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Debate! Should You Allow Comments on Your Blog? Find Out What Two Remarkably Popular Bloggers Think

Chances are, when you think of blogging, you also think of commenting. Comments have been a unique and tightly integrated feature of blogging since the beginning of blogs.

But several high-profile blogs have decided to turn comments off in recent years. Zen Habits is one of the biggest examples. Seth Godin doesn’t allow comments on his blog either and never has. These two blogs are among the biggest in the world.

If these two massively successful blogs have done fine without comments, should you allow comments on your blog?

I reached out to two of my favorite red-hot popular bloggers and asked them to debate that question here.

Pat Flynn blogs at The Smart Passive Income Blog. His site has attracted over 15,500 subscribers in 28 months and he welcomes nearly 80,000 visits to his site per month. Pat regularly attracts over 50 or 100 comments per post and has written two posts with over 300 comments.

Pat will be arguing why you should allow comments on your blog.

Everett Bogue writes at Far Beyond the Stars (no longer active), and has attracted over 8,500 subscribers in 16 months. Everett’s site also attracts a huge audience of 70,000+ readers per month. Everett turned comments off as an experiment while he was traveling over the summer and decided not to turn them back on.

Everett will tell you why most blogs (that matter) should not allow comments.

And now on to the debate.

This debate comes in four parts, first, Pat’s argument that comments should be allowed on most blogs. Next comes Everett’s argument that comments shouldn’t be allowed on most blogs. Finally you’ll read Pat’s rebuttal to Everett and then Everett’s rebuttal to Pat.

Enjoy the debate! And I’d love to hear your thoughts after you read it.

Pat Flynn: Blog comments should be allowed on most blogs

Without comments, a blog isn’t really a blog. To me, blogging is not just about publishing content, but also the two-way communication and community building aspects behind it.

A successful blog does not come without its readers, so I feel that the least we can do for them as bloggers is to allow them to have their voice be heard if they choose to speak. In a way, I find it self-righteous and smug to simply post content and disable the ability for people to voice their own opinion, as if to say “my content is good enough as it is and your opinion doesn’t matter.”

Take this debate about blog commenting, for example. What value would you get from only reading my side of the argument? The fact that both Everett and I are discussing this topic together, publicly communicating relevant points about both sides of the story, you, the reader, can learn more as a result and form stronger opinions of your own. You may even feel inclined to leave your own opinion about this topic, possibly hitting on points that Everett and I missed, thus adding to the value of the post as a whole, which benefits everybody – including those who are quiet on the sidelines.

There are countless times, on my own blog and on other blogs that I read, that I find the comments from the readers to actually be more interesting and more informative than the post itself.

Beyond the benefits for the reader, allowing comments on a blog provides benefits for the blogger as well.

First and foremost, there’s the social proof aspect of blog commenting. Just like how if you’re at the mall and you see a ridiculously long line coming out of a store, certain blog posts with a relatively large number of comments will spark curiosity and grab people’s attention.

Have you ever been on a forum and saw a thread with a large number of responses? I have, and it usually gets me to read it because “it must be something good”.

People are a curious breed.

Secondly, reading through the comments of a blog post is probably the easiest way for a blogger to understand what else people want to know. This could help a blogger figure out what other posts to publish and possibly what products to create too.

Additionally, if a blogger publicly responds to questions in the comment section, then the blogger can be seen as being more personable and caring toward his or her readers, which never hurts. I know this isn’t always possible, but a small response can go a very long way.

And lastly, something that many people don’t realize, is that the act itself of a reader filling in the required fields to leave a comment familiarizes the reader with taking action on the blog. This makes any other calls to action presented slightly more probable, including subscribing to an RSS feed, a newsletter, or even making a purchase down the road.

As they say in business, “Once a customer, always a customer”. With blogging, “Once an action taker, always an action taker.”

Blog comments…for the win.

Everett Bogue: Blog comments should not be allowed on most blogs (that matter)

Six months ago in August 2010, I made the decision to flip the switch on my blog’s commenting system to a solid ‘off’ position. My blog Far Beyond The Stars was just under one year old, and had an audience of around 6,000 subscribers at the time. Most posts received anywhere from 50-150 comments on every post around the time that I deactivated them.

For now, I still believe that it’s one of the best decisions that I ever made, for my work.

I’m a huge fan of reader interaction. However, it became increasingly obvious as time went on that commenting was doing immense damage to two aspects of my life.

1. My time.

As commenting grew on my blog, I found that I was spending increasingly large amounts of time moderating comments. A certain group of commenters, which I will discuss below, would spend hours of their own time starting fights with other readers, criticizing minutia (points in my posts that didn’t matter — “do you have a toothbrush? syndrome”.) in my blog posts.

I went back to the reason that I started my blog in the first place: because I wanted freedom. I didn’t want to spend 8 hours at a desk anymore, that’s why I became a location independent writer. Why would I want to go back to the prison of having to control a bunch of lowest common denominator people for the benefit of the readers that I truly admire?

Currently I write for around an hour a day, practice yoga for 1-3 hours a day, and the rest of the day I dedicate to research and development. Which essentially is doing whatever I want with my life. Right now I’m in New York meeting extraordinary people, reading 2-4 books a week, and working on a new project that will change the world as we know it.

My “work” week is probably less than 8 hours a week these days. If I still had comments, it would be 25-35 hours guaranteed with no purpose.

2. My creativity.

Far Beyond The Stars is about pushing the boundaries of human/technological cultural evolution, and in order to do that my writing has to push an edge. In yoga, the edge is the place where you’re between pushing yourself and hurting yourself, the place where your entire body/mind/soul is committed to what you’re doing.

FBTS is about figuring out where we are in a world that wants us to be safe, controlled, the status-quo. It’s about escaping the monotony of having to deal with people who want to bring you down to a safe place, where you can live in the suburbs and drive to the McDonald’s until you die on your couch alone.

In order to make change, you can’t cater to the lowest common denominator, it doesn’t work that way.

I found that the more comments I received from a certain group of readers, which I will explain below, the more I started writing for them. I need to write for my readers, not random stumblers who are completely disoriented and confused.

In order to continue to push the edge, I had to turn off the comments. If I hadn’t, I honestly don’t believe my work would be where it is right now.

Who comments on blogs:

My blog commenters were only around 5% of my readership, and I found that they fell into three distinct categories.

1. Bloggers who are being told lies by Problogger and Copyblogger.

Editor’s note: I (Corbett) originally published Everett’s and Pat’s unedited debate here in full to give them creative license to make their points. That text still stands here. Everett’s statement here about ProBlogger and Copyblogger understandably caused a stir and Darren Rowse of Problogger stopped by to leave a comment himself. Please read the comments below for the full story and my response. For the record, I believe both ProBlogger and Copyblogger are honest and well-intentioned, but I also have problems with certain types of advice that is presented on the popular blogging and social media sites. Now back to the debate.

Yes, I’m not afraid to call these blogs out, because what they’re teaching about blogging is just plain wrong in so many ways that I can’t even read them without getting angry at all of the disinformation.

Around 50% of the comments I was receiving when I turned off comments were from newer bloggers who wanted me to notice them. I love noticing people, but honestly, comments is the worst way for me to care about you. Almost no one clicks through to your blog via comments.

Can I give you the quick heads-up on what creates a successful blog? Write something that actually matters. It’s the ONLY way. Do you think Darren would be able to post a fluff post every single day if he wrote the truth about blogging? Nope, because you’d KNOW IT.

If you want me to care about you, write a blog post I actually care about. To do that, spend less time commenting on blogs.

2. Random confused stumblers.

These were another 25%. Simply people who’d stumbled on the site for the first time and couldn’t figure out what the hell was going on because they’d been watching TV all their lives. They’re confused so they ask simple questions or simply lash out at other readers for believing what we believe. Almost all of these readers didn’t have pictures, home-bases or much of a digital presence online at all.

If a crazy person on the street told you to stop going to work, would you listen to them? No. Why would you do that for random people on the Internet?

Some of these people were obviously just really confused, others were intentional trolls. I put them in the same category as extreme time-wasters for people who are trying to create work that matters.

3. People who care deeply about the work.

The other 25% of commenters were people who care. The people who left incredibly intelligent comments. These people I LOVE, and I still do. In fact, most of them have gone on to create their own blogs. Then they had the power to do three things:

1. Write and hyperlink to the important things I’m saying.
2. Write and hyperlink to the important things other people are saying.
3. Write and say things that they think are important for other people to see as they can become successful.

This creates WAY more google-juice and community interaction than comments ever will. It’s so powerful to teach this group of commenters that the best decision they can ever make is to create their own platform for their digital self on the Internet and operate from there.

Pat: Rebuttal to Everett’s argument that most blogs (that matter) shouldn’t allow comments

I respect Everett’s decision to turn the comments off on his blog. It seems like it was the right decision for him based on his particular situation, however I’m not convinced that the situation on his blog is the same situation that most other bloggers have.

Unless you’re in a similar scenario where there are a number of commenters who abuse their right to comment and you find your time and creativity diminishing as a result, I believe that turning the comments off can drastically hinder the growth and community building aspect of your blog, especially if your blog isn’t quite “there” yet (meaning – you haven’t yet reached that subscriber count, reader threshold or tipping point where a community could still be built around you and your site when comments are disabled).

An awesome site like Everett’s with a strong 6,000 subscribers and 50-150 comments per post (when they were enabled) is definitely bound to have few trolls (people who leave hateful or disrespectful comments for no apparent reason except for the attention that they receive), however I have to use my own blog as a counter example. With over 15,000 subscribers and between 50-300 comments per post, I really haven’t had any real problems. And, to reiterate some of my opening statement, many of my commenters have most definitely increased the value of my posts and I can’t even fathom the idea of not letting my community have their voice and become a part of my posts too.

I agree that many of the comments on my own blog are from newer bloggers, some who leave short, lackluster comments like “Great Post, I’m definitely bookmarking this for future reference”. These types of comments definitely do not add value to a post, but like Everett mentions no one clicks through to their blogs anyways, so really why should they even matter? I’m not going to give up the freedom to comment on my blog because of 2.5% of my readership (50% of 5%) that isn’t even making an impact one way or another.

How about this?

