5 Reasons Why You Should Respond to Every Comment

By Guest Author - 3 minute read

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”

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • z3zim4

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

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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*

  • 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.

  • sachin

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

    if anybody inntrested in cpa and affiliate visit my blog

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Comments are closed.