Why we will not turn off comments on our blog - a response to Copyblogger

Why We Will Not Turn Off Comments On Our Blog – A Response to Copyblogger

Why we will not turn off comments on our blog - a response to Copyblogger

Yesterday, I was surprised to read that one of my favorite sites for online marketing tips and ideas, Copyblogger, is no longer going to allow comments on their blog. Their reasons were understandable, and maybe when my blog gets to the size of theirs, I’ll consider doing the same, but I doubt it. Here’s why I still welcome your comments on my blog.

We Want to Comment Right Here, Right Now

One argument Copyblogger makes is that comments really belong on social media. I get that. However, when I read a great blog post, I may have a question, compliment or something to add to the article. Right now. Ask me to go find you on Twitter or Facebook to comment, and I will get distracted by a hundred other things on the way – I promise. More than that, now I have to either find your update about the blog post and respond to that, or put my comment in context.

Assuming that your content is so fantastic that I’ll put forth that much effort is a gamble. Maybe they’re really trying to get only the most passionate responses? Still, I think they’re going to miss out. This seems to me the most important reason to allow comments on your blog.

Blog Comments are Educational and Permanent

There are some posts on this blog that, after three years or more, still elicit reader comments. Sometimes it’s to let me know the tip still works (good to know), that something has changed (also good to know so I can update) or to report a bug or ask a question. All this allows me to keep my blog updated, and sometimes even gives me ideas for new blog posts. Score!

Then there are the times when I’ve overlooked something or even made a mistake (it happens). Blog comments give people a place to easily share their thoughts immediately and for me to respond in context.

You might make an insightful and valuable comment on a Facebook update of mine (or Copyblogger’s) but how am I going to find that in a month when I want to review it or share it with someone? It’s going to be a major pain to find it. If the comment is on a blog post, easy!

Comment Spam is a Fact of Life

For every well thought out, insightful comment, there are 10 like this little gem from this morning: “I savour, lead to I discovered exactly what I was taking a look for. You have ended my 4 day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye” Is it a pain deleting them all? Yes. Is it worth it to find a few actual questions and comments? Also yes.

Now, Copyblogger no doubt receives at least 10 times the number of spam comments as this blog receives. But, they probably have a lot more resources in time and people-power, too. How long does it take to look at 100 comments and mark 90 of them as spam? About 90 seconds.  Maybe less.

It’s a Conversation

Yes, every little “thank you”, insight, question or argument tells me that you valued what I said – or you hated it, or it provoked you. It gives me a chance to speak WITH my readers, not just at them. It gives me the opportunity to show people what I know and that I care. And I appreciate every last one of you (except the spammers – them I could do without).

Score One for Copyblogger – One Way It Worked

One of their arguments for disallowing commenting is that people’s well thought out comments really should be on their own blogs. Look at that – it worked! However, I still believe if they posted the original article, my response – at least my first response, belongs there. I appreciate their vote of confidence, though. 🙂

Would you consider turning comments off on your own blog? Why or why not?

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Summary

Article Name
Why We Won’t Turn off Blog Comments – a Response to Copyblogger
Description
Blogging giant Copyblogger has turned off comments on their blog. Read their reasons, see what they’re missing, and chime in!
Author

About the Author Alisa Meredith (311 Posts)

As co-owner and chief inbound marketing consultant at Scalable Social Media, Alisa Meredith spends a lot of time keeping up with online marketing trends for the benefit of our customers. Computers have been a passion of hers since her first T1-99, so inbound and social media marketing is a natural fit.

Comments

  1. Alisa,

    I definitely agree with your stance on comments. Copyblogger can probably get away with turning comments off and some people may go to social media to continue the conversation simply because they have such a large following.

    Or maybe this is their strategy to get more links. 🙂 After all, you link to them here and I was thinking of writing my own response later this week, time permitting.

    Turning off comments definitely detracts from the community feel of a blog. I certainly wouldn’t recommend that strategy for new bloggers, but I bet many of them will now follow Copyblogger’s example.

    We’ll see what happens…

  2. Alisa Meredith

    Nice to see you, Laura!

    Ha! I hadn’t thought of the conspiracy angle. 🙂 If they turn them back on in a week, I’ll be suspicious. Haha.

    I’m glad they at least acknowledged that it’s not the best choice for everyone.

    Thanks for commenting!

