Blogging Tips / Business Blogging / Comments and commenting / encouraging comments

Disable Blog Comments: Okay or No Way?

Update: October 28th, 2014. I am currently Blogging Without Obligation. Are social media sites replacing blogs? Prior social media sites existing a blog did something a website didn’t do: a blog allowed us to personally reach and interact with far more people ie. potential readers than we could reach by any other means.


Before social media sites existed all discussion on blog content took place in comments on the site of publication. If and when comments on most posts became numerous either a forum or a chatbox was offered to extend commentary.

Lorelle points out that not every blog post needs comments and also describes comments off types of blogs. Blogs where providing information is the focus don’t require a response. There are many reasons why you may choose to have comments turned off. Read Is Your Blog a Conversation Blog or Answer Blog? Read also –  Are Your Comments Open for Business?

A New Era

Today, it seems as if likes are replacing crafting quality blog comments on posts and backlinks, while commentary is taking place on social media sites. In fact, according to Nielsen, internet users continue to spend more time with social media sites than any other type of site.

Discussion Migration

If you think disabling comments will decrease traffic to your blog that may not be the case. Copyblogger recently decided to test out removing their comments. As would be expected time spent managing spam was reduced. The unexpected is that discussion did not cease; it moved to social media sites (Twitter, Google+and LinkedIn).

A Strong Case for Comment Moderation

Ultimately, everything on a blog contributes either positivity or negatively to its brand. A recent experiment produced an interesting finding: the presence of low-quality comments on an article caused the article itself to be considered lower in quality. … An author hoping to be seen as a thought leader might be subconsciously downgraded to a mere pundit. A brand creating content may not get the same lift in brand perception as it might in a comment-free environment. –  Read the full article Dumb Comments by Others Make YOU Look Dumb

Enable or Disable Comments: That is the Question

What kind of blog do you have? Being clear about who your target audience is, what you intend to share with them, and how you intend to present it, has been a common thread in this branding series. When it comes to structuring your blog and enabling or disabling blog comments consider the first of the 5 Blog and Website Differences:

The main difference between a blog and website is the communication style. A website has a noticeboard communication style. A blog is a website designed for interactive communication.  – Create a Business Blog, Website or Both?


What say you? Is closing blog comments something you have done or contemplate doing in the future? Are you enjoying lively discussion in response to your blog content on any social media sites? If so, which social media sites are you using?

Related posts found in this blog:
Branding on the Blog and Beyond the Blog
Gravatars as Branding Tools
Branding, Your WordPress Blog’s Name and Address
Relevant Anchor Text Matters

92 thoughts on “Disable Blog Comments: Okay or No Way?

  1. In my opinion, if a blog doesn’t allow comments then it’s not a blog but a website. I won’t visit blogs that don’t encourage participation, and I can find material on sites that don’t call themselves blogs that offer the same sort of information. That might seem a bit spiteful but so be it; I’ll always allow comments.

    • For me it depends on the nature of the content. I do follow some blogs that have comments closed. Having comments open on those makes zero sense on those blogs, as there is nothing that any commenter can provide that will enhance the published content, and it was clear form earlier times when comments were open that those who commented did so either to say thank you or to gain traffic clickbacks to their own blogs.

  2. I enjoy getting comments on my posts, and I look forward to them. Most are from treasured friends, and getting one from a new reader is always a tremendous morale boost. I moderate comments, and don’t hesitate to trash spam or offensive remarks. A blog is, indeed, known by the company it keeps, including the comments on its posts.

    I always feel a valid comment deserves a reply. Sometimes I get behind in making these replies, which is embarrassing– but fellow bloggers seem to understand.

    My old posts do attract spam comments, and it never occurred to me that closing comments on “the oldies” would help alleviate this problem– so thanks for the tip!! : )

    • Hi Mark,
      I feel the same way about receiving comments that you do and think we all do. I’m particularly happy that close comments on older posts tip will be useful to you. Hope you have a super week.

