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Replying to blog comments

Speech bubbles are part of conversationBlogging is part of social media and is about communication. The only way it can become a conversation, however, is to encourage comments about the posts in the blog.

Comments are sometimes just as acknowledgement that you are reading the post but often people leave comments that enhance what was written in the post – the conversation and comments can sometimes teach  and entertain as much as the post itself.

So here are some basic guidelines to replying to comments:

  1.  in your own blog, a key to encouraging more comments is to reply to every comment you get. It can be a short ‘hello’ or thank you’ but it shows you appreciate comments and the people behind them
  2. always be respectful and polite in comments – you don’t have to agree every time but respect the fact that others have a different opinion to you
  3. before replying to a post, read through the existing comments – apart from the fact you may learn something, this gives you the opportunity to discuss the issues with others and to not just repeat a comment made by someone else.
    If here are a LOT of existing comments that you don’t read, acknowledge that to show you have noted that and may be repeating what someone else has said.
  4. When replying to another commenter, make it clear that is who you are talking to – threaded comments make this easy but otherwise use the person’s name
  5. it isn’t always possible, but try to make your comment interesting and useful – give a personal example or opinion about the topic, answer a question asked in the post or give some additional, relevant information. This expands the conversation, builds your credibility and makes it less likely your comment will be considered spam
  6. if you  write guest blog posts, treat it like your own blog – aim to reply to every person who comments on your post. You have written the post as the expert so need to be available to answer questions; blogs are about people and community so it comes across as arrogant to not reply to people discussing your ideas. From a business perspective, doing guest posts is about building relationships and expertise, so not answering comments is loosing an opportunity.
  7. never make a comment an ad for your own business/services/products. It just annoys people and makes it likely your comment will be deleted as spam. Give tips and advice, mention you have expertise and link to your site but remember that  this is someone’s blog, not your personal ad directory, and that people don’t read blogs and comments for ads.

From comments you’ve seen and blogs you admire, are there any other guidelines to add to my list?

24 Responses to Replying to blog comments

  • onlinebusinessgal says:

    I think you have made an excellent list of things to do and keep in mind to encourage not only comments to your blog , but also high quality comments. It is important to respond to comments if at all possible as you mentioned. I see too many blog owners that never reply. If you find a comment that really gets you thinking, I think you should take the time to respond in more depth. You do an excellent job of encouraging comments by asking thought provoking questions at the end of your posts.

    • tashword says:

      Thanks for YOUR comment and compliments, onlinebusinessgal.

      I agree that if someone has you thinking it is only courtesy to reply. I also find it a great way to connect with people and have interesting conversations (especially as I work from home and don’t get as many chance for discussions as I would in an office environment).

      • onlinebusinessgal says:

        You have brought up another good point in your reply. Replying to blog comments provides a great way to connect with others. I also do a a great deal of my work from home. Sometimes I miss the interactions with people I had when working a “traditional” job. Interacting with my blog readers allows me to have some interesting conversations each day.

      • tashword says:

        I don’t think people understand what it’s like to work from home until they try it – I enjoy working this way but making sure I have some interaction with people is also important. I’m glad you get interesting conversations through your blog, too, onlinebusinessgal.

  • kiki says:

    I think every blogger should remember this! I personally feel more comfortable when an admin of the blog reply to comments, it’s something like making a connection between the blogger and commenter, and that makes me wanna come back to the same blog again. I did notice that you always reply to your comments which I think it’s something great! Great post.

    • tashword says:

      I’m glad I make you feel more comfortable by replying Kiki – that is part of my aim in replying.

      It does feel wrong when the poster won’t reply – and really bad when there is a string of comments, including questions being asked, no reply from the poster or admin.

  • Godric says:

    A few of my friends have some blogs. And they are very angry with the comments that look like advertising products. Usually they just delete it, but sometimes they appear in all the posts and look like SPAM. I would really recommend bloggers to make quality comments, if the reader is interested in your comment, then there is a 90% chance that they will visit your blog. There is no need to make Spam advertisements. Another good post from Tashword.

    • tashword says:

      I understand your friends’ frustration, Godric, as spam and pointless comments are such a waste of time.

      Leaving a good comment has advantages for everyone so why waste the opportunity?

      Thanks for another great comment, Godric!

  • wjack2010 says:

    Comments are key to any blog, it provides communication between the author of the post, and the commenter. It engages your readers who don’t comment to at least understand more on the topic, as your commenter’s expand on it in easier to read terms and start to ask questions.

  • anotherspaceman says:

    Comments are the true test of a blog – so often when researching something online I look to go to the forums, or scroll down through blog comments.
    Without feedback, it’s just pure opinion. Blogs can lead to creative discussion (and sadly not so creative) which benefit everyone.

  • difrancprod says:

    These are great tips and good reminders for both bloggers and readers out there. I hope that everybody does comment in a good or constructive way. It really annoys me to see those threads filled with totally filthy and inappropriate words. Cyber bullying is quite a trend these days just because of anonymity. Great post and I wish all cyber bullies would be able to read this!

    • tashword says:

      That’s a good point, difrancprod – comments full of inappropriate words and cyber bullying should never be proved by the blog. Having good comments is the responsibility of the blogger as well as the people who leave comments.

      First posts in my blog wait for moderation before being published to weed out spammers. I then check all subsequent comments – which makes it easy to reply to them individually, too!

      I love your idea of all cyber bullies (and other poor commenters) having to read this post and realising there is a better way to do things!

  • Randomhero says:

    You’ve made some great points about blog comments. The main thing I Notice is that when someone replies they are genuinely interested in the article topic. For the site owner, making sure to reply to their comment (if it’s not spam) makes the person who posted the comment feel more connected! Business especially online is all about building the relationship between your readers. It will enhance everyone’s experience!

    • tashword says:

      You’re right – a genuinely interested person will leave a good comment and interacting with them is a pleasure! Thanks Randomhero for your interest and comment 🙂

  • UmiNoor says:

    The engagement with the reader needs to begin with the blog post. A blog post that is bland and totally without issues to elicit a discussion among readers will not result in any useful comments. Therefore, I feel that the blogger too shouldn’t be afraid to write blog posts on controversial issues. However, this doesn’t mean that a blogger should just write anything just to start an interesting discussion. It has to be something that the blogger feels strongly about.

    • tashword says:

      Thanks for your ideas, UmiNoor. It is true that people only reply to posts that interest (I have one or two posts on that in this blog, too!) them but more comments can be encouraged through taking an interest on those comments.

  • Anna T says:

    As a blogger myself, I can really appreciate when the people who write guest posts for me come back and respond to comments. There are many who either don’t realize that they are supposed to do that or just drop the post and disappear with no intention of replying to comments. These people were most likely just looking for a quick backlink.

    • tashword says:

      It’s the guest blogger’s loss too – replying to comments gives them so much more credibility and more exposure to their links.

      I like when host blogs tell me my guest post has been published – it is annoying to have to look in their blog to find out so I can reply to comments.

  • I like when host blogs tell me my guest post has been published – it is annoying to have to look in their blog to find out so I can reply to comments.

    • tashword says:

      Absolutely agree with that – there are a few places I have submitted to guest posts that don’t think to tell me a post has been published so I have the choice of checking every so often or missing the opportunity to reply to comments.

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