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Blog Comments: 3 Bloggers Discuss the Issues

One of the things I love about Problogger.net is the value of the comments my readers make here.

Commenting

Image courtesy stock.xchng user lusi

Although the days when I could reply to many of those comments are now, sadly, long gone, I do read comments on the blog, and frequently get ideas and inspiration from them. Not only are they encouraging, they’re one of the best sources of thoughtful, spontaneous insight I have.

Not all bloggers feel this way—you probably know of at least one or two big-name bloggers who don’t allow comments on their blogs. And it’s certainly true that comments come with a range of challenges:

  • time: it takes time to wade through comments, sift the diamonds from the dross, and then compose thoughtful replies
  • trolls: there’s no shortage of trouble-makers online, and it can be wearing to have to deal with trolls on a daily basis
  • critics: some bloggers find criticism made in comments difficult to handle in such a public sphere
  • stalkers: while this problem isn’t often discussed, inappropriate comments can be a problem—especially if they persist
  • spammers: if you’re an experienced blogger, you probably rolled your eyes when you read that word!

Of course, these aren’t the only issues you need to consider in terms of comments on your blog. Which commenting system will you use? Will you set standards for accepting and rejecting comments? How can you use comments to enhance your blog—and your blogging?

The articles

We’ll be answering three of these questions today and tomorrow, in a series of posts that explore the issues of:

Before we get started, I’d love to hear your approach to blog comments (Do you have them on your blog? Do you comment on many others’ blogs?) in—you guessed it—the comments!

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. I was waiting for something like this from you darren.

    Please sir, keep up the good work. I want you sir to post a lot on this blog. I know you are busy, but what can you do for us.

    We all loves your way in writing and solving problems, so please post in problogger more and more these days.

    • Yes same request as per Ahmed here… your posts are insightful.

      As for my blog, I do allow comments because it’s my way of knowing what my readers feel (whether it’s positive or negative). And as what I’m doing now I love to read other blogs and comment on them as well.

  2. Samuel says:

    Wow. Great to hear form you Darren that you still take a look at us commentators at the bottom! :)

    You have an amazing blog and I love to read every new article coming in. I do enjoy them much. I started my own site and hope to have success just like you.

    Blog commenting is what makes your content alive. I wrote an article on my blog about commenting, and it is currently the second-most popular piece of content on my site.

    I love how you portrayed and listed some examples. Critics and trolls. They are annoying but I just simply ignore them and move on. No need to lower yourself to their level.

    Excellent article Darren :)

    • Great to hear another update from you Darren, I love your blog posts the best:), thanks for posting this. Blog Commenting is great for making your site feel alive, and helping to promote discussion in a website, which is very useful. Thanks for the article.

  3. Anthony says:

    I think blog commenting is of great benefit for all people involved. For the blog, it’s their opportunity to get feedback and suggestions. For the person commenting, it’s their opportunity to voice an opinion or ask questions. For the reader, it’s their opportunity to read more and hopefully get involved!

  4. Brenda says:

    I LOVE Comments as well as commenting on other’s blogs! One of the most enjoyable things imo, is interacting with my readers/commenters. They take the time to bla bla bla something down, I shoudld reciprocate. I also feel the more “legit” comments one gets, especially as a newbie blogger or one without tons of subscribers, it helps motivate. If you feel you struck your audience, it “amps” you up and your strive to “top” that post! Just my 2 cents :)

  5. Dave says:

    Comments are vital, for some, when it comes to building a relationship and trust with your readers.

    What annoys me is the author of a post asking a question and inviting comments, and then not taking part at any level in the resulting discussion.

    I appreciate your probably a busy guy these days, I honestly do. But… there’s always a but… if you have the time to write the post in first place, surely you can find a minute or two to reply to comments you have invited.

    It’s one of the reasons I very rarely comment here and have never subscribed.

    I have great respect for you and what problogger has achieved, but I think there are people doing it in a more engaging way.

