October 31, 2010

Enable or disable commenting on your blogs - which is best for you?

One of the more frequent questions I am asked about having a blog is "how should I handle comments?" I usually answer is "it is up to you," but let me elaborate.

If your blog is to announce your latest creation then you might not want to enable comments. Most companies that have a blog to announce new products, news releases or up coming sales don't allow comments simply because they are not needed. The blog is merely a bulletin board to post quick information to their customers.

On the other hand if you are trying to build a community around your blog where you want people to interact with your posts, then yes enable those comments. Keep in mind that allowing comments will also bring in those readers that are just trying to build back links to their own blogs and almost always just leave a comment that says "nice post" or a smiley face. They have no intention of becoming a regular reader and leave those types of comments all over the place. The more popular your blog becomes, the more frequent those types of comments will become. Those types of comments will be more prevalent on posts that are older than a year old. The reason for that is the fact that those older posts have been indexed by Google and have a bit of weight when it comes to link juice.

Here is something that you probably didn't know about commenting on blogspot/blogger versus wordpress type blogs. Blogspot/blogger blogs are automatically set at "no follow" for comments. That means that the links left in comments will not get any link juice from the blog. That setting has to be changed by the blog owner but not many know how to do it. Wordpress on the other hand does give out link juice unless the blog owner has changed the settings on the blog.

I always moderate my comments before allowing them to be published. I just have had too many spammers over the years to allow them to destroy my hard work. If I get one blog post that seems to attract them all of the time then I have the option to go back to that post and disable the comments section. Many blog owners disable commenting on blog posts older than 30-90 days.

As a blog reader I do enjoy reading comments on other blogs but only if they add to the original post. Comments left on news stories are often a fun read. Comments left on a project post are only helpful to me to add more information about the project like the measurement in the post might be wrong or that the material used cannot be found. Like I said in my first few sentences, allowing comments is up to you.

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