One of the trends you’ve probably noticed around the web for a while, has been the disabling of blog comments. It seems like the new trend in social media circles. In fact, at one time, there were strong advocates of having comments on their blogs and have now since taken them off. The main reasons for this seems to be along these lines of:
- People are leaving few comments on blogs.
- The quality of comments has declined.
- SPAM (don’t think I need to add anything else here).
- Blog commenting systems aren’t great.
- More people are commenting via social media.
- It is better to save time from moderating comments on your blog and instead engage on social media.
- Worrying about comments can hinder your self expression.
Let’s be honest, those are some pretty good points. I know Eric has historically had a pain moderating all the spam we get hit with and even my own humble personal blog gets a fair amount of spam comments. But we have no plans to removing blog comments from ChurchMag and I recently re-added comments onto my photography site because I realized that although I dislike the downsides of comments, I prefer the advantages. So here are some reasons we are keeping blog comments and you might should consider keeping them too.
Reasons for Blog Comments
- Comments can be good for SEO (they often have keywords which can help).
- Comments allow you to build connections with your readers.
- Comments allow you to learn from your readers (this is so true of ChurchMag, our readers are so great that we all learn a lot. It’s not uncommon for a reader knows more than the writer).
- Comments allow you to clarify.
- Comments can help generate blog post ideas.
- Comments show the “social proof” of a post, helping persuade people to check the post out.
- Comments are a single place to go to find different peoples views on a topic. Not everyone uses every social network (Phil isn’t on Google+, whereas Jeremy and I are very active), but everyone can see a blog post and leave a comment.
All in all, this means that on ChurchMag we value comments as our topic metric to aim for. It’s all well and good getting a post to go viral and be shared by millions of people [oh hi there parents and texting post], but ultimately the post which generates the most comments (on the blog itself or via social media) are the ones we all look for.
Are Comments Right for Your Blog?
As you can see the benefits and cons are something you really need to weigh up. For you, you might find that the negative side effects aren’t worth hosting blog comments. Alternatively you may want the benefits of comments and put up with the downsides. That’s what I’ve done with my personal site. I want to learn from others and want to show that I am open to learning from others, so I have comments (even though that means dealing with spam). At ChurchMag, we want to give everyone a platform to speak and share their expertise, that’s why we have comments.
Confession: I’m Bad at Leaving Blog Comments
Now, having said all that I have a confession to make. I’m terrible at leaving comments. I often send a quick social media comment rather than leaving a comment on a blog. Sometimes the blog comment system doesn’t help (How exactly do I have to log in here?)
So I’m committing to leave better comments and leave them on sites which have blog comments enabled. My strategy is to
- Ask for more information or details.
- Ask how it relates to something else.
- Share my comparative experience.
- Thank someone for the information.
- Say how i will put something into practice.
Those are just my ideas.