5 Reasons Why You Should Respond to Every Comment

By Guest Author

This is a guest post from Pat Flynn. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

If you enable comments on your blog (which I’m sure most of you do), then you obviously want your readers to interact by leaving comments after your post. Then why, I ask, does it usually end up being a one-sided conversation?

It’s like giving a presentation to a group of people and not responding to questions and comments from your audience. It just seems rude, but for some reason it has become standard for bloggers not to reply to comments made on their post.

So much for “interaction”.

For big-time bloggers with several comments on each post, it would obviously be tough to respond to each and every single comment. But you have to admit that it is nice to when the big names take the time to respond to some of the comments, right?

The truth is, most of us are not “big time” bloggers and we do have the time to respond. And yet – we don’t.

In Step #6 of 6 Steps To An Effective Guest Post, it mentions:

“If you are fortunate enough to get your site published, the work is not over yet. All your efforts should go into promoting that article and taking part in any comments that may be posted.

Why is this something that only guest posters should do? Every blogger should be doing it on their own posts too.

For the past several months, I’ve been doing my best to respond to each and every single comment on my own blog, just to see what would happen. The response has been nothing less than amazing. In fact, people have pointed out that they love that I respond to almost every comment, and some of my readers have even emailed me just to say thanks.

So what’s the real benefit? Why should you invest a few extra minutes to respond to your readers? Here are 5 reasons to do so:

1. It Encourages People To Comment

People don’t leave comments just so they can be left unread. By replying, you’re not only letting people know that you’re actively involved in reading the comments, but you’re encouraging them to come back and comment again later.

Furthermore, people who don’t normally comment may be happy to do so knowing that their comment will indeed be read.

2. It Adds to the Quality of Your Posts

A reply can often lead to side conversations within the commenting area that add to the content and overall quality of your post. Your points will be explained further, new points will be brought up, and questions that people may have get answered.

Also, new people will join the side conversations and add their own comments that they wouldn’t have normally made otherwise.

3. It Helps With Search Engine Optimization

Comments on your blog posts do in fact help with search engine optimization, although admittedly in a minimal way.

More comments, including your own, usually mean more instances of the keywords that you used in your blog post, which means you’re more likely to be found in the search engines for those terms.

Additionally, new terms that you did not use in your blog post will be brought up and discussed, which could potentially help you for those terms as well.

4. It Adds More Social Proof

Social proof is a psychological phenomenon that occurs when people’s decisions are influenced by making the assumption that surrounding people know more about certain situations than you do.

For example, if you’re at the mall and you see a huge crowd of people around a particular store, chances are that you’re going to walk over and see what the big deal is. In a similar way, you might be more inclined to follow a certain blogger in a niche just because they have more subscribers and followers than others.

In most cases, your own comments will count towards the overall comment count of your post. Respond to 15 comments, and you’ll have a total comment count of 30, which looks more far more impressive and interesting to your readers and any new visitors to your blog.

5. It Helps You Build Authority and Credibility

Finally, by responding to each comment, you’re establishing yourself as a go-to expert in your niche. You become more “real” and are seen as someone who actually takes time to care for your readers, which adds value to you and your blog.

Because responding to comments is abnormal, you’ll stand out of the crowd like no other. And if you can leave thoughtful, meaningful comments, you’ll make that much more of an impact on your readers.

It doesn’t take very much extra time, and the return on investment can be phenomenal. So why not give it a shot?

Try responding to every comment and see what happens.

So What Do You Think?

How do you feel when a blogger responds to a comment you left on his or her blog? Do you think it’s worth the time and effort to do so, or are we just wasting our time?

Please leave a comment below, and tell me what you think.

Cheers!

About the Author: After getting laid off back in 2008, Pat Flynn has since created an online empire, starting multiple online businesses which earn him well over 6-figures a year in passive income. He writes about online business and blogging on The Smart Passive Income Blog.



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124 Responses to “5 Reasons Why You Should Respond to Every Comment”

  • Carrie

    i think any questions should certainly be addressed but i don’t think every comment warrants a response, i only respond if it will in fact add to the conversation

    • Pat

      Hey Carrie. Questions definitely should be answered, however I think everyone who takes the time to leave a comment should get some love from the author. It really does go a long way, and it only takes a second. Thanks Carrie!

      • Danny Brown

        So every comment that says “Great article!” should get a response?

        Don’t agree with that, sorry. I reply to pretty much every *valid* comment, and depending on the post that could be in triple figures. I know how much time it takes to respond, and while in theory answering everyone is nice, in practice it can become almost impossible.

      • Pat

        @Danny – for the social proof aspect of it, I think it’s important. Sure, they won’t get a long response from me (Great Article = thanks), but they’ll get something. It doesn’t take that long, like you say. as long as you think, seriously.

