R.I.P. WordPress Comments

R.I.P. WordPress Comments

Are WordPress comments dying?

I think they are, lets have a discussion about this.

What I’m Seeing

I’m getting fewer and fewer comments on my blog posts.  I’m not suggesting I’m the greatest writer, generating thoughtful work that the whole internet wants to engage with, but I can see that I’m getting fewer comments on each post I publish.

Personally I am not leaving any comments on blog posts anymore.

Spam is going down.  I am seeing a trend on my comment spam that shows attempts to leave comments on my site that are spammy.  Here is a six month graph from Akismet,

RIP wordpress comments

click for full size image

People are installing plugins to move comments away from their sites into the wider social sphere such as this one https://wordpress.org/plugins/comments-from-facebook/, or the are moving to centralised commenting systems such as Disqus.

This is not a scientific study, but I’ve just visited Problogger, one of the most popular blogging sites out there and a post from the 4th (2 days ago at the time of writing) has zero comments, and other posts have less than 10 comments, in the past each post on Problogger would receive hundreds of comments.

Why I Think This Is Happening

People are still distributing great content they like, and sharing it with their circle, but they are sharing and discussing from social media hubs such as Facebook or twitter.  The distribution hub has also become the discussion hub in my opinion.  They will click through read your content and return to the distribution channel to comment.

Dude! People need to keep their social feeds current, they need to be adding more content into the howling storm of the internet,why would they leave a comment on your backwater of the internet when they could leave a comment on their social media site of choice and build their own profile (please like my post).  Who is going to see their insightful thoughts on your site, 🙂

My previous statement is a little tongue in cheek, but I do think people want their discussion to be seen more widely, where will this happen on social or at your site?

Comment links are no follow so there is no benefit SEO wise for leaving comments.

Comments were often used as a method to engage with the author, but this can be done on social more effectively.

Wrap Up – R.I.P. WordPress Comments

I think comments have moved to the distribution channel not the source.  I don’t think this is a bad thing, as long as discussion is happening does it really matter where is it hosted?

What do you think? These are only my opinions,

<irony>Let me know in the comments</irony> or the social platform of your choice @nmatthews on twitter, or on Facebook.

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Photo Credit: benekliz Flickr via Compfight cc

  1. Lara Olivia
    September 7, 2017

    Lol I agree, and decided to leave a comment to prove it 😉

  2. Marshall
    September 7, 2017

    Hi Neil,
    Thanks for this interesting observation. There is an issue of sorts here. Third party vendors trying to get between good seo and extracting $$ by intervening between business and the world of the internet. The most dominate is Facebook where so many now allow lohin by Facebook.

  3. Robert Falkowitz
    September 7, 2017

    So the question is whether there are any plugins that allow you to synchronize discussion on other platforms, such as Facebook, LinkedIn or whatever and make them visible as comments to the posting on the blog site.

  4. Walter Boomsma
    September 7, 2017

    I agree that comments on blogs are “dying.” I’ve actually tried some unscientific experiments like asking direct questions and trying to incite controversy but comments on my blogs remain less than spotty. I think there’s an interesting “also” with this… blog subscriptions are not as frequent. Since a post to the blog publishes on social media, people are liking/following the page it publishes to.

    I’m less than enthusiastic over the trend… while social media has it’s place, it also has it’s limitations and is a bit of a rabbit hole time suck. One huge problem with Facebook is finding things… and the reality that Facebook ultimately gets to decide what people see. I have had people and pages drop off my timeline because I wasn’t commenting or liking them. That doesn’t mean I’m not interested.

    A recent visitor to my blog actually sent me an email thanking me for some content and explaining how it helped her… since it was regarding a mental health issue with her child, she certainly wouldn’t have posted the same “discussion” on Facebook. For that matter, she didn’t post it as a comment on the blog either, but did give me permission to ‘”sanitize” it and create a post from it.

