The other day I was browsing around Youtube while watching a bunch of completely random videos. I found this guy, Skyy John who had a series of really awkward videos that had a seemingly disproportionate number of views versus what actual content what was in the video. In my search to find out what made him popular*, I visited his site to see what he was about.
I was browsing the page when I saw the link at the bottom reading Sign my Guestbook!
Seriously? A guestbook? In 2010?!
Keep in mind, Skyy John’s website is a blog with comments. Additionally, all his content is on Youtube, with comments enabled. He also uses Twitter and Facebook. This guestbook says to all his visitors “I can’t bother to check comments on all these other services, why should I check this?” That mentality shows. He only has one post in the guestbook, and that post is sadder than his grumpy gray site.
The guestbook used to be relevant online. For a long time, web pages were static, you couldn’t easily set up commenting abilities on individual pages like we do now with blog posts. Guestbooks offered the ability for you to go to a site and say “Hey I think you’re cool. Check me out.” Then you could post a link to your site and hope people would check your content out. Also, even if they didn’t post a link, you could get an idea of what kind of people were visiting your website and why.
Now, all the major blogging services have built in comments, or you can easily add comments with a service like Disqus. You can leave relevant information on the page it relates to, rather than outsourcing it to the guestbook. And any webmaster worth his or her salt can set up basic analytics software to figure out who is coming to the site and for what content. There’s no practical reason to use a guestbook.
With all this in mind, a guestbook looks outdated on your site. It shows you can’t keep up with the times online. If nothing else, you have to stay ahead of the social media curve to look cool, let alone stay relevant and communicate with your real friends.
*I eventually realized all his videos are popular because they are about sex and sex and the internet have been hand in hand since the internet was born.