Monday, January 22, 2007

Why You Should Respond to Your Comments

by Paula Neal Mooney

Back when I received my very first comment on one of my blog postings, I responded...eventually...once I got the post a comment deal down pat. I had a lot fewer writing assignments back then and was green to blogging.

These days I'm so blessedly busy with writing work that I've turned off my comment moderation and let people post their comments right away. I read thru them via email as soon as I can get to them.

Sometimes I respond to my blog's comments right away and right below the other person's comments on my blog. Other times I go to their blogs and read their postings, and work my response into my comments about their work. A lot of times I do neither.

But the benefits to responding to your own blog comments are many fold. And I need to do a lot more of it to gain more of this good "Google juice" and other blessings:

  1. Comments keep your blog pages fresh. Instead of having static blog pages that rarely change, it's a good idea to go back to old blog comments that you've left hanging and respond, if anything just to alert the search engines that you've updated your blog page with new content.


  2. Responses help more people find you. I didn't realize how much responding to comments would help my search engine optimization. Google, for one, not only checks the blog page's content, but also the comment content, which aides folks typing in search terms that are in your comments section to find you.


  3. Activity begets activity. Comments beget more comments. People tend to check back places where they've left comments to see if you've responded, especially if they've asked you an open-ended question.


  4. People like to feel heard. There's something in us human beings that makes us want to feel connected. We don't want to feel like our comments have dropped into the black hole of the blogosphere. We want the satisfaction of knowing that someone is listening and responding to us -- good or bad.


  5. Comments clarify, correct or confirm your stance. Sometimes you need more room and time beyond your original blog post to make clear to readers your position, or to admit when you've gotten your facts wrong. This is especially important on those article-writing platforms that don't give writers the opportunity to go back and edit their original articles. Other times you might have to respond to readers challenging your facts by providing back up links and resources.


  6. Replies can quell the storm. You may have written about a topic so controversial that you can just smell the cuss words coming. Head them off early with a comment that will hopefully change the direction and tone of the comments flying in. This is what happened on the Associated Content version of my piece on Lil Wayne Kissing Baby (find the link to it thru my blog post about it here) when it received close to 1,000 comments -- many of them expletive-filled and hateful, many of which have been deleted. You'll noticed that AC smartly left my last comment as the final comment and closed off the section to comments after that.


  7. Know when to begin, know when to end. Don't even get me started on how much those websites that don't even have comments enabled bug me. I guess I understand some of them, but how can you have a one-way conversation? It's like talking to a TV. But there comes a point when you must stop responding to your comments received. I guess that point is when you sense that all you're doing is mindlessly engaging folks who just want to argue with you. That's the time to stop commenting and "get ta blogging" again!

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8 comments:

Mr. Biggs said...

Hi Paula...I agree with the comment philosphy of yours. Everyone wants to be connected...Great stuff!!

Ash

Paula Neal Mooney said...

Hi Mr. Biggs - Loved you in that R. Kelly video...(tee hee hee)

Anyway, to prove my theory I guess I'd better start responding to some comments here!

I realized lately I'd gotten frustrated with Blogger because when I try to add comments sometimes it get locked up or freezes or the comment page never loads and I give up in frustration.

Thank God that didn't happen today.

Much love,
Paula

Tisha! said...

Keep the faith Paula! Marvelous post and dead on!

Mr. Biggs said...

haha.....Thanks for your comments on my blog...:)

I found two more bloggers, might interest you...
www.stevepavlina.com - makes $1000/day
www.problogger.net - Good blogging tips.

Cheers,
Ash

Laura said...

Paula,

Great post (as usual). You have excellent advice here! Folks would be wise to pay attention, because it's evident you really know what you're doing with blogging. Thanks for all the comments you leave on my blog and AC articles.

Laura

Yolanda said...

I definitely agree with your philosophy although try as I might I rarely keep up with my comments like I should. I make fewer comments on blogs (especially the well trafficed ones) because sometimes it seems like people are not blogging to make connections- they are purely focused on blogging as a theraputic outlet.

While I enjoy the connecting with others I do try to focus on staying true to myself. I found when I focused on getting more traffic and comments I became overwhelmed with wanting to keep my audience entertained. I know writers know how to balance this more effectively but I still haven't gotten there.

Excellent blog you have here- I enjoyed your Daddy's girl article immensely.

Jerry said...

Spam forced me to go to comment moderation, but they definitely help tell me what people like to read about.

Catherine said...

Hey Paula,
I love reading your blogs. They always give me so much information about blogging.

Bless you,
Catherine

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