“So, from this day forward, LexBlog will not ship any new blogs with comments. Our current clients will receive an email from us in the near future about our intentions to remove comments from our platforms to provide a better reader experience, boost performance, and be compliant with Google’s new requirements.”
This from LexBlog’s Vice-President, Greg Storey, at 99 Park Row.
Eighteen years ago, on the advent of LexBlog, I asked a veteran blogger, to the extent there was such a person, if you commented on someone’s blog to get them a message, as opposed to sending them an email.
Just a sign how significant I viewed blog comments at the time.
I went on to measure the success of a blog, in large part, by its comments. Did readers care enough about what you were writing to leave comments?
I don’t know the day it started, but comments became less important – quickly.
Readers had there own blogs. They could post a response and engage in further discussion by penning their own post, as opposed to commenting on another’s blog.
The rest of the discussion moved to social media – Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. None of which existed in the earlier days of blogging.
Rather than highlight Greg’s insight, which ushers in the new standard for comments and law blogs, his reasoning is too good not to share.
Blog conversations worked well for a while. They were ordinarily cordial and, from time to time, informative. I appreciated that it provided a way for someone to add their perspective. For the most part, blogs and comments worked pretty well up until 2008 with the release of Twitter and the growing popularity of the Internet through a new mass-market device known as the iPhone.
And as more and more folks joined the Internet and discovered the ability to say what they wanted to say anonymously, comments as a viable platform for civil discourse tanked hard and fast. Despite new tools to help protect against maniacal bots and manage vitriol statements, blog comments seem to have had their brief golden age.
Comments have always been a part of the LexBlog experience. Over the years we have added tools for hosting and managing comments. But to do so comes at a big cost to site performance. As Google continues to evolve how it ranks content, site performance is essential in their criteria for acceptable sources including your blog and mine. Launched this week, Google Core Web Vitals is now in effect and it likes sites that load fast—really fast.
As far as ”page weight” goes, comments have been our biggest resource hog. In a further study of this feature, we found that a significant number of blogs in our network (the high nineties) have very few, if any, published comments at all. As a result, we have many sites forcing folks to download a large feature that never gets used. And “Comments: 0” is never a good look.
Meanwhile, comments as a genuine means to engage with readers havehas come to a grinding halt across the web. Sure, there are a few outliers in our expansive network, but for the most part it’s Tumbleweed City. I would love for comments to make a comeback, but every attempt I’ve seen by very successful bloggers just hasn’t panned out. The web has moved on. [Emphasis added]
I’ll confess I have argued for comments over the years. What if someone wanted them? Shouldn’t there be the opportunity for discussion.
Bur Greg’s reasoning is more than sound. Comments didn’t exist on the first blogs. And when they came they had a only brief golden age.
Leaving a comments feature on blogs now only hurts what bloggers need, a high performance blog publishing platform.