Is it time to turn off comments on your blog?

I’ve always believed that leaving and responding to comments on a blog is one of the actions at the very heart of what blogging is all about. Imagine my surprise when I then read that some bloggers are turning off comments being left on their blogs for good.

#bloggingtips #blogging

If you’re lucky enough to get lots of comments left on your blog, then responding to them can become overwhelming. In the almost four years I’ve been blogging, I’ve approved and responded to nearly 30,000 comments, and it can sometimes take me a whole morning responding. However, I’ve always had the attitude that if somebody has taken the time to read and leave a comment on one of my posts, then it’s only right and polite that I acknowledge them and write a response.

‘Treat every visitor to your blog, as you would any guest to your house.”

Those were the words I read very early on in my blogging life. Written by a blogger who had a massive number of followers and who responded to all the comments left on her blog, her words have forever remained etched in my mind. Now, one of the first things I do every morning when I open my blog is respond to any comments that have been left. Not only does it makes me feel good (because I know people are actually reading my posts), but I like to think that the person who left the comment will see that I’m a friendly blogger who doesn’t ignore my readers.

Of course, comments come in all shapes and sizes. There are the comments where you know the reader has definitely read all of your post; comments which can spark off new ideas for new blog posts, and then there are the comments that say little if nothing and get you asking if they really did read your post. There are lots of other types as well, but I still acknowledge the latter of those comments by pressing the ‘like’ button. It, at least, shows I’ve read the comment.

More recently, I’ve seen a significant increase in what I call ‘worthless comments’ being left where a link to the person’s blog is also included in the comment. The most popular one is “Great post. Please visit my blog and tell me what you think…” followed by a link. I often see the same comment left on other blogs. Should we respond to these kinds of comments? I believe we should, and will often comment back “Thank you. I’d love to know what it was that you thought was great about the post.” I’ll then remove the link to their blog from their comment before approving it so that it does not appear in the comment section. As yet, I’ve never had a response back to that kind of comment. I wonder why?

“Not answering comments left on your blog, is like inviting somebody around for coffee and then ignoring them.”

Comments can also open up debates between your readers. I always enjoy seeing two or more bloggers commenting between themselves on the subject I’ve written about. Move on to one of those bloggers actually then creating a whole new post out of the subject, and thanking me in their post by linking to my article, and I get that feeling that I’ve done something right out of the post I’ve published.

But, what about the question I posed in the title of this post? Should we turn comments off on our blogs? I can certainly see why some bloggers would temporarily disable comments being left, but to disable comments altogether and never turning them back on? I don’t believe any blog should not give its readers the chance to leave a comment. Afterall, don’t comments allow the reader to communicate with the author, and isn’t that what most author’s want? Wouldn’t it be like talking to an empty room if the ability to leave a comment has been permanently turned off?

Would you consider turning off comments being left on your blog? How do you manage the responding to comments process on your blog?

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347 comments

    1. Me, too, Jean. Just as much as coming across blogs where the author does not reply to any comments, I think it goes against one of the main reasons why blogging was developed. Without the many blogging communities (and being a part of them), blogging would be a very lonely existence.

  1. I am just like you, Hugh. Replying to comments is like answering thank you notes. It’s important. I know when a simple “thank you” will do, and often that is my response…with a comma and the reader’s name if they are a follower. Sometimes there is more. It all depends on the content. Blogging goes both ways because there is a writer and a reader.

  2. You’re so right about replying to them all, even though many people do not go back to see the reply (I don’t always, only if I was raising a new point for discussion!)

    The only thing I would say is not worth your time is responding to the ‘great post, here is a link to my blog’ ones. These people have not read your post. They don’t know who you are, and have probably not even noticed what the post is about; they just add their links to the comments box. I get tweets from idiots like this. They say stuff like ‘Your book looks/is great, here’s the link to mine’. I just ignore them and mute. When I get comments like this on my blog, I report as spam.

    1. I tend to always click the button that gives you the option of receiving a reply via email, although I’ve noticed that not everyone does that and, hence, my questions don’t always get answered. When they go unanswered, I tend to no longer leave any further comments as I feel they’re going to waste.

      I now send most of those ‘Great post’ comments to spam, given that I never get a reply. However, many who leave those sort of comments seldom come back.

      Thanks for your thoughts on this subject, Terry.

  3. I agree with you, Hugh. The comments are what make blogging worthwhile and differentiate it form other forms of social media that do not have the same interactive nature. Comments I receive make me a better writer and blogger [I think!], that is how we learn.

  4. I have recently come across a few blogs where there is no way of even clicking a like, let alone leaving a comment. Why? Makes no sense. Comments are a huge part of blogging for me. Like you, it is the first thing I do in the morning. Check spam folder, approve and respond to comments. There are only two of my early posts I have closed to comments and that was because they seemed to continue attracting spam and other trash. Once I closed those to comments, I get very little spam. Thank you for an interesting and thought provoking article, Hugh.

    1. Actually, I’m one of those blogs where you can no longer leave a ‘like,’ I have my reasons and, if you want to, you can read about them here –

      https://hughsviewsandnews.com/2018/02/12/is-it-time-to-remove-the-like-button-from-your-blog-mondayblogs/

      However, I’d never ever dream of disabling comments from my blog unless I was going to have to be away from my blog for an extended period of time and had no way of logging in. Of course, I’d let readers know first.

      Thank you so much for adding your thoughts on this post and subject. I appreciate them.

      1. Thanks Hugh, I had a read of the ‘like’ post and left some comments. It’s all very thought provoking. I must say when I disabled comments to two of my posts, I did so out of desperation as they kept attracting long threads of comments totally unrelated to my posts and I had no idea what else I could do to stop it. It worked and I have had no similar occurrences on any of my other posts.

        1. I have the same thing happen to me. However, because I moderate all comments before they appear on my blog, those comments usually end up in the spam folder (which I can empty with one click of a button). Recently, I have been inundated with spam comments from scammers who are using an ‘Outlook’ address to try and gain access. At first, those comments were getting through to my ‘waiting to be approved’ list. However, because I marked them all as spam, they now all go straight to my WordPress spam folder. Sometimes, just the heading of a post can also attract a lot of spam. It can even be a particular word in the heading. It can be very annoying but, on the plus side, it shows that you’ve written a great heading that should attract a lot of traffic from internet search engines.

        2. You can check what setting you have set up for comments. Under ‘discussion’ on your blog’s dashboard, it can be found under ‘Before a comment appears.’ There are two options available.

  5. Exactly! Turning off comments is like inviting someone over for coffee and hogging their ear to listen to us without leaving a chance to comment. But in some circumstances it’s acceptable. I’ve never done it. Ever! But am considering doing so if I should get ambitious and post something while on vacation this time. 🙂 ❤

    1. I’ve only ever done it when I’ve known I’m going to be away from my blog for a while, Debby. Like I said to Jacqui, I don’t like the thought of not responding to comments within 24 hours of them being left. They become a bit of nightmare if I know they are there but can’t respond to them.
      xx

  6. Good post. There seems to be an influx of bloggers turning off comments. I’m with you–I blog for the conversation. Having said that, I did recently turn off comments on one of my blogs (not my writer blog–I have four blogs) because I never got any! I got lots of visitors but few conversation and was tired of being embarrassed.
    Sigh.

    1. I have turned off comments on some of my posts, but only if I am going to be away from my blog for a while. I don’t like the thought of not responding to comments within 24 hours of them being left.
      Thank you for your thoughts on this subject, Jacqui.

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