Disable Comments: Your Blog Will Look A Lot Better

Steven21 responsesBlogging

I know what you’re thinking – after all the posts I’ve written telling you how to get more comments and how comments are so beneficial, here I am getting ready to tell you why your blog would be better if you disabled comments.

What’s up with that?!

But, bear with me for a second until you see where I’m going with this.

And no, I haven’t lost all my marbles… yet.

First, I’ve said a number of times that nothing about blogging is carved in stone, which means there is nothing that says you must allow comments on your blog if you ever hope to be successful.

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I’ve seen plenty of successful blogs that don’t have a single comment.

On the flip side, I’ve also seen plenty of successful blogs that have tons of comments, most of them worthless.

They add no value to the conversation at all.

Some of them are also so nasty they scare me away, which makes me wonder how many other readers leave that blog for the same reason.

I understand that your gut reaction is going to be something along the lines of “Well, I’ll never turn off comments on my blog. I’m HERE for MY readers!

I also understand that most bloggers think comments fall under the category “reader engagement.

They think that readers who leave comments are the goal because that means the reader is engaged.

3 Reasons You Should Consider Disabling Comments

Number One

Only about 1 percent of your readers will ever leave comments no matter what you do, so using your number of comments to gauge reader engagement is like beating a dead horse.

You can’t revive it, you can’t make it rise up off the ground, and there are better things you could be doing with your time.

Number Two

Probably 95 percent of your comments will add no value at all to the conversation.

Most will either be spam or they’ll say something like “Nice post. I agree.

and maybe even re-word one of your statements to make it look like they’re actually saying something but we all know what’s happening:

It’s just another blogger setting a link back to his own blog.

Number Three

When you’re only getting a few comments a day, or even a few dozen, it’s no big deal to moderate those comments and approve only those that add value.

But, as your blog continues to grow, you’re going to have better things to do and less time to do them because you’re going to be moderating all those comments.

Now, I know you have questions:

What about all those bloggers who leave comments?

If you’re afraid all of those bloggers will stop visiting your blog now that you’re no longer allowing comments, consider this:

Most of those bloggers are your competitors, or they’re working in an adjacent niche.

Otherwise, they wouldn’t be dropping a link on your blog.

Those bloggers are not buying from you anyway, they’re just inflating your traffic numbers.

What about all those non-bloggers who leave comments?

Who?

You mean the less-than-1 percent?

How valuable are their comments when you weigh them against the time you spend moderating?

And who’s benefiting from the comment – the rest of your readers or the commentor himself?

And how valuable are they really if they’re just a personal observation or they’re snarky or inflammatory and scare away more readers than they attract?

What about reader engagement?

There’s where the misconception lies.

As a blogger, you should be engaging your readers with your content – not your comment section.

If your article is engaging their interest or their imagination, most readers won’t spend time leaving a comment – they’ll to go take some action.

Should Every Blog Disable Comments?

Am I suggesting that every blogger should disable comments?

Not at all.

Some blogs are like discussion forums and the bulk of the conversation and value are in the comments where readers actually exchange real information and ideas.

What I’m suggesting is two things:

Take a look at how much time you spend now moderating comments and weigh it against the value those comments are really adding for your readers.

Not the value they’re adding to the post or the page or for the commentor.

But are those comments adding value for your other readers or are they just a distraction?

Spend more time focusing on creating content that engages 100 percent of your readers and stop worrying about the 1 percent who might leave a comment.

You might find that disabling comments so you can spend more time on your content is the best thing you can do for your blog.

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21 Comments

  1. Steve

    I am suprised to see you taking comments about this… seriously this sounds like a bold move to a newbie blogger. I shall give this serious thought and implement on my site.
    The fact that this free’s up time for better and more congruent content is a very saliant point.
    I suppose it will allow me to interact with the interested visitors through my social media and sales links.
    Thank you for the post.

