Comments used to be the backbone of the blogging community. I found your post and left a comment, then you came to my blog and commented on a post of mine.
And so it went on.
Comments are an awesome way to interact, and they can be a goldmine for both you and the reader.
- The reader can ask questions, or seek further clarification about the content.
- You can find out what people really want to know, and provide more help in future.
But not all blogs agree that comments are a good idea.
Copyblogger, that font of information on all things content marketing, decided to remove comments on their blog posts back in March (see here for their post). Instead, people who wish to comment on a post are encouraged to reply to them on Google + or Twitter.
They’ve defended their decision by saying that social media allows comments to be conducted in a wider social arena beyond the confines of the blog itself;
You get to have the same great conversations you were having in your blog comments — but now, they take place where a wider potential audience can see them.”
They’ve also said that some of the comments posted on their posts have been so insightful that they’d rather the commenter had posted the response on their own blog, linking back to the original post.
Now, I can see their point, but Deb Ng posted this response on her Kommein blog. If I’m honest, I think I agree more with Deb than Copyblogger – comments are where you get to have conversations with people.
True, I’m only one blogger in a crowd of thousands, and I don’t get the kind of traffic that Copyblogger get, but still – I don’t blog just to sell things, I blog because I like telling stories, and I like sharing things I’m interested in.
Comments can be more valuable than social media interaction.
Getting comments on the content is valuable because it lets me know not only that someone read the post, but also that they felt strongly enough about it to leave me a comment. Sure it’s nice to have people share my links on Facebook or do re-tweets on Twitter, but it’s only by getting a comment that you know the content was read.
And if you’ve spent a couple of hours crafting a blog post full of photos and stories that you hope someone will enjoy, you do hope it’ll get read.
There are a couple of blogs I’ve stopped reading because they not only ask me to go elsewhere to post my comment, they also ask me to sign up for a separate forum where people can have discussions based on the posts. (Although Dan James’ A Big Creative Yes has at least replaced this forum with Google +)
Problem is, the discussions end up being conducted by readers, and not the original writer of the post. It’s as if the blogger is saying “here are my ideas, now go and talk about them amongst yourselves but for God’s sake don’t bother me with them.”
I also don’t want yet another set of login details to remember (and, er, Heartbleed, anyone?). I love being able to comment then and there on someone’s blog – I don’t have the patience with jumping through extra hoops before I’m allowed to post my response.
Copyblogger raise the issue of spam but I use Akismet and so far only non-spam has gotten through – so I’m not going to close comments to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Sure, I get the occasional person trying to post a link to their blog in a ham-fisted way but I just trash it. It happens so infrequently that it’s not even worth bothering about. I guess when you get to the size of Copyblogger that’s a real problem, but for me, it’s not even an issue.
So I will continue to allow comments on my blog, as long as they’re not a thinly veiled attempt at providing irrelevant back links to someone else’s blog, and I will continue to encourage and enjoy discussion with anyone who wants to join the conversation!