    Hope this doesn’t fall into the troll pile :)

    • Wade says:

      I agree…would love to see Darren get on here and reply to some of us. You should leave more comments here when you can because problogger can be a great source of traffic. Don’t be a comment troll, be a traffic troll!

    • Graham Lutz says:

      This is a great example of getting some constructive criticism from your comments section – definitely NOT in the troll pile!

      I can agree with Dave on this – I’d love to see a little more interaction from ya, Darren. :)

    • Luis O Maymi says:

      Interesting point of view Dave. I certainly agree that taking a minute or two to reply to comments is good practice. One thing that I have mix feelings is comment moderation. I try adding comments in recent articles here at Problogger to share my point of view, but none of them were accepted. I certainly understand about trolls and spammers, but ignoring people who take the time to write good comments is like taking away the value of the comments -new- readers try to make here.

      I been reading Problogger for months, enjoy some blog post and have use several advises for my own blog. I also hope this comment does not fall into the troll pile.

      • James Duval says:

        Interestingly, I’ve actually seen complaints about this on OTHER websites.

        Personally, I feel that it can be a strength. I’ve responded to every comment on my recent-ish guest post over at probloggingsuccess, and sometimes I feel as though I’m stifling the conversation, or deterring others from participating.

        I think it’s a delicate balance to walk, and there is something to be said for staying back a little more (even though it’s not exactly my style!).

  6. brian yang says:

    Greetings Darren! Well, I have a blog myself and I allow comments as most of the time, I get ideas on what I am about to write next through what they say, although there’s a ton of trolls nowaday, the intelligent people still outnumber them, thus having a blog with quality comments.

    Anyway, yes, I do comment on other blogs as I also enjoying discussing strategies and ideas from other bloggers.

    Brian

  7. J. Delancy says:

    I haven’t been blogging long but was surprised to find spammers in my comments. They’re like ants to a picnic. Spam, trolls, and unhelpful critics get deleted quickly.

  8. laverneh says:

    I’ve considered disabling contents on my blog. I have 14 posts and barely any comments. Granted, the blog is fairly new and I haven’t done all I could do to build traffic, so over time I might get more comments. But in the meanwhile, I don’t like to see zero comments on the blog. It just makes the blog seem dead.

    But if I remove the commenting, the blog will still seem dead.

    I look forward to reading the upcoming posts on the subject, to see what others think.

    Thanks, Darren.

    • Victoria says:

      I feel your pain, it is really very hard to see zero comments and then all those spam comments rolling in. I just keep reminding myself that everyone has to start somewhere and the thing everyone must remember is that there is wild talent out there just getting started – just because somebody doesn’t have 100,000+ subscribers does not mean they do not produce content that you would find extremely interesting.

      Always nice to know that I’m not alone.
      Blessings!

  9. Darren, I don’t think that accepting comments on a blog is challenge for a blogger, no matter how popular the blog and the Blogger is. We must accept comments on our blog because it starts conversation.
    Isn’t it important to know the readers view on specific post. What they think and what they have to say.

    I don’t like those blogs which don’t accepts comments on his blog.
    Anyway, I would love to read the series posts that explore the issues of.

  10. Wade says:

    Commenting is the best way to get your voice heard! Blog posts are supposed to have comment sections, right? This encourages discussion among the readers. Educated discussions will help readers to find more tips or ideas than what the blogger may have missed, or not pointed out.

  11. Claudia says:

    I often like the comments as much as the blog itself – I once even specifically recommended reading the comments because they added so much to the original post.
    Questions: when do you delete? Best or worst practices?

  12. Comments are great. I wish more people would do it though.

  13. Matrix Lajon says:

    Looking forward to reading the series. Comments are important. If you want a true community feel to your blog.

  14. Josh says:

    I like having commenting open so that we can interact with the readers, it also helps keep you motivated to post more when you know people are going to read and discuss your post with you. I would be very interested in your thoughts on the different commenting options though. Currently I’m using just the normal wordpress comment system but have played around with f.b. comments as well as Discqus.

