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Turning Blog Comments Off: Should I or Shouldn’t I? That is the Question

I’ve often said that a blog without comments isn’t really a blog at all. Some of my readers refer to me as their blogging guru, but to me blogging is about the conversation and interacting with my readers - not just a sermon from the mount.

Lately I’ve been reconsidering that notion.

Comments are down again and frankly I’m tired of beating myself up over it. I’ve been through this cycle before, and whenever there’s a lull like this I find myself feeling despondent and not wanting to blog at all.

Of course my blogging has been sporadic this year and I can’t say that I blame you. A lot of my ariticles are not endearing to commenting either because of the very nature of the post.

Ironically my readership and traffic stats are still good. It’s just the comments that are at an all-time low.

If you are a regular reader of this blog you will know that I’ve had my share of personal tragedies, including recurring health and marriage problems.

So at this point it might come down to either turning comments off or not blogging at all because it is just one more negative distraction in my life.

I need to get the negativity out of my life, and if a lack of comments is bringing me down then I feel I have to do something about it.

There are other options such as forcing readers to register and log in to leave a comment. But that seems counter-productive to me and not an incentive for encouraging more comments.

Honestly, I’m not sure what to do because turning comments off goes against my personal belief system. So I’m writing today hoping that you will consider leaving me a comment and tell me if you think it’s Ok that I turn comments off.

Would turning off comments turn you off?

Or is there a better solution?

I really want to hear from YOU. If I don’t get many comments then I guess that will be my answer. Thanks for listening.

Written June 27th, 2009 by | 236 Comments | Filed under: Featured Tips, News, Personal stuff

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236 Responses to “Turning Blog Comments Off: Should I or Shouldn’t I? That is the Question”

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  1. 1
    Posts about Blogging as of June 28, 2009 Wordpress Theme | Free Quality Wordpress Themes @ List-Your-Blog.com Says:

    […] campus is new — they opened in 2001 — and compact, with shiny new buildings and real ambition Should I or Shouldn’t I Turn Blog Comments Off? - blogbloke.com 06/28/2009 I’ve often said that a blog without comments isn’t really a blog at […]

  2. 2
    Jaffer Says:

    I first thought you were talking about all blogs in general. Well, Bloke, if you are really after interaction with your readers, you should leave the comment box as it is !

    I don’t see a point in turning off comments unless you are trying to turn this website into an Online-Magazine format.

    I can realize your frustration - I haven’t been around here much. Heck I haven’t been around visiting my own blog lately - but that is my fault/excuse/problem.

    Anyway, I’d like to hear from the others. Toodle-Pip !

  3. 3
    Spunky Jones Says:

    One of the biggest problems that most of us bloggers have, is that we tend to feed off the blog comments. The more the comments we get, the better we feel about ourselves, and that makes us feel like we have accomplished something worth while.
    The problem is that, we use it as a ruler to measure up to, and that usually ends up in a crash or blogger burnout.

    There are too many people who are just out to get what they can for free and don’t give back. If you pass the Google juice, you end up with tons of comments on your blog. However, most of those people who leave those comments are after the juice and not the content. If they leave comments, very few actually add quality content to your blog post. If you chase comments, then sometimes you start slipping and start allowing comments, which are spam. This hurts your blog for the true followers that are into your niche. Comments in general, actually dilutes your keyword density, and you end up not ranking that well in the search engines. Furthermore, search engines are getting smarter and will probably be able to figure out which comment are spam and that could also cost you.

    I had tried almost everything I could think of doing on the Madmouse Blog to get comments. I tried many different plugins, like top commentators, and it was abused. At the first of the month when it reset, I had many comments and nothing else for the rest of the month. The same people came back every month and commented just enough to stay in the top ten. I finally removed that after three months, because I saw through what the majority out for.

    I tried the do-follow and got lots of one time comments and hardly any of them returned. They went after blog posts, which had PageRank and didn’t comment on pages, which had no PR.
    Again, I saw that most of them weren’t there for the content.

    I came very close to burnout and finally decided to start up a new blog. I started it up, and people have to register to comment. People actually registered and a couple actually commented on a couple of posts. However, one of them had a generic comment and with a couple of links back to his site. So, I deleted his comment.

    I finally figured out if Seth Godin, doesn’t allow comments, there is a good reason why. So, I looked at his blog and saw that he allows ping backs. Therefore, if someone writes a good article that is related to one of my posts, it actually adds to the content. So, I would approve such a link and maybe with a do-follow.

    Overall, I look at my web traffic, and what I make of Adsense. I get myself worth from what I accomplish and do not feed off blog comments for my fuel.
    I see that my blog posts are starting to rank well in the search engines and my blog has some PageRank and that is reward enough for me.

