I enjoy reading other blogs, seeing what changes bloggers are making to their sites and watching the growth of my blogging buddies.

I like to see other bloggers succeed and it thrills me when I see comments stacking up on their blog posts.

I know the blog author is ecstatic, but sadly my name isn’t always in that list of commenters.

Sometimes, time is not on my side.

Today’s Lesson

I wrote a blog post in 2008 which discussed blog etiquette. One of the items I included in the list was,

If someone visits your blog, and leaves a comment, make time to visit their blog as well. Itโ€™s common courtesy. If you cannot identify with their most current post, dig through their archives and find one you can leave a short comment on.

In the beginning, I did that. Religiously.

Each time someone commented on my blog, I visited them, subscribed and reciprocated with a comment, too.

The number of blogs in my reader was growing and I began to spend more of my blogging time visiting and commenting.

As I added more bloggers namesย  to my “New Blog Of The Week” series, my reader began to bulge with new blog posts. (The series ended with 90 bloggers being showcased.)

More times than I can count, due to time constraints, I would “mark all as read” and start fresh.

When following blogs in my reader didn’t work anymore, I switched my tactic and went back to trying to visit everyone who commented on my posts.

Unfortunately I couldn’t keep up.

I had broken my own rule, and I felt shame.

I felt like a hypocrite.

If I knew then (when I wrote the blog etiquette post) what I know now, I would have worded that differently, or added a disclaimer* and said, “if time permits”.

It’s not that I don’t care when you post something new, it’s that my time is needed elsewhere.

Thus, if you don’t see me commenting on each of your posts, know it’s not you. It’s me.

You’re never far from my thoughts, and fortunately I know right where to find you. 8)

That said, I understand if you’re in the same position and don’t have time to read my posts and/or comment here.

Today’s Assignment

Do you reciprocate each comment you receive on your blog?

When time is short, do you skip commenting or have you found a technique which allows you to do it all?

Care to share?

signature for blog post

*I’ll be adding a link to this post.

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  1. Keith DavisNo Gravatar says:

    You’re a hypocrite – there I’ve called you a hypocrite, that was an easy assignment. LOL

    I remember reading that post and actually doing what you advised – I always, well nearly always, well sometimes, well now and then… return comments.

    Annoys me that Superstar Bloggers don’t return comments. I know it’s a “time” thing but we all have demands on our time.

    I’ve seen your comments around the blogosphere Barbara so I think that you do your bit.
    Check out Keith Davis’s awesome post.Two way trafficMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You passed the assignment Keith, ๐Ÿ™‚

      When I first started blogging I didn’t know the Superstar bloggers didn’t visit other blogs, but then I figured out they’re probably spending their time figuring out ways to stay on top. I don’t have a problem with that since most of them continue to improve blogosphere and provide value. In some ways I see it as “they did their time”.

  2. Barbara,

    I have never tried to comment on the blog of everyone who leaves a comment on my blog. With DoFollow, KeywordLuv, and CommentLuv, I get a lot of comments from bloggers on just about every topic you can imagine. I respond to every comment on my blog, give commenters a PR4 DoFollow keyword link plus a CommentLuv link to their post, and once a month I list all my commenters (anywhere from 100 to 200 each month) in a thank-you post, giving them another DoFollow link. That takes a fair amount of timeโ€”there’s no way I can also read every blog and leave a comment. I do visit each blog to make sure I’m willing to link to it, and if the topic appeals to me, I subscribe to the blog and am likely to leave comments when a post motivates me to respond. But I don’t leave a comment in exchange for a commentโ€”though it’s a lovely idea if anyone has time to do it.
    Check out Lillie Ammann’s awesome post.Gaining Inspiration from the Greats- Ten Tips for Great Writing โ€“ Guest Post by Cathryn JohnsonMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Lillie,

      You’ve raised a good point. Just like on your blog, I also use CommentLuv, dofollow and have a page rank of 4. I hadn’t thought how that can be a benefit of commenting, but you’re right. It is.

      I like you idea of showcasing all who commented monthly. I can see how that would be time consuming, but I’m betting your readers truly appreciate that.

  3. Hi Barbara – Reciprocating comments and leaving comments can eat time like no tomorrow, especially with the additional social media element. Now comments are in another place! Like Lillie says, it’s lovely when you have the time to do it.

    I do try to respond to every comment and am not always successful with that objective. I like having nested comments, but feel more compelled to answer each one. Comments have tapered off on the blog with the advent of Facebook, so in between all of it, I’m trying to keep up. I know there’s a widespread recommendation to build your readership with thoughtful commenting, but the reality is I can’t do as much of that anymore as I have in the past, as well.

