When we set goals for ourselves, we often neglect to look at the complete picture.

Take for example, actors.

They crave to to see their name up in lights, make big bucks like their peers or predecessors, and may want a life of luxury where anything they ever wanted is well within their reach. In fact, if they achieve fame, materially they can have it all.

But…there’s a flip side to fame.

When an actor becomes well known, others want a piece of them.

Maybe it’s a photo, compromising or other. Maybe it’s their money. Or their friendship.

After awhile, some begin to wonder, whom they can trust. Where they can go to have a moment of peace.

All of a sudden, that which they wished for, becomes more than they can handle and they begin to yearn for the days when life was simple.

Today’s Lesson

When we discussed wanting more comments on our blogs, I remember when I received none, and wished for more.

When readers began to show up and comment, I was elated. In fact, comments are one of the things I enjoy most about blogging. Not just receiving them, but leaving them too.

Comments connect bloggers, reveal more about us as people, help as a learning/teaching aid, and are often the start of a cyber friendship.

In fact, as I’ve shared in the sidebar, it’s in the comment section of this blog where the value truly lies. You, who comment here, have made this blog what it is.

However, with receiving additional comments, comes with what I see as an added responsibility.

  1. Where will the time come from to answer all of our comments (if we choose to)?
  2. What I’ve found is each comment requires an average of six minutes of my time. That includes reading the comment, thinking about a reply and then typing it out.

    When I see 20 comments on a post, I know I need to set aside two hours to answer them.

  3. If we’re spending an excessive amount of time answering comments on our own blogs, where will the time come from to visit other blogs?
  4. If I visit another blog, and don’t skim the post, I can spend up to spend 20 minutes reading and then constructing a comment. If that’s the case, I know I’ll have less time to spend visiting others.

  5. If we spend our allotted blogging time on answering comments and visiting the bloggers who visit us, where do we find time to write additional posts, promote our work, communicate on social networking sites, and/or to work behind the scenes?
  6. I’ll be the first to admit, I struggle with finding that balance. Some days I steal minutes from my real life, other days, I have no time for blogging. I now limit the time I spend on Twitter and Facebook, publish less, let emails stack up in my inbox and postpone the launch of my next project.

    With a business, a family, a life, and only 24 hours in a day, I know some things will fall by the wayside. I’m okay with that.

Because I enjoy challenges and get so much pleasure from blogging, I don’t yearn for the days when blogging was simple, but from experience, I do know receiving more comments means how we once viewed blogging, changes.

Today’s Assignment

How much time do you spend answering comments?

If the time is excessive, do other parts of blogging suffer?

If you’re not receiving a lot of comments now, but hope for more, have you contemplated where the time will come from to answer them?

I’m looking forward to your answer.

Care to share?

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  1. Hi Barbara,

    Thanks for broaching yet another very important topic (how do you do it??). 😉

    I’ve gone back and forth about this — this balance between posting, replying to comments, living life, etc. etc.

    I get much pleasure from interacting in the comments, so I try to prioritize ensuring I answer every comment as best I can. I’ve had posts, though, where the comments started to climb too hight for my comfort. To make sure I have time for everything in my life, I’ve backed off a bit on my posting frequency so I have more time to answer comments — I usually post on one day and take the following day to answer comments and that has worked well for me thus far.

    Finally, I often wonder what I’ll do when or if the comments become to much (in number), but I’m not at that point yet, so I figure I’ll just deal with it when or if that time comes.

    Thanks, again, for another great discussion!
    All my best.
    .-= Check out Lori (JaneBeNimble)´s awesome post: RAOKA: Passion =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Lori,

      I hear you. Having too many comments to answer is a bridge I’ll cross when I get to it, too. And yes, prioritizing is key. Like you, answering the comments received comes first.

      I like your idea of posting one day, answering comments the next. That’s a great way to segregate blogging activities while still having time for life, etc…

    • Dennis EdellNo Gravatar says:

      This is exactly how I’ve tried to do it regularly…write the post – 2-3 days for promotion/comment replies – rinse, repeat.
      .-= Check out Dennis Edell´s awesome post: $100 – 10 Winners – Comment Contest! ‘Till Months End… =-.

  2. Hey Barbara,

    As always thanks for making us think. You have some thing magic about your blog that is so inviting. It’s as if you HAVE to leave a comment.

    I’m at the beginner stage, working for comments. I agree with you completely that you desire something, you get it, and then you think now what!

    I have learned from you that answering all of your comments actually doubles your comments quickly. But at the same time, I look at people like joydiscovered and a friend of mine named Chris ~ he’s on my top 12, like you.

    Joy stacks them up and then answers them all. Chris lets them roll and gets hundreds. You’re the boss! You decide.

    .-= Check out Julie @ jbulie’s blog´s awesome post: Everyday something new. Today it’s Italy. =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Julie,

      And, thank you for your kind words.

      That’s true. We are the boss of our blogs and can do what works best for us and our schedules. Like Joy, I let my comments stack up. Then late at night when the house is quiet, I carefully read each comment and construct my answers.

  3. Thanks Barbara, the comments you get always amaze me and I am sure that it takes time to reply. A marketing pro launched a post last Saturday that got 123 comments last time I checked. I was amazed at the volume. I can’t imagine it being a regular thing and yes, it would take an enormous amount of time.

    I generally answer every comment rapidly and I have an aversion to people who batch their RTs too but I can see where if you are RT’d on Twitter frequently, it becomes a time consumer.