Instead of moderating each and everyone of them, why not reply and simply ask them to comment the right way next time or not comment at all. They’re newbies so they probably don’t know what’s right or wrong, and they could probably use some real advice from real bloggers who know what’s up anyways, and they’d probably listen too.

If they don’t listen (or you find a troll), then grab their I.P. address and put it into the “comment blacklist” in your WordPress settings.

Problem solved.

If you don’t want to take the time to do it yourself, hire a virtual assistant to moderate your comments for you.

Problem solved.

People’s voices can still be heard. Blog communities can still grow. And blogs can still be blogs.

Any comments?

Everett: Rebuttal to Pat’s argument that blogs should allow comments

I’ve been thinking a good deal about focus and the Internet lately.

Where we put our intention with our attention. Our attention is our most valuable commodity, and with unlimited channels competing for it, we’re in a dire situation if we don’t put some emphasis into where our attention falls.

To say a blog is not a blog when it doesn’t have comments can’t be true, because my blog works just fine without comments. My ideas are definitely not perfect, but at a certain point I had to make a decision about where my focus would lie.

Did I want hordes of Internet randoms deciding where my ideas needed to go, or did I want to proactively choose the opinions that would influence my ideas?

So, instead of letting randomness decide, I choose. Over time I’ve connected with dozens of remarkable individuals on Twitter. These are people who are working on similar ideas to me, people who are challenging themselves with their work. I’ll choose to reach out to these people, and ask what they think.

It can take five minutes to get an expert opinion. It can take 5 days or more to get and expert opinion if you wait for an expert to come by and comment on your blog. Meanwhile you’re sifting through ‘me too!’ ‘you’re awesome!’ and ‘I’m trolling!’ comments which take up endless amounts of time.

This doesn’t mean that turning off comments on your blog is for everyone. I definitely don’t recommend it if your blog is about interaction with randomness on the Internet. In my experience the more low-level information I provide, the better interaction I got — we can refer to this as ‘dumbing the content down’. The more I pushed the boundaries of cultural evolution with the work, the more time I had to spend bringing people up to speed on where I believe the world really stands.

It’s kind of difficult to argue this point so broadly, because every blog is different. Pat’s blog seems to thrive on social proof from commenters and reader interactions. Mine thrives when I’m pushing my creative edge and giving the world a challenging perspective to think about. These are two very different growth strategies.

Here’s my question for you though: what about our reader’s time?

Do we want to ask our readers to commit time and energy to commenting on blogs all over the Net when we know for certain that their focus is best spent creating worlds of their own for the digital future?

These readers could be building their own empires, and here we are encouraging them to bum around in the comments section with 5% of our audiences. Maybe they’re contributing value there, but couldn’t they contribute more value on their own platform? I think so.

___

I want to say a huge thank you to Everett and Pat for voicing these opinions and hanging everything out here. You guys are such awesome examples of how to do things right on the web, albeit in different ways.

Please head over and read and subscribe to Pat’s Smart Passive Income Blog and to Everett’s Far Beyond the Stars. You will learn a ridiculous amount of life changing things from each of them.

What’s your opinion on the comments debate? Let’s hear it below!

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  • http://www.unleashthewealthwithin.net/embed-professional-hd-quality-videos-without-spending-a-dime/ Azzam Sheikh

    Outstanding post and certainly one that has food for thought.
    Both sides of the argument have to be looked into closely and a blogger can only decide once experimenting with their own platform.

    Everetts perception was the strongest, however I will be holding off from disabling comments yet on my blog until I find my own grounds.

  • http://manvsdebt.com Baker

    Great conversation from two people I consider friends. :-)

    I won’t reiterate any of the points on either side, but I will add this one tidbit:

    When solving problems, most people *need* to be told what to do – but most people *want* to feel like they are part of something larger.

    It would appear that the most effective way to lead then – would be to concentrate on the *need* side of the equation only. However, I don’t believe that to be true.

    I feel the best way to spread a message is to give people both. Give them what they need *and* what they want by enabling them to be part of the movement.

    Comments are a small – but mighty – part of this process for me. :-)

  • http://www.marsdorian.com Mars Dorian

    Interesting debate, and both sides argue so well there’s sadly no winner :P

    I understand what Ev is saying, and commenting / replying to comments does take a bit of time. But I luv the interaction, and that’s why blogging is killing the print media – people can ACTIVELY engage with your content, they don’t have to be passive swallowers. Sure, it always comes with side effects (spammers, people who just want the attention), but the possibility to get in touch with peeps and starting a real conversation is something I don’t want to miss !

    • http://www.CodrutTurcanu.com Codrut Turcanu

      Not sure if it’s about “killing the media” , but offering people options — creating solutions to their wants/needs (that’s why blog comments should be enabled)

  • http://www.itinerantentrepreneur.com/journal/ Robert Dempsey

    “These are two very different growth strategies.”

    And here’s the big lesson for me from this post. Pat gets ahead with his strategy, as Everett does with his. It comes down to knowing your goal and sticking with it. I respect both for doing so.

  • http://trafficcoleman.com/ TrafficColeman

    An site without comments is an just another old school site from back in the day..comments give the audience an chance to express their opinions..without having comments open your putting an close discussion on your content..

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  • http://www.commonsensemarketing.net Sarah Russell

    I don’t know – I think that what Pat and Everett are trying to do with their blogs is so inherently different that this isn’t an “apples to apples” comparison of whether or not blogs should allow comments.

    Pat’s goal is to build a community; Everett’s is to convey his own viewpoint. There’s nothing wrong with either strategy, but one lends itself to comments more readily than others.

    I do think Pat’s final piece of advice is right on the money, though. If blog comment moderation is taking up too much of your time, there are ways around that, either by blocking problem commenters or outsourcing comment moderation. It isn’t necessary to let that aspect of your business spiral out of control just to keep the “conversation” going.

  • http://Www.adaringadventure.com/blog Tim Brownson

    A couple of points before my hands freeze off. Obviously this is a personal decision and the right of each individual blogger but I’d take issue with 2 things EB says.

    Firstly you are not a HUGE fan of reader interaction. You may quite like it in an ideal world if it doesn’t impose on you. But being a huge fan would mean you’d make it happen come what may.

    Secondly it’s nonsense to say nobody follows links. I once left a comment on Tim Ferriss’s blog saying I hadn’t got a clue what he was talking about and inadvertently got almost 100 clickthroughs. I’ve also found some great blogs by following links from interesting comments.

    I have to confess I hate the one line ‘great post’ comments as they add zero value but I’ve realized I got something wrong on several occasions after being left comments on my own blog. That has been invaluable to me

    • http://www.thesaleslion.com Marcus Sheridan-The Sales Lion

      Well said Tim (although I probably shouldn’t say that ;-) ) but I had those same thoughts as EB tended to make a few ‘blanket’ statements.

    • http://elevationlife.com Bryan Thompson

      Tim, I would have to agree with you (and Marcus). Interaction is what a blog is (should be) about. It’s community!

      Case in point, I’d never met Tim Brownson and just clicked through to his site!

  • http://FoolishAdventure.com Tim Conley

    I’ve been considering closing comments for a couple of months at my site for a reason Everett gave when he closed his–convincing my audience to do their own great work instead of focusing on commenting.

    However, articles like these where a reader can learn and then engage keep me from shutting down comments. Being able to extend the conversation can have much greater effect on the reader and that reader’s ‘loyalty’ to you.

  • http://www.minimalistathome.com Faith Janes

    If there was a better way for readers to track and interact with the off-site comments (like Tweets or reactions on reader’s blogs) then that may be a better solution. The way things are now, I think that just leaves out a large number of people who could potentially benefit from each other. It may save the blogger time and frustration to turn off comments and only talk to a chosen few but it doesn’t really help the audience in terms of being stretched by listening and weighing the opinions of others.

    Do that many people with blogs actually write whole posts in reactions to other people’s posts? I don’t think that’s very realistic and not everyone has a blog or Twitter account. (shocking, right?) To me, it just feels like the difference between a conversation and a lecture.

    Would it be a good idea to tell a new blogger to start their site and never turn on comments? I have my doubts.

  • http://www.journeytopeak.com Jia Jun

    Awesome, somehow I agree with both Pat and also Everett.
    So at the end, it really does back to ourself, whether the website is building a community, or just mainly on informative based.
    I personally prefer to interact with other bloggers in my comments, where I feel alive and that somebody does notice what I am writing about, that they care.
    So it is also a motivation and inspiration for me to keep writing. There’re telling me that, hey, there’re someone cares about what you wrote, so keep going.

    On the other hand, When I learn how to build traffic, comment on blogs really comes to my mind (Learn from Problogger and copyblogger as well), it misleading my mind to comment to grab traffic, instead of the appreciation towards the content values itself.

    So I think there is no such thing as right or wrong in allowing comments or the other way round, it really depends on the individual which would suit most.

    Thanks Corbett, Pat and Everett for these great information, it does provoke my thought.

  • http://www.hectorjcuevas.com Hector Cuevas

    Wow.. great debate!

    They both have some really interesting points. Pat’s point about letting your community have a voice, I’m all for that. But Everett’s point about encouraging readers to go and create a platform of their own and dedicate more time and effort on that; I’ve never thought of comments as wasting people’s time, but Everett does get my vote on that.

    Thanks Corbett..
    (could I be doing something more meaningful right now?) Lol

  • http://www.awalktosimplicity.com Jody Elliott

    I agree with points from both sides, but I strongly feel the need for community interaction in helping out other people. I also, many times, tend to learn as much through the comments on a post, as I do in the post itself. Seeing different perspectives in the comments section helps me process information and see others’ ideas and feelings. I feel it’s a super-strong part of the blogging process as a whole. I chose to keep ‘em on.

  • http://theadventurouswriter.com/blog/ Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Everett said:

    “Bloggers who are being told lies by Problogger and Copyblogger. Yes, I’m not afraid to call these blogs out, because what they’re teaching about blogging is just plain wrong in so many ways that I can’t even read them without getting angry at all of the disinformation.”

    What is this disinformation? For me, this is the most fascinating part of this debate. Comments on or off has pros and cons — there is no one right way to blog, regardless of what the most popular peeps are doing.

    But, I’m dying to know what lies Pro and Copyblogger are feeding us! To be sure, some of their tips don’t work for me….but what are they lying about???

    Anyone?

