Do Comments Help You Make Money Blogging? Here’s Why I’m Killing Mine

Why I'm killing my blog comments. Makealivingwriting.com

If you’re a writer who hopes to make money blogging, you’ve probably heard the conventional wisdom: Comments are important. You need to attract lots of comments and respond to all of them.

That builds rapport — it shows you’re engaging with your audience and you’re accessible to them. Also, responding to them all doubles your comment count, and makes your blog seem popular and interesting!

That worked, for years. You could write a great, controversial or highly useful post and easily rack up 100 comments. But not so much anymore.

Over time, my feelings about comments have changed, because the comments you get have changed. Which is why this is the last post on my blog that will allow comments.

Here’s why I’m killing comments on the Make a Living Writing blog, and what I’m doing instead:

Spam, cleverer spam, and timewasting

Once, blog comments were a great place to engage in lively conversations with readers, and I eagerly looked forward to responding. For instance, this 300-comment thread became so fascinating that it spawned an e-book, and got mentioned in many roundups of useful posts for freelancers.

Now, comments fall into three categories:

  • Thinly disguised spam — I’d say 60% or more of all comments received fall into this category. They’re from someone with an obviously fake name (ie ‘Google’ or ‘Writer Joe,’) whose email indicates their name is really something else entirely. And the URL is for an academic paper mill, or iPhone-review site stuffed with affiliate links, or the like. My Akismet WordPress plugin automatically spikes these off.
  • Better-disguised spam — Of the remaining 40% that doesn’t go straight to the spambox, I’d say three-quarters of it is more sophisticated spam (or ‘great post!’ type comments that add nothing to the conversation). These almost invariably use CommentLuv to link to a post or site that sells something scammy, often something not even related to freelance writing. Cleverer ones just stuff their link into the URL field of the comment form and hope we won’t notice. Another ‘tell’ is a link that doesn’t go to their home page, but to a specific page that sells a thing.
  • Actual comments — Occasionally, a freelance writer comes along and leaves a valid comment. But it’s increasingly rare. On several recent days, every single comment left was at least suspicious, and I removed them all. That was a real turning point for me.

The trick is, the disguised spam is getting harder and harder to spot. And that means moderating spam is taking longer and longer. There’s also been an increase in unintelligible, illiterate comments that tend to stymie discussion, like this one (quite often, these also come with a suspicious CommentLuv link):

Years back, leaving thoughtful comments was considered a great way to connect with top bloggers — Jon Morrow famously got his editor gig at Copyblogger that way. These days, I’m far more likely to be slogging my way through something like the above than finding a fascinating comment that makes me want to get to know that writer.

Recently, I had to admit that dealing with comments was eating up way too much precious time that I should spend creating new e-books, building useful courses that teach writers new skills, or otherwise serving the needs of my 1,000+ Freelance Writers Den members.

The window of actual, productive work time in my day was fast shrinking to zero.

Comments on the wane–even at top blogs

If I thought this were a problem specific to my blog, I’d look at how to fix it. Are my posts not interesting anymore? Should we look at different topics?

A look around some of the most popular blogs in writing, content marketing, and blogging reveals it’s not me — it’s a trend.

Some might recall that Copyblogger killed its comments in 2014, taking them to social media, before bringing them back to Copyblogger — where when I looked recently, there were under 10 comments on all recent posts. I went on WritetoDone, and the top post had 4 comments. The WriteLife? Recent posts have 1-5 comments.

It’s not my blog. Comments are simply undergoing the same cycle that email did. Once exciting, fun, and novel, email quickly became a place for junk rather than useful information or meaningful conversation. And now, our blog comment queues are stuffed with junk, to the point where it’s hard to have a meaningful conversation. And I believe that’s driven readers away from commenting.

Low value for the few

Here’s another sad truth about comments: Only a tiny percentage of readers participate in them, even when things go great. With around 80,000 monthly readers here, a tremendously popular post on my blog might get 100 comments.

That’s .00125 percent of my readers.

I’ve been known for delivering a ton of details and value in my comments, often writing so much that readers say the comments are as valuable as the post. But the problem is, it’s still not as valuable as trainings I’ve spent more time developing, that are more comprehensive in answering a common freelance writing question. And it doesn’t reach very many readers.

No matter how much time I put into that comment, it’s not nearly as valuable as delivering a new, free Webinar to my audience, or a day of free blog reviews. Which have reached and helped thousands of writers, aligning with my mission of helping the most writers earn more, fast as I can.

I’m hard-pressed to create those more useful products lately, because I’m busy responding to comments. Comments that may well just be a link-stuffing ploy.

It’s also the same questions over and over. I’d reached the point where I mostly commented to link people to the resources I’ve created. Which they could find themselves, on one of the top tabs of this blog. So that wasn’t making for very fascinating conversation.

The final nail: I had a few regular readers who’d comment on nearly every post. This started to bother me, because writers need to be writing their assignments or doing their marketing, not spending their days writing blog comments!

I worry that running comments creates another distraction, instead of sending writers off to go implement what they learned in the post.

