Do you comment on the blogs that you read? If you have a blog, do you have comments turned on? Do you know why blog comments are important?
I've read a lot of blog posts that argue about whether you should allow comments on your blog or not. There are a lot of factors to consider for and against comments and then a few different comment systems to consider. Let's take a look at why blog comments are important.
Why Blog Comments are Important
At the most basic level, comments give readers the ability to add to the conversation on a blog.
Comments can make your readers feel like they are important. They give your visitors a voice in the conversation. When a new visitor reads your post and has a question about the topic, instead of leaving unsatisfied, they have the means to ask the question.
The more included your readers feel, the more likely they are to subscribe to your offers and come back to your blog in the future. If your reader is also a blogger then the comments can help them build recognition for themselves too.
From the authors perspective it is like building a community around your blog. Your readers contribute additional content to your blog in the form of a comment. When you answer your reader's question, that answer is available for any other reader who has the same question. Everyone wins.
Your readers will also let you know what is important to them in their comments. That helps you keep your blog on topic so that it continues to be successful.
A new reader feels a lot more confident in your information when they see comments. Some people think it looks bad when you don't have any comments but I disagree. I think just having comments turned on, even though you don't have any yet, makes you look more open to discussion.
Another reason why blog comments are important is SEO. The search engines like pages that get updated regularly and show signs of activity. It makes them appear more up to date, and they are obviously getting traffic.
A quality comment adds value to the author and to the readers, so it makes sense that it can also add to the value that the search engines see as well.
If the reader is also a blogger, their comments on your blog can add to the SEO for their website, or at least give them some potential traffic. By default, WordPress makes the commentator's website link no-follow and the search spiders aren't supposed to pay attention to it. But if the blog has CommentLuv installed the comment gets an additional link that is followed.
Who Leaves Comments?
Bloggers who rely on comments know why blog comments are important. They're the ones most likely to leave comments. They understand the importance of the conversation, how it adds to everyone's experience. Some bloggers make commenting their primary marketing method. Donna Merrill is one blogger who comes to mind, and her blog is excellent.
I have another website for an online retail business. My customers there don't usually leave comments. I leave the ability to comment turned on though because every now and then someone will have a question or concern about a product. The comments are an easy, convenient way for them to reach me.
There is one more class of people (robots) that leave comments - spammers. I really haven't figured that one out yet. I guess their hope is that you have your blog set to automatically approve and publish all comments. I've never met anyone who does, but I guess they never give up hope. That brings us to...
How to Deal With Spam
I haven't found a good answer for that yet. There are a lot of plugins that attempt to deal with it. Akismet comes pre-installed with WordPress (because it's written by the people who created WordPress). It works great on one of my blogs then doesn't work at all on another one. Even when Akismet works, you still have to go in and delete the spam. It doesn't prevent it outright.
Some people use a checkbox while others use some form of captcha-like system. I found a math-based captcha-type plugin that I liked but it turned out to be incompatible with my caching plugin. It successfully prevented spam, but it also blocked real comments too. It is more important for my websites to load in a reasonable amount of time, so the math captcha went away.
This is an area that I still need to work on. Regardless, I would never have my blog auto-approve all comments. I manually approve every comment I receive, but I could change it so that anyone who has an approved comment could be automatically approved.
How to Write a Good Comment
If you know why blog comments are important then you probably know how to write a good one. Like I said above, a good comment adds to the conversation.
Actually, I read a post by Chris DeeWaard not too long ago about about how to write great comments. He said a good comment is like a mini guest post. It's a great idea and I have been trying to do that when I leave comments now.
On my blogs, if a comment doesn't add to the conversation, or I can't tell that it came from a real person, I delete it. I've had someone leave comments recently on one of my blogs and all they do is rephrase the title of my post and agree with it. I'm pretty sure they are a real person but I'm not currently in the market for an echo, so I've been deleting them.
If you want to know how to write great comments, read Chris's post that I linked to just above. I don't have any better advice than that.
There is one more piece to the commenting conversation, and that is comment systems. Naturally, WordPress has its own built-in commenting system, and that's what I use for the most part. The only change I have made, and I recommend it, is CommentLuv. If your reader is a blogger, it is a nice enticement to get them to comment on your post. Their reward is a do-follow link to one of their recent posts. You get a comment, they get an external link, everyone wins.
There are other comment systems available as well. The two that I see most often are Facebook Comments and Disqus. I don't like either one. When I get to the end of a great blog post and see one of these systems I just leave without a comment.
I don't want to connect Facebook to anything outside of Facebook, and I don't need a link to my Facebook profile scattered around the Internet. I don't see any value in it. Disqus is pretty much the same thing. I don't see any value in having yet another social profile and leaving links to it scattered around too.
If anything, I see all of these things as security risks because if someone hacks Facebook then I don't want them to automatically have access to everything else I do on the Internet. I'm kind of old school in that regard. I have just enough accounts to do what I need to do online and no more, and none of them are linked to more than one or 2 other things. I find it safer that way, especially when my income is tied to my Internet activity.
These are my thoughts about why blog comments are important and how to deal with them. There is one more thing that I forgot to say before. If you have a blog and allow comments, be sure to respond to them. The conversation has to go both ways for it to work.
If you found this helpful and have any questions or comments then please leave me a comment below. I would also appreciate it if you would share this post with your followers on social media.
Thanks for reading.
P.S. If you happen to be a network marketer like me, or considering it, I am building a free membership site to show you exactly how I have built my business exclusively online.