        Different strokes for different folks, and I respect your honest opinion. Thanks Danny!

    • Christina

      This is a controversial one. Nevertheless, I still try to reply to comments that just say “Great post!”, even if the person commenting most likely wouldn’t see the reply. It just looks good to other readers, since they see that I do try to interact and do care about those reading my posts. Also, just in case the person commenting does see the reply, it encourages them to read more articles and keep interacting.

  • Jamie Favreau

    I don’t understand why publishing a blog would be beneficial if you can’t build a relationship with the readers. It boggles my mind but I know Seth Godin does it and so does some corporations.

    I think by having an active community you can build relationships which could help your business and have a blogger relations program.

    I know this is NOT bizzaro thinking but maybe some companies are just way too siloed to see this as an asset?

    • Pat

      Jaime – isn’t it sad that this is the way it is, and it’s normal? Nowadays, customer service and relationships with your customers, readers, subscribers, commenters, whatever, is becoming more important than ever. It’s separating the men from the boys, for a lack of a better expression.

  • Aymeric

    When I am reading a blog of someone I know is commenting on all the comments, I am more likely to leave a comment if I have a question or to add some information to the discussion.

    Even if all comments are not reply-worthy, I think by answering them all, you demonstrate that you care enough to read and reply.

    • Pat

      Thanks for your opinion Aymeric – I totally agree.

  • Jonathan Beebe

    Hi Pat, Nice to see you here at DBT!

    I completely agree with your views on the benfits of responding to comments. I try my best to respond to every comment, if anything, for the “social proof” aspect of it all. I like seeing the comment count high on my posts (even if half of them are mine, heheh). But along with the social proof, it does encourage more people to comment, and it also gives some “back” to those who comment… it probably makes them feel good that I took the time to respond to their comment.

    I recommend you download the ‘Subscribe to comments’ wordpress plugin because it helps those who comment KNOW when you’ve replied back to them… that also encourages more comments because it turns your post into sort of a forum thread.

    Thanks again for the great post Pat!

    • Pat

      Thanks Jonathan! It was very awesome of Daniel to accept my guest post.

      The social proof aspect of it has done wonders for me actually. A lot of people in interviews I do actually ask me how I get so many comments from people, more than other bloggers with tens of thousands of rss subscribers.

      About the plugin – it’s definitely a must, however like Tim Ferriss’ email response style, I’d recommend responding in “chunks”, so you aren’t wasting time stopping your routine or whatever it was you were doing to response to each comment one-by-one.

      Thanks again Jonathan!

  • Dev | Technshare

    Hey Pat,

    Glad to see you here.
    Really awesome post pat. I do reply to all the comments on my blog and it really helps me to build relationship.
    Thanks for sharing this great Post. Great Job Pat.

    ~Dev

    • Pat

      Building relationships with others online is one of the most important things you can do, and responding to comments is a very easy way to do it. Thanks Dev!

  • sachin

    i found that with every commets my blog’s improvement
    blogtipsrocks
    denial rock

    if anybody inntrested in cpa and affiliate visit my blog

  • gokul

    Ya its correct.I will reply all comments for my posts as soon as possible.
    sure it will be increase our search engine rankings.thanks Pat.

    • Pat

      It does, but just ever so slightly. Still, any little bit helps in the competitive world of blogging and search engine rankings.

  • Nabeel | Create Your First Website

    I completely agree with your thoughts.

    I comment on a number of blogs, both big and small.

    Now of course I am very impresses when big time bloggers like Pat from smartpassiveincome responds to EVERY comment on his blog. I think it increases loyalty to the blog!

    Even in small blogs, I think it is important to reply to comments. In most of the blogs that I comment on, the authors always reply to comments.

    The advantages that you mention are great, and real.

    Also, it makes the commenter feel valued when the author personally replies to the comment!

    It also makes it look like the author really wants to engage with the readers.

    Nabeel

    • Nabeel | Create Your First Website

      Sorry that was impressed not impresses*

  • Pat

    Nabeel – thanks for the comment. I think for small blogs, it’s even MORE important, because that’s when you’re in the grind and establishing yourself in the niche and trying to get as much authority as possible. First impressions are big, and a response to a comment is an easy way to leave a good first impression in someone’s mind. Cheers!

  • Chris Palmer

    This is one of the biggest things I have learned from you (thankfully a while go) so thank you!

    Companies of today that are more human and personal (Mac, Zappos) will win.

    • Pat

      Yes – Zappos is the PERFECT example Chris, and Apple too. Customer service and responding to people goes a long, long way. Cheers Chris!

