Allowing comments on your blog can be a wonderful way to increase reader engagement and discussion on your site. It can also lead to negative comments and trolls posting inappropriate and spammy content on your site. If you’re wondering whether your blog should allow comments, it’s best to weigh the pros and cons carefully.
You can further engage with your audience.
Some comments are difficult to respond to.
Chance to showcase expertise and build your credibility.
You will receive negative comments; some could be extremely negative.
Fosters connection and sense of community.
You will receive spam that spam filters won't catch.
You learn more about your audience.
Managing comments can be time-consuming.
Offers social proof.
Is There an SEO Benefit to Allowing Blog Comments?
Long articles tend to rank higher on Google, although posts that are over 2,500 words don’t necessarily rank better than those between 2,400 and 2,500 words. Blog comments add to your blog post word count; and since comments can boost total word count, they could help you rank higher on Google, but only to a certain extent.
In my experience as a blogger for nearly a decade, I have found that some of my older posts that have the most comments rank higher than posts with fewer or no comments. Yet, it’s not consistent.
There is no guarantee that allowing comments on your blog will give you a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) advantage. Comments may help or prove irrelevant to your SEO efforts. The benefit of comments from an organic search perspective depends on overall post content and Google’s estimation of the value of the content contained with post comments—for example, are the comments relevant and do they add authoritativeness to the post?
Learn More About SEO for Bloggers
Some Visitors Want to Leave Comments, but Most Don’t
According to Statista, 54% of readers have never left a comment on a blog, while as many as 10% leave a comment on a blog every single day, and 12% comment a few times a week. Clearly some readers want to engage with blogs via comments regularly, but the majority of people don’t.
When considering whether to allow or disable comments on your blog, you need to think about your niche and your overall blog content strategy. Let your blogging goals and audience help guide your decision here.
Is visitor engagement important to you? Are you hoping to create a sense of community on your blog? If the answer is yes, these are a couple of reasons to allow blog comments.
Do you lack the time to monitor and respond to blog comments? Do your followers fall in the “I’m not really into commenting” camp? If the answer is yes, these are a couple of reasons to disable blog comments.
Why Visitors Leave Comments
Before you evaluate the pros and cons of allowing comments on your blog, it’s important to understand why your audience might leave comments in the first place. Some of their reasons will lift your spirits, but others might make your heart sink.
On my own personal growth blog, I receive five basic types of comments:
- Words of thanks and appreciation
- Questions and “This is what’s going on with me” comments
- Constructive criticism
- Nonconstructive criticism
When it comes to spam and nonconstructive criticism, you should delete those comments right away. There’s no point in engaging with someone who clearly isn’t likely to listen to you, and you definitely don’t want to give a voice to someone who is flat-out hateful or who is trying to use your blog to promote non-related content.
For all other comments, make sure you get back to the person commenting with an appropriate response. After all, while you know the commenter will read it, you should also keep in mind that others will be reading my responses, too. How you treat commenters is always a reflection of your expertise and professionalism. Demonstrating respect is paramount.
Examples of Blog Comments
The lion’s share of the comments I receive on my blog are positive. I go to great lengths in researching my content and take tremendous care to understand my site visitors’ needs to provide helpful insights and valuable content to them. If you are diligent about creating strong blog content, you should experience mostly positive comments too.
Here are a few examples of actual positive comments posted on my blog:
- “Reading your words helped me find my confidence. Thank you very much.”
- “Your website is incredible! It speaks to my heart.”
- “Thank you for your inspiring and comforting words—I found them at a time when I feel I’m at rock bottom and I needed them the most. Sincere thanks.”
Obviously, I could read those types of flattering comments all day. And you know what, so can my site visitors. When visitors see this kind of feedback, it boosts a blog’s reputation.
Another type of comment I get on my blog comes in the form of questions. Sometimes they’re pretty easy to handle and other times they’re not. Here are a few trickier ones to answer that I’ve received:
- If it weren’t for bad luck, I would have no luck at all. How do I change that way of thinking?
- How do I turn my life around if I have no idea what kind of life I want other than just to be happy again?
- I’m just tired of going through this pain emotionally, financially, and mentally. What do I need to do?
In my blogging niche, we sometimes discuss big life issues, which means I can find big questions awaiting me in my blog’s comments. I use this as an opportunity to continue to support and share additional information with my audience—and when appropriate, I direct the commenter to appropriate professional help.
People Want to Feel Heard
When responding to blog comments, your goal should be showing your readers that you hear them, see them, and care about them. And at some point, you may not be the only one who responds to comments on your blog. Other blog readers are often ready and willing to support commenters by answering questions and offering words of support. To me, that sense of community is a great reason to allow blog comments.
When someone does criticize a post, you should write back, thank them for their feedback, and invite them to continue the conversation. Sometimes, they may want to talk more, but more often they probably won’t. Constructive feedback gives you a chance to learn from your site visitors and serve them even better.
