Comments: Let's Interact, Baby.

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If you follow me on Twitter, you probably already know that I’ve been thinking about comments recently and from a different perspective than I usually do (as in the “I want more!” perspective). It all started as I was leaving a comment on one of my favorite blogs. I realized that for quite some time I have commented on nearly every single post by this particular blogger and yet I had no real reason to believe they had actually been read (never mind appreciated). Not once did I receive any sort of response, be it a reply to my comment, an email, or a comment on my blog. Nothing. Nada. I have to admit that I took pause before ultimately deciding to submit the comment. I mean, the outfit rocked and the post made me smile, so why not say as much?

As the morning went on, I couldn’t stop wondering: should I allow a lack of response discourage me from commenting? So, I took to Twitter for a quick poll:



The responses ranged from understanding a blogger’s busy schedule to complete disengagement from unresponsive bloggers, but there was a definite general consensus: everyone wants a response!

Hey, we’re all busy! Most of us understand that you’re a busy blogger bee, but if I find the time to let you know what I liked about your post, I think you can take a minute to say “thank you”. Something a little more personal – an email or a comment on my blog – would be even better. Personally, I reply to almost every single comment I receive. Granted, the volume of comments here on Style by Santina is a mere fraction of those on so many other blogs, but there’s no excuse. There are plenty of bloggers out there who get the kind of volume I can only hope to one day achieve and still manage to show their gratitude. Say hello to Kristina, Vahni, or Taylor (just to name a few) – I bet she’ll say hi back!

Doesn’t it make your day to see that someone commented on your recent post? Yeah, me too. When it comes to comments from other bloggers, please check out their blogs and show some support over there with a comment. While I understand that someone liking your blog doesn’t guarantee you’ll like his or hers, but I’m confident you could find at least one post that resonates enough with you to comment. What do you have to lose? Fifteen minutes? You’ll brighten someone’s day, and who knows? Maybe you’ll even find a new blog that you really like!

You might not only discourage comments, but you might be losing readers. There was a fair share of responses from people who admitted to visiting a blog less frequently or stopping altogether because of a lack of interaction. These readers expect and look forward to a back and forth generated from comments, feeling that the resulting relationships are what blogging is all about.


It goes beyond responding to comments. While my Twitter poll focused on blog comments, it was noted that it’s not just unresponsiveness to comments that turn off readers, but ignoring Twitter mentions and direct emails could also impact readership.

So, fellow bloggers, what can we learn here?
  • Replying to comments keeps readers engaged and coming back for more. 
  • No one expects a response to every comment, but show some love every now and again.
  • Don’t ignore tweets, mentions or emails!
And, fellow commenters, make it easy to get a response!
  • Leave meaningful comments or questions to encourage an interaction. If you stop by only to say “check out my blog”, there’s nowhere to really go from there.
  • If commenting via Disqus, be sure your profile allows notifications of replies to your comments. I know that since I moved to Disqus, I reply almost exclusively through a reply to a comment; it feels more like a conversation that way but not if you don't receive the reply!
  • If commenting in Blogger, be sure you’re not a no-reply commenter. Otherwise, how can one get in touch with you? Sure, a reply could be left in another comment, but there’s no explicit link between comments (one of the main reasons why I moved to Disqus) so you’d have to scroll through all the comments to see if you were mentioned.


I was surprised at the response my little Twitter poll generated, and I’d love to hear from you here, as well. Are you a blogger? How do you reply to comments and at what frequency? Does knowing that you might be losing readers encourage you to respond to more comments? What about commenters? Do you leave a comment hoping for some level of interaction or do you just want to put your opinion out there regardless of a response?

41 comments:

Grit and Glamour said...

Amen, amen, amen! I believe very strongly in interacting with my readers/commenters on my blog, Twitter, and Facebook. It's tough to do with a full-time job, but because I've built a great network of reciprocal commenting and readership, my followers know I DO read their comments, and even if I miss a week or two commenting on their blogs, I will eventually be back. But I always, always say thank you on every post I've received a comment on. It's my policy.

