I don’t know about you, but I love getting comments on my blog posts. Granted, they do take time to answer, but for me, there’s nothing better than the sense of community that forms in the comment section.

Recently I’ve noticed some blog authors have totally closed their comment sections and others close them for certain posts. A few blog authors never answer their comments, and some answer each and every one.

I was curious how Darren Rowse, author of Problogger and co-author of ProBlogger: Secrets Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income deals with his comments, so in this installment of A.S.K. (Answers Sharing Knowledge) series,

I asked

Many blog authors stay active in their comment section. It appears you prefer to be more elusive. Was this a decision you made early on, or have other factors influenced you to not be a part of the discussions?

Darren answered

This is something I grapple with on a daily basis. Unfortunately as my blogs have grown and comment numbers [have increased] it gets harder to maintain being able to interact with comments as I once did.

The other factor is that I’ve found that over time my readers have stepped into the place I once occupied and have begun to answer one another’s questions etc. I guess it’s about building a culture of conversation on your blog.

Reflecting On The Answer

Thank you Darren for taking time out of your busy schedule to share your answer.

Darren points out a factor we don’t always consider when we begin to blog. Will we be able to continue to answer comments when our blog expands?

Recently I’ve been thinking about what I would do. I haven’t come up with the perfect answer.

What about you?

Todays Assignment

Do you think a blog author should respond to answer each and every comment?

What would/will you do when answering comments takes up so much of your time, you’re left with no time to publish posts and/or maintain your blogging activities?

I’m curious to hear what you think. Feel free to share your answer.


.


Read other answers in the A.S.K. (Answers Sharing Knowledge) series.
A.S.K. Darren Rowse of Problogger – How Do We Increase Our Readership
A.S.K. Andy Bailey – What Was The Inspiration Behind The CommentLuv Plugin
A.S.K. Liz Strauss – How Do You Inspire Readers To Join Your Community
A.S.K. Liz Strauss – How To Format Blog Comments To Maximize Comments


Photo Credit: Darren Rowse/Problogger

Related Posts with Thumbnails
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Look Who's Talking
  1. Scott McIntyreNo Gravatar says:

    The issue of how to handle comments seems to be getting explored quite often now, Barbara.

    It is interesting to read Darren’s views on how he deals with them.

    As in most cases, I think it depends on what your blog’s readers expect. For example, it would seem unusual if a blogger who responded to comments suddenly stopped- unless they communicate it beforehand.

    As I’ve mentioned before, building a vibrant blog community is a great goal to have. Though, as Darren suggests, a community can interact with each other without the blogger necesarily having to be involved.

    While the blogger provides the content, the readers can build on this within the comments section and develop it between each other.

    However, I don’t see much interaction between readers in comments sections. This usually takes place in forums.

    I also think that whether comments need to be a feature of a blog depends on the aim of the particular blog or the specific post.

    For example, a blog that presents information or advice that doesn’t need input from readers (positive or negative), could decide not to have comments.

    Also, sometimes the nature of a post mean that comments aren’t relevant.

    So… my personal view is that the readers’ needs and expectations should guide any decision on how a blogger deals with their comments.

  2. Dr. CasonNo Gravatar says:

    Aggghhhh!!!!

    This is a dilemma for me. I love love love to get comments and have tried for months to keep up with them. I’d answer everyone and then have no time to visit other blogs. So I have been experimenting with it. For me I have been trying lately to visit people who take the time to comment and keep the community going.

    Sometimes I’ll write in one response for everyone.

    I don’t know how people feel about this. Maybe I should ask…Hmm what do you think Barbara? Would you rather me say “Thanks Barbara!” or come and visit?

    Dr. Cason´s last blog post..Off for a Ride

  3. I am getting just a handful of comments at each of my posts, so most of the time I can handle them well.

    Should each and every one comment be answered? I believe that in as much as you are able, yes you should. A blog is neither a magazine nor a book, but a social experience.

    What to do if the comments rise up? A good question, maybe I would “hire” somebody to help me. But I don’t anticipate that to happen any time soon.

    Miguel de Luis´s last blog post..Mastermind group: choose your own personal government

  4. BetsyNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara – I think you keep up with your comments in a super-human way. It’s really appreciated and I’ve often wondered how you do it!

    Betsy´s last blog post..PROCEEDS

  5. Should a blogger respond to EVERY comment? Surely not. I mean seriously. I respond to comments when there is something left unsaid. Some comments don’t make sense – but aren’t spam. I leave them and will not respond to them. Some comments are merely congratulations. Should I say thanks? Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t.
    Some comments are so great they force me to update my post. I will obviously do that AND respond.

    Right now any comment I get, I treasure. It shows someone is actually reading what I write. But I can well imagine a day when there are too many comments for me to respond to. I would consider that a blessing.

    katinka – spirituality´s last blog post..On being our best self – letting in the Higher Self

  6. SalNo Gravatar says:

    I answer all of my comments now, but as the blog grows, I will have to see what happens. As of now, I have the time to respond, but juggling work, school, and family that time is already limited. I guess we will have to play it by ear.

