Copyblogger recently announced they removed blog comments, giving three reasons they made the decision.
Following the Guest Blogging Penalty discussion, some have wondered if this was a preventative or protective measure - if it's a sign they believe Blog Comments may be targeted by Google next.
I don't believe the two are related. Their objective seems obvious: to get more engagement on Google+, and to get more natural backlinks (and buzz) to their individual posts. That would be my guess at least, based on the three reasons they gave for making this (BIG) decision (which is actually an experiment)...
An interesting experiment indeed!
Here are the three reasons they gave in the post:
- They're moving the discussion to Social Media instead.
- You should post your response on your own blog, instead of theirs.
- To eliminate the hassle of blog comment spam.
Point #2 is working, as I'm blogging about this (and linking to their blog post). I'm also writing much more in this post on my blog than I would in a comment on theirs, given I'm writing about the topic and adding more context for you - my readers - instead of just commenting to the author of that post.
(That is a great way to come up with EASY blog content ideas, btw!)
Perhaps instead of being the "preventative measure" that some people fear, it's simply a new Content Marketing strategy for getting natural inbound links that don't require the nofollow link attribute.
I agree with Point #3 that blog comment spam is a very time consuming hassle. It's one we've all had to deal with from day one, and it's going to be an ongoing battle. Unfortunately there are still people out there teaching that a blog commenting marketing strategy is a smart one. (It's not.)
Hello- Social Media spam is an issue too! And I imagine it will only get worse from here. Will it be as easy to manage/control? At least you can moderate Blog Comments. With Social Media you have to delete them AFTER they've been publicly posted. Something to think about...
Point #1 is the one I find most interesting though. Instead of leaving a comment on a blog post, they want you to leave a comment on the social media update for that post instead. Obviously you could have done that before, but now you don't have a choice.
On the actual announcement post, the only social media links offered are the profiles for Google+ and Twitter, as well as the author's profile links for those two social platforms. Unless you clicked on those links the day they published (and shared) that post, you'd be hard pressed to figure out where to respond to it - other than starting a new conversation.
What if you read that post six months later? If you fail to link to the post you're "commenting on" will they be able to figure out the context and source? As a blogger myself, that would drive me nutty! I get emails, social media questions, messages, etc on a weekly basis where I have to hunt down the source in order to respond appropriately. It's madness - and way too time consuming.
Obviously not every blog post is read the day it's published. People are searching for information all day every day. If you check your own blog stats, you'll likely notice many of your older, archived posts still getting consistent traffic.
From a usability standpoint, that sucks.
Since then, I see that they link to a specific social media update in newer posts. In this post for example, they link to the Google+ update so you can comment there. It's not overly obvious as a call to action, but it IS there.
Looking at a few more recent posts, so far they are ONLY linking to Google+ updates - instead of giving you an option of where to comment - which seems like an obvious (very strategic) move. Right?
What about their archived posts? Will they go back and edit every post to include a link to (at least the Google+) update so you can comment in the right place easily? I doubt it. They've added a site-wide box way below the posts that encourage you to come comment on Twitter or Google+ if you want to respond.
Question: How would YOU feel if you wanted to leave a comment on one of their posts, or read the discussion about that topic, and there was no direct link to the conversation about it anywhere in the post? OR, if Google+ was the ONLY option? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Are you curious why they seem to be leaving Facebook out altogether?
As an "experiment"... my guess is that they will indeed see a dramatic increase in natural inbound links and social media engagement.
But is it worth it? AND - does this mean you should follow suit?
As a 10-year blogger myself, I totally understand their points and their strategy here. But from a usability perspective, and as a community leader, it seems... RUDE.
Let's say that you DO want to leave a comment or ask a question...
What if your website is about your local ballet dance school and all of your social media channels are highly topical (about your business and for your clients). Do you really want to have marketing or business building conversations via those channels? (The answer is NO.) So what option does that leave YOU? None. (= Rude.)
Likewise, as a blogger yourself in the ballet/dance school market, what if YOUR readers don't want anyone to know publicly that they are interested in ballet, or that they're taking classes? Maybe they are shy, or embarrassed, or just prefer to keep the their personal hobbies/interests less public for whatever reason.
Give that some thought for a second. I'd love to hear what you think from both the perspective of a blogger AND a blog reader.
Note: Do Not Enable DoFollow Blog Comment Plugins!
While we're on the topic of blog comments and comment spam, one thing you should never do is use a dofollow plugin on your blog. What this does is remove the nofollow link attribute from outgoing links in your comment section.
If you have installed a dofollow plugin, deactivate it and delete it - today. Regardless of how you feel about the nofollow attribute. It could cause your blog to receive a penalty for linking out to questionable sites AND it puts your blog on lists for even more comment spam. It's useless.
The Benefits of Blog Comments
Building a loyal readership - and a community around your site/business/blog - should be a top priority. It's what makes a blog thrive. Not only does it give you an opportunity to interact with your readers on topical discussions, it gives them an opportunity to interact with each other and discuss topics among themselves.
Blog comments are a huge part of creating that sense of community.
Personally I WANT engagement ON my blog. It gives me insight into what my market thinks, feels or wants. Thoughts & questions arise that give me the opportunity to write new tutorials, or new topical posts. It gives me a chance to get to know some of my more regular readers on a deeper level, which I've really enjoyed. Many of which I've gone on to follow & keep up with via Social Media. How would I have ever met or known them otherwise - well enough to want to "connect" more personally?
When I publish a blog post, some people comment right here on ClickNewz. Some comment on Facebook, others on Twitter or Google+, and some even email me directly. ALL of those comments/responses are valuable to me, and to my business.
Is comment spam a hassle? Yes. So is email spam, social media spam, and even the spam mail I get in my P.O. Box and the "phone spam" on my landline. When you find a solution for ALL of that, please let me know.
I "get" the reasons that lead Copyblogger's team to their decision, and it's certainly an interesting experiment with a very obvious objective. Hopefully a few months from now they will post their results, and let us know whether the experiment was a success - and whether they'll continue to "herd" their readers.
p.s. Enjoy this topic? You CAN leave a comment below! Be sure to subscribe by email below too, to get notification of new tutorials and important discussions. I look forward to hearing your thoughts...