Why turning off comments was my best blogging move

About a month ago after a pretty difficult week I had the idea to turn off comments on this blog. I took some time to think about it and the impact it might have, and decided to switch off comments on posts older than 30 days. It’s turned out to be one of my best blogging move!

We all know how much time blogging actually takes up, there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes that readers don’t necessarily know about. So I’m sure it’s no surprise to you that it can take me 6+ hours to write just 1 tutorial on this blog – between researching, writing out step-by-step tutorials with screenshots, testing code, setting up demos, creating graphics, and so on.

I really try to publish quality content – making sure each post is helpful, that it will work for the majority of the templates my readers are using and that it isn’t time-sensitive. I love this blog, I love sharing cool coding tricks and teaching people how to design their own blogs. There’s a lot of false information on the internet, and a lot of people who sell shoddy templates or share incorrect code. I hate that, and I hate seeing blogs suffer because of it.

I get A LOT of comments and emails from readers who need a little extra help figuring out how to make the tutorials work for their blog template. I started to feel so guilty that there were thousands of unanswered questions, they were all specific to that blog and so needed to be answered one-by-one. It’s a long process, all templates are coded a little differently so I have to check each individual template for their code, get details and then give them specific steps. It’s time consuming! It meant I had no time for anything else, and at the end of the day I had nothing to show for that time since I was doing this all for free. I was happy to help and if I didn’t have bills to worry about then I would gladly do it for the next 40 years but I knew it wasn’t the best use of my time.

PRIORITISING MY TIME
I’d much prefer to put my time into improving my services, working with clients, publishing new helpful tutorials and developing other projects. I need to remember that I’m a designer/developer first and blogging comes after that. By not checking the comments section multiple times a day and not having to deal with spam, I’m able to put my focus elsewhere. With emails, social media accounts, project managers and everything else, I love that I have one less thing to keep an eye on. I have a long list of things I want to do on this site, things that have been written down for at least two years. It’s been a month since I changed the comment system and I’ve already got working on at least 5 of the things on that list!

Now, I don’t need to feel guilty. I only get comments on new posts and it’s much more manageable that way. If a reader has a question, they can tweet me or email me instead which allows me to be more responsive and helpful than I could be in the comment section.

The benefits of turning off comments

Turning off comments isn’t for everyone or for every blog. I know a big thing for people is the interaction in the comments, having a community and getting to respond to readers but I’d rather do that on social media where I can continue the conversation without clogging up the comment section. Plus 99% of the comments I get aren’t a reaction to the post or the start of a conversation, it’s usually a specific question that would work better via email.

A lot of bloggers have been talking about a decline in the amount of comments they’ve been getting. If this is something you’ve noticed you could try turning off comments and replacing that section with a message to join you instead on Twitter or Facebook to continue the conversation.

Turning off your comments could increase how much your posts are shared, increase social media followings, give you more time to visit other people’s blog or write content, help you feel less overwhelmed and less guilty and who knows what else.

How do you feel about comments? Do you answer all of them? Do you think social media is the new way to comment? What one thing would make a huge impact to your time and a low impact on your blog if you stopped doing it?

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28 Comments

    1. I am too, I was so nervous about it but I think it’s worked out well. I might turn them back on in the future but right now this works 🙂 thank you for the comment!

  1. This is genius. Although I have Akismet (and thank God for it!), I still kept getting the occasional stupid spammy comment on my much older posts. So after I read this, I realized, “You know what? I DON’T want that anymore!!” : ) And alas, I just closed comments but on posts older than 60 days since I don’t often blog very regularly.

    Thanks for the idea, girl!
    XO, Big fan.

    1. Hello Annie! Ah go you, brave decision. Make sure to let me know in a few weeks how you’ve got on. I have the perfect plugin combo for fighting spam, Akismet and FV Antispam. I talk about them here, it worked so well for me!

  2. Interesting post. I think a lot of my posts tend to be sort of topical, so I don’t get *tons* of comments on old ones … though once in a while somebody will reply to something over a year old (!!!) and that’s sort of funny. For now it’s manageable though, so I leave them on. And Disqus seems to be pretty good at catching most spam. I can totally understand why you switched them off though – it must get insanely overwhelming.

