The comments section of blogs (and other online content) are marred by a bad reputation. It’s not hard to see why, especially when you consider how it is a dwelling place for trolls, and a cesspool of unproductive criticism and insults.
Many people try to avoid comments, while others regard them as toxic. Some websites disable the comments section altogether. But inasmuch as people hate them, does it mean they are irrelevant and must be cast into the deepest recesses of internet oblivion? I don’t think so.
Blog Comments are still relevant and here’s why
As a content marketer, the comment section is very critical to your content marketing strategy, never mind what the internet says. However, like every other public opinion space, the section should be moderated effectively to get the most of it.
Not all online sites need a comment section though; it depends strongly on your website’s function and the purpose of your blog. If you have an interactive lifestyle blog, or an ecommerce site, you’ll definitely need a comments section. Even a website designed for internet marketing for real estate agents needs a feedback space.
So how can we leverage blog comments?
- They build a sense of community
When managed effectively, the comments section can be a great place for community building. They serve as a great place for like-minded people to meet and share ideas. People can make inquiries and be answered by other readers (not necessarily by the blogger alone).
This synchronous system of interaction is internet gold to any content marketer. It builds more understanding amongst your readers, and increases the longevity of your blog. As any blogger would tell you, watching readers develop a relationship with one another on their blog gives its own form of self-gratification. An active comments section is often a sign that you are doing something right. It also encourages you to improve and do more.
- Sign of social proof
A study once revealed that people in a supermarket are more likely to join a longer queue, even if the shorter queue beside it also has an attendant. Do people join a line simply because it is long? For some reason, according to studies on human behaviour, the longer queue probably has a perceived benefit that the shorter queue doesn’t have.
Similarly, the social proof of a blog’s value is often determined by the number of comments it has. People are automatically drawn to blogs that have the most conversations because they are interesting. It also creates room for them to debate, learn and share their thoughts with other willing readers. Without a comment section, your blog may be lacking some proof of value.
- Increases engagement
Any online content creator wants to know that people are engaging their content. I once saw an interesting video on YouTube I would have liked to comment on, but its comments section was disabled. When you have an active comments section, you can gauge the popularity and social sentiment of your work.
A view counter or share notification is good, but they are only indicators of impressions. A comment section not only shows you how many people are interacting on your site, but whether their sentiments are negative or positive.
- Source of insight
Perhaps, the most valuable use of a comments section is as a source of insight into the typical reader of your blog. Many businesses spend money trying to decode the behaviour of the average user on their website. With a comment section, you could have a better profile of your target audience.
This information can help you communicate better, give visitors what they want, or improve quality to gain more users. Sometimes, a blog comment can provide the topic of your next post!
As long as you have an efficient moderation process in place, you can weed out the bad seeds and use the good comments to benefit your blog.