  3. I wouldn’t dream of turning off comments. I love the discussions. But I do watch them closely, moderate new people, delete the occasional unacceptable or off-topic, etc. And anyone who violates my rules gets blocked.

    • By the way, RE turning off comments on static pages: It’s true there’s nothing there to comment on, but I leave comments open on my About page because I’ve noticed on my blog and many others that the About page is where new visitors might stop to say “Hi” or “Thanks for visiting my blog” or “I liked your blog and plan to come back.” General comments like that don’t relate to a specific post, so it’s nice if people have some place to leave them.

  4. Dear Commenters,

    I treasure your comments and I’m reading them as I approve them. However, I will not be able to respond until Monday evening after work. My 3 closest girlfriends and I are spending all day together Sunday catching upon our lives, as well as, making some new memories. I hope you all have a great weekend.

  5. A few days ago, I closed my comments after each post is published, after 30 days now. My main blog friends are there anyway, in the first 4 days. This way, I can control extra spam way better & I still have my Akismet tool, that I love. :) Becaiuse the last times, I had a lot of spam about porn, etc that My Akismet didn’t prohibited!

  6. I like getting blog comments and feel honored that people are willing to share bits of their life stories, experiences and knowledge with me. Sometimes, I’ve been able to get a back-and-forth discussion going on a particular issue (similar to a LinkedIn discussion group) which is fun since we all learn from one another.

    I notice that some business blogs rarely have comments and have wondered why. Are commenters just reluctant to share their e-mail addresses for fear of spam or are they just not invested enough in the topic?

    • I’m not experienced with keeping a business blog but from what I see most operate more as websites (one way communication sites) than blogs do.

      • Some business blogs within websites get people commenting, some don’t. If it’s easy for people to comment, some will.

        I think it’s also a matter of cross-publicizing. If the blog post is mentioned on Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., people may read it more or comment.

  7. [ Smiles ] I am against disabling comments and here are the reasons why:

    Comments can strike up a dialogue and they could also help to provide clarity on a post; for example, if I don’t understand something, I can ask you to elaborate a little further about it.

    Once you moderate your comments wisely, you wouldn’t look dumb. Remember, you as the web admin can approve those comments that are of relevance to the topic and you can disapprove of those that are not!

  8. You make some excellent points, timethief. I treasure the comments I get. Some responses are like getting a letter from a long-lost friend. I look forward to reading and writing back to them. Facebook, for me, rarely has that kind of feedback. I’m more likely to get a “like.” That doesn’t tell me anything about what they like or why.

    But I have disabled comments on older posts, mainly because they seemed to be a magnet for spammers rather than an honest reaction to what I wrote.

  9. I like getting the feedback from comments. As you know TT, I have been working hard on honing the branding of my blog. The comments help me to more closely identify my target audience – something that is important when crafting a personal blog. In my case, it would be counterproductive not to allow readers to give feedback. I can not see myself ever turning that option off.

    I’ve considered turning off “likes.’ At the moment, the like option has not distracted my subscribers from leaving poignant and thoughtful comments. However, if I start to recognize that shift, I will disable them.

  10. I close off comments only on static information pages.

    Most of my readers do leave intelligent comments. I monitor comments. I’ve debated turning off likes. I don’t get the kind of traffic that is worrying nor sucks up my time.

    • Hi Jean,
      Good point. I also disable comments on my static pages as they serve no purpose there and like you I have debated disabling likes.

  11. Hi Titi,
    I do value the comments I get on my blog. Yes some posts get more and some get less….and as compared to few years back…the number of comments have dwindled because of social media becoming such a big part of the online world now.

    While social media is awesome and interactive…I still prefer the “live” comments put in a post. Like you TiTI…I dont like to chatter unnecessarily o social sites….I’m more of a to the point kind of gal :) My online presence is that way too. I cant share every little detail of my life online….I cherish my privacy.

    For now the comments stay ON on my blog…but who knows, the future might demand changes….I’m keeping an open mind and open heart.

