What I’ve found with blog comments is that you tend to get two type of people:
- Genuine individuals leaving their thoughts and expertise
- Disingenuous people using them for link building (or blatant sales)
But there’s a lot more to it.
As someone who’s built many blogs I can say that it’s very situational to your purpose in the niche (and for business).
This is the reason why I want to share the two sides …
The Case for Yay
Let’s look into some of the positive aspects of comments.
It introduces you to the community
Commenting on other blogs is the easiest way to get introduced to the community and help to bring you into the industry (besides advertising, of course). By frequently showing up on blogs within your niche you will begin to gain a reputation. Many blog owners will come to yours to leave comments and the same for a few of their community members. From there you can reach out, make connections, and start developing a stronger network for the business.
It creates a lot of interesting opportunities
In relation to the stronger network – this gives you a lot of opportunity to work together on bigger and better projects. The relationships you’ve developed, having started from blog commenting (on your site and on others), puts you in touch with people with the right resources and expertise. Work together and you can go beyond your site in areas like working together to develop products, membership sites, hosting conferences, and so much more.
It gives you a platform for feedback
It’s sometimes hard getting people to express their thoughts and opinions to be used as feedback for your blog and business. You can go the polling route but comments often contain the real information. Dig deep enough into the responses and you are bound to find interesting info which can be used to develop your business.
It can be used for business
When you’re keeping up the conversation it may turn to a point where the individual requests additional information about a product or service you’re promoting. This is the prime time to offer a link and support if they decide to check into it. It’s sort of like adding an extra layer of promotion on a post that may have already been promoting. This especially works well when responding to comments in your review-style posts since you act a bit like a customer service rep – building trust, helping, and championing the offer.
The Case for Nay
Now let’s look into some of the negative aspects of comments.
It can become work
Blog comments can be a chore – once your blog takes off in popularity you will find a good deal of your time going toward managing and responding to comments. At the height of my use of commenting I would say I had spent nearly 4 – 5 hours, each day, responding and leaving comments on my blog and on others. This was getting to be too much considering all the other opportunities to be had.
The spam is overwhelming
There are many different plugins and tools to fight spam but it still gets through. When you’re spending a lot of time trying to figure out if it’s a real comment or an ad cleverly disguised you know you’ve reached a point when the commenting is too much.
The trolls are disheartening
Spending a great deal of time to create an insightful blog post can be instantly disheartening if you’re attacked by online trolls. Sure, you can see through their guise but it’s still a cut that stings. Eventually they will wear you down and you lose interest in producing content just to avoid trolls.
The “yes men” are false guides
Nobody is perfect nor is their content. But when every comment you receive is praise you have to begin wondering if they’re sincere or if they’re just courteous because you left a nice comment on their blog. Over time you begin to cater to these individuals and once you do – you may lose sight of your goals.
So … Yay or Nay?
Ultimately I believe it really depends on your goals, size of your blog, and plans for the community.
- If you’re the type trying to keep your blog very tight-knit then comments are great for you to kick up lively discussions. It’s small enough that you can get deep into the conversation without having to micro manage and devote large chunks of your day to commenting.
- If you’re growing to the point you’re considering hiring community managers then it might be better to push those conversations to other social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ which would gain the benefit of being seen by many (and potentially driving more people back to the site).
But to each their own.
There are certainly positives to commenting. There are certainly negatives. So … yay or nay?