If you want to deal with a nightmare as a blogger or niche site publisher, turn commenting on. Comments are a nightmare. I turn them off every niche site I own except Fat Stacks. I should turn them off Fat Stacks because I’m not very diligent in moderating them which isn’t fair to commenters.
Short answer: Don’t allow comments unless commenting enhances the content of your site. I find that with most search-based niche sites, comments add very little to the content and are far more hassle than they are worth.
Will allowing comments on your blog help SEO?
I think this is the question most people are really asking when they wonder whether a blog should have comments. IMO, turning comments off does not hurt SEO. I’ve read opposing views on whether comments help SEO or not. Some SEOs suggest that comments can dilute the keyword density. Other SEOs say Google loves quality user-generated content and good comments can add plenty of excellent content.
IMO, another pro-comment view is that it can increase time-on-site if commenting is a big part of your niche site. Take the DailyMail website as an example. Pretty much every article gets hundreds or thousands of comments. Many people visit more for the comments than the article itself. People pour over hundreds of comments sticking around on the site for ten, twenty or more minutes at a time thanks to the comments.
Most current events and news sites have commenting enabled. One notable site that doesn’t is CNN. CNN removed its commenting feature.
Your info niche site is not going to get the commenting that news and celebrity sites get.
That’s the reality. Your site about sneakers is not going to end up with some vibrant, fun, hilarious batch of comments on every post. Instead what you’ll get are:
- Folks who think that commenting links are still good for SEO (they missed that boat by about 10 years). These folks leave terrible comments (i.e. spam that you have to deal with).
- Disgruntled visitors who are offended by an ad on your site who end up leaving some snarky or worse comment. You don’t need that.
- Useless comments such as “Nice” or “I agree”. These add nothing of value.
- A worst-case scenario is you get some hate speech on your site that you fail to notice.
The truth of the matter is most informational content does NOT set the stage for interesting comments. That’s the way it is. If you don’t publish the type of site that doesn’t set the stage for great commenting, turn commenting off.
Okay, the above is a bit harsh. It’s not all doom and gloom. I suppose there are some niche sites where comments add value.
If you’re not sure, turn them on and see what happens?
The simplest solution to this question is turn comments on and assess the value they add yourself. If you’re dealing with nothing but garbage, turn them off. You can safely turn them off without losing SEO traffic.
If the comments add to your site, keep ’em on.
My approach is I get plenty of search traffic without the hassle of comments so I turn them off every website I publish (except Fat Stacks… for now).
How important is a passive income to you?
Every task you add to your to plate adds up. At first you think to yourself “moderating comments won’t take so long and besides it’ll be fun to read what cherished visitors have to say?”. That sentiment ends fast. Before you know it you’re pouring through piles of spam, some mean stuff, useless stuff all to publish a few valuable comments. Say goodbye to an hour of your day… all for what? Nothing.
I know that’s a cynical view of it but it’s true.
But as I always say, your blog, your rules. If you like dealing with comments, go to it. They won’t hurt your traffic if that’s what you’re asking. Not having them also won’t hurt your traffic if that’s also what you’re asking.
Jon runs the place around here. He pontificates about launching and growing online publishing businesses, aka blogs that make a few bucks. His pride and joy is the email newsletter he publishes.
In all seriousness, Jon is the founder and owner of a digital media company that publishes a variety of web properties visited and beloved by millions of readers monthly. Fatstacks is where he shares a glimpse into his digital publishing business.