  3. Perhaps it’s genius marketing on Brian Clark’s part and, if so, kudos to him. But I think the decision shows ingratitude. Copyblogger is fortunate (yes, smart too, but also blessed) to have a large, loyal audience who are committed to reading and commenting regularly. If reading through the comments is tedious, so be it. It’s a happy price to pay for success.

    I hear from bloggers who complain that comments on their blogs are dwindling because of social media. Why go to a person’s site if you can read a post on Google+ or Triberr? I am a bit surprised that Copyblogger is actively pushing visitors away.

    I am interested to watch and see if Copyblogger’s move is irritating and brilliant or just irritating.

    Thank you, Alisa, for your insights. And for your generosity in permitting comments.

  4. Here here! I am so sharing this article…

  5. Alisa Meredith

    Absolutely, Katherine! “Ingratitude” is a perfect word for it. And yes, don’t we want people to hang around on our sites? Very well put – thanks for sharing!

  6. Alisa Meredith

    Thanks, Jill! At least we’re talking about them, right? But for how long? I’m guessing they reverse course someday.

  7. Alisa,

    Thanks for this post and for your perspective. 🙂

    On behalf of the Copyblogger team, let me wholeheartedly agree with one of your statements in particular:

    Still, I think they’re going to miss out.

    You’re 100% correct. Will miss out on some terrific comments beneath posts (as yours would have been), and that is why the debate and decision to remove comments was not an easy one. This is not a black/white or right/wrong issue. And we are not “against” blog commenting, as some seem to have taken the announcement.

    But for us it was a matter of time allocation and a very deep desire to lead our audience in the direction of creating more content for themselves. As you have done here. Which your audience can then interact with, as it is. 🙂

    This is not a decision that would have been made 7-8 years ago when the site was growing, and it’s definitely not the right decision for every site. We trust our audience members to think for themselves and make the best decision for their unique circumstances. As for us, we’re excited to see how the experiment works and what we learn from it.

  8. Katherine,

    As the person tasked with reading through comments on Copyblogger, I can say that I never considered it “tedious.” Time-consuming? Yes. And a bit challenging sometimes, to parse the good comments from the slip-through SPAM? Yes. But never tedious. I enjoyed it, just like I enjoy writing new posts, interacting on social media, recording podcasts, and … oh if only there were more hours in the day. 🙂 As a lean company, we do have to very particular about how we spend our time. For now, this is an area we are cutting back in a bit to give more to other areas.

    We absolutely do not see it as pushing visitors away. We do see it as pushing conversations to new, possibly more appropriate venues. (We’ll see.) And encouraging our audience to take their useful thoughts on post them for THEIR audience as opposed to digitally sharecropping them on Copyblogger. And for those who want to stay on Copyblogger to converse, we have the Authority forums.

  9. Alisa Meredith

    Thanks so much for stopping by, Jerod. I can understand the issue of prioritizing resources, and as some have said to me, it would be nice to have your particular problem! It should be an interesting experiment, and I look forward to your findings. And I must say, I certainly appreciate it when people admit they don’t know exactly how things will work out.

    Katherine’s comments do reflect how some of your visitors are going to see this. I suspect your loyal advocates will play along, but others will move on. If you keep reminding people where you DO allow commenting (and maybe even link to the update on FB, G+ so we don’t have to search for it or make our own) that could help dispel the “we don’t want to hear you” impression.

    Thanks again for stopping by – you kind of made my day.
    ~ Alisa

  10. Thank you, Jerod, for your thoughtful response. It’s very much appreciated. And why I hope the “no comment” policy at Copyblogger is reversed. I comment much differently on a person’s blog than I do when commenting on the same material in a forum such as Google+. Both are public spaces, but the former invites greater insight.

    My blog garners such thoughtful — and heartfelt — comments that I am not infrequently rendered speechless. I couldn’t imagine disallowing communication on my website even if my blog grew so popular that managing the comments required expense other than my time.

    Thank you again, Jerod, for taking the time to comment here and to you, Alisa, for providing this inviting space to those of us who embrace the conversational aspects of a blog.

  11. I agree, it is a conversation. Building an audience requires an emotional connection and dialogue. However as Jerrod points out the decision Copyblogger has taken, is not something everyone should be copying.

    I think the take away is the need to find the best way to build connections with your audience in light of the overall strategy and business model.

    • Alisa Meredith

      Thanks for stopping by, Vinay. It’s true, most of us have limited resources and need to figure out where best to allocate them. I have a feeling Copyblogger may turn commenting back on at some point!

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