- Posted by Nigel Edelshain
- On August 20, 2012
If you have a blog for your local business, you’ll want to consider whether or not to leave comments on or off.
If you don’t want to monitor your blog’s content closely, you might want to consider turning your comments off. With comments off, you don’t have to worry about any potentially objectionable or negative comments. If you don’t have time to react within a day, or so, to comments being posted on your blog, then you may want to consider turning blog comments off.
If no one is commenting on your blog, you might want to turn comments off so that your blog doesn’t look like it’s unpopular. A blog that has been around for several months with absolutely no comments can raise the question in the reader’s mind as to its popularity. If comments are turned off then this perception cannot arise.
On the other hand, allowing consumers to comment on your blog posts will help your customers feel that their time and opinions are valued. It can give your customers a sense that your business is truly a part of their local community and create a very positive brand experience for potential customers that visit. A blog that is kept up-to-date and interacts frequently with its commenters can create such a positive image that is pre-sells consumers on your business before they ever interact with you by phone or in-person.
When you allow people to comment on your blog posts, it also gives you a chance to gain a better insight into the needs and desires of your customers. Even negative comments from your potential customers can allow you to spot weaknesses in your products that you can correct and make your offerings stronger. Such feedback can be one of the most cost effective ways of conducting market research.
A couple of useful tools for keeping control of comments when turned on: (i) have your blog system send you an email whenever a new comment is posted this way if the comment is not appropriate, or is spam, you can delete it right away, (ii) install a tool like Akismet on your blog to control spam comments (Akismet is one of WordPress’s most popular plug-ins). Akismet is very good at filtering out spam comments and making sure they don’t get posted on your blog in the first place.
A Middle Ground – Moderation
And then there’s a middle ground to turning your blog comments on or off. You can keep comments on but they do not become visible to readers of your blog until you approve them. This is called “comment moderation”. Moderation is a good way to start with blog comments if you think you want to allow comments but want to tread carefully at the outset. You can start with comment moderation turned on and then if you find that you end up approving nearly all the comments that come in then you can go to “full on” comments allowed mode where all comments are published immediately to your blog (and then you delete anything you don’t want after it is published.)
Many people consider comments an integral part of blogging but for local business owners it’s not always the most comfortable idea to start with a completely “open” commenting environment. Many business owners we speak to start with comment moderation and get used to the blog commenting environment from there.
How do you handle blog comments? (Yes, we’re asking for your comments!)