  • Gary David | Build Your List Fast

    Hey Pat, thanks for sharing this. I’ve also seen this tip and I must say that we should respond to the comments to make it more lively, and more interesting for people to comment more. I’ve seen a lot og blogs in which the blog owners doesn’t even participate in the conversation. The result? Number of comments went down.

    I also like your idea with the number of comments adding up if you reply to your reader’s comments. When I see the post with at least more than 30 comments, it makes me click on the post even if the topic is not my subject of interest, just out of curiosity. So i agree that by taking time to answer comments, it will be more interactive, fun, and lively conversation.

    Cheers,

    Gary

    • Pat

      Hey Gary! Yep – that’s the power of social proof right there. It’s just weird when people don’t respond at all, because a blog is supposed to be about community, especially one that you’re trying to expand and grow, and community is lost when people are just being ignored. It’s like talking to a wall. Cheers dude!

  • Dinesh

    Your points are correct, but still I feel we should not response to each comment. We can ignore comments such as ‘ Thank you’, ‘great post’..etc.

    Make sure, you are not the ‘Top Commenter for your blog’ let users to comment and communicate.

    • Pat

      The “Thank You” comments – I sorta of agree with you on that, because it doesn’t add any real value to the content. If they say a little bit more, then I think they deserve something in return, but a simple Thanks or Great Post – probably not. Thanks for that reminder.

      • Dinesh

        100% agree with you now.

  • Ishan

    Hi Pat,
    I agree 100% with you. I try to respond to each and every comment on my blog and it works well.
    I also e-mail readers who post multiple comments or ask questions via comments.
    I am currently using “Comment Reply Notification” plugin which notifies readers only when there’s a new reply to their comment! I helps in getting readers back to blog because with normal “Subscribe to comments” plugin, readers are notified about every new comments(not replies included!) which can make them, well kind of blind notifications!(I have experienced it and it’s not a good experience to get a new notification every 30 minutes(and less if blog is popular!)

    @ Dinesh “Thank You”, “Great Post” comments should not be replied to. They deserve a click on “mark as spam” link. I have a strict policy on my blog and comments like those and those using keyword names” are marked spam straight!

    • Pat

      Excellent tip Ishan, about the comment reply notification plugin. I’ll take a look at that right away. Cheers!

  • Jens P. Berget

    I haven’t been responding to people who are only writing “nice post”, “thanks for sharing” etc…

    I have only been commenting on questions.

    But, reading this, I probably should 🙂

    • Pat

      If anything – for the social proof aspect of it, then I agree! 🙂

      Cheers Jen!

  • Grim_Cris

    I agree with you, but if someone is just saying „nice post” or „good job”, how can you respond to that? Maybe I should say „thanks, but why do you think my post was so great?”?

    • Pat

      Actually – that’s brilliant. Try to get them to come back and leave even more social proof on your blog, if all they say is thank you. Good one!

  • Damian Smith

    I completely agree to all the points made here. I really do try and reply to any comments made on my blog, usually I have no problem doing so, but every now and then I will forget to reply to a few.

    I never really considered the benefits of doing so before, but after reading this I can really understand how much it would help any bloggers site.

    The other point being, I do love it when my comment has been replied too, I find myself checking back to comments every now and then too see if they have replied to me. Makes you feel good!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts 🙂

    • Pat

      Thanks for your thoughts as well, Damian. Like you said, it feels nice when we’re replied to, and that little gesture can go a long way, especially online where there are more reasons to forget someone, than to remember them by.

  • z3zim4

    If you reply to this post, I will… not reply to yours!

  • Deena

    I’m glad to hear this again. I try to answer everyone but sometimes wonder if it’s silly. At the same time, it seems like the courteous thing to do. I once visited a blog where she answers every single comment and I though it was the nicest thing.

    Actually, come to think of it, I’m pretty sure I’ve commented here before and found myself disappointed not to get a response from you. Maybe I’m mistaken but I’m pretty sure it happened. Are you planning on now trying to answer every comment on your blog?

    • Pat

      Hey Deena – well here is a response to your comment 🙂

      I don’t know what Daniel’s plans are, but granted he’s got a lot of comments to tend to, so it may be more difficult for him to do so. I really appreciate him posting this guest post of mine, even though he doesn’t practice this technique himself at the moment.

      Thanks for your opinion, and I wish you all the best. Cheers!

  • Gregg Swanson

    Great points! I’d like to add that it’s fun and respectful. When a person takes time to comment on my post I enjoy the feedback and its fun to communicate via the comments. Also, let’s think about this…you get a visitor to your blog; they take their time out to read your post. It creates an impact for them and takes more of their time to provide their thoughts. If their comments are not acknowledged unconsciously you’re sending a message that your time and comment don’t matter…it’s all about me.