    I really believe in the personal touch to everything. I work that way with my clients and try to respond as rapidly as I can to requests. But I already feel the impact of so much incoming that I wonder when I will hit an absolute limit.
    .-= Check out Julie Walraven | Resume Services´s awesome post: What’s Holding YOU back #3 — Workaholic =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Julie,

      You know, Julie, one thing I like about the comments that are received on this blog is, not only are you all answering the questions I ask, but the information you share is helping others who are facing the same scenario. I love how that works; bloggers helping fellow bloggers.

      123 comments? Wow! What I’ve noticed on blogs that receive high numbers of comments is the blog author either doesn’t show up, or they only do to answer a question. Answering each comment individually when there’s that many, could easily cripple a bloggers ability to maintain their blog.

      I like your idea of adding a personal touch. With you being in business, an attitude like that will undoubtedly propel you to the forefront quickly. I’m guessing when you hit what you feel is “the limit”, you’ll either take on more, or find it’s time to hire help as your resume services go global.

  4. I hear ya, sister! You might remember from your comments post that I was considering the “blanket response” approach. That didn’t go over very well. There is a certain level of expectation from readers that I respond to each comment (I average 50-80 per post), especially since I’ve always done it. Trying to change that midstream has proved a challenge. I spend a lot of time responding to comments, reading other blogs (though not commenting on them as much as I’d like).

    What’s suffered the most? Definitely my posting frequency. In the beginning, I could post every other day without fail. Now, I sometimes go a whole week without a post and it annoys me because that’s the bread and butter of my blog — the content.

    I don’t know what to do about it, either. Something’s gotta give. Gee, I wonder if I didn’t play Bejeweled on Facebook 10 hours a week. Would that help?
    .-= Check out Junk Drawer Kathy´s awesome post: Unintended Electroshock Therapy =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Kathy,

      Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting on this one as I know you’re a blogger who receives a lot of comments, so your reply weighs heavily.

      I remember your dilemma well. And I remember you mentioned you were getting opposition from your readers when you attempted not answering each comment individually. Because I don’t know who your community is, I can’t say what the best way to handle that is, however, it does sound like it’s time to make some sort of change so you can go back to blogging more regularly.

      One thing I’ve seen bloggers do is drop into the comment section to let the commenters know they’re reading by sharing a short statement, and then just letting the comments roll in. You may lose some readers if you don’t comment to each one, but….

      Yes. Stealing the 10 hours from Bejeweled and Facebook may help, but I’d advise you not to trade them for time spent on Wheel of Fortune or Jewel Quest Solitaire like I do from time to time. 😆

  5. KS ChenNo Gravatar says:

    Haha! I just spend about 5 to 10 minutes to read and reply the comments as there are only few comments left in my blog everyday. However, i spend almost 1 hour to leave comment in others blog after reading a great article.
    .-= Check out KS Chen´s awesome post: Use Google Adwords Keyword Tool for Keyword Research =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi KS,

      I hear you. Often it’s on other blogs we spend the most time commenting. Especially if we read well researched, well written articles that pertain to our areas of interest.

  6. Lori HoeckNo Gravatar says:

    At this point, I don’t time myself. When I feel like commenting, I go out and comment. When I feel like I should probably get a post up, I write one. I’m trying to flow with it all and not feel obligated or regimented. I want to let the spirit move me.
    .-= Check out Lori Hoeck´s awesome post: The black belt journey now comes with a guide =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Lori,

      I LOVE your blogging attitude. Going with the flow is a great way to not only blog, but to live life, as well.

  7. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara.
    What I’ve found is that if you think too much about this it seems more like an obligation and loses that enjoyment factor you’ve mentioned. When I’m feeling distracted or pressured, I try not to answer comments because I know I’ll end up taking longer. I’m able to answer faster than I used to though some take longer than others; spend about 3-5 min each.
    .-= Check out Davina´s awesome post: Book Review: WordPress Defender =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Davina.

      That is great advice; not to feel pressured to answer comments if we’re not in the right frame of mind. Like you said, that’s when it can begin to feel like an obligation and I think our attitude can be reflected in our replies, as well.

  8. LanceNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,
    Well, this is a very interesting topic, and one that I personally debate back and forth in my mind (and in my heart).

    Comments do take a lot of time. Like you, though, I also believe that the real value to a post is not only in what I have written as the post – but really in the comments that are generated from that.

    Replying to those comments just really feels like a way of extending the connection with the commenter. And because of that, I try to write replies back that are meaningful. And that does take a lot of time.

    I have recently started to close comments on some posts. This has not been an easy decision, as again, I feel real value comes through in the comments. I have also started to, on occasion, do a blanket reply to everyone. When I do this, though, I tend to do that on posts where I feel like I would just be repeating myself in the comments if I didn’t.

    I have been having more guest posts recently too. And with them, I usually have the guest poster answer the comments.

    So, because of the time I use in replying to comments, that does mean that my posting schedule really isn’t much of a schedule at all. And that sometimes I have to take time away from other things to write the comments that I want to.

    Is it worth it?
    Well, as I see it today, blogging has become very meaningful to me. And that is really about the relationships that I have fostered. And I believe very much that many of those relationships wouldn’t be what they are today, were it not for a connection that blossomed either on my site, or on their site (or both).

    So…today…YES, it is very worth it. I may reach that point where it is not…right now, though, this all feels “right”.