    I think we all have to realize that we all are doing the best we can before we get annoyed with someone, feel guilty about what we’re able to do, or clean up our Readers. Thanks.
    Check out Betsy Wuebker’s awesome post.You Never Know What Someone is Going to BuyMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Betsy.

      That’s true. When we add social networking sites to our list, we spread ourselves even thinner. I know for myself I’ve basically quit tweeting, but do spend time on Facebook. One thing I do like about Facebook is how we can put our thoughts out there for others to read and let them know what we’re busy with, or whatever. Plus, there we can drop short comments as a way to say “hi” without worrying about “adding value”.

  4. No Barbara, you are not a hypocrite. You just took a decision which looked great when your blog was small but that it could not scale well. I’ve closed comments in my eldest blog because of the hassle. Instead, I’m asking people to comment my posts in their own blogs, twitter or facebook. I know only a fraction would do that (and it’s a fraction of a tiny minority), but it will better for both of us.

    That’s NOT what you should do in this blog, which has become more of a forum than a blog, if you ask me.
    Check out Miguel de Luis Espinosa’s awesome post.Declaraciรณn de Objetivos de mi negocio minimalistaMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Miguel,

      That’s true. My thought at that time did not scale well.

      I agree. Closing comments can generate more time for us, however like you said, closing them on this blog wouldn’t be wise. Even if I got so busy I couldn’t answer each one, I’d still leave them open so those who read have the benefit of hearing what other bloggers are contributing.

      I tried closing comments on posts older than 90 days due to the amount of spam I was receiving, but that also closed the ability for bloggers to add their name to my Blog Registry. I reopened them and do see an increase in spam comments, but for not I’ll just deal with it.

  5. MikeNo Gravatar says:

    I try.

    I try to respond to every comment, but sometimes that just doesn’t work due to other things going on — and sometimes replying to a comment just doesn’t make sense.

    I try to go to all of the blogs of those who comment on mine and comment there. However, sometimes, quite frankly, there’s nothing there that I can comment on — the subject and/or niche being completely outside of anything I’m interested in or have knowledge about. In that sort of instance, I’ll make a special effort to reply to the comment, even if it’s just to say, “Thanks for stopping by and commenting.”
    Check out Mike’s awesome post.Boots on a fenceMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Mike,

      That’s a tough one; when we land on a blog which is completely outside of our interests. On those I try to find a post that I can leave a meaningful comment on, however, it can be difficult to comment regularly.

      I like your idea of leaving a comment and saying, “thank you…”.

  6. HilaryNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara .. I think it’s time we acknowledge that some bloggers offer us more and therefore they won’t always have time to visit your blog .. however quite often, as you have done for me, you’ll acknowledge regular bloggers’ comments, and/or their blog.

    I’m happy – if I want to visit a blog I will do and I’ll leave a comment if I want to. Sometimes they just go into the Reader and out again, others I read .. but don’t comment.

    If I’m commenting on someone’s blog, where they don’t have much traffic, or where they’re new .. if they don’t reciprocate once in a while – then I’ll lose interest .. which I think is fair.

    The big pro bloggers .. I wouldn’t expect a comment reply, but when I’ve regularly commented on one blog in particular .. I got picked up and have been asked to do a guest post on how “I got started” .. coming in September – simply because I liked what I read, appreciated the tips I found, and then Tony replied to my comment: He is a follower on my blog, but hasn’t commented.

    I think we have to respect people for where they’re at & be humble ourselves …. and understand the rat race of life & blogging life ..

    The two approaches of Lillie and Miguel are interesting .. I’m not sure how I’ll deal with things in due course …. time will then tell!

    It’s up to us .. just don’t feel hard done by – it’s life .. think of your daily contacts, put me downs and pick me ups .. always good and bad, unexpected too .. do your business, it’s your life – don’t gripe about things … get on with it!?!?

    Great thought and post again .. thanks Barbara .. Hilary
    Check out Hilary’s awesome post.Glyphs- Ps and Qs- Murder My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Hilary,

      Yes. That’s true. I will often showcase something a blogger has stated in the comment section. It’s my way of saying, “hey, I’m listening, and what you said can be beneficial to many”. I feel by doing that, I also show my readers that although I may not visit as often as I’d like, I value what they have to say (whether here or on their blog).

      Thank you for sharing how by you continually commenting on a popular blog brought your name to the forefront. That’s a good reminder of how even though we don’t think a popular blogger isn’t paying attention, they are.

  7. Chase MarchNo Gravatar says:

    I was wondering why you don’t visit anymore. Just kidding!

    I understand.

    I read a lot of blogs that I simply do not comment on often enough either. I just don’t have the time.

    I do think it’s important to acknowledge your commenters. Of course, it isn’t always possible. Some blogs get so many comments it would be near impossible to do so.

