Allowing comments on your blog is an opportunity for blog visitors to share feedback and even their experiences. But is reading and responding to blog comments worth your time as a business owner, and do comments improve your blog’s traffic?
Several high-profile blogs such as Seth Godin and Zen Habits, don’t have blog comments. On the other hand, some blogs such as Copyblogger and Michael Hyatt disabled blog comments, only to reintroduce comments a few months later.
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If you are wondering whether to allow blog comments or disable the feature for your business blog, here’s a quick assessment of the pros and cons of allowing blog comments.
The Pros of Blog Comments
Let’s start by taking a look at all the positive aspects of allowing blog comments on your blog site.
Creates a Community of Like-Minded People
The people who follow your blog have a common interest: the content published on your blog. While they may not always agree with the content, they see an inherent value in reading your blog. Being able to post comments gives your blog followers an opportunity to have their ‘say’ as well as interact with other readers of your blog.
Build a Relationship With Your Readers on an Individual Level
When you respond to a blog comment, you are in essence saying that,” Hey, I hear you.” It also communicates that you are paying attention to what your readers think and that your blog is not just a one-way source of information.
Adds Value to Your Content
Successful bloggers who have been in the game for a long-time will vouch for the fact that no one is a know-it-all. Blog comments can prove to be an opportunity to learn from experiences and views of your blog followers.
Comments Indicate that the Post has Interesting Content
It’s only human to give more importance to a piece of information that has received the attention of other readers. A high number of genuine blog comments on a post will act as a ‘marketing tool’ for your post.
Source of Blog Post Ideas
Scanning through the numerous comments on your blog posts is sure to give you an idea of what type of content works best and what additional information your readers seek. This will help you create future blog topics.
A person who comments on your post is an ‘involved reader,’ and is, therefore, more likely to react to the call-to-action listed at the end of the post, or on other sections of your website.
The Cons of Blog Comments
Let’s look at the flip side of the argument and the cons of enabling the blog comments feature on your small business blog.
They are a Drain on Your Time
Reading comments and responding to them is time-consuming, especially when you have a growing following. While you can be choosy in your responses, once you have read a comment, it’s difficult not to want to respond to it. And do you want to spend your workday sifting through spammy, hateful, or disrespectful comments? Maybe it’s a time-waster you should avoid.
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Links in Blog Comments can Drive Traffic Away from Your Site
Comments posted with links can drive readers to other sites with related content. Although your readers may not necessarily leave you for good, an external link would reduce the time a visitor spends on your blog.
Thinking About Comments Influences Your Writing
When you start giving too much emphasis on ‘what the readers might say’ you start to get affected in the way you write and what you write. Instead of writing for all your readers, you tend to create content that appeases the commenters.
You Feel Demotivated When People Don’t Comment
Comments are not essential to the success of your blog, yet the lack of comments on a post can give the impression that your readers did not like the content. That’s true for your visitors as well; they may skip a post if they don’t see blog comments.
Do Blog Comments Drive Traffic to your Blog?
Since both sides of the argument on the effectiveness of blog comments seem to have merit, let’s look at available research on blog comments.
Analysis of more than 100,000 blog posts by HubSpot showed three things:
- Blog comments do not influence views of a post
- The number of links a post gets does not increase or decrease views
- Blog comments do not generate traffic for your blog
On the other hand, a similar analysis by Niel Patel on a smaller sample of 560 posts showed that 16 percent of all search traffic on those posts was through blog comments.
To conclude, blog comments can be used to seek feedback and build relationships with your readers, but only if you make an effort to interact with the commenters.
If you are going to allow comments, try to direct blog visitors to be specific in their comments. For instance, if you are writing a post on ‘Common Small Business Blogging Mistakes,’ close the post with the question, “What has been your biggest mistake as a blog publisher?”
If responding to blog comments seems like a drain on your time, or if you don’t want to rely on someone else to update your blog, then maybe you should consider disabling the feature or hiring someone to help run your blog.