    1. Steve, I think that the idea that blogs HAVE to come with comments enabled is a big misconception. There are plenty of situations where blogs will do better without comments. It’s really a matter of understanding what’s your end-goal with your blog.

  2. Vijesh

    I just read a review of your site at inspiretothrive and visited to see what actually Dukeo is and this is my first article what I read. You have explained the facts in a good way Steven I’ll come again to read more…

    1. Thanks for stopping by Vijesh.

      I’m glad you liked this post and I hope you’ll come back to read plenty more ;) I’ve tried my best to make it interesting for my readers… Like every post I publish on Dukeo :D

    2. Thanks for your reply Steven,
      I would love to come back for more of your articles.Really your articles are truly interesting
      good going with Dukeo,I have been seeing your ads in my blog many a times these days.

  3. You’re taking comments on a blog about no-comments? Seems post-modernist.That snipey comment aside, I am inclined to agree. I like the comments I get on my baby blog – but they are from grandparents.

    1. Hello Lee, thanks for your comment.

      As I said in the post: “Am I suggesting that every blogger should disable comments? Not at all. Some blogs are like discussion forums and the bulk of the conversation and value are in the comments where readers actually exchange real information and ideas.”

  4. Liz Guthridge

    If you don’t accept comments on your blog, you send the signal that you’re advocating “tell and sell” communication rather than “listen and engage.” If you’re comfortable with that, go ahead. If not, allow comments–even if you don’t get that many. To me, those who allow comments are saying they are open to having a conversation, which I appreciate.

    1. I disagree with that Liz. There are many ways of engaging with your audience, and blog commenting is only 1 aspect of interaction.

      What about getting your readers to get on your email list and engage on a direct conversation with them there?

      People are focusing way too much on blog comments and they are missing the big picture…

  5. Bold statement, Steven. You’re right, monitoring and responding to comments can chew up a chunk of time. But a blog post without comments can seem somewhat lonely.

    If I am very interested in the content of blogs I visit, I do read comments as often the comments can reveal additional valuable information. But that often is like finding a pearl in an oyster bed.

    I do a combination of what you have suggested. I close comments on my blog after a period of time. I started with leaving comments open for two weeks and have since raised it to a month. I may reduce it to 3 weeks. Comments on older posts tend to be nearly 100% spam. Any valuable comments tend to be left soon after a post is published.

    1. Thanks a lot for sharing your point of view Carolyn.

      I think it all goes down to identifying your end goal with your blog posts.

      If you want to ignite discussion, keeping blog comments opened can be a good thing, but if you want to increase list signups or sales, it might be a good idea to disable comments.

      I think there’s a lot of BS going on in the blogosphere about comments. What’s your goal: having the post comments so you can brag about it? or actually converting your traffic to leads and sales?

  6. Melody

    Totally disagree. You can moderate spam and nasty comments – those aren’t approved on my site. Comments are the place where you have a whole community of people – I’ve seen people connect in the comments in a powerful way. You will have readers who return just for new comments, and not just for your content. You start a great conversation by bringing to the table a great article/content. And then you can listen and engage in the comments. At least, this is what I am striving for on my little blog.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience Melody.

      I understand your point, but what’s your end game?

      Is your goal to spend your days moderating comments and replying to them?

      Is your goal to make a living from your blog?

      I think getting tons of comments is good for ego, but not necessary for your bottom line.

  7. I agree with your reasons for disabling blog comments. But I like what told Melody and Carolyn also. Maybe all depends on the theme of the blog. If could get only spam, disable, don’t lose your time!

    1. Geoio your comment is spot on!

      As for a lot of things, the right answer to this problem is: “it depends”.