I LOATHE the "superbloggers" who never, ever respond to comments on their blogs. I often wonder how they continue to generate interest. I might lurk on some of those blogs, but I'd never waste my time commenting, because social media for me is intended to be a dialogue. Last week I sent a tweet about a new blog I discovered and while she is popular, she's no Man Repeller. I have yet to see a thank you or any acknowledgment. I think that is the height of rudeness. Unless you are a bonafide celebrity with 30,000 followers, it's pretty easy to thank a bunch of people who mentioned you in one tweet. With some of these bloggers, I can't help but think, GET OVER YOURSELF! And then, there are bloggers who are totally accessible, even with mass success and endorsements. Taylor Sterling of Sterling Style is one. I don't know her well, but she is super sweet in real life, and very good about interacting with others in all her social media channels. Wendy Brandes is also fantastic at this.

Anyway, I love this post!

••V••
www.gritandglamour.com
@gritandglamour

Cynthia said...

I try to reply to comments, but I can't always go down the list and say hi to everyone every day. When there's a comment that doesn't seem to need too much of a response, I'll sometimes use the like button in Disqus to acknowledge it, but I'm not sure that that's something that people notice as a response. I'm not a good Twitter user though...I only started even using it pretty recently and I forget to check for mentions.

I really appreciate it when people use Disqus instead of using the Blogger comment system with lots of restrictions to the point where I can't even leave a comment easily.

Archives said...

first off, this is such a polite, well-thought out post! :) ive seen other bloggers write posts on this topic, and it often comes off whiney.

one of the most rewarding aspects of blogging has been the COMMUNITY. while its fine to blog and have no one read what you're putting out there, it feels pretty amazing to know that what you've got to say resonates with someone. if they take the time to say something, its worth a few minutes of your time to pop over and visit their blog or reply. i *try* to get back to everyone - especially if they're new! i agree with Grit and Glamor - i have deleted most "superblogger" from my reader....they're not invested in the community or in their readers, as ive found VERY few of them ever bother to visit or reply to a comment.

Leah said...

What a great post! I always try to respond to each and every comment I receive. I tend to comment on a few very popular blogs on a daily basis but don't expect a returned comment from those. I feel that it's important to gain readers and build an intrigued audience by validating their comments.

xo L.

Becca said...

I get it. I really do. As we've blossomed as bloggers (10 points for alliteration?) I've been frustrated by the amount of time I've had to spend commenting on other blogs. I feel like it's become an equal part of the job that requires the same commitment and time as creating content. Sure, there are blogs that I don't love, and there are days when I'm way too busy to leave comments. But when it comes down to it - it's all about gratitude. If someone complimented your outfit or asked you where you got something in real life, you wouldn't just ignore them! That's rude. And it's all about the comment Karma. I look at V, who I think is one of the best when it comes to replying to comments. Now think about how you feel about her, I personally have nothing but good feelings and a feeling of connection because of her engagement. Isn't that what we all want?

La Historiadora de Moda said...

The lovely Vahni tweeted your post so I came over to your blog to check it out.

I try very hard to visit the blogs of all those who comment on my blog posts. I know that it makes me feel appreciated when I leave a comment on someone's blog and then s/he returns the visit, so I think that's the least that I can do. For me, the community aspect of blogging is very important, and I prefer to spend most of my time in the blogosphere building dialogue.

Morgan_Lua said...

The easy answer to all of your questions is...it depends.

Personally, I've fallen off the replying to every comment band wagon. Sad, but true. Rude, but true. I put alot into each of my posts and I love the comments I get, but sometimes feel like I've already said everything I can say about a certian topic and replying to a comment I would just be repeating myself and it would come off like a half-assed I'm just replying because I feel like I have to in order to save face seem nice and keep you reading my blog kind of thing. Instead I *try* to reply in other ways. Especially to people who give me so much through their comments, so I try to interact on twitter or leave a comment on their blog, etc. To be honest though...I am busy! Just like a lot of other girls who blog, I work full time, travel on the weekends, try to incorporate my real life friends into my life, and on and on. Sometimes getting back to commenters on the blog slips away from me...but that doesn't mean I dont think about them, know who they are, and really appreciate the time they take out of their busy busy lives to leave me a little love.