    I know when I make a several comments on a specific blog and they go unnoticed I’ll stop going back to that blog due to pro “customer service.”

    Pat always does a great job at responding to post!

    • Pat

      Thanks for the comments, Gregg. I feel the exact same way, and it’s actually why i don’t leave comments on blogs that much anymore. I never know if they are being read or not!

  • Mike

    Hi Pat,

    Good points!

    Building a viable long term business requires identifying with and relating to your customers. You’ve got to have 2 way communication to build a lasting relationship of any sort. I would think that your commenting allows you to “Listen” to your readers and drives your focus as well.

    One of the main reasons I read your blog is the interaction with readers. It just makes for a better experience. I don’t think you need to break your back to respond to each and every comment. There’s only so much a guy can do in a day, ha? But anyone who reads your blog knows you make the effort.

    Looking forward to the webinar tonight.

    Take Care,

    Mike

    • Pat

      Thanks Mike – I appreciate the kind words. So far, it’s made a huge difference in the growth of my blog and the attitude my readers have towards me. I think it leaves a nice impression about who i am and what I do online.

      Thanks Mike! Get on there early, the seats will fill up fast I think!

  • Jitendra

    Answering every comment of readers is really a nice thing and it adds a lot in the blog credibility….thanks for sharing this information.

    • Pat

      Cheers Jitendra, I appreciate it. I hope you can see how when I respond to each of the comments here, how it also adds to the social proof of this post.

      On the front page of the blog, this post now has the most comments, and will be shown on the front page for the next 5 or 6 posts.

  • Eran

    Responding to comments does a few other things as well.

    It engages the commenter. I am more likely to return to the blog as well as give comments if the owner/writer responds to my comments. I don’t comment usually unless I have something to add.

    It adds a human aspect to a blog. It reminds reader that there is actually a human being writing and not just an automaton.

    Its also a great way to meet new contacts, find new ideas and subjects to write about.

    Its the pulse of the readers.

    • Pat

      I think what you mention about adding a human element to the blog is very important. Everything seems so automatic and almost robotic online these days, that it can be a nice “fresh breath of air” to see some human elements put back into a website, such as this.

      Thanks Eran!

  • Julie

    Hi, thanks for this post! My blog is with Blogger. I’m wondering if anyone knows how to reach a person who comments on a post of mine if their name isn’t linked to any URL or email? Also if someone comments on a post on my blog, can I comment on their comment? Meaning, for example, answer a question they ask–but visible to all readers? Thanks!

    • Pat

      I’m not quite sure how Blogger works – I’m a WordPress freak, hehe. You should definitely be able to respond to people’s comments on your blog itself though. Even if you can’t respond directly beneath it, you can add your own comment that address someone else’s. I hope that helps!

  • Dan keller

    Great points on adding to the engagement aspect of your blog
    in regards to what others have said about not commenting on “nice posts” type comments, I do not approve them in the first place. I have recently committed myself to responding to all comments. I have even taken it one step further and visit and comment in all blogs that comment on mine.

    • Pat

      Dan, that’s awesome. I take the time to do the same, but only to one or two blogs, since I average about 50-60 comments on each post, but it’s really a great thing, taking that extra step like you are. I commend you! Cheers!

  • highnurse

    only important..but what say”great.thanks.creative.others like”don’t worth time.as i don’t write to be thanked ..i want to be useful and exchange knowledge..

    • Pat

      Hmm, I somewhat disagree. I always try to write well enough to be thanked. It’s reassurance that what you wrote as valuable, useful information, and reassurance to keep doing what you’re doing. If you’re writing and no one responds either way, how will you know if you’re on the right path. You dont.

      of course, an exchange of knowledge and going deeper into subjects is much more useful, and a thanks that goes along with it is indeed a nice touch.

  • Jennifer Brown Banks

    Pat,

    Bravo! I see it simply as a professional courtesy. Even if it’s a brief response like “thanks”! Everybody deserves to be acknowleged. And this happens to be one of my blogging pet peeves too.

    Thanks for the enlightenment. 🙂

    • Pat

      You’re welcome, Jennifer, and thanks for the comment. There’s a lot of reasons to respond, and I definitely think just plain ol’ common courtesy is one of them. Definitely under-practiced though, in my opnion. Cheers!

  • Nancy D. Brown

    Hello Pat,
    Helpful post and a good reminder re: commenting.

    As a professional travel writer and blogger, I left several comments for Conde Nast Traveler Consumer Editor Wendy Perrin on her blog. She took the time to respond to my comments and took it a step further and asked to meet me in person the next time she was in San Francisco.