      The problem is that I see a lot of people advocating the need to get hundreds of comments, but unable to give a good reason to do so (except “building a community”, but a community doesn’t necessary pay the bills)

  8. Andrew Healey

    Hi Steven, now you’ve got my attention. I really like people leaving comments on my posts because it shows to other readers that people are reading my material. However, I have become brutal in relation to what comments I approve. If someone leaves a comment like, “I love your post. Thanks,” it doesn’t get approved. You are also right when you say that most of the people who leave comments are in the same industry, possibly competitors. However, I still value these. Many of my most valuable connections are with other writers. Why? Because they are a fantastic source of information and, as most of them are based in a different country, they are willing to share my material.

    1. Thanks for your comment Andrew. I think you make a good point there. It’s all about redefining what’s your goal with your blog and understanding the pros and cons of having hundreds of comments.

      I get asked almost daily these 2 questions: “why don’t you try to get more comments on your blog?” and “why don’t you install CommentLuv to get more comments on your blog?”

      My answer is a question: “will these additional comments help me reach my goal?”

  9. Vrindavan

    moderating comments are a tough task, but i disagree that only 1% of the comments are useful. Comments allow people to add additional information to your blog posts, add information or to correct omission.

    1. Visit a lot of blogs and you’ll see plenty of comments such as: “nice post, thanks” and “keep up the good work”.

      These comments don’t add anything to the conversation and are obviously posted with the only goal of getting more backlinks.

  10. I share most of your posts, because I’ve scanned several and there are a lot of fantastic points you make. Plus, it’s easy to share great content from the tribal stream, you make me look good. Thanks for helping my bottom line. Horribly selfish to admit, I know, but I’d equate it with being kind of like Buffer, and the content adds value and increases my social media following. A lot of my online income comes directly from social media marketing, and I’m chosen for certain things based on the numbers.

    This being said, when I first started blogging in 2011, I had a lot more time and a lot less money commented on several different blogs a day (that was the rule for growth at that point from the “gurus”), and I’d take time to answer all comments on my blog. Then I got busy doing social media campaigns that pay bills and didn’t have time to answer all the comments or visit all those blogs. Plus blogging every day is a task in itself, and throwing in automation, scheduling, and engaging made the comment well dry up to about 1% (no coincidence, and it clicked when I read this post).

    I like Carolyn’s blended approach, because most of my old posts yield spam I have to comb through and get rid of (another time-sucking activity). I’ve kept comments open forever, but now I’m going to experiment and disable comments on posts older than a month. The only comments of value do only happen within a few days of publishing a post, and I spend more time in my inbox than in comments, anyway. For old posts, my “you’re welcome to share your opinions on this” can be via my contact form. Better yet, click on one of the related posts if you liked the first one to help my bounce rate, subscribe for emails, and then contact me. Ideal!

    Thanks for something to really help me evaluate my goal (and thanks, Carolyn). I love social and blogging, but I’d love more quality time with my family. We like to eat, have clothes on our backs, a roof over our heads, and extra left over for vacations and other wants beyond needs. Vacations and quality time have gotten scarce. I want that balance back in my life, and this seems like a good way to save myself some of the lost time. No matter how much money I make, I won’t get that time back without narrowing down the superfluous time robbers.

    1. Hey Amberr, your words are heart-warming. There is no problem with being selfish, we all are at some point. And it’s a win-win situation anyway because it’s getting more eyeballs in front of my content.

      That’s interesting because I also started around that time, and I also spent a lot of time posting comments in 2011/2012.

      My current setting on Dukeo is to close comments after 60 days, and the spam has dropped significantly. As a rule of thumb, I’d tell you to adjust the comment closing time depending on your post frequency and how many posts you display on each page of your blog.

      If you have 10 posts per page, and post once a day, I would advise to close comments after 20 days because this is the time when your post falls to third page.

      That is, obviously, if you already have a decent number of people visiting and posting comments. Otherwise, as stated in the post, it might be worth closing the comments altogether until you have a decent number of visitors.

      “No matter how much money I make, I won’t get that time back without narrowing down the superfluous time robbers.” I love that. Too many people lose sight of the big picture and their end goal.

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