You may have noticed that I do not allow blog comments on my website, and that is explained very briefly in each blog posts’ disclosure. I made that decision early on when I decided to launch this website.
From an SEO and community-building perspective, this is an awful choice. From a lifestyle perspective, it’s freeing!
Blog Comments in Context
Blog commenting was the driver of Web 2.0. Directly interacting with the author and their content alongside others was a thrilling feature. When I was first learning about modern website development and marketing, comments and social media were major initiatives for developing an active community and building authority.
That was the 2000s.
Now, in the late 2010s, I hear from so many people, “this article is great, just ignore the comments.”
Case against blog comments
I’ve seen so many websites find abusive ways to insert links to their websites. It’s an epidemic. The plethora of plugins and options to stop it help, but not enough. When I’ve done link building research or helping a website recover from a penalty, I’ve seen so many valueless comments robotically inserted to websites with outdated software. Where’s the value in that? There isn’t.
Outside of SPAM, legitimate comments may not be as helpful as they appear. Trolling and negativity are rampant, and users can have very strong opinions that detract from the article’s points. These situations lead the discussion to a toxic territory as commentators generally choose anonymity and don’t have much accountability.
The dopamine rush of getting a legitimate, helpful comment may actually be a detriment. Instead of writing articles that are helpful and provide value, the thrill of getting comments in general can lead to creating content that is encourage to entice readers to comment. Without commenting, focus on creating meaningful creations and equity in your website may be easier without the constant pressure to deliver provocative content.
Case for blog comments
Neil Patel makes some excellent points why blog comments should be used and are beneficial:
When a blog post has dozens or more insightful comments, that may be a sign of authority and trust.
Network and share
Sometimes the comments can be the real value in the the blog post. One thoughtful comment can lead to opportunities to follow and be followed. The internet and web was designed to help share information and develop ideas.
Creates a living document
When I was developing this website, I was looking for all sorts of snippets and how-tos. When I found them, the comments included appreciative comments or suggestions for further improvement from that author’s contributions. Comments do have the potential to make the world a better place.
Having readers call you on your bullshit is important. No one enjoys having their flaws revealed and laid bare. However, the sign of a true leader and someone willing to grow is able to accept criticism and learn from it.
The Decision Has Been Made
For the time being.
While researching this article, I found many authors who do and don’t allow comments. I also found websites where comments were disabled, and then re-enabled after some time. Reasons for turning them off weren’t due to the aforementioned reasons, but do to their expectations around conversations happening elsewhere and predictions about the future of online discussion. Whether their predictions were true or not, re-enabling comments were due to the landscape changing to where they were valuable to the website again.
In conclusion, at this point in my personal website’s nascent existence and my current lifestyle choices, blog comments are not valuable to me at this moment. I cannot justify to myself the time it would take to think about and manage comments. However, I am open to enabling them in the future.
But that’s just me. You should know your audience and your goals. Comments can provide value, but you should decide if your platform is the right place to build such a community.
If you have a comment for me, feel free to contact me directly.