One of the controversial topics in the blogging world has always been this: to allow blog comments or not?
While it depends on the platform we’re talking about and the type of audience, both can work. But I’ve finally decided to not just delete all comments I’ve received over the years, but also remove the comment section for anything published in the future.
I’m not saying it’s something you should do, but here are my reasons. I’ve been thinking about it for a long time, so I finally did it:
Why I Decided to Disable Comments
1. The conversation is now on social media.
First of all, it’s usually better to let the numbers speak and go from there.
While the traffic of Let’s Reach Success has grown over the years and all kinds of people find it, and me, through search engines and elsewhere, comments almost stopped.
In the first 2 years I had many of them. Then, a few on each post. Until it got to a few weekly.
However, that doesn’t need to be a bad thing. I’m still encouraging visitors to leave a comment at the end of the post, and would answer right away.
It’s just that it’s a bit old-fashioned to express your opinion on somebody’s site now, when you can do it on social media and mention them. And thus engage more people in the conversation, and also share it with your followers, not just the audience of the blog where the article is.
Copyblogger, one of the top sites in their niche, also removed these a long time ago. And they state one of the reasons being that the conversation doesn’t end, it just moved to a wider public platform.
2. No value added.
When a site owner takes a big decision about their platform, it’s not just about what search engines might think, or what will provide a better user experience to a small target audience, or what will lead to more conversions.
The main question is ‘Does this provide value to the visitor?’
Most actions are taken based on that. And removing comments from your blog should also happen this way.
If for years almost every article here on the blog stays without a comment underneath, but I know people are still reading it and finding it helpful, then the comment section is simply useless.
What’s more, old comments aren’t as informative as they can be.
‘Great post.’ doesn’t help anyone. And that can easily be said on social media by tagging the platform or blogger, as a way for the reader to share what they just saw and to thank the creator.
3. Comments don’t affect rankings.
Hubspot analyzed comment, view and link data on over 100,000 blog posts.
They found out that there is simply no connection between the number of comments you get, and how many people see it, or your rankings in general.
Some time ago, Neil Patel also investigated the issue. He found a slight increase in organic traffic through the hundreds of comments under each post. But still, things have changed even more since then.
4. Spam and clutter.
The truth is that spam is a big deal. It takes time to deal with it. Users are smarter and even good plugins can’t always see it’s fake. In addition, it makes the page where the article is published more cluttered.
5. Less is better.
Minimalism is the way to go in most areas of life. Especially in design.
With website design, the fewer elements and options you have on a page, the better the user experience.
You might be offering them to leave a comment below, while no one else has done it and they’ll feel lonely even if they do it. But you can also invite them on Twitter or Google + and have a conversation there, where many other people have the chance to engage too.
Examples of Great Sites That Disabled Comments a Long Time Ago
Seth Godin doesn’t have the time and energy to engage with every reader leaving a comment.
Michael Hyatt pulled comments a long time ago. He now invites readers to engage in a conversation on Facebook, with a button at the end of each article.
Leo over at ZenHabits is all about decluttering, so comments on his clean and simple page layout would only be a distraction.
Most News Sites Also Abandoned Comments
The Week, Popular Science, Reuters, and many other huge publications disabled their comment section a long time ago.
These days, it’s not a necessity for the digital news business to have that, but they are still keeping the conversation going on a ton of other places.
They struggled with spam, lack of real engagement, and even legal issues because of comments.
Everyone found what worked best for them and offered visitors many other ways to keep in touch.
Some sites do it through Instagram, if they are more visual. Others pay a lot of attention to their Facebook following. Some make it all happen in the newsletters, introduce a live chat feature, or even invite visitors to call or text elsewhere.
How to Disable Comments on WordPress
What I’m doing about the comment section on my site is:
1. Bulk edit all existing comments to not allow new ones.
That happens by going to ‘Posts’ in your dashboard, put a big number in ‘Screen Options’ so that you can see 100 or more of these on a page. Then tick the first column, choose the bulk action, and make a change only to ‘Comments’, where you’ll set it to ‘Do not allow’.
2. Disable future comments.
Simply go to Settings -> Discussion. From there, uncheck the third item.
3. Delete existing comments.
Now that’s a separate action, but it makes sense if you want to forget about comments on your WordPress site.
Simply head to the Comments field in your dashboard and delete those in bulk again.
I just did it for 4,299 comments. Many of which on the About page.
Why Some Bloggers Might Want to Keep Them
Pat Flynn loves them over at SmartPassiveIncome.com. But that’s because his audience is truly engaged with his brand. So his site has turned into a platform where people genuinely want to thank him, ask a question, or leave an insightful comment.
However, if you can’t seem to make that work, maybe your audience just isn’t like that. It’s okay. Simply move the discussion (or start it) elsewhere.
Let go of the desire to expect new comments and the disappointment when nothing is coming. Stop worrying about spam. And ditch the debate of whether or not you should be allowing these in the first place.
So, that’s why I removed comments on my blog. What about you?