JTech Communications

Should I Allow Comments on My Blog?

by Mira Brody - January 26, 2017
Social Media Best Practices
Allowing commenting on your blog.
Everyone likes a conversation starter, right? Unfortunately, allowing readers to leave comments on your blog is sometimes more work than it may initially sound. Whether you directly contribute to or manage a personal or business blog, you’ll want to carefully weigh the pros and cons of allowing the public to comment on your writing.

Benefits
Initiates conversation. Many believe blogs are a two way street, making visitor comments integral to fostering conversation. You can allow the ability for conversation by integrating programs such as Disqus, Jetpack or having guests post through their personal Google+ or Facebook accounts. This provides a venue for readers to provide constructive feedback and has the potential to build a network of industry peers and fans. A good example is on the travel blog, Goin' Mobyle. Visitors are encouraged to comment on photos and journal entires and have the ability to reply to each other.

Boosts ranking. From a digital marketing standpoint, user-generated content can help your search ranking through the opportunity for additional keyword phrases.

Drawbacks
Jerry King comics of the week on WebDesigner Depot.
Comic by Jerry King, published on WebDesigner Depot "Comics of the Week."

Requires effort. As you can imagine, not all blog commenters are friendly. In fact, many popular companies have chosen to remove the option all together, such as Search Engine Journal, Vice, Popular Science and Motherboard due to its liability. Depending on how your blog is built, you can view and approve comments before they go live, but this is effective only with low-volume traffic. With higher-volume traffic, you can recruit additional administrators from the community to help you monitor comments but this requires a concerted effort — one many companies are unwilling to sacrifice. Even with moderation and other settings in place such as Disqus’ filters, nofollow attributes and captchas, comment spam infiltrates and it can ruin your reputation and drain your time.

Attracts internet trolls. The anonymity provided by a lot of commenting platforms attracts internet trolls. Negative comments, even if fictitious, can ruin the community feel of a blog and even sway a reader’s mind about your credibility.

Security threat. Spam isn’t only a nuisance; it can cause security problems as well. Malware distributors sometimes use comment forums to infect site visitors by inserting malicious links. Most often, the spammed link redirects users to a page telling them their computers are infected by a virus, prompting them to download fake antivirus software.

Alternatives
Social refers. If blog comments seem too risky for your public content, there are alternatives. Refer people to comment on your Twitter, Facebook or other social media page. This removes anonymity, provides accountability and circulates your article onto additional platforms.

Letter to the editor. Letters to the editor encourage something at least moderately well-written, discouraging trolls and petty arguments on your site.

Build a custom blog platform. If you do find value in public comments, you may want to consider building a customized blog that is a native part of your website. It would include features that will help you easily manage it with minimal effort. Those who are allowed to comment, for example, may be paid users, adding another level of accountability or customized moderation settings that provide added security against trolls and spam.

Whether you already have a comment forum or are considering the addition of one and are concerned about the various risks it may pose, we would be happy to review your options and possibly build you something custom to meet your needs.

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