    Such a great topic!
    Much Love,

    • Dear Zeenat,
      When I see the number of Tweets, Facebook likes and Google+ shares on your posts I’m impressed but not surprised. You are a special kind of blogger and I’ve never doubted the high value you place on comments as I read all of them on your blog. The prospect of closing comments in the future is also one I keep open.

      Love and peace,

  12. A most timely set of thoughts TiTi as I have noticed more activity on FB with different groups etc by bloggers I follow and who are now posting far less here on WP. My FB friends are way more happy to post comments on FB than bothering to come into the post and that’s fine with me. But I have turned my Flickr page to Private because I only have so much time and will in the world for social media sharing and caring, often amongst the same crowds elsewhere.

    As for Likes and Comments here on WP? We are all of us damned lucky that we get anyone interested enough in what we do and I will never hold it against anyone who “likes” without leaving a comment, some of us are shy and then there are the bloggers who never reply to comments, ever, but again I put it down to quiet reluctance – let the work do the talking!

    • Hi Patti,
      It’s interesting that you are also witnessing the shift to commenting on Facebook. Sometimes I wonder if my not having a Facebook account inhibits some readers from commenting on my posts.

      My struggle with the enabling or disabling “likes” is ongoing and the struggle stems from my own like button use. On the spot commenting isn’t something that comes easily for me. I’m the head in the clouds and still thinking about whatever someone wrote days ago type of reader. I also follow many blogs, so by the time I visit posts I find other readers have made the comments I would have made.

      The point you make about “social media sharing and caring, often amongst the same crowds elsewhere” is also a good one. It would be mind boggling to find the same group of people all with multiple social networking accounts on the same sites were investing their time commenting and button clicking on each others posts on all those sites.

  13. I’ve been wondering about turning comments off on older WordPress posts. I draw most of my traffic through search engines from older posts, and occasionally someone adds a very late comment. I keep the comments open, as it makes it easy when they have a question to ask. But I was wondering about posts that turn off comments at some point, if there may be a slight advantage to keeping up interaction on the post, rather than inhibiting it.

    In this post of yours, you say that the traffic transferred to social media in an example. Does that perhaps impact search results with Google, in that the post won’t be interactive at all? I find that social media tends to die off in a matter of hours, whereas content-rich WordPress blogs tend to grow significantly over the course of months when they succeed in getting visibility with search engines.

  14. Wow! I never thought of turning off my comments. I think it depends like you wrote on the content you are writing in each individual post. My blog is about weight loss, and doing a journey. Comments aren’t necessary, but when you are doing a journey it’s nice to get some feedback. I will, though, after reading this article close the comments on my blog after a certain numbers of days, maybe 14, because feedback in my content is not relevant if I have already passed a certain stage in my journey.

    Love Lisa

    • Your journey blog is a perfect example of when closing comments on posts makes sense. Thanks for bringing it into the discussion, Lisa.

  15. I love getting comments, and engaging in a dialogue even more so. It happens rarely so I’m not overwhelmed responding to whity, well-crafted comments on my posts.
    For many blogs that I follow I have stopped receiving comments on their posts. It just got to be too time consuming to even look at and delete them.
    Has anyone else shut off “automatically receive comments”?

    • Due to lack of time I do not subscribe to comments on posts on other blogs. I struggle to make time to read blogs I follow and to comment and respond to comments on my own. I try to read comments on posts I read on other blogs I don’t always read them all, especially if there are many of them.

  16. I too love getting comments! When the speech bubble turns from white to orange, I am positively giddy! Because I do DIY, it’s all up for critique. Comments help me gauge my next project, whether I’m giving clear enough instructions, gives me new ideas,and also best of all, I get some great laughs. We have a witty world out there in the blogosphere! So far I am lucky to say I’ve not had negative comments. Maybe that scenario would change my mind.

  17. I don’t get many comments, but I check and respond when I do get them.
    My feeling is that someone that takes the time to make a comment, whether good or bad, is reading my posts and deserves a response. I am talking legit comments not spam.

    • I’m with you Steve. I feel exactly the way you described and I do as you do. Sometimes my responses are delayed but I do read and consider every comment more than once before I reply to it.

