Tweak Your Biz » Marketing » 5 Reasons Why Blog Comments Don’t Matter

5 Reasons Why Blog Comments Don’t Matter



 It doesn’t matter if you’re a teenage girl or a Bolingbrook dentist, when you’re blogging, you want someone to be reading—and one of the surest ways you can tell people are listening is when they respond. Yet, truth be told, for a lot of business blogs, the comments don’t come.

While stories about first dates and dessert recipes tend to draw responses on personal blogs, articles about a Chicago electrical contractor don’t. What does this mean? If your business blog doesn’t see a lot of discussion in the comments, don’t be discouraged. Here are some reasons why for certain blogs, comments don’t matter that much anyway.

 # 1. Comments Don’t Fit Every Subject Matter

As Corbett Barr writes at Think Traffic, the same blogger could write simultaneously at two different sites about two different topics, each of which draws the same readership of more than 30K visits a month, and one will see a lot of comments and one won’t.

  • That’s because some topics drive conversation, and some don’t.
  • In the specialized realms of many niche topics, the readers interested in the subject matter won’t be the readers who want to comment—that’s OK.

Better to focus on readership than comments, and if your stats show high readership, don’t worry about it.

Related: Business Blogs! What, When, Where, Why And How?

# 2. More Traffic Doesn’t Equal More Comments

Most people assume, when they come to a site for the first time, that comments are a good indicator of how many people are reading. But here are the facts:

  • Only a small percentage of blog readers will ever comment on a site.
  • It’s true your topic may not be one that draws discussion, but even with an easily popular topic, it’s only a small percentage of readers who leave responses.

Rather than looking at comments as an indication of blogging success, look at traffic—or better yet, new business that’s come from it. Those are more reliable metrics.

# 3. Comments Are about Discussion

Think about it: what is the point of comments really? To see who’s reading? To gain validation? There are other ways to track your readership, as well as to know someone’s listening—analytics and stat checkers, for example. In truth, that’s not what comments are meant to measure.

Comments are supposed to be about discussion and conversation: readers want to ask questions, add thoughts or create a dialogue about something written. So if you’re writing about a topic that doesn’t provoke discussion, you likely won’t see huge comment numbers.

Related: Building Your Business Through Blogs: 4 Reasons Why It Is Getting More Important

# 4. Comments Are Not the Only Form of Discussion

Another reason people focus on comments is because they are thought to measure engagement—and isn’t that the whole point of social media? Yet comments are not the only way to measure engagement or community. Sometimes interested readers will engage in other ways:

  • they might email you,
  • click through to your main site,
  • subscribe,
  • make a purchase,
  • join a mailing list or something else.

Likewise, some people feel more comfortable engaging on other mediums like Facebook, Twitter, etc., so you may receive feedback there instead.

As Lorna Sixsmith writes in a previous Tweak Your Biz post, “As long as you are getting feedback [or, more importantly, results] for your content by means of sales/leads/tweets/comments/facebook/verbal, it doesn’t matter which form it comes in.”

# 5. Comments Are Not the End Goal

Maybe you’re blogging to enhance your brand, maybe to gain authority, maybe to generate new leads. But in every case, your end goal is to build your business, increasing leads and sales and profits, not to get comments.

Try to remember this when you wish for responses—because comments don’t equal more profits and comments were never the end goal. A post with 10,000 comments doesn’t mean much if it never translates to a single sale.

Related: Blogging For New Business: 10 Things To Consider Before You Start

What do you think? Are there other reasons comments might not matter on a blog? Are people commenting less now? What else makes a difference?

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The Author:

Shanna Mallon is a writer for Straight North, a leading Internet marketing agency of Chicago Web designers and developers, social media specialists, copywriters and other marketing professionals. She holds an MA in Writing from DePaul University and has been writing professionally since 2004. http://www.straightnorth.com/blog

Add Your Comment

  • http://www.bloggertone.com Niall Devitt

    Hi Shana & welcome to TweakYourBiz! I agree with everything that you’ve said here but as you point out, people do form an impression because of comments, and for this reason they are important as far as I’m concerned. They act like social proof I suppose. Another factor for me is that comments create an opportunity to engage with readers and allow you to start investigating if they would be suitable customers. Thanks for a great post, Niall

  • http://twitter.com/xcelbusiness Helen Cousins

    Hi Shanna, great first post! Comments, like re-tweets, aren’t the most important thing about your blog for sure. The numbers game in social media is one of the things I dislike about it – people focus on the wrong numbers. Twitter is full of follower-number-obsessives for instance.
    However, as someone who has written many blog posts that didn’t get a comment, (although that never happens here:), I definitely prefer to get them than not! 
    Thanks Shanna,
    ~Helen

  • Mona Wise

    I agree. First impressions last as far as I am concerned. If I click through a blog site and do not see comments then in my mind the writer has not done enough to engage the audience. 
    Love this blog by the way. I do not always comment but I ALWAYS read it!

  • http://www.straightnorth.com/blog Shanna Mallon

    I think you hit the nail on the head, Helen—people tend to focus on the wrong numbers. It’s true that comments offer some kind of social proof of a site’s influence, but they say nothing about increased business, lead generation or even the main website’s traffic boost, which are all the things businesses need to target. 

  • http://www.garybembridge.com/ Gary Bembridge

    Great post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. There is a lot of pressure online to have loads of comments, as they seem to affect some of the rankings etc. But I agree that the key is to look at how many are reading and using your content. Focus on content and not on comments. There is a view that comments are falling overall as people now are more likely to share articles they like on Facebook, Twitter etc instead.

