It seems like a no-brainer that blogs should have comments. Blogs, by their nature, are spaces of dialogue and personal viewpoints. However, Daring Fireball and platforms like Tumblr have paved the way for an acceptance of blogs sans-comments.
During my first attempt to reboot CostPerNews with the ill-fated adverbs.FM, I had a “no commenting” policy because I was so burned from the long epistles that would erupt on CPN from time-to-time (there’s nothing like friends asking you to look up an I.P. address of a commenter because they were upset someone would post something so hurtful under an anonymous guise). That blog failed due in no small part to its absences of comments.
However, the issue of whether to include comments on a blog (especially niche blogs like we have in the affiliate industry) reared its hydra head again this week.
Affiliate folks like Scott Jangro (who chastised me for not having comments on adverbs.FM) have been weighing in with salient thoughts…
Turning Blog Comments Off – a Short Case Study by @mattgemmell: “There are many times that I’ve also questioned the value and benefits of blog comments. They tend to be a flash in the pan, and depending on the platform the blog is hosted on, it can be difficult to keep tabs on posts that you’ve commented on in various places.
But there are also some blogs that are a pleasure to read, due in no small part to the comments.”
I chose to go with Disqus here on PPT mostly because I’ve seen how well the platform works on my affiliate blogs that are so super niche that they typically don’t see the type of trolling that gets under the skin of most bloggers. Plus, Disqus is super easy to regulate, which is another reason I love/trust it with my precious commenting content.
However, Matthew Ingram has a great post on GigaOM this afternoon on the debate and he adequately sums up why your affiliate blog (whatever niche you happen to be covering) should have comments…
Yes, blog comments are still worth the effort — Tech News and Analysis: “A blog without comments is a soap-box, plain and simple. Not having comments says you are only interested in passing on your wisdom, without testing it against any external source (at least not where others can watch you do so) or leaving open the opportunity to actually learn something from those who don’t have their own blogs, or aren’t on Twitter or Google+. That may make for a nicer experience for you the blogger, and it may make your blog load faster, but it is still a loss — for you, and for your readers.”
Commenting on blogs opens the writer up to the type of frustrations and frictions that many affiliates would rather avoid if they are spending the bulk of their time on making their sites super optimized with loads of keywords and content that is sure to have them “rank” high artificially.
Yet, if you’re interested in long term organic growth, commenting allows for affiliates to present their sites/blogs as an opportunity to perform a job for its visitors.
Yes, commenting can cause friction, but friction should be a part of your affiliate strategy. This is the real growth potential for affiliate sites as people normally find your content because they want to do something. Limit their choices by providing a full service of doing the job they are searching to have fulfilled, but give people the option to provide a level of feedback that ensures for authentic engagement.