Do You Reply to Every Blog Comment?



Reply to Every Blog CommentBloggers – Do you reply to every blog comment that is left on your site? Given some pretty tough work weeks and time constraints, I’ve been asking myself that question lately as I try to optimize the time spent on this blog.

Like many newer bloggers, I’ve felt compelled to respond to each and every blog comment left on my site out of respect and appreciation for the time spent visiting my site. But sometimes when its 11 PM at night and I’m just now getting around to logging onto my site for the first time, it can be extremely difficult.

Plus as my blog grows, comment volume increases, and other activities take priority, I question whether replying to each and every comment is really value-added or even necessary.

 

Why Bother?

Let me start off by saying that I really appreciate the feedback that people leave on my posts. Though we’ve had some negative comments over the year, the positive responses far outweigh them. More importantly, I’ve learned quite a bit from all your tips and suggestions – perhaps more than I would have simply on my own.

However, the big constraint here is “time”. I started my blog as something to do in my spare time, not to create a second full time job. Like many of you, I already have a full time job plus a family which is the most important thing in the world to me. So with that, let’s just all agree that we all have a certain finite amount of time we can spend on blogging each week.

 

How Will You Spend Your Time?

So if your time is finite, how would you order this list of activities to get the most bang for your buck?

1. Writing great posts for your own blog. This includes idea generation, keyword research, fact research, and proofreading.

2. Writing great posts for other blogs for guest posting. Guest posting can create strong relationships with other bloggers as well as build some good natural links for PageRank.

3. Advertising. If you monetize your blog, this activity includes responding to advertiser emails, working out deals, researching affiliate products, planning ad placement, and following up on payments.

4. Commenting on other blogs. Everyone loves to get comments on their blog. A big reaction is often how people measure the popularity of their best articles. So by commenting on other blogs, you’re reaching out to others and letting them know they’ve done good work. Although there is almost no link building value in terms of PageRank, you could still potentially build some good relationships with other bloggers which will serve for strong link placement in other ways.

5. Replying to comments on your own blog. This allows you to start conversations and show your appreciation with people who have spent the time to leave you a message – which in turn can help you build community and good relationships.

While all of those activities are good, I would personally have to rank Number 5 in last place. Even though it is important to respond and interact with comments, there are some obvious quality, link, and monetary value with the other activities.

Plus, I personally have a hard time remembering to follow up on all the comments I leave on other blogs. Therefore, if I rarely follow up on most of the comments I leave, why should I assume that other people aren’t doing the same? Do most people even read the responses I type to their comments, or could all that time be better spent?

 

Do the Big Boys Reply to Every Blog Comment?

Like many questions I have, I decided to take a somewhat scientific approach to solving this question. My setup was to randomly survey some of the most personal finance popular blogs (greater than a Google PageRank of 4) and see how they handle this issue.

Here are the findings:

reply to every blog comment

Results: So it appears as though the way the popular blogs handle this topic is to have little to few replies on the comments that the readers leave.

 

It’s All a Matter of Preference:

No matter what the Big Boys do, the bottom line is that how you handle your blog is completely up to your preference.

Since my blog is still growing, I will continue to reply and interact with other bloggers as much as possible. But given the time constraints, my priority will flow like this:

1. Write good quality posts for my blog and other blogs

2. Monetization

3. Post comments on other blogs

4. Reply to comments on my own blog

 

Readers – How do you handle this situation? Given the choice, would you rather leave comments on other sites or reply to all the comments on your own site?

 

Related Posts:

1) How I Got My Alexa Ranking Below 200,000

2) Blogging Tips from All the Dumb Mistakes I Made My First Year

3) More Blogging Tips and Celebrating My One-Year Anniversary

Image Credit: Unknown

Comments

  1. says

    Good post. Given the choice I would comment on other blogs as a hope to continue to build a relationship with them. I try to respond to comments on my site for those that do check back see that I care about their comment. Like you say, it’s a matter of preference. I don’t think there’s necessarily a right/wrong way, but there definitely are wise ways to handle it.
    John S @ Frugal Rules recently posted..A Smart Way to Play Interior Designer When MovingMy Profile

  2. says

    From the side of a reader, I tend to leave comments when I’m asking a question so I will go back to see if the author responded. Any post that I comment on I bookmark into a folder called “Comments” then I just go through them all a few days later and clean out the folder as time goes on.

