The following post is by our guest writer: MaleNurseBlogger
Are blogs without comments still blogs? Should you turn comments off on your blog?
A touchy subject among many top bloggers is the concept of comments. The majority of blogs have comments, however, there are a few top bloggers who have taken the fateful step and removed comments from their blog (one such guy is Seth Godin). After reading several haters leaving trackbacks talking about how blogs aren’t blogs without comments, I thought I would make a much more detailed post on why some people choose not to have comments (me included). Perhaps this will let other bloggers understand why some “bloggers” choose not to enable comments. After all, comments don’t make the blog. The blogger makes the blog. Comments are optional.
Why Some Bloggers Don’t Have or Allow Comments on Their Blogs:
I now have a total of 3 blogs, and 1 website. My wife has 1 blog herself. I do not allow comments on any of my blogs! That’s right, not one of my blogs have comments enabled. My wife allows comments (and checks them every 5 minutes I might add) on her blog. She loves to get a comment. But I just don’t like them, and here is why:
Like many other “webmasters” or “Bloggers” out there, I started in the online game before wordpress, typepad, or blogger became huge. The most efficient way to make a website was to use a WYSIWYG HTML editor such as Microsoft FrontPage. So I started my first website using FrontPage 2003, and it wasn’t the norm to allow comments on your static HTML page.
So I was already in the habit of creating content without the comments (or to phrase it in a way that suits the procomment bloggers out there- I was used to standing on my pulpit and preaching without commenting). I created content that I thought would be interesting or helpful to readers searching for it.
After dealing with FrontPage for about a year, I started to realize how incredibly inefficient it is to create content, and then update pages, etc. If you want to change your ad layout, or add links across the whole site, it was a nightmare and usually meant editing the HTML in every single page! YIKES! So I realized that a CMS (content management software) would be much more efficient in allowing me to control the layout, and update content. I was right. WordPress is so much better and faster, it isn’t even funny.
So I started to use wordpress (and sold my FrontPage 2003), and completely revamped some of my newer sites that only had a few pages. After playing around with it for a day or two, I realized WordPress was awesome. It was great for search engine optimization, you could easily add feeds, widgets, etc. Placing ad units and changing them was easy, and much more. Heck, even writing a page was like 10 times faster! It was awesome.
Since I was new to wordpress, and used the standard theme, I started to get a couple of “comments.” Hmmm. What the heck is the deal with these “comments” I thought to myself. Right from the start, I was getting spam. I mean, give me a break people. I don’t need viagra, I am not interested in porn (I am married, and If I want to see my wife naked then I do it), and I don’t need “prescription medicine.” So that annoyed me right away. I added the askimet spam filter, and was still getting spam. Bummer.
Not only that, but I was getting worthless repsonses such as, “Great post…check out my site.” Or “nice…here is my link.” In other words. 99.9% of the comments I was getting were either worthless remarks to help someone try to linkspam me to get traffic to their blog, or a bunch of automated spam.
The comments that did go through, were a pain because it was something I might have written about weeks ago, and totally forgotten about. Also, it was a pain having to go back to that page and then write the comment as a reply. This proves to be a sticky situation. If you don’t reply, you seem rude. If you do reply, it takes a lot of time and effort.
So before my sites got too big, I immediately turned off the comments. Don’t get me wrong, I do care about what some people say. But I don’t need to hear it on every post 100 times, and I don’t need to sift through spam and worthless comments to do it.
One blog I run is a religious topic, and as you can image, that is a touchy and very opinionated topic. So I definitely am not interested in getting flamed or critiziced for my spiritual beliefs. But I do have a big button where people can contact me and ask quesitons or even argue with me, and I usually make a whole new post to about it and give them a link to their blog (when appropriate). I have another blog about hives, and although I don’t allow comments, I do have a forum that people can join to discuss topics and give their thoughts, etc.
On this site I will also be adding a button, and also reply with a new post to many comments I get through that one comment box (I won’t actually aprove them, I will just read some and then respond to any serious questions with a new post). So what is the point of allowing comments really? Sure there are a few benefits, and I will list them below:
A Few Reaons Why People May Want to Allow Comments on Their Blog:
- Maybe you are bored, and want to connect with others or have others critique your posts. Fine, allow comments. That is certainly your choice. But maybe everyone doesn’t want it. That is their choice as well. It is optional. The fact that people want to get upset and call “blogs” that don’t have comments, “not a blog at all” isn’t right. That is like saying a car without a radio isn’t a car at all. Come on people. Comments are an add on. They are an optional accessory. I may one day add comments, but probably not.