So...it depends.
Thanks for shedding a little light on this topic and sharing how to make it easier to reply to people! I hate when I go to reply to people and have to dig and seach for an email address. It would be soooo much easier if everyone just set up their accounts that way.
Well done Santina. AND thanks for always being such an amazing commenter on my blog. ITS APPRECIATED SO MUCH.

p.s. See you in Portland :)

thedailyfashionista said...

I agree with you wholeheartedly. I admit that sometimes I put off commenting until I have time and wait a couple of days to respond, but I do try:) I also have my phone switched to twitter alerts, and emails so I usually know if I have a comment on my blog immediately or a tweet. I have noticed that when I recieve an email via disque it goes straight to my spam folder, depending on whole sent the comment. It's very weird, but that's yahoo.com for ya!

Trophyboutique said...

Commenting and reading other blogs is probably the most time-consuming part of blogging for me, but the single most important part, too. When I first started my blog I think I thought I could exist in a bubble where just my friends read my posts and tra la la. Once I started getting a few comments from strangers and started replying back I realized that there is a whole awesome community out there to get to know, and then suddenly I started taking blogging more seriously because I wasn't just doing it for me only anymore. It's a much more gratifying experience when you have a dialogue with other bloggers and readers.

I definitely have stopped following people who don't comment back after I do so a few times. If people ask you a question directly, I think it's rude not to answer!

Tanvi said...

I couldn't have said this better. You had made all the valid points with such depth and understanding. Blogging is all about interaction. Everyone might have different forms of building that means of interaction but as long as do it (twitter, email, comments,) ... I have learned to comment when a post really touches me ... or 'coz I want to show gratitude for the other person's time and kind words ... But I rarely leave comments for the super bloggers ... but at times when their posts touch my heart - I leave comments there too - though it is only once in a blue moon! It is all about being true to yourself and treating people the way you would want to be treated :)

from © tanvii.com

Anika said...

Hi sweetheart, I wholeheartedly agree! Thank you so much for adressing this important subject. It is all about respecting and caring about my readers for me, blogging and community are intricately linked. Off to tweet this fab post asap! <3

xAnika
http://byanika.com
@AnikaByAnika

Lily said...

I'm personally terrible at any kind of correspondence; however, I read and appreciate all comments I receive on my blog. When I do leave comments, I don't expect anything in return. Just the simple pleasure of leaving my two cents worth is enough, but that's just me.

Anyway, I wanted to thank you, Santina, for YOUR comment on my Answers Part 1 blog spot. "...time doesn't heal all wounds. In fact, sometimes I feel like it makes it worse...more time passes and you realize that you really won't ever see someone you lost again." This is exactly how I feel! Thank you for putting that into words for me.

XOXO,
Lily

Kirstin said...

Love the post, it is on such a great topic. Definitely one I feel passionate about! My readers are what keep me going, why not acknowledge them everyday? I RARELY comment on famous bloggers blog because I know I won't get a comment back. Silly isn't it?

Vanessa said...

I love responding to all my commentors, and visiting their blogs in return. It lets me know my readers. On the other side if a blog is HUGE I don't expect a comment back, but surprisingly people do. I have unfollowed some blogs lately because I feel like everything has become a one sided conversation. I mean if I have been following a blog, commenting on almost every post, and doing it for a few months a reply is not much to ask or a comment back. I am very happy that Kendieveryday replies to me often, and her blog is huge. It makes me feel a little more valued.
My Heart Blogged

Pithsala said...

You've just written exactly the thought that had been lingering around my mind lately but I never really put it into words. The points are all so clear and well explained.
For me, I believe in commenting back on their blogs if they leave me a comment. And yes, I think everybody would like others to comment on their posts if they themselves have made an effort to go and check out their blogs and leave a little note of acknowledgement or delight.
Interaction creates a better blogger's community and it helps to show appreciation to someone who has read through your blog and left a comment on it. Time consuming, yes, but it's worth all that trouble!
Great post!
:)

Santina said...