  • http://bulanetwork.com/blog Randy Cantrell

    Twitter changed everything. No moderation. Instant connection. Instant dialogue. Sadly, so many comments are just congratulatory. And then there are the comments that are full-length blog posts. People who read the blog haven’t the time to read all the comments (we’re doing good to read the blog post).

    Pat’s use of engaging his readers seems very valid to me. But otherwise, I don’t much see the use. If I like the content of a blog, I’m much more likely to respond via Twitter where the exposure for the blogger is greater, and where it’s easier for me. And if the author wants to reply back, fine. If not, I’m not insulted – although I know some who are. But then again, I also know people who comment merely in hopes to touch the hem of the garment of the blog author…hitting refresh constantly hoping the author will reply back. How sad.

    Sadder still is the false barometer that a post with tons of comments or tons of Tweets is stellar. I read a number of blogs written by brilliant people who simply have yet to amass a following. Brilliance and popularity are not the same thing. Much of the time it seems to me controversy breeds comments. Oh, wait a minute. This IS a debate.

    Thanks for letting me comment in something more than 140 characters. Just chop my legs off and call me, “Shorty!” I’m now confused.

    Randy

  • http://website-in-a-weekend.net/ Dave Doolin

    Because a great deal of what I write consists of actual, verifiable facts, it’s nice to have comments from people when I get it wrong. Very few will email, many more will comment. Thus, the commenting increases the value of the original material.

    If I were writing the same sort of material as EB, I would probably close comments as well.

    And I enjoy the discussion in the comments. Which is, frankly, the only justification necessary.

  • http://wilsonusman.com wilson usman

    I really like what both of them said. They’re both strong points, but I read in Hugh Macleod book sometimes you just have to ignore everyone and do what you belief in. Obviously they’re both successful bloggers in their own ways.

    How does one really know what’s right or wrong? How do we measure their success? By the amount of subscribers and visits? I don’t like this idea… If it makes Pat happy to have comments cool vice-versa for Everett.

    I like the last point that Everett makes though…how about our time, as I write this comment it makes me think about I should be focusing on my own writing, so thanks both though.

    I really appreciate what Pat and Everett are doing.

  • http://www.pamelaseleyrealtor.com Pamela Seley

    Ironically I just had an experience with my blog which has made me consider turning off comments. So I am in agreement with Everett. It does take up so much time to monitor the trolls, and I find that I am writing posts in response to comments, and also the comments I’ve noticed are censoring the way I approach a blog post. Overall I see that the comments are holding me back from creating the blog I envision.
    On the flip side, though, I started blogging because of comments and the community that grows out of blogging. So I also see Pat’s view and why comments are important to a blog. Many successful bloggers I know have created a great community from their blog.
    Perhaps it depends on the goals and vision of the blogger whether or not to turn off comments. For now, I’m opting out of comments on my blog. I’ll be interested to see where that takes me.

    • http://www.adaringadventure.com/blog/ Tim Brownson

      I don’t get that Pamela, insomuch as I mean, I’m confused not you’re wrong.

      I’ve had almost 10,000 comments on my blog and apart from spam that 99.9% is caught by Akismet anyway, I’ve only ever deleted 2 comments. One was an attack by one commenter on another and one was a truly vitriolic attack on a guest poster.

      If somebody wants to have a go at me that’s fine as far as I’m concerned. I’ll read what they say and if I disagree I’ll say so. But sometimes I’ve realized they were right and I was either wrong or simply didn’t explain something as well as I could have done. It has allowed me to thank them and then go back in and edit the post.

      I’ve even edited and referred to the comment as the reason.

      I think some people (and I don’t mean you as I don’t know you) are just insecure in what they are doing and feel threatened by commenters that may know more on the topic than they do.

      I sure see enough horrible self development blogs (and some well read ones) written by people that really have no clue what they’re talking about.

      • Pamela Seley

        Confused because…? It sounds to me you’re asserting some people may shy from negative comments because they are insecure about their blog or their post. Interesting perspective, but I think insecurity just breeds more of the “dumbing down of content” which Everett mentions. Writing a post that everyone will surely agree with or like and that gets lots of “great post,” or “me too” doesn’t always mean my post is worthy of work that matters to me. On the other hand, if I receive a comment where the commenter makes a judgment on my point of view in my post that I see as I didn’t make, then I am left with no other opinion that the commentor didn’t carefully read or think about my post. Either they reacted without thought, or intentionally chose to respond negatively. Was my post poorly written for the fact I was misunderstood? I don’t know, but if one person understood what I was saying and another doesn’t, I can only conclude it’s not the post, but the reader. The big questions become: why do I blog? What am I trying to accomplish? Is it necessary for me to re-explain in a comment on my own blog post? The biggest question: Do I want to spend the time explaining myself?

        • http://www.adaringadventure.com/blog/ Tim Brownson

          Have you ever heard of the NLP presupposition “the meaning of your communication is the response you get”?

          Way to go on presuming it’s always the reader that misread, or didn’t think it through, rather than you didn’t communicate efficiently, especially as they can’t see your body language or hear your voice intonation.

          There’s a reason why scholars argue over the meaning of some of the classics and it’s because we all have the power to see what we want to see and not necessarily what the author meant

          I was actually really curious with what you wrote and just wanted to understand. I *think* you think I was having a dig.(I could be wrong)

          The reality is we all have different realities, different filters, different values and different belief systems and what you’re effectively saying is you only want people that see the world more or less as you see it or ones that you can persuade to see it your way.

          Good luck with that one!

          • Pamela Seley

            I did think you were having a dig. You must have meant it that way. How would one interpret the phrase you wrote: “I think some people (and I don’t mean you as I don’t know you)…”

            Because you included me in the same sentence I interpret that as you are including me with “some people.” That’s passive-aggressive statement. Have you ever heard of that?

            Now, if you were saying that to me in person, I may not take that as a dig because I would be hearing your intonation and seeing your body language and expression on your face, unless, of course, they all indicated something different.

            I am not familiar with NLP. I’ll have to research that, but are you saying communication is contradictory if someone gets contradictory or opposing views on the same blog post? Now that doesn’t make sense to me.

            Now you, dear reader, are jumping to conclusions. Did I say I “only want people that see the world more or less as you [I] see it or ones that you [I] can persuade to see it your [my] way”?

            Where did I say that? All I said was the big question for me is do I want to spend time explaining myself to readers who did not “get” what I wrote the first time?

          • http://www.adaringadventure.com/blog/ Tim Brownson

            So even though I said “you’re not wrong” and “I don’t mean you” and referred only to my own experience you still thought I was having a dig.

            How insecure of your own position is that? ;-)

            And just because something doesn’t make sense to you, doesn’t make it less valid.

            As a very liberal Brit brought up with a National Health Service seeing people losing everything because they got sick doesn’t make any sense to me, but it obviously seems fair and makes sense to others.

            There is no how it is, only how it is for you.

          • http://fizzle.co Corbett Barr

            Hey, is this a joke? You two are really having an argument here about politics, on this post? WTF? Please, take it somewhere more appropriate. Funny, on the debate about whether comments are worth everyone’s time, you decide to waste everyone’s time with an off-topic argument. Well played.

        • http://www.thesaleslion.com Marcus Sheridan-The Sales Lion

          Hi Pamela, I’m enjoying your conversation here with Tim but what I don’t understand about your paradigm is this:

          Why do you care?

          Seriously, why do you care about trolls or negative people and all that stuff? I can see you’re smart, talented, and got a great blog.

          So I repeat, why do you care about other commentors so much? Why allow their thoughts to affect yours?

          Personally, I don’t care if comments on my blog agree or disagree, I just like the conversation. That’s what’s important to me. And I would never allow the negative thoughts of a few to impact the positive conversation of the many.

          • Pamela Seley

            @Tim – I knew you are a liberal. You’ve confirmed it. It’s this very kind of thinking that drives me crazy. It would take a book at the least for me to describe the liberal mindset.

            I empathize with you and the people who have to suffer Britain’s National Health Care Service. Someone I know, and have worked with, is from Great Britain and because the health care is so lousy and unresponsive, her mother died of breast cancer. Had she been in the States she would have gotten the care she deserved and have survived.

            Soon our healthcare in the States will be much like Great Britain’s.

            Also, just because I said something didn’t make sense to me was I saying the idea was invalid. You’re putting words to something I didn’t say! Perhaps when you brought up NLP you could have described what it was and how it applied to the discussion? ;)

            It’s like the parable of the sound of a tree falling in the forest. If no one is there to hear it, does it still make noise when it falls?

          • Pamela Seley

            @Marcus – My paradigm you could say is I’m still working the paradigm out. My blog is evolving. My opinion about my blog has changed as well as commenting and commenters.

            Perhaps the reason I care about trolls, hags and whatnot, is because I care not to have explanatory conversations about what I write.

  • http://www.goalsblogger.com Derek Potocki

    Both sides have valid points. Ultimately it depends on your goals, as Robert Dempsey points out earlier.
    It is true (as Ev argues) that some comments are boring as hell or don’t bring anything valuable. Perhaps commenters should see comments as “mini-guest posts”?
    That way we could take commenting to a higher level.
    Every comment is a “mini-guest post” in my opinion.
    Are you writing “epic-shit” in your comments?

  • http://www.thepracticalnerd.com Tom Meitner

    Interesting. I guess, if you turn off your comments, you need to be very clear where and how you can provide feedback for readers, be it on your Twitter page or elsewhere.

  • http://www.thewisestudent.org David

    I think one big thing Pat missed in his debate was his focus on action. I have seen a theme of trying to get his readers to act on what he is saying and not just consuming the information and not doing anything about it. What comments lets him do is show his readers that he actually cares about truly helping them live off passive income just like he is by creating accountability with all of the other commenters which will help them actually get their butt off the chair and do something.

    If you’re into personal finance, Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You To Be Rich is doing this with his commenters and doing it remarkably well.

  • http://www.CodrutTurcanu.com Codrut Turcanu

    Here’s how I see this blog commenting option.

    First of all, if you allow comments then you not only have the opportunity to connect with your audience and take the discussion further, but also the responsibility to reply to feedback and grow the community.

    I think bloggers who do not enable comments are using their blog as a “diary” platform (like a monologue) either to share ideas or inspire people (or both)

    What do you guys think?