    -josh

  15. Graham Lutz says:

    I really make an effort to engage with other commenters to meet link minded people – A lot of these people you would NEVER come in contact with in “real life.”

  16. Robin says:

    I love comments. I like to read them on my blog and I always comment on other peoples blogs. I don’t respond to everything – only when I’m asked a question or feel like a response will help clarify something. I usually will reply to “the group” after a batch of comments. I leave them for my peers because I like to encourage them, and let them know I’m paying attention to what they’re doing. Plus they’re a great way to meet new bloggers.

  17. Robert Sake says:

    One of the most rewarding part in terms of commenting especially with the established blog is when your comments were accepted. Through comments you can have a piece of the conversation and being heard in a small way will definitely inspired newbie bloggers to voice their opinions.

  18. I comment all the time. 1-2x a week I go through my reader list to catch up. I also comment during the wek if a post inspires me to leave a comment.

    I only leave comments when I really feel like I have something to share; no “great post” comments come from me.

    I find that it’s a fantastic way to connect not only with the author of the blog, but with other bloggers/commenters as well.

    I do allow comments on my blog, I love them. I’ve been lucky in that I haven’t received any blatant attacks. One woman was disappointed in a post I wrote about Justin Silver of Dogs in the City and years ago a woman told me that I would make a terrible dog mom and warned me against adopting a dog. Not earth shattering.

    It does suck to be critiqued harshly in such a public forum (I’ve had my share on Facebook), but I’ve found that remaining respectful and polite is the best way to go. The world is watching and even if I feel that I’m right, if I attack back, people will stop following me, not the random person who’s bad day inspired them to attack me.

    Looking forward to the tips.

  19. MrBlogger says:

    Spammers are the most annoying comments to filter – I would love to hear a post on how you filter these spammers. do you have any software or plugins to recommend ? also please update us on blog commenting marketing and any recommendation to go about it to improve website ranking… Cheers Darren

  20. I love getting comments. They are an idea generator and a way to connect with my audience. I’m thinking of using Facebook for my comments. However, I don’t know if I’ll have as much control to moderate them. Can you talk about that when you talk about tools?

  21. Adam says:

    For an interactive blog, yes I think comments are vital. I get the impression that blog posts with social interaction via the comments tend to rank better in Google.

    I certainly have found that to be the case with my YouTube videos that have more likes and comments on them. That seems to be more powerful in ranking my videos than backlinking does.

    I think social signals such as blog comments and ‘likes’ are the new backlinks of today!

    However, if I have a website that is not a blog as such I will remove comments on WordPress because of all the spam.

    My main blog has comments enabled because I want people to interact. But I really need to get askimet(?) hooked up properly with that as spam posts are coming in on a daily basis!

  22. Hi Darren

    I so pleased to hear you are doing a series of posts on blog commenting. It can be a frustrating aspect to blogging. I’m looking forward to hearing what the best strategies are to getting more comments and what systems are best to use. Do think systems like Commentluv are good to have to encourage comments?

    Kind regards
    Lloyd

  23. lisaflorence says:

    Comments are the important for an interactive blog.

    Great article Darren.

  24. Robinsh says:

    I was very much tensed due to the spammers activities on one of my blog what was a little bit popular in my country and attracting more than 700 comments on daily basis, that’s the reason I always ignore the comments but now when it is proved that commenting system is beneficial for bloggers in all the ways like in building a community and also on SEO perspective I have to care about it.

  25. I really make an effort to engage with other commenters to meet link minded people – A lot of these people you would NEVER come in contact with in “real life.”

  26. Ayaz says:

    Hi Darren!

    Well for me its not the way accepting the blog comments and if you have installed or running a plugin on your site that check spammers at the front end that’s enough to prove that the reader is not doing spamming on your blog.

  27. HI Darren,

    It concerns me that people comment–not to actually say something–but for their own selfish goals of getting more backlinks or SEO.

    Whatever happened to people just wanting to be part of a community or conversation? Must everything have a motive?

    Guess I’m just naive. Guess that’s why my blog will never get a bunch of readers. Perhaps that’s why I get few comments.

