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Respond to Comments On Your Blog

Building-A-Better-Blog-2One of the most basic skills that any blogger should spend time working on from the very early days is responding to comments on your blog – and that’s today’s task in the 31 Days to Building a Better Blog Project.

While this is one of the simplest acts that a blogger can do (I almost didn’t publish this because it’s so basic) it is something that can have a real impact upon your readers.

Despite this – it’s often one of the things that slips for many bloggers over time as a result of a growing blog and/or the busyness of life. I’m as guilty of this as anyone and have been attempting to put more time aside in the last couple of weeks to comment more on my blogs (it’s a daily struggle).

So block out a little time today to scan through the latest comments on your blog. Answer questions, respond to others ideas, leave a welcome message and continue conversations by asking questions of your own.

This acknowledgment goes a long way and is one of the best ways of developing a commenting culture on your blog.

PS: Here’s another quick tip that I found very useful in the early days of my own first blogs. Click the links of those who leave comments on your blog. When you do this you’ll find that some of those who leave comments on your blog who check their own blog’s referral statistics will notice your visit and come back to see if their comments have been responded to.

You can take this another step further by leaving a comment on their blog to further develop the relationship.

This is one of those little 1%er tips that may not send a deluge of traffic to your blog but that can have an impact on a reader by reader basis (you might also find a good blog or two in the process).

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. This is a great tip. I always respond to comments and visit their blogs. I’m so curious about what people write about when they’ve expressed their opinions on what I write about.

  2. I do this at the minute, but I can see how it would get very time-consuming if you get dozens of comments per post.

    Would you reply to every comment though, even if your reply seemed contrived?

    I reply to the vast majority of mine, but not every single comment.

  3. I agree. Responding to comments is a key way to grow your blog. I was responding to every single comment and then visiting the commentator’s site and leaving a comment there. Then, I went on vacation and got waay behind.

    For large blogs I think it’s okay to jump in the thread of comments and just acknowledge that you know people are discussing the topic and that you appreciate it.

  4. “(I almost didn’t publish this because it’s so basic)”

    not really, I repeatedly comment on peoples blogs, and I’ll be the ONLY comment, and they never reply, nothing.

    I track many of my comments with commentful.com so i know ;-)

    I don’t think it’s possible at your level but as a newbie it’s crucial to engage your readers. they are real people looking to talk, value them, or peeve them off, your choice ;-)

  5. Their isn’t anything that bugs me more than asking a question on someone’s blog and the owner never responds! Should be a basic skill that many never do.

  6. I have definitely seen an increase in returning visitors when I respond to their comments, whether it be by emailing them or posting in the comments.

  7. I find t his is one of the single best ways to get people to come back to your website.


    If they asked you something they will come back maybe 4-5 times (if you take a while to reply) to check for your reply. And in the mean time they might just check out other articles on your website.

    Aways interact with your users.

  8. Thanks Darren for another very useful tip. I’ve been ‘lurking’ here as an apprentice blogger for some time and find your site, and the information you publish a highly valuable resource. Keep up the good work. Peter

  9. I always respond to my blog comments. I love meeting and greeting with new people, so this is probably a huge factor as to why.

    Good tip though… everyone should do it!

  10. I’ve seen this tip before and I try to follow it. However, it’s never clear to me if it means responding to the comment via another comment on the blog, or to send a private email.

    I find a lot of my responses I do in email, because my concern is that if I don’t do that they will never see my response (I do offer a subscribe to a comment feature, but I don’t think anyone uses it).

    However, by moving the conversation to email the other readers miss out. So sometimes I do both, but of course then if there is some back and forth in email that all gets lost.

    So, exactly how do you suggest replying to comments?

  11. Thanks for the reminder! I try to do this whenever possible on my blogs, but haven’t been consistent. I’m enjoying following your suggestions to build my newest blog.

  12. Darren — Great basic tip and one that many forget to do. BTW, love the new design.

  13. If people take the time to comment, I take time to check out their website.

  14. I agree with 45n5… often I’ll reply to a post and never hear a thing, I go back to check to see if they’ve responded – nothing. So it may be basic, but worth repeating.
    Love the new look btw…

  15. If you use WordPress, you can use any number of subscribe to comments plugins that will allow you to respond to your readers’ comments in a way that invites a response to continue the conversation.

    When they get the email that says there are new comments and the comments are asking open-ended questions, that is attractive for a reader to make a return trip and respond.

    This increases the number of comments, page count hits, and shows other visitors that your blog is a lively place with real dialogue taking place.