  • http://twitter.com/Really_Useful Really Useful Train

    Hello Shana, 

    A very interesting post, comments are not always the bet measurement of the value of your post or blog. The reality is over 80% of readership are lurkers and while they may value your blog, they  will never interact. 

    Personally, I never comment on a blog that requires me to register or sign up for something. This post is the exception :)

    I agree with Anton that we need to use analytics to measurement real engagement.

    I look forward to more posts, Jane

  • http://www.straightnorth.com/blog Shanna Mallon

    Thanks for those thoughts, Niall and Mona! I’ve thought those same things, but research has got me rethinking the way I view blog comments—like Mona herself said, many people will be reading and enjoying posts but not responding and not always because they’re not engaged.

  • http://www.straightnorth.com/blog Shanna Mallon

    I tend to think the same way, Jane. If I have to register or sign up, I pass. Even worse is when I go through that process and some glitch deletes what I’ve typed. Then I really forget about it.

  • http://www.straightnorth.com/blog Shanna Mallon

    Well said, Anton!

  • http://www.straightnorth.com/blog Shanna Mallon

    Content not comments–exactly. And you’re also right that other social sites may lead to fewer comments on blogs directly.

  • anumalik81

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  • http://www.smartsolutions.ie/blog/ Elaine Rogers

    We are human, we judge a book by its cover, and are much more likely to engage on a blog if there is already a conversation / debate in the comment section. (OR if the post moves us personally)
    However, I would rather someone use their 20 seconds to share my blog post on 3 different platforms, than take the time to comment for the sake of it.

    The other side of the coin, many blogs (including this site) do leave a call to action / provoker at the end to encourage participation. Unlike this site, a lot of blogs who have a more lengthy comment thread, can end up with 10 different conversations / debates in the comment section, and the original topic is not discussed anymore, but people are reacting to each other’s comments. I am still unsure whether this is good or not.

    To answer your own call to action, I feel people are commenting less on blogs and more when RTing a post, or liking on FB or +1 on G+ – I always add my own comment, rather than just “share”. I believe it helps make it more human and appeal to the mind/heart.
    A great little thought provoker Shana, and a huge welcome to the TYB community!

  • Christina Giliberti

    Hello Shanna!

    Now this is a fab topic and interesting blog.

    Y’know, I think commenting has a number of factors like time. A like is a 1 second action and a comment requires more time. Sometimes we read a blog and love it, yet we can’t quite find the right words to comment with or the post just doesn’t really warrant it. If you’re asking for answers or opinions, then an empty commenting section is a non-success. If you aim is to educate and readership is high (along with time on page), then that’s success.

    Quality of comments is important – much like quality visitors. If I’m a health clinic in Cork, then a reader in India is unlikely to attend my clinic. If the comment is drawing my attention to something new, wrong or adding value – then it gets a thumbs up.

  • http://www.profromgo.com/growing-website-seo-google David P.

    I kind of agree that comments don’t matter…if you’re concerned about traffic or SEO.  However, if you’re using your blog as a kind of marketing material for your services or personal brand, I think they absolutely matter.  Most people don’t understand the intricacies you’re talking about, and if you tell them “look at my blog,” they’re going to want to see some comments.

  • http://twitter.com/CfCSEO Russell Hudson

    I strongly disagree but for a completely different reason that has been discussed in this thread so far.  Blog comments DO matter for business websites, and here’s why: Social Proof.  Social Proof is a metric that has become a critical part of where your site and its pages will ultimately land in the search engines. The more people are interacting on your blog, the more “social proof” will be passed.  

    The reason Google and other search engines have started using this term and metric is because social proof is a real psychological built-in feature of humans.  Meaning, if other people have already done something (like leave a comment) then they will be more likely to jump on board.  You simply can’t argue against social proof, and it applies to a lot more than just blog comments.    Ultimately, blog comments are important for business blogs for both the human aspect of monkey-see-monkey-do and because Google is using this factor to size your page or post up and rank it accordingly.  

    My guess is those same facts you quote, if expanded, will also show that a very high percentage of people are more likely to comment if they already see comments.  Just because most readers don’t actually leave a comment doesn’t detract from the fact that popular posts are popular for a reason: hot topics, and Social Proof.  

    Also, we need to keep in mind that there are vast numbers of people using the web that are far more interested and active in engaging the comments section than the actual material in the post.  Of course, that’s not always the type of person you want on your business blog, but I think that’s an important consideration as well.

    However, I would like to say that all 5 of the points you made in your post are absolutely correct.  It’s only your title I disagree with.  Thanks for letting me post.

  • Local Marketing Experts

    Not getting any comments may make you feel that nobody is
    reading your blog, but that’s far from the truth. Being a regular blogger, I
    totally agree with your viewpoint that comments are not the only way to measure
    engagement and there are many other factors that indicate the popularity of your
    blog.

  • http://www.startupwebtraining.com/ Donncha Hughes

    Thanks Ava for your positive comment. Regarding Roger Fisher’s mindset, ‘Getting to Yes’ presents three very interesting criteria for a successful negotiation.

    1.Produce a wise agreement if agreement is possible
    2.Be efficient
    3.Improve or at least not damage the relationship between the parties

    Where wise (the first criteria) means
    •Meets the legitimate interests of each side to the extent possible
    •Resolves conflicting interests fairly
    •Is durable
    •Takes community interests into account

    I really like the idea of expanding the definition of negotiations as not being about just the parties directly involved but also the wider community.

  • http://www.startupwebtraining.com/ Donncha Hughes

    Julie Dawn, I completely agree with your contribution. Sales is the predominant context in which I think of Negotiation and I am a strong advocate of adopting the mindset of helping your potential customer to buy. Patience is a virtue and the ability to listen is a key skill.