    1. Wow, after a year! That’s crazy. It really was getting overwhelming, on it’s own it would be fine but with everything else I was doing I just couldn’t keep up. It’s freed up so much time for me now 🙂 thanks for commenting!

  3. I don’t usually comment on blog posts either, but it’s necessary that I let you know how much your blogging has helped me. I’m extremely appreciative and grateful to know that there are still people in the world willing to lend a helping hand. Your blog posts have helped me upgrade my blog to new lengths…and I know absolutely NOTHING about coding. There seriously is nothing out on the web that compares to your website. Like some of your readers have mentioned before, I hope you consider adding a PayPal donating link to your site. I’m sure many of us would like to contribute to your efforts. It’s because you wish to do this for free that makes me want to contribute that much more. That’s what I call true talent worth recognizing. Thank you so much for all you do, and I just wanted to let you know that your efforts are not in vain and don’t go unnoticed.

    -Cheryl
    http://www.cheryldeni.com

    1. Oh wow Cheryl, thank you so much. It’s people like you that motivate me to keep publishing, I love that you’ve managed to customise your blog. Thank you for taking the time out to leave me such a lovely comment, it has made my day!

  4. Just found you through SITSgirls and enjoyed this post! Glad it’s working so well to turn off comments- you have to save your sanity! Really admire how much work you put into your blog… Congrats!

    1. Hello Casey, nice to meet you! Yes definitely, I think it’s important to do whats best for you when it comes to blogging. Thank you for taking the time to comment, hope you have a lovely weekend!

  5. I can see why you chose to turn off the comments. It is something that i have struggled with but I do turn comments off after a certain period of time with my older posts. Makes it easier for me!!

  6. I don’t think it would work for my blog, but I will have to ponder your question about “small blog change, big time change” as there are some things that aren’t yet really working smoothly together.

    Alex – Funky Jungle

    1. I’ve been doing that a lot in my life lately, thinking of small things I can introduce that will make a huge difference. Really seeing a difference in certain aspects 🙂

  7. This is really interesting. It always bugs me when I try to leave a comment and search and search only to find there is not a comment option, since that is pretty rare, but I definitely get why you are doing it and I can see how there would be a lot of benefit depending on what your goals are. #SITSsharefest

    1. That thought crossed my mind too so I made sure to include a notification that says that comments are no longer open. Thank you for the comment 🙂

  8. Visiting from SITS! When I first started blogging I thought about turning off comments after a certain amount of time. I still have them on for all posts even a year later – right now I like the fact that I can share the old ones and still get comments, but it gives you something to think about. Thank you for the advice!

    1. I quite liked that too, but the build up of questions just got too much. I have comments on for all posts on my personal blog as I get to have a conversation with readers there 🙂

  9. Thanks for writing about this! I have read about doing this before! I think you have your priorities straight. Gave me something to go on if I come to this intersection in the future. Thanks! #sitsblogging

    1. Thank you for the comment Tina! I think it comes to a point where there’s already a lot of interaction going on on social media and it just gets very hard to keep up while building upon what you have already. Taking a look at my priorities has definitely helped me!!

  10. I must say, your articles are helping me a lot and I must say you are going to have a very great future in terms of being expert, being authority when it comes to all this coding, blogging, may you have a great future, ameen!

  11. I need a little help ;p, how did you made that navigation bar, what code did you use that makes it curled up in “menu” tab when the browser is not enlarged or maximized. I have used your tips on my website, tips about making navigation bar sticky and transparent like yours but it doesn’t work the way yours work in minimized state, I mean everything just mess up when the browser is not maximized. I hope i would hear from you soon, bundle of thanks ! 🙂

      1. Thanks, I have recently started learning all that HTML thingy from w3school recently, you were the inspiration though, I have learned so far making tables, headings, picture adding, buttons, paddings, css… long way to go.

        Hope you do some tutorial on that soon, keep it up 🙂

  12. I don’t get that many comments, so I usually reply to all my comments. if you get a lot more I can understand turning them off, rather than being overwhelmed.

    1. It wasn’t so much the volume of comments, it was more the content of them (very specific coding questions). It’s a lot easier and quicker to have a reader tweet or email me to discuss the issue. Plus it’s easier to get to know them that way and have a full conversation. Thank you for commenting!

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