    • http://www.itinerantentrepreneur.com/journal/ Robert Dempsey

      At first blush I would agree with your position on the lack of comments on a site being more akin to a diary, though I think this is taking a negative stance. But far be it from me to contradict the all knowing Wikipedia and it’s definition: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog

      According to that, most, *but not all*, blogs are interactive

      Having said that definitions and labels change over time, and with them our expectations of what an applied label means. The term “blog” has generally (at an Internet level) come to include the ability for one to comment, however just because a blog has no commenting feature does not make it a non-blog.

      *drinks more coffee and hope he made sense*

  • http://www.sallyneill.com Sally Neill

    Wow oh Wow Oh Wow!

    What a debate, I am still undecided as I can see both points very clearly.

    But I have comments on my blog, they are time consuming to reply to, I do get crappy ones but I am still keeping comments on my blog, I enjoy the feedback and interaction I get.

    I have to say this was one of the most interesting pieces of content I have read for a very longggggggg time, thanks for sharing it and to Pat and Everett for participating.

    DING DING ROUND 2….. ha ha :)

    Sally :)

  • http://www.heroicdestiny.com David Crandall

    Ok, I’ll be that guy that says I don’t think both sides argued equally. Stepping back from our emotional attachment to the names and looking at the sides presented, Pat brings a much more solid argument.

    Some of Everett’s numbers just don’t make sense to me. He states that adding comments would increase his work week by 17-27 hours a week for 50 to 150 comments. Doing the math means that EACH comment adds 10 to 20 minutes to his work week:
    – 17 hours / 50 comments = 20.4 minutes
    – 27 hours / 150 comments = 10.8 minutes
    Why on earth is each comment adding that much time to his schedule? Does anyone else who blogs require this much time per comment?

    I’m also curious about the 50/25/25 split he describes when identifying customers. I’m fine with assuming those are grossly rounded numbers (since a perfect 50/25/25 split would be amazing!) However, I have to think that the reason his percentage of trolls is so high is due to the inflammatory nature of his writing style. Everett writes in extremes. Calling people “lowest common denominator” or saying that they’ll die alone on their couch after eating McDonald’s will certainly attract a crowd with a bit more negative things to say whereas Pat is providing instructions on how he has made money (something people WANT to hear). I’m not saying one message is better than the other, just that the responses elicited by the two messages are very different.

    Everett raises good points in that comments CAN be distracting based on audience composition (though not 17 to 27 hours in my opinion) and that focus can be a good tool in honing your creativity. I just feel like there are a lot of extreme words used to elicit an emotional response; words that on Wikipedia we might call “weasel words”. (Also, not really good form to present a question in the closing argument that the other person isn’t allowed to respond to.)

    Overall, I feel like Pat does a better job of presenting an argument while Everett tried to win us over with emotion. Both types of writing have their place, but this was a debate.

    Pat = Winner

    • http://www.adaringadventure.com/blog/ Tim Brownson

      That was pretty much my take too.

      I’m looking forward to seeing Everett dive into the comments because as he said he’s a huge fan of reader interaction, and if that’s true, he won’t want to miss out ;-)

    • http://www.thesaleslion.com Marcus Sheridan

      Wow Crandell, that break-out was perfect. Sure, comments can take some time, but that much time??

      I think in many way EB is being rather naive. He built a massive community by allowing comments. He established his tribe my allowing comments and providing major interaction.

      Once he got his tribe established he turned off the switch. Ok, no problem, but in reality him and Pat both built their audiences the same way–the community.

      The debate should have been, “Should I turn off my comments after a certain point”, or something like that, not simply a debate of comments: good or bad?….

      • http://www.heroicdestiny.com David Crandall

        Dude, such a good point! Everett DID build his readership numbers using comments, not using a comment-free blog. I’m curious if Everett’s rate of growth still matches up with what it was before turning off the comments.

        I certainly think one can have a big impact without comments (e.g. Seth Godin), but that requires being backed by years of experience and mastery. Everett has gained some impressive numbers in his 16 months, but 16 months is not mastery. (Not saying I have achieved internet mastery either, mind you.)

  • http://www.CodrutTurcanu.com Codrut Turcanu

    For Everett

    In a perfect would, everybody would have their own digital platform. In our world, there are people who do not have the power, desire or motivation to do it.

    There are people who lead, and the rest who like to be lead.

    • http://insearchofless.com Jaryd

      I would have to disagree. If they are commenting on a blog then they obviously have the power to do blog themselves, which is the most important of the three problems you listed. There are some people that legitimately don’t have access to blogging (more likely a computer or an internet connection), but they aren’t the ones commenting.

      For the other two, desire and motivation, I ask, so what? Am I to be responsible for a reader’s lack of desire? Am I required to give them a place to raise their voice for 30 seconds because they don’t have the motivation to do it themselves? (These are all legitimate questions, by the way.)

      I’m not saying that comments are bad. I think whatever solution the blogger comes to is fine. But we shouldn’t judge a blogger because he or she turns off comments. That may just be what they envision their blog as.

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

    “most blogs (that matter) should not allow comments…”

    I’m not sure of his argument…does that mean blogs that allow comments don’t matter? Seems like an overarching statement. I for one think that comments are one of the greatest piece to blogging. I’ve been blogging for almost three years, own two blogs and full-time work with bloggers as I work at a blogging startup. They are my world, everyday.

    I completely understand that comment moderation and replying is a time suck. But on the flip side, that means you’re writing for no interaction and on a narcissistic level. Everett has very specific goals in life, working 8 hours a week, traveling often, not having a home and being single isn’t the way everyone lives. He doesn’t want to have to spend time taking away from his creativity and what really matters to him in his life. That is his life, Blogs that matter, still include comments and blogs that matter and are far larger than his, still include comments.

    I believe firmly that a blog is a two-way flow. If you like to speak and talk all about yourself or your thoughts at a cocktail party and not listen or invite others to speak, how do you think people will view you? The comments say that you’re asking for feedback, interested in what they have to say and genuinely welcome other ideas.

    I think this argument truly shows you that it has everything to do with the individual and their goals. If your goals don’t align with allowing your community to contribute, then you turn them off. You lose an avenue of sharing, but at least you’re aligning your goals.

  • http://www.opheliaswebb.com Elisa

    It’s interesting that many of the bloggers that do not allow for comments also advocate for creating VERY specific niche content. And tell people specific ways to live their lives. Perhaps comments challenge or do not lend themselves to specificity?

    Blogs that allow for comments often reference conversations in their comment section, appear to grow in their theories, and are more well-rounded. They surround themselves with people who both agree and disagree with them, and are better for it. (I’ll note, Ev has NEVER ignored an email from me, so it isn’t like he’s an ass who shuns interaction…)

    Of course, the well-rounded blogs don’t always have huge follower counts. It’s like dating – people often seem to be most interested in the person who doesn’t pay any attention to them/treats them poorly. Nor do their product sales do as well (a good exception to this would be Karol Gajda)

    As for “no one follows comment links”, I track top referring sites monthly, and have had many (yourself included, Corbett) that had no link-back to my site other than a comment.

    • http://fizzle.co Corbett Barr

      Interesting stats to learn about, Elisa. You’re saying Think Traffic was one of your top referrers, just from comments you left here? That’s pretty cool. It obviously shows you’re leaving value here with your comments (or at least making people curious about who you are).

      • http://vagabondians.com Glenn Dixon

        Strangely enough, I’m checking her site out now, just to see why other people are checking out her site! LOL

    • http://www.itinerantentrepreneur.com/journal/ Robert Dempsey

      +1 Elisa. I’ve been introduced to many new people via their comments, and they through mine. People to take the time to read comments – they can provide a lot of additional insight into the topic as well as generate a lot of ideas. They are little gold mines in my view.

  • http://www.thelazypixel.co.uk Lip

    I think one thing about allowing comments is you need to have a reasonable readership for it to work. If you have a low traffic site, seeing a hundred posts with 0 comments does not provide social proof. It also depends on the blog. I’m in the process of setting up a blog ( http://www.selfhelpforhappypeople.com/ ) which will benefit from reader comments in a way that my more personal blog does not.

    Regarding interacting with bloggers, there’s no need to put them on a pedastal. There are bloggers I follow through Twitter or Facebook, the same way I interact with other non-blogging people. I e-mailed Everett once, and got a near immediate response.

    If I want an argument with someone/debate a point/make a comment about a post I’ll do it in private. The fact I am subscribed to a blog shows I am interested in what the person has to say. They shouldn’t need me to publically come out and say “oh I loved your post”. Private correspondence, for me at least, seems a more personal and human way to interact, rather than screaming “look at me!” in the comments section.

  • http://www.bojandjordjevic.com Bojan

    I am with Pat on this case. Blog without comments is not worth visiting, at least in my opinion. Yea I will drop by and visit Zenhabits.net but not as frequently as I would visit any other blog that lets me network and interact with it’s readership.

    Blog comments can be a healthy way of figuring out how is your content vibing with your readers.

    So to sum it up, if you don’t have time managing your blog comments, hire a virtual assistant.

  • Lisa

    I have been motivated by FBTS since its beginning but I am thrown off by statements like this one:
    “Do we want to ask our readers to commit time and energy to commenting on blogs all over the Net when we know for certain that their focus is best spent creating worlds of their own for the digital future?”
    This leads me to believe that I may not be one of EB’s “right people” since I do not agree that he knows “for certain” where my online focus is “best spent”.

    I see this difference between “broadcast” and ‘interactive” blog media as personal a choice to readers as it is to writers. Currently, I am more prone to community interaction than to reading a singular point of view. I also enjoy following comments to other blogs, that is, when I choose to spend my time exploring/researching other blogs on the Net.

    Excellent dialog from two of my favorite bloggers, thanks for asking for our opinions!

  • http://www.quietentertainer.com/free-download/ Quiet Entertainer

    I think Everett makes a great point in his rebuttal. Two different strategies. I’ve been tracking him since he turned off the comments. Some cool things have happened with people who used to comment on his blog; even people who were trolling or starting fights. Some of them had posted their own blog posts about some of the things Everett had said and have been building their own communities and discussions. Even people who were disagreeing (when Everett initially turned off his comments) were actually proving his point by creating value for their own readers instead of just commenting to voice their disapproval. Seeing that play out the way it did really proved Everett’s point to me and brings clarity to Everett’s endgame.

