comments 2

I don’t know of a blogger who doesn’t love getting comments.

Comments can give us validation, be the start of a cyber friendship, make us laugh, make us cry, build up our ego and/or give us warm fuzzies.

One comment can be the reason a blogger keeps going when they thought all was for naught,

It’s through comments we build community on our blog and by meeting others, help them to build community on their blog, as well.

When Chase March of Silent Cacophony commented on the I Don’t Get It post, his words echo those of many. In part, he said:

…They might not even realize that comments are something that bloggers actually live for.

So that’s my biggest challenge – getting comments.

Today’s Lesson

Unfortunately, there can also be a downside to comments.

In a reply to the Blog Yourself To A Smaller World post, Kathy of Junk Drawer wrote (in part):

…now I have over 40 comments. Do I reply to them all? It’ll take me an hour! I wish I knew how other people got away with not replying to any of their commenters. It seems rude to me not to….

Many of you may be saying, “I wish I had her problem.”

But with receiving comments comes responsibility, and as Kathy implied, questions.

  1. Do we answer each comment individually?
  2. Or would a reply to the group be sufficient?
  3. Do we only answer a comment if they’ve asked a question?
  4. And if we do that, will some of those who commented feel slighted if their specific comment isn’t addressed?
  5. Would it be best not to answer any and not show favoritism?
  6. At what point do we stop answering all comments? 50? 100? 200?
  7. And lastly, might it be best to close comments?

The question of how to deal with dozens of comments is a concern for some, but a dream for others.

On that note, let’s play a game of “What If”.

Today’s Assignment

What if you began receiving 50 or more well thought out comments on each post you wrote?

What would you do?

Or, if 50+ comments is commonplace on your blog, how to you handle them?

signature for blog post.

Related Posts with Thumbnails
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
Look Who's Talking
  1. Wow, are we on the same wave length! I just wrote a post yesterday for my blog entitled 8 Ways To Get More Comments On Your Blog Posts”. It’s linked to another article I had posted on the Blogging Tips website about building a strong community around your blog. So important.

    I commend you for responding personally to your commenters. It is a great way to connect with your readers and let them know just how much you value their input.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Joella,

      You’re right. I do value the input I get from my readers. They are why I continue to do what I do, and I feel I have the best community in blogosphere. 🙂

      I was just looking at your post and your ideas to get more comments are fabulous. I especially like the last one – ask your readers to comment. Like you said it’s so obvious, but we sometimes forget to do so.

  2. If I’d get 50 comments per post, then I would be doing something great about blogging. Would it be worthy to spend 1 hour to answer those? Perhaps. If that blog is earning me an income, or promoting a cause I’m passionate about, it could be. You have to balance your life.

    But does everybody expect a reply? Does every comment need a reply? I don’t think so. Those: “Great article” comments only need a collective reply.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Miguel,

      That’s a good point. If a blog post gets a lot comments they say “great post” or something similar, there’s not much the blog author can say, other than “thank you”.

  3. I don’t think every comment needs or expects a reply.

    What I do is read every comment and then reply as necessary. Obviously if someone asks a question, then you should answer it.

    I do think you need to reply to some of the comments. If you don’t, then the readers may feel that their comments are not valuable. Even if don’t respond to all of them, when readers see that you have responded to some, then at least they know your are seeing and acknowledging the comments left.
    .-= Check out Heather Villa´s awesome post: When Things Heat Up =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Heather,

      You’re right. Even when a blog author isn’t answering the comments, it’s nice to see them in the comment section acknowledging those who took the time to reply.

  4. Chase MarchNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    Thanks for expanding on my comment for a brand new post. I think this is a good issue to tackle.

    I like to answer each comment personally. Of course, this is easy to do when I get little in the way of comments.

    I think if I started getting 50 or more comments every day, I would still want to answer each one personally. However, I might not have the time to do so every day.

    One solution would be to group comments together that had a common theme so you could type one comment but address it to three people. I think that would still be a respectful way to address each commenter.
    .-= Check out Chase March´s awesome post: Scary New Territory =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Chase,

      That’s a good point – addressing a group of commenters with one comment if their replies are similar. That way they know you read what they wrote and won’t feel neglected.

  5. 50+ comment is really something every budding blogger desire for. However, I don’t think each comment need reply. I reply only those comment which put some value on conversation.
    .-= Check out Arafat Hossain Piyada´s awesome post: Track Your Competitors Right From Your WordPress Dashboard =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Arafat,

      That’s another way to reduce the amount of comments we reply to – answer only those comments that add value,

  6. Comments are definitely a double edged sword, but necessary if the purpose is to communicate with others. While there are a sea of decisions to make, I suggest that most bloggers develop a comments policy. Such a policy will set expectations for both the blogger and commenter alike.