How to Prevent Spam Comments
To avoid getting bombarded with spam comments on your site, use Akismet, a WordPress plugin that filters out 99%+ of spam comments. If it weren’t for this amazing plugin, I would receive over 5,000 spam comments—mostly from bots—every month. There’s no way I could keep up with that volume, nor would I want to.
Weigh the Pros & Cons of Allowing Comments on Your Blog
Now that you know what types of comments you might receive, and you’ve considered whether your audience might be more or less inclined to want to comment, let’s take a look at the main pros and cons of allowing comments on your blog.
There is no right or wrong answer to the question, “Should my blog have comments?” Some successful blogs disable comments while others enable them. You must do what seems right for you.
Pros of Allowing Comments
- Audience engagement: Comments are a sign your blog visitors want to engage with you. They’re also your chance to engage more fully with your blog audience.
- Showcase your expertise and build your credibility: Oftentimes, commenters will ask questions. The answers you supply further demonstrate your knowledge.
- Foster connection and community: Many times, your blog readers will respond to other commenters’ posts. This fosters a sense of community spirit on your blog—which can lead to more loyal fans.
- Learn more about your audience: As much research as you do to know your audience, there’s nothing quite as eye-opening as direct feedback—and that’s what you get in blog comments.
- Offers social proof: When people see others commenting on your blog, it serves as social proof that your site welcomes discussions and may encourage others to engage more fully too.
- Comments reflect authenticity: Even negative comments show you’re open and willing to listen to your readers. This authenticity can earn additional respect from blog visitors.
If you want to make money blogging, then it’s important that you build a loyal following. Allowing comments on your blog is one way to show your site visitors that you value their thoughts, opinions, and questions. Engaging with your audience through comments can be one avenue for building a base of raving fans.
Cons of Allowing Comments
Not all blogs allow comments. Some bloggers find that the value of comments aren’t worth the effort they take to manage.
Here are the main cons to allowing comments on your blog:
- Some comments are very difficult to address: They may leave you stumped with how to respond.
- You will receive negative comments: You must have thick skin to handle some blog comments. Commenters may be critical—and a handful will be brutal in their criticism.
- You will receive spam: Even if you use a great spam filter like Akismet, some spam will get through.
- Managing comments takes time: A handful of comments a week isn’t that hard to handle, but if you start getting dozens or hundreds of comments, it can be overwhelming.
The bottom-line when it comes to allowing or disabling blog comments is that it’s your blog, and you’re always in control. You can try allowing comments and see if there is a benefit for your blog audience. If there is, great. If you find the quality of comments or volume you’re receiving doesn’t merit the effort required to monitor and manage them, you can then disable comments.
Set Up a Comment Approval Process
Your blogging software should have a setting for controlling comments, though the specifics of how to set these controls varies somewhat by platform. In WordPress, the setting is on your admin dashboard’s sidebar. WordPress lets you allow or disable comments on a post-by-post basis.
If you plan to allow blog comments, I recommend that you don’t let any comments go live until you’ve had a chance to review them first. This is to prevent inappropriate comments from appearing on your site.
Your WordPress dashboard will alert you when a new blog comment is posted on your site, and you’ll have the option to approve, reply, edit, or trash the comment. You can also mark it as spam.
Best Practices if You Decide to Use Comments
If you decide that you want to allow comments on your blog, there are a handful of things you need to do to manage those comments well. Your goal should be to serve all your readers while lifting your blog’s image in the process.
Here are the top things to remember when managing blog comments:
- Respond in a timely manner.
- Be respectful.
- Respond to every comment that you allow on your site.
- Affirm that you appreciate the commenter.
- Allow constructive debates, but avoid flat-out fights as no one wins those.
- Feel free to direct the commenter to additional resources—which may be on your blog or somewhere else.
- If you feel no good can come from responding to a comment—for example, if it’s a hateful or vulgar comment—just trash it. Not every comment deserves to be posted.
- If you want more interaction with your readers, use a call to action (CTA) to encourage them to comment on your posts.
Many people will read how you respond to comments. Thoughtful, well-structured responses that offer value will help boost your credibility and build a positive reputation for your blog.
There are many advantages to permitting comments on your blog, including the ability to engage with readers, build your expertise, and even potentially creating a more loyal fan base. Yet, not all comments are easy to deal with; many are off-subject, some are spam, and managing large volumes of comments is not practical for many bloggers.
If you’re still on the fence on whether to accept comments on your blog, I recommend doing an easy test. Allow comments for a short while, and see if they enhance the blog experience for your readers. If you find the comments offer value, then continue to allow comments. If you find comments aren’t beneficial on your blog, simply disable them.
Remember that you are always in control of your website, and you can always choose which comments you allow and which ones you don’t allow on your blog.