Comments vs. no comments – the blogging dilemma

Jun 20, 2014 by
Comments vs. no comments – the blogging dilemma

Whether or not to allow comments on your blog has remained one of the most contentious topics of debate in the blogosphere.

Speech bubbleFor advocates of having comments enabled, a blog ceases to be a blog if there is no two-way communication between the writer and his or her audience. But for writers who believe that disabling comments is the way to go, there are numerous reasons why they feel comments have a cumulatively negative effect, both on their state of mind and on the quality of their writing.

There is no right or wrong answer – the decision is ultimately subjective and there are successful bloggers on both sides of the coin. If you’re on the fence about this issue, we’ll give you a breakdown of the pros and cons of allowing comments on your blog.

1) Social influence

Similar to the way in which companies seek to reassure new customers by presenting a list of previous clients and positive testimonials on their website, the sight of a thriving discussion on every post may help to convince people that the blog is of high value and worth reading. As a species, we can’t help but be influenced by the opinions of others – so if we see that a blog has a large amount of activity then there might just be a good reason to check it out thoroughly!

2) Feedback

Receiving feedback for your writing is essential if you want to improve as a writer, and it also helps you to understand your audience better and tailor content to their desires. If there are clear trends emerging from the comments on your posts, this form of market research could prove vital for your future endeavours. The reaction you get from your audience might give you an indicator of what kind of products you should develop or what kind of services you could offer to fill a demand. Not only this, but feedback is crucial for helping you to correct factual mistakes and grammatical errors, which can often hide themselves in plain sight if we don’t have the luxury of a second set of eyes to proofread our work.

3) Cultivates a sense of community

Sea sunsetBy responding to comments personally, it not only helps you to appear warm and personable, but it also cultivates a sense of community amongst your readership. People love to feel appreciated, and if their queries are dealt with well this is likely to establish a strong sense of loyalty. And you can extend your community by making strategic use of social media and installing plugins that allow people to share your content with others.

“To help increase distribution of your content across social channels, you need to implement frictionless sharing. Make your share buttons obvious, but not disruptive or distracting.” – Ken Lyons


However, there are also downsides to fostering a culture of open communication on your blog…

1) Comment moderation can be time-consuming and arduous

If you got into blogging to voice your opinion about a subject about which you feel strongly, the more popular your blog gets the more time you will have to spend responding to and moderating comments from your readership – many of which may be inane or outright hostile. If the decision to take up blogging was fueled by a passion for creative writing, you might find yourself spending more time moderating comments than you do actually generating content, which in turn may make you feel despondent and stifle your creativity. This phenomenon is known as: This-isn’t-what-I-signed-up-for syndrome!

2) Trolls, haters & random vitriol

While some of the comments might be insightful and genuinely help you to evolve as a writer, there’s a high chance that the majority won’t, particularly if your blog is on a contentious subject which is known to elicit emotionally charged and polarised reaction from people. It only takes a brief look through YouTube to see that creative postings (whether music videos, speeches, performances or anything else under the sun) often receive hostile reactions which seem completely disproportionate and uncalled for. One could spend a great deal of time speculating over what drives internet trolls to behave so maliciously, but the ability to post disparaging remarks anonymously and without any fear of repercussions certainly ranks high on the list.


Posting a blog on the internet is not like submitting a piece to an academic journal, where you may expect (and welcome) detached counter-arguments which ultimately serve the purpose of helping everyone to understand the objective truth. The internet is still like the Wild West in terms of the behaviour that’s permitted, precisely because of the lack of accountability. People are much more likely to be diplomatic in their responses via email or in person, even if they vehemently disagree with your standpoint, but with comments there is absolutely no deterrent for a person to hold their tongue, which is why many of them don’t! Disabling comments might prevent you from receiving some rare gems of insight, but it also might prevent you from receiving a lot ofunnecessary hostility too.

3) Spam

Speaking from personal experience, if you’re just getting started with a new WordPress blog, you’re likely to encounter a huge amount of spammy comments which do not relate in any way, shape or form to your content. Presumably looking for links, weight loss advocates, shoe manufacturers and a plethora of other suspicious sites have been particularly keen to get in contact with me! These kind of spammy comments come with the territory unfortunately, and as mentioned in point 1, if trawling through a bunch of irrelevant comments every day in order to separate the good from the bad isn’t for you, then disabling them altogether may be the only realistic option.

Of course, there is also the option of investing in specialised anti-spam programs such as Askimet or a CAPTCHA form to minimise the possibilities of spam getting through – essential if you do decide to switch comments on. However, these solutions aren’t perfect: they can annoy users, have a cost attached to them and can still let some spam through.

4) Validation-free writing

While comments can give you valuable feedback, they can also mislead you and distance you from your initial goals. While many people say that a healthy level of writer-audience interaction can synergistically improve the blog, the opposite can also be true, particularly if those who comment on your blog are not representative of the core fans who would be likely to purchase your products.

We are conditioned to want approval in all forms, so to be true to your art you have to be extremely diligent to not succumb to these urges. Whether subtly or overtly, receiving positive or negative feedback will alter the direction of your work, so to be absolutely free from this influence it might be best for you to turn off comments.

5) Encourages SEO-boosting discussions in other places

If you leave the option for commenting in the easiest place possible (right below the article), people are likely to take it. However, from an SEO and brand awareness perspective, it is of much higher value to encourage people to discuss your content on their own blogs, or on social media. By integrating social media buttons into your blog and preventing people from commenting, they are forced to take the discussion elsewhere – provided your content is discussion-worthy! This will help to drive more traffic to your blog as the discussion surrounding your post will be available for a whole new audience to see, not just the people who already frequent your site.


For me personally, the time spent moderating spammy and hostile comments, as well as the other factors listed, make it a no-brainer to disallow comments. While cultivating a sense of community can be an advantage of allowing comments, such a feat is also possible with a well orchestrated social media campaign. Not only this, but encouraging people to discuss your content away from your site also benefits your blog’s SEO – pretty nifty if you ask me!

Ultimately however, not having to worry about negative comments creates space for peace of mind which allows me to be far more creative, which I feel is the biggest benefit of disallowing comments. My view is shared by personal development blogger Steve Pavlina, who had the following words to say in his article which tackles the same subject: “I’ve been feeling a lot more focused lately, better able to keep a perspective on what’s most important. And I can write with deeper concentration, not being concerned about all the comments that may misinterpret some idea or take one sentence out of context.”

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