    Granted, the blog is operated by the blogger, so s/he can run it any way they see fit. However, it’s helpful for all to “set the rules” and then abide by them.
    .-= Check out Kelli: Electro Mechanical Integration´s awesome post: Main Page =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Kelli,

      That’s an excellent idea. If we have a comment policy and even just post part of it above or below the comments, those who do comment would know what to expect.

      Although I have a comment policy, it addresses “keeping things clean” vs if I will answer comments or not. I’ll have to revisit that. Thank you.

  7. JeanneNo Gravatar says:

    Thought-provoking questions! When I started blogging (just a few months ago), I posted every day, and started building “favorite blogs” to visit frequently, started commenting on those blogs, started receiving visits and comments on my blog, and things seemed to be going swimmingly, and I was really “hooked” as I began to feel blogging relationships develop. I had the time and I was energized by the whole experience — and I so enjoy learning from my favorite bloggers!

    Then my 6-month “road trip” began. My schedule changed to a non-schedule. Exploring the southwest became my main activity. Posting daily was a thing of the past. Even reading blogs (and commenting) took a back seat to my new activities. And comments on my blog dropped drastically.

    It appears that I received comments mostly as a result of my comments on other blogs — so apparently I haven’t “earned” a place as a blogger to visit. That’s OK, my good old ego learned long ago to not sweat it, but it is a curious reality. If I had 50 comments I’d certainly do the HAPPY DANCE and embrace every single one with a stunning reply 🙂 —- but I don’t think this will happen until I return to my normal life and re-build a blogging schedule, come mid-March! Meantime . . . I’m a blogger on the back burner, looking forward to having something to say, LOL!
    .-= Check out Jeanne´s awesome post: Is the Best Still Yet to Come? =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jeanne,

      Unfortunately, that does happen. If we don’t have our names and faces in front of other bloggers, it’s not that we’re forgotten about, but we may not get the visits and/or comments we would if we were consistently visiting other blogs.

      I’m happy to hear you’re not letting that bother you. Instead, enjoy that trip of yours and make memories every step of the way. 🙂 The blog will wait.

  8. Mike GoadNo Gravatar says:

    Unfortunately, I have a hard enough time answering the few comments that I get. I don’t know what I would do if I got more than 50.
    .-= Check out Mike Goad´s awesome post: Climategate update =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Mike,

      I appreciate your honesty. Many of us don’t know what we would do if the dream of dozens of comments happened. Watch for part 2 of this post as I’ll be discussing this topic even further.

  9. Junk Drawer Kathy here. So. Wanna know what happened when I tried responding in batch to a lot of comments? A reader emailed me and said “What’s up? You’re giving us all a blanket response now?”

    And therein lies my problem. I feel like if I don’t reply to everyone, somebody somewhere is going to call me on it. For me, it’s become an all or nothing proposition. I’m leaning towards replying to everyone individually, but the change I made (and I need to or I’ll go insane) is to reply to them slower than I used to. Otherwise I’m chained to my blog and everyone suffers for that.

    You mention “when do you stop answering all comments? 50? 100? 200?” That’s exactly the issue. I started out blogging by replying to all and now my readers expect it. But when you hit a large threshold, it’s extremely hard to stop midstream. It’s a very real dilemma. I have no perfect solution.

    And, yes, before anyone says I should be grateful for any comments at all, I am truly thankful to have them. It means people feel connected at my blog and I don’t want to lose that. Fine line to walk.

    OK, I’ll shut up now.
    .-= Check out Junk Drawer Kathy´s awesome post: Careful Where You Stick That =-.

    • EirienNo Gravatar says:

      “What’s up? You’re giving us all a blanket response now?”

      There are going to be rude people everywhere. Some people think every active blogger spends all of their time online; checking e-mail, replies, etc. That’s just plain silly!

      I’d feel a general response is fine so long as you’re still addressing the overall questions/comments. A public thank you and “I’ll get to the questions I couldn’t cover here, asap” at the bottom of your blog post would also work just fine.
      .-= Check out Eirien´s awesome post: Theme and Craft Updates =-.

      • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

        Hi Einen,

        That’s true. Just because we’re active in blogosphere, doesn’t mean that’s where we spend all of our time. In general I think others who blog understand the challenges we’re faced with, but those who don’t, may not.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Kathy,

      You’ve raised another good point. When we set a precedent, it’s hard to make a change. I like Kelli’s idea (see comment above) of having a comment policy. If you were to post “something” near the comment box saying you may bulk answer, then your readers will be forewarned.

      As for a perfect solution, I don’t see one either.

