Is It Time To Remove The ‘Like’ Button From Your Blog? #MondayBlogs

In my recent post, ‘Is It Time To Turn Off Comments On Your Blog?’, the subject of the ‘like’ button came up in the comments section of the post. Some of those comments got me thinking and asking questions.

#bloggingtips #blogging #WordPress

WordPress says that clicking the ‘like’ button is a way of ‘tipping your hat’ to an awesome post you’ve just read and crediting the author of the post for a great piece of work. It doesn’t say anything else as to why or when the ‘like’ button should be used, yet I’ve heard and read other reasons as to why somebody clicks the ‘like’ button at the end of a post.

I’ve scattered some of those examples throughout this post.

“It’s a way to show support for a blogger, even though I’ve not read the post.”

“I use the ‘like’ button so that I can come back and read the post later.”

I’ve come across comments left on some blogs (which do not display a ‘like’ button) saying that they miss not being able to click on a ‘like’ button, and some even almost beg the author of the blog to reinstall it.

On my own blog, I regularly have some readers who will ‘like’ a chunk of my posts within seconds of each other. I’ve never known any of them to have ever left a comment on any of those posts. I also found out that some of the same readers, who do this, also do it on other blogs. And, how many of us have had somebody, we’ve never seen on our blog before, ‘like’ one of our posts (even those that contain over 500 words) within seconds of the article being published?

“Pressing the ‘like’ button on blog posts (without necessarily reading them) is a great free way to promote my blog or site.”

Recently, I’ve also begun to see spammers ‘liking’ posts in the hope that a reader will click on their Gravatar and be tempted to click on links that lead to sites selling certain medical remedies, followers, webcam shows, or pornographic images. These spammers are getting more and more ingenious in ways of getting spam links onto our blogs. Did you know that you can unsubscribe readers from your blog but, other than removing the ‘like’ button altogether, there does not seem to be a way to stop anybody from liking one of your posts? Unless, of course, you know of a way? However, you can report suspicious Gravatars and blogs to WordPress.

“When I click the ‘like’ button, it shows the blogger I’ve visited their blog even though I have not read the post.”

“I click on the ‘like’ button of all the posts of certain bloggers because I’m good friends with them. They’d be upset if I didn’t press the like’ button.”

I don’t know about you but, until recently, I rarely (if ever) look at who has clicked the ‘like’ button on any of my posts or those of other bloggers. Clicking the ‘like’ button (as I have discovered) doesn’t mean to say that the reader has actually read the post. So how many of those ‘likes’ at the end of your posts are from readers who have actually read your post?

For me, and more importantly, are the comments left on posts, especially those that clearly show they have read the post (I’m not talking here of comments that just say ‘great post!’). In my post, Is It Time To Turn Off Comments On Your Blog, it was clear (with just about everyone that left a comment) that leaving and responding to comments on posts was one of the positives of blogging? Not only that, but it also made many bloggers feel good and valued about what they were writing and/or publishing on their blogs. Does clicking on the ‘like’ button do that?

“Bloggers would get upset with me if I didn’t ‘like’ all of their posts.”

“I use the ‘like’ button on days when I’m too busy to read posts. At least the blogger then knows I’ve visited their site.”

So, is it time to remove the ‘like’ button on your blog? Is there any value in having a ‘like’ button on a blog? Have you ever ‘liked’ any of your own posts and, if so, why? If it is time to remove the ‘like button’ from your blog, you can click here to see how to remove it.

As for me, I’ve taken the decision to remove the like button from all of my posts (past and present). However, I can always be persuaded to reinstall it, but you’re going to have to give me some good reasons to do so. Not only that but, from now on, I’ll only ‘like’ a post in line with what WordPress says it should be used for. Of course, that doesn’t stop me from leaving comments on your blogs. In fact, if I like a post then I will probably leave a comment.

“I always click on the ‘like’ button on all of the posts of certain bloggers, even if I haven’t particularly liked the post or have given up on it halfway through. They’d be upset if I didn’ ‘like’ all of their posts.”

What are your thoughts on the ‘like’ button? Have I persuaded you to remove the ‘like’  button on your blog? Leave me your comments and thoughts, and let’s start the debate.

