Blogs are often a good instrument in opening up a discussion online, and an important aspect of that discussion is engagement among readers in the comments section. Before deciding whether to allow comments on your business blog, there are several key aspects to consider.
Purpose of Your Post
If a blog post’s purpose is simply to convey information about a new product or service, the comment section is a good place for readers to build excitement among themselves. However, if the blog is argumentative or controversial in some way, things get trickier. If you allow comments, will you attempt to censor the ones that are offensive or attacking in order to create a safe environment? Who will be responsible for this task? What will be the response if readers accuse the business of manipulating the argument? Clearly stated guidelines or verified accounts can help with this issue, but it’s good to know what your response will be before things get out of hand. Remember that someone will likely have to monitor the comments regardless of the blog post’s subject.
Accessibility to Readers
Allowing comments on a blog makes the reader feel like they are part of the conversation and valued by the company. This is especially true if the author of the blog post responds to questions in the comments, entering into a productive discussion. Your readers will be more likely to trust that your company will provide stellar service if you are engaging with them and answering before they are even customers.
Consider Your Readership
While we all want to assume the best about our readers, it’s helpful to approach this topic with a detached eye. Some blogs have devoted fans in a niche area, meaning they establish friendships and a community organically. They require little prompting or rules in the comment section. On the other hand, if you have a large, varied readership, personal attacks can distract from the content at hand. Worse, they can offend or alienate people, driving them away from your site. It’s necessary to weigh all the data about readership for your blog and whether they can promote the discussion or detract from it. A good strategy is to encourage readers to make a profile and choose a username for posting. Anonymity can encourage poor behavior, and an online profile combats that.