  • http://www.shannonalbert.com Shannon

    Very interesting debate. The topic is one that hits on a bit of sore spot for me. I’ve always viewed blogs that allow comments at first and then turn them off as pompous. You want me as a fan/follower and now I’m too much trouble for you? I do get that it can get more difficult to manage as the number of comments grows but what a nice problem to have.

    You can ultimately choose to do whatever you want on your blog but as someone who values connection very highly, I choose to not be a fan or follower of people who don’t desire the same.

  • http://theminimalists.com Joshua & Ryan | The Minimalists

    Isn’t it odd that a debate about comments has a comments section?

    That said, thanks for facilitating the debate, Corbett.

    • http://17000-days.com Cara Stein

      I guess now we know whose side Corbett is on! ;)

      • http://fizzle.co Corbett Barr

        I’ll reserve my thoughts for a future post, but I’ll have to say there are *really* valid reasons why there is no clear winner here. Think Traffic is obviously rather different from Everett’s blog or Seth Godin’s blog. This is a situation where one size doesn’t fit all.

        • http://17000-days.com Cara Stein

          Corbett, I hope you know I was just joking. The large number of comments and interesting discussion on this post seem to support Pat’s point, but as you say, it all depends on the goal of the blog.

  • http://www.heroicdestiny.com David Crandall

    I can’t help but laugh at the fact that ProBlogger has posted Everett as one of the 40 bloggers to watch in 2011…despite his saying that they are spreading lies.

    Gotta hate when our timing sucks. :D

    • http://jadecraven.com Jade

      Oh how I fail :P Meh I stand by it.

  • http://OurDevelopingMind.com Marco Lee

    When you are starting out as a newbie blogger, one of your first obstacles will definitely be spam. Our good wordpress is not just search engine friendly but also spam commenting friendly.

    So would you disable comments on a blog just for spam. No. I was thinking of ways to obliterate it. One is to rename the comments php. Two is use plugins or applications which you can control. Problem Solved

    Another issue was about comment moderation. Put a price on it. Plugins and or applications would make it or give the commenter another simple but crucial step to make a comment. Sign in with their twitter account, connect with facebook etc. But in the end this are small things that could make the commenter stay and put out his thoughts or just leave, cause he/she has still extra work to do in order to achieve what he/she wants. A good process of filtering is it.

    As on pat’s rebuttal, telling the newbie blogger’s the good way or an example of good commenting etiquette is also advisable. That is what Tim Ferris does on his blog. If you comment in a bad way, we’ll delete it. A fair warning, good solution.

    Another issue is feedback. Well, on certain note, comments could be enabled on the start of the blog up until it has grown followers or subsrcibers. From then on the blog/site owner can then transfer it to another outlet. A facebook page is a good place to gather feedback.

  • http://raptitude.com David Cain

    I do see both sides. I think most comments are kind of inane and don’t really add much to the discussion, but not all of them, and that’s not really a reason I would ban them. They do take a lot of time to respond to, and sometimes I find myself responding without really saying much, just because I feel a bit rude letting a heartfelt comment hang there.

    Everett has a good point that it is only ever a small minority of readers who comment, so they are more like a fringe group (of mostly bloggers) that probably don’t really represent your audience.

    But I have made tons of friends and connections, both from commenting and responding to comments on my blog, and they have definitely helped me grow.

    Occasionally I’ll disable comments for just one post. I don’t always want to discuss (or defend) what I write. I did that today, and it went viral… so I may do it more often :)

    I’d also like to say I really enjoyed the fight that broke out in the comments here today.

    • http://fizzle.co Corbett Barr

      Hey David, I have to say, I’m glad for having found your blog from the recent comments you’ve left as well. Your site is very interesting to me from a case study perspective. Congrats on the success you’ve seen. Some of your posts have been very popular indeed. Well done!

  • http://basicallysharing.com Caleb

    Just read this though I got the e-mail yesterday with this post. My only issue is, if you turn off the comments of a particular “blog”, is it actually still called a blog? I mean what makes a blog a social media platform is it’s a starting point for conversation and provides an avenue for people to share and interact with one another. I do agree on EB’s point that as a blogger, it may take time, and although I appreciate people like Corbett, Glen Allsop and Pat Flynn responding on their blog’s comments, them not responding on each and every comment is not a crime.

    I just don’t see the point of turning off comments unless it’s an explicit experiment. I just couldn’t imagine what you would call a blog without a comments section.

  • http://www.earnbyblog.com alamin

    I am totally agree with pat. Every blogger should allow comment to their blog. The main difference between a blog and website is blog is two way conversation…. So if any one turn their comment option off. I won’t say he is a blogger.

  • http://www.youngprepro.com Onibalusi Bamidele

    Really awesome debate!

    I respect Pat and Everett and their opinion.

    I wanted to turn off comments on my blog but I’m happy I didn’t.

    I’m working for a company that helps me make thousands of dollars every month when I asked them what attracted them to my blog they said one of it was the sense of community my blog has…I would have lost a lot if I have disabled comments.

  • http://ineeddiscipline.com Dean Saliba

    I would never turn my comments off. I’d lose all my readers as I know most of them come to leave a comment to gain a backlink.

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  • http://hypno.co.nz/blogs Mike Reeves-McMillan

    I think this post very neatly illustrates both why Everett suffers from trolls and Pat doesn’t, and why I continue to follow Pat and have unsubscribed from Everett. They have very different attitudes and ways of approaching their readership.

    Everett is provocative and insulting to anyone who doesn’t already agree with his viewpoint; Pat is consistently positive, open to learn, and focuses on helping his readers do something they’re already interested in, not converting them to a particular lifestyle.

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  • http://hearmumroar.com Hear Mum Roar

    I think it’s up to the blog and blogger. I choose to keep them on, because talking with my readers is highly important to me. They are important to me. I also feel that talking to them yes, takes time, but it’s the most important use of my time. But I’m sure for some blogs it probably works better not to have them at all.

    I am curious, Everett, what are the lies that you believe Darren Rowse and Seth are telling? I am aware of Seth Godin, but have never read his work. I am familiar with problogger of course. I read your opinion above, and genuinely am interested to know what you mean in greater detail, if you feel up to it:)

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  • http://www.bloggingteacher.com Paul Cunningham

    I love this post. Love it!

    One wants to open his ears, the other can’t stand the noise.

    One talks about community, the other talks about themselves.

    One see multiple benefits, the other sees a chore.

    One sees the less knowledgable as someone that needs a bit of help, the other labels them and looks down on them.

    I agree with Pat, people are a curious breed :-)

    • http://hearmumroar.com Hear Mum Roar

      Paul, you put that so well, and that was the tone I felt initially when I read it, but thought no, let’s give the benefit of the doubt. Then I read around, thought about it more, and you know what? I totally agree with you. I’m sure no comments is a great idea for some people, I just don’t really respect the reasons for doing it by this person.

      Further to that, if you’re getting a lot of negative comments, why not think about why, instead of silencing the masses?

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  • http://superbadinternetmarketing.com SuperbadIM

    What’s next…will people be removing the dates from their posts?

  • http://www.callowaygreen.com/blog Chris Green

    Hmmmm … this is a really toughy. I appreciate the no comments ideas. I’m a huge fan of Zen Habits that also has no comments, but that adds to the beautiful simplicity of that particular site.

    I have to admit that when I read a quality blog post, I often want to know what the masses think too. Maybe this is a time waster, i’m not sure. Although with all the masses of information on the internet, there is some kind of ‘safety in numbers’ feeling when a load of people feel the same way about something.

    Thanks Corbett for starting another stream of thought about blogging.

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  • http://www.problogger.net Darren Rowse

    Sorry I’m late to this one but I only stumbled on it tonight as I was catching up on my reading.

    I think its a great discussion – I think there are strong arguments for both leaving comments on and using them to build community or for switching them off (for a variety of reasons).

    I don’t know I”ve got much more to say on the topic except to ask Everett for some clarification on his statement:

    “Bloggers who are being told lies by Problogger and Copyblogger.”

    By all means feel free to disagree with anything I write – but I guess I’d like to know what you feel is a lie?

    What I personally write on my blogs comes from my experience of blogging. I share what has worked for me and what I see working for others – but never claim it to be the only way. In fact I’ve tried to go out of my way many times to say that there are many ways to success in this field and to encourage people to be aware of the principles that work for others but to also find a way that works for them.

    You say that the only way to build a successful blog is to write something that actually matters – I totally agree and have ‘preached’ the same message regularly since the beginning of ProBlogger. In fact sometimes I think I say it so much that I suspect readers get a little sick of it.

    I note with interest on a recent Everett post that he claims that I say the #1 way of building blog traffic is to leave comments on other blogs. I guess again I’d like to see where I say that. It’s simply not true.

    I do think you can make an impression and build traffic through comments – but I’d never suggest it as the #1 way or even a way that would work for everyone. I’ve seen it work for some (who add genuine and helpful content to other people’s blogs) but it’s not the only or even the best strategy.

    I’m sorry for taking the discussion of topic here – but when someone accuses me of lying I guess I’d like to hear what they mean. If I’ve said something incorrect I’m more than happy to correct it. If I’ve created a false impression I’d love to clarify and clear it up and I guess I’d invite some clarification of what Everett means so I can do that (although given the topic of this post I guess I might not see a comment reply?) :-)

    • http://www.LovingCharlotte.com Keith

      Now I know why I never subscribed to Everett’s blog, and why I subscribe to ProBlogger & CopyBlogger. Your honesty rocks!

    • Corbett

      Hey Darren, thanks for stopping by and sharing your side. I published Everett’s written debate responses in their unedited entirety because I wanted Everett and Pat to have the full freedom to express themselves to create a worthwhile debate. I’ll let Everett respond for himself about his comments about ProBlogger and Copyblogger.

      I personally believe that you and the folks at Copyblogger are both honest and well intentioned, and I’ve gotten a lot from both sites over the past two years. I met both you and Brian Clark in person at BlogWorld and was impressed by your openness and desire to help people, so thanks for that.

