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Should Blogs Have Comments?

Should blogs have comments?

It is a question that comes up fairly regularly in blogging circles and one that different bloggers take different approaches to.

  • Most bloggers have them – they’re on by default when they set their blog up and they never switch them off. They see the comments as adding a lot to the blog – making it a place of shared learning, interactivity and dynamic conversation.
  • Other bloggers decide not to have them. Their reasons vary from not having time to moderate them to being frustrated by comment spam.

Between these views other bloggers take a variety of other approaches ranging from:

  • having comments on some posts but not others
  • switching comments off over a certain amount of time (to protect from comment spam)
  • to not having comments in the early days of a blog and switching them on later once there is a big enough audience to justify them (this is what I did on DPS).
  • to requiring membership for comments (thereby effectively switching them off to the general public and reserving the privilege to comment for those willing to sign up).

There are many options – but I thought it’d be interesting to open it up for some discussion.

  • Do you have comments on your blog? Why or Why Not?
  • Do you think a blog is a blog without comments?
  • What are the advantages of having or not having them?

Interested to see where this discussion leads us.

Further Reading on Comments on Blogs:

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Ben Adkins says:

    I think that “comments” are a big part of the equation when it comes to running a successful blog. The “sense” of community just wouldn’t be the same without it. I get the feeling that this isn’t something that you’re really even thinking about Mr. Rowse. I get the feeling that this was a conversation starter….Well it didn’t work…..oh wait…..Well played sir…..You even played it up on Twitter before the post…. (I just learned an important lesson :)

    If anyone ever questions your marketing savvy…..they don’t have a clue what their talking about.

    Dr. Ben
    http://www.drbenadkins.com

  2. I think it depends on what you are trying to build.

    Take Seth Godin & his blog for example… By not allowing comments, he is forcing his community to talk (read: respond) to his posts in their own community (read: thier own blogs)

    This results a viral empathic.. If you keep all the ‘conversation’ on our own blog, it does reduce the virility of the topic/blog/idea.

    If you blog about things that evoke emotions (read: responses) and want to start an epidemic – don’t enable comments.

  3. Billy says:

    Do you have comments on your blog? Why or Why Not?

    Yes, so I can get feedback from readers and get their opinions as well. It allows for extra thoughts on what the post is about, and in the long run could lead to more contacts.

    Do you think a blog is a blog without comments?

    I think there may be a fine line between an actual website, and a blog without any comment features. I think a blog should not be one sided, but allow readers to state their opinion and thoughts as well.

    For example if I wanted to look up something news related and not bother stating my opinion, I could check it out on a number of news sites. However, if it’s something I may want to comment an opinion on I would probably look through blogs for it.

    What are the advantages of having or not having them?

    Advantage is getting to know your readers, what they think on that particular thing and interactivity between the blogger and the reader.

    The disadvantages (to me) would come after the blog starts getting quite a bit of readers who comment. This could take up a bunch of time just approving comments. Setting the comments to not need moderating wouldn’t be good though because then there’s not telling what kind of comments would get posted (from spam to cussing, or worse).

    Everything has a good side, followed directly by a down side I guess.

  4. Robert Barr says:

    Without comments you loose everything the community aspect of blogging was supposed to be about. While there are negative aspects to allowing comments, I would imagine Darren that allowing comments has given ProBlogger the ability to become the blog it is today right? Certainly without commenting ProBlogger would not have achieved this level of success.

  5. Shafar says:

    I’m not getting more comments on my blog. But I think “Comments are the Lifeblood of Blogging”

  6. Nick says:

    Blogs need comments to bring them to life and start building a community around them. But you *must* enable moderation. There are many spammers out there, not to mention the idiots with a chip on their shoulder.

    If I see a blog that allows comments without moderation (i.e. comments appear immediately when posted), it says to me that this is a new blog and/or it doesn’t get much traffic.

  7. kouji says:

    my blog has comments. since i don’t get that much traffic, i turn off the word verification and turn on the moderation. :)

    it’s about conversation for me. blogging without comments seems a bit lonely to me.

