I've always allowed for comments on my blog. Engagement is one of the key ingredients for building a successful blog, I know that. However, some people do question whether allowing comments on a blog is at all that important. Is it?
Should you disable comments on your blog?
Well, before I try and answer that question, I know there's already been some debate about this topic in the past.
I decided to write this post to share with you my perspective, and hopefully, by the time you've read this post, you'll be able to decide for yourself whether comments are needed or not.
In addition, I wanted to take this opportunity to look at, and share with you the advantages and disadvantages of disabling the comment feature on your blog.
So, if you're seriously thinking about disabling comments altogether, for whatever reason, just hold off until you've read this post.
Some time ago, I decided once and for all, to completely disable comments on my blog.
The reason for this is that dealing with comments was taking up too much of my time.
In addition, I wanted to shift the engagement over onto social media, because essentially, that's where everybody is hanging out these days.
OK, let's get on with the post.
First of all, ask yourself this:
"Why should I disable comments on my blog?"
I think that's the best way to start, by being clear about it yourself, Why do you want to do this?
Here are some possible reasons -
Whatever your reasons may be for the moment, let's just start off by weighing up the advantages and disadvantages of turning off comments on your blog.
I think this is a BIG disadvantage because blogging has always been about conversations.
Comments on a blog help you to make those all-important connections with your readers. They help you to build lasting relationships with your audience and to understand their needs better. I'll talk more about that in point #3.
OK, so here's a really stupid way to look at it:
Think about eating toast in the mornings, if you do eat toast. Would you prefer it cold with no butter or jelly? Or would you prefer it warm where the butter melts?
I did say it was stupid.
Anyway, upon eating cold rancid toast, you know there's something missing, although you still eat it.
Your toast could be warm, butter could be melting off the top of it with a nice dollop of sweet tasting jelly.
Cold toast is bland and uninteresting. Almost as bland as a blog with zero engagement.
If you turn off comments, that's exactly what it will be... like eating cold rancid toast.
You'll have a blog with just a one-sided conversation... Yours.
Also, as I said earlier, it's not just about the engagement value, but comments help you to understand your reader's needs better.
When visitors come to your blog for the first time and see lots of engaging conversations going on, they immediately get the impression that hey, this blog must be pretty popular, let me check it out.
It's also validation, proof that your blog has an active audience. People are reading your post, sharing their thoughts and adding value to your content.
Lots of engaging comments also show that you are an authority in your industry and that people are actually listening to you, following you, and communicating with you through comments.
When other people are visiting your blog for the first time, they see all these comments and this will encourage them to want to do the same, and perhaps even subscribe to your newsletter too.
If you disable comments, you'll have no proof to show to anyone that your blog is indeed alive and active or an authoritative platform.
Perhaps you can rely on social proof (shares) for this instead unless you have social counts turned off too.
Following on from the last two points I made about zero engagement and providing no proof that your blog is indeed alive, with engagement, comes the strengthening of relationships between YOU and your readers, and your community.
That is vitally important.
When frequent visitors and other bloggers drop by to leave meaningful comments and you respond to them, something truly magical happens. You become connected, intertwined, and over time those relationships strengthen.
This is how trust and credibility are gained online, and that to me is extremely important.
I kind of touched on this in my first point, but let me dive a little deeper.
Allowing your readers to comment on your blog makes it easier for you to tune-in and truly listen to what they're asking for.
You can see what questions they're asking in the comment section? What they are conversing about on your blog too?
Understanding your reader's needs will help you to determine what types of "problem-solving" content to create for them in the future.
As you continue to engage more with your readers, you become more connected with them and on a more personal level too.
You get to understand them and their needs better. Blog comments can do all of those wonderful things and more.
OK, you've heard the disadvantages, what about the advantages of turning off blog comments?
Let's take a look.
Spam comments used to take me quite a bit of time to sieve through. More often than not, I'd always find a small handful of good comments caught up in the spam folder too.
Disabling comments made all of those spammy comments disappear. And as for the time I've saved not moderating those comments, well, that has been priceless.
If you have a blog that gets a lot of comments, then that's great. However, if your blog doesn't actually get many comments, to begin with, that's not so great.
Let me explain why:
I know many new blogs struggle to get comments in the beginning, however, they will come with time, and as long as your content is good and your marketing and promotion strategy is on cue.
The problem sometimes with having a blog with lots of 'zero comments' in posts is that some people will instantly think that your blog is NOT popular, or inactive.
When people visit your blog and they see big fat zeros in your comment counter, this can sometimes discourage them from breaking the ice and making the first comment.
Here's a good tip: In this instance, turning off comments on posts that have not received any comments after a while.
If you want to avoid getting tons of comment spam, then you know you have to pay for something like Akismet.
While it's not that expensive, however, if you run several blogs then it can get costly.
Turning off comments means you don't need to pay for spam protection on your blog, usually.
By disabling comments, you have the advantage and option to move all of the engagement on the social channels that work best for your blog.
For me, those channels happen to be Facebook and Instagram.
So there you have it, hopefully, some credible reasons to remove or leave comments on your blog.
At the end of the day, and despite the pros and cons, YOU have to make the decision for yourself.
If you think you really need to save time, focus more on the areas of your blog that needs attention, and if you don't care much for engagement or interaction on your blog, then turn off comments.
Also, maybe you want to shift the engagement over onto your social media channels, that's another reason why some bloggers and marketers want to disable comments on their blogs.
I want to wish you the best of luck with whatever you decide to do.