  16. I always make a point of replying via email to comments and following a link back to the owner’s site, even if it’s just to thank him or her for visiting. It’s common courtesy, I think.

  17. I would love to have so many comments that I can’t respond to them all! I usually take the time to email any new readers on my blog.

  18. I agree with the fact it’s important to respond to the comments. I normally run forums (13) and I like the interaction. On my blog I enabled the comments and it brings me great joy to see people come and offer their own input on the topics I discuss there.

    I try to make it easier for them and make my commentators also benefit from their “work”. I removed the nofollow attribute on the external links, and I also placed a top commentators list on my pages. Those who comment can thus promote their sites too.

    It’s important to keep spammers at bay. And I am not talking about viagra spam (Akismet does the cleaning), but those who post a 2 words comment only looking only to plug in their link.

    If done properly all this commenting stuff can be beneficial for both me and my visitors.

  19. Lorelle wrote an interesting piece on this: Time Wasting Blog Comments, Comments Policies, and Comment Etiquette, which I think is useful to keep in mind when responding to comments.

    I’ve found that having a thin skin can lead to ignoring comments altogether, in case they say something nasty. Though you have to read the comments in order to vet them, at least with a policy you have a solid grounding for removing ones that are purely promotional, vulgar, or otherwise inappropriate for your blog.

  20. I left a comment on a blog the other day, a new one i had not been to before, and several days later in my email inbox was an email from that blogs owner, it wasn’t the typical “hey, thanxs for dropping by my blog” it had just a bit more info.

    This person:
    thanked me for coming by
    suggested i stop on by again
    left a link to their latest post on the email for me to check out
    and again thanked me for coming by.

    This one email really stood out for me, from the others.

  21. What a simple thing to do that I so often have overlooked. I will be sure to do this from now on – great tips!

  22. As a beginning blogger I’ve found this to be crucial to building a readership. One of my goals is to increase subscribers. I’ve started a “Readers of the Week” post on Saturdays to encourage those who left great comments, first-time comments and referred other readers to my blog. I’ve only done it twice, but I got a few more subscribers last week.

    One of my first-time commenters was blown-away at my linking to her, because she’s only been blogging for 2 months.

  23. I usually respond to comments via email, just because it’s easier. If a commenter asks a question, I’ll leave a comment on my blog to answer, so other readers can see the answer too.

    Do you think it’s better to respond by email or on my blog? Or should I be doing both all the time?

  24. I always respond to all comments on my blogs, because it builds relationships, and keeps conversations flowing. Definitely a good idea. I have had the same experience as 45n5 where I am the only ones who leaves a comment on other people’s blogs and they never respond, even when I have left a direct question about something they said. I tend not to go back to those blogs, unless they’re exceptionally good!

    thanks for the tips!

  25. I make an effort to respond to all comments within about 24 hrs. (I try to do the same thing with my e-mails.) This keeps the conversation alive, plus it guarantees that I don’t forget to do it later. Quick responses aren’t always possible (i.e. when traveling), but I do hope the commenters/emailers appreciate the quick replies.

  26. Reviewing and responding to the comments on your blog has another side benefit, in that it is a good way to learn about new blogs. I’ve found numerous sites I’ve never heard of that where worth reading from blog comments.

  27. Since doing this I’ve noticed a small increase in the subscriber count for my new blog.


  28. This is a point that is important to reiterate. Responding to comments makes a blog more personal and a more enjoyable place to visit.

  29. I’ve been doing this pretty much since the beginning, and it’s paid off. I’m also trying to get more in contact with new readers by e-mailing or IMing them and chatting.

  30. Awesome Darren!!! You should make an e-book with your 31 Days to Building a Better Blog Project.

    Thanks Thanks Thanks

  31. As a member of the Real Estate Blogging community, I found that ActiveRain.com is an excellent lesson in the benefits of commenting on other blogs. AND for RESPONDING to comments on your own blog. People love to kow that the person that they took an effort to comment on, actually read their comment.
    I am sure it is an ego thing, but it is an important factor nonetheless.

  32. I’ve been doing this from day one. One of the worst things you can do is to ignore your readers/commenters. And that bit about the referral logs, I myself do that all the time.

  33. And there are no responses on this from Pro Blogger?


  34. This is the best advice for retaining readers, I think. I’ve seen some of the worst content with outstanding comments simply because the blogger interacts with commenters. I’ve also found some really good online relationships via the comment form.

