5 Reasons Why I Reply To All of My Blog Comments & Why You Should Too

December 31, 2008 - Written by Gyutae Park  

ignore loveAs an aspiring “A-list blogger”, you try so hard to get people to comment on your posts. You ask questions, you install the Top Commentator plugin, you run contests and offer incentives, and you even beg and plead others to leave a message. In fact, you do anything and everything to pump up comments on your blog. Sound familiar?

Let’s say that your efforts pay off and someone actually comments on your post… now what? Do you celebrate and write another blog post?

So many times I see bloggers focusing on getting comments and feedback that they fail to realize that a blog is a tool for real interaction. They forget why they wanted the comments in the first place. These bloggers are so self-absorbed that they don’t see the valuable feedback and relationship building opportunities right in front them. Instead, blogging to them is merely a game where they write a soliloquy and judge it based on the number of comments it gets. Is this you? I hope not.

conversationsA blog comment represents the attention of a reader and potential customer. It’s essentially a lead. Someone is actually interested in what you have to say, but you have to seal the deal and convert them into a sale (i.e. loyal readers, subscribers, buyers). However, a lot of times bloggers fail to react and go the distance. They drop the ball when it matters most.

I don’t want to be overly dramatic here, but I hope you get my point. Responding to all of your blog comments is a good practice and can help you to develop a community on your blog and grow your readership of loyal fans.

Honestly, it can be a difficult task to keep up with your blog comments and respond to every single one of them (I still have a bunch in queue I need to attend to). If you get a large number of comments for every post you write, coming up with replies could take hours and is usually not feasible. However, if you have a small or medium-sized audience and get 1-25 comments per post, then you can really benefit from taking this approach. WordPress 2.7 comes with threaded comments now so your job is even easier.

So why exactly should you respond to every blog comment you get? Here are my reasons.

1. Develop a community of loyal readers

Replying to individual comments shows your readers that you value their feedback. If you demonstrate that you listen and that the opinions of your readers matter, then you’ll have a strong community of loyal followers at your hands. Like I said, a blog is a tool for social interaction and building key relationships in your industry should be a big priority. What better place to do it than on your own blog? Go the extra mile and reply to your readers’ comments, even if you’re just saying thanks. You reap what you sow – one reply at a time.

2. Expand on points that you didn’t cover in your post

If you’re writing interesting posts, the comments that you get from your readers will be filled with valuable feedback, questions, and unique perspectives. In fact, it’s not uncommon for a commentator to unveil a different point of view that you didn’t think about in your original post. You can touch upon these additional thoughts in your responses and offer your own opinions. In other words, your blog posts get better because people add to them and put them to the test. By responding, you solidify your points or defend your arguments – which is necessary if you want to be perceived as an expert.

3. Be accessible, work on your personal branding

Being the guy (or gal) who is always accessible and responds to comments is great for your personal brand. If you want to be an authority in your field, you have to be highly visible and responsive to what others are saying about you – especially on your own turf. Not only that, but people are more likely to reach out to you and respect you if they see that you take the time to respond. It’s not just a matter of writing replies, it’s about building your image and your credibility.

4. Make your blog a hub for good conversation

By replying to your blog comments and adding to the conversation, you potentially spark up good discussion where others will want to get involved. In other words, your comments and replies urge others to chime in to offer their feedback as well. If you want to develop a community on your blog that is bustling with conversation, you have to at least meet your readers halfway. Social interaction is a two way street. You can’t expect good discussion on your blog if you yourself aren’t willing to reply.

5. Drive traffic back to the post

Believe it or not, most new readers who leave a comment on your blog expect a reply from you. Shocking, isn’t it? They come back to your post and check to see if there are any new messages from you. If they see that there are none, they’ll most likely leave your site and never come back. On the other hand, if you usually reply to all comments, people will be more inclined to read your posts and comment often. You’ll get a ton of repeat traffic and many will opt to subscribe to your comment feed or get new replies sent to their inboxes.

So what do you think? Will you start replying to your comments? I know you have some waiting for you in your WordPress admin panel that you’ve been ignoring until now…

Just remember not to get carried away with this method. When I say “reply to every comment”, I don’t mean comments that are obvious spam or say nothing but “thanks, good post”. You can safely ignore these without feeling bad about it. Heck, maybe the comment spammers will be impressed and decide to leave real feedback.

Leave a comment here – I will reply. :)

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43 Responses to “5 Reasons Why I Reply To All of My Blog Comments & Why You Should Too”

Yung Drew on December 31st, 2008

Definitely enjoyed the post Gyutae (as usual). Comments are a great way to build up a community. I try to respond to all of mine, but sometimes things just get too busy. I was reading over at Successful-Blogs (I think) where she opens up the comments for a “live chat” and builds up massive comments sometimes over 400. It’s a great way for everyone to feel connected and make blogging friends.