    As a result of my comments and her generosity, we are now good friends. She is crazy busy with multiple editorial outlets, yet she took the time to respond to my comments.
    Yes – it is worth the time and effort to respond to comments!!

    • Pat

      Great little story Nancy, and I think it just shows what something small like a comment can eventually lead to. You never know what could happen, but you give yourself more chances to experience great things in the future by planting all of these “seeds of generosity”. All the best!

  • Keith Davis

    Hi Pat
    I try to reply to every comment… just seems polite.
    The subscribe to comments plugin is a great plugin for getting the discussion going and encourages people to comment on the comments… if you know what I mean.

    • Pat

      Hey Keith – I definitely understand what you mean. Plugins to promote discussions and further the community are a must. Cheers!

      • Keith Davis

        Just to prove my point… glad you agree Pat. LOL

  • Nasrul Hanis

    I do agree with you, Pat!

    Try to imagine yourself giving comment at someone’s article and your article had been replied. Wow. It gives an amusing feeling for the readers and making them to come back – again and again.

    And yes, by replying comments sometimes we got something to learn from the comments – and that’s how we have the chance to improve ourselves =D

    • Pat

      Yep – that one little gesture can keep people coming back time and time again. The content doesn’t end with the blog post – it continues on in the comments. Thanks Nasrul!

  • Josh Garcia

    Hey Pat,

    I’m glad that you put this together. There are some individuals that think not having to respond to comments is necessary.

    I totally agree with you that it is a must! Especially when you are starting out. Like you mention, it creates credibility with your readers.

    Chat with you later…
    Josh

    • Pat

      Absolutely, Josh. I actually learned this technique with inspiration from Gary Vaynerchuk, author of Crush It, who happens to respond to almost every negative comment on his Amazon.com book reviews. It’s really amazing that he does that, and I think people feel the same way about blog comments from the author.

  • Hal Brown

    There was a post on this blog not long ago – 10 Ways to Get Your Comments Blocked or Deleted – that was opposed to what you are saying. I thought it was regrettable that any blogger could be so arrogant he would ban someone for saying thanks. This sends a message to the social media world, and the real world that saying thanks is a bad thing.

    I despised that message so much I wrote a post about it, and other blogs that have warnings about comments.

    Even if I have something useful to say, I won’t say it on a blog where I could be banned if I make a mistake.

    I unequivocally agree with you. The goodwill you incur by responding cannot be understated. I understand that some cannot answer 127 comments. On the other hand, do the best you can, just don’t threaten commenters with banning for simply saying thanks. It ain’t nice to screw with your readers.

    • Daniel Scocco

      Hal, my post had actually nothing to do with what Pat is saying here.

      My post was about things you may do while comment that will make you look like a spammer. Things like using a keyword as your name, leaving a comment with just two words, or leaving pointless comments.

  • Tony

    Add to the list: It artificially increases the number of comments for your articles. 🙂

    • Pat

      Yep – I talk about that in the post Tony. Social proof right there.

  • Jamie Barclay

    I guess commenting in every comment made by your readers sends out the message that you wanna have a real connection to them. It is like adding extra points on you. Making you stand out on the crowd. It encourages your reader to follow you more. 🙂

    • Pat

      All additional valid points Jaime – especially standing out from the crowd for going an extra mile for their readers.

  • Robert

    Hey Pat, just wanted to see if you respond…j/k. As I prepare to launch my blog, I plan on scheduling time to respond to everyone’s comments. One reason is to help them out with stuff I know (or point them in the right direction), and of course, the other reasons you list above. Plus, I know how it feels to not know something, and have other people think it’s “obvious”. It just seems like a good thing to do.

    Do you respond to comments to previous blog posts that you’ve written, say, a week or more ago? What do you think?

    • Pat

      Hey Robert, I do respond to comments on older posts, but not every single one. On posts a week old, I usually only respond to those who have added great additional input, or those who have questions. The social proof aspect is less important because the posts are then below the fold or hidden in the archives.

  • Jean Sarauer

    I can’t imagine not replying to a comment, just as I can’t imagine not responding to someone who speaks to me offline. There aren’t two sets of rules for me on how to treat people. Plus I love the interaction and the privilege of getting to know people who take the time to read my blog and share their thoughts. It’s a major part of the reason I do what I do.

    • Pat

      I’m the same way as you. I think just the fact that we’re doing business and building relationships online doesn’t mean we should forget about how we treat people in person.

  • jessica

    I want do anything when i read your article, i think it is polite! It’s a major part of the reason I do what I do.

    • Pat

      To me, I definitely think it’s the polite thing to do. I mean, if you were making a presentation in real life, and someone came up to you afterwards and said “Thanks!”, it would be so rude to just not say anything. Why should doing this online be any different?

