When I made the decision, I wasn’t thinking about blocking opinions that differ from my own or dealing with trolls. I simply wasn’t getting enough comments to make keeping the feature worthwhile. The empty comment boxes made my blog look sad.
I thought about putting more effort into getting people to leave comments but decided that this wouldn’t have a big impact on my business goals, and there were other things I should focus on instead.
Before I cut the feature, I examined a number of B2B blogs with good content. Many of them also lacked comments. Does this mean they are failing as blogs and the companies that own them are missing their targets? I can’t say for sure but I think comments are only one part of a healthy blog.
In addition to comments, you should also look at:
- Your traffic
- How long people stay on your blog
- How much time they spend reading your posts
- How many leads opt in for your premium content
- If your blog subscribers are increasing
- If people are engaging with your blog’s content on social media
If you are doing well in these areas, comments may not matter that much. You might be in a B2B niche where people want to gather information to support a buying decision and don’t have time to leave comments.
Here are a few more things to consider when you’re deciding whether you should try to get more comments or pull the plug on them.
You Might Want to Focus on Getting More Comments If …
- You want to build a community. If building a large community of engaged subscribers is one of your top goals, then allowing them to comment can give them a reason to keep coming back to your blog.
- You want to boost your SEO. Blog comments are indexed by Google and can help improve your blog posts’ SEO.
- You want feedback. Comments are a great way to get feedback from your customers. However, read on to see how the feedback can backfire on you.
- You want to be seen as a leader in your industry. When readers come to your blog and see lots of comments, it looks impressive. This can set you apart from other bloggers in your niche who don’t have a visibly engaged community.
You Might Want to Remove the Comments Feature from Your B2B Blog If …
- You’d get better results going to your community instead of asking them to come to you. You can publish something on your blog and wait for people to comment on it, or you can share the blog in a place where discussions are already happening … such as targeted LinkedIn groups. When you do this, more of your ideal customers will be likely to read and comment on the post.
- You can’t respond to all of your comments. A blog with empty comment boxes looks sad. However, a blog with comments and no responses just looks bad. Don’t encourage comments if you can’t respond to them. People leave comments because they want to have a conversation. If you don’t respond, you’ll put off many of your readers.
- Responding to commenters will damage your blogging. Seth Godin removed the comments feature from his blog and cited an interesting reason why he did so. He said that reading and responding to comments “permanently changes the way I write. Instead of writing for everyone, I find myself writing in anticipation of the commenters.” If your commenters are your best customers, responding to them could help you understand their needs and serve them better. However, if most of your commenters are competitors or random people, you could waste a lot of time and energy responding to comments when you should be engaging high-quality leads and customers.
- You want to encourage other actions on your blog. If one of your blog’s goals is to encourage opt-ins, than comments might be a distraction. Let’s say you write a blog post that promotes an upcoming webinar. At the bottom of the post, you have a both link to the webinar’s registration page and comments. A reader who might be interested in the webinar could get distracted by the comments and forget to register. You might want to analyze your blog to see whether multiple calls to action (e.g. “comment” and “opt in”) are helping or harming you.
- In the grand scheme of things, comments won’t impact whether or not you reach your business goals. I’m a big believer in the 80/20 rule – which states that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts. If monitoring and responding to comments is taking too much effort and not contributing to your results, why waste your time?
If you don’t want to allow comments but still want readers to engage in conversations, you can include your social streams at the bottom of your blog posts. That way, readers can see what people are saying about your posts and join discussions on your social networks.
Ultimately, your decision to allow comments or not depends on your business goals and how you want your blog to help you reach them.
If you’d like to comment on this post, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with me on any of my social networks.