How Important Are Comments On Your Blog Posts?

How Important Are Blog Comments

 

I recently saw some bloggers in a Twitter chat stressing over the number of comments their blog posts get, one of the worriers starting asking people to comment on her latest post. For several reasons this is not a good road to go down, the main one being that any comment someone wants to make should be organic and something the commenter feels inspired to do. Commenting anxiety stems from a worry that your blog isn't being engaged with, the number of comments seems to be as equally important as blog traffic to some people. I'm here to tell you that blog comments really don't matter as much as you might think. 

I earn most of my income from blogging, I've worked on sponsored posts with brands like Nokia, Diet Coke, NutriBullet, and some exciting startups such as Elle Macpherson's WelleCo, and Strathberry of Scotland. I've never had one of these brands turn round and say, oh sorry – we've just double-checked your blog and see you have little-to-no comments on your posts, let's call the whole thing off. This is because for a long time now brands and PRs have cottoned on to the fact that most comments on blog posts are from other bloggers, many of them just doing this so that they can 'advertise' their own blog and leave a link to it. Of course some bloggers will have their own loyal group of blogging friends who leave genuine and interesting comments, and not the type of comment that equates to a vague thumbs-up and a link to a blog. But this is no good to a brand either, they don't want to see the same small circle of influencers engaging with a blog, they want to see what their average consumer thinks, and comments are the least effective way they can do this with smaller bloggers.

I might be more worried about blog comments if I hadn't had some excellent advice from uber-blogger Kat Williams when I first started out a couple of years ago. She explained to Blogcademy delegates that in the early days of blogging comments used to be the only way for bloggers to interact with their readers; social media platforms such as Twitter were yet to be invented, and bloggers were afraid to give out their email because the internet was deemed to be a place filled with dangerous weirdos. This is how brands and PRs initially placed importance on comments as something with which to gauge engagement. Kat said that now comments mean very little for engagement because bloggers can interact with readers far quicker and more enjoyably on other platforms, and comments tend to be the place where self-promotion, unfortunately, reigns over meaningful comment. Also, advances in technology mean that more people read blog posts on devices whilst on the go, and don't always have time to comment. I often read blogs on my phone whilst commuting round London, and try to remember to tweet the blogger later, or if I know them I might just wait until I next see them to say how much I enjoyed what they wrote. 

This advice made me confident enough to turn my comment function off about six months after starting my blog because I really did have a lot of "great post – anyway here's my blog" type comments that meant nothing to me (and don't get me started on brands spamming the comments too). I kept the comments switched off for well over a year and in that time my blog grew and turned into a business. I was also really pleased with the interactions I had with readers, they'd get in touch via email or Twitter to comment, and because they'd gone to this trouble the feedback, praise, personal input and even the constructive criticism meant a lot more to me. I've had a journalist I really admire tell me on Twitter they love my blog, and the editor of a digital magazine I'm crazy about tell me I'm very talented. When I wrote about a terrible experience I had at a hair salon I was amazed to get dozens of emails from women in several different parts of the world reaching out to tell me their similar stories and empathise with me. Who cares if no one else can see those emails, or only a few people will see the tweets, it means more to me as a writer to get genuine comments that I can use to learn about my readers and to get better at blogging.  

Now that my comments are back on (more as an experiment than anything) I'm not saying I don't want fellow bloggers commenting – it has made me really glad I changed my mind when I get a comment that makes me laugh out loud or tells me something useful. It still means more to me to get one great comment that shows the post has actually been read and reflected upon than twenty shallow, unsubtle blog adverts. So, if you're a new blogger, or one who's been doing it a while and is worried about how comments 'make you look' –  honestly don't. If your content is good and, very importantly, you're enjoying what you're doing, don't feel like comments are something you're being judged on. Just keep doing what you're doing and remember that comments mean very little to brands, that bloggers often leave comments so that they can leave their links, and that people may not have time to comment but that doesn't mean what you wrote didn't have any impact upon them. 

 

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24 Comments

  1. August 13, 2015 / 12:48 pm

    I really like this post. I have to add that i often do not comment when i see that a post has already a huge amount of comments since i then think that it won’t be read anyway. In general i only leave a comment when i have something to say or a question. Usually its out of the wish in other words to interact with the author or at least other readers. If my comment vanishes into a sea of “i love your blog! *link to my own*” then what is the point of me leaving one.

  2. August 13, 2015 / 1:43 pm

    This is a really helpful post! Personally, I love leaving comments as much as I love reading them on my own blog ’cause when I get a comment it generally is a response to what I’ve written. Though I do agree the “cool post here’s my URL” type comments do get more than a little frustrating after a while. I suppose I see it, as it was in the early days, as another way of interacting with readers, bloggers and well, people!
    Lauren xx

  3. August 13, 2015 / 2:23 pm

    Oh yeah, definitely worth doing! I don’t regret disabling my comments and I don’t regret turning them back on. It’s still a great way to reach out to people – just not the be all and end all. x

  4. August 13, 2015 / 2:25 pm

    Thanks Michaela! It can be frustrating not to get a reply, but if there’s tonnes of comments I can a blogger might not have time. Sometimes too many comments can add pressure to a blogger and so can too few! x

  5. August 13, 2015 / 2:46 pm

    Don’t get me started on the self-promoting comments… I’m actually considering marking them as spam! Aside for this, I also think that by sharing an article on Social Media, you’re supporting / encouraging the blogger more than by commenting (unless, of course, the comment is a continuation of a conversation started with the post).
    Anyway, great blog! *Here’s mine* (just kidding!)

