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?