There’s a bit of a debate going on amongst webmasters about website comments. Some say comments are a surefire way to increase your traffic and that every comment, no matter how minor, is valuable. Others claim that turning off comments has no discernible impact and lightens your workload significantly.
It’s possible that running an active comments section will be more detrimental in terms of time spend than turning them off, but a successful, robust comments section can be highly beneficial.
Comments are valuable as a sign of interaction and engagement. When you’re reading a blog post online, do you think to comment? Chances are you generally don’t. When you do, it’s for one of two reasons. Either you’ve spotted incorrect information and want to point out a correction to the author, or you want to add something of value – typically to yourself more than the blogger – in the comments.
The typical user may have a few other reasons. They may have a question they think you can answer. They may just want to thank you for your blog post. They may want to get a feel for how communicative you are. All of this is valuable in a B2C blog.
That said, for a B2B blog, you may not want to use comments. Nick Stamoulis has a few good reasons why commenting on a B2B blog isn’t very useful.
That’s all about the value of comments from readers on your blog posts. What about your responses?
Blogs are often used as one-way communication channels. They are distinct from social media, which is a two-way communication channel. In fact, half the time the comments section on a blog is integrated with Facebook, which specifically segregates the idea even further. You don’t respond to blog comments, you respond to Facebook comments.
The thing is, a blog can be just as much a two-way conversation as any social network. You have a community of interested people. You have your authority. You have a topic. There’s no difference between a conversation on Facebook and a conversation on your blog. Rather, there’s one difference; too many people ignore blog comments as a channel.
When a user comments, they are taking time out of their day to communicate with you. That has meaning. If you’re leaving them hanging, you’re wasting a valuable opportunity.
Of course, if you’re responding to each and every comment on your blog, you’re probably wasting a lot of time. When a user just says thanks, you don’t necessarily need to respond. When a user asks a question, then it’s a chance to showcase your insight and value as a blogger. You can automate some responses, but you should avoid a basic “thanks for your comment” response to everyone; it comes across as rude and defeats the purpose of building a community.
There are a few different broad categories of comments you’ll find. Some are easier to respond to than others.
This will help you identify at a glance the types of comments you’re dealing with, and immediately put a response in mind. Once you engrave these responses on your mind, it won’t take long at all to moderate and respond to your comments. Keep it up and you’ll see your community grow in now time.
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