      I do however believe that some of the typical advice that gets passed around online does people a disservice. The #1 most important thing a blogger can do (as you say here) is writing something that matters (as in helps or entertains or enlightens people). When popular sites spend a lot of time talking about promotional tactics on the whole it leaves people with the impression (for example) that if you just get enough Twitter followers you’ll be the next huge success.

      We all have to remember that if we’re attracting new people to our sites and telling them how to become popular and to build a successful business online, we have to make sure they’re getting the bigger picture. Maybe some of your readers are more mature and that’s why they’re sick of hearing about how important content is, but you also attract the lion’s share of newbie bloggers to your site (you’re seen as the #1 resource on blogging). If those newbies don’t learn about how important it is to differentiate their blogs and to create mind-blowing unique content, they’re only getting part of the story. I think that’s what some people are frustrated with (that the typical advice doesn’t work), and perhaps what Everett (in his signature dramatic style) was trying to point out.

      Thanks again for stopping by. It says a lot about what you’re doing. I really appreciate it, and I look forward to more conversation on the topic, as it will only help our readers. I’m sure we share some of the same audience. Cheers.

      • http://handmadebrain.com Nate Dodson

        Sometimes you just have to yell at people and give them a good shake to get your point across.

        Thats Everett. He says dramatic and a little over-the-top things on purpose because he’s so frustrated about creativity killers, he’ll do anything to get people to take his advice to action.

        He badly wants us to focus our time creating meaningful work, and I think that’s such a powerful worthy message to get across, that it may require a shaking.

      • http://www.bloggingteacher.com Paul Cunningham

        Corbett, if Everett’s “signature dramatic style” is to outright call people liars then he’s going to start burning his credibility fast. I’ve read a few posts from his archives and he takes more than one such shot at Problogger and Copyblogger. It really detracts from what he is trying to achieve (not that I’m saying you need to defend him to anyone).

        Like you I’ve met Darren in person and benefited from his genuine helpfulness and generosity over the years. People sometimes forget that the A-listers are actually real people, who hopefully don’t need to develop such a thick skin from unfounded critics like Everett that they are unable to stay personable and approachable for the rest of us.

        Anyway, what you’re describing in much of your comment there is a problem I think a lot of us face with our blogs – giving new people a “Start Here” point. A lot of blogs have those “Start Here” points in such things as books, ebooks, and courses (some free, some paid). There is a tough balance between making them visually prominent and being accused of overpromotion too.

        In a perfect world every post you write would equally cater to bloggers of any level who is arriving at your site for the first time, as well as cover the full extent of the “big picture” of blogging, but surely you agree that at some point you have to dive down into specifics to really offer long term value.

        I mean really, its not like if someone said to you the main ingredient for making bread was flour that they’d run off thinking all they need is flour, right?

      • http://www.problogger.net Darren Rowse

        Thanks for the reply Corbett – nice to connect again.

        I don’t have issue with you publishing this discussion at all – I think it’s really worthwhile (and the comments section being open adds to it in my mind which I find interesting).

        I appreciate you saying that you feel that we’re honest and well intentioned too – I’ve worked hard to try to build a site that is useful to people and that openly shares what I’ve learned. I certainly don’t always get it right, at times have changed my approach as my blogs (and the technology/medium) have matured and am open to other approaches – but honesty is something I’ve always tried to build in.

        I’ve built a fairly thick skin over the last 9 years of blogging but one of the few things that does continue to hurt a little is when I see people make calls about things like my honesty or character.

        I agree with you that some of the advice that gets passed around online can be mis-leading and at times can even be untrue. I get distressed when I see people claiming to have a silver bullet or a single process that will guarantee results. I’ve had many emails from people who’ve been hurt by such advice and have always tried to give advice that helps people get a broad understanding and that builds reasonable expectations.

        My experience of blogging is that there are so many ways to build successful blogs that it’s dangerous to suggest any one way is the ultimate way. What I try to do is share my story, give others who’ve done things differently a place to share theirs and encourage others to seek their own paths.

        One thing I will say is that when you’re writing about a topic like this it can be challenging to communicate all of this in a way that everyone hears. I guess by nature of creating a blog with topics covered post by post – people latch on to some of what you say but don’t always put it in the full context of your message.

        This is one of the reasons I wrote a book on the topic – to attempt to give people a resource that more well rounded big picture overview rather than just having them come and see a single post on one isolated technique. It’s sometimes difficult to give people that perspective on a blog as there are times you do need to drill down into techniques or more specific topics.

        Interestingly even when you write a book people still at times pick and choose which parts they’ll read and make assumptions about you based upon that. I guess some people hear what they want to hear and block out the rest. The same goes for when you’re giving a presentation to a group of people or even in conversation between two individuals.

        Anyway – I appreciate the response. I guess all I’d add is that while I kind of understand where Everett might be coming from with his response – I guess I’d encourage him to consider the words he uses in making such points and the impression he’s giving others.

        As bloggers we have a responsibility to not only share our opinion and help those who read us – but also think about the impact of our words on those who hear them.

        I’m perhaps a little over sensitive on this issue as a few years back someone wrote a post on their blog accusing me of being dishonest and it was actually read by someone local to me with some mental health issues that ended up becoming quite obsessed by me – it ended up in a fairly ugly stalking issue that ended in physical violence.

        My lesson from that time was that when we write about others with strong words that sometimes other people take those words in even stronger ways than we intend.

        • http://www.jadecraven.com Jade Craven

          Everett expanded on the topic here: http://www.farbeyondthestars.com/how-blogging-evolved/ Note that while he paid out Problogger, he also called attention to how he was “was named one of Problogger’s top bloggers to watch in 2011.”

    • http://socialtriggers.com Derek

      I’ve been blogging since 2005, and I’ve earned a lot of money from, dare I say it, advertising like Google Ads.

      When I first got started, Problogger was a daily stop for me, and within 12 months, I built my blog into a 5 figure per month business.

      Sure, that wasn’t typical results. However, I took everything he said to heart and applied it immediately. Sure enough, it worked.

      I think the problem lies in the fact that most people read articles on sites like Problogger and do nothing about it. They don’t take action on the advice. They read the article, leave a comment, and go back to tweeting. It’s sad.

      Oh, and, I’ve read Copyblogger for quite some time, too. Brian Clark, Sonia Simone, Jon Morrow, and the rest of the crew have been a vital resource for me, and quite honestly, I wouldn’t be half the marketer I am today without them.

    • http://www.smallbusinessunleashed.com Chris @ Small Business Unleashed

      I kind of understand what Everett was trying to get at, but the manner in which he said it and put down Darren was a bad move in my book.

      From following the problogger blog for a looooong time, I have nothing but huge respect for Darren and the huge amounts of effort that he puts in.

      Just because some of the advice is typical (i.e – how to get more twitter followers, or something like that) it doesn’t mean that Darren suggests you should use those tactics in isolation.

      Every tip and tactic you learn has to fit in with your overall plan, strategy and mindset. I’m pretty sure that Darren has never suggested there is a magic bullet to making money on the Internet.

      Saying that, i’m sure Darren is thick skinned and doesn’t need defending. Also, i’m sure Everett has a lot of great things to say too and this conversation has no doubt attracted a bunch of new readers.

  • Darnel

    Wouldn’t worry too much about it, Darren. Bogue is blinded by his own ego and frequently posts things just to cause a stir.

  • http://www.themiddlefingerproject.org Ash

    Would be interesting to see if a brand new blog could build up a momentum without having comments on – assuming you aren’t Seth Godin.

    Crap, so Corbett’s blog doesn’t matter? What the hell am I doing on it, then?

    • http://www.ramblingsofawahm.com/ Allie

      I’m a new blogger and I don’t dare turn off my comments. Someone else can experiment with that one. Sometimes it’s the only way I know my blog is alive. LOL. I believe my blog posts are open for discussion. As a matter of fact I want comments, especially ones that help my readers. (At this stage, all 11 of them, lol.And I love each one of them.)
      I can say, though, if I do get to the point where I do have people only commenting to get link love back or there are over 150 or so and it would take all day to read them all or comments have taken over a post to where the content of my post is skewed. Then, yes, comments of.
      I do get a little frustrated when I want to comment on a hot topic and I cannot.
      My bottom line: humans are social animals and need to be social. We are on the Internet to do just that so let me comment. THX.

      • http://www.smallbusinessunleashed.com Chris @ Small Business Unleashed

        Hi Allie

        Went and left you a comment on your new blog. Just to show that blog commenting works ;)

  • http://chrisalta.com Chris Alta

    Man that’s an epic debate. I totally get both sides and although I agree with Pat – Everett does have a point. He’s built up a strong following and so he has the luxury of being able to turn off his comments knowing that his content already attracts a broad audience. Pat has this luxury as well but definitely thrives off of his user base and community type feel. Both blogs probably generate different types of readers so they’re both right and wrong in their respective circumstances.

    I myself am just starting out and agree with Everett that instead of spending all of your “days” commenting on other top bloggers blogs and building their community up, you should spend more time writing your own gold mine content. At the same time though it is good to comment on other blogs and interact so understand what readers want.

    At the end of the day you can definitely hire a virtual assistant and block all the IP address’ from the blogger’s comments you don’t want to read. Manage your time better and still get what you need to get done.

    Again I agree with Pat because he’s being honest when he says that although he’d love to get back to all of his readers, he’s still got a schedule to follow and things need to get done. Everett on the other hand..1-3 hours of Yoga? Come on bro hit up Tim Ferris’ 4 Hour Work Week and just get some explosive training in for an hour or two max and then spend an hour moderating comments. You don’t have to read and respond to all of them..but it’s just like when you first started blogging..you loved your readers and you did the best that you could! So do the best that you could and stop loving Yoga so much.

    deuces.

  • http://www.biblemoneymatters.com Peter

    I’m not sure there’s one all encompassing answer to the question of whether you should allow comments on your site. To me it’s a gray area where the answer is really just “it depends”.

    Some sites thrive and have an active community precisely because they have open comments where discussion thrives, and ideas abound. To me that is priceless. Having comments I think makes you feel more like you’re a part of the site, that you’re engaged and that you can make a contribution to a site, however small. Sites like Pat’s come to mind for scenarios like this.

    Other sites do just fine without comments. To do fine without comments, however, I think a site has to have exceptionally good content, be written by a known authority and it has to really add value. There has to be something there for people to really dig into without feeling like they aren’t able to add to the discussion. (of course, you probably should have these things for a site with comments too!)

