End of Comments on the Robert Plank Blog?

December 8, 201331 Comments

We’re coming out with a brand new podcast episode next weekend called, “How to Make Your First 1000 Dollars Online”… and I want to share it with you but I need something from you first…

We are also coming up on the 5th anniversary of this site. I remember starting it thinking two things:

  1. I had already missed the “blogging gold rush” of 2005 (yeah right)
  2. If I post what I have to say on someone else’s message board, won’t that get more traffic, comments, and make me more money?
  3. I’m going to limit the number of comments on each post to 10 comments only (which was a lot of fun)

I think it’s far better to own YourName.com and have a blog that you not only have FULL CONTROL over but is also PERMANENT… who’s going to go digging around on your Facebook timeline to find what you posted a year ago, or who’s going to scroll back to page 197 of that message board to find what you said last month?

It’s my site, so I can do whatever I want, but I want to know what you think about closing comments on this blog?

Every time I make a post I stress about how I’m going to get 20, 50, 100 people to leave a comment — and today I suddenly thought, maybe I should leave it closed and not worry about it?

Should I permanently disable the ability for you or anyone else to leave comments here? Yes or no? I want to know your thoughts and opinions in a comment below… it may be the last time!

(No, I won’t switch over to a Disqus or Facebook comment system. And no, this isn’t a marketing ploy of any kind, I’m seriously considering it.)

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts below…

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Comments (31)

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  1. Josh says:

    Hi there,

    I think it is a bad idea to close comments to your blog or any blog.

    It is a good way to interact with the readers of your blog, so you know what their needs or problems are.
    It is a way to measure if your readers get your point.
    It is a way to get hold of new ideas you have overlooked.

    On the other hand, it takes time to go over all the comments an reply to them. So what is more important to you?

    Just my humble opinion.

  2. Tom Allen says:

    Robert, it’s your site !
    I like your site & blog articles, but really Doesn’t matter to me if I can leave comments.
    I think it would matter to you only if you like to see your followers responses or what the intention of your site is really for
    So I may assume this is some kind of test to see what people will say for what’s next on this site
    Happy Holidays !

  3. Colin Callahan says:

    I agree with Josh, that comments give you some interaction with your readers and fans. I think the 10 comment concept is interesting. I haven’t noticed whether you routinely get at least 10 but I’m assuming so.

    I think closing comments gives an impression that you don’t care about or at least care to interact with your readers. In fact you may not care what readers think, but keeping comments open, even limited, is good for customer relations.

    It is my experience that you are interested in your readers thoughts and opinions so it’s not clear what the advantage of closing comments would be beyond not having to curate and manage them.

    I vote NO don’t close comments.

    -Colin

  4. Trevor Baret says:

    Hi Robert,

    I would miss the opportunity to comment on your great posts.

    I think you would also miss the feedback that you get.

    I have seen you use the blog to get opinions to help you to decide what to market next and how to do the marketing – that can only be achieved through the comments.

    You also use the comments for marketing – “only when I reach X comments will I reveal Y”…

    I would hate to see the comments go, and I think you gain too much from them to let them go.

    But you know all of this, so why are you really asking???

    Trevor

  5. Philip Rees says:

    I always appreciate the posts on your site Robert as they have inspired me through some very difficult times. It is also highly interesting to see other people’s viewpoints as we all share the trials and tribulations of using our computers for the purpose of…

    It’s like questions being asked at seminars. I know some people are capable even to gather the questions and target a product to answer peoples needs. Your site delivers this a thousandfold!

    The interaction between you and your commentators is a learning experience in it’s own right. I do hope you allow them to continue.

    To our success!

  6. Hi Robert,

    I don’t think it’s a good idea to close comments – you’d lose out on a valuable source of feedback and the opportunity to see what your most loyal (and valuable) readers think.

    So often we see these “Shall I shut down?” campaigns that turn out to be nothing but hype for the next advertising blitz or the next product for sale. Now I know that’s not YOU – I believe you have much more integrity than that – but it could leave someone who doesn’t really know you and hasn’t experienced the value of your offerings “cause for pause”.

    Just my .02 worth – I’d hate to see the ability to comment go away…

    Dianne D.

  7. Lynn True says:

    I agree with the others that we learn a lot from your posts plus we get added benefit from the ideas and discussion in the comments. That said, limiting your comments to, say, 10 or 15 or 25 would probably make your life a little easier. Occasionally I even become incentivized to post a comment because of what you are asking for … ;-)

  8. John Antaya says:

    Without the comments on your articles Robert, it would leave you blind as to how your are doing with your readers. It is something special that you now have between you and your readers.

    John

  9. In the wise words of Robert Plank, the question to ask is, “will closing comments on my blog help me make money?”. -Wally

  10. Robin says:

    Robert, one needs to go with their gut instinct and do what you need to do.

