doing, do your research.


Find out why a certain blog has closed comments. Or if someone’s advocating leaving comments on, what their reasons for giving that advice is.


Copyblogger closed comments for a number of reasons.


They weren’t getting enough quality comments, their spam comment count was shooting over the roof, and it was taking Sonia Simone, their Chief Content Officer, hours every day to sift through spam and real comments.


They also wanted their readers to own their opinions. Opining in their comment section wasn’t doing their readers any favors. They’d rather their commenters posted their views on their own blogs. It would help them establish their authority on Google and give them content to post about.


So if you’re being swayed by a blog’s decision to turn off their comments, find out why they chose to do so. Are their reasons yours too? More often than not, they won’t be.

Evaluate Your Blog


Every blog’s situation is different.


Maybe you’re a growing blog with an emerging readership. Can you afford to alienate your readers by turning off comments? How will they engage with you otherwise?


Or maybe your blog is new and you don’t have any readers yet. Having zero comments under each post can be embarrassing. Anyone visiting your blog would know at first glance that your blog doesn’t get much engagement. And you know that no one likes to comment on a vacant blog.


In this case, it might be better to turn off comments till your blog grows enough to ensure a few comments per post.


Take a good look at your blog’s stats before making a decision. Consider everything from the amount of traffic your blog gets, the number of comments it gets to the kind of comments it gets. Only when you have the full picture will you be in a position to make an informed decision.

Make a Decision


Once you have all the information, it’s time to make a decision. If you have a clear idea of where you want your blog to go and where it stands right now then you won’t find the decision difficult.


Remember: There’s no right answer.


Just because a popular blog has closed its comments doesn’t mean that you should too. Not unless there’s a good reason for it.


Unfortunately, there’s no clear cut path you can follow that guarantees the right decision. You have to rely on your understanding of your blog, its audience – and your gut.


So whether you decide to keep the comments on or to turn them off, the decision is yours.

You Can Always Change Your Decision


The good thing about blogging is that you can always change your mind.


If you turn off comments and later realize that the move is harming more than it’s helping – you can always turn comments back on.


You can even experiment to see which options works best for your blog.


The choices are limitless. You just have to be brave enough to think outside the box and not be afraid of sticking to conventional wisdom if that’s the right move for you.


What are your thoughts about the great comments debate? Have you turned your comments off or are they still on?  Share your experience in the comments!


By Samar Owais
Categories: Articles
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