    Barbara, thanks so much for broaching this subject. I am very interested in reading the responses (there is already so much great stuff here in the comments today!).
    .-= Check out Lance´s awesome post: RAOKA: Passion =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Lance,

      Thank you for coming by and sharing your thoughts. I know you painstakingly answer almost every one of your comments, thus your input is important to me.

      I’ve read the comments you write in response to those who comment on your blog and I can tell you’re answering them as if you were sitting across the table from each person. The time you put into those responses is obvious, AND appreciated. Hence, I think that drives your comments even higher.

      I totally agree with what you said about blogging becoming more meaningful because of the relationships we foster. And like you said, the foundation for them can be found in comment sections of our blogs and theirs. I know you’ll agree when I say, blogging is one of the few activities we can partake in where that can happen as it’s in comments where we (and others) are able to be ourselves and be accepted for who we are and not who others think we should be. (sounds like a good topic for another blog post 🙂 )

  9. jan geronimoNo Gravatar says:

    Love getting comments and answering them. I agree that it can be a little worrying how to find the time to reply to them all. That’s why I’m always grateful when some regular readers take the time to talk with each other in the comment section. It relieves the pressure somewhat.

    But I’d rather deal with this kind of problem than go back to the initial days when nobody cared to leave a comment.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jan,

      That’s a good point. When those who comment also converse amongst themselves, it does take some pressure off of the blog author.

      I’ve also noticed on blogs where the blog author doesn’t show up, if someone asks a question or needs assistance with a problem, others willingly step in to help.

  10. CarolineNo Gravatar says:

    Such a great topic as usual. I will be honest…I rarely answer comments. It’s too time consuming. BUT…what I do is visit each person who leaves a comment on my blog and (if it makes sense) tie in my comment to the comment they left on my blog. It’s worked very well for me and I have not lost readers because of that. I also state in my about me page that I rarely leave replies to comments…so I have managed expectations.
    .-= Check out Caroline´s awesome post: Ahhhhhh… =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Caroline,

      That’s a fantastic idea. If we let others know ahead of time not to expect to see us in the comment section, we won’t let them down.

      I also like you idea of visiting those who comment and tying your response on their blog to what they said on yours. It lets them know you read their comment, plus keeps your community strong.

  11. Alien GhostNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    So far time spent in answering comments is not a problem for me since they are very few at this point. I do think what would happen if suddenly it was fourty or fifty comments a day, where the time will come from to take participation from the own creation.

    Seems to me that creating a blog and promoting it to get more readers and comments to later neglect responding to those comments is like becoming a parent to later not taking the responsibility of tending to his/her needs.

    I suppose more comments while regular posting and visits to other blogs is a growing process that a blogger learns on the go. Efficiency comes with experience and everyone have to find their own solution to the situation.

    .-= Check out Alien Ghost´s awesome post: Communications =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Raul,

      That’s true. If we are promoting ourselves and/or our blogs to get more comments, then we best find a way to deal with them when they show up, and continue to show up.

      Efficiency does become essential to deal with not only answering comments, but for visiting other blogs, working behind the scenes or whatever. We soon learn what can slide and what can’t, and some stuff just doesn’t get done – much like our daily lives. 🙂

  12. Let’s add to that list – running businesses. I find that I have to schedule and limit my time to comment on blogs as well as reply back to comments. With running my coaching business, I just don’t have all the time I’d like to participate, so setting aside specific time each day is the only way I can do it. And when more comments come in, I’ll have to re-evaluate my schedule and give more time to it. 🙂
    .-= Check out Heather Villa´s awesome post: Weekend Reading: My fav’s from this week: 3/5/10 =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Heather,

      That’s very true. When we have a business, or a paying job, that needs to come first as that’s what pays the bills. Setting aside a specific amount of time is a good way to keep blogging and life separate and yet have time for both.

  13. Evelyn LimNo Gravatar says:

    I used to spend a lot of time commenting on other people’s blogs in the past. I have been finding it harder and harder to keep up with doing that since I am doing more offline projects of late. I try to do what I can in terms of commenting nowadays. Of course, I notice that comments have dropped on my own site. However, the stats doesn’t affect me as much since my subscriber base has continued to grow due to other forms of traffic generation. I also noticed that while I have gotten to make some great friends online, there have been a number who have decided to no longer blog.
    .-= Check out Evelyn Lim´s awesome post: How to Create Affirmation Cards On-The-Go =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Evelyn,

      I know what you mean. It seems like when we’re newer to blogging we have more time to make the rounds and comment on other blogs. Then we find ourselves taking on more projects (in real life of online) and the time left to comment and even publish, decreases.

      Like you, I’ve seen a few bloggers just give it up.

  14. LinNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara, I used to spend a lot of time commenting on other blogs but that has decreased over the last year or so. It’s hard enough for me to find the time to read each post on blogs I’m subscribed to, and sometimes I comment but more often do not. Twitter has also taken a back seat in my life over recent months, but I stay connected with people on Facebook, email and instant messaging etc.

    If I were as fortunate as others who blog full time from their home, or work out of their home in some way, I would likely have more time to “do it all”. My first priority in blogging has to be creating and writing posts, as I only have so many hours a day while also working full time outside the home. Twitter is a time sink for me, so no more of that.

    Some posts get a lot of comments (some have over a 100), especially regarding dealing with family problems in some way. Even if more recent posts haven’t generated tons of comments, the archived posts are keeping me on my toes with replying to comments/questions/problems etc. I have to do what works best for me and my family, and the time I have to do it.