      • Wilma HamNo Gravatar says:

        If you have built a relationship with your readers, could you then not address it in a post and tell them about your issue?
        If your posts are worth reading they come for the value and not for an ego stroke.
        I do think that if we come from integrity and wanting to add value, sharing that commenting back can become too much might be the way to go.
        You could even make it so that you say today I only comment on the comments of people whose name statrs with ‘B’, for example. This is all so new, we can make up any way we play the game while we test and measure.
        People pleasing is however not the way to go and get us stuck in real life as well 🙂
        .-= Check out Wilma Ham´s awesome post: Ann-Marie on Do-ing Community =-.

  10. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara. My comment load is manageable at the moment, but having said that, the bottom line for me is that I would prefer to answer every comment, as I would prefer to have my comment addressed on other blogs. When I take the time to read a post and leave a comment, I appreciate seeing a response. Since I’ve rarely had 50+ comments, perhaps my view would change? Like you say, it is a responsibility and it’s also a personal preference/choice. There is no “right way” I suppose, but that is where I stand.

    I’ve closed comments very rarely on a few short posts. I find it frustrating though, when I land on a blog and read the post and feel inspired to leave a comment (only to learn the comments are closed).

    Perhaps an alternative suggestion would be to leave the comments open so readers can share their thoughts and the blogger leave a note saying they will not be replying to comments on that specific post. Just a thought.
    .-= Check out Davina´s awesome post: It’s Midnight & I’m Still Single =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Davina,

      That’s a great idea. That way those who comment can converse amongst themselves and answer each others questions.

      That’s kind of what happens on Darren’s Problogger blog. He rarely shows up, but still gets dozens of comments.

  11. PeggyNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara!

    I’m thrilled when I get 10 comments 🙂 But seriously, if I see there’s a number of comments, I try to group them together. If three people pretty much said the same thing, I’ll respond to all three of them in one reply.

    I would love 50 comments, though…50 awesome comments that kept the conversation going!
    .-= Check out Peggy´s awesome post: Happy Thanksgiving! =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Peggy,

      That’s true. Grouping comments could save a considerable amount of time.

      And yes, comments definitely keep the conversation going.

  12. JulieNo Gravatar says:

    What a great topic, Barbara. Whether and how to reply all depends on your focus, I think.

    If you blog to write, perhaps the comments aren’t even very important except for some validation and maybe your readers understand this and don’t expect replies. If your intent is to simply connect with people, then maybe your post is just a quick way to start a series of “hi how are you’s” in the comments. If you’re primarily interested in sharing your thoughts with your audience, then quick comments and quick replies—even group replies—might be sufficient. If you’re interested in building friendships and a kind of community, then I’d think thoughtful replies to each comment would be required. I’ve seen each of these avenues used.

    As for me, I’m interested in sharing my thoughts with my audience AND building friendships and a community, so I always hope for meaty comments: the kind that show my reader was struck by something I brought up; the kind of comment that helps me get to know my reader; that stretch the topic point a little farther, giving me something else to consider. Having comments that add value and create real conversation is so enjoyable. I love the sharing that can occur there! That said, my readers have learned a few things: my posts are not on a schedule, they tend to be lengthy, and I respond to each comment. Even if I had numerous comments, knowing that the mutual sharing is so important to me (and hopefully to my readers, too), I’d think it’d take a huge number before I’d not be able to find the time to reply to them.
    .-= Check out Julie´s awesome post: A Different Thanksgiving =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Julie,

      I like how you put that. It really does come down to what we’re focusing on when we blog. Some bloggers may not care as much about comments, whereas others thoroughly enjoy the conversation (me, included).

      When it does come down to enjoying the conversation, being involved in our comments section plays a huge part. And when that’s what we focus on, we need to know time must be delegated to it.

  13. Lori HoeckNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    If my blog was a main income provider, and it relied on keeping the conversation vibrant, I’d answer them all. If my blog received traffic from my developing reputation as an author or expert, then I’d answer fewer and feel less obligated, especially if comments are simply argumentative. Either way, I would certainly search for comments from anyone facing difficult self defense issues.
    .-= Check out Lori Hoeck´s awesome post: The power of just not being there in self defense =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Lori,

      I hear you. In some cases, comments don’t need to be replied to (depending on the purpose of the blog, etc), but for someone who writes about life saving issues like you, you would definitely want to be aware if a reader is facing a problem and address it.

  14. If I received that many comments on each post, I’d take it as a sign that I needed to quit my job and figure out a way to make a living blogging! Though it’s very time consuming, I really do like responding to each comment individually and I think my readers really like that as well. Some have told me they like the blog because it feels like a conversation, not just a one-way post. As much as I love responding to comments, it definitely takes a TON of time, so I understand why a lot of people don’t do it (or they respond to a few at a time).
    .-= Check out Positively Present´s awesome post: which comes first: happiness or gratitude? =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Dani,

      You’re funny. And you’re right. Responding to comments can take a lot of time. But like you said, it adds conversation to our blogs and many of our readers truly enjoy that.