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252 thoughts on “Is It Time To Remove The ‘Like’ Button From Your Blog? #MondayBlogs

  1. Hi again, Hugh, I reblogged your other post. I think this one is just as good and I get what you meant by spammer likes. I check every new visitor that follows my blog and some that like my posts. I ignore the commercial ones, and I’ve found some people who don’t have any more than a WordPress shell – no posts yet. I have not gone so far as to remove people as followers. I figure that is their business if they are not being obnoxious. I will probably reblog this post sometime in the near future, after the last one runs its course and gets lots of comments. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Marsha.

      I stopped checking out the blogs of those who follow my blog a long time ago. It got rather overwhelming. However, if an individual leaves a comment and continues to read and leave comments on other posts of mine over a period of time, then I may check out their blog. But, if they leave a comment that is not only engaging but proves they’ve read the post, then I may also visit their blog. That often gets rid of the commercial and business blogs. I know I could be missing out on lots of interesting blogs, but there is a limit as to how many I follow; otherwise, it can become too overwhelming and make blogging quite stressful (which is another subject I’ve written about).

      Many thanks for sharing these posts with your readers. I hope they join in with the discussions.

  2. Such a great topic of discussion. For me, I am on the fence about the ‘like’ button. As you mentioned in this post, I have encountered people who have liked my 2000-word posts within a minute of it being published. I get bloggers going through my WP feed and liking 20 of my posts in a row in a matter of seconds. These bloggers I pay no attention to. The ones who I know support my work are the ones who take time to leave some kind of reflective comment, and for that I will visit their blog and respect their work.

    However, I also see the Like button as useful thing when it comes to having read a post, having nothing to comment as ericlahti said yet still want to Like the post to support it. Sometimes some bloggers I follow write a few related poss – I might not be able to comment on all of them due to time so I would like them all and leave a comment on one of them. Some bloggers I follow don’t have the ‘Like’ button – like you don’t have it anymore in your blog, but really I am still inclined to like it in my reader. As you touched on in the post, it’s a way for me to gauge what posts I’ve read – because I might want to come back to the post later and having the Like star highlighted is a good way for me to find it, and then later leave a comment on the post.

    For me, I don’t define myself by achievements and the number of likes I get. Never paid attention to how many likes I have or even the number of followers on my blog. Most importantly is that I enjoy putting out the content I want to put and read the blogs I find interesting and want to read 🙂

    1. Thank you for your comments on this subject, Mabel. It’s been a very interesting debate, especially hearing all the different ways readers use the ‘like’ button. I will certainly be following this post up and touch on some of the comments.

      I’m still rather concerned about how easy it is for spammers to ‘like’ our posts and get their ‘spam’ Gravatar onto our blogs. I wasn’t aware it was happening until somebody pointed it out to me. I was horrified when I heard about it and found I could not delete the ‘like’.

      I do get why many people like seeing a ‘like’ button. It certainly helps when we’ve nothing to add to the comments already left on a post, but it does concern me that some people click ‘like’ without even opening the post up. I think some see it as a free way to advertise their blogs. You’ve done all the hard work in getting your blog set up and gaining followers, and they simply add a like in the hope that people will visit their blog and follow. It’s as bad as leaving nothing but a link to a blog on a post in the comments (I always delete those). It does beg the question if bloggers are concerned by this, and it’something I will ask in my followup post.

      Thank you for joining the debate.

      1. Definitely will look forward to another post on this subject, Hugh. I also wonder why we can’t delete ‘likes’. But if I did it would also take quite a bit of work. Sometimes I will get a comment that says great post and then a link to the blogger’s blog. Not a fan of those comments and I think it can be just as baffling as liking all of your blog posts in a matter of minutes.

        Thank you for writing so insightfully about blogging as always.

  3. Wow, Hugh. You really started a discussion here. Sorry I missed it. Since WP won’t consistently email me notices… I just can’t keep up. I like blogs to have a “like” button. I was agitated when I couldn’t find yours just now… LOL.
    I need all the support and encouragement I can get. So I like my “like” buttons. I also like being able to “like” comments without having to jump to the Reader to do so… I guess since I need the encouragement I also need to give it in return.. Hugs. Back to Mordor.