    Being sick for over a week now hasn’t helped in my blogging schedule either, but fortunately guest posts help me get better and helps them too.
    .-= Check out Lin´s awesome post: Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead, Vampire Academy Books 1-6 =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Lin,

      I hope you’re feeling better. Being sick sure doesn’t help when we have a plate full.

      You mentioned the same thing as Lance – guest posts. That’s a good way to give us a little more time to catch up on behind the scenes stuff, plus visit a few blogs.

      It sounds like you have your hands full with blogging and a full time job, I agree with you. Twitter can be a real time sink. I’ve gotten to be where I have to set a timer when I sign on and stick with that; otherwise 10 minutes turns into an hour.

  15. LindaNo Gravatar says:

    I am not as fortunate as others with many comments but I do take the time to reply to them. I have yet to figure out how to do the balancing act but there have been some good tips here. However, I cannot imagine having a blog and not replying to the comments. To me that is a blunder.

    Thanks for another thot provoking post.
    .-= Check out Linda´s awesome post: At Home Hydrogen Fuel =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Linda,

      I agree, there are some great tips here.

      You mentioned not replying to comments. I used to think the same until I saw blogs with hundreds of comments and realized there’s no way a blog author could stay on top of those and still blog and/or have a life. I think it really comes down to the type of blog as well as what the commenters are saying.

  16. suzenNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara! As always – great topic! And lots to learn from the comments too!

    My blog has evolved into one major post on Monday and I leave it up for comments the entire week. I answer every comment in gratitude for that person taking the time to read what I had to say and share something themselves. I may be old-fashioned, but I feel that is the done thing. I don’t spend a lot of time on this, but at least acknowledge what the reader said. I don’t feel it necessary, unless there is a discussion going, to put a lot of “content” into my response.

    I have a weekend blog that is usually a video with little written content as a quickie – and see a trend. Some busy bloggers who used to come for the content blog and leave comments every week, are now short-cutting to my weekend quickies and ignoring the content blog and I guess that justifies to them that are, indeed, following me. Amusing. It is what it is!

    So to answer the question directly, if I haven’t already in my rambling, I DO reply to every comment but do not spend a lot of time doing it. I spend more time leaving comments on other blogs than replying to my own. So far it’s been manageable.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Suzen,

      That is a fascinating observation – how your readers are skipping commenting on the content post, but commenting on the short one. I think it comes down to the issue of time, as well as when bloggers are visiting other blogs. Some bloggers seem to be quite active on the weekends, whereas for others it’s weekdays.

      Although you may not be getting as many comments on the content posts, it sounds like your readership is either staying the same or growing?

  17. HilaryNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara .. I know you had a previous post about how many comments would we reply to personally and then what – & I see that subject came up earlier .. when someone eased off replying – my guess here is that if we personally reply and build a loyal readership – then there will be that point where what do you do .. ie – possibly 50 is manageable, but 100 is not .. one way would be to ignore and not answer the “I’m here” comments, eliminating a few .. you must be almost at that point.

    As you say cut back on posting .. answering comments properly is important ..

    commenting elsewhere .. reduce those slightly .. true blogging friends will understand the reason why .. I came on and guest posted or your post was on a subject I suggested .. and answering all the comments took a long time ..

    I’t’s making appropriate adjustments somehow .. but allowing ourselves the opportunity to create a ‘big value blog’ where all comers reign, and often there’s no replies to comments, but the value is known .. it’s that leap from here to there and how to hold people ..

    … build in a newsletter .. I comment occasionally on a blog & he’s got few commenters, but has a big following, as he speaks, publishes, newsletters, podcasts, twits, facebooks .. et al – so by diversifying the blog is his asset base or his source base for the bigger picture he’s created … and obviously important, but not that essential that he has to respond – he does to the high rollers and he did to initially as I’d come in via a friend who’s published a book: hence his interest: they’d been at the same convention.

    Bye – enough for now .. my time must be up!!?? No it’s an excellent thought process ..
    .-= Check out Hilary´s awesome post: Fussbudget .. a bore, or a boar … =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Hilary,

      So far for me, the comments I receive are very manageable. If I got 100, hmmmmm. That could be a breaking point or I’d drop down to posting one day a week.

      I like you suggestions of newsletters, podcasts, tweets and the like. I think if a blogger can remain accessible to their readers, it helps them to understand it’s not that the blog author doesn’t care, but is spending their time elsewhere.

  18. Dennis EdellNo Gravatar says:

    FYI to all concerned, from a comment commando…and not self proclaimed. lol

    Both commenting on others and answering your own are really musts for any serious blogger interested in building relationships abroad and community on their own blog.

    I’m here to tell you from massive personal experience, you WILL get faster at it all…reading/comprehending/writing and answering.

    Any questions? 🙂
    .-= Check out Dennis Edell´s awesome post: $100 – 10 Winners – Comment Contest! ‘Till Months End… =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Dennis,

      That’s good to know – we will get faster at it all. Some days are better than others for me. Sometimes I just like to hang out on a blog and look around and read, and other days, it’s read, comment and go.

      Thank you for offering to answer questions, you comment commando, you. 🙂

  19. Personally, my most interesting blogging happened when I had more time to devote to it, including to responding in detail to comments – and I wasn’t concerned with traffic.

