Well Seth Godin, in no doubt a planned move on his part, stirred up a bit of a storm over the weekend as he expressed his view regarding comments on his blog, and more specifically why he doesnt allow them.
In all honesty, much as I enjoy reading his work, Seths opinion on this has very little relevance to me. While it gave the impression to some that he couldnt be bothered to answer the comments people leave or that he didnt want to be influenced in his writing by pandering to the people likely to comment on his articles, his situation is hardly that of most bloggers. Most of us could only dream of provoking that sort of reaction and the attention that accompanies it.
So lets turn to the question of whether his thoughts on comments apply to the majority of bloggers working hard on their Business Blogs, week in week out.
The answer is clearly no.
One of the key characteristics of a Blog is the ability for people to comment on what you have posted some have even gone so far as to say that it is not really a blog without them! Having this ability opens up channels of communications and in many cases can help forge the start of a business relationship. For some blogs, the comments (and what they can lead to) are in fact the main reason they are written in the first place.
Your main decision should not be whether to allow them or not, but rather how to elicit comments and how to handle the ones you receive. Whether you moderate them or allow your visitors to comment freely (having filtered them with your spam filter of course Akismet is great for this), you should consider the fact that people feel inclined to comment to be a compliment to your post and look to encourage it.
You should also make sure that you respond to comments left – in most cases, you are looking to engage with the people who leave comments, so if they respond and ask a question then make sure that you reply to it. Of course, there will be cases where the comments will not be favourable this is to be expected. You cannot please all the people all of the time. You should still try to respond to their points and present your point of view – its best not to ignore this type of comment and in any case you are there to convince people of your point of view. You will also often gain greater respect by handling objections with grace and tact by doing it this way.
So, comments, and the interaction they bring, are a key element of what make a Business Blog so effective, so if you were ever considering not allowing comments then you need to rethink. And quickly.