    Sal´s last blog post..Mass Hysteria Starts At Home

  7. Chase MarchNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    Until I saw you handled comments I didn’t think too much of it. I really liked how you addressed each commenter by his or her name (or online name.) I like how you took the time to answer every comment. So I started doing this too.

    It just seems like a nice thing to do. I appreciate it here, so I’m sure it would be appreciated in every blog.

    I have seen blogs that have a lot of comments where a discussion does arouse where the community members interact with each other. If a good community is built, readers know not to expect a personal reply to every comment.

    I plan to keep replying personally to comments for as long as I have the time. That’s my short answer.

    Chase March´s last blog post..Kids Aren’t China Dolls

  8. I’ve actually thought about that question myself and like you, I have no clear answer on how I’d handle that. I’m well known at my blog for answering most of the comments people leave there.

    One feature I installed in my blog that I’ve found tremendously helpful is the NinaComment Firefox script that makes it easier to respond to comments inside the WP administration panel (versus going back and forth between that and the blog location itself).

    This script has made it more fun and manageable. As the number of comments increase, this feature will help me handle the load. But honestly, I don’t know what I’d do if the blog became as active as Darren’s.

    Good question!

    Stephen Hopson´s last blog post..Weekend Update: Six Ways I Managed to Win the Humorous Speech District Finals

  9. I think the blogger has to go with their gut on this one. If you have over 50 comments on one post. It might do your audience injustice if you answer each one when you could be working on another blog post that will give your readers a new angle on a fresh idea.

    Then again the blogger might want to create a community and it’s more important to forward the conversation.

    So it really depends on the goals of the blogger. They have to decide what will bring the most value to their readers.

    Karl Staib – Your Work Happiness Matters´s last blog post..How to Retire From the Grind and Not Get Bored

  10. I answer all of the comments right now but I don’t get too many. I have decided doing them in batches, however, rather than one by one. I don’t know what I will do if my blog gets busier.

    Stephen (above) mentioned using a plugin to manage comments from within the WordPress admin area. I wanted to mention that being able to manage comments this way is one of the planned features of 2.7, which comes out next month.

    Kim Woodbridge´s last blog post..(Anti) Social-Lists 10/19/08

  11. LanceNo Gravatar says:

    This is a great question Barbara! And reading the comments so far, there are really many different angles to look at this.

    I try to answer all the comments I get. It takes time, it cuts away from me doing other things, but it also helps me to really feel connected to my readers. And for me, that is important. Could that change in the future? Sure. But for now, I’m happy with they way I’m doing things. For now, what is most important for me is the connection I feel with others.

    From another angle, I always feel more connected to others, too – when they comment on comments I’ve left on their blogs. However, just because a writer doesn’t comment back – doesn’t mean I won’t visit anymore. Great content is what brings me back…and comments really add a dimension to the presented content.

    Lance´s last blog post..Sunday Thought For The Day

  12. Writer DadNo Gravatar says:

    I think that every blog is different and there is no one true answer. On my blog, I answer each and every comment. As time goes on, this is getting more and more difficult. That community is important to me, though. I can’t play ball if I never bounce it back. I’m still answering each and every comment, but I’ve pulled back on outside comments, at least for the time being.

    Writer Dad´s last blog post..High Five!

  13. LindaNo Gravatar says:

    I think if you answer all of the comments until it is tooooo much is the right approach. I think the goal of every blogger is to have traffic that is just too much to answer. Then advise the readers that questions may or may not be answered and then select some but keep in contact with your readers….

    Linda´s last blog post..Wood Recycling

  14. Great Question! I recognize that time is precious and that sometimes there may not be enough time in the day to respond to each and every comment. I DO respond to each and every comment…and will comment on other blogs if the blogger comments on my blog. I may not always have a perfect 24 hour turn-around time, but it is important to me. A significant part of blogging for me is the interactive piece. It wouldn’t be the same if there wasn’t dialog and a true sense of community. I do struggle sometimes with the time commitment, but I recognize it is a good problem to have (b/c it means many people are commenting on my blog)!

    If I reach a certain number of comments (and I hope more and more people will be commenting on my blog) that takes me past my edge, I’ll probably need to set the stage, explain my situation, and hope my readers will understand and support my need to change.

    Stacey / CreateaBalance´s last blog post..Can You Embrace Your Authentic Sense of Self While Raising Children?

  15. For now yes – I comment on every comment. I also belief it’s essential to the dialog. I blog to get the word out about my coaching but that word only travels from human being to human being. If I didn’t deliver such a personal service perhaps I’d feel differently. Darren I believe makes most of his revenue from ads so perhaps it’s not as necessary as for those of us who connect more deeply.

    No slight intended to him though. I probably only read about 20% of his posts and I still feel very connected because of the quality of his content.

    One thing that puzzles the heck out of me. Why doesn’t everyone use the subscribe to comments post plug-in? The lack of it is a real detriment to an ongoing conversation.

    Tom Volkar / Delightful Work´s last blog post..Got It?