    1. I enjoy ‘liking’ comments as well, Teagan. I’d never remove that feature. It comes in very handy when you’ve nothing further to add to a comment you’ve received.

      As for the ‘like’ button at the end of blog posts, I’ve discovered that people use it for all sorts of reasons. I thought it was there to click if you’d enjoy reading a post, but it seems some people use it for other purposes (including clicking it without even reading the post). I’ve also had quite a few spammers ‘liking’ lots of my posts just so they can get their spammy Gravatar on display in the hope that visitors to my blog will click on it. It seems they’ve found an open ‘back door’ on getting onto our blogs. At least with comments, we can moderate them before they appear. With ‘likes’, we can’t do that. I was horrified when a reader informed me about a spam Gravatar they had clicked on, on one of my posts and where it took them. For now, I won’t be bringing my ‘like’ button back, not until WordPress can come up with something to stop these spam Gravatars appearing on our blogs. Sorry to tell you that, but I wanted to do something to frustrate the spammers. 😀
      Hugs to you.

  4. Now I am the IT novice me is left wondering what the difference is between trolls and scammers, how can you tell, and what it all means ???????

    1. Scammers tend to be those that leave links that could get people to part with money. They seldom communicate with you. Trolls, on the other hand, will try communicating with you and/or others who have left comments and will leave nasty comments or comments to try and get you to react and get into an argument with them. They don’t normally leave links and don’t have any interest in trying to get money out of you. Trolls are best left ignored, whereas scammers will do what they can to try and find new ways to leave links (when you close down ways for them to leave them links).

  5. Hello Hugh, I like what you like, or what you wrote. I have lately turned off Liking my blog posts on my WP Guidelines site because from looking at the stats, I see it quite likely that many if not most of the Likers are passers-by, perhaps just liking a Post from their WordPress Reader. I have always wondered with my main Blog “Fascinating Animals” that I am fondest of, who visits it and why there are not many Likes on any Posts there at all (apart from my 1 or 2 regular Followers – who are bloggers themselves and I know they DO read my Posts).

    I ponder that many students and / or passers by that are looking for information on animals in movies, or horses or Chinese New Year animals, maybe for information about the more main-stream popular “press” are the ones that visit my FA blog. Anyhow I am experimenting with not having Likes on my WP Guidelines blog, and can see from the Stats when I do a new post there, what I saw before, being views of that Post but not of anything else really or hardly any views of any other pages / posts or part of my blog.

    1. I agree with your first statement. I’ve often seen more ‘likes’ on one of my posts than ‘views’ which proves that some people just click ‘like’ on the WordPress reader without even opening the post. From the other comments left on this post, there could be a number of reasons for doing that, but I still find myself scratching my head as to why readers do it.

      For any blog, we have to work hard on getting our blogs noticed. This can be a lot of hard work to do, but I’ve certainly seen those that do put in the hard work, reap the rewards. Unfortunately, others will try and jump on to all the hard work a blogger has done by leaving links in comments that have nothing to do with the post in the hope that the author of the blog won’t delete it. Another way, as we’ve already discovered, is by ‘liking’ a post without reading it as you’ve then got your Gravatar next to the ‘like’ button (although some have said they click on ‘like’ to show support for a blogger, even though they don’t read the post).

      I’ve only recently removed the ‘like’ button from my blog posts and, as yet, I’ve not seen any evidence of a fall in stats. My fingers are still crossed.

  6. Very thoughtful post on ‘like’ and you covered every one of my ideas. I do like a ‘like’ button. It’s a poke, like a smile.
    And, I do like the topics you cover on this blog. I’m off to figure out how to subscribe!

  7. You’re right. Some of the people who click ‘like’ have not read the post or may have other reasons for clicking it. I use the like button as a way of saying I’ve read the post. I don’t ‘like’ a post I haven’t read so I click ‘like’ after I’ve read the post. The like button allows me to say ‘I’ve been here and like what you’ve done’. I use it with or without a comment. When I don’t comment it’s because I don’t always know why I like a post and hate leaving empty comments. I’m sure I’ve been guilty of skimming a post and clicking like but that usually happens when I’m tired and on autopilot. Do I miss your like button? Nah–Because when I do visit your blog it’s because I want to read a post. You are an excellent source of information for people who want to become better bloggers. I think I always leave a comment…I think…:)

