Should Your Business Accept Blog Comments

www.jeffkorhan.com

One of the top blogs on the web recently discontinued comments, and this came as a surprise to their community.

The truth is many of us have struggled with comments over the years on our blogs. This is one reason why notable marketer Seth Godin discontinued comments on his blog way back in 2006.

During the session I facilitated at the Social Media Marketing World conference this past week, a small business owner asked a question that is near and dear to me: “How do we determine which social media channels are right for our business?”

Every business needs at least one channel that it owns, with a blog being the most powerful. Managed well, a blog becomes a digital marketing asset that drives traffic to your business 24/7.

Read further to learn why choosing a commenting strategy is vital to your web marketing success.

Commenting Communities Must Be Managed

There is a great deal of value in thoughtful comments. It’s how I’ve met many of my good friends on social media. This is one reason why I’m reluctant to not accept comments.

However, times have changed and the practice of commenting seems to have declined. Most small business blogs, including my own, receive few comments. In fact, this is true of many large blogs such as The Huffington Post and Forbes.

These businesses have adopted the practice of requiring commenters to register. In other words, there are no anonymous comments. While this may eliminate spammers, it also discourages well-intentioned commenters.

The purpose of comments is building community, but that is not going to happen if it is difficult to use or manage. This is one reason why I’m strongly considering shutting off comments.

Social Media is a Better Place for Comments

In the early days blogs were free-form journals. These days they are legitimate sources of credible media. Should your business risk allowing others to compromise that content it worked so hard to create?

The benefit of encouraging comments on your social media channels is reaching a wider audience, but it goes much further than that. All of the social media channels are designed to encourage interaction and discovery.

That’s what they do!

The more interaction your content receives on Facebook the more it tends to attract. That’s one benefit of Facebook comments. Although, keep in mind that Facebook activity is confined to your Facebook friends and followers.

In contrast, content shared on Google+ is readily discoverable within organic search, making Google+ a powerful platform for interacting with your online community.

Therefore, don’t be surprised if Google+ soon becomes the go-to place for interaction with businesses on the web.

You Decide

All of this comes down to what is best for your business.

My friend Michael Stelzner, the founder of Social Media Examiner, was recently commended on the commenting activity his site receives. To that he responded (paraphrasing): “Not really when you consider we have 250,000 subscribers.”

Your business must decide how to best interact with your online communities. Unless you have a particularly engaged blog community, that place may not be your blog.

For me personally, my Web Marketing Newsletter is a good place. You know I always invite your comments, and they will be personally answered by me. If you haven’t already, please consider subscribing.

Moving forward then, you can best engage with me (and other like-minded business professionals) on the social media channels linked below where I hang out as much as possible.

Want to leave a comment? Go for it while you can!

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, is the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business – (Wiley 2013)  

He helps mainstream businesses adapt their traditional growth practices to a digital world. Connect with Jeff on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Google+.

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Comments

  1. I agree that most of the conversation now happens over social media. However, comments sometimes add a lot of value to the posts, providing different opinions. Also, don’t you like it when people stick on your site and come back often?

    Anyway, added you on Google+ so we can take it from there next time!

    • Thank you Francois

      Wow! This may be one of the and smartest comments I’ve received in over eight years of blogging.

      There is no question that comments add value to the posts, especially due to the interesting and sometimes contrasting opinions.

      Insightful comments like yours honor the community and the content. Thank you for that.

      And you have correctly surmised that I’ll most likely be taking the conversation to Google+.

      As much as I would like commenters to share their thoughts here, I realize we have the potential to inspire a more vibrant exchange on networks like Twitter and Google+

      Looking forward to sharing with you on a new platform. I’m confident other like-minded professionals will join us!

      Jeff

      • Important post Jeff. Thanks for bringing this up. A lot of people try blogging only to find they don’t get much engagement, so they quit.

        I created a Facebook group for my industry and send traffic there. It might not be the perfect solution but it does work.

        Will be sharing your post.

        • Frank – Thanks for your comment.

          Your Facebook Group for Chamber of Commerce professionals is a perfect example of how engagement can be more effective on social media – as compared to a blog.

          Of course, you work very hard to manage it. So, this isn’t about the work, but doing what’s best for the community to give them what they want.

          We forget that this is all a work in progress. Blogs and social media have only been around for a short time. As they evolve, we have to do the same to accomplish what’s best for everyone concerned.

          Great insight!

  2. My site is also open for comments but rarely does anyone comment. I will also be trying Google+ and hope to get more interaction there. I have read a few more of the articles you have written and will be sharing some of them on my faceBook and blog site.

    Thanks,

    • Michael – Thanks for your comment, and for sharing my other articles. Appreciate that very much!

      I’m really enjoying the quality of engagement that is becoming more common on Google+. It won’t be long until it is the place where the cool kids hang out. :)

  3. Our site gets comments not so often. However, we intend to keep it. More interaction is nevertheless generated in Facebook. Our experience also showed more community conversations in a Facebook group that we devoted to local politics. Unfortunately, FB groups have no built-in stats unlike FB pages.

    • Thanks for your comment Emannuel – You make a good point about stats.

      While it would be nice to measure the depth of engagement, and who within the community are the most engaged, you most likely have a strong sense of that already.

      When all is said and done it is about community. If you’ve got that, everything else will naturally fall into place with focused effort for accomplishing specific objectives.

  4. I just read your article at a time when I am about to open comments for the articles on our site.
    I agree with the opening comment by Francois Mathieu. I think comments often add as much value as the original work. This is particularly so when the author of the work responds to the comment and provides further or more detailed information.

    • Thanks for your comment Danny.

      As you can see I’m still accepting comments. There is no question that they add value.

      The real challenge is the spam, but even just yesterday I was spammed on LinkedIn by multiple connection requests from bogus accounts.

      If that problem can happen on LInkedIn, then it can on any platform. So, it obviously doesn’t make sense to close comments and still have to deal with the same issues.

      So, while I came close to moving the discussion over to Google+, I’ve decided “there’s no place like home.” :)

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