Some say that comments are the backbone of a blog or it really isn’t a blog at all without comments.
If you’ve done research on whether to allow comments on your blog open or not, you undoubtedly noticed that there is a big debate out there.
Some high profile blogs have removed commenting on their site altogether. Heavy hitters like Copyblogger have decided that social media has cut the frequency of comments down to a point that it is no longer practical.
Above all, Copyblogger and many others are tired of the spam, which comprises 99% of the comments even with a spam plugin.
That being said, allowing comments is still a great way to engage your visitors and allow for interaction. And let’s face it, it feels nice to know someone took the time to express their thoughts on something that you wrote.
What constitutes a quality blog comment?
A quality comment contributes to the conversation.
I think a quality blog comment can change a reader’s mind about an issue or inspire them to try something new and different. Quality comments inform and answer questions that you may not have addressed in your original post.
Quality comments also generate controversy without offending. Often, comments allow your readers to see an issue from several different angles.
A quality comment is not “I agree” or “Great post.”
It irks me to hear bloggers say that they comment on other blogs to build backlinks. This is not a good strategy purely from the fact that most links are “no follow.” A “no follow” link lets the search robots know not to follow this link.
How does Google handle nofollowed links?
“In general, we don’t follow them. This means that Google does not transfer PageRank or anchor text across these links. Essentially, using nofollow causes us to drop the target links from our overall graph of the web.”
As you can see from my opinion on using comments, there is a downside, but I believe that the benefits of using comments outweigh the constant deluge of spam.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO can be an added benefit of leaving comments open. Comments keep the blog post fresh and they add new (and hopefully quality) content flowing in.
A well thought out comment adds keywords that can rank well in search engine results. I have seen Google results that were based solely on the comments of a blog post.
Google uses on-page activity as one of the ways to measure the popularity and authority of a website. The more activity and the longer visitors stay on a site the more Google will reward you.
Comments add a sense of community to a blog.
Comments make the posts not so “one-sided” and can build relationships with your readers.
One way of getting more quality comments is to leave your blog post-open-ended. Ask questions about how they deal with the problem you are trying to solve. Readers are far more likely to comment if there is a call to action.
When you start getting comments, show your readers that you are active and that you want to participate. Let them know that you care that they took the time to post a comment and thank them for the value that they add.
If you want to keep comments open but need something more robust than the built-in commenting system of WordPress, here are some alternate commenting systems that you may want to research.
Some of these third-party commenting systems add security and spam control as well as social media integration. We do not have any affiliation with the list below so if you decide to put your comments in the hands of one of them, make sure you do your due diligence.