5 Good Reasons Why You Should Encourage Blog Comments

Blog Comments and Why You Should Encourage ThemRight from the start I am sure some of you guessed why I am writing this post…

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?

Reading.

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

And…

  • 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.

And…

  • 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.

In Conclusion


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?

Share Your ThoughtsNow 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! :)
Daniel

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  1. Blog comments will never run out of style! I’ve been using this strategy and I can actually attest the benefits of how you gain more followers on your blog, or if you are running a business, it sure does bring a lot of traffic! It also gives you also the opportunity to interact with other people and make your circle of friends that are related to your niche. Thanks for sharing this! Love the thoughts.

  2. Daniel: Thanks for giving arguments for having a blog commenting feature on your blog. You know, back in the day, it was pretty technical to have a blog commenting feature. Nowadays, with external tools and plugins, it is a piece of cake to have comments on your blog.

    Do you think that Google+’s commenting feature will bring back the glory of making comments?

    I wonder how big problem with spam comments the average WordPress blog is having?

  3. I was also surprised to read about Copyblogger closing their comments section, but if they get more than enough social interaction on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ then good luck to them.

    Personally I will continue to keep my comments section open because I don’t get hardly any interaction on social media apart from the ocasional retweet, in fact I no longer publish my content on Facebook because my friends like to reply by taking the mickey out of me and making fun of me.

    I’m bracing myself for a slump in comments now that Google is penalising anyone and everyone for unnatural links..

  4. I wholeheartedly agree Daniel.

    To me, a blog without comments is just a website – and a somewhat dated one at that.

    Blogs, like social media are, in my opinion anyways, all about conversation. If you don’t want conversation, then you should be using a standard Web 1.0 page, not a blog.

  5. Hi Daniel,

    You have listed some valid points. I agree with them wholeheartedly! :) The folks at Copyblogger had their own good set of reasons for shutting down comments section on their blog. I must say that the reasons they put forward were valid too. But, as Sonia said, comments are good for blogs that are getting started.

    And you too have listed some advantages of having an active comment section and getting loads of comments on blog posts.

    I must say that comments can be sources getting feedback from users. This feedback can be used constructively for improving our blogs. :)

    One more advantage that you listed, and I found interesting is the fact that comments act as social proof! :)

    Arun

    • Hey Arun,

      Indeed CopyBlogger have their reasons and I don’t argue their validity. The thing is those reasons don’t necessarily apply to the average blogger. That is what I wanted to stress upon. :)

      And BTW I do see you would like to promote this service, but I personally see it as spammy mentioning it in every comment.

      Daniel

  6. Karen, i think the premium version of comment luv allows you to unfollow your comment links while also having peace of mind.

    I think it has other advantages such as the ability for you to prescribe the number comments a person has on your blog before the person post shows.

    This way you can easily build a community as @adriennesmith40 has done. You could also ask Lisa of @inspiretothrive any question concerning this and you are sure to get an awesome response

  7. Hey Daniel,

    I’ve only been on copyblogger a couple of times and I’m sure they have their own valid reasons for taking away the comment section. I think for bloggers trying to build an audience, the comment section is vital. It’s vital for the reasons you gave in this post. It’s about building relationships when you first start. But when you get to the point to where you’re consistently getting traffic and consistently being contacted by your readers and subscribers, then this creates more of an option for you to turn it off. That’s my say on this subject!

    Thanks for sharing and you have a great rest of the week!

    • Hey Sherman,

      Thanks a lot for sharing your point of view!

      I agree. My idea with the post was mostly for people to try and sometimes differentiate themselves from the big names, because what the latter do does not always reflect what the average blogger should do.

      Thank you for stopping by! :)
      Daniel

  8. I have tons of subscribers, but comments…? not many. I m still unsure of the usefulness today when I prefer to share via social media and engage from there. But, this was a great post….and maybe I should take a second look… , Thanks Daniel =)

    • Hey David,

      I see your point man. You might not be getting too many of them, but still no reason to close them. Additional interaction is always welcome as I see it. :)

      Daniel

  9. Hey Daniel,

    Thanks for the great article!

