Whether you’re launching a new WordPress blog or managing an existing WordPress site, eventually you’re going to have to make a decision about comments: Are you going to enable comments or disable comments?
WordPress began as a blogging platform and many WordPress blogs thrived for years with active and engaged communities who commented and fostered conversation around their posts. WordPress website owners and bloggers with large active communities argue that comments are part of what makes a blog a blog.
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Reasons to Turn Comments On
The most common reasons to turn on comments on your WordPress blog are:
- Readers can share tips, insights, stories, and ideas for future content.
- The conversation between you and your readers in the comments can create greater rapport and brand evangelists
- Responding to comments will often bring those commenters back to your site, increasing views and the potential for other conversions
- Comments can help you build a community around your blog of engaged readers
- Enabling comments shows readers that you’re interested in their feedback and what they have to say
- Quality comments help build social proof and show readers that other people care about your content
As WordPress grew, it evolved into a complete website content management system and eventually its use for business websites skyrocketed. With this growth, the role of the blog shifted from being the website’s primary focus to being a marketing tool attached to the website.
More and more businesses began to embrace WordPress as their preferred content management system. At the same time, social media’s meteoric rise in popularity provided new and exciting avenues for bloggers and website owners to connect with their communities and audiences, and some began to wonder if allowing comments on their sites was worth the hassle.
Reasons to Turn Comments Off
The most common reasons to turn off comments on your WordPress website are:
- Moderating comments takes time
- If you get a lot of comments, responding to them all eats up a lot of time and if you don’t respond it may hurt your brand
- Many comments are spammy and low quality
- Comments don’t necessarily add value to the core content or visitor experience
- Comments can turn into a forum for trolls or a venue for free support
- Few comments may send the wrong message
- A lack of comments isn’t representative of the quality of content you’re creating
But what is right for your WordPress website?
Should You Enable Or Disable Comments?
Whether or not you turn on comments or remove comments from your WordPress website is a matter of personal preference. You need to decide what is right for your brand, business, and website. Some things to consider are:
The industry you’re in or type of business you have:
Some businesses lend themselves to commenting more than others. Ask yourself, “Will the readers I am targeting realistically want to comment publicly?” For example, if you’re a marriage counselor, are people really going to want to air their dirty laundry in the comments of your blog? Probably not. But if you’re a chef sharing recipes, would readers want to be able to ask questions or share their experience making the dish? Probably so.
The amount of content you’re creating:
If you’re publishing one new blog post a week, managing comments isn’t going to take as much time and effort as it would if you’re publishing new posts every day. Evaluate how much time comment management is taking and whether it is worth it.
The activity of your community:
Do you already have an engaged community who is active and comments of your site? If you’re not bogged down in comment management, keep them open. But on the other hand, if you’re ending every post with a call to action to encourage comments and no one is commenting, maybe it’s time to turn off comments and try a new approach like asking for feedback on posts in a Facebook group.
The goals of your website:
What are the primary goals and objectives of your website? If they are to make sales, gain new clients, grow an email list, and generate leads, chances are your blog is a tool for education and marketing. In this case, comments aren’t critical to achieving your goals.
If your goals are to build a thriving community and connect with your readers, then your blog is going to be the center of your entire site and comments will play a key role in achieving those goals.
Different Businesses Require Different Approaches
If you research the topic of blog comments online and look for a definitive answer, you’re not going to find one. While one expert will say comments help with SEO, another will say they don’t, and while one blogger will say comments are critical to the success of a website, another will say they turned off comments and it didn’t make a difference.
The Two Most Important Factors to Consider
Here are the two most important things you need to understand about making the decision to turn on or turn off comments on your WordPress website:
- When evaluating other people’s opinions about blog comments, make sure the context of their opinions is actually relevant to your website. For example: If you’re trying to decide whether or not to enable comments on a high-end professional services website, listening to what a blogger thinks about comments isn’t going to be as helpful as what other service providers have experienced with comments on their websites.
- It’s your website and you have to do what is best for you. If you want comments, enable comments. If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of comment management, disable comments.
Finally, if you’re not sure about comments and you’re struggling with the decision, with WordPress it’s easy to turn them on and off. So give comments a shot and if after a set amount of time they’re not getting any traction, you can always remove them later.