  15. KeithNo Gravatar says:

    Hello Barbara!

    Well, if I logoed into my blog and saw I had fifty comments waiting I would launch into song and begin break-dancing on the floor!

    After that, I would definitely respond to each individual comment. However, if that became the “norm” for my posts that would get pretty labor intensive. I would then most likely take the approach that Chase March mentioned his comment and group comments together and respond that way. 🙂
    .-= Check out Keith´s awesome post: Choose Your Path! =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Keith,

      Are you practicing the happy dance? You never know when you might need it. 🙂

      Although many bloggers don’t get 50 comments on a regular basis, it’s important for us to think about what we would do and prepare for it.

  16. PatriciaNo Gravatar says:

    I truly like how comments add to the substance of a post. I like the dialogue and the discussion part, I get relatively few comments, so I answer each one.

    My IT says some of my answers should be new posts like what you did here for Chase’s comments.

    On a borrowed computer I am having deep trouble keeping up the pace. I will be home soon. It should sort out.
    .-= Check out Patricia´s awesome post: Harvest Potluck UNICEF Fundraiser =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Patricia,

      LOL. Not only did Chase’s comment inspire this post, but also part 2 which will be published next (and maybe a part 3). Who knew?

      In the meantime, happy travels.

  17. HilaryNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara .. when you incorporated an idea of mine into one of your posts – I know it took me a long time to respond to every comment, as you also did – there are 87 comments .. so I guess 29 actual commenters: another 21 .. would have taken a very long time.

    However I’d always answer personally and not everyone will give a detailed comment, so the replies could be shorter .. but it would still take time and need a thoughtful appropriate answer.

    I’m not sure about over 50 .. I’d be checking other bloggers to see what they do … and make a conscientious decision – as I’d really like to be polite and responsible to my commenters.

    How about you? as you’re doing a fair number with each of your posts?
    Interesting idea again .. thanks for the post
    Hilary Melton-Butcher
    Positive Letters Inspirational Stories
    .-= Check out Hilary´s awesome post: Witches, Hazels and helmets … =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Hilary,

      That’s a good point. When it happens we have more comments than we know how to handle, we can learn a lot from checking what other bloggers are doing.

      As for me, on current posts my goal is to answer each one, but when the post gets to be a little older, I may miss a comment or two. It’s time consuming, but I really enjoy the conversation and everything you all contribute.

  18. HilaryNo Gravatar says:

    Happy Thanksgiving!
    .-= Check out Hilary´s awesome post: Witches, Hazels and helmets … =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Happy Thanksgiving to you and everyone who’s reading this.

      May you all have a wonderful day and hopefully a long weekend. 🙂

  19. I stopped answering individually. I used to feel it would be rude, but when you get to a point where it’s either reading to your kids before bed or answering comments, you read to your kids and hope your readers will understand.
    .-= Check out vered | blogger for hire´s awesome post: Crispy, Golden Potato Latkes =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Vered,

      I remember when you answered all of your comments and they added up to be high numbers.

      When time is of the essence, I’m sure other bloggers understand it’s more important to spend time with our children than it is to spend that time on our computers.

  20. Chris EdgarNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara — personally I really enjoy answering every comment individually because it often gives me an opportunity to let out part of my personality that may not have made it into the post — usually the more wisecracking part. Responding to each comment also helps me clarify my thinking, which is particularly useful for me because I tend to apply the ideas in my posts to my coaching and non-blog writings.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Chris,

      That’s true. When we comment we get to add more – more than what we wrote in the post. I agree, it does help to clarify our thinking.

  21. FriarNo Gravatar says:

    If I had more than 50 comments?

    Happens all the time.

    That’s why I only post something new when the existing comment thread has run it’s course. Usually, you can tell when that happens.

    Except for one exceptional blog post that wouldn’t die. The conversation got hijacked, and went on and on. It didnt’ finally peter out till after 300! 😀

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Friar,

      300+? WOW!

      I like your idea of not posting something new until the comments have run their course on your current post. That way you’re not trying to do too many things at once.

      • FriarNo Gravatar says:

        Yes, but I have to admit, 90% of those 300 comments were made by the same 4-5 people. ;-D

        It became our own mini-version of Twitter.

