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Should You Close Comments on Older Blog Posts?

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Most bloggers agree that blog comments are actually much more complicated than they appear at first glance. When all is said and done, the comment section of a blog is truly full of decisions that a blog owner must make. You have to decide whether or not you have the time to moderate every comment, if you want to moderate only a user’s first comment, continually check to make sure you don’t have any spam in your comments, reply to comments, ask authors to reply to comments, and finally you must decide whether or not to close comments on older blog posts.

Many bloggers have argued over whether or not closing comments on an older blog post is a good idea. At first thought, it seems like keeping comments open forever would be the best option for several reasons:

  • It shows you still care about what your readers think.
  • More comments means more traffic.
  • Search engines don’t like to see closed comments because it seems like a “dead” post from that point forward.
  • Readers like to be able to comment whenever they want. They may have something to say about a post that they found on a search engine that was written months or even years ago. If this is the case, they never got the chance to make a comment!
  • You can set up email notifications for certain posts, so everyone will be able to stay updated and no conversation will die.

For both users and blog owners alike, keeping comments open forever seems like the logical thing to do. This led me to wonder: Why would anyone ever want to close comments on an old blog post?

Why a Blogging May Want to Close Comments on Older Posts

The biggest reason that some bloggers close comments is because it will help the blog load faster. Leaving comments open leaves a blog susceptible to spam comments. In general, spam comments are extremely long and involved, which takes up quite a bit of bandwidth and space on the server. The worst part about these types of comments is the fact that they often target very old blog posts. You won’t always be able to see these comments if you have an anti-spam plugin, but you will notice that your blog is loading slower than normal.

Some blog owners also close comments simply because blog posts can become outdated. Although some posts can last the test of time, many bloggers try and write about things that are current. If this is the case for you, then you may want to consider closing blog comments. After all, there is no use risking spam comments to keep open a post about now outdated software or an old news story.

How to Close Comments on Your Older Blog

There are two different ways that you can close comments on your older blog posts.

  1. Individually – This is great because it doesn’t force you to close comments on all of your old posts. If you just want to close the comments on posts that are outdated, you can do that. It takes a little bit more time to manually do this with each post, but some find this works best for them. All you need to do is go into WordPress ->click on “edit post” ->then uncheck “allow comments” and “allow trackbacks and pingbacks.”
  2. Automatically – You can set a certain number of days you want comments to be open on a post in WordPress by going to: Settings -> Discussion -> Other comment settings -> “automatically close comments on articles older than X days.” Once you save the changes you’re set to go!

Ultimately, the decision to close comments is completely up to the blogger. Many blog owners get by just fine by leaving comments open forever. However, if your blog starts to load slower than normal, this may be something to consider.

Have you ever made the decision to close comments on old posts? What was your experience?

Photo Credit: printz.org

Amanda DiSilvestro is a writer on topics ranging from social media to business proposals. She writes for an online resource that gives advice on topics including business credit cards to small businesses and entrepreneurs for the leading business directory, Business.com.

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Comments

  1. MaAnna says: 3/21/2012

    A few years ago I made the decision to close comments after 2 weeks. Most of my content is a bit time sensitive so old news is just that. Those older posts were getting spammed to death. I recycle important content every 4-6 months and that keeps things updated and allows folks to comment on the topic again.

    But, if I ran a site with mostly evergreen content, I would consider leaving the comments open for far longer, like a year.

    Reply

    • Amanda DiSilvestro ) says: 3/21/2012

      Good points. I didn’t really discuss time-frames in this article so I’m glad you brought them up. I also thing recycling important content is a great way to make sure your best content is seen. Thanks for reading!

      Reply

  2. Dean Saliba ) says: 3/21/2012

    When I started my blog I made the decision not to close comments because a lot of what I publish can be relevant for a good few years after publication. Although it does leave the blog open to plenty of spam comments (which are becoming a major pain in the butt) but despite that I still think I made the right choice.