    1. Well, Rob, what delightful and kind things to say. Thank you so much. You’re using the ‘like’ button exactly how I use it, and I love your comment about the ‘like’ button not being on my posts anymore. Like you, I don’t miss the ‘like’ button at all when it’s not on a blog. I take little, if any, notice of who has pressed it on my posts or on the posts of other bloggers. It was only when doing some research for this post that I was rather shocked by some of the ‘spam’ Gravatars that appeared on not only on my blog but on those of other bloggers as well.
      As for comments, yes, I think we all love them. To me, they are worth any amount of ‘likes.’
      Thank you so much for joining the debate.

  8. I like the like button, in fact, I’m very fond of it. If I read a blog and enjoy it I press like and I may or may not have either anything to add, or the time to make a comment. I get over 70 blogs a week and don’t have time to read all of them in depth, but if they strike a chord then I press like it’s a very useful button and says ‘I was here’, – like you know Kilroy also passed by this way.

  9. I ‘like’ posts when I enjoyed them, but don’t have anything meaningful to add to the conversation. So far, I’ve never ‘liked’ a post without actually reading the whole thing, but I may be an aberration rather than the norm.

  10. I like “like” buttons but I think they neither add to nor take away from a blog. To me, it’s a way of acknowledging a post even if I don’t have a comment to offer. I do see how it could turn into a glorified Facebook where the same people constantly “like” each other without really paying attention to what anyone actually said.

    1. Thanks for joining the debate, Chris. Would you acknowledge a post by pressing the ‘like’ button even if you did not enjoy reading it, and had nothing to add? I’ve asked a few people this question and had some interesting answers. And, I agree with you about people using the ‘like’ button on a blog post like they would the ‘like’ button on Facebook. From the comments I’ve had on this post, that’s certainly happening.

  11. Wow, Hugh, this is some debate you have started and yes I have been sitting here and read all the comments…comments are the best I love getting comments…Now I am going to be paranoid about spammers though as I don’t check my likes…I never respond to spam comments but don’t like the idea of anyone clicking on something and getting an eyeful…Great debate though 🙂

    1. I’m glad you’ve actually said that you don’t check your ‘likes’, Carol. Neither did I (until I did some research for this post) and now some readers have told me that they press the ‘like’ button to show support (regardless as to if they’ve read the post or not). That’s made me feel rather guilty because people have said they’ve supported me, yet I didn’t know they had because I’d not checked who had ‘liked’ my posts. Now I’m thinking to myself is not acknowledging a ‘like’ is as bad as not acknowledging a comment? I’m getting myself into all sorts of knots about this subject. I’ll certainly be following this post up with another (just as soon as the comments stop coming in).

      1. I look forward to that Hugh…A while ago I did check my likes as someone had said they thanked people for liking but many don’t have a gravatar so I quickly gave that one up…Now i don’t check there is only so much we can do ina day isn’t there and I think an occassional comment shows that someone does read our posts and comments when they have something to say 🙂

  12. I agree with you Hugh, I have never ‘liked’ a post without having actually read it and assumed that’s just what everyone did. Maybe we’re just too old school 😊 I would much prefer a comment over a ‘like’ any day as it means the reader has engaged fully with my post. Having said that I’ll be keeping my like button on my posts for the foreseeable future I think. It just gives another option for interaction. Thanks for another thought provoking post and I always enjoy getting a comment from you on my blog 😊

    1. Me too, Deb. Now I’m finding out that readers use the ‘like’ button for all sorts of things. Some are ‘head-scratching’, but I guess each to their own. I’m still coming to terms with readers telling me they have ‘liked’ at least one of my posts without even having read it. I’m not sure about you, but I always check something first before I say whether I like it or not? Put a big cream cake in front of me, and I’d still have to try it first before saying whether I enjoyed it or not.

      I’m not so sure about pressing the ‘like’ button as being interactive. It’s not as if you’re actually engaging with the author in conversation, is it? However, maybe pressing a button (without saying anything) is interactive? When we share posts via the social media sharing buttons, we’re being interactive, aren’t we? What do you think?