  16. NaTuRaLNo Gravatar says:

    Do you think a blog author should respond to answer each and every comment? Yes (depending on how many comments he or she has) I do or at least acknowledge that person. If someone takes the time to leave a comment, I want to respond back to that person, not a group of people. Imagine a conversation between 2 people in a crowed room and instead of replying to that person you respond to the entire room. I guess if a blogger had a lot of comments like 100 a day, then it might not be possible to answer every single one, everyday, especially if the comment itself doesn’t really require a response, like: great post.

    What would/will you do when answering comments takes up so much of your time, you’re left with no time to publish posts and/or maintain your blogging activities? I would publish less so I can spend time answering comments. I try not to get too annoyed when I leave a comment and the person doesn’t respond back, stuff happens, but if I’m a regular visitor, I would at least expect some interaction with you.

    If someone doesn’t have time to reply to comments, turn them off or do like I did on my last post, I put in bold “I will not be answering comments”, at least the person knows and won’t expect a reply.

    On one post, it took me two days to type all the replies!!! Tough one Barbara. I’ll check back to see what your readers are saying. Hope you had a good weekend.

    NaTuRaL´s last blog post..Why Poverty?

  17. Right now I do my best to respond to every comment. I do respond to them in batches as I don’t always get back to my own blog more then once or twice a day because I am working on other writing projects or visiting other blogs. By the time I get back, comments have gathered. I am starting to see the beginnings of commenters chatting with each other and I love that the community is talking with themselves a bit and hope that continues to grow the way that happens here and at Problogger. My last post, one commenter left a poem for one of my other commenters and that warmed my heart like nothing else. It was such a gift to see that, I could hardly express my gratitude.

    Wendi Kelly-Life’s Little Inspirations´s last blog post..Speaking From the Heart

  18. Ari KoinumaNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara,

    It is a dilemma, I suppose, but I am surprised by how much emotion is involved in this one. I suppose I’m assuming a lot when I say everyone wants their blog to grow. Which means, that we actually are striving to *make* the situation of too-many-comments-to-respond. It’s a part of our goal. We need to embrace it, instead of feeling conflicted about it. It comes with success — having a conflict only contributes to your fear of success.

    As Karl and Linda above stated, I don’t know if there are any choices. When the comments are manageable, it’s in everyone’s best interest to respond to everyone. When it gets bigger, you drop the “every” part. When it gets even bigger, you respond to your comments less. Frankly, I’m surprised by why everyone hasn’t gone into a forum format. That’ll at least increase user-to-user interaction and keep a better sense of community.

    The only question with above scenario is not if but when to go to the next stage.

    Unless, of course, you’d rather keep your community small and intimate, and not grow it too big. That’s perfectly valid, too.

    For me, I am looking forward to the day when I hire outside help to keep up with comments and/or forums. But I may keep a private forum or section of the site open to invite-only long-time community members, so that I don’t lose the personal touch with people who’ve been with me loyally from the beginning.

    ari

    Ari Koinuma´s last blog post..Book Review: Steve Pavlina’s Personal Development for Smart People

  19. RitaNo Gravatar says:

    Barb,

    I answer every single comment – and will continue to do so. Where I have a problem is that many times I read a blog, and do NOT write a comment, as I have nothing to add – and I’d rather take the time to read more blogs!
    What tends to upset me is the attitude of “you didn’t comment on my blog, so I won’t read yours.” The point is, I AM reading the blogs, and adding a comment when and if it is something that will add to the “comment thread.” Otherwise, I’d rather take my time reading more blogs and being exposed to more ideas than writing a “lame” comment that essentially says “Killroy was here.” :-)

    Rita

    Rita´s last blog post..Average Children, Mean Parents

  20. Like others have said, you have to ask yourself why you blog and what are your goals. You really have to align your time management to reach your goals.

    If one of your goals is to reply to every comment on your blog outside the “great post” comments and you aren’t finding you have enough time to send replies, visit other blogs, work your business, make money, watch the kids, etc., then a change is needed.

    What is the change?

    Depends. But one possible answer might be to change how often you post. If you post 7 days a week, post only 4. If you post 5 days a week, post maybe 3.

    This will give you more time in between to answer comments over 24 to 48 hours.

    I only post about 2 sometimes 3 times a week so I could handle a huge comment section a little better than others who post every day.

    John Hoff – eVentureBiz´s last blog post..How I Obtained A $30,000 Credit Line With A Bad Credit Score

  21. CarolineNo Gravatar says:

    For me it depends on the post. Rarely do I leave a comment for each response…sometimes it’s one general comment. Mostly, I just visit the blogger that left me a comment and leave a comment on their blog. It’s all about sharing the luv :)

    Caroline´s last blog post..Trying too hard…

  22. “Recently I’ve been thinking about what I would do. I haven’t come up with the perfect answer.”

    Firstly, I’d like to say that you get as many – if not more comments – than many A-list bloggers and you still manage to respond to each and every one.

