Let’s say your site is up and running, and you’re ready to share your blog or business with the world. This is the perfect time to decide whether you want to let your site visitors post blog comments.
Will this feedback help your digital marketing strategy? What comments should you expect — and how should you respond? Are you ready to manage comments from your WordPress.com dashboard? Here, we’ll work through each of these questions and what they mean for your site.
Build community, build awareness
First, let’s consider if allowing comments is important to your website’s success. The short answer is… sometimes. Generally speaking, online conversations can help spread awareness about your blog or business and create an engaged online community. But not every page on a site needs (or benefits from) this feature. There’s no compelling reason, for instance, to allow comments on your About page, where you explain how your company makes natural beauty products. Or on your Portfolio page, where you showcase your graphic design work.
On the other hand, if you’ve written a post about the health benefits of plant-based cosmetics, why not let your site visitors weigh in? When you offer educational, helpful, and thought-provoking content and information, readers appreciate being able to post comments to share their own experiences or perspectives.
Allowing feedback helps foster a sense of community, which in turn makes people feel more personally connected — and, sometimes, more loyal — to a blog or business. Don’t be afraid to encourage an open exchange of ideas, because this inspires people to share links to your website on social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter (and that boost in traffic can help grow your audience as well).
Reach out and ask your audience directly for feedback. In your next blog post, for example, you might end by writing, “Thanks for considering my take on the subject. Let me know if you agree!”
Keep calm and carry on
If you do enable the comments section, however, be aware that while most reactions will be positive and supportive, others might be critical. Some responses may be posted by actual readers, while others might come from internet trolls who spend their time writing negative things on sites around the web. Now, if you know you’re being trolled, you can simply move those comments to the trash. The problem is, you can’t always tell the difference.
If someone does post a legitimate complaint or criticism about your blog, product, or business, it pays to respond quickly, calmly, and politely. According to LiveChat, you should always thank visitors for posting and apologize for any inconvenience. And always remember to acknowledge and respond to rave reviews and glowing feedback!
If further action or follow-up is needed, you might suggest a private online discussion. As tempting as it may be to remove a comment from a genuinely angry or upset user, keeping the conversation public shows that you — and your blog or business — value honest, open communication. Bottom line: whether visitors to your site love or loathe you, responding to users helps you connect with people in an authentic, meaningful way.
Take care of your community
The Comments page on your WordPress.com dashboard lets you easily manage incoming messages. Once you’ve decided to start the conversation on your site, follow these steps to let users post comments:
- Go to Settings and scroll to Discussion.
- Open Discussion Settings, where you’ll see an option: “Allow people to post comments on new articles?”
- Check that box, and readers will be able to join or start a conversation on your website.
Don’t want comments on a certain page? No problem! You can change this setting by unchecking the box at the bottom of an individual page or post.
If you check the box to allow link notifications (known as “pingbacks” and “trackbacks”) you’ll automatically be alerted on the Comments page if someone shares your page. You can learn more about trackbacks and pingbacks from this support document. You can also choose to read and approve messages before they go live on your site. On the Discussion Settings page, just check the Manually Approve box so you (or anyone with an Editor or Administrator role on your site) can decide what to do with each response. Also, stay on top of feedback by opting for email notifications whenever someone posts a comment.
Once blog comments start showing up on the Comments page, you have four options for managing them:
- Pending: You haven’t yet decided what to do with this comment.
- Approved: You want this comment to appear on your website.
- Spam: You suspect this comment came from a troll or bot.
- Trash: You want to remove this comment from your website (you can always retrieve it from the trash if you change you mind later).
Sometimes blog comments can feel like both a blessing and a bit of a curse. These posts help build community and inspire conversation about your ideas and products, so the effort may be well worth it — even if you have to slay some trolls along the way.