  22. LanceNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,
    I feel this real connection with my readers. And as such, I really do like to reply to comments. There will be the occasional post which works for me to do an overall reply to everyone. For the most part, though, I do try to reply individually, no matter how many comments I get. It feels personal, and I have developed many wonderful friendships that started because of this. What I do find is that it means I write fewer posts. I’m okay with that, though. It’s come down to what really matters to me – and that is the feeling and sense of community. On the other hand, I do understand when someone doesn’t reply to a comment that I have left, too. There are a lot of factors, in life, that can make doing this unrealistic. Will it change for me someday? Perhaps…although I have no plans at this point to do that.
    .-= Check out Lance´s awesome post: Exposed =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Lance,

      I know from previous comments here you also treasure your comments. And like you said, answering each one does keep things personal and friendships can develop.

      I agree. How comments are handled does come down to what works for each individual blogger.

    • Wilma HamNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Lance.

      I too would do fewer posts and reply to the comments as that is where my focus is also. As in my eyes I do see your blog as a community blog, your idea of less posting and instead communicating with the readers is very congruent.
      .-= Check out Wilma Ham´s awesome post: Ann-Marie on Do-ing Community =-.

  23. Cath LawsonNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barb – I’ve had 50 plus comments before and it takes an age to answer them by the time you think what each person has said, then chosen a response.

    In the old days, I used to read all the comments, go and think about them then come back and reply to them all. But it took ages.

    Now, I try to say thank you, with names (but in batches) to comments that just require a thanks. And I reply individually to the ones that ask questions, or require a more detailed response.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Catherine,

      You’ve raised a good point. If we first read the comments and then go back and reread them again before we answer them, that adds MORE time to the process. Just like you did, I still do that so I can think about what was said.

  24. Alien GhostNo Gravatar says:

    If I received 50 comments I would feel obligated to answer each one of them as a way to demostrate the commenters that they are welcome and their comments appreciated. It’ll take a lot of time but I guess that would be a good test on how am I managing my time and to find ways to improve.

    Maybe the first step is to become a good blogger, and then become an efficient “responder”. At the beginning creating one post can take a long time, then it’l take less and less with practice and efficiency, so I believe it is the same with answering comments.

    And if is hundreds of comments? I guess it’ll be time to outsource the answers like probably some pros do.

    Raul
    .-= Check out Alien Ghost´s awesome post: The End Once Again =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Alien Ghost,

      I’m thinking about the part where you said we may become more efficient “responders”. I can see how that could happen as we receive more comments and then, like you said it would be a good test of how we manage our time.

      Re: Outsourcing. Seems I read on Problogger how he has someone monitoring and approving comments.

  25. Hi Barbara, It was obvious when I first came to your blog last year, and now again when my role with Wausau Whitewater slows down enough to come back to visit, that you have built an amazing community here. My sporadic blogging from starting and then almost totally stopping makes it harder to create that level of community.

    I’ve also heard several major bloggers complain that with Facebook and other blog distribution methods, the conversation moves off the blog and onto Facebook, etc. They are seeking comments to continue to build that community.

    I think that when you build a large community through being authentic, providing interesting content, and by being someone people identify with, you will get more comments. There does come a point, however, when 24 hours in day are not enough. I find e-mail management difficult recently. I would guess there has to be a point when you can’t respond to every comment.
    .-= Check out Julie Walraven´s awesome post: Postcards from the Road (a reminder) =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Julie,

      Thank you for your kind words. And you’re right, I do have an amazing community of wonderful bloggers here. They’re the BEST!

      I’ve heard that too where microblogging is replacing blogging. Whether that’s true or not, I don’t know, but some bloggers may be trying to go that route. Either way, it does come down to comments and “followers”. Whether one is better than the other is anyone’s guess.

  26. CarlaNo Gravatar says:

    I never thought about too many comments as a “problem” since most of my posts never get more than a few comments (other than posts about blogging, giveaways and current affairs). I guess if that happened to me, I would have to prioritize where I would spend most of my time. My time is already split between my blog and website (especially during the holiday season) so I would have cut answering individual comments short. I would answer any questions or inflammatory comments individually and post a general response to everyone else.
    .-= Check out Carla´s awesome post: Goodbye 2009 =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Carla,

      That’s true. If that were to happen, priorities would probably change. It’s a matter of determining where our time is best spent.

