Should I have comments on my blog?
Good question. This is something I get asked a lot as people set up their blogs and start writing.
My simple answer is no.
Here’s why I don’t have comments on my blog, even though I used to:
It can be great fun to kick off an active discussion on your blog, but most of the time, especially in the early days, be prepared for crickets. Also, even if your blog has oodles of readers, some people just don’t like to comment. They read and move on. They enjoy what you wrote, but generally don’t engage online.
If you allow blog comments many could end up being spam. If you set up your blog to moderate comments, you could end up spending more time than you want deleting spam and approving valid comments. There was so much spam! Not only spam but people would comment on my blog with totally random and useless comments, usually, I presume just to get people to click back to their website.
3) Validating my existence.
I used to allow blog comments. Initially, it was fun. I’d publish a new blog post, then within an hour, I’d have a new comment. Yay! Someone is reading! Someone cares! Because I had comment moderation turned on, I’d have to review each comment one at a time.
4) Bullies & Big Meanies.
Online bullying is real. In one blog I shared how we had downsized a few times, and were focusing on acquiring less crap. Someone commented, “I’d love to see a picture of her place to see just how much of a minimalist she really is.” and “Wow, I feel so bad for you hardly keeping any Christmas decorations around, how sad for the children.” People are dicks. It’s easier to be a dick online because people can hide. I wouldn’t even address these comments, I’d just delete them, but I still had to read them. I get to choose what makes it’s way into my online world. I see less hate this way. Less hate makes me happy. My blog, my rules.
5) Time & Mental Drain.
Every time I’d get a new comment, I’d race to login right away so I could review and reply. Talk about interrupting the flow. I love having conversations just as much as I love starting them. After a while, I realized I was spending more time and mental energy than I wanted reviewing and making sure I replied thoughtfully to every comment. I turned them off a few years ago when I got a lot of spam and became sick of managing them.
People leaving genuine comments might have theirs waiting for your moderation for hours or worse - days, leaving them feeling like you’re not paying attention to your blog. For a people-pleaser like me, this was torture!
I chose to focus my time and energy on writing instead of spending my time facilitating discussion on my blog.
8) Leave comments for social media.
When I share a piece I’ve written on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter, people engage there. It feels more natural. Also, if you’re a bully here, your comment gets deleted here too.
9) Engage personally.
This has become my preference. When I permanently turned comments off on my blog, it doesn't mean I never want to talk to you. I love connecting over email. Engaging personally is my favorite way to engage, and it's my blog, so I get to do whatever I want. Your blog, your rules.
This is the place where I'd invite you to leave a comment with what you think, but I don't do things that way. If you'd like to chat more about this or ask me a question, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.