    So I ended up visiting sites I genuinely liked. Turns out that the best written and most thoughtful sites, at least in the area of spirituality and religion, aren’t necessarily blogs with lots of traffic that will improve yours a lot to associate with.

    I ended up with a bright, well informed group of “regulars” and responded in detail to comments. It was a high quality experience – but my blog got fair to middling personal blog traffic. I’m falling back to this pattern or even more so now as my disease progresses and I have less productive time than ever.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Paul,

      I’m sorry to hear your disease is progressing. I pray you feel better, soon.

      That’s an excellent point. It’s not necessarily the high traffic blogs which have the best articles, but instead new bloggers. Although your associations may not have brought tons of traffic to your blog, it does sound like you’ve made terrific friendships with bloggers in your area of interest.

  20. Dr. KalNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t have that problem currently. But, if I ever do, I’ll probably respond to comments as Tim Ferris does. He seems to only respond to the really poignant comments.

    No response necessary. 😉
    .-= Check out Dr. Kal´s awesome post: Best Way To Lose Belly Fat =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Dr. Kal,

      Although I don’t frequent Tim Ferris’s blog,when I did visit, I noticed what you pointed out. That’s another good way to handle an excessive amount of comments and still stay involved with a blog community.

  21. Barbara, you preach by example. My first time to your blog and I’ve already learned a lot.

    I’m new to blogging so I’m only dipping my toes into the water on all of these issues. It’s nice to see a bit of a roadmap on what I face ahead. Not that it makes it an easier, but helps with the expectations. Thanks.
    .-= Check out Kevin Incorvia´s awesome post: 5 Reasons Partner Dancing Will Make You A Better Man =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Kevin,

      You’re right. With you being new to blogging, this is a great way to find out what to expect as well as project how you will handle an excessive amount of comments when they arrive.

      As you’ve probably noted, what works for some, doesn’t feel right to others, and keep in mind, the community you establish on your blog often dictates what they expect, as well.

      Happy Blogging!

  22. Tony SingleNo Gravatar says:

    Great post, Barbara! 🙂

    I probably spend way too long on each comment when I’m responding to others’ (whether that be on theirs or my own). I guess I just figure that they’d appreciate that I took the time, you know?

    I will be cutting back from 3 posts a week to 2, and not because I’m getting more comments than I can handle (the more the merrier I say!). Rather, I want to give myself more time to come up with quality writing to go with my art. The comments still represent only a fraction of the time I need to spend on my blog.

    When I do become super famous in the blogosphere and am getting a gazillion million comments every hour, I will fashion a time wand to slow down the minutes to hours. This will give me all the time in the world to respond to my adoring public (and the odd sycophant)! Ain’t I smart?

    I know. None of that was helpful. Sorry. 😛
    .-= Check out Tony Single´s awesome post: Coal Black Kitty =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Tony,

      I know what you mean about spending more time on comments than is probably required. But like you said, it seems the blog author/commenter might appreciate it.

      Cutting back on posts is a great way to unleash more time for other blogging activities. And by looking at the quality of your art, I’m guessing that doesn’t happen too quickly; it’s so detailed.

      I LOVE you idea of the time wand. Will you be patenting them soon?

      Yup! You are smart! 8)

  23. Gregg ZbanNo Gravatar says:

    Oh how true. I don’t spend much time answering questions or responding to comments but the time will come (I hope) and I will need to look at how to address the time issue.

    Nothing comes for free and you have to live with some of the bad to enjoy the good as long as it out weighs the bad.

    Thanks for the nice post,
    .-= Check out Gregg Zban´s awesome post: The Fine Art of Reciprocation =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Gregg,

      Yes. The time will come when you’ll be dealing with more comments. I know for me it didn’t happen overnight, which was good, as I’ve been able to slowly adjust my time to handle them.

      Your right. Everything has a price. Hopefully the good always outweighs the bad. 🙂

  24. Even though I don’t get loads of comments, I am already finding it tough to keep things up. The post writing, comment replying, then visiting other bloggers – both those who comment on my blog and various other blogs I come across – takes up so much time. Depending on my mood, having a routine of doing all of this can be nice. For example, I fit in blog commenting after lunch when I get a post-lunch energy drop.

    However, sometimes I just need to break away from it. It becomes overwhelming if you let it. I always try to reply to comments on my own blog, but if I feel as though new post ideas are starting to suffer, it will be the commenting on other blogs that has to be cut back on.

    I’m still trying to find a way to broaden myself up to new blogs without becoming totally overloaded by my reading list!
    .-= Check out Ruth – Web Career Girl´s awesome post: Keep Yourself Accountable Each And Every Day =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Ruth,

      All that is involved with blogging can be overwhelming. Like you, I prioritize by answering comments on my blog first. Like you mentioned, when that starts to take more time, we have less time to visit others. Having a set schedule would probably work best, but as we all know, life happens when we least expect it.

      As long as we don’t let blogging overtake our lives, I think it can remain to be a fun, exciting and fulfilling past time.

  25. George AngusNo Gravatar says:


    I do try to answer all of the comments on my blog. Averaging a dozen or so per post, it’s relatively easy.

    Brutally Honest Moment: I know that I don’t often take the time to respond with long, well thought out comments. I comment on the fly. I know it’s something I need to work at as well.