  11. Hi Robert,
    I comment only occasionally, if only to let you know my appreciation of your efforts or to add to your other readers experience (such as, ways you get traffic or how you market). It would be a shame to close the comments but as the others say here, it’s your choice. I don’t see why this is even a question. Based on worry? Why is it a worry? Wishing you well and the best,

  12. Dale Maxwell says:

    On one hand – up the food chain the big fish never directly interact with their tribe.

    On the other perhaps the tribe feels a bin closer to you because you give the opportunity to “discuss” .

    I personally like reading the feedback and learn from it as well as you blog posts.

    Thanks

  13. Trevor Baret says:

    Robert,

    The consensus so far seems to be that we all learn from the comments as well as the original post.

    I have no doubt that you also learn from the comments.

    And the sense of community is important.

    So, You need to ask yourself –
    “Would an idiot do this?”

    Trevor

  14. John Carnegie says:

    Change is constant…

    When you recently mentioned asking permission from your girlfriend’s father before proposing to her, your were entering a significant new phase of your life.

    Your prior decision to leave a ‘safe job’ to strike out on your own was also a significant new phase in your career life.

    The collaboration between you and Lance, the product development/webinar awareness calendar was also a higher order significant new phase of your entrepreneurial life.

    You have broken free of the American Dream/Nightmare social conditioning and documented your progress with electronic breadcrumbs copiously left for others to discover and followed.

    If this happens to be the end of this communications modality, no one can ever claim that you didn’t go above and beyond any need to share your discoveries and insights!

    Thanks for your contributions,

    John A. Carnegie

  15. Adam Hommey says:

    Robert –

    The volume – and quality – of comments you get on your posts is something that most marketers only *wish* they could achieve.

    To remove the ability to comment is to effectively cut yourself off from social proof that your solutions and systems help the people they’re intended to help.

    I can see a valid point to limiting the number of comments (cut it off at 50 or what have you, as you’ve done most of the time) – it creates a climate for action.

    But turn off comments entirely? That feels like a dramatic shift from a website conversion conversation to a megaphone. I fear you’ll lose a number of people who look forward to what you post on this site.

    Just my $0.02.

    My cat, Batman, agrees – how else can one really sink their claws in?

    – ARH

  16. RJ Peters says:

    Whether you need or want to interact with your readers is up to you, of course, but I agree with Josh in that it’s helpful to learning what they find interesting or need to know. That said, I would like to see the comments remain, as I usually learn something from everyone else by reading what they have to say or share.

  17. Bill Beatty says:

    I don’t read your blog so I can post my comments, so it will not affect the value I get from what you post. As I see it, if you turn your comments off, it is because your followers comments are not relevant to what you will be commenting about in the future. I do hope you continue to blog because I get value from what you say.

  18. John says:

    I really don’t give a fuck what you do..

  19. Howard says:

    I have mixed feelings about blog comments. My most profitable site gets very few comments, and one of my least profitable sites gets tons of comments (most spam, though). I wouldn’t mind getting better feedback, but I don’t really see any (positive) relationship between the number of comments I get and the money I make on a site.

    My attempts to get better user engagement on my other sites have not really gone anywhere, so I have to conclude that I’m not doing it right.

  20. Ron says:

    I have to agree with Dale and Alex. The fact that you come in here and comment yourself sets you apart from a lot of bloggers/marketers. Plus the added social proof comments provide helps you.

    Ultimately it is your choice, but I think it would be a mistake.

  21. Marco says:

    Comments on blog are like all-you-can-eat sushi: great in theory, but usually disappointing.

    I think your blog won’t lose anything without the readers’ comments.

  22. Kieran McDonogh says:

    Personally I’d favor leaving the ability for readers to comment. Here’s a few benefits to leaving comments enabled:

    – the ability for a 2-way conversation with your community/tribe.
    – rather than talking “at” your community, you can talk “with” your community.
    – its a channel for feedback/input/disclosure of issues and challenges, which for the most part is HIGHLY VALUABLE dialogue for you as a product creator solving problems.
    – social proof for readers to know they’re not reading a blog that is a ghost town.

  23. Sunny says:

    I scan comments to find a “little extra.” I personally would not close down comments on my sites. It at least gives the appearance of being connected with your followers. Ultimately, though, it comes down to what is working best for you and your tribe.

  24. Lawrence Mills says:

    Hi Robert,

    It would be a pity if you closed the comments down, as with quite a few of the comments above a two way conversation with you and your followers creates further knowledge for all to see.
    I guess it is a bit time consuming for you to go through all of them but as is also stated it is your call.
    Maybe you can leave them on and let everyone decide to react between themselves with comments to each other if they wish.
    I do think that your followers enjoy the comments and your reaction to some of them, whether good or bad.