    So, it is my assessment that when certain blogs grow, they may stop responding simply because they *can* do so with no worry of losing numbers. That to me, is just the honest fact. Of course I could be wrong, but that is what the scenario seems to portray. I will also add, I’m not one who finds it problematic if the author doesn’t respond, as long as the material is top notch.

    I think a blog author should do whatever they believe is best for their blog in terms of responding to comments. The readers then can make their own decisions.

    Bamboo Forest´s last blog post..Halloweelection is Coming to The P.I. Universe

  23. I wish I had the perfect answer. I came up with my own solution though – and plan to publish a post about it on Wednesday. :)

  24. I answer every comment, but I don’t have many to manage. I can see how quickly it could become overwhelming. Barbara, you do a great job and I appreciate that. I have often wondered why Darren rarely (if ever) participates in the comments on problogger; I assume it’s a question of time and priorities.

    Vintage Mommy´s last blog post..Another Lap, Another Milestone

  25. JenniferNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara. I would love to have so many people comment on my blog that I would have a hard time keeping up! lol I started the blog as a creative outlet, but have found that comments are really important to me. I think that it is all a part of blogging and putting yourself out there. If I did not want to reply to comments, then I would not expect someone to leave one. And if someone did not leave a comment, then I feel it would be more of a diary than a public blog.

    Jennifer´s last blog post..I am a Lane Blocker

  26. chrisNo Gravatar says:

    I have a bad habit of not responding to my comments but I do answer if a legitimate questions is posed. My excuse, no time. I have a choice, visit other blogs and leave comments or respond to comments on my blog. I take the former. Maybe when I have the time, I will be able to do both…

    chris´s last blog post..Opportunity Amidst Economic Distress

  27. MarelisaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara: When someone leaves a comment on my blog I feel like they’re talking to me, so I feel like the polite thing to do is to respond. I guess a lot of people who comment on the bigger blogs are talking to the community as a whole (and trying to get people to click on their link) and not necessarily engaging in conversation with the blog owner.

    Marelisa´s last blog post..Eradicating Poverty Through Human Ingenuity – Blog Action Day 2008

  28. PatriciaNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara, I hope some day to get too many comments! I am off to a slow start in that department.

    I feel like my blog is about dialogue and communication as it relates to making personal changes and so comments are very important in building the ideas.

    Ethical thinking must be done in a form of “outloud” or it can never achieve clarity or wisdom – all in your head thinking is static thinking? The wisest problem-solving comes from the greatest number of ideas generated.

    Bring ’em on! Thanks for the great idea sharing today

    Patricia´s last blog post..Look Boss! De Wall! De Wall!

  29. Cath LawsonNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – I tried to comment earlier and when I hit publish – I got that stupid bluehost suspended message that I get on my own site, so I’m guessing you had a traffic spike.

    Replying to commenters can sometimes be really time consuming. As you know, I seriously thought about switching off comments altogether on Saturday.

    I don’t mind responding to genuine commenters. But with the type of person I banned at the weekend, or the folk who don’t read the post and leave a brief comment, as they wiz round a hundred blogs – I just feel as though I’m wasting my time.

    Cath Lawson´s last blog post..YOU Have Never Been More Powerful

  30. NaturalNo Gravatar says:

    would it be too corny to ask your readers to indicate if they want a direct reply or not. some people have that welcome message at the top of their blog post…i dunno…just say your blog is poppin and please indicate if your comment requires a direct response. like this comment barbara, you don’t have to respond to…i’m just thinking out loud.

    keep up the good work B. you do a great job responding to your community.

    Natural´s last blog post..Down In the Dumps: Write this Way

  31. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Scott – You’ve brought up some great points. One is, some blogs don’t warrant comments. The author has presented the facts, the reader reads it and move on. This is especially true of blogs that are provided data that answers research questions.

    And yes, blog authors do need to inform their readers of their intent if they change their response policy

    Hi Dr. Cason – Great question. When time is of the essence, and we have to pick between answering each and every comment (on our site) OR visiting our favorite blogs, that can be a tough decision. In your situation I would say, answer with one comment for everyone, and then try to make the rounds. It’s in that reciprocation of commenting where we see our communities get strong.

    Hi Miguel – That’s what Darren has had to do. He hired someone to monitor his comments. Sometimes they will show up and address a specific comment, but not always.

    Hi Betsy – Thank you for your kind words. For me, answering my comments is second to writing my posts (after my paying job, of course). Third is visiting others, and that’s where I often run out of time.

    Hi Katinka – Welcome to the BWAB community. I agree, some bloggers couldn’t feasibly answer each and every comment, especially if a blog received hundred of comments each day. However, if time permits, our commenters love to be acknowledged, so often a “thank you” is plenty.

    Hi Sal – Yes, all we can do is take it a day at a time.

    Hi Chase – Thank you. I agree, if two bloggers are “talking” to each other in our comment section, we don’t necessarily have to address the conversation. In fact, I like to see that where bloggers willingly take the time to help each other.

    Hi Stephen – Like you, I have Comment Ninja installed, however, it only lets you answer one comment at a time. When I answer, as I’m doing now, I use a split screen and have my blog open on both screens. For me, it’s a time saver.

