Pros and Cons of WordPress Posts Comments

When it comes to maintaining a blog, there are all kinds of decisions you have to make. And in today’s world, there isn’t a clear distinction between the decisions related to content and decisions related to the technical aspects of a blog.

For example – should you allow users to make comments on your blog? There are many arguments for and against. And while many bloggers consider comment moderation to be a time-wasting effort, others believe that comments bring an important element of interactivity to each post.

So, are comments worth it? Or should you disable them? The answer definitely isn’t intuitively obvious.

In this article, we’ll do an in-depth analysis of real-world examples and data in order to try and come up with an answer. With that in mind – what do actual bloggers think about this?

No Clear Consensus

Before getting into the nitty-gritty of the technicalities, let’s take a look at how actual bloggers have handled this issue. Naturally, the rise of WordPress over the past two decades has led to many debates; not the least of which is the one regarding the pros and cons of WordPress comments. And in the recent past, even the most popular online publishers have swung back and forth on the issue.

Copyblogger is an interesting example – seeing as they’re one of the leading online resources on digital marketing, you’d think they would have a firm stance on the issue. But even they showed that they weren’t sure what the right course of action is when it comes to blog comments. They disabled the comments on their website in 2014 – only to bring them back two years later.

The Zen Habits blog, on the other hand, permanently disabled their comment section. Reportedly, too much spam was occurring in the comments, and they saw no further use for it. The same goes for Seth Godin’s blog, but for a different reason – this extremely popular online author said that the comments are a great way to interact with your audience, but they take up way too much time.

Still, many publishers who have staff working on comment moderation and interaction say that these are the lifeblood of their blogs and websites. According to them, there’s no better way to solidify an online audience than to let them interact with their content providers. But we’ll get into the weeds and come up with a more definitive answer!

Personal Decision

Naturally, as a blogger, you need to realize that this is a decision that no-one else can make for you. That’s something you’ll have to decide for yourself, depending on your personal preferences and thoughts. However, we’re still here to give you all of the data needed to make a truly informed decision. But we won’t just focus on the raw statistics – in the debate of the pros and cons of WordPress comments, we’ll also take a look at the most common arguments for and against, and see how much merit they have.

The Argument for Having Blog Comments

There are plenty of reasons why an online content publisher would want to have a comments section available for their website’s users. In fact, many publishers go as far as to say that a blog doesn’t really justify its name without a comments section; it’s simply not a real blog. And there’s definitely an argument to be made for the fact that blogging isn’t merely about posting content online. The two-way street of communication between a blog’s visitors and the author(s) is definitely one of the trademark traits of the format. Asking if a blog is actually a blog without the community-building that happens through the comments section is definitely worthwhile.

And even if you don’t care about comments personally – you should also think about what an extensive comments section says about your content and your blog. Indeed, comments are certainly a kind of social proof; evidence that your content is thought-provoking and interesting to read. If you have a lot of comments, regardless of whether they’re positive or negative; you’re definitely a creator of engaging content.

User Interaction and Feedback

Plus, having comments means having constant feedback on the content you’re publishing; which is important for obvious reasons. After all, you want your content to find the right audience online; so you need to tweak it and make adjustments to your style before hitting all the right notes. If you allow people to comment on your work, you’re bound to improve much faster than you otherwise would.

Some people value feedback

And interacting with your readership isn’t just important in the sense of feedback. Constantly talking with your blog visitors about the content you’re making means that you’ll also deepen the mutual relationship with them. In turn, your readers will be far more likely to become more than just passers-by; rather, they’ll keep returning to your blog for each piece of content you publish. Even more than that; if users are allowed to comment on the content, that initial interaction means they’re more likely to interact with your blog in other ways. They may make a purchase if you’re selling any products or services, and in the very least they’ll probably subscribe to a newsletter.

Counterpoints against Blog Comments

Naturally, if everything was as simple and rosy as we’ve described above; this would really be no debate at all. But while many content-creating professionals tout comments as a necessity; an equal number dismisses them for various reasons.