Don’t get me wrong — if you’re just starting and ramping a blog, I think comments are essential for getting to know your readers. There’s a freshness to a brand-new blog that I also think attracts comments and good conversation. But nearly a decade in, this blog is ready to move into a new phase.

Other ways to bond and make money blogging

If comments no longer provide a great format for connecting with readers, what’s next? How can bloggers connect with their audience? It’s hard to make money blogging if you don’t talk to your readers, somewhere, and learn about what their top problems are, and how you can solve them. That’s how you develop the products and services you can successfully sell.

What can you do if you have no comments, but still want to hear from readers?

Here are a few of the other ways I’ve used, and will likely make more use of in future:

  • Reader surveys
  • Contests
  • Link parties
  • Free Webinar trainings
  • Exclusive email content that doesn’t appear on the blog
  • Handing out my cellphone number
  • Meeting readers in person at conferences
  • Chatting on Facebook and Twitter
  • Connecting on LinkedIn

The interesting thing I’ve observed is that I’m having better quality and more numerous conversations with readers on my Facebook page than I do on my blog comments. That just seems like where writers hang out and want to chat. Which brings me to the final question:

Where should my blog comments go?

Now that it’s clear blog comments need to be closed, to free up my time to better serve the majority of my readers, the question is where to set up a place to interact and chat.

I’m leaning towards Facebook. I know, not everyone likes or is on there. But that’s where the conversations seem to be happening!

Besides the chance to see readers’ profiles and learn a bit more about them, chatting on my blog’s Facebook page would also make Facebook ‘like’ me more, serve my posts to more people on organic reach, and help more new readers find me. So that could be a fringe benefit.

My other nominee is LinkedIn. While Facebook is a notorious timewaster for writers, LinkedIn is somewhere I encourage all writers to build a strong presence. Currently, I don’t have a lot of conversation going on over there, but maybe this could change things, and I could help more writers discover the benefits of LinkedIn.

I’m open to other ideas, too. And I look forward to continuing the conversation with you, wherever we land.

Where should my blog comments go? Leave a comment (while you still can!) and weigh in with ideas. I’ll report back on a post next week, and future posts will have a link to where we’ll chat.

Small Blog, Big Income: Earn Money from your blog!

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83 comments on “Do Comments Help You Make Money Blogging? Here’s Why I’m Killing Mine
  1. I scroll down to the comments to determine the publishing date of the blog. Sometimes that’s relevant (“LinkedIn’s NEW bla bla, etc.)

    Would you consider dating your posts from here out?

    thanks!

    (PS your CAPTCHA requirement is simply checking a box)

    • Carol Tice says:

      Probably not, but going to put in dating if it relates to something newsy — as with the LinkedIn post from Sunday.

      I KNEW we had Captcha! 😉

  2. I like the idea of Linked In much more than FB, but I realize a lot more people are on FB. You may want to do both? Don’t know. But I really dislike FB, and so don’t get into long discussions there.

    But you’re right, concentrating on the kinds of posts that generate more engagement might be worthwhile (as well as the writing techniques that encourage more comments.)

    • Carol Tice says:

      So far, my concern with LI is it seems like I might have to start a group for people to easily FIND the posts, which I’m kind of not wanting to do! We’ll see how it plays out. We’re looking at how we could get a directly link to the post ON LI to give folks in the blog post…if anybody KNOWS how, I’d love to hear on that.

  3. Steph B. says:

    Seems like Michael Hyatt did the same thing that Copyblogger did: deleted comments and then re-activated them. Here are his explanations of both:
    michaelhyatt [dot] com/pulling-comments.html
    michaelhyatt [dot] com/ive-brought-comments-back.html

    Maybe you can make most of your site a token $1-5 annual membership site to cut back on spammers. The minimal income would allow you to hire a VA to delete SPAM and your readers have a place to comment without having to find a conversation on social media.

    • Carol Tice says:

      You know, I ran the idea of micropayments up the flagpole years ago with my audience and got a VIOLENTLY negative reaction about it. I think readership would plummet! Because the expectation is that blogs are free.

  4. Ravi says:

    Is there any option to contact you other than social media?

    Why don’t you add moderate option and allow only good comments as you respond to only a few in twitter?

    • Carol Tice says:

      Because we’re spending HOURS moderating, and it’s not as valuable to my readers as delivering more useful content, freebies, and courses.

      As far as contacting me, there’s an email icon at the top of this blog that works just fine for that. 😉

  5. ShawnTe P. says:

    I’ve noticed more interaction on my social media accounts that are linked to my blog. I find myself responding more to people on Facebook and Instagram. Also, if you have a Facebook group that is a great place to carry on useful discussions and exchange ideas. I am in a group where the group creator shares all of her blog posts and we have long discussions about them in the group. Yet, there are barely any comments on her actual blog posts. I’m thinking about creating a group myself after seeing how well it has worked for some. I’m just worried about the time such a task can take up.
    ShawnTe P. recently posted…Beauty Over 35: Geneva Naturals Anti-Aging Purifying Clay Mask ReviewMy Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      I’m hoping to not get into making groups, but we’ll see what I think, running these off my LI profile and FB blog page.