    So I say, do what you can and don’t feel guilty. You need to live a live and not spend all your time online. It’s all about balance.
    Check out Chase March’s awesome post.Get Ready For School With 1 Word – SleepMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re funny Chase, ๐Ÿ™‚

      You’re right. It is all about finding that balance in our lives – between the time we spend online and off.

      And that’s true. Often we read but for one reason or another, we don’t comment on blogs. I know for myself, if it’s late and I’m tired, my brain doesn’t let me formulate a meaningful comment.

  8. All of us are hypocrites in many ways! Welcome to the gang!

    I do visit the first-timers who comment on my blog and drop a thank-you comment. If I like their writing, I follow their blog.

    I do reply to each comment I get on my blog as that way the communication goes on. Sometimes I have had passionate arguments with my readers and the exchange is quite lively and hot. Communicating across ether, the best way to keep the spirit of the blog is commenting and replying.

    And another thing is that I always keep checking the blog where I have commented, as I like to know what the person thinks. I must say that I do feel disappointed if my comment just passes by without acknowledgment.

    I know that TIME is involved in all this. I do understand that not everyone has the luxury of time and energy.

    Joy always,
    Check out Susan Deborah’s awesome post.Branded for lifeMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Susan,

      I’m happy to hear I’m not the only hypocrite. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I agree it’s a good idea to reply to the comments we receive on our blog (disclaimer: as long as we have the time). As for checking other blogs to see if the author replied to our comment, I used to do that, but found I can save a little bit of time by either subscribing to comments or checking the next time I visit.

  9. JamesNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t think it is hypocritical at all.
    You are only one person and can only do so much. Many blogs reach a point where that level of interaction is simply not possible. Darren does not even reply to comments that often anymore and they are moderated by an assistant now. When the traffic gets to a point, you simply can’t, as one person, do it all and often there is not the kind of income to hire someone to do it.
    As a fellow blogger, I am glad to see another blogger reach that level. It’s nice to know I have good taste in the blogs I visit. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I was actually shocked to have a blogger come to my site and return a comment recently. It is actually something I used to do and have forgotten to do recently. I may start doing this again when possible. It’s a great way to start relationships with other bloggers that often are at the same place you are in development. It also make sense as I am usually checking the link to see where my blog is going to be linking to.
    One thing that does cause an occasional problem with returning comments is sometimes the subject matter of the blog. There are often times that I don’t really have much to say on a niche a blog is about. I really hate to make a spammy “Great post” comment (often a true feeling) when the subject matter is something I really can’t make a good comment on.
    When it comes down to it though, I don’t return to a blog because the blogger returned a comment on mine. I do it because the blog has content that is interesting or thought provoking on a subject I am interested in. It is a nice touch and something I’ll be doing more.
    Check out James’s awesome post.How To Disable Facebook Places and Why You Need To!My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you James,

      That’s exactly what reciprocating comments does; build and establish online friendships. That said, some bloggers prefer not to build relationships and even though we try (by consistently leaving comments on their blogs), usually we can tell pretty quickly if they’re not interested.

      I hear you. We will land on some blogs where we have nothing to contribute. Hopefully the blog author realizes it’s not them, but us, and to the right audience what they share is spot on.

  10. Sam LiuNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    I often have just the same problem. In fact, I’ve just had to take another week away from blogging due to prior commitments that demanded all my attention. Sometimes, there just isn’t enough time.

    Whenever someone comments on my blog, I do my best to reciprocate. If I can, I take an hour every day to read the latest posts of each blog that I follow and leave my thoughts. As you say, it is common courtesy to do so. But I am coming to a point now where I simply cannot keep on top of everything.

    And I am always humbled and overjoyed that you take the time to reply to each comment, it means a lot to us all and I can’t thank you enough.
    Check out Sam Liu’s awesome post.Allow Me To Explain MyselfMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Sam,

      I think that happens to a lot of bloggers. In the beginning our blogging time may be a little more flexible, but as our blogs, our communities and other online responsibilities grow, we have to start reevaluating where our time is best used. Add to that our real life commitments and soon our days are overflowing.

  11. ValNo Gravatar says:

    Hmmm… I have a personal, not a commercial blog, so the way I relate to people and also the reason I blog may be different from others who come and comment here.

    I reply to nearly all comments in my blog, not necessarily immediately but as soon as I can. Occasionally I can’t think of something to say (usually to one-liners by people who don’t seem to have grasped what I’ve written) and then I just leave that one alone.