  27. Great questions, Barbara. Like many who have replied, I don’t get anywhere near 50 comments. I’m very pleased if I get ten. So it’s easy to respond to each one, but even that takes some time because I want to be thoughtful and speak from my heart. If I ever feel overwhelmed by comments I hope I would look at my priorities, and I really like what vered said – if she had to choose between replying or reading to her kids, then the kids win hands down. So for me it’s a question of values: if time spent replying meant less time on things that support my values, such as my husband, or walking, reading, writing, working, creating, sleeping, gardening, etc., well, the choice is clear. And then the true challenge for me would be to stay focused on living a value driven life, rather than letting myself get pulled into “shoulds” and rules about what’s expected with blogging. Because that is a danger for me, wondering if I’m doing it “right.” Which, by the way, is why I like your blog so much, because you create a space for people to explore what’s right for them as unique individuals. So thanks for that!
    .-= Check out Patty – Why Not Start Now?´s awesome post: The House of Belonging =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Patty, and thank you for your kind words,

      I like how you put that. We shouldn’t be made to feel guilty by “shoulds” in blogging. Let’s face it, we deal with enough of that in life. And you’re right. It’s our values and our quality of life that needs to come first.

      And yes. We’re all unique and finding what works for us as individuals is key.

  28. George AngusNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara,

    Comments = lifeblood for bloggers. YOU respond to every one and as of late you’ve had some hefty comment counts.

    Here’s my take:

    I’ll respond to all until I get to 50 or so (which has happened like, once) then I’ll group thank folks for coming by and commenting.

    George
    .-= Check out George Angus´s awesome post: Flash Fiction – Faded =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you George,

      I like the fact you already know what you’ll do. That’s half the battle – having a plan. 🙂

  29. Barbara, you ask the most thought provoking questions ever 🙂
    LIke many others if i actually got 50 comments per post..i would sing dance rejoice…and maybe actually have an online and offline party 😉 and scream out loud “Yipeee..!!”
    But, that said, life does get in the way many a times when you want to respond to comments.
    Recently my blog has been blessed with a good amount of readers on a few posts, so I am actually squirming in time to respond to each and every comment. But i so love it. I love the feeling of being heard and validated.
    I might respond late to my comments…it might take me long to get to them…but i do get to each and every one of them. Very very rarely has it happened..that i havent responded…for which i still feel guilty.
    I feel like if people are coming over and sharing their thoughts with me…the least i can do is hear them and validate them as they have validated mine.
    Also I have made some awesome friends….which i wouldnt trade for anything else.
    BUt yes when my comments reach 50+ i might have to devise a plan…but i will still try my level best to reply to each of them. I do so love my comments and their writers 🙂
    .-= Check out Zeenat{Positive Provocations}´s awesome post: 26/11-Prayer for Peace and Love =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Zeenat,

      I love your enthusiasm. 🙂

      You brought up a good point and that is how life can get in the way when we have numerous comments to answer. Hence, like you said, sometimes it takes us a little longer to get all of our replies published.

  30. Barbara,
    I’d probably miss a few, not intentionally but it would be hard to keep up.
    Also I may group them. I love comments, I love blogging and I love friendships and community. I’ll take my comments one at a time and deal with 50 when I get there.
    .-= Check out Tess The Bold Life´s awesome post: Interview Original Faith Author Paul Maurice Martin =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Tess,

      That’s true. Sometimes a comment can be missed unintentionally. And the more we get, the higher the chance that can happen. Hopefully those commenters would understand and not take it personally.

  31. jan geronimoNo Gravatar says:

    I respond to comments as much as I can. It gives me a second chance to reinforce the value of the post and show appreciation to readers whose comments enriched the discussion. Replying to comments helps break down the divide between writer and readers, makes them more likely to return for another visit. They even check out if their comments have been replied to. I know because I do that, too. LOL.

    I’m thinking hard myself what to do when replying to every comment takes a lot of precious time. It’s when your readers start talking among themselves, helping each other out – that can be good sign you may start to back off a little.
    .-= Check out jan geronimo´s awesome post: Anatomy of My FarmVille Addiction =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jan,

      That’s true. When those who comment on our blogs are also conversing amongst themselves, the blog author can step back and just let the conversations happen.

  32. Hi Barbara,

    You always ask such awesome questions. In my mind, an essential part of blogging are the people who take the time to read our posts and if someone feels compelled to leave a comment, then I feel that I should reply to them. Without readers there would be no blog. That is why I always take the time to answer each comment individually.

    If I ever got to the point of having over 50 comments, I would like to think that I would still respond to each one. Yes, responding does take a lot of time but our readers are what make our blog run to some extent. It is like musicians. They need their fans…same thing with blogs. You need readers and the readers need to be respected.

    Have a very Happy Thanksgiving!
    .-= Check out Nadia – Happy Lotus´s awesome post: Voting with Your Wallet – Food, Inc. Rocks! =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Nadia,

      Very well put. Our readers are like “fans” who need to be recognized, respected and thanked. Replying to comments is one way of doing that. And, it is often our readers (and commenters) who keep us motivated and help to keep our blog alive.

      P.S. Thank you for the Thanksgiving wishes, I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving, too.