  6. Have you considered using a Captcha plugin, Carol? I used to get dozens of spam e-mail some days. Captcha cut that down to maybe one per month. I check the IP address of the abuser, and if they’ve been running roughshod on my website, I ban the IP via .htaccess.

    I love valid comments. They help me interact with my readers.
    Kathy Steinemann recently posted…Why You Should Avoid “Feel” in Writing: 50 AlternativesMy Profile

    • I think she had Captcha, or its equivalent (had to get the right answer when adding two figures together), once upon a time.
      DKendra Francesco recently posted…But, I Only Want You To Write!My Profile

    • ShawnTe P. says:

      I think the time she spends on moderating comments is the biggest issue. A Captcha can weed out the spam bots but it can weed out an actual person spamming a comment section. Like the example she gave above, chances are a person wrote it. You get those types everywhere, even on YouTube.

    • Carol Tice says:

      I believe we DO use it, Kathy! Or we have in the past, certainly. (I’m signed in as an admin so I don’t get the same experience as regular commenters). If only something like that solved it, but the ‘cleverer spam’ problem means you still get these bogus comments, by the score.

  7. Anna Nolan says:

    Carol, as regards the new destination for your comments, my vote is for LinkedIn, simply because it’s for professional use and in general the comments there are more relevant. Not that you’ve asked for a vote :-).

    • Carol Tice says:

      No, I do want a vote, Anna! And people can vote by going to the platform they like and commenting — volume of comments I get will help me see where the action is for my readers. 😉

  8. Felix Abur says:

    I had to take this last chance to say something. You forgot one category of comments. The seemingly idle keyboard warriors who always use anonymous names and take time to send personal attacks on other readers. especially if you have a differing opinion to theirs.

    Instead of turning it into a positive discussion on what’s right, what’s best, what works, it becomes a mud-slinging dick-measuring contest (sorry for profanity. Couldn’t find a safe phrase that works better).

    Anyway, I support you on this. Make a Living Writing provides enough value without the comments. Though I will miss connecting with a few writers who inspired me just as much as you did Carol.
    Felix Abur recently posted…Are You Looking To Hire A Content Creator and Marketer?My Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      Thankfully, I’ve had a limited number of attack trolls on here — I’ve worked hard to cultivate a positive environment and don’t permit that behavior. They get one warning, and then they’re gone.

  9. Peter DeHaan says:

    Carol, since this is my last chance to leave a comment on your blog, I’d better take advantage of it.

    I fully understand your logic for closing the comments, but it makes a bit sad, too.

    Moving the discussion to Facebook or LinkedIn seems like a good idea, but I am already overwhelmed with Facebook communication so I will never take the time to leave a comment there. LinkedIn is a possibility, but that will be hit or miss (with many more misses then hits).

    But the important thing is that you’re not giving up on blogging. Thank you!
    Peter DeHaan recently posted…How Do You Find Time to Write?My Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      I hear you, Peter — I have a ton of pages and groups I do on FB. BUT…if you’re a SUBSCRIBER — you’ll be getting a link to the post, and each post will have a link on the bottom straight to my page, so hoping folks will access it from there rather than having to find it in all their other FB notifications.

  10. Pinar Tarhan says:

    Hi Carol,

    As other commenters have said, I’ll miss commenting here. But it’s great that we can still interact on LinkedIn and Facebook. I totally get why you are doing it. It’s so infruiating to see a notification for a comment and only realize it is spam because Arsimet isn’t that great at catching them. I tried several other plugins, but spammers do seem to find a way. Thanks for letting us interact here and will talk to you on social media! 🙂
    Pinar Tarhan recently posted…Younger TV Series starring Sutton Foster: Shows with Writer Characters, Doing Crazy Stuff to Follow Your Dreams and Living Like a 20-Something…WheneverMy Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      YES — Spammers have gotten a lot more sophisticated — some of them, anyway — and no plugin can filter them out. You find yourself wasting hours and hours trying to divine if it’s really a reader or not. Sometimes, I’d just remove their commentluv link and see if they ever commented again. Often, that would make them disappear. OR, I’d remove their love. Then come back and remove their URL from the form. Then, finally, I’d mark them as spam and get rid of them. Ridiculous amount of time wasted!

  11. I stepped away from writing for awhile, and from your blog here. I came back just in time to see this “no comments anymore” post. For which I say both “I’m going to miss commenting!” and “I don’t blame you one bit!”

    At the same time, I’ve always put a time limit on my comments whenever I had a blog. Most of the time it was 90 days. My current blog is 60 days. I leave a note at the bottom saying that “you have xx days to comment.” I don’t mind someone reading them from way-back-then. I just don’t want to have to comment because chances are good that I’ve moved on from whatever that post was.

    See you on FB!
    DKendra Francesco recently posted…But, I Only Want You To Write!My Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      We were limiting it to THIRTY days and then closing them, but that doesn’t end the massive issue of responding to 8-10 posts’ comments every day.