    As for surfing back on the person’s comment link and going to their blog, that depends. I read far more people than I visit, by using Google Reader. I also do the same as you and, from time to time, click ‘mark all as read’ and start again. For me, it’s not a matter of not enough time, but not enough energy, as my health isn’t brilliant much of the time. I add a lot of new people to my reader but then find that I don’t have the energy to make the sort of connection with them unless something has immediately clicked with me. That’s fairly rare, don’t you think? That you’ve enough in common with a person to feel an immediate connection?

    So mostly I don’t need to surf to a blog via a comment they’ve posted because I’ve usually already visited them via my reader.

    Recently I’ve been feeling rather fed up with the Reader view of blogs and have started going to them from my blogroll links and my own bookmarks which is what I did before I started using the Reader. In many ways I find it easier – and fresher – doing it via links and bookmarks. It means I can see the whole blog, with its author’s chosen layout, can see what’s happening, can more easily scroll through posts and find the ones that resonate more with me. The Reader feels too ‘well scrubbed’ to my liking these days.

    Does any of this answer the questions posed? I’m not sure.

    I suspect that another reason you found it easier to stick to your own rule at the beginning and less so now, is because you were probably connecting on a more personal level with people. Your blog, while very interesting and I’m sure helpful to people who visit, does have the ‘feel’ of one that has been very carefully written and prepared. It doesn’t reveal very much about you as a person. Certainly for a personal blogger, like myself, I find it easier to continue commenting when the blogger has time for his/her readers.
    Check out Val’s awesome post.Cat Trip โ€“ and a videoMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Val,

      I agree. Using a reader to view blogs does take away from the whole experience. Because I enjoy looking at the themes, reading the about pages, recent posts, etc a blog author is sharing, like you, I also enjoy going straight to the blog.

      You’re right. I do take care when I prepare my posts. Although I don’t share a lot of my personal life (which could be boring to read), my readers and their viewpoints mean the world to me. I feel together we can help each other how to become better bloggers via comments whether here or on their blog.

  12. BradNo Gravatar says:

    We are all busy, I know a lot of bloggers who have put off reciprocating links due to serious time constraints.

    Doesn’t make you a hypocrite.
    Check out Brad’s awesome post.Blockbuster Is Walking The Bankrupt Plank โ€“ Going DigitalMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Brad,

      Yes. It’s like “busy” is the new buzz word and we’re all adding more to our plates than we can physically handle.

  13. Tony SingleNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara, I’m beginning to experience this for myself, so I can relate. As my blog reading list grows, the time to respond to them all shrinks. Of course, I do try to respond to each and every one with comments on my blog and on their own, but I’m finding that there aren’t enough hours in the day. This sucks as I wouldn’t like them to think I’m ungrateful and disinterested. ๐Ÿ™

    What’s a boy to do? Well, all I can do for now is just keep plugging away and hope that my readers realise this, whether they are in the same boat or not. I treasure every one of them after all. They’re the reason that blogging has been so rewarding. But I’m afraid that blogging can and does give with one hand, and take with the other. It’s just an unfortunate trade off when you begin to get more readers.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Tony,

      I like how you put that, “…blogging can and does give with one hand, and take with the other.” So true.

      I would like to think most bloggers understand and not take it personally when we don’t visit as often as we used to. With all of us being at different phases of blogging, our schedules vary. And, I know for me, the more I’ve blogged, the more I’ve added to my list; like more blogs. I realize it’s self imposed pressure, but I also need to consider my future as well as possible income streams for this hobby I enjoy so much.

  14. suzenNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara! Boy I know what you are talking about because I followed your philosophy of “etiquette” until I realized I was LIVING on the internet. I’m glad life intervened and I just had to play Sophie’s Choice. I try to follow everyone who is actively (commenting) and following me – which isn’t that hard since I only post once a week now so I have the whole week to visit them. If they post multiple times during the week I can’t keep up. This summer I fell woefully behind even with that but ya know what? That’s life. And I am obliged to live it!

    You do a great job making the rounds – no worries!
    Check out suzen’s awesome post.Is Stress a DiseaseMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Suzen,

      I hear you. Life happens and like you said, we are obliged to live it. I’d hate to think a blogger would worry so much about reciprocating comments they stop living their real life. One thing I’ve found is most bloggers do understand and are very forgiving since it seems we all end up in the same boat at one time or another.

  15. Hi Barbara,
    I don’t respond to everyone but at least 3/4 of them. I think I remember Leo befor he quit he’d just join in somewhere and comment in the comments a few times instead of every one.

    Comments are the meat of the blogging world for me. I like commenting more than commenting on comments on my blog.

    I also read comments on other blogs. I like to look for Jannies eye!

    There are no perfect bloggers. I say if someone quits commenting they need to figure out how else they can help their fellow bloggers or else they’ll eventually lose them.