  33. janiceNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,
    A month ago I would have said “I’d answer every comment and consider each one a blessing. I’d rather post less than give up the dialogue that happens in the comments boxes.” But then I discovered how to analyse the number of folk who subscribe to comments and it broke my heart. A real learning experience. Then I had the thought that someday, I might be brave enough to ask people to put NNTR after their comments – no need to reply – if they have no intention of returning to read them.

    Happy Thanksgiving, Barbara, and thank you for everything you so generously share here and in all of our blogs.
    .-= Check out janice´s awesome post: Up, Down and Grateful =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Janice,

      Subscribing to comments is one way a person can track if the blog author answers our comments or not, however, I don’t feel it’s a true gauge of if the person who commented will return to read our reply. For me, I quit subscribing to comments long ago as my in box got filled up so quickly, I couldn’t keep up. Now what I do is look for a reply the next time I visit the blog.

      That said, I do like giving our readers the option to subscribe to comments and let it be their choice.

      However, I also like your idea of letting a commenter specify if they want a reply or not.

      P.S. I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving, too.

  34. Well… I’m currently running a poll that asks, “To free up time for me to read and comment on blogs, I might start closing comments sometimes on my posts of photos only. How would you feel about that?” So, I’m dealing with time issues too.

    At this point, I would feel weird only responding to select comments. I do reply in batches (when I’m not out drinking beer.) 🙂

    But I hope for the best — if it gets to closing comments occasionally, or saying that I appreciate comments but on “this post” I am under a time constraint to respond — as Vered, I hope folks will understand. I think as long as I let readers know what’s up, I’ll be doing my best to maintain my personal balance yet respect their support.

    P.S. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!
    .-= Check out Jannie Funster´s awesome post: 10 Top Blogging Addiction Signs + Recommended Treatments =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jannie,

      I’ll be interested in hearing the results from your poll.

      It seems like by using a combination of tactics we should be able to free up some time for other blogging activities or life and yet have those who comment understand we’re not ignoring them.

      P.S. I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving, too.

  35. MitchNo Gravatar says:

    I have responded to almost every comment I’ve ever received. I think there are comments you know don’t need responses, and others that deserve them. If you’ve been talking to someone, you have to decide when it’s time to allow the other person to have the last word.

    So, it’s how one decides to judge the comments. Of course, I also make sure that stupid comments that look like spam don’t stay, and sometimes that reduces the number of overall comments as well.
    .-= Check out Mitch´s awesome post: How Do You Feel About Blog Podcasting? =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Mitch,

      That’s a good point. Some comments are obviously spam, so by not keeping those alive, we have less to deal with.

      And that’s true what you said about letting others having the last word, as well.

  36. suzenNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara!
    I love your questions! I also love reading all the comments on your blog – and I admire the way you answer each one!

    To me, if people take the time to comment on my blog, I can take the time to respond and at the very LEAST thank them for coming. I don’t care if it’s 5 or 50. If I can’t find time to do that, I would question if I wasn’t blogging too often and then set a different pace for my blogging before I would EVER ignore comments. Maybe this sounds old-fashioned but to me it is just proper etiquette.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Suzen,

      I hear you. When we start getting so many comments that we can’t keep up, looking at our posting schedule may be something we need to take a look at.

      P.S. I don’t think what you said is old fashioned at all.

  37. Wilma HamNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara

    This was really good and I loved reading the comments.
    For me the discussion on the blog via the comments is very important and part of the blog.
    It deepens the topic of the blog and adds huge value.
    As with Lance, for me it is about publishing less and putting time in the comments to create community.
    Blog writing and answering comments is equaly important as that is all part of the type of blog Ann-Marie and I are creating and the more comments we have the more we like it as every comment really adds to the discussion and deeper understanding.
    And sharing the workload helps.
    .-= Check out Wilma Ham´s awesome post: Ann-Marie on Do-ing Community =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Wilma,

      As I was reading your comment it reminded me of how there are different types of blogs and some don’t NEED comments to survive, however like you said, they certainly add value to certain types of posts.

      I like what you and Ann-Marie are doing and taking the comments from one post and discussing them further on another. That’s a fabulous idea.

  38. Karl FoxleyNo Gravatar says:

    For me it would depend on each comment. Some comments are typically ‘thank you’ type comments and can probably be grouped together in one reply. Other comments will be from people asking a question, supporting your view point or maybe even challenging what you have written, these would warrant individual attention (unless duplicate questions appear and could be grouped).

    I currently respond to every comment on my site and I do so by trying to answer all comments at the end of each day rather than answering each comment individually as they reach my comment moderation queue.

    I think it adds that personal element to a site to see the author be so involved with their community.