      In the next couple months alone, I have several free events I’m developing for my subscribers (not one, people? Now is TOTALLY the time to sign up!), and I’ll be able to write and send more ’email exclusive’ inspiring and informational emails out to my subs, that never appear on here. That was something I used to do regularly and then it got drowned in all the administrivia. So I’m excited to bring that back as well, and to deliver more value in that way.

      Ultimately, I feel my loyalty is to the people who trust me enough to give me an email, and I want to deliver a lot for them. Miscellaneous other folks who wander onto the blog but aren’t interested enough to sign up, to me, aren’t really my peeps. 😉

  12. Charlene Woodley says:

    Hi, Carol. Although I don’t comment much, I have to say that I’m sorry to see your comments go away, because I happen to study them as much as I study the information you provide on your blog. Now that your decision has been made, I agree with you that Facebook would be a great place for interaction and chats. As long as the blog goes nowhere, I’m okay with your choice. 🙂 With that said, I’ll see you on The Book! Keep up the stellar work! P.S. Thanks for speaking on how people are using CommentLuv…more valuable information. 🙂

  13. Hi Carol maam,

    Removing comments is in itself a very good decision. I have been following you since 2014 and have always loved your posts. Needless to say, you were the one that inspired me to do freelance writing and now I make a living writing for small businesses.

    I still, occasionally read the posts here but rarely comment because of the same spam issue. When you said you’re closing down the comments, I thought I should comment once before its all gone.

    Removing comments, in my view, should not affect you neither us readers, most are here for the value your articles (and the guest articles) provide and as far as discussing is concerned, I guess using Facebook would be a great idea. Maybe a group for blog readers will do?

    But again Facebook is also notoriously popular for spam so I too am wary suggesting it.

    Anyways, the end discussion is yours and we as readers will respect it, no matter what.

    Thank you.
    Swadhin Agrawal recently posted…How to Start a blog? Create Your Money Making Blog in 7 Days or less!My Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      So far, I’ve had much less spam on my FB page than I have had on here! And if you do, it’s so easy to block that person and be done. Where on blog comments, you get the same person trying to stuff hundreds of comments per week. I can’t even imagine how many tens of thousands of pieces of spam we’ve had to scan through here over the past 7 years.

  14. Lois says:

    No(more)comment(s)

  15. Katy says:

    I hope you keep up the conversation on Facebook. It makes it easy to contribute to the conversations around your content when it’s casually included in our feed. Plus, you’re sharing content when we have the “time” to read it and respond before we dive back into client work. Also, it’s a good segway going from commenting on Facebook about your post to getting back to work.

    To be honest, I don’t always read the comments on posts precisely because of those crappy barely-English comments. They’re annoying to wade through. I’m looking forward to having the comments mostly on Facebook so that those quality back-and-forth exchanges that we find so useful can be easier to read through.

    One last thing… I like the idea of having more presence on LinkedIn, but I’m on there so infrequently that I think I’d miss out on the conversation more than I’d catch it while I’m there. Facebook. Definitely Facebook.
    Katy recently posted…It’s All About The Benefits, BabyMy Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      Thanks for voting. 😉

      And thanks for ‘barely English’ — that’s the perfect description. You start to read and it seems like it might be a comprehensible sentence…but as you read through it sort of falls apart, and you don’t know quite what’s happening.

  16. Carol Tice says:

    One resource I want to leave for folks here, if you ARE a blogger who’s still trying to build your audience and really needs a lively comment conversation going on on your blog.

    This post from the Blog Herald really helped me understand engagement, and start creating more posts of the types that GET more comments: http://www.blogherald.com/2010/09/21/18-types-of-posts-that-get-more-comments/

  17. Mark says:

    Hi Carol

    I totally agree with your eloquently worded reasoning on comments, time management and productivity. As a language blogger, English tutor and (increasingly) a writer, those points are things which I’d either thought or wondered about – more than once. Reading your post and your discussion of those issues was great.

    If you’re on LinkedIn or Facebook, you’ll find me under miprofedeingles which is Spanish for … (I guess you’ll know). I’m native English but live and work in Spain. Thanks to some of your tips which I’ve followed, my agency (read, content mill) work has been growing, as it were, and I’ve gained one or two private clients. When I have more time, I intend to follow your suggestions more vigorously.

    So, thanks and… good luck, away from the comments!

  18. Todd says:

    So, two things. First, your blog is one of the few where I feel compelled to comment. Not a big deal really, and you are right (of course) that comments are falling to the wayside.

    Second, my recommendation is to consider a Facebook group as many are doing now. Or, the other would be to let Den Members comment on posts in the forum or something like that. Of course, that would mean that the reader would have to be a paying member to do so, but at least they are committed to the conversation.

    Or, you could do a Linkedin Group just for the purpose of the conversation. I think you have a chance to be creative like that. You have an engaged committed audience, so they will probably follow wherever you go.

    You are, of course, our Den Mother.
    Todd recently posted…Being secure with public WiFiMy Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      Yeah…feel like I already have a group! I do hear raves about doing a social-media free group for discussion…I’ll definitely be thinking about it, but for now I’m liking things on my FB page for this blog.