Gyutae Park on December 31st, 2008

Thanks Yung, I’m glad you enjoyed it. Liz Strauss over at Successful-Blog.com definitely knows what she’s doing. A live chat on a blog.. now that’s interesting. There are better platforms to host a chat but the novelty of it got her a lot of exposure I’m sure. Plus 400 comments is pretty insane. Thanks for the tip. :)

 
 
Joe Lofshult on December 31st, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

Good ideas, Gyutae. I had thought about the ideas of creating a conversation and expanding on ideas, but I hadn’t thought of the impact on driving up traffic to your posts. Thanks for the post.

Gyutae Park on December 31st, 2008

Thanks Joe. People are naturally drawn to what’s popular – it’s the social proof phenomenon. By responding to comments (driving up the comment count) and getting more replies, you essentially create a snowball effect of more and more people reading your post and leaving their feedback.

 
 
Anthony on December 31st, 2008

Great advice Gyutae. Speaking of dropping the ball, I owe you a reply email (I will explain what happened when I reply).

Best wishes for 2009!

~ Anthony

Gyutae Park on December 31st, 2008

Sounds good. Happy New Year! Speaking of dropping the ball, anyone watching the ball drop in Times Square NY tonight? :P

Yung Drew on January 1st, 2009

Wasn’t there, but caught it on the TV – peeps waited 12 hrs in below 0 degrees w/ no food for that ish…haha CRAZY, but looked like fun.

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Joseph Ratliff on December 31st, 2008

Gyutae,

You’re so right…

Even when someone just leaves a “first visit to your blog, nice post” type of comment, I try to respond to everyone on my blog.

Conversation = Domination in the new marketing from what I see.

Joseph Ratliff

Gyutae Park on December 31st, 2008

Hey Joseph,
You’re right. Some people may be commenting for the sake of dropping a link, but that doesn’t mean you can’t convert them to regular readers by getting in touch with them and being social.

Derek on January 2nd, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

That is the unfortunate truth. Most people comment for dropping a link. Back in the day, this wasn’t the case, but now that is all people do. Drop links.

You can tell that some people don’t even read the article that you’re talking about. Have you ever seen Problogger’s comments? When he has guest posts that clearly say “This is a guest post” there are people in the comments that say “Good Article Darren.”

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Rarst on December 31st, 2008

Very true, leaving comment and getting silence in reply is completely negative experience. Only thing worse than that is making comment and watching crappy antispam slughter it. I may understand leaving “good post” comments without answer but not long contributing ones.

I reply to every comment at my blog excluding those that don’t need reply (usually at end of comment discussion) and if person left comments on few posts at the same time I will usually reply to one of them so I don’t make reader run around gathering replies.

Gyutae Park on December 31st, 2008

Agreed. Like I said, you don’t have to go crazy with the “reply to every comment” rule. It’s just a guideline to follow. You don’t need to reply where it doesn’t make sense to. Be smart and just make the conversation flow. That’s the most important thing.

 
 
Mike Huang on December 31st, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

Yea, replying to comments left by your readers is definitely important. It makes your readers feel like they’re not being left out or ignored.

Gyutae Park on January 1st, 2009

It’s true. You might brush it off and say that replies don’t matter, but all of the little things count. They’re more likely to return and read your blog if you make the extra effort.

 
 
Franklin Bishop on December 31st, 2008

I currently respond to all comments on my Blog. It definitely makes people want to come back and they feel like their opinion does matter.

Gyutae Park on January 1st, 2009

Yep, and that’s the way a blog should be. It’s a back and forth conversation with your readers and their opinions do matter. Good to know you’re utilizing the practice on your blog.

 
 
Make Money Online on December 31st, 2008

Yes Gyutae, you have done a good job in this aspect. What I feel would be better is to return a favour by dropping by fellow blogs and leaving some comments as well. That way the interaction gets further..

Gyutae Park on January 1st, 2009

Hey Ben,
That’s true. It’s good to return the favor on your commentators’ blogs as well. However, I think that should be done only after you respond on your own blog first. This will make the conversation easier for others to follow and join in on.

 
 
zahari on January 1st, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

Gyutae, you are absolutely right! I got your response for my first comment. I instantly feel connected, and from that moment I’ll never miss to visit your blog when I online. Not only that, I want to know more about you, your products or services. And thanks for accepting me as your friend in Facebook(31/12/2008)

Gyutae Park on January 1st, 2009

Haha, no problem. So this stuff does work! A real example here. :)

 
 
Donny Gamble on January 1st, 2009

I think everyone should respond to their readers comments because it creates a better readership. 10 people might have the same question and if you answer the question the first time, than it allows people to elaborate on a response to your answer or the question

Gyutae Park on January 1st, 2009

Very true. As I mentioned in point 2, feedback from your readers allows you to elaborate on your points and “hit all the angles”. By responding to comments, you answer common questions and open up the field for new ones. Thanks for the input, Donny.

 
 
Wesley on January 1st, 2009

All very good points, I will keep them in mind and also change my site to a threaded comment system.

