Always enable comments on your blog

by Martin Reed on 12 April 2007 in Snippets

I have been reading a few different blogs and forums lately and was surprised that many of them recommend new blogs disable the ‘add comments’ feature. Their argument is that enabling comments only for them not to be used damages your blog as it makes it obvious that you have a low number of visitors.

Disabling comments on your blog is a mistake

Lets apply that argument to another scenario. I have recently setup a shop, I have nice big windows so people can see what is inside – everyone gets to see the content of my shop. Unfortunately the shop is new, so I don’t get many customers. Therefore I don’t bother going in to open up – I keep the door locked and stay at home.

This is exactly what you are doing if you are disabling comments because you are worried nobody will post.

Sure, your blog may be brand new and only 1% of visitors will leave a comment – but that 1% could be the start of things to come. That 1% may post a fantastic comment that compels others to reply. By disabling comments you are only guaranteeing one thing – your blog will never receive any comments!

I came across a blog recently with an article that really interested me. I went to leave a comment, but was told that comments were disabled. I left the blog and didn’t bookmark it. I no longer even remember the name of that blog. The thing is, had comments been enabled I would have posted a comment and bookmarked the blog so I could see if my comment had attracted any replies.

Comments are a great feature of blogs. Turning them off because you don’t think people will use them for whatever reason is perhaps the biggest mistake a blog owner can make. Seeing the phrase ’0 Comments’ will not put a reader off – their primary reason for visiting your blog is to read the content that you have written.

Reinstate the comments facility, encourage users to comment by making your blog link love enabled, create content that inspires debate – just don’t setup a shop without unlocking the door!

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Dave April 12, 2007 at 7:21 pm

You make some excellent points in this post. I wrote on article on the very subject here:

While I agree that you are technically closing the windows, and you may in some instances lose some visitors like your example…I do think it might be an ok idea to leave comments off until a certain average # of visitors is attained. For example wait until you are getting about 100-200 uniques a day, which will up the chance of occasional comments.

Personally seeing 0 comments doesn’t turn me off a site or article one bit…as you said, I’m more interested in the content. If the content interests me, there’s a high likelihood that I will visit the site again or even add it to my RSS feed. But alternatively, I can see how others may be turned off by the statistic. Same goes for displaying the number of your RSS subscribers.

Excellent posts you’ve been having, keep up the great work.

Tim April 12, 2007 at 10:12 pm

After enabling comments, it’s important to remember to check your spam filter often. WordPress offers a daily digest by email, for example. I’ve noticed that a few of the comments that I’ve left on this blog never were published, for example.

Martin Reed April 12, 2007 at 10:59 pm

Dave: Thanks for your comment, although I still strongly think removing the comment feature because you don’t think it would be used is a completely flawed argument.

Tim: My apologies that some of your comments have not been getting through – I will look into that now.

Rishi October 12, 2007 at 5:38 am

For starter blogs, not enabling comments for atleast a month is recommended. Anyways, your points have weight! :D

Martin Reed - Blog Author October 12, 2007 at 11:41 pm

Rishi – I completely and utterly disagree, for the reasons I make clear in the article. I would be interested to hear why you think comments should be disabled on a new blog.

Bollywood October 27, 2007 at 6:30 pm

To get return visitors on your blog , i think you must active comment system.

Martin Reed - Blog Author October 29, 2007 at 8:07 pm

Bollywood – I completely agree. I think a large part of the value in this blog is from the comments left by readers like yourself.

Flash design April 25, 2008 at 6:32 am

Sounds nuts to me, Isn’t comments 50% of a good blog. That way you’re not only sharing your own opinion but also others.

Martin Reed - Blog Author April 25, 2008 at 4:27 pm

Flash design – I completely agree. Blogs should be platforms for the two-way sharing of ideas. A blog without comments isn’t a real blog as far as I am concerned.

Flash Design April 28, 2008 at 11:36 am

at least it’s pretty rare I see a blog with comments disabled but I do encounter them once in awhile. You will dig your own grave as a blogger if you disable the comments.

Martin Reed - Blog Author April 30, 2008 at 4:39 pm

Flash – It is rare to see blog comments disabled nowadays; however, you still come across the odd crazy who is convinced that shutting out dialogue is beneficial.

Mike April 15, 2009 at 10:03 am

I think maybe bloggers disable comments due to Spam?

I know I get quite a few on my blogs, but Askimet and other plugins stop the majority. If you also moderate all comments, you will never get any that sneak through.

The problems start if you have lots of blogs and you’ve got to spend time going through them all every day to get rid of spam comments.

I used to use the Bad Behavior plug in, but I found it was stopping geniune comments getting through as well. I’ve removed it from all my blogs now…

PS. Nice site… I’m going to have a look around now…

Christina March 26, 2010 at 6:08 pm

I was under the impression that an important aspect of a blog was to encourage communication. Why would your visitors stay for a long period of time if there isn’t some type of relationship?