Does a No-Comment Blog Help or Hurt Business?
My Group Coaching sessions are getting rave reviews from small business owners who have expanded their use of email newsletters and blogs to grow their businesses. For example, Kelli Parisian of Parisian's Pure Indulgence said that my group coaching took the intimidation out of blogging. Kelli also took last month's Rock Your Email Newsletter Group Coaching, and is now publishing her newsletter regularly — and watching new orders roll in.
In last week's Group Coaching, we focused on how comments at your blog build community around your brand. But not everyone invites comments at their blog. In fact, some people prohibit them entirely.
dM: When did you start your blog?
Lela: April 2005
dM: How did you choose Movable Type as your blogging platform?
Lela: From speaking with various parties around the time I was considering a blog launch, Movable Type seemed like the easiest, most intuitive software with the highest degree of customization. I’ll freely admit to not doing a lot of research into the various type of software, but Movable Type has been amazingly care-free and incredibly easy-to-use, so I am pleased with the decision. I did pay a designer to create a template that took care of the aesthetics, but I run it on a day-to-day basis.
dM: Are you glad you have a blog that complements your business?
Lela: Yes. Since its inception almost 3 years ago, the blog has been a powerful tool in the Bella Luccè arsenal.
- It serves as a bridge between our website and the vibrant community of clients who love our products. It pulls back the curtain so to speak, and allows customers to have an inside view of the company and our activities.
- It builds customer loyalty. It’s always a treat to hear from someone who mentions something that tells me they’ve been following the blog. We currently get 5,000 unique visitors per month to the blog, so it’s built up a fairly respectable readership.
- It allows for instant updates and increases our ability to respond to client concerns, answer frequent questions, spotlight specific ingredients and products, run promotions and tease readers with what’s coming next. We have the world’s most fabulous web designer, but his turnaround time is generally several days. With the blog, I can create a live post in minutes, increasing our ability to interact with our clientele.
- It has boosted our search engine ranking. Google loves both new content and links, and the blog has allowed us to continually generate and archive fresh content on a variety of subjects, both directly related to Bella Luccè and on related subjects. That content has pulled the entire website higher within the organic search engine rankings. This is critical for us, since 80% of our business comes direct from the Internet.
dM: Why don't you have comments at your blog?
Lela: I personally chose not to enable comments for a variety of reasons. I lack the desire and the ability to “babysit” the blog for any considerable amount of time on an ongoing basis. Spammers frequently target blog comments and I have heard horror stories from fellow bloggers about the amount of time and vigilance it takes to keep the spammers at bay.
I decided that my energies could be better directed within the company and I don’t believe that the blog has suffered from that decision.
Additionally, I didn’t want blog comments to become an outlet for client questions or concerns, as I believe that those are best addressed via email or phone. By disabling comments, we channel concerns via appropriate venues where we are better able to offer personalized service.
An email address featured at the blog funnels straight to me, so blog readers and I can have a dialogue without the need for ongoing comments.
What I love about what Lela said. Lela's experience showcases one of the very best things about small business ownership. That is, there are no rules. You can set up your business, just as you can set up your blog — however you want to, with or withour comments.
You can visit the Bella Luccè blog here.
Look around the blogosphere and see what others are doing. Cherry pick what you think will work for you and start blogging. It will not start out perfect, nor will it ever become perfect. But just like everything else, you'll refine things as you go.
Consider your personal business, family and lifestyle goals. Be true to yourself. Do what works for you and what works best for your customers.
What about you?
Do you have comments disabled at your blog? Why or why not? Do you think that one-way blogging defeats the purpose of blogging since there's no conversations at the blog? Does it matter? Is comment-enabled blogging best for businesses that offer services and not products alone? I love comments! So please share your tips and opinions in the comments section below.
Post & Go Blogging
What's It Really Like to Blog For Business?
A Beginner Blogger Speaks
Blogging Tools: An Overview (this post includes a discussion of Movable Type, mentioned above by Lela, and other blogging platforms).