    .-= Check out George Angus´s awesome post: 3 Must-Know Tips for Guest Authors =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi George,

      I don’t think you need to apologize. If that’s how you answer comments and feel comfortable with your method, then just continue doing what you’re doing. Your readers know what to expect and as you can see, they keep coming back for more of your great wisdom. 🙂

  26. janiceNo Gravatar says:

    I love your honesty, Barbara, and how every post manages to get me thinking, writing and then reading other folks’ comments. It’s one of your greatests skills, that balance you have between the personal and practical in your posts and the way you always reply to everyone meaningfully. I really value and appreciate that.

    Coincidentally, I have a post up at the moment that’s a rerun of one I wrote last year during a series on helping folk find their authentic voices. It’s about how we often underestimate how much of ourselves we put into the comments we leave on others’ blogs and in our own responses, and how we often find inspiration there, or the seeds of ideas. When I was re-reading it, I suddenly realised how often I comment, and how much time I spend on replies. In my heart, I know i spend too much time in comment boxes, and that it’s one of the reasons I burned out in December. But I enjoy the connection aspect of blogging, so I’m a bit torn. My blog doesn’t get many comments any more since I went AWOL, so it’s nice to be able to sit down and chat with the folk who pop over, but on the whole, I spend much more combined time commenting than I do writing posts. It worries me, but it’s a sad but true fact that when I stopped commenting on other blogs because of illness, a lot of bloggers stopped visiting and never came back. I’ve also noticed, as you pointed out, that one of the sad downsides of blogging success is that bloggers have to cut connections with the folk who made them successful in the first place. Luckily, that won’t happen with my wee blog, but I worry for you sometimes as you obviously put a lot of love and time into what you do and there are only 24 hours in anyone’s day.
    .-= Check out janice´s awesome post: Writers Write (Revisited): Your Comments are Part of Your Writing Mosaic =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you for your sweet and caring words, Janice,

      You know, that’s true. When bloggers slow down on publishing and/or leaving comments on other blogs, their blogs can suffer. I don’t think it’s so much bloggers forget about each other as it is, we’re not as visible as we once were. Like you, I see that happen too. If I run out of time to visit other bloggers, they don’t necessarily show up here. And I’m okay with that as I realize how reciprocal commenting works.

      One thing we need to remember is it’s not the number of comments that make a blog a success as much as it is how we feel about our blogs. If we know our words helped one person, then in our eyes we might feel successful.

      On that same line, on one of my other blogs I have a post on how to clean thermos bottles (fill with hot water and then dump in about a quarter cup of dry dish washing detergent. Let it sit and the crud will rise to the top. This works for anything that has gotten tea or coffee stained) Anyway, I had a comment from a woman who used that method to clean an antique carafe, and she wanted to let me know I had “saved the day”. She was thrilled.

      It’s comments like that which make me realize even though we may not be getting tons of comments on our blogs (that blog gets very few), people are reading our work and what we’re sharing is helping.

      You know Janice, when you blog, do what pleases YOU. If you want to spend more time in the comment boxes, that’s okay. There is no one right way to blog. If you want, become known as “the awesome commenter” – just as you’ve done here.

      P.S. I’ll be by your blog shortly to read that post.

      • janiceNo Gravatar says:

        You’re a sweetheart, Barbara. I felt a bit bad after posting that very long comment because seen from one perspective, it takes up more of your reading time if the comments are long. But I’m glad I did. Your reply is just what I needed today. And please know, I never expect anyone to visit; your support has already been breathed in and absorbed by the blog and will always be there. If my blogging friends are busy, I always know I can pop in and visit them in their own ‘bloghomes’. What’s your other blog, by the way? Sounds like my cup of tea! I use dissolving denture cleaning tablets to clean my mugs and tea cups, and laundry powder to scour cruddy pans!
        .-= Check out janice´s awesome post: Writers Write (Revisited): Your Comments are Part of Your Writing Mosaic =-.

        • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

          Hi Janice,

          Please, never feel bad for leaving a long comment. Not only do I appreciate your input, but your words help others, too. Because I enjoy the comments so much, I never have a problem with how long they take to read. I feel like we’re sitting, chatting over coffee (or tea). 🙂

          What you said is very true. We always know where to find our blogging pals. They are just a click away, and never far from our thoughts.

          The other blog of mine I spoke of is Observation Mountain. It’s a blog I rarely update but it has 200 or so posts on a mish-mash of topics, and continues to get traffic. In fact, when I started blogging, THAT was the blog I thought would be keeping me busy. Instead, it was this one. That’s one thing about blogging, we never know where it will take us. Isn’t it a fun journey?

          P.S. I like the idea of using denture tablets to clean mugs and tea cups. And laundry powder to scour pans. I’ll have to try that. Thank you!

  27. LindaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    Great topic, and something I did think about after inquiring about how to get more comments. I can see where getting massive numbers of comments with each post could quickly become overwhelming. The nature of my blog is such that many posts don’t warrant comments as they are just for information purposes. However, if someone wants to tell me that they found a great deal or enjoyed an event because of my post, I’m all ears. My visitors and comments have picked up in the last several weeks, and I answer all who visit by leaving a comment on my blog and/or e-mailing directly those I know personally to thank them for visiting. The time required at this point is minimal, but I can see it increasing as I continue to build my blog and find others I want to read regularly.

    As always, thank you for all you do and for providing this great resource.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Linda,

      Your comment raised another great point. Some blog posts do not need a reply. Like you said, if you’re sharing information for others to use, they may take the time to say thank you and not much else. If that’s the case, they’re not expecting a reply, nor should we feel we need to reply.