  8. Lin Burress says:

    A blog without comments isn’t a blog IMO. Having comments builds community between the blogger and the reader, but comments also build community between just the readers as they often will communicate back and forth amongst each other in the comment section with advice and emotional support.

    Some well-known bloggers, Seth Godin comes to mind, do not allow comments last time I checked (months ago). Talking AT readers on a blog with a one-way conversation is not only dull and boring, but doesn’t allow much room for building trust and community.

    Anyone with a blog must deal with spam comments in varying degrees. That’s what comment moderation is for, and those who choose not to allow comments at all or turn off comments at some point are only hurting themselves in the long run.

    Subscribed reader comments may stop after a few days, but search engine traffic readers can arrive at any time in the future with relevant comments or questions about the article, and turning off their ability to leave their comment/question gives search engine visitors no opportunity to build trust in you or your advice as an authority on the topic.

  9. There are many bloggers who don’t allow comments on their blogs (i.e. Seth Godin), but personally I enjoy the community it promotes.

    I blog to help others learn to make money on their blog, so I want my readers to be able to tell me what they’re interests are, and what their thoughts are about my post topics.

  10. Graham says:

    I absolutely do have comments on. It lets me clarify points by letting people ask questions in a public fashion. I quite like the interactivity of it.

    I’m only averaging 3 or so comment per post at this point with no spammy comments so perhaps my opinion will change down the road.

  11. Thomas says:

    Yes! Allow comments because it allows for a sense of community, and is a source of valuable feedback, which can turn into a valuable discussion.

    I allow comments on 100% of my blog for this reason.

  12. Personally I guess that comments are an important factor of blogs. I believe that it wouldn’t be able for most of us to interact with the top bloggers and ask questions or respond to their articles

  13. Cade Krueger says:

    I agree that a blog needs comments. That is what helps to separate it from normal static sites. I worked for a spammy internet marketing coaching firm and you get a lot of people that don’t trust you as a sales rep or a customer service rep because to them you are the “big business, I don’t care about you, give me your money”. I think that a blog helps in numerous ways.

    1. It helps you understand your client better because as you interact with them you will find what they are truly missing, instead of guessing and trying to put together a product that doesn’t fit their needs. I am sure you used comments to help you with your books Darren.

    2. It allows people to build relationships that would have never met, but are able to do so through your blog. You can find link exchanges, joint ventures, and just solid information.

    3. You can’t be defensive. I see way too many people scared of a link exchange because it might not benefit them as much. Paralysis by Analysis. Success in blogging seems all about sheer determination in numerous marketing areas.

    Those are my thoughts. Has anyone ever created a product or altered a product based on comments?

  14. Spam used to be an issue for me. Even some of the security image captcha’s can be hacked. Though if you go that route, there is a service called recaptcha (http://recaptcha.net) that I’ve had pretty good luck with on some client’s sites.

    Otherwise, a numbered captcha for comment spam is one of the best things I ever did for my blog. That combined with akismet got rid of spam completly. I made a tutorial on how I implimented it here:
    http://robmalon.com/howto-eliminate-wordpress-trackback-comment-and-pingback-spam/

  15. Caleb says:

    Comments are absolutely necesary for building a readership and if you’re not trying to build one then what’s the use?

    People tend to like things they can interact with. Also,comments are a good source for the exchange of new ideas.

  16. W.T says:

    I believe it all depends on the type of blog you’re running. For example my blog is based on peoples opinions on the latest news, so it is necessary that I have a place for people to comment.
    I see blogs as social devices and to make the most out of them you must have comments to engage the readers and give them motivation to take part in the experience.

  17. Kim McGinnis says:

    A blog with out comments is like a person in a room by himself carrying on a one-way conversation – kind of crazy, but could be a good form of therapy for the blogger.

  18. Ari Herzog says:

    This comment is directed at everyone else who mentioned Seth Godin’s name and his comment-less blog. You know who you are: Emon, Pete, Stephen, etc.

