One of the top blogs on the web recently discontinued comments, and this came as a surprise to their community.

The truth is many of us have struggled with comments over the years on our blogs. This is one reason why notable marketer Seth Godin discontinued comments on his blog way back in 2006.

During the session I facilitated at the Social Media Marketing World conference this past week, a small business owner asked a question that is near and dear to me: “How do we determine which social media channels are right for our business?”

Every business needs at least one channel that it owns, with a blog being the most powerful. Managed well, a blog becomes a digital marketing asset that drives traffic to your business 24/7.

Read further to learn why choosing a commenting strategy is vital to your web marketing success.

Commenting Communities Must Be Managed

There is a great deal of value in thoughtful comments. It’s how I’ve met many of my good friends on social media. This is one reason why I’m reluctant to not accept comments.

However, times have changed and the practice of commenting seems to have declined. Most small business blogs, including my own, receive few comments. In fact, this is true of many large blogs such as The Huffington Post and Forbes.

These businesses have adopted the practice of requiring commenters to register. In other words, there are no anonymous comments. While this may eliminate spammers, it also discourages well-intentioned commenters.

The purpose of comments is building community, but that is not going to happen if it is difficult to use or manage, or if there is no response from management. This is one reason why I’m strongly considering shutting off comments.

Social Media is a Better Place for Comments

In the early days blogs were free-form journals. These days they are legitimate sources of credible media. Should your business risk allowing others to compromise that content it worked so hard to create?

The benefit of encouraging comments on your social media channels is reaching a wider audience, but it goes much further than that. All of the social media channels are designed to encourage interaction and discovery.

That’s what they do!

The more interaction your content receives on Facebook the more it tends to attract. That’s one benefit of Facebook comments. Although, keep in mind that Facebook activity is confined to your Facebook friends and followers.

In contrast, content shared on Google+ is readily discoverable within organic search, making Google+ a powerful platform for interacting with your online community.

Therefore, don’t be surprised if Google+ soon becomes the go-to place for interaction with businesses on the web.

You Decide

All of this comes down to what is best for your business.

My friend Michael Stelzner, the founder of Social Media Examiner, was recently commended on the commenting activity his site receives. To that he responded (paraphrasing): “Not really when you consider we have 250,000 subscribers.”

Your business must decide how to best interact with your online communities. Unless you have a particularly engaged blog community, that place may not be your blog.

For me personally, my Web Marketing News is the place! You know I always invite your comments, and they will be personally answered by me. If you haven’t already, please consider subscribing.

Moving forward then, you can best engage with me (and other like-minded business professionals) on the social media channels linked below where I hang out as much as possible.

Want to leave a comment? Go for it while you can.

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