    From the side of a blogger, obviously this is a case where you use discretion. Responding to every single comment just to say, “Thanks for the insight!” does not provide any discussion whatsoever. But if a reader asks you a question or says something to provoke a conversation, then if possible, the author should respond.

    I see comments as forming a discussion, especially if the author asks a specific question to be answered in the comments. Would you ask someone a question in real life then walk away?
    Leslie recently posted..Dealing With Money & Family Guilt: It Never EndsMy Profile

    • MMD says

      Your analogy at the end makes perfect sense. I go agree that if someone asks you a question, there is an obligation to provide an answer or at least form a conversation.

  3. says

    I usually do, because people made an effort to come to my site and visit, and I want to thank them this way. I understand that replying to “great post!” is annoying. But sometimes I leave (IMO) an insightful comment, asking a question, and get no answer, as a reader it is frustrating. I like the plugin “subscribe to replies/all comments” so that people don’t have to come back a few times to check if you replied. My comment load isn’t as a point where it takes a lot of time, but it would also be my number 5 if I had less time.
    Pauline recently posted..Caring for your eyes on holiday: 5 tips from a proMy Profile

    • MMD says

      I think we can identify with each other on the time constraints. I remember how little time we had to ourselves when the kids were young. You probably should use your spare time to sleep! When my two kids need help with their homework, the blog and all its activities simply has to wait.

  4. says

    I don’t respond to each and every one. I think most people don’t follow up to see if I did anyways. (Other than Michelle! :p) If I have time I will respond to every single one…or at least the ones that add to the conversation! I’ll make sure to reply to those whether I have time or not. I don’t know. It’s all a balancing act.
    femmefrugality recently posted..Quality vs. Price: St. Brigid’s Necklace ReviewMy Profile

  5. says

    I had to face this choice recently and I chose to keep responding to all comments. I just prefer to have a more personal blog. The blogs where the blogger doesn’t respond to comments is just so impersonal to me. I admit I suck at checking back on comments I left on other blogs and I don’t expect people to do that on my blog either. Still I’d rather make the comments look like more than 1 way conversations.

    The thing to remember is that by responding to comments you are improving the quality of your post. The comments are part of that post’s content. It might make the post more helpful or it might help attract more search engine traffic.

    Interestingly when I stopped commenting on other blogs for a while my traffic dropped a bit, but then it came back stronger than ever before I even got back into commenting.
    Modest Money recently posted..5 Quick and Easy Ways to Save on Auto InsuranceMy Profile

    • MMD says

      Thanks for the insight Jeremy. I think you’re the one person who is looking at this from an SEO perspective, which is very helpful information for all of us who want to grow our sites.

  6. Jennifer Lynn @ Broke-Ass Mommy says

    I love giving and receiving comments but I have noticed some bigger blogs that will gum up their comment section with: “That’s nice” or “That’s interesting, thanks for stopping by, .” Although I appreciate the effort, I just don’t believe it’s necessary to respond to every comment if you’re going to take that approach; it just comes across as too generic and blasé. By all means engage your readers but don’t be lame about it.
    Jennifer Lynn @ Broke-Ass Mommy recently posted..Is Your Significant Other A Spender Or A Saver?My Profile

  7. Tackling Our Debt says

    I reply to comments if there is something that I can say that adds value to the conversation. Many times people leave short comments and I find it difficult to reply to them so I just don’t. As Pauline mentioned above, I love leaving a question in a comment that I leave on other sites (when I can) so that it is easier for the author of the post to reply too.
    Tackling Our Debt recently posted..Try These Easy and Delicious Classic Cakes – Grab Free eCookbookMy Profile

  8. says

    I still try to comment on every comment I get on my blog because I usually have something to say anyways after I read someone’s comment, and I want readers to know that I really do appreciate their comment and read every single one. Of course I can see how this would be difficult the more popular your blog becomes but at this point I can still manage it.
    Mo’ Money Mo’ Houses recently posted..Happy Humpday and an iPad Mini Giveaway!My Profile

  9. says

    In regards to responding to comments I used to respond to every single one. Then I realized that most people probably don’t come back unless they asked a question.