    There are also some niche information sites that have very straight forward content that doesn’t necessarily benefit from having comments on them, and for those types of more information sites I think comments can be a distraction.

    In general, however, for the blog format, I tend to prefer sites that create a dialogue, and that allow for readers to engage with the site’s author, and with other readers. I just makes for a better experience.

    My vote for this debate goes to Pat.

  • http://www.thewisebuck.com Mike

    Copyblogger and Problogger provide great value. I was very surprised to hear their content referred to as “lies”.

  • http://www.tcgeeks.com Shane

    I have to say I agree with Pat here on this one. I can see Everett’s side as well and quite frankly, it’s *his* blog so he can choose to turn comments off if he wants to, however, I disagree that they have to be a lot of extra work and to that I would say that some of my best post ideas have come from comments..in fact…that’s how I grew my blog to over 7,000 uniques per day is by paying attention to the comments and creating a “community” there.

    Darren and Brian have provided more value than I have ever imagined learning or gaining online (besides this blog, of course) and I would not say they have lied nor distorted anything at all. Darren is not only a great leader but a mentor in many ways for those of us just learning….

  • http://www.jackiepurnell.com Jackie

    If not for comments we wouldn’t be privy to this kind of debate…would we now.
    The argument has definately been made for both sides. hmm just a thought here, but do what works with your readership. Personal choice peeps, thats why you’re an independent free thinking individual.

  • Susan

    Let me get this straight. Everett seems to think ProBlogger and CopyBlogger lied because their techniques didn’t work for his blog? That sounds like a rather primitive conclusion.

    There is endless evidence that such a technique has worked for many others. I would hardly call that a lie, but rather a one-size-fits all did not work technique. Which is something ProBlogger freely writes about.

    Meanwhile, most of what Everett writes is entrenched in a one-size-fits-all mentality. At least if you are a cyborg and don’t want to get left behind. I just stopped bothering to read him all together.

    He’s certainly entitled to his opinion, but it’s far from fact. Much of his writing and approach reminds of Steve Pavlina.

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  • Bo

    1st time visitor of Evs site. If it had discussion, maybe I would have figured out what it was all about and if more than 1 person even read it (social proof).

    I’ll take your word that he is great, but how great can one person be when he calls out a blogger for lying and then strokes his own ego by listing himself on a liars top blogger to keep track of in 2011. I’m mean cmon, be consistent.

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  • http://malexperience.com Graham Phoenix | Male eXperience

    For me Pat was the all out winner. My reaction to Ev was that I have no desire to get to know the writings of such an ego-driven person. Sorry, Ev, but I’ll not become a reader, not because you have no comments but because you are needlessly rude and controversial. The phrase ‘grow up’ comes to mind.

  • http://www.onespoonatatime.com paul wolfe

    Great debate.

    Only just found it- been catching up on Corbett’s blog and his ‘Epic Shit.’ This is truly Epic Shit.

    Personally I believe whether you leave blog comments on or off should depend on what the purpose of your blog is. For pat – they should definitely be on. For Everett – I have no idea, as I’ve never heard of him before today.

    For most bloggers I think blog commenting is a must – yeah you see everywhere on the old Interwebz the advice to do it because you can get traffic. And that’s why I started blog commenting.

    But in just 6 weeks I’ve found that blog commenting is actually a multi-layered strategy that is hugely important to the success of your blog. (Success as measured by traffic, comments, subscriptions etc). I wrote a post about it recently – I won’t link to it here because I don’t know Corbett well enough to know whether that’s Ok or not. So I’d prefer to err on the side of caution.

    But in short the 5 benefits are:

    1) Traffic and/or backlinks
    2) Social Proof
    3) Creating and building relationships
    4) Personal branding
    5) Idea Generation

    Honestly – the last one alone, commenting on other people’s blogs and encouraging people to comment on yours, will give you so many ideas for creating posts, articles, podcasts, videos, etc that it’s worth doing just for that.

    Apologies for the length of the Comment – awesome post Corbett.

    Keep on keeping on.

    Paul

  • http://dauanunturi.ro Anunturi

    I am turning on my comments.
    Most users come back to comment as they want to get some free backlinks.

  • http://www.alternativa-za-vas.com Svetlana

    As I see, most of you prefer to have comments enabled.

    However, there are situations when you have to turn them off.

    Building online communities if fine. I hope you know how much time, dedication, patience and humility this requires. I know – because I own an online forum with more then 3000 members and 75K posts. This is a headache!

    I had to turn commenting on my website off. Why?

    The percentage of useful posts was less then 20%. Everything else was human spam, trolling, off-topic and nasty critiques from “experts in the field” who were envious of my success.

    I wasted my time and my health editing and removing those comments. I spent more time moderating comments then writing.

    Finally, I decided to turn comments off. Wow, I have never felt happier in my entire life!

    And one more thought – I think that many people misunderstood Everett. He just wanted to say that he can serve others better by spending his time writing, not by moderating comments. I totally agree with him.

    • Lisa

      Very early on for me, this was my experience. So, now when I developed my sites, I leave comments off from the get go. Most of my sites are related to the entertainment niches, TV, celebs, etc. I blog my opinions and then I put Poll questions at the end of my posts. This way, my audience gets the chance to voice their opinions, but I don’t have to try and moderate comments, etc. I can spend more time writing.

  • http://www.livingfithealthyandhappy.com Joseph

    I encourage my readers to share their thoughts, some people leave comments but most folks tend to be shy. It all comes down to demographics, some people prefer to read than talk. As long as I provide a valuable service, that is the important thing.

  • http://hearmumroar.com Hear Mum Roar

    I’m really irritated that Ev didn’t even bother to extend the courtesy of answering comments and questions in this debate. What’s the point of what he does, then?

  • http://www.wedebate.it Debate Website

    Good article. I thought about turning off comments on my blog (due to spam), but there are many good “real” comments that encourage me to keep the feature active.

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  • http://www.etreheureux.fr Jean-Luc

    to comment or not comment that is the question
    thanx for this nice debate
    as far as i’m concernet i’m moderating all comments, if it’s not bringing any value I just don’t publish it… that the privilege of being the author ^^

  • simon

    The comments on this article follow the sort of progression that most blogs experience: the first half dozen comments are somewhat interesting – 1 or 2 even thought provoking, then they progress into clappies, criticism, off topic comments, trolling, and eventually someone gets called a nazi. Hooray for comments.

  • Wishing you luck

    Remember the 80/20 rules people.
    Know what is the 80 and the 20 for your own blog.
    Test, test, test and track your result, then begin tweaking and testing more… until you finally figure out what the 20 and the 80 is for your website.
    Then focus on the 20% of the things that bring you the 80% of the things you want happen.

    All the best.

  • http://ronjoewhite.blogspot.com/ Ron

    A most Interesting debate. Both Everett and Pat make some good points but I tend to agree more with Pat. Interacting with other bloggers is a big part of what blogging is all about. Turning off comments shuts that door.

    I’ve been blogging for almost 2 years and have only turned off comments 2 times. In fact I turned off comments for my most recent entry “Blogger Burnout”. I’ve been averaging well over a 100 comments per post most of this year. My eyes have been bothering me lately, so blog-hopping about 150 blogs a week to read and return comments was becoming tiring to say the least. I’ll probably turn on comments in a couple of weeks when I feel better. ~Ron

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  • http://www.kbos2.co.uk/BlogWebSEO/ kevin blumer

    With me i did turn comments off for a while that didn’t work the popularity of my blog fell really quick. The next thing i tryed was discuss nice idear since they spam check your comments or something like that guess what that didnt work the only other way i could make a solution would be a spam filter it works 99% of the time. To sum up i think you need comments becuase thats what keeps your blog alive.

  • http://www.lifestoogood.net Alan Chatfield

    Wow Wow Wowoweee.

    Hats off to Corbett for putting this together. I wonder Corbett, knowing (I guess) the difference in personalities and styles between Pat & Everett, did you know actually know a little what to expect in the comments section?

    How ironic is it that a post which is debating the point of comments has almost more interesting interchange between people in the comments than the actual post itself?

    For my part I love integrity, giving and people who give back when they find success. For a lot of great/influential people, the giving part (ideally with some humility) is what got them there in the first place.

    This is a wonderful demonstration too, if via the post rather than the comments of how a few words can be very dangerous. You can see how that could make commenting very detrimental very quickly for some.

    I almost didn’t but I just had to comment. Do I get a free backlink now?

  • http://research-education-edu.blogspot.com/ Sultan

    If you have less visitors then comments can help you because a good comment also bring you traffic when people search but if have lot of traffic then you can off comments

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  • http://www.casestudiesexpert.com Valerie Leroyer

    Hi.
    I was surprised about the title. Because wherever I go I read it is best tactics to leave comments on other blogs to get yourself noticed.
    The truth is that I started a blog just 3 months ago, and got may be 20 posts so far. I read that it takes about 50 posts before to see comments. The funny thing is that I got about 5 comments so far and all spams… Very disappointing.
    Now I’m just totally confused!?! Should I leave comments off??
    Thanks.

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  • http://pazer.blog.com Andreas Pazer

    Having a membership site can be a pretty cool thing and having a place where your community, where your buyers can talk amongst each other is cool as well because it means that your site becomes self-sustaining. It means that if you will have problems, there is a whole group of free support that can help them before you even get a chance to look at the membership site, and it means that they can all work together and build stuff and add their own 2 cents to the conversation as much as they want.

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  • http://www.fatlabwebsupport.com/ FatLab

    This was a great article/debate and even though my latest focus was corporate blogs, where the blog is secondary to the rest of the commercial site, it really makes helped the internal debate. The final conclusion was that for our corporate site, the reasons not to allow commenting on some sites actually justified it on ours and simular sites. I referenced this article in related post Should I Allow Comments on My Corporate Blog?

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  • Alex Smith

    So would allowing comments be good for my new fantasy sports website?
    http://mrfantasyfreak.com/

    I feel like for fan interaction it is important to connect with my readers/listeners. Also if you have any comments on the site let me know

    • http://www.pocketchanged.com Caleb Wojcik

      Hey Alex,

      Yes. I think comments on this site would be a good idea.