      1. I know what you mean Hugh, I can’t imagine ‘liking’ something I’ve not even read!! Pressing the like button isn’t interactive at all but sharing and commenting is in my opinion. I rarely share something I’ve not read either. Am I a dinosaur in this world??

  13. I would still say…” great post”….may be it doesn’t give the writer an idea of whether person read it or not….but I feel I am too amateur to suggest anything or to add anything…I just learn different view points…and that’s why can add only that to the comment section.

    1. I’m so sorry that you say you feel ‘so amateur’ to leave comments others than ‘Great Post.’ If you say ‘Great post’ then why not tell the author what it was that made you think it was a great post? Was it the way they wrote it, the subject they wrote about, how the post ended or was it some of the images they included in the post? For many bloggers, interacting with each other and leaving good meaningful comments are at the very heart of blogging and make many feel confident by what they have published. They will feel that it has not been a waste of their time in writing and publishing the post and they will know just what a good job they have done. If you write the same comment on every post you read, then many bloggers will see it as spam and some will even think you haven’t read the post and are just saying what you say in order to get yourself (and details of your blog) some free promotion. Also, you will find that the more you comment and leave good comments, the more people will return the favour, come over and visit your blog and leave comments on your posts.

      I hope you will have a rethink about this and start to get some confidence in leaving comments. Bloggers crave interaction, but it really does need to be good constructive interaction.

      1. Wow…that was very motivating…I promise I will start working on it …..thank you so much….. I liked the fact that you are not greedy of “likes” and fake comments…also the subject you choose is very interesting and interactive😃

      2. Fascinating comments thread here! Who knew that ‘liking’ had so many facets. I do use it – after reading – and mostly I will try hard to find something to comment on if at all possible. Feedback is at the very heart of blogging. It’s rewarding and motivating. I now have very mixed feelings about the like button, but I think I’ll leave it in even though I have noticed some anomalies – which I now understand!

        1. The comments on this post have really surprised me. I had no idea how many different ways readers were using the ‘like’ button. Some of those ways are quite ‘head-scratching’ for me, just as some of the comments about not minding anyone leaving a ‘like’ even though they know their post has not been read. However, we’re all different and I think we should all do what feels best for us.
          Thank you so much for adding your thoughts.

  14. I hit like sometimes without reading. It is a bit of a Facebook habit. Reading your readers response to your article is very interesting. I have found the quality of interaction more intellectual on WordPress. The offence defence game played between spammers and their targets is ever evolving. I guess not letting it annoy you is the best advice I could offer .

    1. I agree, but unless we try and stop the ways they can get spam to us and our readers, then the problem will only get worse? Hopefully, WordPress will do something that allows Akismet to capture and trash spam Gravatars.

  15. Oh dear, Hugh, you’ve just destroyed a happy illusion! Pardon the pun but I really do like the “Like” button. I use it in the way that we’re supposed to – after I’ve read the post and if I’ve enjoyed it but can’t think of anything intelligent or ground-breaking enough to write a comment.

    Unfortunately I assumed that everyone else used it in the same way.

    I don’t post much (usually once a month), don’t have many followers and consequently get few comments, but I do appreciate the “Likes” that others leave. They make me feel as if people are enjoying reading my posts. Maybe they are. I hope so.

    By the way, I never click on the gravatars, but I do move my mouse over them to see if there’s a name. Most of my “Likes” are from bloggers I know and whose gravatars I recognise so maybe it’s okay to have a “Like” button when a blog is just small-fry like mine, and I can continue in my happy little delusional bubble…

    1. Thanks for your comments, Susan. It’s good to hear how you use the ‘like’ button. I think my post (and some of the comments in it) may have shuttered many people’s illusions about how the ‘like’ button is used. However, some don’t seem to mind a ‘like’ even if the post has not been read. They just like seeing those ‘likes’ along the bottom of the post. I do have to scratch my head at that one, but I guess we’re all different.

      I’m glad you haven’t (as yet) had any spam ‘likes.’ However, keep an eye out for them. They sneak in when least expected and, as yet, (and unlike spam comments) they can’t be removed from the post.

  16. Forgot to add…I do ‘Like’ posts, because to me it’s that appreciation and it says you’ve visited. I have to say, I don’t just Like for the sake of it, I do have to actually appreciate the work gone into the post or in fact the content. I do try to comment on each one I read, but if time is hanging over my shoulder or someone else has said just what I would’ve said, then a Like just helps to say you’re interested.