    I must remember that the next time I’m deleting 100+ spam comments at 4am in the morning. :P

    Reply

    • Amanda DiSilvestro ) says: 3/21/2012

      Good point Dean. That’s interesting that you have dealt with spam comments, but it wasn’t enough to make you change your approach. I think that unless it gets completely out of control for a ridiculous amount of time, they can be manageable enough to keep comments open for readers (not that 100+ at 4am sounds fun!). Thanks for reading!

      Reply

  3. Anna ) says: 3/23/2012

    You know I never thought of doing that, but it makes sense I suppose. I have written reviews of some sites on my blog that are now closed/gone so there is really no point in keeping comments active any longer.

    Reply

  4. Tresor Paris says: 3/24/2012

    Also I learn a lot in your theme really thanks very much i will come every day.

    Reply

    • Lisa ) says: 7/22/2012

      I think the comment I am replying in response to is a spam comment. Which is kind of funny and of course I could be wrong but I don’t think so. I think when the ratio of spam comments start to out way legitimate comments then it’s time take a look at your post and make a decision on whether or not to keep comments open or not

      Reply

  5. msnlilei says: 3/25/2012

    i like this blog. please come to my site is:http://www.rsablog.com and give me some suggestion

    Reply

  6. jive says: 3/25/2012

    Only if the content is old and irrelevant should comments be closed in my opinion. Otherwise why not let people say something. And to say its to prevent spam, sorry it doesnt work that well for that.

    Reply

  7. Paul B. Taubman, II ) says: 3/26/2012

    My site has a lot of timely information, however, even some older posts are still relevant. I keep comments open. In the worse case, someone comments on a really old post – that signifies that it is time to re-write a more current version.

    When I see a site that does not have comments open, I think of a one-way conversation where I have no say. Why would I want to come back?

    Thanks.
    Be Well.
    Paul.

    Reply

    • Amanda DiSilvestro ) says: 3/26/2012

      Thanks for reading Paul! I think a lot of people feel the way you do. I am on the fence about how I feel, so this article has been really great.

      Reply

  8. howbler.com ) says: 3/29/2012

    I haven’t tried closing comments my older articles. Great tip, btw! Thanks for sharing.

    Reply

    • Amanda DiSilvestro ) says: 3/29/2012

      Totally! It’s not for everyone, but it’s good to know that you have options :)

      Reply

  9. Pulkit ) says: 3/31/2012

    I have had it with wordpress commenting systems. Sure Akismet does a good job of filtering spam but I still like to check for false positives and that used to take me hours.

    Then I installed Disqus and that worked perfectly till it stopped showing up on some posts arbitrarily. And since all Disqus comments are nofollow and I as the site owner have no say in that, I got less comments. So I went off looking for a dofollow commenting system.

    Intense Debate does a really good job with dofollow but there are no optional nofollows. That again wasn’t enough for me.

    So now I have installed Livefyre. It’s almost the best of both worlds. I’m using it now and so far, I’m happy :)

    And oh, since I stopped using wordpress default commenting system, spam has been at an all time low. So I keep my comments open because I know the comments are from genuine readers and I don’t want to stop them from commenting :)

    Reply

  10. professional network says: 4/8/2012

    Appreciate it for this post, I am a big fan of this website would like to keep updated.

    Reply

  11. bestledcompany says: 5/16/2012

    thanks
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    Reply

  12. Chriss Stewart ) says: 7/5/2012

    I agree with Jive, if the information is not outdated then why close it? I think if you are going to be a blogger and allow comments at all then you kind of put yourself in a position of responsibility to your readers. All in all its still the blog owners decision but I really think if the content of the post is not outdated and still very relevant and someone may be able to take something away from it then leave the comments open. I have visited plenty of blogs and liked what I read and went back thru their archives to see if I could find more little golden nuggets.

    Reply

  13. Nepal Mother House Treks ) says: 7/30/2012

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