    I recently discovered your first point to be true. I am actually working on an article right now that came up as an idea from a comment discussion on my blog. It seems like I have a new idea with every valuable comment.

    How do you feel about CommentLuv and SEO? I’ve heard that some blogs are being penalized for having all of the links coming out of their blog due to that plugin. I would rather not believe that and put it back on my blog. I noticed that you took it off. I took it off my blog a month ago as well. What are your thoughts?

    • Hey Kalen,

      That’s awesome man. Discussions and difference in opinions often times sparks ideas. :)

      About CommentLuv I haven’t used it for some months. The reason is because I felt I didn’t need it. But for starter blogs I believe it is a great way to get the wheel spinning so to say. About CommentLuv and SEO, I really don’t know. I have not experienced any negatives. Maybe there should be some sort of threshold of comments until CommentLuv links are allowed though.

      Daniel

  10. I understand why Copyblogger did this, but I completely agree that most blogs would be foolish to follow suit. Since my blog is very new, I always take the time to visit the sites of those who comment and reciprocate. I get great ideas for content and get to know my audience. I also interact a lot in social media (Twitter & Google+ much more than Facebook these days) but I don’t see this as an alternative to blog comments; more as a supplement.

    • Hey Mandie,

      Totally agree with your last sentence there – it should be a supplement, not an alternative!

      Other than that seems like you are leveraging comments well – great job! :)
      Daniel

  11. Great points, Daniel :)

    It really depends upon our goals and to an extent, how big our blog is. For a blog like Copyblogger, closing their comments isn’t much of a big deal (and it does free them a lot of time replying to comments).

    But, following their method is suicidal, unless your blog happens to be as big as Copy Blogger.

    As for goals, well, if your goal is just to bring in more traffic and more sales, commenting may not matter much (might work best for niche blogs; also depends upon the type of blog). If our blog is sort of like a tips and tricks blog, then it’s best to keep the comments alive. If it’s a review blog, might be better to keep it closed?

    Great points, by the way. I do love comment reciprocation (I have been relying on it a little too much, so I am working on decreasing my commenting efforts and focusing on other marketing methods).

    Anyways, thank you for sharing this! Appreciate it :)

    • Hey Jeevan,

      That’s true. Blogs like CopyBlogger can afford that. That is what I wanted to put the emphasis on – readers should not get lured on doing that just because a big name in the business is doing it.

      Well whatever your goal I personally don’t see a reason not to allow visitors’ feedback. Even if it is a review. Maybe there are people who have tried it and how can add their two cents.

      Thanks a lot for leaving a comment man! :)
      Daniel

  12. I agree with everything you’ve said Daniel.

    I would never consider turning off blog comments because they are what helps to keep a blogging community alive.

    If you move the conversation to social media, that’s an extra step many people won’t want to take.

    • Hey Tim,

      Good point man. Social media comments from within posts on social media – nothing bad. Encouraging social media comments from your blog rather than standard comments, which require the visitor to simply scroll down doesn’t seem feasible to me.

      Thanks for sharing your two cents, appreciate it!
      Daniel

  13. Unless you run an authority blog with monstrous following it’s suicide to close comments Daniel. You need reader’s voices to be heard, to do this blogging thing right. All great reasons!

  14. Daniel, Yet another gem from your side.
    It is heartening to know that comments are not totally redundant but something simple bloggers like me can look forward to.
    Copyblogger is great but sometimes comments are the best way to get the point across.
    Another thing I think you should add to the advantages of commenting is the great option of G+ comments being visible on the blog. I find it an excellent way of commenting and sharing on the social media all at once. Not sure if the same is available with wordpress.
    Thanks again, I am off to implement some of the tips you suggested:)

    • Hey Inderpreet,

      The Google Plus comments is a great suggestion!

