I know this sounds sad, but whenever anyone leaves a comment on my blog it makes me very happy.
Even after over a decade of blogging, it still get a fuzzy feeling that someone has bothered to leave some feedback and say what they think about my post.
And the first thing I do, after having moderated it (ensuring it’s not spam), is to take the time to reply to it. Similar to when you receive an email or a letter it’s polite to respond appropriately.
The act of replying makes you a better blogger
Unless you get thousands of comments, there is no reason why you can’t reply to them. Even eminent bloggers who probably do receive a massive amount, take the time to answer as many as possible.
It’s a nice, sociable thing to reply to blog comments. How many of you bother to do this? And are you doing it correctly and frequently enough?
Why not take this quick quiz which explores comment replying in a fun way designed to make you think:
Now let’s take a look at the 8 reasons why you should reply to blog comments:
1. Blogging shouldn’t be a one-way conversation
The concept of Web 2.0 included the ability to comment on blogs. This is what makes blogs different from websites, they are designed to receive comments.
This may seem commonplace nowadays, but back then the idea of being able to respond immediately and see your comment published was terribly new. However, this phenomenon has now been superseded by real-time social media, which isn’t restricted to the severe moderation practices blogs need.
Bloggers should draw more attention to their readers that they can comment on blogs. You write for your readers, not for yourself, this means they need to know they have the opportunity to reply in the same place as the post.
2. How would you feel if nobody replied to you?
Imagine presenting a workshop to a roomful of people. I have done, and it’s a pretty scary thing to do. This is a great way of showcasing your knowledge to a larger group of potential bloggers.
After you’ve finished, it’s customary to open the floor to your audience for questions. But how would they feel if you ignored anything they asked you?
Writing a blog shouldn’t be as frightening as presenting a workshop, so there’s no need to suffer from stage-fright. Take the opportunity to respond to their questions with the best answers you can provide.
3. Show your readers how important they are to you
When replying to blog comments, you need to let your readers know you have
- read their comment
- understood it
- appreciated their efforts
- valued their relationship with you
Replying to comments is really appreciated by your readers. Giving them this attention makes them feel special, valued and happy.
And this can go a long way if you want to keep your readers on your side and encourage them to read more of your posts.
4. How to encourage your readers to comment
Sometimes leaving a blog comment is just as scary as asking a question at the end of a workshop. This can be quite a step for your more nervous readers.
Apparently only about 10% of readers actually comment on blogs, and only 1% of them will do so regularly. This is why it’s important to congratulate all your readers for their effort by taking the time to reply to blog comments.
And because you have replied, they will be more likely to return to read more of your posts. And even perhaps comment again, especially if they know you regularly reply to blog comments.
5. Let’s keep this conversation going
A long time ago, before real-time instant reply was the norm, I managed to keep a comment thread open with a reader for about 20 replies. We pinged back and forth to each other as we conversed over a particular subject.
This happened way before the rise of social media, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Even though there was a wait in between each reply arriving and being published, it was exciting!
There is no reason why answering comments should consist of just one polite reply. Try asking an open question to entice your reader to respond again. Reply to blog comments by rephrasing your response to encourage other readers to join in. Create a buzz other readers cannot resist.
6. Create the impression you’ve got a popular blog
Remember by answering your comments, you are actually doubling the amount of responses you have to your post. And lots of comments gives the impression you have many readers who are interested in what you have written.
Now being popular makes people curious, as they will want to know what’s going on. Crowds always draw others who also want to join the party. And blogs with many comments imply a large readership, which in turn suggests there’s something worth reading.
As soon as the search engines get wind of this, they will start to rank your blog higher. Their algorithms are programmed to notice popularity, as bloggers who attract lots of readers must be writing excellent content that needs to be indexed.
7. Use feedback to gain more blogging ideas
Sometimes particular comments will inspire you to write a detailed reply in return, especially if it is to answer a relevant question.
However, once you’ve finished and checked the result, you may realise that this could easily be rewritten into a blog post of its own.
You can easily glean blogging ideas from inspired and encouraging comments, which could be adapted into another series of posts. After all, you know you need to write what your readers want to read, so why not gather relevant material from your comments and replies.
8. Commenting allows you to be more transparent
This is good because your readers will respond better if you come across as more ‘human’ or ‘real’. This allows them to relate to you more, opening your blog to your readers and inviting them to join a long-lasting relationship with you.
Just as people buy from people, readers need to feel a special kinship with their preferred bloggers. They need to know they can trust you to give them what they want. It’s important they know you mean whatever you write and you aren’t deceiving them.
Since most of your readers are quite vulnerable, and they would appreciate it if they realised you were the same too. Don’t be afraid to own up to your mistakes and to reveal your failures. Your transparency should be expressed in both your posts and your comments.
Now what about when you reply to blog comments?
Have a go at the quiz and let us know if when you reply to blog comments whether this has had an effect on your blog. I love to receive comments, so why not leave me one? The comment box is at the bottom of this post, and I promise to reply to you as well!