It's Not You; It's Me: An Experiment in Turning off Blog Comments


I’ve been thinking a lot lately about blog comments.

It’s well known in Blog World that the number of comments you get on a post is only a small fraction of the actual readers you actually have. My unofficial blogger stats show that 200-300 people see my average post, and that of course does not include however many people subscribe through email or a blog reader where they don’t actually have to click over to my page. (I honestly don’t know how it all works; that’s just my assumption.)

Erika wrote a great post a while back about not determining the success of a post based on how many comments but instead thinking of it like a speech. If I “only” get five comments on a post but my stats say 200 people actually viewed it, that’s a pretty big room full of people!

Still, it’s extremely difficult not to rate the awesomeness of a post and therefore yourself as a blogger by how many comments you did or did not get. 

I knew a blogger once who completely turned off comments on her blog. I didn't know quite what to make of it. Sometimes I wanted to respond to a post, but I couldn’t, at least not without emailing her directly, which I didn’t want to do. It was slightly annoying to not have that direct "comment" option available. But I also realized that I liked just reading and knowing she didn’t expect anything from me.

As a blog reader, sometimes I feel guilty when I don’t comment. I know how much I love comments, and I feel guilty dining and ditching, so to speak. That said, as a blogger, I don’t want you, the blog reader, to feel obligated to comment. I know you're busy, and I don’t want to expect anything from you.

I’m just happy you’re here.

I like sharing pieces my life with you, and I hope you like reading it. What I’m trying to get over is needing validation from it, because a month from now, I won’t remember if this post got 5 or 500 comments. I won’t remember who commented. I’ll just remember that I wrote it. And chances are, YOU won't remember if you commented on a post either. But maybe you will remember reading it.

What I would miss if I turned off blog comments completely forever is the interaction with those of you who take the time to comment. I have almost daily emails with Kate that I enjoy so much, and they’re all started through blog comments that turn into a back-and-forth conversation that’s ten emails long. If I didn’t have comments at all, I would be sad for sure.


I’m going to try something.

Starting with today's post, for the month of November, I will be turning off comments on some of my posts. I know “some” is vague, but I'm not going to turn off comments on every post, just some of them.

I'm interested to see if I really do enjoy writing and sharing without needing the validation of comments. And I want to give you permission to read as much or little as you want without feeling like you need to leave a comment. Also, I check my inbox for comments throughout the day, and I'm interested to see how turning off comments will affect my time management and whether or not I'll feel Gmail inbox withdrawals.

If I turn off comments on a post, please always feel free to get in touch with me if you have something to say. I’m on Twitter, Facebook, and of course email. I value and appreciate and want your input. I want to bond over our shared experiences and our likes and dislikes. I want to get to know you.

It’s not you; it’s me.

Not that you could do anything to stop me anyway, but I hope you're okay with me trying this little experiment. I'm a little nervous about how this will all go down, but it's been something I've been thinking about for a while, so I'm just going to do it. Maybe I'll hate it and be back to regular commenting options in December. Or, I don't know, maybe I'll love it.

I'll keep you posted! And if you have any thoughts/comments/responses of any kind, shoot me an email, tweet me, Facebook me, or, you know, just send up some smoke signals.

*This post was inspired by all of the following:

The Numbers Game (All Things E)
Why shutting down comments was one of the best things for my blog (Elembee)
When Blogging Becomes a Slog (Decor 8) (Thanks to Kiki for linking to this post originally)