I’m going to throw an idea out there that goes against everything I know as a social SEO professional. It may be a cardinal sin of social media, but what if you just closed the comments section on your business blog entirely? I know I’ve written about getting more value from your blog by using it to connect with your target audience, but what if your blog isn’t connecting with them in the comments section?
Now, every blogger loves to feel like their blog is loved. Comments are usually a good sign that you’re producing the “right” content, meaning it is something your audience is interested in. Comments mean you’re content is resonating with your readers and they want to engage in a conversation with you.
However, you can’t judge the success of your blog solely by how many comments you are getting. For every 20 people that read your blog post, maybe only one person bothers to leave a comment (not counting the spam comments your blog automatically filters). That’s why you have to take every comment with a grain of salt. Sometimes the only people who bother to comment are the ones who vehemently disagree with your post. Don’t assume this means that your entire audience feels this way.
It may be because I run an SEO blog, but I’ve found that a lot of the comments going live on my Brick Marketing blog in the last few months have been from other SEO and Internet marketing firms and not potential clients that I was trying to engage. Obviously an SEO firm knows the link building value of getting a link from a trusted industry blog, so it makes sense that they would find my blog and leave comments. But here is the thing; I don’t want to connect with my competitors! I don’t write blogs and articles for the benefit of other SEO companies, I do it for the benefit of my potential clients: marketing professionals, business and website owners, web developers and so forth.
Now, if I were trying to sell ad space on my blog (like most professional bloggers) I wouldn’t really care who was leaving the comments. I just want to be able to show how popular my blog is with a specific audience so I can charge more for banner ads. But I’m not blogging to sell ads; I’m blogging to build my business. I want to grow my online presence, establish my reputation as a trusted white hat SEO professional and educate potential clients on all things SEO.
I decided to run an experiment on the Brick Marketing blog. After each post, instead of having the comments section, I gave readers my lead form to fill out if they were interested in learning more about Brick Marketing and SEO. Guess what happened? My conversion rate nearly tripled! My lead form conversion rate went from 8% to 22%, a staggering jump. I was getting no comments, but more leads—which is exactly what I blog for.
Am I recommending that site owners go out and close their own comments section right now? No. But if you’re blog isn’t getting the comment love from the people you want, maybe you should consider limiting the comments that go live. You have to decide what you end game is and why you blog. Do you want to grow your business? Get new clients? Encourage someone to download your latest whitepaper? Will leaving the comments section open help or hinder those goals?