One of the big questions new bloggers face is whether or not to allow readers to leave comments. In almost every case, I think the answer is a solid yes. Here’s a bit about why:
Take back your content
As I shared late last year, I think more people need to be blogging in order to take back their content. If you want your blog to be the hub of your content, it only makes sense to allow people to talk to you about it there.
Comments are rare
Related, though, comments are pretty rare on most sites. Using this blog as an example, at the time of this writing I have 707 posts and 853 comments — that’s barely more than one per post.
You may get into a situation where dealing with a ton of comments is an issue, and I hope we get back into that world with a lot of blogs, but it’s unlikely to happen.
Related, though, make sure you have some kind of anti-spam system in place. Human comments are fairly rare, but spammers continue to go nuts. I still use Akismet (which I first talked about 13 years ago) and it does a great job.
Who is it for?
The main question is asking who the content is for. If you’re writing about the latest video games or politics, I could see turning the comments off. Personally I like to see them on posts like that, but they often turn into arguments about silly things and can be more trouble than they’re worth.
This blog, for the most part, is a way for me to unpack my own thoughts. If someone reads a post of mine and has another angle to consider, I absolutely want to hear about it.
As Anne Roche recently mentioned to me, gaining more insight into your own writing is awesome, and I think comments can be a great way to see that.
As part of taking the altMBA, there are two pieces that really apply here:
- Leaving good comments can be a bit of an art, and receiving them can be as well.
- More importantly, the “revision script” that we wrote for each post, based on the comments we received, was one of the best parts of the altMBA process.
How that translates into a blog post could go a few different ways. Maybe you edit your old posts with your new insights? Maybe write an new update about an old post later? Either way, the insights that you gain from great comments can be an amazing thing, and you can’t get that if you don’t have comments.
“I keep them turned off”
I know folks that intentionally disable comments on their blog, and some have very good reasons for doing so. Keeping them turned on isn’t for everyone. However, for the sake of those of us that like to dig a little deeper in conversations, consider keeping them open on your site and leaving comments of your own a bit more often on other sites.