Are you wondering whether to enable comments on your blog or website?
How can you tell if it’s a good idea or not?
This article looks at why comments are increasingly used and what you really need to understand about them.
For years restauranteurs and hotel owners have been rated on the whole experience they provide. We’ve all read these types of reviews and no doubt based our decisions partially upon them. A positive review from a renowned food critic might have a huge impact on business, just as reading about the discovery of a slug in the salad can have the opposite effect! These businesses have learnt to deal with feedback – it’s part of their trade.
In today’s online world, no business can avoid receiving feedback.
Disabling Comments on a Blog Won’t Stop the Comments!
This may seem like a silly statement but it is true. In cyberspace there is plenty of room to have your say. Just because your comments are barred from one website (and perhaps their social media too), there are still a million other places to go. Or if you are so intent on getting yourself heard you may even be motivated to set up your own website.
What’s more, when anyone is looking for this feedback it will be easy to find in a Google search. Even if you resolved not to be online, it doesn’t solve the problem. This is going to happen whether you like it or not.
Not All Comments Carry Weight
In the same way that food critics have built up reputations for being fair and honest in their reviews, we have to realise that comments also reflect on the person who has left them. The only real value is if they are genuine. This is where something else rather interesting is happening – we are all leaving a trail! In effect we are all in a position where we too can receive feedback!
So, it’s really important that we think before we contribute online. It’s hard to tell whether you can ever delete something once it’s in the public domain.
We have a show in the UK called Who Do You Think You Are? Each episode different celebrities uncover their past and learn more about their ancestors. If a similar programme were being shown a century from now, we have to realise that the amount of information they might have access to about us will paint a very clear picture of who we are! Our comments and online interactions will sum us up.
Enabling Comments Can Help Build Community
There are many reasons why we should be proactive and want to enable comments on our websites. This is a direct link to our customers or potential customers. It’s an opportunity to help them, engage them and hone our product to be more what they want.
Negative feedback is not the end of the world either. Some people like criticism because they can do something about it whereas positive feedback does not advance them.
Transparency is a Game-Changer
There is one difficulty with transparency, it exposes your product for what it is. If you create products that are fantastic and that you know add value to your customer, then you have absolutely nothing to worry about.
For example, a lot of the motivation behind my House Planning Help blog was centred around my dislike of the way my local town was being developed by volume house-builders who add little or no value to the area. Their interest is in making money and not in making buildings and communities the best they can be. I did a few searches about these builders and could effortlessly find the negative feedback. So, what is going to happen is they are going to find that word has spread far and wide. As soon as people have more choice in the market place, then they are going to lose business (unless they innovate quickly).
It is our duty as a commenter to add honest feedback whenever we feel it is necessary.
Websites Without Comments Will Soon be Ignored
The best sales pitch is no sales pitch at all. If a product is good it will sell itself. This is why we are likely to see more companies embracing transparency and offering as much detail as possible to their customers so there is no excuse not to know exactly what you are buying. Although transparency is a great sales pitch, it has to be with the right intention. Presenting a rose-tinted image of your company will become very difficult to achieve. You are what you are.
Enable Your Comments
I really believe that the Internet is doing something quite exciting. It is allowing the best ideas to rise to the top. This is very good news for both businesses and customers.
If you run a business you should enable your comments. This doesn’t have to be on every page of your website but where it makes sense. The blog would be a prime example of this.