  19. Mai Bantog says:

    I love it when you post questions on Facebook; they’re really engaging and I think I’ve answered them a couple of times.

    See you on Facebook, Carol!

  20. Tonya says:

    I recently spoke with you on LinkedIn. I thjnk thats an awesome place. But honestly Id be more likely to pop in on facebook due to already being there for other groups..I just set time limits on myself when im on facebook,which is not everyday.Thanks Carol

  21. Cecelia Pineda says:

    Hi Carol,
    This is really interesting, as it does go so much against conventional “wisdom”. I’m pulled both ways, but appreciate your reasoning. I’m not on your FB page, nor connected with you on Linkedin (yet) – but would be happy to find you on either of those forums.

    I have to say though, that there are many meaningless conversations that take place on both of those forums as well, as we all know. In addition, many people complain that there are a significant numbers of “contrarians”- on Linkedin especially – who seem to take delight in being critical about everything. I don’t have personal experience with that.

    I think I need to get back into the Den. That’s probably the best place to have the type of conversation you’re talking about. Thank you.

  22. Ava Jarvis says:

    Much of the conversation that exists about any article seems to have moved to social media—Facebook, Tumblr, LinkedIn, even really short formats like Twitter. And it makes sense, because the information comes to the user, rather than the user having to actively seek it out.

    And for myself, even though I’m starting all over again in an entirely different field, I’ve decided to never have comments. I’m sick enough these days that I really don’t have time to really interact with the people who might comment and need to spend as much time as possible working on art. And if you can’t tend to comments, they are not really worth having—you have to make time to deal with them. And that time could be spent elsewhere. Sunk cost fallacy, etc.

    This also means I spend way less time commenting on blogs. I still read them and if I feel really strongly I’ll write a blog post, email, or private journal entry. And then I move on—whereas comments often end up being a conversation that eats time and energy over a day or even multiple days.

    It’s funny. As my involvement with art increases, even accounting for how sick I am now, my desire to blather in the comments sections on blogs has dropped off a cliff. And I’m not at all sad about it.

  23. Lora Horn says:

    Even my friends who say they prefer to comment on my blog contradict themselves and comment on my fb link to the article. Having everything central on social media where there seems to be more community, more personal centralization (everything in one place), plus instant notifications that the discussion is occurring facilitates so much better.

    • Carol Tice says:

      I just think that social media already screens people — also, it’s easy to block or ban something and poof! You’re never hearing from them again.

  24. Vicki Nemeth says:

    Here’s a possible factor: Does participating in conversations on LinkedIn improve my searchability? Even so, I wouldn’t comment there any more than I would comment here (not to say I won’t increase my engagement as I grow my brand). But it would be a side benefit that I can’t see getting on Facebook.

    The reverse of that is perhaps spam comments exist on LinkedIn, too. Have you or anyone you know seen many?

    • Carol Tice says:

      I haven’t explored yet whether more conversations and comments on a LI status update might help my findability to prospects. Guess we’ll find out!

  25. Kim Jarrett says:

    I worked for local news organizations for the past seven years and we HATE the comment sections on social media. We disabled them on the stories themselves because people would create fake names and make ludicrous claims.

    We had people wanting to say horrible things about every situation, use curse words or disguise them with $ymbols so they would get through the filters. Three to four times a week we had commenters who just knew the person in a story about an arrest was innocent and would start a firestorm between other commenters. We also had our fair share of naked people, people who would make us a millionaire if we sent them $2,000 first, and it seems like everyone at one point was selling athletic shoes. The last three years I ran the newsroom and I seriously wanted to hire someone just to be the “Facebook police.” It was terribly time-consuming. Some news organizations seemed to thrive on this interaction but most of us hated it.

    I have two blogs and I have not had much interaction. I have it set up so all of my comments have to be approved so I remove the spam before it gets on the site.

    • Carol Tice says:

      I think it’s VERY challenging for the news sites — saw that a lot with my Forbes blog channel, and they have so many contributors it is IMPOSSIBLE for them to police it.

      And yeah…setting comments so they ALL have to be moderated is another possibility…but the problem is, commenters HATE it. Then, you have to check back over and over to see if it got approved. I got complaints from commenters as it is, real readers of mine who ended UP in spam, too. Just an administrative nightmare.

  26. Cheryl Rhodes says:

    Carol, I think creating a LinkedIn group and sending an invite to all your connections to join may be the way to go. You start a conversation by linking your latest blog post.

    Those spam comments are annoying to remove. The most common type of spam I get is “I see you don’t monetize your blog” and then a link to somewhere that will help me do that. To them I say – are you blind?

    The spammers outweigh the legitimate comments.

    • Carol Tice says:

      By an increasing factor, they do.

      I don’t really want to create a LinkedIn GROUP, I don’t think. I DO have a FB business page, but on LI was just thinking I’d put the posts up on my personal profile, and we could chat from there…but we’ll see.

      I’m not in the business of starting free FB or LI pages, because I already HAVE a community site called Freelance Writers Den, and I really need to focus on meeting the needs of those members.