  25. Debbie says:

    Why stress over how many comments you get?
    If the article is interesting, people will comment.
    Just like when people come to my store, I can’t force them to buy anything but I can encourage dialogue.
    Talk is cheap but valuable…
    Only close comments when the “conversation” is no longer relevant.

  26. Roger says:

    Hi Robert,

    The consensus seems to be that we (the few that have commented) do NOT want to see the comments go away…that much is rather obvious.

    To me, the decision really is not ours, it’s yours. I personally would like like to see the ability to comment continue, but I also do NOT want You to stress out about how many or how quickly you reach a predefined level of comments.

    So, the decision is truly yours, and yours alone to make.

    The question seems to be:
    “Can I, Robert Plank, disregard my “want” to have “x” number of comments, within “x” amount of time, or will this become some sort of unhealthy obsession?

    If the answer is Yes to the disregard portion, then leave the ability to comment turned on, if the answer is Yes to the obsession portion, then by all means, turn it off! No sense in harming your health just for a few blog comments.

    Whatever your choice is, I wish you all the best and I promise you that I will not stop reading your blog, as long as you keep writing it and I have the ability to access it.

    Thank you for all the great content, tips, tricks and attempting to transfer a bit of your knowledge into my world.

    Roger

  27. John K says:

    Hi Robert

    The answer, as always, is to test! But here is my observation to give you a starting point.

    The comments on many of your posts come as a result of asking for them or even incentivizing them. Your participation in the conversation encourages more comment. Many bloggers fail to get comments because they do nothing to make them happen.

    I believe, from experience, that leaving comments on without soliciting or responding may reduce but not entirely eliminate comments as you have already built a following.

    It also depends, as others have stated, on why you wanted comments and worked so hard for them and why you may now not wish to continue.

    The answer probably lies within yourself rather than with your audience.

    I usually visit this blog as a result of an email from you with an intriguing subject, that will not stop whether you have comments or not.

  28. Dennis says:

    Hi Robert,

    I would really miss the comments of all the others that post here.

    I feel that they add immense value to your blog posts.

    Dennis

  29. Scott says:

    Interesting thought about closing comments. I have been thinking about how comments effect SEO. Theoretically speaking, comments could be muddying up the waters of keyword density, however, Google is basing their algorithm around Hummingbird, which means that they are looking more closely at things like latent semantic indexing, or conversational topics near the keywords. For example, if you are talking about the NBA then it probably looks for things like a team name or Lebron James in the text. If that is true, then comments can only add to the possibility of gaining more keywords within a silo of keywords that Google would like to see. Therefore, opening and keeping comments is not a bad idea, especially since Google is looking for more social signals within posts. It would be an interesting experiment to see if linking people’s Twitter or Facebook posts within the comments would raise the quality of the SEO endeavors due to social signals. Sorry… Did I ever mention that I work as a professional SEO in the corporate world?

  30. Connie Dunn says:

    Hey, Robert…
    I now have a Blog site that I’m putting up for my name, as you suggested. My URL: connieddunn.com. I had to go with my middle initial since the other wasn’t available.

    As for Closing the Comments, doesn’t that defeat the whole idea of a Blog? I mean, we don’t want SPAM comments, but real relevant comments are helpful. Of course, there is the overload factor that comes into play.

    I don’t see the advantage of Closing the Comments unless you’re shutting down this site. I just listened to your Webinar a few weeks ago where you encouraged us all to put up a blog site with our own name…so now that I’ve invested a little money and some time into it, you’re saying that you don’t find it relevant? Is that what you’re telling us?

    I think setting goals for comments isn’t necessary. I once met a woman who held huge meetings for cities and religious communities and probably other events. What she said to those of us that showed up for the meeting was: “Everyone that needs to be in the meeting is here. All the talent we need to accomplish the goals are available to us with the people who are here.” That not only empowers the people who are there, but sparks a bit of excitement about using your talents…even if you don’t totally know what talent you have that would be useful. The fact is that most of us are multi-talented, so when asked to step forward, it’s sort of nice not to know exactly what people are asking you to do but find the task that sparks your interest and use your tools to meet and complete the task.

    It’s certainly a different perspective than setting goals for a certain number of people to respond to your posts. And…sometimes, people don’t get to all their e-mails to learn about your request in a timely manner. I’m usually behind. I don’t live on e-mail! I just cannot. I’m a writer, and if I devoted all my time to e-mail, facebook, and twitter, I wouldn’t have time to write!! Check out my books at http://naturewomanwisdom.com.

  31. I think it would be a shame to close comments entirely, because there is much value in interacting with your audience. You have a powerful audience that can greatly benefit you with valuable feedback, so it would be a real shame for all – including yourself – if people stopped masterminding openly with one another. My $0.02 on the matter. :-)

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