      I’m happy to hear your blog is growing. Being aware commenting/replying to comments may start eating into your time is half the battle. I commend you for looking into the future.

  28. Keith DavisNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara
    At the moment, time spent answering comments is not really a problen.
    I can see that if you reply to most comments, but not to some… the no reply group might feel left out! I think that I would.

    And the future… “If you’re not receiving a lot of comments now, but hope for more, have you contemplated where the time will come from to answer them?”

    No I’ve not thought that it would be a problem, but I’m thinking that it would be a nice problem to have. LOL

    Better start thinking about it!
    .-= Check out Keith Davis´s awesome post: A helping hand… =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Keith,

      Good point! Some who leave comments may be offended if the blog author responds to other comments, but not theirs. As I was thinking about what you said, it would depend on my comment and whether it required a response. However, choosing to reply to comments that way, does raise the issue.

      Yup! You need to start thinking about what you’ll do. One never knows when our blog could hit Digg’s front page or …, and we’ll get bombarded with comments. 🙂

  29. I decided to just be flexible about it. When I’m very busy, I just pop in and thank my readers for their comments but don’t respond to them individually. When time allows, I do respond to each comment. I think my readers understand.
    .-= Check out vered | professional blogger´s awesome post: International Women’s Day 2010 =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Vered,

      I like how you do that. For those of us who follow you, we’re familiar with your “style” and no one appears to be offended by it.

  30. PatriciaNo Gravatar says:

    I so enjoy blogging and my purpose is to have a conversation with people about what is important on my mind or in my world. I love to make changes that assist my life and joy factor and I hope others will join me – the comments just add to the conversation and discussion.
    Saying that, I would just love once to get 100 comments on something I wrote- once would be enough for me because I think it might produce a truly vibrant conversation/discussion.
    I do set myself little goals per week – such as one week I wanted to comment on 100 blogs – I made it to 46! but it was a fun challenge.
    With recovery of health being my greatest goal these days, I can only sit at the computer about 2 hours at a time. I had to give up the computer on the weekend and only do family business, because I just have not enough energy.
    I can lie on the floor and read my Kindle, so the trade off is that I now have more books to review to share with others, but a wee bit less time to comment on other sites.
    I still have only a few subscribers (?) but they are loyal! and get about 300 readers a week…but to me that is fabulous.
    So maybe that is all that I am asking for?
    I am on the slow movement track!
    I still do not skim read other blogs….people write their good words – I want to honor that endeavor and those ideas. It is worth the time – maybe that is my main goal with blogging to be a good and thoughtful reader and commenter?
    .-= Check out Patricia´s awesome post: Ecotopia ~ Ernest Callenbach, A Relook at an Inspiring Book =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Patricia,

      I hope your wish for 100 comments on a post comes true. 🙂 I agree, the conversation would be awesome.

      Like you, I prefer not to skim the posts written by other bloggers. As much as that could save time, like you said, by reading their work, we’re honoring their endeavors and their contributions to blogosphere.

      You are a wonderful reader and commenter, and I truly appreciate the time you spend here. Thank you, Patricia!

  31. SaraNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara — You amaze me. I scrolled through the many comments you’ve gotten to this post and you answered almost all of them…and I know the latest ones will eventually get answered. I also noticed that your replies fit the comment, rather than just a pat answer like, “Thank you for visiting.” Given the number you get, that’s pretty amazing:~)

    Just joking, but I can imagine a time when some bloggers will have to hire assistants to answer comments so they can actually have a life:~)

    I spend a lot of time on my comments and replies. To me, it’s a conversation. I even talk aloud when writing my comments, which is why I make a lot of mistakes:~)It helps me feel like I’m really saying something to that particular person.

    That being said, as I don’t have a ton of people visiting my site, replies and comment aren’t that much of a problem. I don’t know what I would do if I ever had over 50 comments on every post…probably take an immediate vacation:~)
    .-= Check out Sara´s awesome post: Picture Story: I’ve Got a Secret =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you for your sweet words Sara,

      Your comment made me smile – talking aloud while writing comments. I hear you. In fact, I just realized I was doing that now. Do you read your comments out loud before your publish them, too? I sometimes do. 😆

      What you said is true. When others leave comments and we’re replying to them, it is like having a conversation with each other. Much like if we were having a chat over coffee.

      I’ve seen the comments on some of your posts. You might want to book that vacation real soon.

  32. Angelia SimsNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara!

    Yet again, another timely post from you as if you are reading my thoughts. Are you writing just for me? 😛

    Recently, work has disallowed personal internet use. I spent a lot time on my lunch hour blogging replies, visiting sites. With that hour gone, with phone holding time gone, with living apart from my fiance and traveling between houses, families, commuting AND working full time. Yeah, I hit my limit of what I could do. I have my iPhone which is 10 times longer to read and comment from.

    Although I WANT to respond to each comment, IF I do that I can’t visit THEIR site and read about them. So, lately I have chosen to visit and comment on their site or even email them. But I let the personal comment back to them go for now. I found I rarely had time to go back and read any responses to me on those that comment back and maybe it was likely they had trouble too. I wondered if they ever read it?

    Maybe I can do that again when time allows as I can see by your comments above it is a very valued thing.

    Great information! Thank you kindly. 🙂
    .-= Check out Angelia Sims´s awesome post: I had a dream…. =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Angelia,

      I was just typing out your name and wondered, how do you pronounce it? An-ge-li-a? It’s pretty.

