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Should I Turn Off Comments On My Blog?

  |   Business Tips, Customer Service, Social Media Marketing, Website Design   |   37 Comments

Everyone's asking: Should I turn off my blog comments? Before you shut them down, learn how it can hurt your blog and your business... And what you can do instead.


Let me tell you something funny about rebellious internet trends:


While they look epic at first blush, they’re usually not the best idea for you to imitate.


(When I say “you,” I’m specifically talking to the amazing entrepreneurs + small business owners out there who are trying to use social media like your website + Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. to earn a living…and do what you love.)


Now I get it. The concept looks awfully attractive. Say goodbye to Facebook? Permanently shut down your blog comments? Crawl in a hole and still make money?


Yup, sounds good to me.


It’s not unlike the daydreams I get where I imagine how utterly glorious it would be to build a Montana “cabin” (I like to use that term a lot like Bill Gates + Ted Turner + John Mayer did when they built a home here) along a winding stream, 50 miles from everyone.


Blissful seclusion. A backyard as big as my entire town. A beautiful mansion cabin…I mean cabin! What’s not to love?


Then a little voice comes to me (pesky thing) and says to me,


“Gee whiz Erika, you know they ain’t got no restaurants or gourmet grocery stores with a deli out there? When you’re doggone tired of makin’ dinners, what ‘er you gonna feed yer kids?

And who’s gonna shovel that there driveway when it’s snowed under 4 good feet? And pick up that stinky garbage? And come rescuin’ ye when yer boy breaks his leg steppin’ in a gopher hole?

Oh, and one more thing, darlin’. There’s no internets in that neck o’ the woods. Good luck runnin’ a bizniz!”


Hmm. Touché.


Sometimes we all need a little common sense pep talk in order to help us see clearly, so allow me to be that (only somewhat pesky, I hope) voice for you now when it comes to the topic of turning off your blog comments.


What does it mean for your business if you silence the combox? Let’s take a look.




If you turn blog comments off, it does three big things:


1. It sends the message to your audience, “I’m not really interested in hearing from you”

When I come to a site that has flung the comments section into the internet trash can, this is what I feel they’re saying to me:


“I don’t really want to hear your opinions, feedback, or ideas on what I write. This is my soapbox and I’m here for moi. If you really want to talk, then I guess you can do the work of finding me somewhere else. Good luck, babe.”


Personal blogs have the freedom to take that stance, but if you’re trying to run a business where your goal is (or should be) to serve others?


It can come off feeling cold and hypocritical.




2. It inhibits your ability to learn from your audience

When people think of their comment area, I don’t think they realize the gold mine they’re sitting on.


It used to be that businesses would spend hundreds, thousands, and even hundreds of thousands of dollars to conduct “market research.” They’d print up surveys, conduct mass phone call campaigns, and send out people into the street all just to find out what their target audience really needed (and wanted) from them.


A blog combox is one of the main market research tools for the modern age. You barely have to do a thing and your audience will tell you exactly what they think of your ideas, what they’re struggling with, and how you could help them!


If you get rid of your comment section, you’ve just cut off an enormously valuable, FREE way to listen to your potential clients + customers.


Why do that to your business?!


3. It prevents you from developing stronger relationships with potential clients + customers

Not only does the blog comment area enable you to listen to customers, it enables you to converse with them as well.


This is a beautiful thing, folks. Why? Think of it this way: how many times have you heard the adage that people buy from those they “know, like, and trust?”


A million times, right?


Well, how else are people going to learn to know, like, and trust you if they can’t talk with you?


Very rarely will someone visit your website, read a blog post, and decide to make a purchase from you.


(Particularly larger ticket items or services.)


But they WILL be likely to make a purchase an item or service from you if over time they’re able to make a personal connection with you. The most natural place for this connection to start is in — you got it — the comments.


(Yes, they can and will connect with you on social media too. But your website should be your HOME BASE. Social networks come and go, and there are a lottttt of distractions there. If you can attract a community to your website, you have a precious, precious thing.)