    Oh and you’re not a hypocrite. Stuff happens and stuff changes.
    Check out Tess The Bold Life’s awesome post.Feeling Jealous Shine Your Light On Itโ€ฆMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Tess,

      I’m with you. Comments are the meat of blogging. I love each one I get here and when time permits I truly enjoy reading others blog posts and sharing my thoughts. With so much knowledge being shared in blogosphere, I want to take it all in.

      It’s like we’re continually feeding our brain, hey?

  16. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    I used to, Barbara. I don’t have the time anymore. I’m getting better at not feeling guilty AND not wondering where so-and-so has disappeared to. I don’t make it about me — I ask myself, “How can I possibly know the reason why they have stopped commenting? And why would I like to invent the worst scenario?” ๐Ÿ™‚ I like to visit people who comment on my blog for the first time because I appreciate seeing new faces; it doesn’t always happen right away, but I make the effort.

    Having said that, there are some blogs that for some reason I’m able to make it to almost every post. It’s nothing personal to bloggers who I may not get around to regularly. It just happens that the topics interest me and I have something to say. Sometimes I read but I don’t comment because I have nothing to add.

    I think, as you’ve done, and as time passes you have to change as things change for you. Your intent was to visit everyone back then and your intent is still there… just not the time. When someone hasn’t commented for a while on my blog it makes me smile to see them there when they do pop back round.
    Check out Davina’s awesome post.The Fishing TripMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Davina,

      You’ve raised a good point. We do start feeling guilty, don’t we? When in reality we shouldn’t, but I think it’s because our personal ethics come into play and we start thinking “it’s the right thing to do.”

      I know what you’re saying about commenting more on some blogs than others. For me, if I need to really think about what was written, I may read and go back, whereas on other blogs, comments come easier if I’m not having to think deep thoughts.

  17. Kelvin KaoNo Gravatar says:

    I have a different policy. For those that comment on my blog, I don’t necessarily go comment on their blog. Instead I subscribe to them, so I can scan their posts. If I find something I can relate to, then I might comment. The frequency that they comment on my blog does influence how I comment on theirs, but it’s not a direct relation.
    Check out Kelvin Kao’s awesome post.New Business CardsMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Kelvin,

      I know what you’re saying about the frequency at which someone comments on our blogs. In some ways it’s like “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”. ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. I try to. When time is short, I promote posts that I like on social media. I stopped answering every comment on my own blog, which freed up significant time. It’s always a struggle though!
    Check out vered | Blogger for Hire’s awesome post.Social Media for Customer ServiceMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Vered,

      That’s a good idea. If we don’t have time to comment, promote the post so others can enjoy it too. Your comment makes me wonder if I should do a poll – “would you rather receive a comment or have your post Stumbled/Tweeted, or…?”

  19. J.D. MeierNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t think of it as reciprocity — just interaction, and I try to help or lift up, where I can.

    Time is a big factor for me. I have a strict limit for blogging or commenting, since I prioritize my day job.
    Check out J.D. Meier’s awesome post.Day 29 โ€“ Find Your Arena for Your Best ResultsMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi J.D.,

      That’s what it comes down to, doesn’t it? Prioritizing and helping or lifting others up. It’s the perfect balance.

  20. Hi Barbara,

    Bravo for being honest, real and open! You are not a hypocrite…you are a human being and that is cool. So no worries!

    With my first blog, I did reciprocate comments but then I realized that my heart was not in it sometimes and that bothered me. It then occurred to me that the best thing to do was to leave comments when I feel like I genuinely have something to say. So I read everyone’s posts but I may not always comment on it.

    Now that I am back to blogging, I am following the same rule. I just leave a comment when I genuinely feel that I have something to say.
    Check out Nadia Ballas-Ruta – Happy Lotus Lifestyles’s awesome post.William Shakespeare &amp The First Step to Becoming ExtraordinaryMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Nadia,

      That’s a good rule to follow. When a post inspires us to leave a comment, chances are what we say will also add value to what the blog author has written. I see that as a win-win and we’re also more likely to attract more readers to our blog because of what we’ve shared.

  21. John HoffNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara.

    No worries because as I’m sure you have noticed, I haven’t been commenting as much either for all the exact same reasons you just mentioned.

    I do like visiting my neighbor blogs (those in my circle I follow), but it’s just impossible to keep up.

    As a result, I’ve been using Twitter to track my friend’s tweets and interact there.

    And we definitely know how to find each other. Even though we’ve never met, somehow you feel like a second mom to me ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Son, I mean John, ๐Ÿ™‚

      For some reason your comment ended up in spam. I don’t know why, but at least I didn’t lose it.

      That’s a good point. If we can’t visit other blogs, we can keep up with our fellow bloggers or their latest news on Twitter or Facebook. In fact, you’ll enjoy my next post as it address that exact issue.