Gyutae Park on January 1st, 2009

Thanks Wesley. I definitely recommend you change to a threaded comments system. It helps to give individual replies to each of your commentators. Either use the built in system in the new WordPress 2.7 (you’ll probably have to tweak your template for this) or install Brian’s Threaded Comments.

 
 
Josh Zehtabchi on January 1st, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

wow, this is an awesome post. So true, I love how you use the sale analogy.

I’ve thought the same, and have practiced this. Though, sometimes it can feel that you are giving off a sense of ‘desperation’ that might suggest that one is sizing up their comment numbers.

However, you at 100% right about the interactivity that is allowed and expected from a blog.

This is my first chance here, I’m def. gonna check some more out.

Thanks!

 
Legitimate Home Based Business on January 1st, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

Building a community is what you want to achieve as a blogger and by the looks of it here you have achieved this.

Nice Blog,

Jason

 
seosoeasy on January 2nd, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

All 5 reasons are meaningful and important ones.I was impressed by the 3rd point and sure i keep in my mind inorder to lead a success.Thanks.

 
cabinet on January 2nd, 2009

Good points, and it’s admirable that you reply so often. However, you must just not require as much sleep as the rest of us!

 
Jacques @ SEO Tools South Africa on January 3rd, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

Your interaction with your commenters is absolutely legendary! I am still very new to your blog, but you’ve always taken out time to reply to my ramblings. The personal touch is definitely appreciated by me!

 
Ann Arbor Web Design on January 4th, 2009

I certainly think it is great how to reply to your comments. It makes the readers feel welcome and involved and sort of part of a community. One of the reasons why I am a regular reader here :)

 
Luciano Ayres on January 6th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

Thanks for the great advice. I’ve just started a new blog and I’m replying to all the comments I’ve got right now!

 
Christopher Ross on January 7th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

Thanks for the reminder Gyutae, sometimes it’s hard to remember that much like a standup comedy routine writing a blog is a two way street and you need to listen and comment on your own feedback too.

 
Mitch on January 11th, 2009

Good stuff, and you’re right, whenever someone comments I feel enthused and want to write more. Of course, I’ve had to learn to limit myself just a little bit; I was going overboard for a short while there.

The other side is that, at a certain point, people have to know when to stop commenting so they can get on to the next thing. A one liner after a long conversation pretty much means it’s over; move on.

 
Cheap Mobile Calls on January 12th, 2009

You should always reply to your readers. It does create a sense of community and worth, and then, people are inspired to come back and make more posts. Not only should you do this for the sake of your blog, but just general good manners!

 
Proven Online Business on January 22nd, 2009

I applaud you on your efforts. Replying to blog comments shows a personal touch and believe me, us ‘blog commentators’ appreciate it!

 
Budi Waluyo@surabaya property on February 5th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

Gyutae,
I love the idea. a great thought. I highly appreciate that. By this you look so gracious and friendly. Actually, I feel so sorry for my comments being refused and commit not to open the site/blog anymore, forever. For an SEO practitioner, putting a comment is not just looking for inbound links but learning the ideas in the post is more important. Thank you for the knowledge you grant and all of your kindness.

 
jan geronimo on April 28th, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

Let me puff my chest and strike a pose then. I have been doing this since I received my first comment – this occurred on my second month of blogging. I reply to every comment in my blog.

Am I needy guy, lonely and hungry for conversations? It doesn’t matter what others may think. I stuck to my game plan. It started as a chore, sometimes it felt tedious, but as time passed I started to enjoy what I’ve been doing. You get to know your readers better. And vice versa – they’re thinking, “hey, I know this guy. I feel the same way. Or maybe I don’t but he values my opinion too.”

At the basic level, we just want to connect with another human being. We need some affirmation that we matter as an individual.

When a reader takes the time to leave a comment on your post and you don’t reply – what does that say about you? A lot and most likely they’re all negative stuff.

You’re right. Spot on. And this resonates to me very well: “If you want to develop a community on your blog that is bustling with conversation, you have to at least meet your readers halfway. Social interaction is a two way street. You can’t expect good discussion on your blog if you yourself aren’t willing to reply.”

 
jan geronimo on October 22nd, 2009 Subscribed to comments via email

I love your term snowballing effect that replying to comments makes. That’s so true. I’ve started from no readers to a bustling community readers simply by replying and engaging readers in the comment section of my blog. Of course, I make it a point to return the visit every chance I get.

 
online stock trading advice on January 10th, 2010 Subscribed to comments via email

Hey, I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say GREAT blog!…..I”ll be checking in on a regularly now….Keep up the good work! :)

I’m Out! :)

 
Chris Peterson on February 16th, 2010

Great hints! Comment not only helps to promote personal branding but also it helps to create strong relationship between two blogger or visitors. It helps to suggest what’s wrong or right in your post.

 
mefodie on April 19th, 2010 Subscribed to comments via email

Believe it or not, but your advice helped me somewhat when I started to pursue the project – ambienbuy.net

 
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