On Blogging: Turn comments off?

What do you think about comments on blogs?

Zeroing in on 10,000 visits to this blog, and getting close to 10,000 visits to my second blog, milestones I promised myself to mark with a reconsideration. Soldier on?  Twist my arm. Time to pay for my own website? Can’t decide. Time to consolidate the two blogs? Probably. How about:  Time to turn off comments?

A milestone of sorts

Before getting into widgetry though, here’s a hug for writers and readers out there composing, researching, editing, and putting stuff into the ether. It’s hard. It’s brave.  The big lesson from blogging is that it’s not a one-way street. For every post I write, there are dozens of writers who provide inspiration, help me think about, re-imagine and negotiate this tech-heavy, exponentially changing information age.  I count on your thoughtful essays, how-to lists, your take on politics and reminders to lighten up.   Thanks especially to those of you who take the time to write comments.

So, why turn off the comments widget?  The idea isn’t mine.  Some of the most successful bloggers advise against comments.  Put your stuff out there and let it dangle.  To me it’s like giving up a security blanket. Comments on my blogs are infrequent, but they feel so good.  Time to let go?

If you’re a blogger with a niche, say, you write about cooking or travel, I can see how comments are key.  Suggestions, corrections or reports about how a recipe turned out; or feedback on routes or restaurant closings would be very helpful. What about for generalists like me?  My posts are all over the place.  Not specializing is supposed to be blog suicide, I know, but there you have it. Maybe I will zero in on one thing eventually. Maybe not.

Anyway, this means that many visitors stop in randomly depending on my passion of the week, or whether I’ve recently visited them, and commenters generally express support or disapproval, a simple thumbs up or down. Sometimes discussions happen with people who get in touch off-blog, which is great, but what about those comments on the page?  They are a nice pat on the back, but wouldn’t “follow” and “like” buttons do the trick?

Do you have your comment button turned on or off?  Why or why not?

P.S. My comment button is on, and yours are welcome

20 comments

  • I rarely get comments and I’d love to have them so its never occurred to me to turn them off. I visit blogs that have them turned off. Some people find it hard to keep up with, others don’t know what a great job askimet(?) the spam catcher (free even) does, others don’t want to be criticized or have controversy. I think people should think about why they have a blog, what they want to accomplish, and determine if comments help, hinder, or don’t matter in reaching the goal.

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  • Like you, keeping up with comments is not the issue. I’ve done some more reading. Bloggers-for-money seem more likely to have their comments turned off. Still thinking about it. Thanks for the visit Tasha.

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  • I leave comments on but I approve each one to prevent spam. I like to let people weigh in on my posts, it’s nice to interact with readers. I’ve made several friends that way. So I keep the comments on. 🙂

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  • Thanks for the feedback. Today, I was reading a new blog that got me going, but when I looked for the comment section — not there! It was kind of frustrating. Leaning toward keeping them on.

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  • Congratulations on the milestone, Julia. As for your question, I think it’s important to have that open line of communication. You don’t necessarily need to use it if the wrong kind of comment comes in, but it’s there and that’s the important thing. We may be bloggers, but we still have lives and our readers know that so they’re alright with it if it takes us a day or two to respond occasionally. I think you’ll grow a much more loyal following if your interacting with them than not. But that’s just my take of the situation.

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  • I’ll bet you’d never be able to guess what my opinion is on turning off comments on a blog… Nope, not a chance! Lol 😉

    Hey different strokes for different folks, but TURN OFF comments on my blog??? Why don’t I consider celibacy while I’m at it? Maybe I should just go all the way and become the most ascetic of all the ascetics too!? Huh? Okay, I’ll calm down now. Lol 🙂

    I love the interactive aspects of blogging! And it’s kinda hard for it to be interactive without comments and replies. I spent enough years pre-internet with only a few people to read my writing, and give me feedback, to know it was frustrating, and I’d never want to go back to that. Even in the bad old online days of the Netscape message boards, where vicious flaming was the favorite pastime of many maladjusted trolls, it was still better than feeling like I was writing to a wall.

    I guess I’m just a comment and reply kinda guy, and I’m sure you aren’t surprised that I’d feel that way. Lol 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  • I guess we wouldn’t be having this conversation if comments were off. Pshaw to the money bloggers who don’t want second opinions.

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  • I really enjoy the interaction when people comment on my posts. I think the comments provide added depth to the topic and give me an idea if my words are hitting their mark. I couldn’t improve my posts if I didn’t know what readers thought of them.

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  • True. Can’t tell you the number of times when I get a response which shows that what I wrote came out sounding, well, not exactly how I intended it to sound. Feedback does help.

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  • What a great idea. I am hereby embracing it. I get so much spam on my blog that I never wade through my comments anyway (can’t afford a spam filter). But I then feel bad for the few legitimate people who do post responses. No comment button at all solves both problems!

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  • Akismet! It’s $5 a month if you make money off your blog, free if your blog is not monetized. It very efficiently cleans out spammers. In fact, it seems to be wiping out all of my comments to other people’s blogs. Either that or they are on to me. So, now the question is, if you didn’t get spam but only legitimate people … ?

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    • From my oh so scientific observations (based on responses to this post), it looks like pros are more likely to turn off comments, that is, the bloggers who primarily blog for money or to sell a product. Writers who blog to find their way, to practice publishing, and to make contact with other writers and readers, seem to be more likely to keep comments on. I like interacting too.

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      • Makes perfect sense to me. I got my blog kicking and screaming because a publisher said you had to have a “platform.” And amazingly; I LOVE the blog…interacting with really wonderful like – minded bloggers has been so rewarding! I’m happy we connected 🙂

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  • Great post… in my experience replying to comments takes almost as much time as visiting blogs back and commenting over there… the option is available, as you say and I believe it is profitable… but at the same time, empathy and communication as basic and very important elements when it comes to blogging… If you post photographs, for instance, turning off comments would make much more sense… But not that much when the topics entail debate, technical issues, writing skills/ craft or “knowledge”, so as to speak .
    Sending best wishes. Aquileana 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Here I am, still with comments on, and still answering. If this became a career, a money-making venture, turning off comments would make more sense because time would become money. I like your definition of profitable better.

      Liked by 1 person

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