- Maybe you feel that people writing comments gives better seo due to more keywords. Maybe it does. Maybe you will even get a few more impressions by people returning to see if someone replyed to their comment. But my wife has comments on her blog, and mine doesn’t. We get about equal traffic, and equal earnings (both blogs have similar pages and were created at the same time). So maybe it does matter, maybe it doesn’t. WIth added comments, you may have an added expense also of your time (time is money), additional spam software (in case askimet doesn’t cut the mustard), and added cost of incremental bandwidth and diskspace on your hosting account. So do comments add a couple extra bucks in the end—maybe, maybe not. It is hard to tell. But I don’t think the time/cost/pain is worth it.
So sure there may be reasons why people want to enable comments. As I said, my wife is a fan of comments. She checks them daily. Don’t get me wrong here. I want people to find my websites/blogs/whatever call them, interesting. I try to provide interesting content, and I definitely try to write posts that will help others or provide some useful benefits (most of the time anyways). But I don’t like comments at all.
So here are all the benefits and reasons to NOT having comments:
Reasons or Benefits Not to Allow Comments On Your Blog:
- If you don’t allow comments on your blog, you won’t have to waste time sifting through the worthless comments and spam. This may not seem like a big deal if you have a site that gets very little traffic. But take that 5-10 minutes it takes to reply to one genuine comment, and multiply that by hundreds. I think you get the drift. I am in this website game for the long haul, and eventually will (hopefully) get large amounts of traffic. If I allowed comments, I would either never respond (which I think is rude), or I would have to hire a staff to sift through and reply. Sometimes, a person may really offer great critique, advice, or a very helpful comment. But that is about 1 out of a 100 other worthless spam or “yea good post” comments.
- Get with the game people, comments are not the only way to have dialog or convo’s on the web. I read people’s articles all the time, and almost never leave a comment. Instead, if I feel strongly enough to have to respond, I will simply write a post on own blog and link to the blogger’s article. If a blogger wants to respond to my content, they can write it on their blog and link to me as well. This actually works out better. It will be better SEO (link building), and not only that but the person replying will be building their own blog up, instead of building the content on someone else’s. Works out better for both really in my opinion. Many bloggers also have an “ask me a question” link or “contact me” link. So there are other ways to communicate without comments.
- You won’t have to worry about inappropriate content that could have legal ramifications. That means no worries about someone posting a comment on porn or hate stuff and it getting by your radar. This could offend readers, and even worse, get you in trouble with the law or something. So by avoiding comments you are the sole author and control all content on your blog.
- Some people like to write something they are passionate about. They don’t necessarily want to hear why YOU may disagree. They write for themselves, and others. Blogs are typically viewed as an online diary. If you kept a journal or diary when you were young, did you have your friends come after school and write a comment on it? Didn’t think so. So what if someone wants to share their perspective, write an article, vent, or just talk about something without allowing comments. That is their choice. Disagree? Then go write in your “diary.” Leave my “diary/soapbox/pulpit alone please lol.
- Pages will load faster on your website/blog. That’s right, pages will load faster if they don’t have to load 500 “mostly worthless” comments below the actual post or page.
- Less bandwidth and less hosting space. Not that it will take up that much space, but over time, comments can take up a portion of your database and even drain a consistent measure of bandwidth. This is something to think about.
- Sometimes you may want to write persuasively. For example, you may be blogging about your business (secretly hoping to attract more customers). Or perhaps you have certain views on topics and feel you want to persuade others to your view (or to the dark side of the force). In this situation it wouldn’t make a lot of sense to have any negative or disagreeing type comments, since they could distract the reader from your own persuasion. In other words, you don’t want to blog about your business, and then someone leaves a comment that says, ‘your product sucks.’ I may not be a genius when it comes to sales, but I have a feeling that negative testamonials will divert sales, not increase them.
- Some people (believe it or not), may just want to publish their personal site, but use a CMS like WordPress, Blogger, etc. So they want the benefits of the software, but they want the content to be more like a personal or static website. This is why I use wordpress.
So there you go…you bunch of “no comment haters.” I hope I have opened your eyes to why some people have blogs with no comments. Comments don’t make the blog. Bloggers make the blog. Blogging is a way of providing content. Comments are optional. Comments SUCK! That is my view, and I am sticking to it!