  18. I only use WordPress, at present it meets all my needs, therefore I wouldn’t close comments I enjoy the interaction. I moderate, because I’m not very intolerant of abusive, disrespectful or obnoxious behavior.

    • Thanks for commenting, Mary. It’s good to hear from a blogger who is using WordPress only and not social media sites. I’m glad you brought up comment moderation too as I think it’s a must.

  19. I had a recent commenter who posted at least six lengthy comments including links on my blog post. Silly old me kept on being polite and replying to the negative comments from this blogger. This process went on for almost a week and I became exhausted and depressed. I am now in the process of closing down that WP blog and redirecting traffic to this blog. I loved that particular blog and had it going along nicely for a year. I’m giving lots of thought as to what works best in future. I certainly don’t wish to get involved in any more lengthy debates.

    • I know exactly the type of commenter you refer to as I have experienced them in the past. I once had an environmental/political blog that did very well. However, I spent hours dealing with argumentative climate change deniers, and moderating comment exchanges between them and others, while also dealing with nasty trolls. I finally decided the blog was not worth the effort. In retrospect maybe I ought to have closed comments and continued blogging but I never considered doing that. I deleted it.

  20. @Timethief I wouldn’t disable comments on eclectic as that is a personal blog and I love the interactions I get, yes some of the spam takes time as it seems to be filtering through but not too much.

    However it is interesting what you say about reputation etc, I have my living in east sheen blog which is only about where i live, blogging charities, events, voluntary work etc etc, I have considered turning off comments as I do get anxious sometime thinking someone will write something that will give a bad reflection, so that one is up in the air at the moment. It could be seen though slightly as hiding or ostracising oneself by doing this? xx

  21. I, too, have found Likes replacing comments as, indeed, is Twitter. Also on Twitter I’ve noticed that – unhelpfully – Favourites are replacing retweets.

    But to address the question, would I consider turning off comments? Absolutely, and probably sooner rather than later for two reasons. Firstly, after 8 years I’ve had enough of the abusive psychos who spew their bile across the web while cowering behind their keyboards, safe from the consequences of their actions.

    Secondly, for some years, before I became too ill, I provided a disability benefits advice service which required a high degree of interaction. I haven’t been able to do that for several years now, and I’ve explained why at length (plus everything I know on the subject is on my blog for those who care to look for it). Short explanation – I’m dying – I have enough to do dealing with my own problems, yet people still feel it appropriate to drop their problems in my lap. I understand their desperation, I really do – I just wish they’d try to understand mine.

    • Hi Ron,
      It seems you are experiencing this declining comment and social network shift too. Like you I’ve noticed Twitter favorites replacing retweets and I just don’t get it.

      I’m grateful for your straight forward response to impermanence ie. your own dying and how others fail to absorb your reality. There are times when closing comments makes perfect sense and there are even some kinds of blogs and posts and pages where commenting isn’t required. It’s good that we are in a position to make the choice based on our own circumstances and criteria, because another troll is probably being introduced to the internet every minute and engaging with trolls is a senseless energy drain.

  22. is very much a community.

    Automattic (aka Central Government), the company that owns WordPress, calls the shots but it also gives us the opportunity and the means to find each other.

    Self-hosted WP sites or other self-hosted blogging platforms are ‘out in the cold’ as it were, and have to find ways for an audience to find them.

    RSS curation services like Feedly and Bloglovin enable us to scan sites we like, but adding a new site to these services requires more than just a click.

    And in the wider ‘out in the cold’ world, no one with a big reach is guiding or suggesting new sites that I might be interested in following.

    Maybe it is a good idea to ask what is behind the sharing and the commenting?

    Copyblogger exists to offer services like its Authority program, Scribe system, and its WP Genesis framework.

    Copyblogger is an example of a money economy – and there’s nothing wrong with that of course – but the sharing and the commenting has a purpose that does not really sit well with the idea of a ‘village community’.