Thanks for the feedback, V! I, too, have often wondered how unresponsive bloggers continue to grow readership, not to mention sponsorship! When it comes to the business side, I'd really expect brands to reach out to individuals who show an ability to connect with and engage their audience...not just talk at them and then forget about it. I'm happy there are bloggers out there that show that you can be popular and gracious at the same time!

Santina said...

I couldn't agree more about the benefits of using Disqus, Cynthia, and I'm ashamed to say I've never actually used the like button. Might have to try it out!

I'm not sure how you access Twitter, but there are a number of tools that will automatically show your mentions. I use HootSuite, but most of the time I tweet from my phone. If you use an iPhone, there's HootSuite, Echofon, and TweetDeck...as well as so many others. Those are just the ones I've used before.

Thanks for the comment!

Santina said...

Thank you so much! I wanted it this post to be more informative than emotional, so I'm happy to hear I achieved that.

While I haven't deleted all of the "superbloggers" from my reader, I find that I'm actually enjoying their blogs less and less and favoring those written by people with whom I'm developing a relationship. It's just so much more fun!

Santina said...

I've stopped putting in the effort to comment on the huge blogs, and to be honest, I can't imagine the absence of my support has been noticed!

Santina said...

It's definitely all about karma. I think I just learned that when I realized that I'd much rather spend the time commenting on the blog of someone who is likely to acknowledge it...even more than with a simple "thank you" but actually engage in a conversation.

Santina said...

Awww, that V! I can't lie; waking up to see a comment from her totally made my day!

Santina said...

You bring up some valid points here; there are other approaches to showing gratitude than directly replying to a comment. Showing a little love on Twitter or on their blog are great alternatives when you don't have time to sit down and go through every comment. Sometimes a simply Follow Friday can really show someone that you appreciate his/her support.

I'm happy you enjoyed this post, Morgan. Thanks for your honest comment; I appreciate it. (Now start planning for Portland!)

Santina said...

I don't think anyone expects an immediate response, at least I don't. It's great to know that you're trying; what more could we ask for? :)

Santina said...

Interesting. Are you saying that you think ignoring a question is more rude than ignoring a compliment?

I, too, started out in my bubble and soon realized that there was so much more out there if I just extended myself the teeniest bit. I place a high importance on responding to comments, as well; it's right up there with quality photos and content.

Thanks for sharing your opinion!

Santina said...

You know, when I edited this post, I removed the part about treating others as you would like to be treated...I thought it might come across as a little too Disney for me, but yet it sounds so much less cheesy when you wrote it! I do agree with that sentiment, not just in blogging but also in life in general.

Happy you enjoyed this post! Thanks for sharing it on Twitter, too!

Santina said...

Thanks for sharing this post on Twitter, Anika!

Santina said...

I'd be a hypocrite if I called you silly when those very feelings prompted my Twitter poll! I definitely know where you're coming from. Thanks for being honest!

Santina said...

Vanessa, you can type all you want over here. I love me some comments! :) While I, too, don't expect a comment from the more popular bloggers, it does feel extra special when you get one, doesn't it?

Ashley said...

I know how you feel. I reply to all my comments, but it is a very time consuming task and there aren't even that many of them. It is nice when a very popular blogger does hit you back though. I've also stopped commenting on certain blogs that I still continue to read simply because I don't feel like my input is appreciated. Sometimes it doesn't take a lot. But it is really nice to be able to feel like you can form relationships with your readers. Becca and I found YOU through commenting, after all :) I have stopped responding to the comments that are: Cute! http://comereadmyblog.com because I figure if they're gonna be rude, then I don't have to be polite. I like emails back, and send them myself sometimes. Good post! I like that you've got everyone confessing their secret commenting behavior.

Nnenna said...