  22. It sounds like you try. We can only do so much with our limited time and many obligations.

    I comment back to everyone who comments on my blog. But it’s taking longer and longer. Today, I’m going through and commenting back to all the people who commented on the Platform Contest post because I appreciated the participation. But there’s over 50 comments, not including mine back, so it’s taking a loooong time.
    Check out Theresa Milstein’s awesome post.Weekend and WinnerMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Theresa,

      Yes. I do try. ๐Ÿ™‚

      That’s a good point. As our blogs grow, it does take more time to reciprocate comments. At some point in time we must weigh our priorities and make a decision where our time is best spent.

  23. Mandy JuneNo Gravatar says:

    I know exactly how you feel. Time is not on our side. After reading this post, the most important thing I realized, however, is that you recognize your issue. Most people would just move along with their lives but you realized that as your blog began to grow, you began to forget about doing the things that you used to. That’s where the learning comes in. Thanks for this post and for being able to admit that sometimes we fall short of what we used to be able to do. It’s never too late though! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Mandy,

      I fished your comment out of my spam folder too, so I hope you didn’t think I was ignoring you.

      You’re right. It’s never too late to learn from our mistakes, and admitting we’re not perfect is part of the process. For me it’s been an eye opener to reassess how I spend my time.

  24. LindaNo Gravatar says:

    I am on your hypocrite team as well. I see you all over the net and certainly appreciate you dropping by and leaving your kind words of encouragement! LOL! If there was 27 hours in a day, we would figure out a way to use them as well. So hang in there! ๐Ÿ˜€
    Check out Linda’s awesome post.DIY Underground GreenhouseMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Linda,

      Isn’t that the truth? It really doesn’t matter how much time we have; we find a way to fill it. And I don’t know about you, but I find the older I get, the more I want to accomplish.

  25. PatriciaNo Gravatar says:

    I do not think you are a hypocrite. Rather I think that you are figuring out how best to use your time and energy.

    I need to get my numbers up and subscribers up because many of the good return affiliates will not let one sign up without 300 subscribers…So I am commenting on tons of blogs, plus responding to all who write on my posts.

    It is a huge effort and only possible between job hunting…and hoping to get the blog to at least pay for itself. (Then of course the doubts that I have anything worthwhile or of interest to others – value? or is it just something I am doing for myself?)

    I do not know what the answer is….I do think lots of folks are just working off Facebook…in commenting…That is not increasing my numbers

    My National Church would like me to blog for them – for free…and at a specific time everyday…huh?
    I think one has to be flexible and always make changes that work for them…

    I also think it is an area where the little guy gets discredited as in the whole of society….it is not so equal as it once was…blogging is changing..

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Patricia,

      Yes. We do need to figure out how to best use our time and what our ROI (return on investment) is.

      I don’t know if you’ve tried it, but you might think of submitting your blog to a variety of directories. Seems like I read somewhere where you can automate that so it doesn’t have to be done manually (one by one). If I find where I read that, I’ll post another comment so everyone who is interested can try it. If fact, I might, too. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Re: The free blogging for your church? If you did, would you be able to link to your blog? You know, have a link to your blog in your signature? That could also drive traffic to you. Just thinking…even though I realize to do so would be another commitment of time on your part.

  26. I have not reached a following or readership level that I can’t follow this rule. Yet! Maybe that is the mark of blogging success, when you reach that point when you don’t have the time to read all the blogs of your commenters. I don’t think your a hypocrite, I think you are successful. Congratulations!
    Check out Terry Tiessen’s awesome post.Internet Marketing For Network Marketers Stop Struggling In MLMMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you for your kind words Terry,

      From reading the comments and seeing what happens the longer a blogger blogs, it does appear this scenario comes into play. Obviously I like how you said it may be a sign of blog success. ๐Ÿ™‚ And maybe it’s also a nudge, it’s time to reevaluate how we spend our time.

  27. Miss BeckyNo Gravatar says:

    First off, thank you Barbara for visiting my blog and saying hello. It was unexpected and a nice surprise for me. I actually had to follow you home here to figure out who you were and then I thought it was so very kind of you to actually take the time to visit. I don’t expect anyone to comment on my blog and when they do it is almost a shock for me. I guess I’m not after readership, but it is more for myself, a record of my journey, and if others find me and want to say something, that’s great. Blog etiquette has always confused me. When someone leaves a comment I do follow them home and leave a hello for them.
    I don’t want people to feel they have to reciprocate, I would rather they leave a comment only when they are genuinely moved by something and if that happens occasionally, well that means it is authentic and I really like that. I am guilty of lurking on blogs because I feel that if I comment, then they might feel obligated to return a comment, or that I expect them to, and it becomes a cycle. And then I question the meaning of it all. (I don’t want to comment just to build readership.)
    So…I guess there is no simple answer, but I don’t believe you are a hypocrite Barbara! Not in any way. You are kind.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Miss Becky,

      I enjoyed visiting your blog and your story about “Hero”.