    Hi Karl – You’re right. What works for some will not work for others. That’s what makes blogging so incredible. There’s not always one correct answer.

    Hi Kim – Yes, batching comments does save time. Mine build up when I’m sleeping (due to time changes) or working, so answering many at once makes it more efficient.

    Hi Lance – I hear you. Like you, I’ll visit blogs even if my comment isn’t answered. Sometimes we can add to the discussion and that helps other readers as well.

    Hi Writer Dad – Exactly! We set our priorities and like you said, we have less time to comment on other blogs. None of us can do it all, so we do the best we can.

    Hi Linda – That’s a great point. If we get so busy we can’t handle answering ALL of the comments, it’s only right we let our readers know we will be changing our procedures.

    Hi Stacey – The time issue is a big one, isn’t it? I agree, it’s a good problem to have if we’re answering our comments. :)

    Hi Tom – Yes, I’m sure Darren has a lot on his plate. In order for him to stay on the cutting edge of blogging he must be involved in all aspects, including social media/networking sites. Undoubtedly all of the other stuff he does (including his other blogs), uses up the rest of his time.

    Re: Subscribe to comments post plugin. I used to use the one for email replies on a lot of blogs. Unfortunately my inbox got so full, I couldn’t keep up. Now I look for “subscribe to comments via a reader” on blogs and if I want to follow the thread, I can.

    Hi NaTuRal – Publishing less to give us time to answer comments is one idea. And like you said, notifying your readers that you won’t be answering comments on a specific post is another one.

    We also have to be careful to not look like we’re playing favorites if we don’t answer all comments. In that case, it’s best to address all comments as a group (if there’s a lot), and say “thank you, blah, blah, blah…” to the whole group, but make sure we answer any questions that arise.

    Hi Wendi – Isn’t that great to see? Bloggers helping others on our blogs. THAT is what community really is.

    Hi Ari – Your comment reminds me of what I saw happen on Steve Pavlina’s blog. He took his community to a forum. Having read it, the readers interact politely with each other and Steve drops in occasionally. It has served his problem (of too many comments) very well.

    Hi Rita – I totally agree, especially recently. I’m landing on more and more blogs that are discussing political issues. Although I enjoy reading other points of view, I prefer to keep my likes and dislikes (on politics) private. Hence, I read and leave.

    Hi John – You’re right. If we can’t handle our comment counts, cutting back somewhere else may be necessary. I would probably do what you suggested and publish less often.

    Hi Caroline – Yes, sharing the love is important. Even if we can’t visit a commenter every time them comment (on our blog), having them in our reader and visiting them as often as possible would be the right thing to do.

    Hi Bamboo – Oh, your kind words are good for the ego. :) You’re right. If the readers remain happy even if we don’t respond to their comments, and our content is top notch, than we have nothing to worry about.

    Hi Vered – I’ll be watching for your Wednesday post.

    Hi Vintage Mommy – Thank you! When I look at what all Darren is involved in, I can see why he doesn’t have time to comment. I also think if he did answer each comment, he would get even more. Talk about snowballing.

    Hi Jennifer – That’s a great point. If we don’t want to deal with comments, what we have might start looking like a (public) diary. And in some instances, having a static website might be a better choice.

    Hi Chris – That’s right, it is about choices when our time is limited. I’m happy you picked the “former” as I always enjoy seeing you here.

    Hi Marelisa – There’s probably a lot of truth in what you said, “[commenters on big blogs]…are talking to the community as a whole (and trying to get people to click on their link)”.

    Hi Patricia – I agree, comments are a great way for us to gain clarity and wisdom from others. I know, for me, you all get me thinking even more than I already do.

    Hi Catherine – Yes, my server was down for a short period of time due to a Stumble.

    I remember reading your post about turning off your blog comments. I would hate to see that happen on your blog as I always enjoy reading what your commenters contribute to your “spicy” newsworthy posts, and your replies.

    Hi again Natural – That’s actually a good idea. By using the “what would Seth Godin do” plugin you could let your readers know you’re available for a response, if need be.

    To everyone – I’m looking at all of these comments and thinking, there’s a lot of great ideas here. In the future when we all have so many comments and we’re left scratching our heads, saying “What should I do”, the comments here offer a variety of answers.

  32. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara. I’m a little late today!

    I feel it is important to respond to every comment. However, I have only had one post that got more than 50 comments and that was over a week’s time. I had plenty of time to answer them all.

    I know other bloggers who post more often that I do receive more comments than that. I honesty don’t know how I would handle that number.

    One idea is to make a note upfront that you will not be replying to all comments and to encourage readers to speak amongst themselves.

    And… we could do with a WordPress plugin that lets the blogger set a limit of how many comments are allowed per post. That way depending on the type of post, the blogger could prepare for a certain number of comments. And who knows, this might increase the demand for commenters to leave their voice.

    As some bloggers have done recently, turning off comments for certain posts has a good effect too.

    Davina´s last blog post..25 Words That Connect Us — Frosty Sunrise

  33. Hi Barbara,

    I always try to acknowledge all of my commenters, but sometimes life gets so busy it’s hard to get to everyone, everytime.

