How to make answering comments more satisfying

how to make answering comments more satisfying

We all love receiving comments.

It gives us a glow to know that at least someone has read your posts and feels compelled to leave a response.

And you’ve probably read somewhere about the importance of answering comments on your blog. (There, I’ve even given you a link!)

Because just like your email’s inbox, there comes a time when you have to reply to these comments. These devoted readers have taken the time to tell you what they think, so you may as well let them know you appreciate their time and effort.

After all, it’s only kind and polite.

Where you usually reply to your comments

If you’re using WordPress, the comments tab is found in the Dashboard’s left sidebar. Just that mine looks a little different:

Dashboard sidebar

This is because I am using the Thrive Comments plugin.

This doesn’t interfere with your usual WordPress moderation system for your comments, but it offers a few extra features to make the process of answering comments that less cumbersome.

This is a ‘pending’ or ‘awaiting moderation’ comment:

Pending moderation

It clearly shows who the commenter is, and which post it refers to. There are two little icons next to the commenter’s name:

commenter's site

Which if you mouse over them allows you to check the email and web address. This is particularly appropriate to check against spam.

However, this feature may appear to be nice and clean with Thrive, but the WordPress moderation option goes a bit further:

Revealing the URL

When you mouse over the URL, a screen-shot thumbnail appears to show you the site. Now you can see whether the commenter is associated with a respectable blog or website, and not a spammy one.

Spruce up your comments before answering them

Even before you reach for the ‘Approve’ button, you can make improvements to the comment.

Beautifying the comment

The ‘Edit’ button is great for correcting spelling mistakes or making more sense of an obviously hastily concocted comment:

Editing the comment

Some of you may be thinking “You can’t do that!”, but I value the quality of my blog. Just as I thoroughly edit my guest posts, I would be intensely irritated if I published an inadequate comment. I don’t change them, I just make them more readable or understandable if necessary.

The next tab is to delegate an answerer for the comment:

Delegate answering comments

If you have more than one writer in your blog, this is a great facility to get the correct post’s author to respond to the commenter.

The ‘No Reply Needed’ tab will be explained later.

The ‘More’ tab reveals:

More tab

A featured comment is shown like this:

featured comment

And means if you are particularly proud of it, it can take pride of place above all the other comments.

The ‘Save as Testimonial’ is associated with the Thrive Ovation plugin. You’d be amazed how many comments can be adapted as testimonials.

The ‘Spam’ and ‘Trash’ tabs are also obvious. Demoting a comment to spam not only puts it into the ‘Spam’ folder, but if you have Akismet activated on your blog, this action alerts it that there is spam. More about spam is explained via this link.

After approval, now you start answering comments

Now your comment is prepared and approved, it’s time to answer it.

Find the unanswered comment under the ‘Unreplied’ tab (which is very good for highlighting comments that need a response):

pending a reply

And you may have noticed the comment’s colour has now changed from yellow to green:

answering comments

Click on the reply button at the bottom, and write a full, yet concise, reply. Since the commenter has made an effort to leave a good response, whenever answering comments you should do the same in return.

If you want to find out more about writing suitable answering comments, check out my Commenting Mastery Challenge.

When you have finished writing and clicked on the reply button, there is a satisfying double click next to your name:

Confirmation of reply

If you don’t think the comment requires an answer, click the ‘No Reply Needed’ link, and the comment won’t be placed in the ‘Unreplied’ folder.

Remember to start answering your comments from today

Once you’ve uploaded the Thrive Comments plugin, you’ll be able to see all the comments that need an answer, as well as take advantage of all the other benefits that plugin offers.

This will change the commenting area of your blog forever, with all the good that this will contribute towards building your blogging community.

And who knows, the commenters may reply to your comments, resulting in a discussion, which is very attractive to the search engines.

Why don’t you start a discussion below now? I would love to read what you think…

Alice Elliott
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