      I’m happy to hear this post hits home with you. And hopefully you found an answer or two which helps.

      I like how you took a different approach and instead of answering the comments on your blog, you’re spending your limited amount of time visiting others. When time is of the essence, that’s actually a great way to continue to support your community, plus grow your readership.

      Re: Reading responses to our comments. Many do come back to see if we replied. Some say they won’t continue to comment on blogs if the author doesn’t respond, but others says it’s okay if they don’t get a response.

  33. Thanks for sharing this. Like what you said, making a schedule on when to do the post and comments will help in balancing your time and being on track with your tasks.

    .-= Check out Travel Purses´s awesome post: Travel Purses: 6 Great Styles =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Travel Purses,

      That’s true. Schedules can help us keep our blogging activities organized, but if you’re like me, I need a schedule to stay on top of my schedules. 🙂

      Truthfully, I find answering comments at the end of the day works best for me.

  34. Hi Barbara,
    I like Lance have more guest bloggers and I also close comments at times. I also don’t feel like I have to comment on every article I read and don’t expect others to comment each time on mine. I figure it will all work out if I don’t try to force anything and remain grateful at all times. Thanks for another thought provoking article.
    .-= Check out Tess The Bold Life´s awesome post: Bold Solutions For A New World =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Tess,

      I know exactly what you’re saying. As we travel through blogosphere, some posts will inspire us to comment, whereas others won’t. I agree. It all ends up working out. Our blogging buddies know they are just a click away and never far from our thoughts.

      Also, what I find is I often read posts late at night when I’m not too tired to read, but am too tired to construct a comment. So when that happens, I just click and read.

  35. SuhasiniNo Gravatar says:

    Hey Barbara, I am excited to join this group today. Well coming back to your question, I normally spend 1-2 hours replying to comments and I make sure that I am answering to each and every comments.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Suhasini,

      It’s great to see you here, as well.

      I’ll bet those in your community appreciate your participation. Keeping the conversation going helps to build readership as well as loyalty.

  36. It’s unfortunate, but as I’m sure you can tell from how much less I comment on your blog that I’ve had to make some sacrifices.

    You can’t buy blocks of time, they just don’t make any more of it.

    I still visit many of the blogs in my FeedReader, like yours, Vered’s, Jannies, etc., but I rarely comment.

    I have to pull time from somewhere, and commenting is one of the places I’ve done that. But it’s something I must do in order to follow my dream.
    .-= Check out John Hoff – WP Blog Host´s awesome post: WordPress Defender: 30 Ways to Secure Your Blog from Attack Anyone Can Do =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Well look at you John,

      We get to see that handsome face behind Wp Blog Host. 🙂

      That’s very true. When we have other projects, or commitments in our real life, our time to spend on blogging and/or commenting can be limited.

      Just know I truly appreciate you taking time to comment here when you can.

      P.S. I LOVE your new ebook and videos. (See my next post)

  37. Angelia SimsNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara!

    The i-a is pronounced. Ange-uh-Leah here in Texas. Officially it is Angel-Lia but with our accents….it gets countrified. Haha.

    I do enjoy reading heartfelt comments back, especially you, Lance,and Wilma. Thank you for taking the time. 🙂
    .-= Check out Angelia Sims´s awesome post: I had a dream…. =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Angelia,

      Thank you for coming back and sharing the pronunciation of your name. Whenever I see a unique name, I’m always curious how it’s pronounced. Now I know. 🙂

  38. MitchNo Gravatar says:

    I have to say that I’d prefer having to figure out how to find the time to do all these things as opposed to not having to worry about it at all.

    As someone who’s been in business for myself for almost 9 years now, one of those truths is that most of us think we’re going to be much busier than we actually end up being. All it takes is some discipline and planning, and it can all get done.
    .-= Check out Mitch´s awesome post: Tips For Guest Posting =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Mitch,

      I hear you, as this was something I never thought I’d even have to think about, nor deal with. Like you said, we do find ways via discipline and planning to get it done.

      And you’re right. In business, it’s the same way.

  39. Debbie YostNo Gravatar says:

    Ah, the age old question. 🙂 Ok, so not that old; blogging is a relatively new concept. However, I’ve been there myself. I not only struggle with finding the time to respond, but finding the words. Sometimes I just don’t know what to say in response. Personally, I kind of wish we could just read the comments and be happy with them. It’s kind of like thank you notes. I hate thank you notes. Not that I don’t appreciate getting them, but the pressure of having to send them. It’s a pain to me but I know some people expect them and will be angry or hurt if you don’t send them. If I get one I appreciate it, but if I don’t I don’t care. It’s not that important to me. However, if I want my blog to be successful, etiquette seems to be that we must respond to comments or you will lose readers. So I try to respond. But like you said, something has to give. For me, that’s finding time to read other blogs and comment. And what if we get a comment from someone and don’t reciprocate. Sometimes I just have nothing to say to their post but I have to make something up just because they commented on mine. Those comments take longer because the words don’t flow and I sit there staring at a blank screen trying to form the words.

    I don’t know if I so much as responded to your post here, or just added more questions! My comment has seemed to turn more into a rant. Oh well, sometimes we need that, too. Right?
    .-= Check out Debbie Yost´s awesome post: Math Teachers =-.

  40. Very interesting content here. Thanks for taking the time to put this together! Loved your blog.