    All of the comments do get read, however. I don’t “need” to be acknowledged when I leave comments on other blogs, because I understand the blogger is busy like me.

    Mark – Creative Journey Cafe´s last blog post..Interview with Diana Spechler

  34. Amy DerbyNo Gravatar says:

    Hey Barbara. This is a great question. I enjoyed reading Darren’s answer to your question about comments.

    As far as what I would do with my own blog, I enjoy the discussions so much that if it came to a point where I was without time to respond I’d probably have to rethink what I was doing. Maybe I would start posting fewer new posts, just to make time to participate in the discussions. I don’t ever want people to feel like I’m just posting and not caring about what they were saying. And that is honestly how I feel when I comment at blogs where the poster doesn’t respond to comments.

    I know it’s something everyone feels differently about, and it all depends on what kind of blogger you are and what your goals are etc. I don’t begrudge those who don’t respond to comments. I just don’t comment on those blogs very often, because it’s not the type of environment I’m looking for. Clearly it works for folks like Darren. It’s just not for me. I think of it like a classroom analogy. I’ve never been one to want to take a big lecture class. I like a small class where I can get involved and feel like I’m participating in something. And I think that’s the kind of environment I like in a blog too.

    Amy Derby´s last blog post..Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Conquering Stress Addiction

  35. I’m very curious about Vered’s post now, because I was wondering how her strategy was working.

    I generally respond to every comment, but there have been a couple of times when I gave a single response to all the comments. But I know at some point I won’t be able to respond to every one.

    At some point I’ll probably only reply to comments if someone asks a question, or if I really have something useful to say in response (sometimes I can’t think of much to say other than thanks for your comment).

    The tricky part is in the transition period, where you can reply to every comment, but it takes lots of time. If I had a lot of comments, I think people would understand if I didn’t reply to all of them. For now though, I’ll try to continue replying to each one.

    Hunter Nuttall´s last blog post..MBTI Trial Week 2: Sensing (Recap)

  36. Glee GirlNo Gravatar says:

    I think it’s nice when the blogger replies to a comment you have left, but I don’t expect it. Popular bloggers only have the same amount of hours in the day as the rest of us – something’s gotta give.

    I nearly always reply to all of my comments individually because I’m not getting very many at this stage. To be honest, I don’t expect I am ever going to be inundated, such is the nature of my blog. But that’s OK – I’d still do it if no one read it – the comments are a wonderful bonus.

    Glee Girl´s last blog post..Hand claps, furry buds and friends

  37. J.D. MeierNo Gravatar says:

    I think it depends on the user experience and ambiance you want to cultivate.

    J.D. Meier´s last blog post..Training Mindset and Trusting Mindset

  38. Evelyn LimNo Gravatar says:

    At the moment, comments on my blogs are manageable. I am not sure if mine will actually grow in huge numbers because many of my posts tend not to be so straightforward and may require a little more thought. However, should the day come, I’d probably make a call and see where is the trade off in terms of my time versus maintaining a nice and warm community on my site.

    I like Davina’s suggestion about putting up a note, to encourage bloggers to interact with each other. It is a useful tip to turn to, if in time, I find it hard to manage comments to my posts.

    Evelyn Lim´s last blog post..Can You Read My Mind?

  39. I’m really glad that most people here seem to feel that each blog is unique, and strategies may differ. Too many times I’ve read the advice that you *must* reply to every comment. It’s pretty intimidating, and I hate thinking that some folks will consider me rude or ungrateful if I don’t reply.

    Sometimes it’s just an issue of general life bandwidth, not just blog success, and I hope my readers understand that when I’m not able to address every commenter individually.

    Sara at On Simplicity´s last blog post..Weekly Links: Stinky Couch Edition

  40. RobinNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – I think I’ll just trust that I’ll know what’s best to do if and when the time comes my comment section is unmanageable.

    Robin´s last blog post..Emotional Balance

  41. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Davina – Don’t worry. The party never ends at BWAB. :) Those are more great ideas. I’ll bet if someone knew an author was only accepting “x” number of comments, everyone would be rushing to be included.

    Hi Mark – You’re right. Anyone who has been blogging for any length of time learns how time consuming blogging plus answering comments can be. It teaches us to have empathy for others.

    Hi Amy – Yes, the comment section of a blog can take on that small classroom affect. Many commenters what to know they’re being heard, and if they don’t, they move on.

    Hi Hunter – Definitely. When a blogger needs to transition from answering comments to not, I’m sure it’s scary to write a post and let your readers know you’re not going to be as active in the comment section. Yikes!!!

    Hi Glee Girl – Isn’t it funny how we get so addicted to blogging that we will keep posting and posting, even if no one shows up. The comments end up being the icing on the cake.

    Hi J.D. – Yes, those are two very important aspects. If you can give users what they want, plus create an ambiance that’s conducive to all concerned, you’ll have it made. Darren has apparently accomplished that.

