Should You Worry About Getting Blog Comments? – No. 1 of 4

Written by Tayo Solagbade

Topics: Writing/Blogging

This is a potentially controversial topic, going by the trends in discussions I’ve come across on a number of blogs. Some bloggers argue that a blog without comments might as well be dead. Another group points out that many excellent content blogs go for weeks with few or no comments. And yet, the owners get quality engagement and more importantly, sales through them!

Views on this subject can be fairly wide ranging, and in some cases extremely polarized. I know this, because I have spent weeks sorting through threads discussing this subject. And I have encountered compelling arguments for and against.

However, despite reading those different perspectives, my views on the subject remain the same. And I have felt this way from the day I launched my first attempt at a blog back in 2009. My thinking derives from over 7 years of monitoring statistics for my web marketing efforts (more on this).

IMORTANT NOTE: This is the first in a multiple post series. I decided it would be impractical to try covering everything in one post. There are different perspectives. And this is why many people struggle to decide what to think or do. So, I aim to end up with a comprehensive “guide” to help interested blog owners decide if their kind of blog needs (or does not need) comments to succeed – and steps to take in either case.

Not Everyone Needs Blog Comments To Succeed!

Yes. That’s my view. And it’s based on my personal observations – guided by data evidence. The operative words here are need and succeed. You can want comments – maybe so you can be like other blogs and brag about your large active "community" :-)

But you may not need comments on your blog to achieve success at it (read: financial success – especially)!

It’s important to make this distinction. People sometimes get focussed on the wrong goals. That can lead to needless waste of time, effort and even money. We’re talking blogging by results focussed business persons here, and not people on ego trips, who want to look/feel good. The former usually want results in form of sales and quality leads. So, some sell direct advert space while others use Google adwords. Another group sells services and products. While for others, a mix of different strategies works best.

But not all of these blogs will be better able to achieve their goals, if they get a large volume of blog comments – no matter how interesting!

It does not matter what industry you serve. As long as you blog with a business (especially income earning) focus in mind, then what I’m saying here applies to you.

So, let me repeat myself: No matter what anyone says, the FACT remains that not every blog will need comments to succeed (especially financially).

How Can I Be So Sure?

For a start, many online arguments I’ve found not to be in support of chasing blog comments (during my online research), do not exactly oppose placing importance on getting them either. They simply challenge the blog owner to look carefully at choosing the right metrics for evaluating his/her blog’s performance.

And that assessment would have to be done with the desired business GOAL of the blog owner in mind. So, if getting more comments moves you closer to your blogging goal, then by all means do what you can to get more (ethically of course – more on this). Otherwise, don’t stress yourself!

This aligns perfectly with what I know from carefully monitoring reliable indices for my work online.

Here’s another reason I’m sure: I checked comments volume and quality on blogs run by some high profile – and highly successful – experts in certain relatively "quiet" business fields (e.g. consulting, coaching/mentoring etc). Then I compared with what I saw on blogs owned by people with followers who tend to be more "expressive" (e.g. writers/bloggers).

Guess what? The blogs in the less "chatty" disciplines tend to get much fewer comments. And yet, going by what the owners reveal in the email newsletters they publish (which I subcribe to), their rate of engagement by way of sales conversions can be quite high. Indeed, it would appear that the little "commenting" that does happen on such blogs mostly occurs via emaila, online chat or telephone. And the quality of interaction tends to be much higher.

In other words, "activity" or "busy-ness" in a blog’s comments section may not translate to "higher profitability" of a blog!

We Have More Opinions Than Valid Statistics/Data!

That’s my view – but then it’s also an opinion! Having said that, the truth is different people have different reasons for emphasizing the importance of blog comments.

The PROBLEM I see, is that no one has put up any comprehensive statistics (as far as I know), that shows a distinct positive correlation between the volume of blog comments received and the success (especially financial) of a blog (s).

It would be nice to do that – I’m toying with the idea of a questionnaire survey to blog owners. (Email me via tayo at tksola dot com, if you’re interested) One could publish a table of data with charts showing blogs from different industries comparing their average comments per blog post, with other perfromance criteria(especially sales made or pre-qualified leads generated). It would be great if anyone who has such data already can beat me to it, of course…do drop me a line so I can check it out (Or maybe I’ll design a simple spreadsheet template that people can download, and use to monitor their own blogs…we’ll see.)

Without hard data to back up our claims, whatever we say or think about this subject really amounts to conjecture at the end of the day.

That could mean that I’m wrong in saying not everyone needs blog comments…right?

Well, no, in the sense that I’m saying each person should test and find out what works in his/her case..like everything else we do online. Check your stats – and be sure you’re measuring what you think you’re measuring (In statistics it’s called ensuring the "validity" of your chosen measure).

What you learn will help you decide how much of a premium to place on getting comments on your blog.

"Some people make the mistake of equating consensus with truth. That you, and others who think like you, agree among yourselves that a centipede is a millipede wearing a metal coat, will not make the centipede become a millipede." – Tayo Solagbade

For now, let’s be clear about one thing: You need not bother yourself about what anyone – – expert or critic – with contrary opinions say. If they visit your blog and announce that something is wrong because your have too few – or no – comments, don’t take it to heart.

That’s just their opionion.

So, What Can You Do?

Set up your blog with tools that help you reliably measure the progress you make (I’ll be sharing details of very useful ones I use for this blog in the next post on this series). And so long as you see your performance indices improving, you have nothing to worry about. Remember that what most others express are just opinions. Even experts can be wrong! And when it comes to the Internet and what works, no one can claim to know everything.

Why not find out what works for YOU? You already have most of what you need…and through this series, you should be able to get everything else…hopefully :-)

I’ll be going into more specific details in my next post in this series, which comes up next Saturday (in line with my new blog content publishing schedule). I want to exhaustively treat the different aspects of this subject that have occurred to me. So, stay tuned!

Next Post:Deciding If Your Blog Needs Comments To Succeed (5 Questions To Ask Yourself)

Blog Comments Multi-Post Series – Table of Contents

Post 1: Should You Worry About Getting Blog Comments?
Post 2: Deciding If Your Blog Needs Comments To Succeed (5 Questions To Ask Yourself)
Post 3: Six Potentially Useful Measures of Your Blog’s Performance (Hint: Comments Vs. Five Others)
Post 4(Final): Using Your Blog To Make Money – Little Used Strategies You Can Exploit


[IMPORTANT: This blog's contents are being updated following the transfer to www.tayosolagbade.com from my former domain - Spontaneousdevelopment.com. As a result, some parts of it may not work properly for now. Quick Tip: If a link contains "spontaneousdevelopment.com", simply change it to "tayosolagbade.com" - and it should work. This applies to article links as well as image links. Work continues to update the links(in over 500 articles). Tayo K. Solagbade.]

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