Blog Comments, Do They Still Matter?

A blog is a place that you own, and you control, as the brand.  You have every right to set the guidelines, create services, and use this space to engage your community.  However, with the meteoric rise in social media use in the past 5-8 years, blog comments seem to have taken a back seat in importance, as well as amount for many companies.  Are they not important anymore?

Community managers are oftentimes split on what’s community management and what’s social media marketing.  The goal of community management is to connect people with other people and get them talking to each other.  Shares spread your word, but comments are people being actively engaged with your brand.  The two aren’t mutually exclusive, and you should strive for them both.  But as a CM, your goal is to figure out how to get people to comment and keep them coming back for more.

Q1. What commenting platform do you use on your blog? Have you seen an increase/decrease in commenting over the past year?

Jmodio  Well, the only and only @livefyre of course. Yes, comments were a lot better. That and scavenger hunts in the posts.

mbhahn I use disquis because its simple and easy to use with dotnetnuke. Allows others to login to comment without logging to to the site

KellyLux  We use Disqus. Pretty happy with it, except we get lots of spam comments :/ Our blog is <1 yr, so still too new to tell

chrisgeier  Community Server. Decrease

plautmaayan We use Movable Type+their commenting feature for student blogs, internal for staff blogs. Abt the same as before, which is low.

SueOnTheWeb Built in WordPress one. Commenting seems to be dependent on topic. Eg some topics get more comments than others.

karimkanji  We use the default WP commenting system

karimkanji Has anyone ever checked out @viafoura for commenting systems for their blog?

evanhamilton We use Disqus for commenting. I have data since October that suggests # of comments diminishing but visits increasing.

JohannaScott We just use the comment platform in WordPress (our whole site’s on wp). Work’s well!

JohannaScott use Disqus on my own blog though, which I’m also happy with

DLactaoen We use the embedded Facebook comments- getting slightly higher comment numbers versus the WordPress tool.

NatashaKhan I really enjoy Disqus, as it lets me track my history of commenting on various sites. My commenting identity

CM_SockPuppet No, the best way to get engagement on blogs is to be controversial, nothing beats it

Q2. How do you value blog comments vs. shares on social networks? ie Which would you rather have and why?

JohannaScott We use our blog to educate, inform and inspire – comments are a bonus but not a measure of a successful post

evanhamilton True, there’s a balance – if I think you can be heard & don’t have to be first, I comment

rhogroupee  Shares = more eyeballs, but it would be nice to have comments too

SueOnTheWeb  It depends on the reason for the blog. If your looking to build community on/around your website then comments would be best

_Danicia_ They are equally important. Not every community member is comfortable with different tools/SM sites. Go where they are.

alphamommie  Both are great, we want our audience to engage in any way. But shares are good for spreading the word to a larger audience.

CDeBaise124  Time and place for both. Sharing clearly indicates you find value in something, which is nice. But commenting offers feedback

Lauren_Hannah Blog comments are generally valuable and quality interaction, but often stay there. Social shares can go viral.

LovelyLu  Comments hold more value since it takes a bit more effort. A ‘like’ doesn’t tell the whole picture

JMattHicks Shares vs. Comments are hard to compare. Share = more potential engagement, comments = actual engagement

liohila A2 Shares on social networks win IMHO. Comments are great, but they don’t spread our name across the interwebs

pushingvision: I’m torn on this one. I think comments, as they take more energy than a simple share. Person has to be really engaged

SteveRhinehart Shares expand your reach. Comments should expand the conversation, add perspective. Both are good and constructive.

mhandy1 Actually, rethink that, comments are a great measure for high awareness and commitment. You want comments

CM_SockPuppet  Shares on social networks are practically worthless, all value in Games is with actual community interaction on comments/forums

benfowler commenting is a deeper level of engagement than a share, for sure

Q3. Does your community have an affinity for posting comments on your blog? How do you encourage comments? Or do you?

comfactscom Responding to comments is the biggest encourager. When you reply people are more likely to post questions, comments & concerns

chrisgeier  Comments are rare but i try to encourage by ending each post with a call to action/question

DavidSpinks I prefer comments over shares. A post that actually drives a conversation will have a greater impact on readers.

mhandy1 We are right on par… 1 comment per 100 visitors some blogs break the cycle but its pretty consistent

plautmaayan  I comment on all our blog posts, student bloggers have started to do the same. Community rarely comments unless encouraged

JPedde You can’t get great comments without great content. Your great content doesn’t get seen without SEO/Social. It’s a cycle

liohila Only comments I get are questions for our Support dept so I end up redirecting them to our help site. Help?

Q4. Google’s launching a commenting platform to rival FB’s. How important is this? Will you consider switching? Why/Why not?

MattHirschfelt I have to see the platform before I can comment on switching to it

rhogroupee  It will be de facto interesting because Google owns the marbles, right?

AshleyRMooney  I am excited for Google’s new third party commenting system. Means another variable added into the SEO game :

LynnKoves Good question 🙂 Conversion rates might be higher with Google commenting. I wonder how it will affect search results…

DrunkyMonken  It really depends how relevant the system is to the users. There is no harm in having one more place for comments and debates


*This digest originally appeared on #CmgrChat on Wednesday March 28th, 2012

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About the author

Jenn Pedde

Jenn is a Co-Founder of The Community Manager and the Editor-In-Chief. She’s also an adjunct professor at the Syracuse University School of Information Studies. You can find her almost anywhere online, but specifically on #CmgrChat every Wednesday from 2-3pm ET.

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I have been reading a lot of blogs and forums recently. Some are really informative some are entertaining and some are a real crack up. I've got to admit it, great job on this blog, I'll be sure to check back from time to time

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Thanks for getting this digest up. I wasn't paying enough attention during this chat and missed a lot of things that I wanted to come back to. Lots of great tips in this chat (just like every other week on #cmgrchat...)