    Hi Evelyn – Encouraging our commenters to communicate amongst themselves would be helpful to keep our communities alive. If they know we (the blog author) are busy on something of importance, they would be less apt to move on.

    Hi Sara – That’s right. There is no ONE correct way to handle comments, no matter how many we get. Although I do try to answer all that I get, when I showcase a new blogger, I often let them handle the comments and I drop in only periodically. I don’t see the need to be redundant. Plus, life often gets in the way, but I’m guessing most bloggers understand that.

    Hi Robin – Smart girl. Cross the bridge when you get to it. :)

  42. ShefalyNo Gravatar says:

    I write 3 blogs (ok, one is in suspension as I am working on a book which I juggle with my client projects). I have a loyal but small – compared to Darren’s, very small – readership. I respond to every comment – although when working on my thesis, some did fall by the wayside but my readers knew of my deadlines.

    My challenge is not the numbers but sometimes because of what I write, the controversial comments and the questions genuinely seeking a debate or a conversation. I think if I don’t engage with those, it would be a wasted opportunity for conversations, which is what blogging is about. They help sharpen my thinking.

    As for what happens when it is too big:

    Seth Godin’s blog, widely read, is closed for comments. Nice but that is a quasi-book, not a blog in my view.

    I may hire help just as Loic Le Meur has been on record saying he does. Surely if the blog is making me enough $$$, some is worth putting back into it.

    I think I am a bit too nice to be like Ringo (Who?) who recently said don’t send any fan mail, I will destroy it. Comments are my fan mail and I would like to keep getting them.

    Shefaly´s last blog post..It’s when you deliver that counts…

  43. DevNo Gravatar says:

    if you really want to explore your blog then it really works. Reply on comment its a unique work for every blogger. If you do this on your web blog then you will get a huge connection with your readers.

    Dev´s last blog post..Twitter makes me happy

  44. I’ll be honest, I’m pretty terrible at responding to comments, though my blog is only new, I have responded to the one and only comment I’ve had on there! But before, on bigger blogs? No chance, too busy!

  45. Pink InkNo Gravatar says:

    Great question, something I struggle with at times.

    Most posts, I respond to each comment, even if they just said “Great post!” though it is harder (coz then I have to be creative and check out their site so I can compliment them on something). Maybe they won’t ever check back, but if they did, then they would know I read what they had to say and that I cared! I know, coz I’m one of those people who check back to see if the blogger replies to my comment :-)

    Sometimes, I think, “I’ll just write one little witty comment back” but then the comment gets bigger, and someone else’s is crying out for another personal comment, and before long…

    So it’s both rewarding but very time-consuming.

    Few posts, I just give a general “Thanks everyone!” because either the day is too busy or the comments are more along the lines of suggestions for a specific question or problem.

    Barbara, I AM amazed that you take time to write such thoughtful replies to the comments here. Thank you (though I think your readers would understand if you couldn’t due to time constraints…well, I would :-).

    Pink Ink´s last blog post..Favorite Writing Spot

  46. Roy ScribnerNo Gravatar says:

    I see it as a natural progression, from hands-on nurturing when your Blog is new, to a more hands-off approach once your Blog has matured and an active community takes over.

    I think there is always an expectation from the commenter, if there are only a few comments to a particular post, that they will receive some kind of reply acknowledging their post.

  47. Haha. I still can afford to reply to almost all comments and responses. Sure love to be involved in the conversations and receiving encouragements every now and then. :)

    Daniel Richard´s last blog post..11 Traits You Need To Getting Things Done With a BIGGER SMILE!

  48. I think a blogger should definitely answer as many comments as possible. Obviously it is impossible to answer every one, and some might not even be appropriate for an answer. BUT, isn’t the internet supposed to be about one to one communication? I don’t read blogs so I can have the same interaction I have with a local TV anchor.

    Mike Lyons Williams´s last blog post..To Be an Artist

  49. MitchNo Gravatar says:

    I’m like a lot of other people here, in that, for now, I respond to almost every comment I get. Sometimes you have to know when to let someone else have the last work, otherwise some conversations could go on forever.

    Mitch´s last blog post..What Makes Twitter Interesting

  50. […] reading: Should You Turn Off Blog Comments? Should Blogs Have Comments? How Does A Problogger Deal With Comments? Did you enjoy this post? Subscribe by RSS or email and you’ll always know when I publish a new […]

  51. EmmaBNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t reply to comments that don’t require a reply but I do try to reply to all of the comments I receive. I like interacting with the people who take time to comment

    EmmaB´s last blog post..Damn You Spammer! Stop Using My Link!

  52. FriarNo Gravatar says:

    It’s funny, how there is SO MUCH advice out there telling us how to apply SEO, maximize our traffic, market ourselves, and try to snag as many readers as we can.

    And we try to make our blog grow. But then, if we become TOO popular, we complain about not being able to deal with all the comments.

    Well, boo hoo. For crying out loud. What’s it gonna be? We can’t have it both ways.

    I dont’ expect a blogger to answer each and every comment. It would be nice…but it’s not mandatory.