So before you put the “closed” sign up on comments, think about this for a moment. It’s no small sacrifice to give up a channel of communication with those you’re depending on to pay the bills.


(This is even more true if you’re a new/solo/online-based business.)




The above drawbacks are significant, but people are still tempted to silence their comments.


And I understand why.


It’s because:


a) we’re overwhelmed, or

b) we’re really, really overhelmed.


Whether it’s due to the volume of comments we get or being blasted by spam, it’s true: moderating comments takes WORK.


And we often feel torn between answering comments or doing the 1 gazillion other tasks we need to run in our business. (Yes or yes?)



But is there an alternative? Can we live with our combox and still be a happy entrepreneur?




Here are a few different strategies to try that are a pile full of paperclips better than turning off comments entirely:




1. Commit to answering comments only between certain hours/on certain days

I commit to being active in my blog comments the day my post goes live. That doesn’t mean I sit here all day, it just means that periodically I check my notifications and respond to anyone who stops in.


I do try hard to get back onto the blog and respond if a comment comes up later, but if the other areas of my business are especially busy I sometimes need to simply let it go.


2. Choose how many comments you’ll respond to

If your blog is inundated with comments the day you publish a post, responding to all of them may be too heavy a burden. If this is the case, stop in once (or a few times) and answer a couple comments that stand out to you.


This helps your community feel like you’re still involved and interested, even if you’ve reached the point where it’s difficult + time-consuming to reply to each and every one of them.


3. Step away entirely and let the community interact among themselves

This strategy is OK if you have a big, big, really big blog. (The kind of blog where you get 100+ or 200+ comments each post.)


At this point your business is nowhere near “small” anymore and a stand-alone community has formed around your brand. (Lucky you!)


Is it still nice to check in and give a comment here and there? Yes. I recommend you do it, even if you just say one or two quick things.


But maybe it’s a very busy time in life and you’re juggling so many projects you can barely breathe. If so, inhale. Exhale. It’s OK.


Your community will continue on and be fine talking among themselves.


(Just make sure you or an assistant checks in occasionally to make sure no inappropriate behavior — bullying, vicious personal attacks, etc — is going on. A certain level of moderation is always required if you have a combox, even if you aren’t actively engaging there.)


4. Get smart about how people can comment

If it’s the spam that is the problem, this is an easy fix if you have a WordPress blog. I highly recommend either: the Akismet plugin or a commenting system like Disqus.


They will virtually eradicate spam, which means a lot less blog management on your end. (No more “your comment is awaiting moderation” tasks.) Win!


In closing, I want to share with you some of my favorite examples on how others treat their blog combox. Check out:


Pat Flynn

Sally Hope

Regina Anaejionu

Kayla Hollatz

Marie Forleo


And now I have two questions for you: How do you handle your blog combox? What tips do you have for others to avoid the overwhelm/guilt?


I love you guys! Thanks for being here with me. 🙂 It’s a joy to read the insight + support you give each week.


Would you consider Pinning (and/or tweeting) this post if you found it useful-slash-amusing? I’d really love that. Thank you.


“A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.”

Michael LeBoeuf



Erika Madden

(Chief Olyvia)


The free 21 day ecourse that creates pro online impressions for business owners!

  • Rose Reif

    Thank you for sharing these insights, as always, you’ve thoughtfully considered many possibilities that your readers may be facing! Would love to know your thoughts on responding with class to well-intentioned but inappropriate comments from family members; I’m a therapist, and numerous times I’ve had Aunts and Uncles wander onto my business’ Facebook page and make comments that are at odds with my professional identity (i.e., lamenting that I can’t be their therapist because they’re “really crazy; just ask your mom!” oy!). Thus far I’ve handled it by responding to them privately, thanking them for the interest they’re taking in my business, and explaining that I’ll be removing their comment because it might be stigmatizing to my clients, who need to know that my online spaces are safe havens for them. Have you got any tips for managing (or better yet preventing) these kinds of comments in the future, so that I can be more at ease keeping my comboxes active?