    Thanks for your excellent work. Even if I don’t comment everyday, I appreciate your thoughts and gracious teaching.

  28. Matt Smith says:

    I’ll be interested to read opinions about the different comment systems. I currently use Disqus 2012, but I’m hearing from a lot of people that I should switch to CommentLuv. The only reservation I have is that non of the big sites (including ProBlogger) seem to use CommentLuv and that must me for good reason.

    Keep up the excellent work Darren! Love the site

  29. Brad Dalton says:

    I like what Matt Mullenweg wrote about comments

    Hope you can get some ideas from these Darren. hahaha

    “Don’t Participate in Comments. Make it clear that your post itself is for annointed authors who don’t mix with the hoi polloi in the comments ghetto. Don’t link or highlight anything good from the comment section; those people silly enough to contribute content to your site for free should feel ignored. If an author does happen to drop in and make a comment, make sure it doesn’t stand out from the rest so it’s lost amid the sea of…”

    “Be Famous! You’ll get thousands of comments on almost everything you post and make sure only to let through the most sycophantic and saccharine, don’t tolerate real conversation or debate.”

    “Treat Everyone the Same. If I’ve left hundreds of great comments over many years on your site, please make me wait in the moderation queue like some random stranger off Digg.

    I wouldn’t waste my time commenting on Problogger if i didn’t find Darren’s content useful.

    Really like your older posts Darren. http://ma.tt/2009/08/kill-your-community/

    You do research your readers needs extremely well which i give you a big tick for.

  30. Darren, It’s just around 2 months since I started implementing commenting as one of my regular duties that go hand in hand with blogging. Not only did I start receiving lots of comments back to my blog posts, I also started to see my alexa rank going better and better each day. Even in the last few days alone my site’s Alexa rank went from 589,335 on 8th July to 505,728 today on 24th July. Not only that, my site went from nowhere to being in the 1st page of Google for the main keyword in regional index and in second page for google.com index.

    I am learning more on commenting and comment marketing, so the posts are right on time… :)

    Dr.Spencer Jones

  31. I see blogosphere as this one place where interaction is the logical thing that follows posting stuff. I’ve only started out as a blogger, but i look forward to comments on my work and conversations, ideas, suggestions… It is a community.
    That also means i make it a point to comment on other people’s work/blogs on a weekly basis and leave appropriate, meaningful comments and give my feedback– i’ve never really been ‘oh hi great post. see my blog!’ kinda person.
    Looking forward to this series of posts, Darren.

  32. neluroman says:

    Well, my blog is relatively new, one or two months old, I know fore sure that only one person has ever read my blog since I started it. I write in my own language,Romanian, but in English too. Most articles are in English, but…. not big success, I don’t know if writing bilingually is such a big idea. May be it is, may be it is not, I would sincerely appreciate some opinions. Any how, I wish success to all bloggers included I, normally.

  33. David Sneen says:

    I would no more join the group that turns off the comments on their blog than I would join the spammers on Twitter. Comments…and the dialogue that ensues are what opens up a dialogue.

    Do you want ideas? I got my latest blog post idea from a comment. Do you want to know what you need to improve? Read the comments, and read between the lines. What do your reader dislike? It is often hidden in the comments.

    Do you want to build a relationship? Keep track of comments. Bring up a key point they made earlier, and you will have made a loyal friend.

    I look forward to your future posts on comments. Thanks, Darren

  34. Jims Got Web says:

    I also think that allowing comments on your blog are important. I enjoying reading an article and then commenting on it right away. What bugs me is sites that hold your comment in “moderation” forever until they finally allow it.

  35. I’ve found that specific content leads to much higher quantity and quality of comments. For example, I get more comments when I write a blog about an electric mountain bike (today) than when I just write about bicycles in general. And I get a better quality response to articles about specific trails than about trails in general. And the same applies when I comment to the sites of other bloggers. I get a better response with very specific details than w/ generalities like “Good point!”