  • kevin

    To respond the comment that is my habit.

  • Gretchen Saathoff

    Hi Pat,

    I agree that every comment merits a response. In fact, the other day something really great happened!

    Someone wrote a guest post for me a little while ago. Then, several weeks later, a writer reposted it on her blog. That surprised me, since I’m a musician.

    Other writers then clicked through from her blog to mine….

    And one of those writers commented on a later post on my blog, connecting my music post to the writing process…. she put my URL on her blog roll, too!

    That’s what happens when people talk to each other, even if they’re in different fields.

    • Pat

      Great, inspirational story, Gretchen! I love how the small connections we make with people often lead to something bigger and better for us! Kudos to you!

  • ElizOF

    Great post!
    Not only do I respond to comments on my blog, I visit the blogs of people who comment and leave comments on their posts. Sometimes, the comments are from people whose blogs I visited so I always post a general “thank you!” on my posts to my visitors. From time to time, I check old posts to make sure I didn’t miss someone.
    I am flummoxed by the disregard I have seen in the blogging world. I was under the impression that as a community of bloggers, we want to build camaraderie and support other bloggers as much as they support us. We are all busy so a blog visitor who leaves a comment should be acknowledged with a reply or return visit.
    Lately, I find that some bloggers send emails thanking you for your visit; a truly lovely gesture no doubt but a blog post comment in return would be ideal. We all appreciate comments on our blogs and when someone makes the effort to click on a link, land on a blog, read a post, write and submit a comment, it behooves the recipient to respond with some modicum of interest.
    Sure, I understand that bloggers who get thousands of comments a day couldn’t possibly respond to everyone but what some of the star bloggers do is great. They respond to random comments and give general feedback to the group.
    Be rest assured that if you visit my blog I will not ignore you. Fortunately, life has taught me the value of God’s grace and people’s grace; we all need some.
    Cheers,
    Eliz

    • Pat

      Eliz, that’s a great practice that goes one step further than what I’ve outlined here, that I’m you’ve seen the benefits from already. Small things like that, which don’t take much time, really do make a big difference in the long run. Blog karma does exist 🙂

  • Deena

    Pat, sort of funny that this blog post has disproved itself! I innocently left a comment and subscribed to follow-ups in order to be made aware if/when you answered me.

    Since then, I am receiving so much mail because of all the comments on this post! And you answering all of them means I’m getting double the amount of messages to my inbox.

    I still agree with you that it’s great and important to answer people but there has to be a balance. Like someone else said here, you really need to choose which comments need an answer and which ones are OK without one. Otherwise the blogger and the commenters could go crazy. 🙂

    • Pat

      Hi Deena – as you can see above, I did respond to your comment. I don’t think anyone should limit their blog comment responses just because they are worried about how many emails comments subscribers will get. People know when they click on the subscribe to comments button there is a chance for a lot of emails to come through, and clicking on that button is there own choice. I’m sorry you’re getting all that email, but that’s a side effect to being respectful and answering other peoples comments.

      Like I responded to the person you mention in your comment, if people took the time to read my post and comment, I think they deserve at least a few seconds of my time to respond.

    • Pat

      Oh, and I wouldn’t say thhat this blog post disproved itself – you’re just not happy with getting all the emails. Everything I mentioned in the article, however, is being proved as we speak. Already almost 80 comments on this post, by far more than any other of Daniel’s posts on the front page at the moment, so that’s some good social proof right there. Also, I’m sure many of the people who I responded to here are quite thankful that I have, and some probably left comments too just knowing that they are being read and that I’d respond, which again add to the social proof aspect of it.

      I appreciate your opinion though. Thanks!

  • John Sherry

    Pat can’t disagree with any of your thoughts, all seem sensible ‘whys’ to me.

    Only question is when do you stop replying? Eventually it’s not worth your time just replying if you have lots and lots of comments. What’s your recommended benchmark figure before you think it’s umanageable?

    • Pat

      Great question John. I usually wait one or two posts (depending on the volume) until I only answer questions or respond to really insightful comments. On the first day or two, however, I make time to respond to as many as I can. For the social proof aspect of it especially (i.e. if people see a large # of comments on the first post when they get to my homepage, they are more likely to read it.

  • Robert Bravery

    I’ve been saying this for a long time. But keep getting stomped out by some of the so called A-listers because they can’t possible answer every comment. It’s too much.

    Hey it’s a blog, that’s life get over it and do your job. If you don’t want to answer comments, turn the thing off.

    It’s like having a call centre and only answering 1% of the calls, if you have the time

    • Pat

      “If you don’t want to answer comments, turn the thing off.” – nice! I like the analogy too – it just doesn’t make sense!

