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A Blogger Answers: ‘Are Blog Comments Worth It?’

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Last night’s edition of #Blogchat focused on the value in 2016 of blog comments.

Two of the biggest names I’ve heard mentioned in the ongoing blog comments debate are Copyblogger and Michael Hyatt.

Copyblogger announced it was killing comments on its blog on March 24, 2014, in a post that explained social media was a better venue for people to find your content. Social media, it argued, was a great place for those conversations to happen, and invited its readers to have the conversations they’d otherwise have right there on the blog on Twitter and Google+.

My first reaction would be why there’d be no mention of a Facebook page, where I would imagine more robust comments might happen, but they don’t appear to have a Facebook page.

The second big name I’ve heard in the blog comments discussion is Michael Hyatt, who similarly announced he was killing blog comments on January 9, 2015. Hyatt mentioned Copyblogger’s decision to kill comments, along with the end of comments on sites like Popular Science and Christianity Today, though the latter apparently closes comments on just some of its content. He also mentioned the fact that Seth Godin has never featured comments.

I’m not sure exactly when Copyblogger reversed course, but one of its latest posts suddenly has 10 comments, so comments are clearly back there. Hyatt restored blog comments a few weeks back.

For everyone who used those two sites as justification for removing blog comments from their own sites, perhaps the fact that those same sites have since changed their mind might likewise be a reason to reconsider.

To be fair, one of the reasons Hyatt initially dropped comments was because his preferred comment platform, Disqus, had begun allowing “sponsored” comments — advertising — based on keywords in the article. The sponsored comments were essentially commercials for businesses that may or may not have something directly to do with the content of the article itself.

I can certainly accept that as a valid reason to reconsider that comment platform; I moved this blog away from AOL in its earliest days because AOL began slapping banner ads across the tops of its blogs without giving the bloggers a chance to share in the revenue or control which advertisers would appear at the tops of their blogs.

But as reasonable a concern as “sponsored comments” may be, I don’t think, however, it’s a valid reason to kill comments altogether.

Simply move to a different platform. If you’re on a WordPress installation, use the native comment system. If spam is that big of a problem, there are numerous spam plugins that can catch the majority of spam out there.

I use Livefyre, which catches about 99% of spam comments without my having to do anything.

During the discussion, #Blogchat creator Mack Collier tweeted this:

Definitely a valid point.

But I look at it like this: just because you have the “new doors” social media offers doesn’t mean you need to close and lock the “old doors” that remain on your blog.

Yes, you may have more robust conversations on individual posts in a short term on social media. But what about a week later? Are all of those tweets and comments on Facebook and Google+ going to be on the post your visitors might stumble upon?

What about a month later? Suppose someone comes to your blog because of a link to a different post on social media. While there, they browse some other posts. If you have no comments, they’re getting your take without the discussion because you’ve eliminated even the possibility of that discussion happening on your post.

Do you feel blog comments are ‘worth it’ these days on your blog? What does it take to get you to actually leave a comment these days?

the authorPatrick
Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.

3 Comments

  • Well, it doesn’t take much for me!
    I’m moving my Web site over to WordPress to have the ability to work on it and make nation my blog on aislinge.com. This means that I hope to import my previous blogger posts over to my site when I finally work on it, and I want the comments to migrate over, as well. Certainly I’ll want comments to come through as well, as the whole idea is to get that debate ideal going. That is the point of my blog. And I know for you, Patrick, it’s much the same – you prefer to hear what others have to say.
    Feedback is important; and not just to read it.

  • I do! And I get a fair amount of them, usually at least one on every post. I’ve never understood why so many bloggers hate comments and turn them off. I enjoy the interaction with my readers and it’s led to some great conversations on the topics at hand.

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