    Now I only respond to comments where it legitimately advances a train of thought/conversation or when they ask a question. If someone is offended I apologize but there is a lot to do and unless it looks like a comment requires a response I no longer respond.
    Lance @ Money Life and More recently posted..Free iPad Mini and $100 Cash Giveaway!My Profile

  10. says

    It depends how the blog is written, after all you can switch commenting off, but if you allow it, then why not take part in the discussion?
    Negative comments can be helpful as well sometimes as nobody has exactly the same point of view on every issue, and it can give you an advantage to express some things you may not have mentioned in your post for one reason or another…

    • MMD says

      Actually the idea for this post came about after reading a story about someone talking about the benefits of shutting off their comments altogether. While I don’t agree with that strategy, the author was trying to defend his actions by talking about how much time he had to concentrate on other things – something that was hitting home for me.

      I like your refreshing perspective on negative comments. I usually try to at least engage a negative comment and bring up other relevant points (or apologize if I have done something wrong). But sometimes battling Internet trolls can be exhausting and suck all your time resources, so I usually don’t drag it out for very long.

  11. says

    I do for the most part, though if it’s another blog I don’t feel bad if I don’t – I usually reciprocate with a comment on their post. I have started to cut back because of time constraints and because, as you said, there are other priorities (like great content) that need to be done first. I do spend 20-30 minutes every morning commenting on other sites.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted..7 Home Upgrades I Want…Someday ;) My Profile

  12. says

    I have run a few blogs in the past and came to the realization that responding to every comment can be difficult. I respond depending on the comment. If the commenter is engaged, then i will engage them. If they are just thanking me for the article, then I will most likely not respond unless they are an active commenter. This makes it easier on me since I too have a full time job and family.
    Debt RoundUp recently posted..The True Importance of an Emergency FundMy Profile

    • MMD says

      Thanks Grayson, and welcome to the site. Your opinion seems to be following the general consensus of most of the larger blog’s take on this subject. What other sites have you ran in the past?

  13. says

    My argument would be, whats the point in allowing comments if a discussion is not going to evolve naturally from it? I got busy once and stopped answering comments and a reader called me out on it on twitter-and I felt so horrible!

    I think you should answer your comments. Either answer, or don’t answer, but please don’t send me a generic email thanking me for my comment–those are fake and annoying. Sometimes all I write is “thanks for your comment” I just want readers to know that I’ve seen it and appreciate the time they took to answer.
    L Bee and the Money Tree recently posted..Broken Heart, Broken Wallet Part IIMy Profile

    • MMD says

      Thanks Lauren. My robo-email will coming to you soon :) I appreciate your passion for this topic. Given your marketing and Internet experience, I would suspect that you would have a much stronger feeling of obligation – and rightfully so. Your readers probably appreciate how much you engage them, and it is probably doing wonders for your community. I do feel like the reader who called you out should not make you feel bad. Your “real life” with work and family has to take priority over the virtual one.

      The idea for this post came about after reading a post about someone who turned off their comments completely. Obviously I don’t agree with that (since I’m still allowing and replying to comments). But it did raise a lot of questions about whether I was optimizing my time properly to get the most out of the experience. It seems cutting back on replies seems to be the norm among most of the readers.

  14. MissAmanda101 says

    I barely comment on the posts I read because, as a new visitor, it can be intimidating to do so. However, when I do it’s encouraging if/when the author responds to my comment. For me, that little bit of engagement helps me feel more comfortable commenting on that blog, and keeps that blog/blogger on my radar.