    1. Sounds to me as if you’re using the ‘like’ button for the right purposes, Sam. You’re actually reading the post before pressing the ‘like’ button. Some, in the comments, say they believe that many don’t do that. I have my doubts as well, and that’s why I thought I’d start this debate.

  17. This is a difficult one because I totally understand what you’re saying, but on the other hand, speaking as a reasonably newbie blogger, any support/likes are very much appreciated and of course, comments are so rewarding, but if like me you have (in relation to others) very few followers, then I think the like button still helps me. If I was to, in the future be lucky enough to develop many more followers then yes, I would consider removing the Like button, maybe…:-)

    1. I fully understand how many will see a ‘like’ as support, Sam. During the early days of blogging, I remember how ‘likes’ made me smile. Then, as my blog grew, I found I started to stop looking at who had liked my posts, and those of others. Until I started the research for this post, I rarely, if ever, looked at them. Then I discovered those spam Gravatars amoungst genuine Gravatars and got quite a shock. 😳 And from the comments on this post, it seems some people will press the ‘like’ button without reading the post. I can’t get my head around why somebody would do that, but maybe I’m missing something?

        1. They often don’t have a photo on their Gravatar. Other than that, it’s not until you click on their Gravatar that you find out that it’s a spammer. Many people have said that they use the Gravatars next to the like button to check out other bloggers. I don’t like the thought of anybody clicking on something on my blog that will then take them to a spam website.

  18. Well darn it, I was just planning to like this and run, Hugh! I would have left a comment any way! I agree with everything you have written, but I know why many folks just like and run. I am fine with that since a lot of my posts are based on images.

    1. When it comes to just looking at a blog post with an image or images, then I agree, Terri. For examaple, Wordless Wednesday posts. Heck, I’ve even pressed ‘like’ on some of those posts without saying anything, but I’ll only press ‘like’ if I actually did ‘like’ what I was looking at.

      Thanks so much for joining the debate. It seems to be a bit of a ‘hot potato.’

  19. I miss the like button on some blogs. I don’t always have time to read everything someone writes, not all posts on all blogs, but it’s a quick way to support the blog and hopefully help with SEO.
    I don’t really care about the spammers. If you don’t engage with them, they tend to leave anyway If liking my posts is their way of communicating, I still hope it shows traffic to my blog, and when I receive a like, it’s a nice gesture. A long comment naturally is better but I take the like happily all the same.

    1. So am I reading from your comment that if you don’t have time to read a certain blog post, you’ll still press the ‘like’ button anyway, Christoph?

      As for the spammers, I never interact with them, but they still keep coming back when they’ve found a way to leave their spam links. Unlike trolls, I don’t think spammers have time to interact anyway. They are far too busy looking out for opportunities of where they can leave bait links in the hope that some will take their bait. Also, as far as WordPress goes, spammers can ‘like’ a post from the WordPress reader list without even having to open the post, so you don’t get that extra visit in your stats. These people seem to be getting very clever at how they can leave their links on our blogs and websites.

      Thanks so much for your comments and for adding to the debate.

      1. Yes, I like to like posts of friendly blogs. I assume many people do the same and don’t necessarily read my full post. I still feel they’re being nice .
        So far been lucky with the spammers so don’t know the problem personally. 😊

        1. I’ll be honest and say I’ve never ‘liked’ a post if I haven’t read it, although I may have skimmed over a few and pressed ‘like’, but I’ve stopped doing that now. I’ve heard others say that they always press the ‘like’ button on the blogs of friends (even if they don’t read the post), just to show support, but I’m not sure how I would feel if somebody told me that. I think I’d rather somebody read my post and leave the occasional comment than knowing that they are pressing ‘like’ and not reading them. I know time is of the essence, but I try and read the occasional post of all those I follow and leave a comment where I can. If I’ve nothing to say then I’ll share the post via social media (but only of I’ve read it because I don’t want to share anything I’ve not first checked). However, we’re all different and these comments make a most interesting read. I’ll certainly be writing and publishing a follow-up post.

          Thanks again for getting involved in this debate, Christoph.

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