    But there should be SOME kind of 2-way communication, even one general comment at the end.

    Otherwise, it’s not a blog, it’s just a column.

    And if that’s the case, I might as well go to the bookstore or library, and read a book or pick up the newspaper.

    Friar´s last blog post..Perfesser Friar’s Favorite Science Facts.

  53. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Shefaly – Welcome to the BWAB community. I agree. Comments are like fan mail. And isn’t ti wonderful when they make us think and sharpen our thoughts?

    Hi Dev – The BWAB community welcomes you. That is correct. Answering comments does connect us to our readers.

    Hi Dead Man Walking – Welcome to the BWAB community. Although it’s not necessary to answer all of our comments, I think the one who left it probably appreciates the recognition.

    Hi Pink Ink – You’re welcome. Like you, I’ve had posts where I have said “thank you” to everyone. Those are usually the posts where the New Blog of the Week author has come over to reply to all of the comments.

    Like you said, answering the comments is time consuming, but it’s also good blogging etiquette.

    Hi Roy – Welcome to the BWAB community. You’re right. The fewer the comments, the higher the expectation of the commenter is. For a new blogger, it’s also a great way to start building their community.

    Hi Daniel – It’s fun to be involved in the conversation, isn’t it? We can learn so much by other people’s views.

    Hi Mike – The BWAB community welcomes you. Yes, if we can, we should try to reply to our comments. It’s a great way to thank our readers and to share ideas. Like you said, we don’t get that from a local TV anchor.

    Hi Mitch – Haha! I agree. We do need to know when to end the conversation, too. Some comment threads are known to go on for days, and it’s just between two or three bloggers.

    Hi EmmaB – Isn’t that interaction great? Then by following the link back to the author, we get to read new and interesting blogs. I love how that works.

  54. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Friar – I love that boo-hoo 😆

    It’s true. We do build our blogs and then when they get to be too much to handle we want to find ways to cut back on our time. I guess that goes with the saying, “be careful what you ask for because you might get it”.

  55. Debbie YostNo Gravatar says:

    You know I’ve struggled with this issue myself. I’ve had to make the decision to cut back on interacting in the comment section. I just don’t have the time. If this was my job, I would make more of an effort, but it’s a hobby and I can only devote so much time to it. My family deserves my attention more than people I have met on the internet. I love blogging and if I could find an extra 8 hours a day, I’d have a different answer, but that’s not realistic so I have to make my decision and move forward. Maybe someday I can revisit this issue and change my policy, but for now, I’m confident the policy I have made is what is best for me and my family.

    Debbie Yost´s last blog post..SEW – 2008 Buddy Walk!

  56. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Debbie – I hear you. Most of us blog as a hobby, but our real lives need to come first. Although by cutting back our comments and/or rankings may fall, they’re just numbers. Family and friends should definitely be our number one concern/priority.

  57. Tammy WarrenNo Gravatar says:

    I love commenting on my blog when others comment. I have met such wonderful bloggers in that little area of my blog. When you find yourself writing a post and thinking about what your readers are going to say…I feel that a connection has been made along with a friendship.

    Tammy Warren´s last blog post..

  58. […] Monday Darren Rowse of Problogger shared his answer to how he addresses comments on his blog. The comment section exploded with great ideas of how we can manage our comment […]

  59. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Tammy – ***smiles*** I like how you put that, “you find yourself writing a post and thinking about what your readers are going to say”. Sometimes I try to guess what specific blogger’s answers will be to my questions. :)

  60. Hi, I believe comments from readers is an important aspect of a blog. Back then we had blogs so that we can share thoughts and receive comments. Sometimes, we can learn something new by replying or reading the comments on our blogs. I do not really receive much comments and I do not often reply to all of them yet I will always like to see comments grow in my blog.

    Azhagiya Tamilmagan´s last blog post..Change If You Want Different Result

  61. […] . Read other answers in the A.S.K. (Answers Sharing Knowledge) series. A.S.K. Darren Rowse – How Does A Problogger Deal With Comments […]

  62. […] There A Such Thing As Commenters Burnout? A.S.K. Darren Rowse: How Does a Problogger Deal With Comments How to get more comments on your blog Close Old Posts – Closes comments on old posts on the fly, by […]

  63. GaneshNo Gravatar says:

    Reaching out to readers is good and in a sense very essential because our blog is there just for them.

    It’s not that each comment requires the author’s response but once in a while getting back to readers is what would keep the readers feel connected with the blog.

    It keeps the ‘feel good’ feeling high!!! :)

  64. Dr. KNo Gravatar says:

    At this point, closing in on 400 posts and 620 comments, what has become obvious to me is how much I value comments. Whether it is feedback or a counterpoint or a compliment, I find comments to be incredibly motivating and a highlight of my day. Because they are few and far between, responding to each one is both effortless and pleasurable. But I think that your guest gets it right…when you build to a point that you can’t keep up, a culture of conversation (which I believe I create by setting that example) is likely to fill the space as you leave it.

    Great post!
    Rick

    Dr. K´s last blog post..Life Skills – Quick! Think Fast!