For those of you who didn’t though, you have probably heard about Copyblogger. They are basically one of the biggest copywriting blogs out there.
And what they did a few weeks back surprised a lot of people…
They closed comments on their blog.
Next they published this post, where they presented some of their best arguments towards taking this decision.
From what I understood, they would like to take comments off the blog and place the emphasis on interaction via social media.
At the end however Copyblogger’s Sonia Simone said that “Blog comments are an amazing resource for any blog when it’s getting started. It’s a super convenient way to take the pulse of your audience.”
And with that in mind today I would like to present you five of the top reasons why you should not only keep comments on, but also encourage and welcome them!
1. Blog Comments Let You Discover Interesting Content
When people leave comments under your blog posts, do you ever take the time to visit their sites?
If you do take a closer look, you will see that a lot of the folks who share their thoughts and add constructive criticism have similar interests to yours and write about similar topics.
And you know what is one of the more important ingredients for writing thoughtful content and having ideas for future posts?
It all starts with that. In order to write engaging content:
- You need to always know what is going in your niche and what are the latest trends
- You have to be aware of what others think and how their opinions differ from yours
Chances are you already know the top blogs in your niche. And in most cases those can help you with the first – staying updated. But when it comes to the latter, the smaller blogs might prove a more interesting resource. On those you are sure to see different opinions that don’t always correspond with “the norm”.
While “the norm” might often be the right way to go, there is always something to learn from those who beg to differ.
And of course not every blog you come across will be worth the read, but in the end by spending 5-10 additional minutes every day, you are sure to discover some that are!
NOTE: CommentLuv is a great plugin for those of you, who have recently started a blog and are looking for way to encourage commenters to share their two cents.
2. Blog Comments Help You Build Your “Tribe”
These days pretty much everyone in the marketing field is talking about the importance of building relationships.
And it is a fact that you can’t go alone.
You need to have people by your side in order to get the content marketing wheel spinning.
One way to do that is namely with the help of your blog’s comment system!
Let’s get back to the previous point about how comments allow you to tap into interesting content first…
Aside from a source of ideas and a way to write better articles, reading and discovering new blogs plays a huge role in what we call content curation.
The idea behind content curation is simple – you find interesting content from around the web, you share it via your social profiles and give credit back to the original author.
And a key to this whole process is reciprocation.
Reciprocation starts right from the first comment someone leaves on your blog:
- The first step is for you to reply back and thus show interest
- The second possible step is to pose a question in the hopes to form a discussion
- Then you could open up that person’s blog and share an interesting post you read
- Next why not also follow that person on a social network or two.
The whole reciprocation process is not as much about “I share your work, so you should share mine”, but more about “You support me, I should support you back”.
3. Blog Comments Help You Get Better
If you happen to have your comments turned on, besides positive ones, praising your ideas, you are also bound to get some negative feedback.
While you might say this is an argument against blog comments, it really isn’t.
I mean think about it – a very positive comment surely boosts your ego and is an indicator you are on the right track (which matters of course). But then again one such comment doesn’t really show you how and what you can improve upon…
That surely isn’t the case with the little more disagreeing opinions.
Of course a distinction should be made between purely hateful comments that are simply there to bash you and such that don’t consent (in a respectful manner) to your point of view and tell you why.
Namely the latter can contain useful advice.
And if you think that just because the commenter doesn’t agree with your points you won’t reply back, think again!
In your reply make sure to both defend your stand (respectfully) but also look from the newly presented angle.
4. Blog Comments Can Help You Get Subscribers
If you are blogging for more than a few weeks and haven’t yet started building your list, it is about time that you do!
Yes, what I am implying is that you need to adopt email marketing from day one!
And at the very start of the post I pointed out that a rather big percentage of those who leave comments are passionate about your niche.
This means that they are highly likely to subscribe to your blog with a good call to action.
That is where Comment Redirect comes into play!
What’s the idea behind this WordPress plugin?
Comment Redirect, as the name somewhat suggests, allows you to create a page, where first-time commenters will be redirected. It can be something like a thank you page at the end of which you place a call to action, followed by an opt-in.
As an example, you can see mine right here.
As you noticed I’ve chosen a simplistic approach. All in all there are around 130 words.
For best results:
- Consider including some sort of thank you image like I have done
- Actually thank people for visiting your blog and participating in the discussion
- Let them know they can reach you at any time if they have questions
- Place the opt-in at the end
5. Blog Comments are a Great Social Proof
But what is social proof in the first place?
Here is Wikipedia’s take in brief:
“Social proof is a type of conformity. When a person is in a situation where they are unsure of the correct way to behave, they will often look to others for cues concerning the correct behavior”
In other words what others think about you and your brand can prove a great persuasion tool.
When it comes to internet marketing there are a lot of examples for social proof…
- For instance when you see widgets, showing the number of fans someone has on Facebook.
- Sharing buttons on blog posts also display the number of shares made for the purpose of social proof.
- The number of comments you see under blog post headlines can also be perceived as social proof
The reason why I believe the latter beats the first two is because of the added effort. Becoming someone’s fan on Facebook takes a click of a button. Sharing a post on Twitter for instance normally takes around… two clicks of a button.
On the other hand leaving a comment requires a little more than that.
It takes a few minutes to read the post. It takes another couple of minutes to think what you are going to say. Then you need to decide how you are going to say it.
So all in all it’s not THAT much effort, but it is certainly much more than simply clicking the “like” button.
Those are what I believe to be the most important reasons why blog comments matter!
Maybe when your blog turns eight years old (like Copyblogger), you might want to reconsider comments and their purpose (though I probably wouldn’t). Until then however there is A LOT of time.
And while comments on the social networks add value, as I see it they can’t replace traditional comments under blog posts. The reason is simply that different people are used to different platforms.
So why take away the platform and risk losing that part of your audience for good?
Now I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic!
Are comments important for you as a blogger? Would you ever consider pulling the plug on blog comments?
Please take a minute to share what you think and this post if you happened to like it!