This is such a well-written post about a topic that I think is very important in blogging. I'm a blogger too and the reason that I switched over to Disqus is so that I could respond better to comments. Ever since I read an article that Vahni wrote about commenting in her Building a Better Blog series, I have tried to respond to every single comment on a post. Even if all I have to say is "Thank you!," that way everyone knows that I have at least read every comment. In addition to that, I try to return every comment by visiting that person's page as well and leaving a comment there. Like everyone here, I'm busy (I'm a full time student, I work part-time, as well as other activities), so it may be a couple of days to a week before I can return a comment. That doesn't mean I've forgotten, I just wait until I have the time! There are some blogs where I've left tons of comments and I've never gotten any type of response, which does bother me a little bit. However, since I really like their content, I'll keep commenting, but I will definitely respond to my loyal commenters first. And I tend not to leave comments for some of the "superbloggers" because I am not super invested in their blogs- I just scan their posts quickly. As for twitter, I only joined a couple of months ago, but I'm learning a lot about how it works and I would certainly never ignore a mention or a direct mention. I'm also starting to learn about how to use it effectively, including retweeting posts I really like- after all, that's how I found your awesome post Santina! :D

Arihant said...

True! Nothing beats the satisfaction of seeing any amount of response!

Fashnlvr said...

AMEN!! There are some blogs that I no longer bother to read or comment on as the blogger NEVER responds to her comments received nor does she bother to visit the commentors blog. I try pretty hard to at least reply to comments left for me - little words of love and validation that brighten my day SO much!!
You are spot on with this!!
www.fashnlvr.blogspot.com

kimmie said...

What a good post! I am so bad at responding to comments, so I just installed Disqus this morning to my blog. Hopefully that will encourage me to reach out to the few people who comment on my posts.

And I know what you mean! There was a blog that I really really liked, and I would comment on every single post but never got a response back (she wasn't that big, most likely getting 3-8 comments per post, so it's not like she didn't notice them). After awhile it was discouraging, and I started to think that she hated me because she never showed any reciprocation. I know that's probably not true, but I just hope I don't treat my readers the same way!

Irina said...

i can't believe that i havn't seen your blog before! It's spectacular!!! i love your style! i'm following you right away! check out my blog and if you like it follow me too!!! can't wait to hear from you!

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Eli said...

This is such a great post! Now I feel guilty for taking so long to comment back! I make sure to always leave a comment to blogs that leave me comments. And it's rather disheartening that most others wont. Im not even talking about asking Rumi from fashiontoast to leave me a comment, but other regular bloggers like me! I like how you describe this turning point - I really feel that some bloggers are alienating themselves but that is their problem I guess not mine

Santina said...

Test reply.

Becca said...

I signed up to disqus for you - now you have to be my guinea pig (you can delete this after) - can you just respond to make sure things are working right?

Santina said...

Testing: one, two, three. Testing...

Hi Becca!

colletteosuna said...

Was this post listed in the IFB links doll? Lol...I didn't see it this week, ugggh.....its awesome..and I have to say..if someone doesn't comment me back? I'm outta there.....sad but true.....its takes time to stop and leave a comment....that's the least they can do..ANNNDD..I always find something I like about the outfit, always:)
I use Disqus and when I go to the Admin screen, sometimes the readers do not have ANYWAY of getting back in touch, then what to do? Ill wait for your pointers chickie:)

Ashley said...

I know how you feel. I reply to all my comments, but it is a very time consuming task and there aren't even that many of them. It is nice when a very popular blogger does hit you back though. I've also stopped commenting on certain blogs that I still continue to read simply because I don't feel like my input is appreciated. Sometimes it doesn't take a lot. But it is really nice to be able to feel like you can form relationships with your readers. Becca and I found YOU through commenting, after all :) I have stopped responding to the comments that are: Cute! http://comereadmyblog.com because I figure if they're gonna be rude, then I don't have to be polite. I like emails back, and send them myself sometimes. Good post! I like that you've got everyone confessing their secret commenting behavior.

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