A conversation came up recently in the Side Hustle Teachers Facebook group that I knew had to be shared here.
What’s up with blog comments? Are they necessary to the growth or of your blog, or just an extra thing to do that doesn’t really give you anything back?
Opinions run the gamut on this issue, and you’ll find all sorts of posts about why you should or should not allow comments on your blog.
Some say that comments are good for search engine optimization (SEO). Yes, leaving comments on other blogs can be good for your SEO, because it serves as a linkback to your site. However, there’s no data that suggests permitting users to comment on your blog improves your SEO ranking.
Another thought is that comments can improve traffic to your blog, but again, the data doesn’t bear that out. When Michael Hyatt cut off comments on his blog, his traffic grew 74%, soooooo… (It should be noted, though, that he also decided to turn comments back on after a year.)
Really, what it comes down to is your personal decision and what you want for your blog.
So let’s dig into the pros and cons of blog comments.
The Case Against Blog Comments
There are a couple of arguments I hear people make for why they turn comments off on their blog, so let’s start with the big 2:
Spam. In the wonderful world of the interwebs, spam is ever present. For blogs, spam comments can fill up your blog with links to pages with questionable content, or people who just want to promote their own blogs.
You definitely don’t want links to phishing sites linked from yours, so that is a legitimate concern. Using a plugin like Akismet will help catch those comments and prevent them from posting. And if that’s not enough, you can turn on comment moderation, so nothing will get posted without your permission.
However, that brings us to the second reason people give for not allowing comments;
Time. When you allow comments on your blog, it adds to the time commitment you make to managing that blog. To make the most of comments, you should read them and, whenever possible, respond to them.
This requires time.
As a side hustling teacher, time is a precious commodity, and you need to make sure you’re using yours on things that will give you a return on your investment. And who has time to moderate and respond to comments?
If allowing comments on your blog can lead to spam and take up time to manage, why would you want to give readers the option?
The Case for Blog Comments
While there is a down side, blog comments can be beneficial as well.
Connection. Your readers come to you for great content, but one of the things that turns readers into raving fans is being able to connect with you. When you allow comments, you give your audience a way to reach out and connect with you.
Through comments, and your responses, you can build a relationship with your readers that will engage them further, and build the know, like, and trust factor even faster.
Understanding. When a reader leaves a comment on a blog post, they’re telling you that they found something useful or that they have more questions. This information can be useful when planning content for your blog and social media.
If there’s something that connects with readers, and you find lots of positive comments; do more of that!
On the other hand, if your readers have questions after you share a post, this may be a sign that you need to create a follow-up, or rework the original post to be clearer.
Either way, you now know more about what your audience likes and wants from you.
Do I think you should open comments on your blog posts? Get ready for everyone’s favorite answer; It depends.
I believe that you should provide your audience a way to interact with you. There’s no doubt that building relationships and forging connections between yourself and your readers is beneficial for you and them.
That said, where you interact with your readers is completely up to you.
For the first 2 years of Side Hustle Teachers I didn’t allow comments. Instead, I directed my audience to join the Facebook group to share their thoughts. I was already spending a lot of time there cultivating the group and conversation, so it made sense to keep everything there.
Now you’ll see that you can leave comments, but it’s not a primary part of my content strategy.
The long and short of it is that building a rapport with your audience is a great way to grow your business – people buy from people they know, like, and trust – but hosting that conversation on your blog isn’t required.
Decide where you want people to go to leave comments, ask questions, and get to know you better, and continuously remind them to go there.
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