      Honestly though, I think what it comes down to is laziness.

  • Richard Scott

    Excellent post Pat. This is what makes you so personable. You reach out and communicate with others. It makes you down to earth and real. Some other bloggers ignore and don’t even care about the comments they get. It surely makes me never want to comment there. Plus, I go out of my way to communicate and give great points. But, like you said, to each their own.

    Answering comments makes you such a likeable person. It really does make one want to spread the word and retweet the post. Good stuff as always and nice to see you here as well. 🙂

    • Pat

      Thanks Richard! Indeed, we all have our systems of what we do and don’t, but like you said something like this, so simple, can make a big difference. A lot of people fail to see that.

  • Julius

    I’d like to add that when we respond to every comment, we’d encourage more people to join the conversation, and the great result is new ideas. Often we find new ideas to write about when people ask questions and give their opinions through their comments.

    • Pat

      Julius – yep. I mentioned this specifically in the article, and it adds to the overall quality of the content of the post as a whole.

  • Roshan Ahmed

    Hi Pat,

    You’ve got some great information in the post and you’ve just showed us how to apply it practically in this comment section.

    Great Work!

    • Pat

      Thanks Roshan – I made sure to respond to most, if not all of the comments here just to show how powerful it can be. More people comments, and it’s the top post on the front page for comments, which shows the power of social proof. Cheers!

  • Mike Cloutier

    You make interesting points. I have always felt that responses to comments were just efforts to get the last word in and I have made a point to not respond to allow readers to have the last word. I’ve had my say, and the comment boxes are for them. When I have responded, it has sometimes generated more comments.

    • Pat

      That’s interesting Mike – I never really heard anyone put it that way before: “…just efforts to get the last word in”.

      I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to respectfully disagree with you on that. For me, that is never my intention, and I don’t think anyone else sees it that way either, besides you…hehe.

      Like you said in the end, when you responded, it has sometimes generated more comments. That’s good, because that’s part of the point of responding to comments, to get people to converse and go into more depth than the article had.

      Anyways, different strokes for different folks, and I appreciate your honesty and opinion. Cheers Mike!

      • Mike Cloutier

        I edited my comment before I submitted it — I did the cut, but not the paste — and truncated it too much. What I left out was that I would try your advice because I have noticed that replies to comments do generate more comments. Essentially, I agree with your point, but I didn’t communicate that.

        My thoughts about the “last word” are a hold over from print, specifically newspapers, where letters to the editor (and that’s what I consider comments to be) are published without comment by the paper. There’s a few reasons for this.

        The main reason is the letters column is the readers’ space. The editor has all the rest of the paper to make his point. Not commenting on letters builds the sense that the newspaper is a forum for reader opinions. A well-written story or editorial should not require clarification (my last comment is an example).

        Building relationships with blog readers by responding to comments is a good idea, but I would do it in a way to avoid building a sense that I always must have the last word on something.

      • Pat

        Ahh – gotcha. Thanks for the reply Mike. I definitely agree with you on the “last word” for letters to the editor. It can be tough to read those because they are just reiterating what was said in the article sometimes. Cheers!

  • SEOP

    I agree 100%. Bloggers definitely should start recognizing their readers, and they can do that through the comments section. A simple thank you can actually do good.

    • Pat

      I think bloggers who don’t recognize their readers shouldn’t really be blogging in the first place. Your thoughts?

  • Brad

    You make good points, but I often feel that I just have nothing to say to certain comments. I guess I could say, “I have no comment on this comment”, but that might be a little superfluous. 😉

    • Pat

      Haha – yes, that would probably be a little much 😛

  • Eric

    There’s a lot of comments already here but I felt like I had to leave my own anyway. I feel it’s important to leave comments and to respond to those comments as it shows you actually care about your readers. If you show you don’t care then why should they come back just to be ignored some more? They shouldn’t and probably won’t.

    • Pat

      Thanks for leaving a response, Eric. I think the question you ask is probably the most important thing people should ask themselves as bloggers, especially those who are wondering why they don’t get as many commenters on their posts as others in the same niche.

  • Alan @ Work From Home

    “More comments, including your own, usually mean more instances of the keywords that you used in your blog post, which means you’re more likely to be found in the search engines for those terms.”

    This is very true and I’ve experienced this benefit lots of times. It helps to know some of these small things that add up to getting more traffic to our blog. Responding to a comment is the least we can do to show our appreciation even if it is just so say thanks for your comment, appreciated or thanks for dropping by.

    • Pat

      Thank you Alan, and like you said, it does show appreciate but also helps for SEO – what more can we ask for?

  • Liposuction side effects

    Replying to all comments really encourages your readers to leave their own comments too. It proves them that you are real and not a robot.