      I hear you. Leaving comments shouldn’t be all about getting visits and/or reciprocal comments, however, commenting IS a great way to grow a community on blogs. But like you said, it also should be genuine. And I think most bloggers have a sense when it is, and when someone is just commenting to *hopefully* receive a comment, or gain another subscriber to their blog.

      Thank you for your kind words Miss Becky. They mean a lot to me.

  28. Debbie YostNo Gravatar says:

    In order to call you a hypocrite, I’d have to then go to the cliche of “calling the kettle black.” It’s easy in the beginning to comment on everyone’s blog who comments on yours. Blogging is fun and new and exciting. Not that it’s not still fun and exciting at times, but it’s also time consuming. I remember when I started blogging I didn’t even know what a Reader was. Then I got one and I heard how some people had over 80 blogs (or even more!) I had maybe 10. But I got there sooner than I realized and started guiltily “marking all as read”. Eventually I unsubcribed to many of the blogs.

    Now I don’t visit my reader every day. Sometimes I don’t visit it all week. It’s not the first thing I do when I get up in the morning. It’s not the be all and end all of my days. Life has come back into focus and blogs are now a hobby I do when I have time. Even my blog gets neglected from time to time. But, when it’s been a while, I like to come back and visit and catch up with old friends and comment when I have the time if only to say “hi, I’m still lurking in the shadows”.
    Check out Debbie Yost’s awesome post.Before and AfterMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Debbie,

      That’s true, isn’t it? In the beginning it’s easy when we’re just starting to add blogs to our reader, but then the longer we blog, the more great blogs we find and then we try to convince ourselves we can keep up with them all. What are we thinking?

      I’m happy to hear you’ve found blogging balance. I know for awhile you struggled with that and even though you talked of quitting, I was hoping you wouldn’t since I know how much you enjoy writing.

      I also like how we can connect on Facebook.

  29. Hi Barbara,

    I enjoy visiting other blogs and am fortunate that I can spend a bit of time surfing around and leaving comments where I can. Because my blog is small (for now!), I reply to every comment there because I love to hear what people say and want to encourage that.

    Excellent point made upthread about the big name bloggers – hadn’t looked at it that way but it’s true.

    (And I see you all around the blogosphere so, like others have mentioned, you definitely do your part.)
    Check out Lisa@practicallyintuitive’s awesome post.Manifesting in 3D Whatโ€™s thatMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Linda,

      You’re fortunate in that you have the spare time to surf and comment. Like you, I also enjoy what others have to say not just in their posts, but in the comment sections of blogs too. It’s like an ongoing education. Don’t you love it?

  30. Hi Barbara,
    Just the fact that you are addressing this subject publicly –shows me you are walking your talk.

    Let’s be honest everyone wants people to respond and interact, that’s the name of the game. I have come across others who are to big to respond, and I in turn stop reading their work.

    Barbara, as far I am concern you are the real deal.

    Check out linda c. thomas’s awesome post.The Frequencies of RaceMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you for your kind words Linda,

      You’re right. We all want responses and interaction, but some won’t have the same amount of time as we might, and some need to concentrate their efforts elsewhere.

      BTW: Your blog is looking fabulous. I see you’re offering an online class this Fall, as well. And…how’s the book coming along? I’m dying to know.

  31. Alien GhostNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    Should I leave a comment so to give you more work answering it? ๐Ÿ™‚

    I can remember reading one of your posts where you mentioned that commenting will grow eventually and a decision will have to be made about answering all comments received or finding another way, and deciding if visiting every other blogger that stops by our own.

    Although my blog is not the โ€œmust readโ€ one in the block, I am starting to struggle with time to answer the comments and visit my fellow bloggers. It is a complicated matter to find a compromise between being nice, supportive and showing gratefulness to our visitors and using our time with efficiency.

    So far no solution found in my case but still thinking how to have a good compromise ๐Ÿ™‚

    Check out Alien Ghost’s awesome post.Ghosts and ThoughtsMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re funny Raul,

      However, what you said happens; if a blog is showing TOO many comments, some bloggers will click off and move on. I don’t know if they worry their comment will be more work for the blog author, or that their comment will get lost amongst the others.

      I agree. When our blogging time begins to increase, we do have to step back and reassess how we’re spending our time. For some it means less interaction (on their blog and others), whereas others steal time from their real life. It’s a hard decision, isn’t it?