      I personally have tought about including them, but I would like to first wait for an official version. The other thing is I’m not sure if my most frequent commenters will be okay with the change as they will need to have a Google Plus account.

      Thanks a lot for stopping by!
      Daniel

  15. Daniel:

    You made and share five extremely valid and valuable points. All of which can very easily stand on their own. I particularly likes point #’s 2,3 and 5.

    And allowing honest blog comments stimulates for all of them. I’ will definitely help share your extremely valid points.

    Q.) Is there any particular reason why you don’t currently have the commentluv free or paid plugin active? Or is it only activated after so many blog comments? In any event, thanks for sharing!

    • Hey Mark,

      Thank you, I am glad you agree to the points I’ve covered!

      As for CommentLuv, I decided not to use it a few months back as I wanted to see how much engagement I would receive without it. In my earlier days it was a great tool for me to encourage more comments, but I feel like I don’t need it anymore.

      Daniel

  16. Great post. I am an avid fan of Copyblogger and I find myself often influenced by them. But when they took away blog comments I felt a little conflicted. Not so much that I wanted to do the same, but that I found myself feeling a little torn between directing people to comment below the post itself, or to comment on Facebook. I now feel clear where I stand on this issue. Thanks Daniel! :)

    • Hey Nicole,

      Well there’s nothing bad in encouraging comments on Facebook, Google Plus or Twitter maybe. But as I see it it should be done from within the platforms themselves, because it’s the easiest thing for the reader.

      In the actual blog, you should ask people to leave comments in the comment section for the aforementioned reasons and again because it is more convenient to scroll down a little and write the comment rather than search for the author’s social profiles and post there. Of course that might not be the case if you are running a blog wiht hundreds of thousands of readers, but most of us are not anyway.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts! :)
      Daniel

  17. Hi Daniel,
    I think for me the most important reasons are points number 2 (networking) and 5 (social proof). I’ve found blog comments, both on my blogs and on other people’s blogs, to be a great way to start to build relationships. And I think it is human nature to at least partially judge a blog based on the number of comments that it receives. If you’re visiting a blog for the first time and you see that the posts have a huge number of comments you probably take notice, and that indicates that other people like the blog enough to get involved.

    • Hey Marc,

      Eaxctly man. A lot of comments are an indication, at least for me, that the author is going in the right direction. All in all there are more benefits than flaws.

      Thanks for the comment! :)
      Daniel

  18. Comments seem like the best method to know what your readers are thinking and what they need from you. Copyblogger becomes a magazine or newspaper without the comments, don’t they?

    • Hey Peggy,

      Well they kinda do, but maybe that’s their goal. And for them it might not be a problem, but for us ordinary bloggers comments can be useful in a lot of ways.

      Daniel

  19. Thanks Daniel. I have posted very few blogs, mainly because I’m never sure what to write about. I tutor creative writing, I write, I walk, I read, I garden. I have a family. But where to start, I always thought. I know it’s not just about promoting my books – I do that through talks etc.. I was just never sure what others would be interested in about me. But you have given me lots to think about so I will set a day aside over the next week – and have a go. Thanks again.

    • Hey Judith,

      I’m really glad you found the post inspirational! Definitely take the dust off of this project and consider creating some sort of a plan. There’s always something to write about. :)

      Daniel

  20. I read that post by Copyblogger and found their reasoning to be fair, they had some very valid points, however, your points are valid as well. Allowing blog commenting can be helpful for new bloggers and can definitely help to build community, as you suggest above. I like your idea of following the link in the comments to see where your readers are coming from and what space they’re in and to use what you glean for content curation. I suppose when you’re as big as Copyblogger and moderating comments becomes a full time job the focus of the blog can be lost. However, I agree that for most bloggers the comments are helpful and should be left on.

    • Hey Jennifer,

      That was exactly my point – that for most bloggers spam isn’t that much of a big deal, so closing comments simply for that matter is not justified. The pros outweight the cons.

      Thanks a lot for stopping by!
      Daniel