    • MMD says

      Well thanks for commenting on this one Miss Amanda, and welcome to the site. I was like you not to long ago. Not sure if I should comment on a blog post because I was afraid of how I’d be received. On a few of the bigger sites where there are a lot of negative comments I still feel that way. But I fully agree with you that it is that much more encouraging when someone actually replies to what you’ve left. I do make a special point to welcome all new commenters on my site (like yourself) for that very reason.

    • MMD says

      I am also TERRIBLE at that Justin! Pauline had mentioned a good plugin for that issue that I might try. It helps when you get an email letting you know that someone has responded. Sometimes they haven’t been very positive! :)

    • MMD says

      I actually think commenting is A LOT more fun that dealing with an affiliate program! :) I usually laugh or learn a lot more from my peers that way. But commenting also doesn’t pay, so if you want to make side cash, I guess you’ve got to do the hard work.

    • MMD says

      For sure I will reply back to questions. I think as rapid as your blog is growing that will soon have this very same problem (nice work by the way)! Plus I know you can identify with the time constraints of having a family.

  15. says

    I would say that you get more value by commenting on other blogs because it can drive traffic to your own site. Replying to at least some comments on your own site is a must if you wish for loyal return visitors. I will not comment on a site that I see gets no responses, but understand that it is not possible for larger sites to hit up every single comment. If the site owner or author is not engaged with their audience, I will eventually stop visiting the site.
    Matthew Allen recently posted..Why You Should Avoid Credit Card Debt as a Young AdultMy Profile

    • MMD says

      I feel the same way Matt. It’s okay not to respond to each and every comment, especially if you are a well traveled and large site. But when I see nothing but spam comments or no engagement from the author, it makes me question the validity of the post and its content.

    • MMD says

      Veronica, you’re making us slackers look bad! :) But I think you’re right – it will help to build relationships, especially when the site is new.

  16. says

    I haven’t reached the point to where the comments are overwhelming so I reply to all of them. If/when that time comes I don’t see any issue in not responding to all of them. None however just doesn’t seem right. Most bloggers feel as if they’re part of or creating a community. In real life you wouldn’t just say what you had to say and then not care about what anyone else said, and I feel it should be the same for those that want the community feel.

    If it gets to the point where I’m getting boatloads of comments on every post, then I’d focus on replying to those that have a question or something that I feel needs to be addressed. I always check back on the posts that I actually had a question on and it’s frustrating to not get a response.
    JC @ Passive-Income-Pursuit recently posted..Genuine Parts Company Dividend Stock AnalysisMy Profile

    • MMD says

      Well put, and I think that ended up being the general consensus – both for myself and as I observe more of the “big” blogs. I really don’t want to underestimate the community building aspect, and that is why I continue to do as much as possible to comment when I can. Sometimes life just gets in the way, but I always make it there within 1-3 days to reply.

  17. says

    The question you pose to start is a good one. I’ve found that the financial blog community is rabid about commenting. Whereas on Fearless Men we don’t get as many comments. And when we do get comments, they tend to be by financial bloggers!

    The exception to the rule is my post on How To Break-Up With Your Girlfriend. There’s currently 74 comments on it, and it’s gutwrenching stuff. People needing advice in some dicey situations. Those types of comments I always give lots of thought to and respond to.

    (http://fearlessmen.com/how-to-break-up-with-your-girlfriend-the-right-way/)

    Other comments I may not be as meaty about. But I do try to respond to all unless it was a self-serving comment on a post or if they didn’t leave something of depth.
    Todd @ Fearless Men recently posted..Quotes for Authors: Stephen King On WritingMy Profile

    • MMD says

      Points well taken Todd. Since having written this post, I’ve made more of an effort to reply back to comments more often and sometimes engage the repeat visitors. It has lead to some great discussions and even inspired a blog post or two: Something I wasn’t really expecting. On the lighter comments, I usually keep my replies shorter.

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