  27. YES! I did this on my own site and it’s made an enormous difference. Conversations happen on Facebook or Instagram, where real people have real profiles (generally speaking) and less random crap comes into play. I started noticing media outlets ending the comment section a while back and I fully support it. I’m sure it will work out beautifully here, too!

    • Carol Tice says:

      My co-teacher on Close the Sale, Linda Formichelli, closed hers ages ago, and then finally blew up her blog altogether.

      I think blogs have a lifespan. They have a beginning, middle, and probably often, a time when it’s appropriate to end them and move on to something else. Brian Clark has Unemployable now, and isn’t that involved in Copyblogger. Jon Morrow has Unstoppable, and Smart Blogger kind of runs on autopilot. Those of us who love launching businesses and building them tend to at some point wander off to launch something new.

      At one point, for me I thought that might be my Small Blog Big Income, but so far that hasn’t seemed to be where writers need help from me. Though maybe if I started a blog on there… 😉

      • Funny thing about that lifespan. It isn’t just for blogs. This morning, I ran across a site that closed five years ago, after 20 years of activity. You can look up things for historical value, because it’s still online, but they weren’t updating anything and no one can comment.
        DKendra Francesco recently posted…But, I Only Want You To Write!My Profile

  28. Tom Bentley says:

    Carol, I’ve often gained good guidance from your own comments that have expanded upon blog topics, and from those of fellow writers. But as you explain, the very value of those comments comes at a time cost, and don’t get the circulation they deserve. As for the spammers, bah! A curse on their house of pork.

    Despite every writing site admonition that writers should be on Facebook, many aspects of the platform are dreary to me, so I’m absent; thus, I’ll miss out on your good work there. But perhaps there’s good to come on LinkedIn, where I do picnic occasionally.

    Thanks for all the in-depth, helpful commenting you’ve done here in the past. Onward!
    Tom Bentley recently posted…Editors Will Pay for Articles that PlayMy Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      I know…FB certainly has its haters, and I think of it as a real 2-edged sword on there. So many distractions! But the opportunity to reach mega-millions. We’ll see what I think once comments go to social media, and if I want to reconsider it later, maybe I will, as Copyblogger did.

  29. Miriam Davis says:

    I’m sorry that you’re getting rid of the comments. I enjoyed reading them although I rarely commented myself. Your explanation, however, does make sense. I hope you’ll continue these conversations on Facebook.

  30. Rob says:

    I haven’t seen too many spammy comments on your blog. Why not skip the links and allow comments?
    Rob recently posted…Magic in real lifeMy Profile

    • Firth McQuilliam says:

      Actually, I just saw a pure spam comment pop up in the “When Freelance Writing Jobs Go Terribly Wrong” thread. It had both a spam hyperlink and a telephone number for a spammy spammedy spammo spam website. -_-

      • Carol Tice says:

        Maybe you did once…but it’s gone now. And that’s part of the problem. We had already taken to closing comments on older posts 1 month after publication, because old posts are a HUGE target for spam. It was ridiculous. I guess they don’t understand that in my WordPress dashboard, I’m seeing ALL comments in timed-dated order. I think they’re hoping they can sneak it on and moderators won’t notice. Closing comments on older posts helped…but not enough.

    • Carol Tice says:

      Well…if I hate taking comments away, that may be what happens! But for now, I feel like lively convos are happening over on my FB page, and I’m curious what would happen if ALL the convo was on there and LI. So giving it a try.

      And…you haven’t seen too many spammy comments because we are expending TONS of administrative time spiking them off, Rob. So that’s money I can save and devote to things that will TRULY help freelance writers, like say getting better Den forum software, getting better mobile design for the Den and other sites of mine, developing new courses, doing more small-group coaching. I need to focus on what actually gets a RESULT for my readers and helps them earn more. I feel like I started a ton of initiatives and went in many directions over the past 5 years…and now it’s time to focus and be more effective. Be back on mission.

  31. Irene Ross says:

    Hi Carol–I prefer Facebook to chat. I’m not crazy about LinkedIn. While it used to be a very professional business site, I now think that even think LinkedIn doesn’t know what LinkedIn is. I’m getting a lot of SPAMMY comments, trolling for dates, and more on LinkedIn. They send irrelevant personal messages–my favorite this week was “hey Irene, I can tell you how to get 15% more chiropractic clients.”

    I’m not a chiropractor, per my profile, and I did tell him that–and then blocked him.

    Of course you can get that on Facebook, too, but if you’re careful on SM, the security there is much better.

    • Carol Tice says:

      I haven’t done a ton of LI chatting, so I’m curious to see how that goes. But I’m with you — someone actually did try to date me on LinkedIn a few weeks ago! I was totally stunned. I of course thought they wanted what all questionable reachouts I get want, which is to get me to stuff a link in a Forbes post for $100 and not reveal I was paid…

      What I love about LI or FB vs comments here is I can ACKNOWLEDGE a comment with a ‘like’ if it’s not complex or really requiring more feedback from me, and that reader can feel SEEN. They know I read what they wrote and I care about it. Where in blog comments, you kind of need to SAY something, even if there really is not much more TO say, and it’s a huge time investment.