    • Pat

      There are a lot of “robotic” blogs out there now, and replying does make us stand out and become more personable.

      I hope you’re feeling better from your lipo. Hehe.

  • jamal

    This is a fantastic post Basically replying to comments is good for organic relation and get return visitors.Nice post

    • Pat

      Yes indeed, Jamal. it’s great for keeping good relations with people online. Thanks!

  • Dave Higgs

    Hi Pat,

    Thanks for the great info.

    I think comments are important, but replying to them shows not only the “love” but that you have thought about it as well. Often there are “many correct answers” to any given problem and admitting that you don’t necessarily know (or have stated) everything also gives you credibility.

    I try to reply to all the comments on my blog – but akismet seems to get more spam than I get comments 🙁

    Thanks again,
    Dave

    • Pat

      Don’t worry about the spam numbers, I have the same issue. 😛

  • John

    Well, now you got me commenting on this article just to see if you will respond 😉 Great stuff though, I agree with the general consensus.

    • Pat

      Hey John – here I am! Hehe. Cheers dude!

  • stylo

    First of all every comment is not a reply able like any other person share his experience/thoughts but some people want conversation so you must need to respond to that comment but the result in my point of view is to check & read your every comment everytime you got comment or after logging into your wp dashboard. It will engage your visitors and its mean alot for visitor if blog owner reply to him.

    sTyLo’s comment 🙂

    • Pat

      Thanks Stylo! I think setting up a schedule for when to respond to comments is the best way to go, definitely.

  • ThousandMonkeys

    I agree it makes a reader feel appreciated if you reply to their comment, and I admit to being disappointed sometimes if I comment (particularly on a blog which doesn’t seem to have many comments) and don’t get a response, it’s like I’ve been ignored. However, sometimes I just can’t think of anything relevant to say (and want to avoid the banal) and sometimes it’s a case of ‘if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything’ – the commenter has missed my point perhaps, and I’d rather not point that out but also don’t feel like I can say ‘thanks for that’. I can’t do small talk in person but I can do deep impassioned debates; responding to questions or insightful comments can spark a good debate or further elucidation of my point, but the brief non-specific comment leaves me lost for a response.

    On the social proof side, I confess I feel cheated when I go to read the long list of comments on someone’s post and discover that at least half of them are their own! Maybe that’s just me…

    • Pat

      Could be just you 😛 Nah just kidding – I’m sure a lot of people may feel that way, but a lot of people see the number, and immediately forget about it when starting to engage in the post.

  • Vicki

    Pat, I’m in total agreeance. If I take the time time to comment on a post, I expect some sort of acknowledgement, even if it’s a summary “Thanks everyone” type reply.

    I’ve actually stopped commenting on blogs where the author doesn’t reply to any comments.

    • Pat

      Vicki, I’ve done the exact same thing. I don’t want to talk to a brick wall. Thanks VIcki!

      • Pat

        Thanks everyone for your comments, and helping me prove my point!!

  • Duane

    Especially just starting a blog I think it is very important to reply to all the comments left by other readers. Organically I can see the benefits of making this a priority in operating a blog site.

    • Pat

      Duane, i think when starting the blog, that’s the MOST important time to leave comments. Why shouldn’t you? I mean, the quantity isn’t so many that it’s impossible, so why not?!

  • The Corner Girl

    I would if I got comments. ha-ha.
    No really, though. I think that what you say has a lot of weight. It’s very important that the blogger always responds to every comment that is not hostile or spamming in nature.
    Blogging is unique in that you get to orchestrate your posts however you want, and you get to hear directly from your readers! This is a priviledge that even magazine and book authors do not get the majority of the time!
    This means that we should take this advantage and use it well. We get to have the readers interatcing and being a part of our posts and maybe even changing our thinking for the future. It’s exciting to both the commenters and the blogger!

    • Pat

      Very very well said. Thanks so much!

  • Alexandra

    I’m wondering how this is possible? I am a small blogger, but when I do post something that does well, and I am thankful for it, I can get about 100 comments.

    If I visit each commenter’s site, and email them, and leave a comment for them at their site…I am up all night. I know, I tried it. And I was no good as a mother to my 3 children and I was falling asleep at my job.

    I suppose that the thing to do is just turn off comments, but I don’t want to do that.

    Is there an easier, faster way? I am so behind on comments right now, that I’m getting a headache when I see the numbers. It creates a negative reaction in me now, b/c I see it as work.

    If you have any ideas, please let me know. I’m thinking of posting only after I get back to all the commenters from the previous post. What do you think of that idea??

    I love your blog, and am subscribing to it now.

    Thank you.

Comments are closed.