The Pros and Cons of Allowing Blog Comments

To comment or not to comment—that is the question. Of course, Shakespeare didn’t write it quite like that. But if he lived in our era and ran a B2B website, he might have.

The Internet makes it easy to engage in a two-way dialog with your prospects and clients, especially using blogs and online articles. And most blogging platforms offer the option of enabling comments from readers, which helps to facilitate the dialog. The question is, should you use them or not?

On the plus side, enabling reader comments gives potential and existing clients another method of contacting you. It offers a place for conversation, and enables you to interact with readers and readers to interact with each other. Enabling comments can improve the quality of your blog. Direct feedback from readers lets you know what they’re thinking about in regards to the content of your blog. Plus, intelligent comments (and even healthy debate) allow you to learn from your readers and perhaps see your products, services or business in ways you haven’t considered before.

Comments on your blog can also enhance your position as a thought leader. When people comment, it demonstrates that they think you have something worthwhile to say. Because many blogging platforms offer readers the ability to comment through social media accounts (Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, etc.), commenters don’t have to remain anonymous. Comments that come through social media accounts look more legitimate, since you know who posted them.

What are the downsides of enabling comments?

1) An empty comments section can make it look like no one reads your blog.

2) Nasty or inappropriate comments can scare other readers away from commenting. People might even stop reading your blog if the comments are consistently counter-productive or a few inconsiderate readers engage in lengthy flame wars.

3) Spam comments, which are inevitable, can detract from the professional quality of your blog. They can also cause readers to question the validity of all comments, and make it look like you don’t care about properly maintaining your blog. Plus, managing the comments section—including moderating arguments, getting rid of spam or inappropriate responses and replying to legitimate comments—requires the time and discipline to keep up with it on a regular basis.

With this in mind, should you allow comments on your blog site? The answer is: it depends.

Specifically, it depends on what you hope to accomplish with your blog. If a primary goal is to engage your readers and foster an online community with them, comments are a great way to start. On the other hand, if you plan to use the blog mainly as a vehicle for pushing content to your readers, allowing comments would probably require more time than you’re willing to invest.

If enabling comments fits with your blog strategy, start by soliciting comments within your blog posts. For example, close the blog with something like, “Those are my thoughts on the subject, I’m interested in hearing yours as well.” Or, “Let us know what you think!”

If your blog consistently fails to gather responses, you might want to disable comments until you gain a bigger following. If your blog has been up for a while, the lack of comments might signal a need to change the style, tone or subject matter in order to better engage your readers. Either way, you don’t want it to appear as if people aren’t reading your blog.

Finally, if you don’t have time to moderate, or at least weed out the spam, think twice before enabling comments. If not properly managed, they can end up doing damage to your blog, your business, and your brand. And that’s an outcome that nobody wants!


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