  • http://webweaverds.com/ Jennifer El Shafei

    Here’s my two sense worth on this subject:

    When I read both arguments, I was left somewhat undecided. My decision came after reading through the comments and picking up some more good arguments pro and con. I also realized that there were others that picked up on some of the things that I did, which validated my feelings. I cringed while reading Everett’s argument, my conclusion is that he feels his opinions are all that matter, and that he really doesn’t like interacting with people, maybe not even confident about what he is writing. Lowest common denominator? That’s probably me, because I am not offering facts, just my thought process.

    Everett’s blog grew while comments were turned on, he turned them off and we have no more information on the condition of his blog, I’m not even going to look at it (I was repelled by his writing style).

    Pat has inspired me, I am an ardent follower of Pat’s blog. He’s exudes confidence, and gives the reader the feeling that he really cares (I think he does). I have never commented on his blog, I’m always too busy learning something new, but I have read some comments.

    Ok, what it boils down to is… comments on for me.

    PS. I imagine Everett read through at least some of these comments for the purpose of reader validation of what he wrote (of course).

  • http://www.bizinmypants.com Cason

    Great stuff. Personally I agree on the disabling comments. I hate people.

    No, just kidding. But seriously, it screws with your creativity and expression. Most people are doubters and idea killers. These are two different types of blogs we’re looking at.

    If you’re blogging as a thought leader, disable it. New born ideas need time and absolute focus to mature. Cold water instantly dissolves the idea at its weakest stage.

    If you’re blogging to lead a community and get insights or thoughts, by all means enable the comments. Why wouldn’t you?

    One’s a thinker, highly intelligent. His thoughts are far more developed than the average Joe. He blogs about ideas, theories, analogies, analysis.

    The other’s a guy who just does things, shares his experience, more of a follow the norm guy. Not that he necessarily does the 9-5, but he just follows what every one else is doing, because the majority must be right. He blogs about experiences, interviews, lessons learnt, updates on his life.

    One goes against the waves, the other goes with it.

    What you blog about will determine whether comments are useful or not. It’s not a one-size-fit-all thing.

    Think about it, if you’re 100x smarter than the entire world: Will you force yourself to read their comments one by one and let their dirty comments pollute your mind? Or will you not give a shit about what they say and keep doing your thing?

    Another consideration: Am I going to sell information about theories or information about specifics? (Think “Write Epic Shit” vs “How to Make $20,000/month with Affiliate Marketing”)

    The former requires a position of insight and intelligence. The latter, trust and rapport. Again, two different types of content the writer gravitates towards, hence two different strategies to build your brand and audience.

    That being said, our world needs both types of bloggers. No one is more important than the other.

  • http://www.stylishandtrendy.com Katie @ Women’s Magazine

    But i can still see you have enabled comments in your site. And based on the attractive titles you have in your RHS, i can simply say you know marketing very well.

    If you are doing well with comments enabled, i guess i will live too :)

  • http://www.brandroofing.com Darrell

    Very good points. I’m on the verge of allowing comments and this was very informative.

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  • http://seoclyde.blogspot.com I am Rex

    I think Everett’s argument are so well constructed. But perhaps his style can only work for people who already have a bunch of followers.

    In my opinion, if a beginner blogger would create a blog post and other readers found no comments below, the readers would probably assume that the blog is not that great after all. I think having blog comments (at least comments that really add to the discussion) can appear as “social proof”.

  • http://www.seoprofessor.in/ Patel

    Yes. Without comments, a blog isn’t really a blog. We shall allow comments on blog to Guest or visitors since they spend their valuable time, read, recommend and re-visit or let someone to visit over there.

  • http://www.seoprofessor.in/ Patel

    Yes. We shall allow comments in blog. Visitor visit, spend time, read, revisit and recommend others. Thus, we may allow guest comments on any blog. Thanks

  • http://BobSolis.com Bob

    I am relatively new to blogging, yet I find that my posts are swamped with spam comments. I enjoy writing for the sake of writing, it’s somewhat therapeutic for me. I write what i want to write at the time i feel what i feel. If it finds an audience, so be it. On this issue however, i believe that a blog without commentary, is not a Blog, but simply an article. When I want to write something without rebuttals, I’ll write an article on one of my sites, without an option for reader interpretation. I will no longer disable commenting on my blog, just to block the spammers…I may be closing the door on an intelligent contributor. “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one.”

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  • http://www.johnfranco.org/ John Franco

    I think blogging is about listening and then speaking. A blog without comments is like an old-fashioned classroom where only the teacher output is heard. Such teachers have corks-in-the-ears.

    Just my opinion.

    Thanks

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  • http://www.theeverythingsoapblog.com CourtneyJo

    Absolutely amazing post – this is exactly the sort of answers and debate I was looking for. I made the decision to turn off my blog comments last year for the similar reasons as Everett.

    People would comment just to get noticed, would stop when I didn’t find and follow their blog and comment back, etc…I started to noticed I got wrapped around comments – when a post had less, I felt like it looked less popular.

    That is not why I started blogging. I shouldn’t be distracted like that. I have things I want to say, share – if people want to read along, that’s fantastic, if not, that’s okay to. I blog because I love it, not for popularity or blogging fame.

    The reason I used Google to search an answer for my questions, was because I was wondering if, from a followers prospective, they feel I’m leaving them out…cutting off their voice…their ability to connect with me and how they may feel about it. Still not sure where I’ll go in the future, but for now, I am so happy not to be paying attention to comments. I have so much free time to write and really focus on my content…

    Thank you!!

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  • http://www.beingbritishisawesome.co.uk Michelle

    Absolutely agree with everything Everett says. Comments do nothing but attract trolls and spam. I run several websites, with one that gets more than 500,000 views a month. I don’t allow comments on any of my sites, never have and never will as, like Everett, I simply don’t have the time to deal with the trolls and the idiots just to be able to read the interesting things less than 20 percent of my readership leave.

    And yes, absolutely agree with him on ProBlogger and Copyblogger – have never found anything relevant on either site and if I’ve ever followed through on any of their ‘advice’ have discovered quickly what a big mistake that was. Both blogs seem to completely miss the reality of running a blog. So much so that I never read either site anymore as, to me, they’re worthless.

  • http://Www.studioimpres.com Retoucher

    I really love this post, especially when you talk about quality comments. I really hate it when someone comments on my blog with something like “cute outfit, want to follow each other?” because you know they are just after followers and not looking at building actual blogging relationships.

  • Pingback: My Amazing Commenters. | The Aspirational Agnostic

  • http://gmbullion.com/ Jenny Thomes

    I’m sure with handsome faces like Pat and Everette, you will get alot of blog commentors!

  • http://www.bleacherviews.com Jimto

    I’m new to blogging I would say because my personal blog is just about a year old. But I have been a freelance writer for three years before I started my own blog and still a freelancer to this day so that makes it four years for me as a freelance writer. I know the many tricks about commenting in blogs and I get paid to crate accounts to make comments on blog sites of clients some of them are pretty up there in Google Pagerank.

    We all know the dirty trick of getting our friends, relatives and virtual assistants to write comments so I would say the value of blog commenting is fairly overhyped. Everett I would say was being polite and did not elevate the issue more because he did not say that most comments were actually planted there to make the blogger or writer of the post look good.

    I also post in forums and paid to do so by clients and it is basically the same with blog commenting. What I am saying is that the comments section is just one of the ways for the blogger to further get the attention of the readers and a good number of them are willing to pay people to post a comment. So where is the genuineness of community building that Pat was saying. It is artificial and designed to lure people to think that the post is really helpful or controversial and ultimately to sell something.

    As I said, I have my own personal blog and after about 10 months of having the comments section on, I decided to turn it off. Why, because comments were too few and some are even derogatory. I just want to build a community of readers and not a forum where conflicting views and even negative remarks can be posted. I decided if I want comments, I’d just make a forum site. I also could not force myself to pay commenters because that would be fake.

    I don’t want to drag myself to befriend other bloggers and make them leave comments in my site because again I believe it is fake and I have to reciprocate just like what happened when I used to write for Triond where I had to befriend other bloggers so they will also click my post, leave comments and vice versa. It is fake plain and simple so I decided to leave the site.

    After turning off the comments section, I noticed that my site trust rating increased in Moz.com. I have as of this writing a trust rating of 5.08 although still PR 0 with Google because I also don’t focus on links which I think is another thing that should be ignored by bloggers.

    I don’t really know what happened to Everett’s blog as it has been taken down I think just a month after this debate was posted. By the way, I am a subscriber to Pat Flynn’s blog too but just think that the comment section is not for my site, at least not for the time being. Maybe when I receive emails from readers that they want a comment section then I would consider it.

    By the way, nice post on this debate and I got some useful blogging tips again. Cheers!

  • adssadasda

    Nice article

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  • http://www.webds.com Asher Elran

    I think comments can help you get feedback from your readers and see if you are blogging efforts pay off. If there are some posts that you don’t want the comments to be made on you can always close the comments. Reader participation is a huge part of success of any blog and I thing is a bad idea to have no option for your reader to leave a comment.

  • http://www.lucafontani.com Luca Fontani

    In my opinion, both of them are right.

    You can’t say ” Turn the blog’s comments OFF/ON ” because each blog is different.

    What I will do is to understand what’s better for my blog, then I will decide.
    At the moment I don’t know what is the right choose to do.

    Time and comments will decide.

    Thanks for this epic shit.

    Luca F.

  • talharehman72
  • randeg

    I believe in allowing people to leave comments on your blog despite the fact that many of them leave spams or whatever. This is a great debate you’re having. Besides, I have a question, how can I make the commenters login? What is there is my name and logout link and why should I do that? I used to be able to have them login but then all of a sudden, they can’t even login to comment. And it is the same WordPress blog so I don’t understand the change. I went to settings and discussion and did all I could do there and saved the changes. Is there anybody in this discussion who can help me or direct me to where I can get answers.

    Thanks,

    randeg

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  • TheBigOne

    I’ve noticed that blogs that are more closely knitted tend to have higher quality comments even though often times you have to do something extraordinary to be approved by the blog.

    Blogs that try to promote freedom of speech things tend to backfire on the blog owners.

    Why is that?

    Is it because society is so crap we need big brother to run our lives because we are beyond the tipping point of thinking for ourselves?

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