    So Copyblogger has turned off commenting. Good, fine. But I think a good part of how it got where it is by encouraging exchanges with its readers.

  23. Great discussion topic! Generally, I receive fewer comments now than I did a few years ago before people were so active on social media. I think that’s the trend. I value conversation and comments so I have no immediate intention of disabling comments. And, I generally don’t participate in the conversation when people do move their comments to a social media site. I’m not sure if moving comments to a social media site would work as well for smaller blogs.

    Of course, it’s good to stay tuned in and flow with the times. I spend more time on social media sites because a segment of my readers are there. It’s possible I’ll change my mind above all the above in the future if I feel the winds have totally changed.

    • Thanks so much for your feedback Sandra. I value it. I think you are most likely right about this: “I’m not sure if moving comments to a social media site would work as well for smaller blogs.”

  24. i LOVE THE INTERACTION WITH those who leave comments. IT give me a sense of friendship with people I will never likely meet. Comments are on forever– what I don’t do is click the notify me because on very popular blogs those emails never stop coming. I learned that the hard way. Oh – Thank you for still Being here!

    • I feel like everyone I meet in blog comments becomes a friend too. I learned not to subscribe to blogs that publish posts daily years ago. I couldn’t cope. have also disabled all notifications by email. I cannot cope with the email load from our business and contracted work and blogging. It’s just too much for me to handle. And thank you for being here too.

  25. I don’t plan on ever turning off comments, or likes for that matter… I enjoy the odd comment that readers leave for me, but I also enjoy receiving all the likes because a lot of my posts don’t necessarily warrant conversation.
    PS – I still don’t see my flag in your flag counter :( What’s going on?! Maybe increase the number of flags shown on the page?

    • I’m more inclined to click a like button a tweet a link than I am to comment. I’m the offline. I’m not the kind that chatters on and on. I speak infrequently and thoroughly enjoy listening to lively repartee that others are engaged in.

      I don’t see your flag either and I’m wondering why that is. :(

  26. That’s a tough question TT. My blog is mainly intended for self-entertainment, with the hope that others will be entertained as well. While I don’t really like having to compose lots of witty (?) answers to lots of comments, having those comments do help make the effort seem worthwhile. I think that, for me at least, I’ll go with disabling them individually on posts I do just to disseminate information.

    • Hi Mak,
      I’m an introvert and I’m also a very busy and very tired person. I treasure every comment but I don’t have what it takes to ask opened ended questions aimed to create ongoing commenting exchange on any post. I don’t what it takes to be witty either.

      I blog without obligation. I know my personal blog is “hungry” but I refuse to blog as if I have a gun pointed at my head. It’s summer. I’m gardening and visiting with friends, and enjoying every ray of sunshine I can enjoy while it lasts.

  27. I can’t see me turning off comments either, except maybe, very rarely, on specific posts. I enjoy the feedback. It’s true that some are smarter, more clever than others – that’s life – and it doesn’t bother me. I’ve got the moderate comments option switched on.

    Curiously, although some of my friends follow my blog they tend to comment more frequently and more openly on my personal Facebook page.

    • Wow! I’m surprised to read your Facebook friends feel more comfortable commenting there than they do on your blog. maybe they don’t know it is a data-mining operation.

      I disable comments on older posts to reduce spam. I also moderate all comments not just first time comments because that way I don’t miss replying to them, though sometimes my responses are delayed when my offline life gets in the way.

      • Interesting observation about Facebook, timethief. I think my friends fall roughly into three camps when it comes to FB : blissfully unaware; aware but don’t care; and, lastly, suspicious of all social media including FB, WP and Twitter. I think this last group are really missing out – but each to their own.

  28. I would NEVER turn off comments – but that’s because my blog is a totally self-centred one, and I don’t mean that in a self-pejorative way (if such a term can exist !):it’s about what’s in my head that I wish to share, and there’d be no point doing that if I were unable to receive feedback, so to speak.