For example, popular blogger Everett Bogue thinks that the comments section is definitely not an essential part of a blog. At the end of the day, the essence of any blog is the content itself; not the way people react to it. The very fact that many blogs exist without a comments section quite happily is the very proof of that.

Bloggers like Everett also dismiss the importance of comments when it comes to user feedback. They believe that comments just blur the artistic vision of the content creator; if you allow yourself to be steered by your audience, instead of it being the other way around. Naturally, no publisher has a perfect way of doing things, but if it’s not influenced by the readership – it’s still unique and uncompromised.

And if you’re not someone who wants random people on the Internet influencing your ideas, this is certainly a logical stance. Also, even if you do want to take user comments into account, as Seth Godin put it – the practicalities of this can be tiresome. It’s something of a vicious cycle – the more visitors you have and the larger your readership volume grows, the more comments you will have. But while that may be good in terms of interaction, you’ll also have to do a lot more work to moderate all of those comments and respond to some of them.

Plus, let’s face it – the Internet can truly be a vile place. When you give people the chance to voice their opinions on any subject or piece of content anonymously, there are obviously many who will choose to be unfriendly. And unconstructive criticism is of no use to any content creator.

When it comes to building relationships with your readership, this is definitely a good idea from a business perspective. However, there is a case to be made for the fact that doing so through a blog comments section would be an outdated technique. These days, social media is a far more potent tool for outreach, allowing blogs to become pure content platforms. If you think about it, there isn’t much of a reason for content creators to spend hours upon hours going through blog comments.

Data On Comment-Driven Traffic

As you can see, when it comes to the pros and cons of WordPress comments – most of these are simply a matter of style and preference. However, we should still take a look at relevant online data to find out if comments make sense from a technical perspective.

Crucially, most studies indicate that there is no direct correlation between a number of links that a post gets and the number of comments on the post. And there is also no direct connection between how many comments a post gets and the number of views by visitors.

To put it more simply, most data indicate that an increase in website traffic cannot be traced to blog comments, at least not directly. However, Neil Patel tackled this issue in more detail and came to an interesting conclusion.

Namely, it turns out that comments do have a positive impact on your web traffic, from an SEO perspective. According to him, comments do matter if we view them as content. If you have more comments on any given page, you basically have more content. And if you have more content, you’ll rank for more keywords – increasing the traffic you get from search engines.

Once Neil analyzed the number of comments he had on each blog post, and cross-referenced this with the average number of words in each comment: he found that disabling comments would mean he would have around 4,000 words less on every page.

User comments are important in terms of SEO

After this, Neil used Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics to check if these comments resulted in better rankings on the search engines. The result was not discardable – a little more than a quarter of all the keywords his content was ranking for in Google came from the user comments section! But this isn’t the end – this wasn’t enough for a conclusion on the technical SEO worthiness of comments. For that, the analysis would have to show how much actual clicks and impressions were received by those rankings.

Finally, Neil Patel concluded that a little more than 15% of overall search engine traffic was generated by user comments. So, is this good enough to say that comments are undoubtedly a good thing?

Conclusion

Seeing as we’re talking about user-generated content, and not something a blogger would have to generate themselves – 15% isn’t that bad. But seeing as Google does not reveal the entirety of its SEO algorithm, it could very well be that it ranks content from user comments lower than the website-published content.

Plus, even if these comments help with search engine rankings – all of the counterpoints against WordPress comments still exist. If you want to manage comments properly and build a community through the comments section; doing so will become increasingly difficult as your online audience grows in size. And depending on your artistic style of content creation, you may find it difficult to deal with varyingly useful criticism on a daily basis.

On the other hand, interaction through comments may be just what you need – and indeed enjoy. In the end, it’s a decision you’ll have to decide on yourself. Though, the fact that user comments do have an indirect technical value through SEO cannot be denied – and it’s something you’d be remiss not taking into account!

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One Comment

  1. Comments have both pros and cons. Its admin responsible to approve valid comments. Spam comments are now available in a large scale.

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