    • Rose, I can see why you’re so concerned! I want to tell you that I think you’re handling of it thus far is superb. It is exactly what you should do. My question is, how do they respond? Have they respected that, or do they continue to wander over there and leave inappropriate remarks?

      If your statements have been clear, you may want to consider banning them from your page. A tough move, but at times and on pages such as yours (where there absolutely needs to be a high level of trust + professionalism), it needs to be done. Per Facebook: “When you ban someone from your Page, they will no longer be able to post to your Page, comment on posts or share content from your Page to other places on Facebook.”

      As for preventing these kind of comments in the future, unfortunately there is no “easy” answer. I’d recommend putting up a simple, kind-yet-firm statement under your About section regarding the type of comments allowed or disallowed. (However you should know that many probably won’t read that). It will give you more clear recourse if you get a comment you feel threatens the safety of the community: you can simply direct them to that statement as an explanation of your policies (and as to why you need to delete the comment, if that’s what you feel is necessary).

      When you make posts you can also include a line in your post forewarning people about acceptable comments and the right to remove certain kinds. I’ve seen this done on several pages and it seems to be effective.

      Managing comments will take more oversight and moderation on your part compared to the average business page. But so far it looks like you’ve handled it well; good for you!

      • Thank you for your kind words of support! I’ve felt
        confident in how I’ve handled these potentially sticky situations so far, but
        it’s wonderful to get some validation of that from someone who’s traveled the
        blogosphere as much as you have!

        To date, any time that I’ve responded as I described in my
        initial post it’s been well received, so, no need to ban anyone yet, though I would
        be willing to do this if I felt it was the right response based on repeat offenses.

        I really love your suggestion to use the ‘About’ section to establish
        some kind and clear boundaries for comments; while your intuition that these
        will be ignored is, I’m sure, spot on, it’d be a great relief for me to know
        that I’m holding all commenters to the same expectations, regardless of how
        much DNA we share!

        Thank you again for sharing your wisdom with us all. Your stance
        that it’s not only possible but also preferable to be warm, kind, and approachable
        online is so encouraging and optimistic in the critical, anonymous world that
        our web has become that it’s almost counter-culture…and it’s simply wonderful!

        • Oh you’re more than welcome, Rose. <3 And your praise is humbling…thank you. 🙂

  • I’ve seen others get rid of their comment box and request that the reader reach out to them via twitter…I don’t think I’m on board with that as the sole option. Mainly because I’m having to leave one space to contact the author in another. On the positive, it can create more conversation around that topic. On the other hand, I love reading comments, like love love! My husband says I’m the only one he knows personally to do this. I love reading what other people have to say. Their thoughts may spark an idea in me or another thought, and teach me something I didn’t know. So what do I do? I use disqus, I request a comment and I request a tweet, linking tweet so they can tweet me directly. That’s how I’ve decided to tackle it. Thanks for covering this Erika, as always, great content!

    • I agree with your perspective, Keiz. If I’m on someone’s blog, I want to interact there — not on Twitter. It takes extra time and effort; something I’m not inclined to do unless it’s a majorly important topic to me. But still, it feels like an extra hassle (and disrespectful of my time).

      I love reading comments, too! So often I learn MORE from the comments than I did in the post! They’re an excellent service not just to the business owner, but to all of the other people who come across the post. Just another great reason to keep them!

      Thank you for sharing your perspective + what you do! I appreciate it so much. 🙂

    • You’re definitely not the only one, Keiz! I read the comments section all the time, even though oftentimes I know I shouldn’t. It’s honestly one of my favorite things about blogging, that you get to see all this interaction and potential debate and differing opinions and ideas. I’ve never seen anyone suggesting using Twitter but that would drive me nuts because like you said, you’re making someone take that extra step to get to you (and I know I wouldn’t do it), plus Twitter can really stump a conversation because you have a word limit. I love Twitter but it has boundaries that a normal comment section don’t have.