      One thing that was happening behind the scenes, was my guest posters would respond to low-value comments again, commenter woudl say “Great post,” and then guest would say “Glad you liked it!” And I would delete the response. Because it just adds nothing! It looks like comment-stuffing, just a gambit to make your comments look longer. So there was all that time-wasting administratively, monitoring THAT, as well. And, of course, the stress of getting guest posters TO the comments early enough in the day that it drove more engagement. Now, I can get GREAT guest posters without the stress of their being obligated to hop on comments at 9 Pacific.

  32. Troy Lambert says:

    Hey Carol

    First, this is so true. I own 2 sites, and 90% of the comments are just crap or thinly disguised spam. We get a few genuine ones, but comments are on the decline.

    Second. to the power of LinkedIn. I was a scoffer at first. I had my obligatory profile and posted rarely. Now I use Linkedin ProFinder for finding local freelance gigs, I have over 1500 connections, and I post and share there often.

    If we can get writers to see the value of LinkedIn and other social media where interaction really happens, it is a win for all of us.

    Thanks for all of your great posts. I am a recent graduate of one course, a new member of the Den, and taking a bootcamp starting this week.

    Thanks again.

    • Carol Tice says:

      Wow, you’re a machine, Troy! I was excited to see you’d joined the Den…think Close the Sale is going to be great for you.

      You may not know this, but I was a legal secretary at MGM in a past life, and my husband is a UCLA film grad. Plenty of pitching and needing to convince people your idea is great in that world, too.

  33. Karen Cioffi says:

    Carol, I agree, the nature of commenting has changed. Along with cleverly and not-so-cleverly disguised spam, people seem to have less time. They get the gist of the article and move on. Good luck on your new blogging platform – I’ll keep a look out for it when you choose one.
    Karen Cioffi recently posted…Children’s Writing and Information DumpMy Profile

  34. Ben says:

    Having recently started a new blog, I personally find it quite disappointing that people don’t tend to comment anymore. My older blog (started in 2008) always had quite an active comment section and I enjoyed that – now that one, for me too, is just a periodic spam clearing exercise.

    I think this kind of activity has largely moved to Facebook. Quite a lot of sites like this (NicheHacks springs to mind) have a large community group.

    These police themselves quite well – people who spam or break the rules tend to get dealt with by other members of the community and it’s easy to ban people.

    • Carol Tice says:

      People keep mentioning Disqus to me as another alternative — something you might try as a new blog that really does need to build those convos. OR…just give up and take it to Facebook! The fringe benefit there is more engagement on FB means our ads will get served to more people, and our organic posts will have more reach, thanks to FB’s devious algorithm requirements.

      Have to say I wouldn’t want to be a new blogger at this point because of the difficulty of connecting with readers. Definitely not what it used to be in terms of using comments to take take your audience’s temperature and find out what they want from you.

  35. Hi Carol

    Ah! The thinly disguised comment spam.

    If I remember correctly, when I first started commenting on your blog, I used to include some kind of writing keyword in my name field. But that’s what my SEO friends were telling me to do (whom I now ignore).

    As for my own blog, it’s not been the spam that’s been the problem. It’s been all the low-value comments. I mean, how do you respond with anything meaningful to a comment that says “Great stuff Kevin. I’ve long held the same opinion about USP strategies myself.”

    As for where your comments should go, I really don’t know. I hate the idea of sending user-generated content away from my own property and putting it in the hands of someone else (in other words FB or LinkedIn). I think Copyblogger once described this as ‘digital sharecropping’ before finding themselves doing exactly the same.

    Finally, I suspect it was comments that were responsible for both the rise and fall of AdrienneSmith.net. I think Adrienne got so burned out responding to comments, she ended up throwing in the towel altogether.

    • Carol Tice says:

      LOL, so true about Copyblogger! And I also felt the same way. EXCEPT…that being a successful blog-based business means serving readers. And my readers seem to want to talk to me, authentically converse with me, more on Facebook than on here! So I think I should listen to that.

      And yes…many bloggers do quit, and I think comment-answering burnout can be a real factor.

      But as you note, comments seem to have evolved from interesting additional points or questions being raised by readers to, “Nice post!” Which always sends me to look at their commentluv and URL links, which are usually some SEO play on their part or attempt to get some traffic off my blog. That to me defeats the point of comments.

      The funny thing was, at one point our CommentLuv broke! And while we were working on fixing it, some high-quality discussions happened, and some posts got a pretty decent number of comments again. We thought about leaving that tool off, but felt so many writers want to show other writers their blog posts, that it went back up.

      Now I’m just excited to move onto the next phase of this blog — delivering more high-quality posts, because I have time to write them, and more useful programs that help writers earn more. Because that is why I get out of bed in the morning.

