May
10

5 Reasons Why You Should Encourage Blog Comments

In my previous post, I referenced an article written by Copyblogger’s Sonia Simone, “Why We’re Removing Comments on Copyblogger,” which appeared to indicate that they would like to take comments off the blog and place the emphasis on interaction via social media. It may seem contradictory to now give 5 Reasons Why You Should Encourage Blog Comments, but stick with me, here…authoring, blogging, marketing, business

At the end of her article, Ms. Simone said that “Blog comments are an amazing resource for any blog when it’s getting started. It’s a super convenient way to take the pulse of your audience;” and I totally agree. With that in mind, let’s review what I believe to be the top five reasons why you should not only keep comments on, but also encourage and welcome them!

1. Blog Comments Let You Discover Interesting Content

When people leave comments under your blog posts, do you ever take the time to visit their sites? If you do, take a closer look, you will see that a lot of the folks who share their thoughts and add constructive criticism have similar interests to yours and write about similar topics. One of the more important ingredients for writing thoughtful content and having ideas for future posts starts with reading.

Yup, that’s where it starts. In order to write engaging content you need to always know what is going on in your niche. What are the latest trends and being aware of what others think and how their opinions differ from yours.

Chances are you already know the top blogs in your niche. And in most cases those can help you with the first – staying updated. But when it comes to the latter, the smaller blogs might prove a more interesting resource. Not every blog you come across will be worth the read, but in the end by spending 5-10 additional minutes every day, you are sure to discover some that are and it may lead to another great blog post of your own.

2. Blog Comments Help You Build Your “Community”

I’ve been saying it for years and pretty much everyone in the marketing field is talking about the importance of building relationships. You can’t go alone and it’s important to have people by your side in order to get the content marketing wheel spinning.

One way to do that is with the help of your blog’s comment system!

Let’s get back to the previous point about how comments allow you to tap into interesting content first…

Aside from a source of ideas and a way to write better articles, reading and discovering new blogs can provide content for our own blog by sharing what they write (giving full credit, of course, back to the original author) and making your own comments within your page. I did this very thing in my last blog post when I mentioned Ms. Simone and gave a link to the original article.

Another way to describe this is “borrowed authority,” which is a great topic in itself. I’ll cover this in greater depth in a future blog post.

3. Blog Comments Help You Get Better

If you happen to have your comments turned on, besides positive ones, praising your ideas, you are also bound to get some negative feedback. While you might say this is an argument against blog comments, it really isn’t.

Think about it – a very positive comment surely boosts your ego and is an indicator you are on the right track (which matters of course). But, then again, one such comment doesn’t really show you how and what you can improve upon. That surely isn’t the case with the little more disagreeing opinions.

A distinction should be made between purely hateful comments that are simply there to bash you and don’t consent (in a respectful manner) to your point of view and tell you why. The ones that let you know their counterpoint, are the ones to pay attention to. A new perspective or angle is always of value, keeps you growing and often times, brings about an idea for yet another blog post by… yup, you guessed, YOU.

4. Blog Comments Can Help You Get Subscribers

If you are blogging for more than a few weeks and haven’t yet started building your list, it is about time that you do! Adopting an email marketing strategy and implementing it from day one can be very powerful. Take on the adage of: build it and they will come.

A large percentage of those who leave comments are likely passionate about your niche; this means that they are highly likely to subscribe to your blog with a good call to action. Using a Comment Redirect plugin automates this process AND builds your list!

Basically, Comment Redirect, as the name somewhat suggests, allows you to create a page, where first-time commenters will be redirected. It can be something like a thank you page at the end of which you place a call to action, followed by an opt-in.

5. Blog Comments are a Great Social Proof

But what is social proof in the first place? Briefly, Wikipedia describes it in this way: “Social proof is a type of conformity. When a person is in a situation where they are unsure of the correct way to behave, they will often look to others for cues concerning the correct behavior”

In other words what others think about you and your brand can prove a great persuasion tool. When it comes to internet marketing there are a lot of examples for social proof, for example: when you see widgets, showing the number of fans someone has on Facebook. Sharing buttons on blog posts also display the number of shares made for the purpose of social proof. And…

The number of comments you see under blog post headlines can also be perceived as social proof

I believe this latter method to be the strongest example of all because of the added effort. Becoming someone’s fan on Facebook takes a click of a button. Sharing a post on Twitter for instance normally takes around two clicks of a button.

On the other hand leaving a comment requires a little more than that. It takes a few minutes to read the post. It takes another couple of minutes to think about what you’re going to say. Then you need to decide how you are going to write it.

In Conclusion

Those are what I believe to be the most important reasons why blog comments matter!

Maybe when your blog turns eight years old (like Copyblogger), you may reconsider, assessing whether comments and their purpose are still worth the “effort.” And, while comments on the social networks add value, I’m not 100% convinced that they can’t replace traditional comments under blog posts.

Convince me… agree or disagree, please take a minute to share what you think…

Comments

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