  32. Hey Barbara,
    I am not replying on each comments of my blogs because some of the comments are not worthy and there is no need to reply. But On seeing your blog i am amazed how you managed this? You are doing great and i think this is one of the best way to increase followers.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Cabin Rentals.

      That’s a good point. On some blogs, some of the comments do not need a response. I think answering comments is great for building community even more so than gaining followers.

  33. LindaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,
    I do try to get around to all the people on my reading list. I don’t always comment. Like I’ve said before, I comment if I have something to say, or a contribution to make. I respond to all the comments on my blog as soon as I can get to it, usually within a day or so, and I try to visit everyone who leaves a comment. That may take a few days for me to get to. I think when you are getting started blogging, it is most important to comment and respond to comments, especially if you are interested in building a readership. I believe I learned that here.

    However, with trying to read, visit, comment and write my own blog, as well as live my very real life, time does get thin sometimes. It’s all about balance, and I guess we shouldn’t feel guilty when we can’t get around to everyone as often as we would like.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Linda,

      I agree. If we want to build online relationships, staying in contact with others is important; same as in the real world. That said, we also need to remember it’s in the real world we have our life, and like you said, need to not feel guilty if our online connections aren’t as frequent as we’d like.

  34. Oh, gosh, I completely understand what you are saying. I spend so much time reading blogs every day and still I just can’t keep up. I get panicky about it sometimes. But I know I have to take a deep breath and let it go, and like you, mark all as read.

    you actually comment back more than most well known bloggers.
    Check out CoffeeJitters (Judy Haley)’s awesome post.Stupid CancerMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Judy,

      It’s frustrating, isn’t it? I don’t know why we let it bother us, but like I said in an earlier comment, it just seems like the right thing to do.

      I did find marking all as read in my reader was a great help. I felt like I got a fresh start and even though the posts would pile up again, the short break did me good.

  35. keywordNo Gravatar says:

    Yeah right, when you want others to visit and comment in your blog , you should do same thing with their blog. You’re blog is really doing great, you got lots of followers . Keep it up

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Keyword,

      I hear you. We should try to reciprocate comments, especially if we’re trying to develop online friendships and a community of like minded people.

  36. Mandy AllenNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara, I’m with Susan, I always respond to comments left, often visit to see what the commenter is up to on their blog, and I try to comment as often as possible. I just accumulated another 40 or so regular visits during the 100 blog post comments challenge in August. I simply loved what a lot of the bloggers were writing! If I don’t like the blog I don’t go there again. And I love to read what a blogger has written in response to my comment too!

    Enjoy the journey.

    Check out Mandy Allen’s awesome post.How do you relaxMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Mandy,

      I agree. When we read what the blog author writes in response to our comment, it’s like the conversation has continued past the post. Pretty neat, hey?

  37. Taxi FinanceNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,
    Fully agree with all you points mentioned here. You are really a good blogger. I love to visit you blog again and again.

  38. JodithNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t actually get many comments from other bloggers. Mine is a small, rather circumscribed niche. There’s only a handful of us who blog about administrative support work, and while we occasionally comment on each others blogs, none of us do it consistently.

    When I first started blogging, I did like you. I followed a huge number of blogs and commented frequently. But soon, my blog reader became overwhelming. Eventually, I just had to unfollow some of the blogs so I could keep up with the ones that mainly interested me. I still have almost 300 blogs in my reader, but that is way down from where it was, and the numbers are creeping up again. I’m going to have to pare it down again to only those blogs I actually read and get value from.

    I don’t expect anyone to follow my blog just because I follow theirs. I know my niche doesn’t interest most other bloggers. And that’s okay. It’s okay not to find every blogger who visits your site interesting, because the truth is, most of us just aren’t that interesting outside of our niche *laughs*.
    Check out Jodith’s awesome post.Ask the Admin- My Boss Is Having An AffairMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jodith,

      You’ve raised a good point. Some blogs won’t appeal to the masses. Some niches are specialized, some are targeted to either men or women, or…, thus their readership will reflect that. Like you said, as long as we know that, we also know what to expect in the way of comments.

  39. CharlesNo Gravatar says:

    It seems like most people don’t even respond to comments, so commenting on commentor’s blogs is really going the extra mile. I think you should try to respond to everyone as long as you possibly can, and then when you get overwhelmed, to just do your best and trust that people will understand.
    Check out Charles’s awesome post.Should Tasers Be Used By Police The Controversy Over Police TasersMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Charles,

      That’s true. On some blogs, the author does not answer comments, let alone visit the blogs of their commenters, but by going that extra mile, I think it helps to build community and shows others we care.

      Yes. When it gets to the point where we’re so overwhelmed and can’t answer our comments, I’m with you, most people will probably understand.