  6. August 13, 2015 / 4:13 pm

    I am with the old school of affecting people with the written word. I really had a battle with writings. I recently decided to commit to it, especially iam now to be a pro health care provider. I don’t comment in a blog unless it really attached me.I might leave a 50 word comment! I would love myself to have that, will mean alot tome, but it Turned out some bloggers even delate mine nd keep the spammers for numbers.I was feeling frustrated the last 2 days , but now I feel better 🙂

  7. August 13, 2015 / 7:35 pm

    50 words doesn’t sound a lot! I love your passion! x

  8. August 13, 2015 / 7:35 pm

    Haaaa! I was waiting for someone to say that! Of course I want people to share their blogs (if they make actual comments!) x

  9. August 13, 2015 / 7:42 pm

    Great article and quite reassuring. I get lots of views bit not many comments, which is a shame but I know that I can’t comment much as I mostly read my favourite blogs in quick breaks at work (& on my mobile) which makes it difficult to leave comments.

  10. August 13, 2015 / 8:10 pm

    Good point! It’s easy to get comment-guilt, and also to feel obliged to return comments (well, I do anyway). It adds to the anxiety surrounding comments!

  11. August 14, 2015 / 8:59 am

    Really interesting to hear your point of view on comments! I agree with Michaela; when there are lots of comments, I just assume they won’t see it. I think the worst is bought comments – have you seen that much? I’ve only seen it a small handful of times, and funnily enough, the blog was usually great and would have been better off without them.

  12. August 14, 2015 / 9:18 am

    I’ve never seen bought comments! How can you tell? That’s a shame that bloggers worry about comments to that extent! x

  13. August 14, 2015 / 9:23 am

    You’re absolutely spot on – there are times where I think “well, I really don’t have much of interest to say other than ‘loved this’ so I don’t (but will often share on social media). That said, comments are lovely but…

  14. Holly Cassell
    August 14, 2015 / 4:45 pm

    Such a true, helpful post! I wanted to come and read after that chat topic the other night (it’s so funny, I’m here to comment about a chat about blog comments, on a post about how blog comments don’t matter that much…hang on, I’m confused) an definitely agree with what you’ve said here. Comments to me are like lovely notes from my friends, or feedback, and really have nothing to do with my blog as a business, brand, or website. Great post xx
    The Persephone Complex

  15. August 15, 2015 / 12:11 am

    Thanks for sharing the post, Holly! And for stopping by. It’s lovely to get comments, but I also want to let people who don’t get comments that it’s okay too! x

  16. August 15, 2015 / 12:13 am

    A share is a great way to show your appreciation of a post. Especially when you don’t have much to say about it, or if other people have already said what you wanted to say! x

  17. August 16, 2015 / 1:47 am

    You do not need this comment, but I’mma leave it here anyway! 😉
    Absolutely fabulous post, and really reassuring too! I completely agree, and I by no means have your experience at all. But I can see what you mean and see that it has no huge benefit other than just another means of interaction (which is still great!).
    I do love having comments, as they give me a reminder of what people like or dont like.. but I can appreciate a little bit more now that I really dont need to worry!
    Thanks gorgeous! 🙂
    Jemma x
    No I’m not gona leave my link here hahaha.

  18. August 16, 2015 / 12:38 pm

    Thanks Jemma! Links are welcome, lol – everyone should check out your blog (Dorkface.co.uk) it’s amazing! Blog comments are great, but I just didn’t want any blogger being anxious about them. x

  19. August 17, 2015 / 12:23 am

    This is such an inspiring post! I will admit when I don’t receive a comment on a post or I only receive two or three I do feel very disheartened, I put a lot of work into my posts and you kind of tell yourself if there’s no comments then no one is bothering to read. This post has really reassured me that comments don’t matter as much as I thought they did and I should be super pleased with the number of brand opportunities I have had over the past year. I think a lot of other bloggers will feel a lot better about their content after reading this, well done!
    Toni x
    http://www.clarkecouture.co.uk

  20. August 17, 2015 / 3:13 pm

    Thanks so much, Toni! x

  21. August 17, 2015 / 7:34 pm

    I feel like no one’s actually listening when I don’t get comments haha! But I’m trying to not let it bother me that much!
    Thanks for this post – I may consider turning my comments off!
    Nicole xx

  22. August 17, 2015 / 7:38 pm

    Give it a go! It’s liberating! I focused more on content and not on stats and had a great payoff! x

  23. August 17, 2015 / 11:52 pm

    I wrote a post on this subject a couple of days ago, and was really interested by how many readers commented to say they didn’t realise bloggers would want comments, or that they deliberately don’t leave any because they worry they’ll be “annoying” the blogger – I was so surprised by that because it seemed obvious to me that no one wants to write something and get no response to it, but it seems that a lot of readers (especially the ones who aren’t bloggers themselves) feel that way. I do think you’re right that social media plays a huge part in it, so I try not to get too disheartened when a post doesn’t get a lot of comments, although I do always feel disappointed by it.
    With that said, I did disable comments on one of my blogs a few months ago and I totally agree that’s it liberating: I had been tying myself in knots trying to please a core group of readers who never seemed to be happy with anything, and when I switched off the comments and started just writing what I wanted, without worrying about what people might say about it, it made a huge difference to how I felt about that site. I wouldn’t switch them off on my main blog, but I do think that sometimes they can do more harm than good.

  24. August 18, 2015 / 9:46 am

    A few non-bloggers have tweeted me in response to my post that they felt they don’t need to comment, it’s just bloggers ‘congratulating each other’ in comments (on all bloggers’ posts) and things along this line – so that’s been an eye-opener! I just read your post and I agree, the whole culture of commenting has changed. Your lists on what gets more comments and shares will be really useful for bloggers! Xx

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