    But I’ve just recently turned off likes; and the fact that several followers persist in clicking on like shows me beyond any doubt that the Reader is the culprit. It also shows me that these followers don’t ever visit my blogsite itself, but merely look at what I post within the bloody Reader. I knew this was happening, but now i know how many are doing it; and it saves me the time in bothering to read their posts.

    • I love comments on my site, but you would expect it for that type of blog (home cooking). I manage other sites, some with comments, some without. It comes down to the quality of comments you are likely to see and whether you want feedback. Some blogs are more about developing a train of thought or an idea, and the author doesn’t want comments (yet).

      • Yes … but it does seem so … odd to blog without interaction of any kind, don’t you think ? The quality of comments I’ve had on my own site has never been anything but absolutely ACE !: no-one except the spammers ever says anything I’m bored by, not ever !

        • You’re right, but some people use a free blog as more of a journal or way of communicating with close friends. The interaction happens in facebook, by email and over the phone. The blog is just the equivalent of, for example, a photo album and, unlike facebook, you get to retain your rights over the images.

          • OK, I can relate to that, I suppose … But I doubt very much blogging is meant to be like that. I mean, the issue of keeping image rights and so forth: they can be copied and slightly altered as quickly as they can be from FB, surely …
            Oh well, no matter: you’ve provided me with various takes on this, and I’m most grateful ! :-)

    • Hello there M-R, I agree it would be madness to turn off comments on a personal blog where you want feedback. Your words about likes though spurred me to talk about why I press the ‘like’ because I hear that and the ‘reader’ getting such bad press :(

      I wanted to say surely the reader though has it’s negatives, it also though allows many readers to have all the blogs they like streamlined in to one area which saves time to decide ‘yep’ i want to pop on to that ones blog to read that or ‘nope’ lets move on. One can always make only the beginning of one’s posts show and if catchy enough ones readers will hopefully pop by.

      With the like issue, as a reader I tend to press like with the idea I am telling the writer firstly that a) I have read what they wrote and b) I like it. If I like it enough and ‘have time’ which is sadly lacking at the moment I might be able to comment, but if I want to comment and dont have time at least I have a ‘like’ to indicate something positive to the writer. Yes I know some must just go through the reader and press like like like but I wanted to point out how I as a reader view it and hope it is seen by the writer maybe might give you a more positive spin on ‘likes’. Also I often just press like once I have gone to the page if i get time.

      It’s all swings and round abouts isnt it? :-) x

      • Of course it is ! And you are very kind to take the time to write all that, Justine !
        I suppose I would explain my somewhat intransigent attitude by saying that I’m quite sure most of those who follow my blog but continue to click on ‘like’ are only glancing at posts via the Reader. I find that fairly off-putting, because they are giving more time to some other blog/s rather than mine. I’m only human: that doesn’t appeal. So the few like yourself who are prevented from indicating a genuine but passing pleasure get swept up in the general … ahh … wipeout. :-)
        Btw, your header is absolutely beautiful …

        • thank you it was of a beautiful rose that i then worked on with a painting ap :)

          I know many moan about the reader, i have been blogging since jan so no idea what it was like without it, so not seen the changes :D but imagine it was very hard to catch up with blogs properly if one was following a fair few x

    • I absolutely agree with you on that Reader thing M-R. I intentionally chose a theme with only excerpts on the front page – and no “Like” buttons. While I like being liked, clicking “Like” on a post that I haven’t actually seen seems a little too much like lying to me.

      • But it happens all the time, and drives me mad.
        In my Settings\Readings I’ve made it
        “For each article in a feed, show Summary”;
        so does that in fact mean that in the (ugh !) Reader a person cannot see the full post ? – or that they must click through to it to see it ?

        • Pretty sure that means they have to click through to see the full post. They can click “Like” in the Reader, but doing so is like clicking a link to the post; it takes them to that post on your blog.

          • Oops, nvm. I was remembering it wrong. Likes get posted immediately whether they visit your blog or not, just like always, which is why I disabled them for a while. Testing in my own Reader seems to indicate that if there’s only a summary there, you have to click through to the blog to read the whole post.

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