Someone told me that it doesn’t matter what sort of commenting system you use on your blog because comments are dead.
I asked why and they told me their personal and business blogs don’t receive any comments and that they never leave them anymore.
That is not the sort of analysis that makes me comfortable. It is not smart to make business decisions based solely on gut feelings.
It doesn’t mean there is not a time for going with your gut or that it will/will not work out. It just means when you are dealing with things that are measurable, it doesn’t hurt to check the metrics.
What Value is There in A Blog Comment?
I have a love/hate relationship with comments. Many marketers/bloggers use them as a sort of currency or social proof of the success of their blogs, but I don’t.
That is because I find that to be too simplistic. You can look at a post with a 100 comments and find that the majority of them were made by just a couple of people and that very few of them advanced the conversation.
Is that really a sign of success. Do people really want 29 different versions of “great post” added to the 33 different ways that others said “thank you for writing this.”
I don’t see that as being indicative of anything of importance which is why I finished those sentences with a period and not a question mark. For good measure it is worth noting that I wonder about blogs where the comments are filled with nothing but praise for the blogger. That bothers me too.
My preference is to see a comment section that shows that the community is composed of people who think and are thoughtful. I like to see commenters challenge the writer and other commenters.
That doesn’t mean that I am looking for flame wars or insults. Nor does it mean that every post has to have Pulitzer Prize winning comments either.
Comments and Communities
Both of them are populated by reader/commenters who are interested in learning and growing. It is not uncommon to find long threads about topics and or to see people challenge the beliefs/ideas of the writer and other commenters.
These communities didn’t grow in vacuum. They happened because the blog owners spent time creating and cultivating environments that supported this.
In return they were rewarded with comment sections that generate content ideas for their blogs and communities that are composed of people that are invested in the blog.
How Do You Recreate This On Your Blog?
There is no single formula for how to build a blog, but compelling content is always going to be part of the foundation.
But you need more than good content, you need to be active in responding to comments and encouraging responses.
You also need to pay attention to the community and provide a commenting system that is user friendly. Every community is different so the answer to what system you should use can range from the WordPress native commenting system to CommentLuv, Livefyre or DISQUS.
There are other systems out there beyond those I mentioned. Ultimately it is up to you to figure out which one is preferred by your particular community.
The other key thing to remember is that communities don’t develop overnight. It takes time and effort to build one.
It helps if you view this as a marathon and not a sprint.
What do you think?