  • Maritza Diaz

    So glad you brought this up. I had a situation with FB not blog related so sorry if I’m going off topic. I had a client whose FB fan pages was receiving offensive comments. Through my research I couldn’t find a way to disable comments off a FB fan page just “posts” on FB fan pages. One can delete comments but not disable. Is that true or have I just been lost in FB world?! I do agree with you if one turns off blog comments is sending a wrong message. I still haven’t had much comments on my blog but I’ll be patient:) As always your information is valuable!

    • No, I believe you’re absolutely correct Maritza. You can’t disable comments on Facebook. So if you have a business page on FB, you have to be willing to deal with the comments in some way.

      Thank you for mentioning that; I think that’s an important thing for people to consider when getting on Facebook to begin with. It’s nothing that can’t be dealt with, but businesses should be prepared to receive offensive comments they’ll have to delete (or, alternatively, negative reviews from customers that they’ll have to proactively handle in a positive way).

      I’m grateful for your comment! Thank you!

  • Unless you are a really popular blogger… and even then I think turning your comments off is blog suicide.

    You laid out all the reasons in your post, and I completely agree.

    I think a blog is all about community and your readers and without comments how else will you build your community?

    Great blog x

    • You say it so well: “I think a blog is all about community and your readers and without comments how else will you build your community?”

      Precisely. Thank you, Kelita.

  • Amélie Lamont

    Great points here, Erika! I think it’s safe to say that it’s probably not a wise idea to shut comments off for anyone trying to build a business.

    It also depends on the kind of business model and customers you have, as well. Seth Godin doesn’t have comments turn on for his blog and for good reason. That would be madness. Paul Jarvis doesn’t, either. But both of their names carry a lot of weight in their industries, so it’s not seen as rude or offensive.

    For the rest of us, though…comments on! 😛

    • Very good point Amelie, I’m glad you brought that up; thank you!

  • naturalfitfoodie

    Thank you Olyvia! Great advice for noobs like myself who might feel intimidated by the comment box. Comments ON!

    • Thank YOU for commenting and being so encouraging! I really appreciate that. 🙂

  • I am a comment girl and will always love them. I feel it is mandatory that bloggers leave comments ON as an option for their readers AND … respond to those comments. I even go so far as to say that even WHEN you get to be at the point of having 100-200 comments per day, you must make a point to engage. If you don’t engage with your people, what’s the weight and true value of your words in the first place? Are you so important that no one gets to speak to you after you share your opinion?

    I don’t feel it’s necessary to respond to every “Well said!” comment or when readers say “I’m so glad you shared this, thank you.” but many times, comments are being left with questions being said between the lines, and the readers are reaching out for connection.

    I could go on and on, this is a very hot topic for me and I will step off of my soapbox now so as not to go overboard 🙂

    (I stop following and reading people who close comments. Immediately) — thanks for posting this! Off to share across my social!

    • I tend to agree with that sentiment, Naomi. No matter how big your blog gets…surely you can pop in to respond to a couple of people, right? I understand the few that turn into celebrities, get their own TV shows, and oh, I don’t know, become a designer for their own line of purses or something crazy. It’s very difficult. But at the same time, we ALL have the same amount of time in a day. There has to be a moment or two free that one can reach out and engage with their audience. It all comes down to how much we want to…and how much we value those people.

      It also frustrates me when I see a blog with a lot of comments…and a lot of questions…and no one is there to answer them. There is a lot of talk of building a community that is so loyal that many become brand ambassadors” and will stay around constantly to answer questions, etc, however I don’t see that happening on a lot of people’s blogs. Facebook Groups sometimes and forums, yes, but it’s very common on blogs to see tons of people floundering and no one there to help. It’s sad.

      Thank you for your comment as always Naomi. 🙂 You know I appreciate it so much.

  • I like your style Erikka! Very insightful. Someone said that common sense isn’t common practice. I certainly concur. Especially because it was put to my attention that my comments platform was broken. Stupid of me not to have tested it… Common sense isn’t common practice…Anyyyyhooooo. It’s fixed now.
    Thanks for the tips.

    An impressed fellow.