      I’d say another tearing point for me was that recently, one commenter was called out by another commenter as spamming, and I agreed, on reviewing it. Spiked it off…and then that commenter popped up, and really was legit, they just didn’t understand blogging best practices and their site was set up in a sort of spammy-feeling way. That made me feel hopeless about being able to successfully moderate comments without pissing off my readers! Which obviously is not why I create blog posts.

      • I’m not on Facebook (one social network too many for me) so it’s a shame I won’t see that aspect of your output any more.

        I’m actually OK about some people using CommentLuv to get traffic back to their own sites – as links are the very lifeblood of the web. I also don’t mind using it as a carrot for encouraging comments either, as it’s good to see the type of people who are reading your content.

        But my blog is nowhere remotely near the scale of yours. And I’m sure I’d feel differently in your shoes.
        Kevin Carlton recently posted…502 Phrases That Magically Transform Forgettable Blog Posts into Irresistible ContentMy Profile

    • Hi Kevin,
      I am also getting comments like nice job Pat, good stuff etc. How do you handle these types of comments? Did you approve or mark as Spam? So far i have been approving, but like Carol, sometimes I wish I could feel good about deleting comments but i am fairly new.
      Patricia Coldiron recently posted…Blog AnnouncementMy Profile

      • Hi Patricia

        If it looks like they’ve read my post then I’ll approve the comment.

        To try and add value in my reply, I often take a quick visit to the commenter’s website. That often gives me something to go on.

        For example, I can then respond with something like: “Hi Ermintrude, I notice your own blog is about dog worming. Yes, you can still apply these same writing techniques to your own posts, as dog owners want well-formatted, easy-to-read content just like everyone else.”
        Kevin Carlton recently posted…502 Phrases That Magically Transform Forgettable Blog Posts into Irresistible ContentMy Profile

        • Carol Tice says:

          LOL, yes that’s another timewaster, heading over to their site to see if it’s too spammy and appalling to be linked to yours, if it might damage your own Google credibility.

          And let’s all give a non-cheer for the endless GENERIC comments where it’s clear they have NOT really read the post and it’s just a spam gambit. Stop, already!

  36. Firth McQuilliam says:

    It’s a damn shame about the flood of useless remarks, Ms. Carol Tice. I hadn’t realized the comment-spam problem had grown into such a huge burden for you. The world needs a sophisticated reputation-management system that transcends the walled gardens of Facebook et alia. Spammers are the cockroaches of the internet. They will never disappear, but one can struggle mightily to keep their diseased droppings under control.

    Be that as it may. I don’t think anyone can argue with the logic behind your decision. Your time is indeed better spent on more productive pursuits such as creating evergreen training materials and responding to paid members of your Freelance Writers Den. The enormous comment base and continuing posts on your blog will serve well to attract a steady stream of casual visitors, prospective clients, and potential paying members.

    Speaking of alternative venues, I dislike Facebook myself, having dumped my account a few years back. Still, it’s undeniably popular. I know little of LinkedIn. Does it have robust forum capabilities and spam filtering?

    After reading your blog entries on and off for years, I’ve finally decided to move decisively into proper writing. It’s become too difficult to neglect the fullest expression of my skills and the potential for decent income. With every word I type, I think of the infinitely greener grass on the other side of the fence. It’s not quite like those old fairy tales about agony shooting up one’s fingers with each movement, but it’s not far off either. My nascent fiction writing begs as well for explosive growth. ^_^

    Regardless of agony, I must crank out a little more work at the content mills this spring to pay urgent bills. The IRS is an especially unforgiving creditor. I’ve set a firm deadline for the oncoming summer. My bank accounts will have enough money by then to scrape by until marketing efforts kick in with real clients. It’s worth the effort. Life is short.

    In any case, whatever you decide to do, I wish you good fortune with your endeavors!

    • Carol Tice says:

      If you’re not on LinkedIn yet, Firth…stay tuned for Sunday’s post on how to get clients with your profile on there. 😉

      This summer, I plan to run a small-group mastermind only for new freelance writers…something I’ve done in the past but haven’t done in a few years now. If you’re interested, waiting list for that is here. Haven’t talked about it much yet — more coming in June.

      The effectiveness of the coaching I did in that 3 month intensive is really what inspired the programs in the Den.

  37. This is a really interesting post and one I have struggled with on my social media platforms. I upload regularly (especially on Instagram) and get the followers but my engagement is pretty low. Occasionally I get a few loyal followers comment but mostly comments are generic that usually have nothing to do with the post and is just a way to get you onto the user’s page. Really enjoyed your post, it has got me thinking. I don’t know to do what yet. but I’m thinking, and that’s the first step lol.

    • Carol Tice says:

      Well, the issue of how to get engagement on social media is another one altogether, I think. I’ve had SO much engagement on this blog over the years — there are almost 36,000 approved posts on this blog! And I probably wrote at least 1/3 of them, is the dark side. That’s 12,000 comments I wrote.

      The problem is that for the most part, those comments help ONE reader at a time. Which honestly, is in contradiction of my mission to help the MOST writers I can. Coursetizing, creating Freelance Writers Den that has 1100 members at the moment who can all learn at once, or putting on a free live training 800 people opt in for and can access…that is ON mission for me.