Blog comments are a much debated issue. More and more legal blogs that I see on some of the major blog networks don’t even have commenting systems enabled on their blogs. Others, that have comments enabled, either don’t publish any comments at all, or don’t respond to comments on their blog. This is a huge mistake.
First, if you operate a blog and you don’t have comments enabled, I would suggest to you that you really don’t have a blog. You have some quasi-publishing platform. To me, blogging is a form of interactive two-way communication. Without comments, anything you publish is more like a newsletter. It’s one-way, meaning your readers can’t participate in any discussion. “Blogs” without comments enabled are merely websites organized in reverse chronological order.
Second, for those of you who have blogs with commenting enabled, but simply don’t publish any comments, this is actually worse. From a user experience standpoint, let me tell you that, in my humble opinion, there is not much worse than reading your blog post, formulating a thought-out response, and never seeing it posted. This is almost a guaranteed way for you to get me not to return to your “blog”. Quite frankly, you’re better off disabling your comment system altogether.
For those of you that have comments enabled and publish comments (whether intentionally or by accident) take the time to respond. You may be greatly surprised by how much more effective your blog is in terms of engaging your visitors if you take just a couple minutes to respond to excellent comments from time to time. Look at some of the most popular legal blogs out there. You will notice that the best legal bloggers on the web are active participants with the comments on their legal blogs.
Lastly, spend some time commenting on other blogs. No, don’t go spam a bunch of high-profile legal blogs with optimized anchor text. Provide insight into a discussion. Disagree with a blogger. Or simply pay them a compliment. The web provides us an amazing opportunity to engage in discussions on all types of issues. Unlike with radio, television, and newspapers, the voices of the audience can actually be heard, and our comments published. Be an active Internet user.