    The reason why Seth doesn’t enable comments is due to three reasons, which he explains if you click here.

    Note, he made that decision two years ago.

    I can’t add anything that hasn’t been said. I like comments. I like when people write comments to me and I like writing comments to other people. Such as here.

  19. I think comments are a way of letting you know you’re not just talking to yourself. I don’t have much of a comment spam problem because all first time comments need to be approved and I get emailed for all the rest. So I can easily see if there are any ‘undesirables’.

  20. Sarah H. says:

    My blog has comments and I feel they are necessary to achieve my goal of having a community that interacts and shares ideas. My blog is new so I haven’t had any problems yet with comment spam or difficulty moderating too many comments (I wish!), but I appreciate the heads up. I see the wisdom in turning off comments until you get enough readership, but I decided not to do that…I wanted my early posts to get some comments so I could start the ‘community’ ball rolling right away. I also wanted new visitors to notice that there is a community atmosphere (no comments might turn some people away if they are looking to interact). I did, however, wait to start letting people know about my blog until I had written several anchor posts.

  21. Matt Zentz says:

    Blogging is a social media. Take out commenting and it’s really no different than broadcasting (i.e. not social)

  22. FenixMarcess says:

    I’ve seen a few great blogs that don’t have comments at all. Take a look at http://www.thehundreds.com. They have many readers and no comments whatsoever.

    But personally I’d have them turned on.

  23. Keral Patel says:

    “Other bloggers decide not to have them. Their reasons vary from not having time to moderate them to being frustrated by comment spam.”

    Exactly :D I get frusrated with the comment spam. No matter what but the spammers are too keen to post their comments on the blogs.

  24. amirulcyber says:

    In my opinion yes.Blog should have comment.

  25. wisdom says:

    Yes I feel that blogs should have comments, makes them more interactive and helps correct any errors in the original post.

  26. Mainframeguy says:

    A point of information – anyone setting up a truly professional blog will NOT have them there by default. I use Chyrp! myself – you have to add comments as an add on module. I think it is more likely Blogger.com and the like are the places where comments are there by default.

  27. Richard B says:

    I kicked off a discussion about comments over on the FuelMyBlog blog here http://blog.fuelmyblog.co.uk/blog/2008/10/10/feed-the-conversation-fuel-your-community/ expecting most people to be in agreement that comments are essential. I was surprised to find so many people that didn’t comment that there is surely an argument for not having them turned on at all…

  28. Michael says:

    Yeah…it really depends on the blog. I have two that are simply built for interactive communication from whoever. But I have another that the same type of interactivity would just turn into a head ache…..trust me I know…..The type of folks who visit are not the kind I want to hear from…. UGH!!….i’m already irritated just thiking about it…

  29. Dennis Sim says:

    I love to leave comment whenever appropriate. For the two main reasons:

    1. Share my knowledge – I don’t leave a comment with ‘great’ or ‘thank you’.

    2. Drive traffic to my blog :)

    -Dennis.

  30. Comment is what makes a blog coming alive. Without any comment’s you just have an endless monologue, it is irritating to read to a blog that is just in love with their own opinion/writing..

  31. bonoriau says:

    I prefer blog with comment. Place to communicate with my blog friends, receive suggestion and discuss latest development. I’m growing with all good and inspiring comment from blog friends.

  32. I think that bloggers should determine the goals of their blogs and act accordingly. I certainly advocate comments and believe that a large part of blogging is to create conversations around various topics and to engage an audience. However, I am not going to see this as a one-size-fits all situation. If a blogger wants to be one who simply puts their message out there for the masses and doesn’t care for, want or need interaction that’s their prerogative. It doesn’t mean that their content didn’t fill a void or that the reader didn’t find value in it. I think we have to remember that information is not consumed in the same way from person to person. The beauty of blogging is freedom. the freedom to write your own rules.

  33. CoolProducts says:

    Comments allow for the blog to have life.. Without them, one just sees a post and nothing else. Comments allow for one to expand upon, argue, validate, etc. I think a good blog should and would have comments enabled..

