In this mobile driven, social age, comments are no longer driving meaningful engagement.
They are messy, painful to deal with and in the vast majority of the time nothing more than “mini ads” for the commenter.
Your business is much better off putting time and resources into other aspects of your marketing: social media channel build out, content marketing or even PR.
Mobile Visitors are Killing Comments
Mobile users have the attention spans of distracted gnats - web site load times under two seconds are even turning them off. Are they going to take the time to comment on a post on a web site? No!
Or, if they do comment, 50% of the time it will be self-serving pablum, that’s ego driven or, with link spam. See: YouTube Comments.
That is assuming they can a) get to a blog post on your site; b) read the whole post and c) really make a meaningful comment. Possible but not probable the vast majority of the time, which is a “comment” on usability.
Comment Apps and Services Increase Web Site Load Times and Hurt the User Experience
Load times determine whether or not you site is accessed by visitors. Speed kills or thrills. In this case speed is essential to driving a good user experience.
Cloud based comment apps and services, in spite of what many vendors tell you, can have a negative impact on your load times.
I question whether or not long comment strings are even read by most visitors, let alone, really drive brand engagement.
Every Comment Service and Application Adds Another Layer to Your Marketing Stack
Disqus and LiveFyre are great cloud based services; but, they don’t always work well with other plugins and themes. And, on slower 2G networks they may not load at all.
You’re also putting your comments into the hands of a third party and what happens if they change their terms of services, go out of business and or bulk up comments with ads, as many are doing now.
Mainstream Publishers Like Huffington Post and the New York Times have Turned Off On Page Comments
Bloomberg, Huffington Post and The New York Times have all killed comments on their news portals. For good reason: they don’t foster meaningful dialogue, force the publisher to monitor what’s being said and add another tech layer to the web site back end.
Your business should listen and learn from these mainstream media company’s - clearly, comments are old school to many. Each of these publishers is much more interested in fostering interaction and engagement with consumers via social channels. Take note.
Comment Spam is a Pain in the Ass to Manage
Most of you don’t have time to keep track of personal and business passwords. Comments force you to actively monitor what’s being said on your site, by whom and for what purpose.
They are time intensive, even if you automate the process with back end settings in WordPress or whatever Content Management System you are using.
Wading through a lot of spammy dreck is just a waste of time and marketing resources. And, you are in a war with spambots deployed by questionable spammers who in most cases have a lot more resources at their disposal than the average business.
What are Your Alternatives to Turning Off Comments?
Native built in WordPress and Jetpack are alternatives to third party cloud based solutions like Disqus. Both still require monitoring and responding back to comments.
Move the user or visitor over to your social channels where you’re going to get much more bang for your buck with more engagement and bulking up your social content where it’s going to get seen and be heard.
If a consumer facing brand then set up a Yelp account and respond back to comments or reviews where you are going to get more ROI.
For B2B brands LinkedIn is the best alternative platform for ignoring comments on your own site and building dialogue. But, it’s crowded and “noisy” and you comment there are hidden behind a second tier “more” click.
HuffingtonPost and many other publishers and sites now use Facebook for commenting; this is an alternative for some of you. But, it has a price and you are forcing the visitor to log in to a social network and many will not make the time.
Is moving “comments” over to social media channels kicking the can down the road. Yes! But, with social, your business is at least working in a digital ecosystem that’s somewhat public and trolls have a harder time hiding.
Three alternative to cloud based services like Disqus are: Hashover, Isso and Vanilla (which is a bit of a community forum service). But, all of these require some technical competency to install and use.
Is Commenting Dead in the Road?
Is traditional on page commenting dead? Yes, pure play “enabled comments” on a web site are an endangered species.
For most small to medium sized business, you are much better off investing the time and drudgery it would take you to monitor comments into social media marketing efforts or creating more content.
And, again, moving the conversation over to social platforms where it has the potential to be heard by a much larger audience.