    My point in part is that different media serve different purposes and offer different opportunities and responsibilities. We need to be sensitive and not let the tail wag the dog. One of the traps of social media is that we start applying the wrong criteria. I catch myself in that trap. I’ll sometimes post a brief thought for the day on Facebook and then realize I’m really busy counting the number of likes and shares it gets and enjoying watching those numbers climb. Wait. Am I posting (on Facebook or my blog) merely to generate likes and shares?

    That email from the recent visitor was a great reminder that it’s important she found what she needed and made good use of it to help her daughter. That’s better than 500 “likes.”

    If the point of my post is discussion, it would probably make sense to just post it directly on Facebook (or other social media). But that’s not always my point.

    • Moni Bikfalvi
      September 8, 2017

      “My point in part is that different media serve different purposes and offer different opportunities and responsibilities.” – couldn’t agree more, Walter…

  5. Moni Bikfalvi
    September 7, 2017

    In many points you are right, but it also depends on your topic and also on the “educational level” of your audience. I mean their educational level in that particular topic.

    I also post about WordPress, I do it in Hungarian (my mother tongue). When I started my blog (it’s called WP-Suli, “Suli” meaning school) there were almost no content about WordPress in Hungarian and (believe it or not 🙂 ) many Hungarians don’t speak English. So in the first few months or years I was sort of the Hungarian voice for WordPress documentation, especially for beginners (a Hungarian WP Forum did exist, but mostly with members with professional programming skills who did not have too much time and/or patience so beginners had nobody to ask about WP).

    To make the long story short: people still ask questions at the comment section of my blog posts, relating to that particular blog post (or if they can’t find the appropriate post, they just ask questions anywhere in the comments, starting with “I know this is a different thing but I need to ask this and that…….”).

    Actually they don’t want greater publicity for their beginner-level questions. On the contrary, they are happy that they could find a beginner’s blog about WP so they don’t have to face sarcastic comments with more experienced WP users which can happen if they ask the same question in a WP-related Facebook group.

    It’s true that my posts also get less and less comments, but maybe because now they are a bit higher level posts (I’ve more or less run out of beginner level topics 🙂 ) and people cannot really ask questions about them. They just read it, sometimes they comment like “Thanks for the description, just what I was looking for”, but if not, they don’t comment on Facebook either (where the posts also appear).

    But my older, beginner level posts still get comments (usually questions). So – as I said, it depends on the topic and the level, I think.

    • Walter Boomsma
      September 8, 2017

      Definitely agree, Moni. I have an acquaintance on Facebook who posts questions like “Does anybody know what time the store opens?” several times a day. It apparently doesn’t occur to her to look for the store’s site (or for that matter Facebook Page).Ironically, she’ll get several answers (discussion) and no one every suggests that.

  6. Moni Bikfalvi
    September 7, 2017

    “they don’t have to face sarcastic comments with more experienced WP users” – sorry, I’ve meant “FROM more experienced WP users”…

  7. Jenna Avery
    September 7, 2017

    I’ve been noticing this too, Neil. Not totally sure how I want to handle it (do you like that Facebook comments plugin?).

  8. Piet
    September 8, 2017

    To be honest I think it has to do with the content mostly.

    I have long given up on allowing comments on my blogs.

    Even Torque hardly gets any comments on their articles.

    But if you have a look at a popular blog like WP Tavern, you can see very active discussions with hundreds of comments.

  9. Janet Barclay
    September 8, 2017

    You make some good points, but I’m not sure I totally agree. I get comments on nearly all my posts. I think it depends on who your readers are.

    It’s great when people comment on your FB page or whatever, but it’s very fleeting. When they comment right on your blog, it’s there as long as the post is, so people can continue that conversation whenever. Whereas nobody ever finds an old FB post.

    My two cents worth.

  10. TheSeanaMethod
    September 12, 2017

    Well, I’m going to comment here and say that I think this is resonating with me. Our blogs are not as social as a social platform, so it may just feel more fun to comment on FB or Twitter, where others are more likely to chime in!