    My next step is to add a forum, where people can discuss my blog content and ask questions of other topics that I don’t currently cover.
    The forum will strengthen the Domain even more, just like the SEO directory is currently doing.

    Hope there is some info here for you, and that you understand my position why I have people register on Spunk Jones SEO Blog.

  4. 4
    Kirsten Says:

    You should blog for the love of blogging. Comments are just a bonus. As for people trying to spam the comments, I moderate my comments and edit them. If they have something relevant to say, I take out their website link and sometimes change the name if they’ve put it in their actual comment (so something like “lasvegasweddings” becomes “Susie”). But I never worry about the number of comments I’m getting. I just enjoy blogging.

  5. 5
    Kuanyin Says:

    I say do whatever you want…if it feels right, turn off comments for awhile! As you may (or may not) have noticed, I haven’t been blogging for awhile (semi-despondent like you), and so I’ve not been visiting others blogs either…I apologize to ya for not leaving a comment before this! Anyways, if I COULD turn off comments on my blog, I would! Being that I’m with Blogger, I don’t seem able to do so. So why not experiment with turning off comments for awhile and see how ya feel. You can always turn them back on later should you change your mind.

  6. 6
    Mikael @ Retire Early Says:

    I can definitely see your point but I think it will be like wetting your pants in the winter. It’ll only help you for a short time.

    When you turn comments off then slowly your readership will go down. Then the traffic will go down and you’ll end up in a negative spiral.

    Instead I think that you should see if you could find some personal development material that could help you learn how to not be affected by this.

    I know it is not going to be easy but once you learn it you can use it on all other aspects of your life and I am sure that the lack of comments is not the only thing that is getting you down right?

    To Your Success,

  7. 7
    Teri Says:

    If I depended on comments to keep my blog going, I would have quit long ago. If I depended on comments to inspire me, I’d quit too. You blog for the love of it. Don’t love it anymore…. well, you know the answer to that. My biggest challenge blogging is to separate the personal from the public. I want to be personable on my blog but I don’t want every Tom, Dick, and Harry knowing the details of my everyday life. It’s a delicate balance. Just keep blogging and don’t worry about the feedback. God knows, I thought about quitting blogging a gillion times because of the time it takes and new readers just look at the front page and don’t go back for the history. I’m ready to re-blog stuff already. Love ya, Teri

  8. 8
    james batek Says:

    i see nothing abnormal in desiring a consistent feedback from readers, whether you are in a negative time in life or not. and asking for comments in a plaintive way is good mental health sense. i enjoy your newsletter. it’s very particular and gives me some insight on what people on the internet are experiencing. i hope you pull out of your bad time soon.

  9. 9
    Kristina Summers Says:

    Similar to your first commenter, Jaffer, I too figured you were referring to blogs in general when I started reading your post (while walking through the parking lot, I might add - I am so addicted to my blackberry) but when I realized that you were so distressed I had to comment. I love your blog and have often recommended it to others. I have been blogging for almost three years and although, like you my traffic is fairly steady, I rarely get comments. I don’t let it bother me though for a couple of reasons. First, many of my posts are informational rather than conversational. I guess if it helps it might be nice to get a thank you, but I am not holding my breath. Second, I went through an initial panic when I started my blog because it was for a class assignment and we could only get a passing grade if we got a random comment (no visits from mom or dad would count). I didn’t get a comment until the very last week of that class and what I learned was that by the time I got the comment I wasn’t worried about it anymore. I had figured out that what I was doing was a part of who I am, I had to do it for me, much like a writer or a painter just has to “do” their thing. I want to help others and if my blog does that, great, but that can’t be the sole purpose for doing it. As a regular reader I know you have been down, and although I don’t comment a lot I would like to extend the hand of blogger friendship and let you know how much I appreciate your blog and glad I am that I found it. As for companies and organizations that choose not to allow comments, I work for one and find it silly. Why have a blog at all if you don’t want to talk? That may sound contradictory since I just said I blog for me and not comments, but if you think about it, I am not opposed to comments, I love getting them, but they are the icing on the cake. Organizations that choose to have an outlet like a blog but then don’t allow feedback might as well stick with the standard boring boilerplate website that declares to all of eternity how great they are. No blog needed. I hope this comment wasn’t too long or too sappy, just wanted you to stick around since I like reading and commenting on your blog!

  10. 10
    Ajay Says:

    Well, am in the same boat as well. I blog and I get a few comments on-off, however, this isn’t something I can predict. I’ve just let comments be in spite of that.

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