How Often Should You Respond To Comments?

by derek on May 3, 2007 · 23 comments

When people share a comment on your blog, do you always provide a response? Should you always provide a response? This is a question that I have been asking myself lately and thought I would open up here for discussion.

Responding To Comments
Since I have been blogging, I’ve always had the desire to respond to each person that has taken the time to comment on one of my posts. When a person takes the time out of their day to not only read my blog but to go a step further and provide feedback, I believe that deserves a certain amount of respect and appreciation which I try to return via a response.

In addition, I really believe that responding to people’s comments goes a long way towards building a community of people and often leads to more involved discussion. Since most of us are not blogging to simply talk to ourselves, responding to comments fosters communication and can often entice other people to chime in with their thoughts.

How Selective Should You Be?
Obviously on some blogs it just isn’t feasible to respond to each and every comment due to the volume of comments received on each post. However, neither of my blogs have entered that realm yet so that is not so much a concern.

In addition to the volume of comments, I think it is fairly safe to pass on responding to comments that are a simple *yeah, me too* or *I agree*. From my experience though, not too many of the comments on my posts fall into that category. I’ve been lucky enough to have readers that provide very insightful and detailed comments on a regular basis.

As a result, I feel compelled to offer a response to each comment and really enjoy the interaction with everyone. Although I still find myself wondering if I am responding too frequently?

Can You Respond Too Much?
I think the primary reason that I find myself questioning my rate of response is because I often respond to a handful of comments all at one time. With the *Recent Comments* plugin on my sidebar, I don’t particularly care for seeing the full list be *derek on …* entries as then I feel like I am padding my comments.

I’ve given some thought to excluding my own comments from the recent comment list but I don’t really think that is appropriate, as then some people might miss a response.

In the end, I really don’t think I will change my behavior of trying to respond to each and every comment but I thought I would put this out there to get your feedback. If you take the time to share your thoughts with me, the one thing you can be sure of is that you will get a response from me. ;)

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Cheng Leng May 4, 2007 at 1:07 am

I used to respond to every comment but then it started to look really untidy. So what I do is that for those whom I don’t have any reply for, I simply thank the commenter by e-mail for dropping by and leaving a note.

Test me. Leave me a note

derek May 4, 2007 at 10:36 pm

That’s a really good idea to respond via email. That keeps the post looking a little cleaner in some cases but still shows appreciation to the reader for commenting.

Leo May 4, 2007 at 1:40 am

I agree
;)

Armen : : Blog Advice May 4, 2007 at 3:55 am

I don’t pressurize myself to respond immediately to every comment, but I will reply to most comments, but maybe 2-4 at a time.

derek May 4, 2007 at 8:15 am

I’ve done the same thing in some instances, although more before installing the threaded comment plugin. With that plugin, I like to try and keep the responses nested with the original comment.

Leo, I’m not going to respond to your comment. ;)

Leo May 4, 2007 at 10:26 am

yeah, me too
;)

Natron May 4, 2007 at 9:02 am

I don’t get to many comments, so I usually respond to each one as needed.

derek May 4, 2007 at 10:38 pm

Yeah, I know what you mean…it is much easier to respond to each one when there are only a handful. Some of the bigger blogs get so many comments within minutes of a post that it would be impossible to keep up.

BTW Leo, I’m still ignoring your comment. :lol:

Matthew May 4, 2007 at 12:39 pm

i like that you reply to most all comments, it keeps me coming back to check what you said

derek May 4, 2007 at 10:39 pm

Thanks, that adds some additional validation to my practice of trying to reply to each comment.

Kelly Cho May 5, 2007 at 9:31 pm

Yeah, I have the same problem myself as I tend to want to reply to everybody’s comments but I do try to limit myself and keep my responses somewhat open for reply, so that people come back to respond to my response.

Vince Cordic May 6, 2007 at 3:35 am

I try to respond to comments most of the time, in a timely manner, and I find it definitely helps keep readers coming back.

It’s nice when the author takes some time out of his/her day to respond to you – it makes you feel “special” for lack of a better word :)

derek May 6, 2007 at 8:37 am

The fact that the reader took that time/effort to respond in the first place is why I try to offer a response of my own.

As Cheng Leng mentioned above, an alternative is to send an email to the commenter to thank them if a response may not be warranted on the post. I really like that idea.

Tyler Ingram May 7, 2007 at 3:03 pm

I respond to whatever comment is appropriate for me to respond to.

I like the idea of thanking the person for leaving a comment if I don’t respond to it on the site.

I might just have to code up something to help it be a bit more efficient.

Melanie May 7, 2007 at 7:57 pm

I think it’s a good practice to respond to our commentators regularly. Also, when you leave a comment on someone else’s blog,it’s nice to get a specific reply from the administrator!! And definitely boosts the community feeling.

derek May 7, 2007 at 9:24 pm

I’ve been slacking a little bit lately on posting comments to other blogs as I’ve been doing more reading through my RSS reader.

But as my work schedule begins to lighten up a little bit, I’m making more of an effort to actually visit other blogs so I can comment. I’ve got to return the favor to everyone that stops by here and shares their comments.

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