  36. If I take the time to read a blog post, then I will usually leave a comment. Feels like good karma.

    my comment questions:

    1. comment etiquette: is it okay to put your blog name beside your name in the name slot (as i did above),

    2, how bout when I reply to every comment left on a blog post I write – it bumps up the comment count, hopefully makes them feel appreciated – or does it?

    3. does having more comments on my post help with SEO?

    4. does leaving a comment on another persons blog equal a link back to my website (to help with SEO)

    5. what about “comment luv” – why use it or not?

    Thanks, I’m looking forward to the series.

  37. Mike says:

    I love getting legitimate comments. I think they’re a great source of feedback. If you are getting real comments, you are doing something right. I think that if you are only getting spam, and you have a decent amount of traffic to your site, you probably aren’t connecting with your readers like you should be. It might be time to adjust your writing style a bit. Of course, I suppose a lot depends on the subject of your blog, but I use that as a general guideline for myself.

  38. Ken Muise says:

    Darren,

    I respect you a lot, but… those days aren’t “gone, sadly…” You choose to concentrate on other projects and time consuming activities. I you REALLY WANTED to you could work comments like you used to.

    Ken

  39. prabhat says:

    i am a regular visitor of your blog since 1 month and i really love your writing style. one of my friend suggested me ”problogger,net” and believe me i am learning new things everyday. and its your writing style which makes people to comment here and carry on the conversation.

  40. Majid Ali says:

    Commenting on blogs is a positive way to reach your prospective readers. I am doing blog commenting for the last few days and i has helped me a lot in my traffic generation. This is very useful article . Darren. Thanks

  41. Stanley Rao says:

    Great post and blog commenting is something that makes you feel that your site is still alive

  42. Hi Darren,

    commenting and reading comments is a time drain, but I still think a worthwhile thing to do – probably in my view a little better in terms of networking (i.e. because you are giving something back to the blogger) than spending the same time on social media – i.e. if I like your site, I’d rather comment and add input/value to your platform than to Facebook.

    That being said, it takes time – my ‘system’ for what it’s worth – I have a shortlist of blogs I like (yours included) and then do my catching up of my favorite sites each week picked from that shortlist. I still leave some room for new sites and if I like them a lot I’ll add them to the shortlist (perhaps at the same time letting another one go so my shortlist doesn’t become a long list).

    It does intrigue me the difference between comments on and off, and I like and respect bold moves one way or another – e.g. ZenHabits is an awesome site with no comments but then check out Marcus Sheridan’s SalesLion to see what an awesome community can be built up through comments (if you know how to do it right as Marcus obviously does).

  43. The “word”, by whatever do you mean? Sometimes it just takes one person to write a straight edged article like this to help a lot of people start doing things the right way. Good on ya!

  44. Mahesh Verma says:

    i am a daily visitor of your blog such a your are great blogger and writer you give me lot of knowledge tanks again give me great post Awesome information

  45. Hi my names matthew and Basically im just here For a little girl battling cancer, her name is jessica and im trying to get people to donate $1.00 in order to help her fight cancer shes only four years old an chemo is taking a tole on her body

    http://www.gofundme.com/SaveJessica

    Thank you

  46. Katie says:

    I see several articles regarding comments. I know from my stats from a new blog that I have far more
    viewers and only a paltry amount of comments. I think people are busy and scroll around on numerous blogs. I do and if something really interest me I comment.

  47. A. Kayastha says:

    I do comment on other blogs in a view to shot multiple birds with just one shot of bullet. First, to share the information and knowledge I know. Second, getting connected with other fellow bloggers. Third, increase the readership and visitors in my blog.

    I know, many spammer just come and drop senseless comments.

  48. Blog commenting is really good for every Blogger. Thanks for this post & your Blog.

  49. BIJOY says:

    Blog commenting is very best for other Blogger.I like your blogger because there have very important thinks. Thank you very much for this post and BLOG.

  50. Julie says:

    I do have comments on my blog. I can’t imagine turning them off. I am not always good about responding to all of them quickly but I do read an enjoy them very much. I also like to leave comments on other blogs.