A blog is a discussion platform where writers share their ideas, expertise and passion with the world. In return, your readers respond to your thoughts and create an open discussion about your topic.
As a 9 year veteran of blogging, I am shocked to witness the alarming trend in blogs with disabled comments. Take a look at this graph to see the rising trend.
Disabling comments makes sense in a narcasstic “selfie” world where everyone only cares about themselves. When you disable comments, you signal to your readers that you don’t care what they think.
Officially, your blog becomes a monolog. It’s silly because WordPress lets you build content pages that don’t need comments (more on that later).
Here’s the short of it: Disabling comments is silly. You are doing more damage than good. Here’s a case study to support my point.
Shout Me Loud Removed Comments and Traffic Dropped By 40%
Harsh Agrawal, founder of ShoutMeLoud.com, experienced a 40% drop in traffic when he removed comments from his blog.
One of the main reasons why his traffic dropped is Google indexes your blog comments and sends you more traffic. Blog comments are good for SEO. If you turn them off, then you lose hundreds (or thousands) of unique content pieces that will attract extra visitors in the search engines.
Another reason your traffic drops is because visitors read the comment section. On some of my favorite blogs, I keep reading because the comments are hilarious! This isn’t true for every niche, but comments are vital for magazines & newspaper blogs that publish breaking news and editorial pieces.
The Conversation Hasn’t Moved…Your blog readers aren’t engaged anymore
Michael Hyatt stated that blog discussions are moving to social media for many bloggers:
Based on what I’m seeing and hearing, these conversations have simply moved into my social media channels and especially those of my commenters, among their Facebook friends, Twitter followers, and others.(Source: Michael Hyatt)
This statement is false. I have seen comment sections EXPLODE into thousands of comments on articles & videos when the audience engages emotionally with your content. While Michael’s traffic numbers are going up, I believe his overall engagement is declining.
Emotionally engaging blogs still get lots of comments. Here are a few case studies to prove this theory:
Examples of How Blogs Get Lots of Comments in Today’s Blogosphere
RooshV is a blog for men that talks about picking up women, travel, and lifestyle tips in a modern world. He appeared on the Doctor Oz Show and received an absolute explosion of comments.
2. Return of Kings
ROK is a lifestyle website for men. Multiple bloggers publish a variety of articles revolving around politics, travel, finance, and other masculine topics. When Matt Forney’s article about women with tattoos went viral, his article received over 40,000+ comments.
InfoWars is an alternative news blog about topics surrounding politics, the government, and the citizens. When Alex Jones made a video about “Something big is about to happen“, his audience posted over 4,000 comments (and counting).
I could keep stating examples but you get the point. Could you imagine these WordPress blogs without comments? LOL.
You want the conversation on your website. Facebook and Twitter are great, but it’s dangerous to push your visitors to a 3rd part website where other marketers fight for their attention. Use social media to drive traffic back to your website instead of driving traffic to social media.
Forgotten Benefits of Blog Comments
Build Your Email List
DId you know you can export your blog commentator’s email addresses and market to them? ShoutMeLoud shows you how to build an email list around your commentators. You miss out on a lot of potential subscribers when you remove your comments section.
Find ideas for future blog posts & products/services
Comments section is my favorite place to find blog posts ideas when I can’t think of any. The easiest way is to search for questions from your readers. You can easily answer their questions in a new blog post. Another strategy is to create products/services around the most common comments. If you keep getting the same comments over and over again, then you should create a product that solves a big pain point. It’s like getting target market research for free.
Comment Sections Help Blog Posts Go Viral
When your blog post get lots of comments, people keep coming back to read the comments section. You create a comment war and this makes your content go viral. When you disable comments, your blog post needs to be SO AMAZING to go viral all by itself. You are missing out on 100% free leverage from your loyal readers.
How to Organize Content without Comments
WordPress makes it very simple to create content without allowing comments.
Pages represent “articles” in your WordPress blog. If you want to write a piece of content & disable comments, then create a Page and uncheck the “Allow Comments” box under the Discussion tab on the “Add Page” section.
I use Pages whenever I create evergreen content that will never change like Privacy Policies, About Pages, Coupon Codes, etc.
How to Handle Comments the Right Way
There is a right and wrong way to manage your comments. Here’s the right way:
Learn How to Moderate Comments
First off, learn how to handle comments in WordPress. Read WPBeginner’s guide on moderating comments in WordPress.
Block Comment Spam
There are several plugins that block almost 100% of comment spam. Read my article on how to stop comment spam in WordPress.
For larger blogs, Use Disqus
Blogs with over 100,000 monthly visitors should use Disqus. Your readers prefer it and they will publish better comments due to the upvoting system.
Hire a community manager or outsource Moderation
Blogging is a team sport. You shouldn’t handle every task yourself. Go to Fiverr or Elance and hire an outsourcer to moderate your comments. Moderation is completely natural in life. We have judges to moderate court cases. Referees moderate games involving collegiate and professional athletes. Why shouldn’t your blog have a moderator? Getting rid of comments because you don’t want to moderate them is pure laziness. Don’t be like that. Give someone else a job and they will take care of your comments problem 🙂
Batch reply to all comments
If you want to handle comments by yourself, then pick a time and/or day to reply to comments. Answer all your comments at the same time. It’s called batch processing. It works and will save you time because you handle the tasks in one sitting.
What do you think?
What do you think of the trend of disabling comments on blogs? Is this a good thing or a bad thing for blogging? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comment section below.
Tarik Pierce is a 15 year WordPress veteran. He writes about blogging, SEO, and personal finance.