When your blog is new, there is nothing more exciting than getting a comment! It not only proves that people are reading your posts, but that they like them enough to want to respond.
Of course the more you write, the kind of relevant post subjects you offer, and the more people who read your blog, the more likely you will get comments. The audience ratio will vary depending on where your blog is geographically – obviously American blogs get more comments because there is a culture to perform online interaction and activity.
But should you approve all your comments? Obviously special applications like Akismet (which I call my trusty spam-eater) will seek out and separate spam comments, either by dumping them in the spam folder, or offering them for moderation (administrator’s approval). Some it will ferret away without you having to consider them.
Spam (or as it should be better known as inappropriate viral marketing) is recognised as either a comment that has nothing to do with your post’s subject, or is an annoying comment like ‘Nice post’. Be aware of the ones that seem to be complimentary, they may contain links to their own websites or blogs that you may not approve of. A lot of spam, either human or robot generated, is about link building and getting more traffic to their sites. Read each carefully before approving them, to make sure they are suitable.
If you want to know whether to accept the comment, check out the destination of the commenter’s website or blog. Every comment will contain a link to the commentator’s email address and their website or blog, and you should check them (Akismet will weed out the offensive ones) before deciding to publish their comment. Once the comment is live, the link to their website is live also, helping them with SEO and inbound links to boost their ratings.
So once you’ve approved and published the comments, why not respond to them yourself? This is a good way to keep the conversation going (especially if they reply back) and this continuous repartee will encourage the internet spiders to return because they consider it to be new material. I once had a very nice conversation with a young blogger about a particular subject, an activity I very much enjoyed.
Should you approve comments that disagree with your post? Yes, everyone is entitled to have their say, and as long as the comment is not derogatory to you or your blog, then go ahead and publish it. If you want to set the matter straight, a polite answer is a good idea, as long as you don’t continue the slagging match!
And responding to other people’s blogs will also raise your expert status within your subject (particularly if you respond to like-minded blogs to yours), as well as providing a link back to your blog if your comment is approved.