  34. Adrilia says:

    I think comments are essential at least for new bloggers. In my case it’s inspiring and encouraging to get comments. It helps me to know what my readers are thinking, feeling, concerned about, what they’re responding to. Plus, comments begin to help you build a blogging community and that’s priceless.

  35. What in the world…? No they shouldn’t. Why blog then? Why not publish html?

  36. I could not live without comment, they make blogs more personal, they add tons of content and they are essential to interacting with your readers and I think that brings them back!

  37. dev says:

    Blog should has comment, if dont has comment then it cannot call a blog

  38. Mitch says:

    In my opinion, if you don’t accept comments, then you’re saying you don’t care what anyone else has to say. If that’s the case, why have a blog in the first place, and why should I read? It’s one reason I won’t read Seth Godin’s blog, though many other people read it; I figure he doesn’t care about me, so I don’t care about him.

  39. gweipo says:

    I like comments since if people bother to comment it means they’ve actually got meaning or a feeling from something I’ve said, or that it’s touched them, even if the comment is negative. It also steers my blogging into interesting areas and helps to shape my thought.
    Not getting comments is like going to a cocktail party and saying “hi, I’m so and so and xyz” and the person staring at you blankly and leaving you.
    I’d rather they said “what a stupid thing to say” or “I hate your hair style”, since I can do something with that.

  40. I’ve experimented with several CMS which all have included comments enabled by default and I’ve always eliminated them. Receiving feedback on post is always refreshing but I personally rather get it via email as oppose to having all the chatter as part of my entries. That’s my preference.

  41. Lance says:

    Commenting creates dialogue and brings additional insight and value to your blog, so I can’t imagine turning comments off, except perhaps for individual posts where you don’t feel they’re appropriate. Dooce does this pretty well. To be perfectly honest, comments are what keeps me sharp on my own blog, and I know the comments I leave are valued on the blogs in my niche.

  42. Ted Murphy says:

    Only blog I know that doesn’t allow comments is Seth Godin’s. I read him anyway, but it’s a pain.

  43. comments are a really good thing for the readers and the owner of the blog. See, the blog owner adds value and substance to their blog. Plus, they can get more readers because people are always interested in what others have to say about a topic. Plus, more comment can increase page rank.

  44. One of the biggest moral boosts I get as a new blogger is when someone comments on my blog. (unless it’s spam). It lets me know that someone is really reading.

  45. Tumblemoose says:

    It bums me out when I read something that stirs my emotions and then there is no ability to comment. I think it’s selfish and rude to not allow them. If that’s how you want to handle things then write in a journal and keep it to yourself.

    My other pet peeve is having to register to provide a comment. That’s ridiculous. Why would I take the time to do that?

    Make commenting easy, make it available or don’t blog. Period.

    So there.

    George

  46. Tumblemoose says:

    @ Ari

    Sorry, but I went to Seth’s site and the reasons are BS. I don’t let commentators or their anticipated comments influence my writing. That’s a cop out.
    So it takes a bit to moderate. Big deal. Partner up with someone you trust and have them moderate. Have a once a week feedback session with the partner.
    There are lots of ways to handle comments and I just don’t buy any of the flimsy reasons Seth gives.

    George

  47. Joel Drapper says:

    Comments are an essential part of blogs. A good comment is much more of a reward to me then adsense.

  48. I would imagiine without comments the blogger would feel a bit lonely :-(

  49. Nancy Nally says:

    Merlin Mann of 43 Folders has been talking about this issue a lot lately both on his site and in his talks. He’s come to the conclusion (as I understand it) that blog comments end up being a mess of junk, spam and stupidity.

    Instead, he wants people to take their thoughts about what he’s written and respond on their own sites. Kind of a “this is MY space, that’s YOUR space” kind of thing.

    Not sure I agree but it’s a theme I’ve heard repeatedly from him lately.

    http://www.43folders.com/2008/09/10/time-attention-creative-work

  50. I think that blogs should have comments enabled.