    Regards,

    Karl
    .-= Check out Karl Foxley´s awesome post: 13 Ways To Encourage Blog Comments =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Karl,

      That’s very true. When a blog author is involved in the comment section, it adds a personal element and tells the readers their words hold value.

      P.S. I clicked through to your blog and enjoyed your 13 ways to encourage blog comments. I especially like how you said to continue to remind your readers you enjoy their feedback (instead of just saying it on one post and not all of them).

  39. I don’t actually see Someday Syndrome ever getting that number of comments.

    I used to get more comments but now I get very few (and I never got that many to start with). At first I worried about it thinking it reflected something about my blog but then realized that yes, it does reflect something about my blog and I didn’t need to worry about it.

    Not all blogs are read with responding with a comment in mind. If you think of magazines and newspapers, very few people actually write letters to the editor but still really enjoy the articles.

    Yes it feels good to get comments but are they necessary to be successful?
    .-= Check out Alex Fayle ¡ Someday Syndrome´s awesome post: Stretching Your Mind: Your Mind as a Rubber Band =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Alex,

      I couldn’t agree more. Not all blogs need comments to be successful. If, like you said, a blog post is informational, more than likely the reader will come by, read the post and leave.

      I think too often bloggers feel they aren’t being succeeding as they don’t receive a lot (if any) comments, when in truth, their numbers could prove otherwise.

  40. Bloggers have different styles. I believe the answer to this question is clear when each blogger decides what their style is. Those of us who value community will answer all the well thought out comments just as you do here and I do in my blog.

    While some very popular bloggers rarely reply to comments or even turn them off I believe that our readers will spend far more time where they can be part of a community and active conversations and over time less attention to the famous bloggers who ignore them.

    I don’t believe we need to answer the “good post” type comment and we may even delete many of those. They don’t really call for a reply and by replying to quality comments and not weak ones our readers will recognize that to be part of the conversation requires they write better comments.
    .-= Check out Internet Strategist @GrowMap´s awesome post: MEME: Share What Makes You Feel Thankful =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Internet Strategist,

      That’s a good point. When we find the other commenters are contributing more than just “good post”, we’re more apt to do that, too. And then when they see the blog author gets involved, commenters will want to be part of that community (and the communities of the other commenters, as well)

  41. I belong to a blogging network which has a point system. The points make people comment but not with thoughtful comments about the topic in the post, usually they say something along the lines of “Great post thanks for sharing” with just enough words to get their points. Even with the points a lot of posts don’t get 50 comments but those posts featured on the “dashboard” do. On featured posts people comment “Congrats on getting featured. Great post thanks for sharing” or something similar.

    People cut and paste in the same generic comment on just enough posts to get their daily points.

    Maddening. I try NOT to comment back to the comments that are just people commenting for points and instead say “thanks for the comments” in a general way and write back to those who are discussing the topic in the post… or not talking back to the topic in the post but carrying on a real conversation.

    I had been blogging before becoming involved in that network, at first I was thrilled with any comments but soon came to believe it is better to not comment if you have nothing to say.

    I am thrilled on my WordPress stand alone blog if I get real comments from real people. I would be thrilled with 50 well thought out comments there but will not hold my breath because it is a small blog.

    If on the network where a featured post gets 100+ comments in about 12 hours sometimes if 50 comments are well thought out I would respond to them. If I was busy with something else, I would make apologies, show my appreciation in general and come back and read and respond to each and every one of the well thought out comments.
    .-= Check out MaureenMcC abe´s awesome post: Worthington 1967 =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Maureen,

      That’s a concept I’ve not heard of; commenting to get points. Is there more behind that? Do they get paid for the points? Or does it have other benefits?

      Like you, I enjoy getting real comments from other bloggers who are sharing from their heart. To me, one comment like that means a lot more than 50 “great posts”.

  42. RhysNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara!

    Thank you for raising this issue – I had never thought out a ‘policy’ for comments, just let it evolve to the habit of annswering questions asked, and replying to any ‘contra’ points raised.

    I have found real value from points raised by commentators, they often expand the subject and add interest and understanding. It is a good opportunity to enlarge on the central point too. See above discussion…..

    I see no real value in answering ‘every comment’ – only those that seem to need it.

    Regards – Rhys
    .-= Check out Rhys´s awesome post: Build More WordPress Traffic =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Rhys,

      I don’t know that a comment policy is necessary on all blogs. Like you said, we can just let the comments evolve and address those that may need our individual attention so as not to let the comments go off topic.

  43. irisofthewayfarerNo Gravatar says:

    Too bad you didn’t respond to my post the other day. Not such great customer service…

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Iris,

      I do apologize for not responding to your comment yet from April 4th.

      Thank you for the reminder.