  35. Thanks for your tips.

  36. Making relationship with reader who comment in your blog would be hard I think. I use Mybloglog to make better relation with other bloggers. If they visit my blog .I get notified through mybloglog widget who have visited my blog. I leave a comment in his profile and also visit his blog.

  37. Michael – “Would you reply to every comment though, even if your reply seemed contrived?” No – I would only do it if you can find something genuine to say – although it’s not that hard – even if it’s something like ‘welcome to my blog – appreciate the comment’.

    Andy – “I’ve found that having a thin skin can lead to ignoring comments altogether, in case they say something nasty.” – yes after a year or three of blogging it’s easy to become a little too thick skinned for your own good – at least that’s what I’ve found.

    SingforHim – i like the ‘reader of the week idea. Fits with one of the posts I’ve got coming up later in this series quite well.

    Andrew – on the book idea, I’ve been thinking about how to pull these tips together in a more useful way. I’m not sure it’ll be a book – but hope to do something with it.

    Make Money Blogging – “And there are no responses on this from Pro Blogger?” – the only complicating problem with this tip is that I live in a different time zone to 90+% of my readers and have been sleeping my lovely warm bed while you’ve all been commenting away.

  38. Peter Fletcher – thanks for coming out of the lurking closet! I do appreciate that and look forward to your future comments!

    john – from fat to fat – AND Lynnae – I think either responding via comments or email (or both) can work well. Doing it via comments helps others see the response and might answer a question that others have, via email ensures the commenter will see it and is a more personal thing (which can have a real impact) and doing both covers both bases (something I’ve been known to do from time to time). I’ll try to write more on this in a post soon – good question.

    Grant – thanks, still a few little bugs to get rid of in the new design but we’re gettign there.

    Missy – that’s a great list of things to include in a response to a comment. Sounds like a good template to use.

  39. For me, it’s more than a 1 per center. A lot of the bloggers who I have built a relationship with because of responding to their comments on their blogs, have brought many visitors to my site.

    I think you have some great information in this article. Thank you.

  40. At least Darren and the other popular bloggers have excuses for not being able to respond to everyone – they probably get hundreds (if not thousands) of e-mails per day, hundreds of comments, they run multiple blogs, and they have a life (hopefully). Plus I can’t even imagine how much spam makes it through their filters.

    The rest of us get … what? A couple of comments, a couple of e-mails, etc.

  41. I respond to most comments on my blogs and have ended up in some quite long-running conversations on-page as a result.

    I now have a few faithful readers who come by virtually every day to say something on a post or two :)

  42. I follow a similar pattern to the one outlined by Missy. I almost always give a follow up comment and send an email reply with my comment and try to add a little more, such as a link to another article on a similar topic.

    This technique has gained me many loyal readers as well as some regular commenters.

    I also think it is a sign of plain good manners, but can also see that as the traffic grows and the number of commenters escalates there may come a time when there are just too many to respond to every single comment. It will be a lovely problem.

  43. I agree with Nancy, the response probably has to be very quick.

    I comment often on problogger with a hope getting some additional advice, but I am so guilty, I forget what I commented after a week or so. So I do not go back to the post again. And there are so many new good stuff coming up, I get distracted to the new posts.

    Do you guys think you should not comment too often on other people’s blogs?

  44. I always reply to the comments in my blog and many times also go to their blog to say a hi or comment on the latest article…

    I think this one tip is much more important than just being 1%er , like the other day I read in another article of yours that comments help your blog rank well in search engines, always presenting fresh content, which is good for SEO! which I had never known!

    and I agree with Jeremy, replying to a few comments and a few emails shouldn’t be so difficult, unless there are hundreds of them, which of course is understandable!

  45. Basic, but so often overlooked.

  46. Nice tip!
    I’ll take a personal tip: always that you answer a comment, by e-mail or directly in your blog, extend the discussion, not just respond the comment. This will add more information in your post and could be more interesting for your visitors.

  47. Darren Rowse – How about putting all of the Days of this topic into a pdf for download? Surely that would be a good idea. (I’d download it for one, instead of making my own out of a word document and copy/paste)

  48. Nathan – stay tuned. I’ve got a few ideas on how to deliver it.

  49. I reply to 95% of the comments left on my blog.

    I also use a different font color for my comments so people can easily see that it’s me (as Darren has done here by shading the background of his comments).

    I also reply to each comment individually rather than one big comment in response to several commentators. Then I edit my comment post date to appear right after the person I replied to so that the conversations are easier to read and follow.

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