    • Haha I love that: common sense IS NOT common practice. Even for us bloggers + entrepreneurs. 😉

  • Keeping comments on is ESSENTIAL! I know it can be overwhelming at times, but it’s so important for your readers to know that this is a conversational space and comments/feedback/praise/even criticism is welcome. I have a manageable amount of comments on my posts and they’re all pretty positive (my blog isn’t popular enough to garner an amount of feedback I cant handle volume-wise or content-wise, I guess!) so I can’t ever imagine turning them off. Great post!

    • I could not agree more, Allison. I really like that you made the point of mentioning criticism as well. I find that a lot of bloggers are uncomfortable with the criticism, which is another reason why they want to turn off the combox. But in any true community, there are always going to be differing and even opposing viewpoints. That’s a GOOD thing. Trying to sanitize our blogs is, in my opinion, more harmful than helpful.

      Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. I really appreciate your time. 🙂

  • Thank you for these tips, very interesting read! Engaging with like-minded readers was one of the biggest reasons for starting a blog, so I don’t think I’ll be going down the no-comments path anytime soon! Although I do understand how bigger bloggers might struggle to answer 100+ comments per post, I can imagine that would be a time-consuming job to undertake, and the blogger’s replies don’t seem to be as personal. I love the Disqus commenting system, it makes managing and making comments much more streamlined and I can keep track of my readers’ comments easily 🙂

    • Isn’t that the truth, though?! What makes blogging so wonderful and exciting is that we can interact with one another. Otherwise we may as well just stick to publishing books or writing in our diaries…

      I love Disqus, too. It took me awhile to warm up to it, but I’m so glad I did; you’re right that it really does make everything more streamlined and organized!

      Thank you for taking the time to comment, Angie. 🙂

  • Hi Olyvia! Love this post. I have comments turned on on my blog, and I try to respond to each and every one no more than a day later. I’m always amazed at the things that stick out to people in my posts and I wouldn’t know what that is if I didn’t have the live-feedback-comment function at the end. I’m all for it. I agree it can be overwhelming, but that’s a good problem to have! 🙂

    • Haha I love your point, Ashley: it IS a good problem to have. (A “problem” many would lovvvve to share.) Thank you!

  • Akismet is awesome. I guess I don’t get enough comments to feel overwhelmed by them, but even so I adhere to the idea of only answering them at a set time each day. I don’t need the pressure of running to answer every comment every time my inbox dings. It can really take over if you’re not careful and I think like any other blog task, you need to schedule it.

    That said, I would NEVER turn off my comments! I love hearing from my readers and I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t want comments on their posts.

    • I think answering them at set times each day is smart, Martha. We can often get sidetracked and not get any real work done if we’re TOO consumed with answering comments immediately as they trickle in. I know some who dedicate a chunk of time the day a post goes live, and others who set certain times (noon and end of the day, for example) to check in on the combox. Either one works. 🙂

  • Madeline @ CBC Blog

    I think it is definitely an interesting issue. At first, when I heard that people were directing their comments to other social media outlets, it made sense. That way, more people could be involved. But that conversation doesn’t stick with the post, like if they were comments. I would like to be able to come back later and review the feedback / suggestions. So, comments are open on my blog!

    Madeline @

  • Great points from both you and the other commenters here. I might have to reconsider a change I made on my site a while back. I have comments open, but changed a setting, so now they are closed one year after the post is first published. This might have been a knee-jerk reaction after a few posts were getting out of hand with insults and foul language, and requests to help troubleshoot individual situations, which I frankly didn’t have time for. I closed comments on those individual posts. But… the truth is that many posts written prior to 2014 are still getting a lot of page views and people are not able to comment. And I have starting updating those articles as well, with new information and hopefully new visitors, so it is kind of like they are new posts again. Also I’ve seen an increase of people using the Contact page to ask their question instead! So might be worthwhile to revert back. And know that I can always restricting comments on one particular post as needed. Thanks Erika!

  • I think comments are super important for extending the conversation. So many times I’ve had people share additional info or insights that are helpful to readers.

    I also tend to read comments often after a post to see other perspectives on the topic.

