Whether you should allow readers to post comments on your blog is a highly debated subject. While there are strong feelings on both sides, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. To help you make the best decision for your own situation, we have outlined some of the most common pros and cons below.
The Pros of Enabling Blog Comments
We have outlined five reasons why allowing blog comments may make sense for you.
1. Provides a sense of credibility.
People want to work with those they trust, and many people will have their first introduction to your business or organization through your website. Therefore, one of the primary goals of your site should be to build credibility with your audience. When readers are allowed to comment on your blog posts, you are better able to build real rapport with them. By responding directly through blog commenting, you can begin to build that trust.
2. Demonstrates your sincere interest in receiving feedback and constructive criticism.
In addition to building trust, your website can help humanize your company or organization. Allowing commenting on your website can make you seem more relatable, which can help readers feel more comfortable doing business with you.
3. Acts as social proof.
Blog posts with many comments can make readers sit up and take notice. They may think, “If so many people think this is worth commenting on, maybe I need to read it more carefully.”
4. Enables your followers to communicate with each other.
Social media allows businesses and organizations to bring together like-minded individuals, make connections, and build a sense of community. Allowing comments on your blog can achieve a similar outcome. Your blog is a space where your readers can feel heard.
5. Allows you to learn about your audience, as well as from them.
Reader comments can provide you with valuable insight and resources, such as connections to new sites, networks and influencers. Also, if an individual post is getting a lot of comments, that probably means that the subject is of particular interest to your readers. Consider writing more content around the subject.
The Cons of Enabling Comments
Below we have outlined three reasons why allowing blog comments may not make sense.
1. Moderating comments can be time consuming to do properly.
Having open or unmoderated comments is not a good blog strategy. A better approach is to set your blog up so that submitted comments are held for moderation. The moderator logs into the backend, reviews the comment, and decides whether to approve it. If the comment is approved, the moderator should also reply to the comment. Some people find this responsibility to be too onerous. Remember that one primary purpose of your website is to enhance your credibility and build trust. The experience your potential customer has with your website will be a direct reflection on your business. If someone submits a comment and it isn’t acted on promptly, that person might assume that your website is not a priority for you. If you don’t have time to dedicate to moderating comments in a timely fashion, you may be better off not allowing comments. It’s a balancing act that only you can judge whether or not you can handle.
2. Many comments are spam/low quality.
Sadly, most of the comments you’ll receive will be spam or worse. These comments don’t ask a relevant question or contribute a relevant thought. They exist solely for the opportunity to include a link with their comment. Unethical SEO companies, link-builders, and other promoters and marketers use these links to drive traffic. You’ll need to decide if the time you spend moderating comments is outweighed by the benefits of the good comments you receive.
3. If your site doesn’t get much traffic, you may not get much feedback.
When blogs have few comments, it may in fact be more detrimental than positive. Think of it as asking a crowd of people a question and having no one answer. It is important to note that enabling comments is not a remedy for driving new traffic. (See the HubSpot study).
How to decide if your blog should have comments enabled.
Enabling comments on your blog can provide a sense of credibility. It demonstrates your interest in getting feedback from your readers, acts as social proof, helps build a sense of community, and allows you to learn from your audience. However, moderating comments is time consuming and if you don’t get much traffic, it may not be worth the effort. Only you can decide if it’s right for you.
You’ll see that this blog has comments enabled. We want to have a conversation with our visitors. Much of our blog traffic comes from people who don’t know us and who aren’t yet our customers, so we’re dealing with a different audience than those on our social media. We use Akismet to reduce the volume of spam and we don’t find the moderation process to be a burden, but we understand that not everyone is in our situation.
We’d love to hear from you. Do you have any additional suggestions – pro or con – for someone trying to decide whether or not to enable commenting on their posts?