If you have been trying to build a blog for your business, you are likely to have read a number of articles emphasizing the importance of reader comments. Any online search reveals a lot of opinion detailing how to increase the number of comments on your posts. However, your blog comments section could actually be killing your content strategy, and you might want to consider cutting it from your blog entirely. Here's why less engagement in this section of your site may help your brand grow in the long run.
The Case for Blog Comments
The old argument is that comments encourage community. Many cite that leaving your comments turned on creates a forum for open discussion. Some experts insist that to remove the comments section creates an undesirable feeling of "This is my post, and that's final."
Another argument for comments is that blog owners can show they listen to their audience by joining in the discussion. This can create interactions that increase time spent on site, page views, and more.
There is also a long held belief that plenty of comments on posts shows that your site is well populated. Some experts say that large numbers of comments indicates you have a lot of visitors. This means people will gain the impression they should stay on your site longer to check out other posts and more discussions.
Why Remove Comments?
While there is validity to these points, there are also some negative aspects of comments, and it could be harming your content strategy. Perhaps the main reason for this is that managing the comments on your blog can be extremely time consuming. Comments create the burden of moderation. Although you will find that it is possible to automate some element of this to ease the burden, there is still the need for human input to check spam and reply to comments. Replying to thank you comments for links or one line agreements takes precious time away from your core business and creating more content to provide value for your visitors.
In my experience, comments probably represent too small a minority of site visitors for you to be giving up much time dealing with them. Compared to your overall page view numbers, only a tiny fraction of visitors will actually comment on an article. You are likely to find that Twitter mentions or Facebook shares will be far more beneficial for building your brand and community.
Many would acknowledge that most visitors rarely read the bottom section of web pages anyway. Think about your own experience. While you may sometimes stick around to read a full article, how often do you take the time to scroll through dozens of inane comments and mentions?
There are other potential problems with allowing comments on your blog. Allowing comments encourages ill-thought responses. When you've only just read an article, you're likely to feel more strongly about it. For some people, that open text box waiting at the end of a post is too hard to pass up. You end up with negative comments that feature tone and language you wouldn't want your mother to hear. The anonymity of comments also does not encourage civility or appropriate behavior.
A Tough Choice
For most site owners, choosing to cut the comments from your blog is likely to be a difficult decision. Articles about politics or sports for instance can draw hundreds of comments, and certain sites have built up extensive communities based around commenting. Such communities are too valuable to discard.
This is probably not the case with you though. While you may enjoy reading the comments on your blog, they could be compromising your content strategy and brand. Since it is also possible for visitors to write a response on their own blog, Tweet you or connect with you on other social media channels, there may really be no need to spend precious time moderating a comments section. Instead, you may want to concentrate your efforts on crafting killer content, which will not only keep your existing readership happy but could encourage new visitors on to your site.