    I am a big believer in replying to as many comments as you can on your own blog. My comments are still manageable so I reply to every one. Of they get to the point of being too many to keep up with, I’ll at least be sure to read each one and answer any questions.

    My biggest pet peeve is bloggers who don’t answer legitimate questions about their post, especially when they hardly have any comments! How pretentious!!

    And my other pet peeve, before I close my rant 😉 is when all the comments are spam and they just leave them there.

    Great post, I’m really glad you broke it down this way Erika!

    • Oh gosh, I’m so glad you pointed out the spam issue, Marianne! That really upsets me, too. To me that’s like having someone tag your brick & mortar store with graffiti, and then not bothering to remove it. 🙁 It’s a definite turn off.

      I also love reading the comments for additional perspectives or help. They’re soooo useful!

      Thank you for taking a moment to comment, Marianne!

      • Oh that graffiti reference is a great analogy, that’s totally it!

  • I agree with this! I think some bloggers just start “feeling” themselves a little too much and forget to connect with their readers. I read a post by a fellow blogger after she shut down her comments, and she actually said that most of her readers didn’t have anything interesting to say. lol. I promptly unfollowed her.

    • LOL Oh my goodness. The nerve, right? I think you’re on to something about people getting a big ego. I would have unfollowed, too. :p

      Thanks for your comment, Tanea. 🙂

  • I love that you wrote this post, because I so completely agree!! Even for a personal non-business blog, I think it’s ridiculous. If all you want to do is rant and hear no opinions, keep a journal. Half the reason I blog is for the community and the conversation I can build with what I write. Turning off comments would completely get rid of that and then I’d feel like, why am I even doing this? I thought this was the most ridiculous trend and I just kept seeing people glorifying it. Glad I’m not the only one!

  • Jaiden Everett

    I turned off comments two years ago, and I haven’t noticed any decline in either traffic or conversation. In fact, the quality of conversation on social media has been of higher caliber than anything posted in the comments section.

    If you want to keep pandering to trolls, spammers and sycophants, knock yourselves out. I’ll just keep enjoying the peace and quiet along with a fast-loading blog.

  • This is a great, wise take on blog comments, Erika!

    When I took mine down in March, I’d spent almost 7 days combing through as much info I could scrounge together.

    “What would this do to my blog?”

    “Will people respect me? Trust me? Understand?”

    My decision came down to time, energy, and communication.

    I have 3 young kids. At night I’d sit and answer emails and blog comments and social media mentions. I wasn’t earning enough to outsource these tasks at the time. (Not that I’d outsource genuine communication, anyhow.)

    When the brief time with my family of 5 continually got eaten into (since there was nowhere else to carve out more — no TV, no movies, stopped having real-life friends…), I started thinking about which channel would get the axe.

    Email would always be the beacon of communication for me.

    I factored how many blog comments I was generating per post (over 3/4 of comments were already email subscribers) versus how many email subscribers just directly responded to the email I shared the post in.

    Email won.

    I wasn’t able to respond to EVERY comment any longer. So, I took them down.

    I’m not sure if it was the initial “shock” of removing comments, but there was a decent dip in traffic for about 2 weeks after.

    Instead, I decided to use the time I was taking responding to comments, social media, AND email, and put it into THOROUGH blog posts + the latter 2.

    All in all, removing comments revitalized my business, time management, and most importantly, gave me so much more precious time with my family.

    And my family, my professional life (outside of “mom”), and the bonus time to make and maintain having real life friends made removing blog comments one of the best moves I’ve done in my business.

    Sure, I’ve removed a substantial conversation channel, however, email always reigned for me. (Maybe because I jumped into email WAY before I bothered with social media or comments.)

    Maybe I’m a “special case”, but I have no regrets.

    This is a great, thorough, and smart post. Had I read this prior to removing comments, I probably would’ve pushed through the added stress and overwhelm. But, I think in the end I would’ve wound up exactly where I am.

    Thanks for not deleting YOUR comments! I, too, enjoy reading other comments. Just not maintaining my own. ;o)

    Thanks, Erika!