As soon as you get your first comment, you have a comment community on your blog. That’s one of the main differences between websites and blogs – your readers become a part of your content by interacting through comments. I know that I’ve often sent a link to someone and noted, “The comments are the best part!”
Some bloggers respond to every single comment. Other bloggers respond selectively. In my opinion, your responsiveness isn’t as important as how you respond. The way you react to your comment community could make or break your blog. There’s a reason why some people get 1000 comments on every blog post, while others hear the virtual crickets when it comes to their comments section.
Now, if you’re a new blog, it takes time to build up a comment community. It depends on your niche – some blog topics simply lend themselves to more controversial topics than others, and controversy always leads to more comments. But no matter what your niche, you can build a decent comment community within a year. It’s all about reacting in the right ways.
Tap, tap, tap. Is this thing on?
Sometimes, people don’t leave comments because they have something super insightful to say. Some members of your blog’s comment community simply want to be acknowledged. They look up to you or like you, as much as a reader can grow to like a blogger that he/she doesn’t personally know. They want you to like them too.
I’ve certainly felt this way about bloggers. I want to make friends, and one of the best ways I feel like I can show my support is to leave a comment.
If you’re what I like to call a selective reactor (i.e., you don’t reply to every single comment), take notice to which readers are making an extra effort to respond to your posts regularly. Acknowledge these readers, if not by reacting to their comments, but following them on Twitter or sending them an email. A few days ago, I left a comment on one of the blogs I read regularly, and the author just sent me a brief DM thanking me for the comment. My opinion of that blogger jumped a good 1000 levels.
It only takes a few seconds of your time. If you have a huge blog community, take ten minutes a day and engage 5-10 of the people who’ve left comments on your blog. No one’s expecting miracles – just do your best to connect with your readers.
Who are you?
I’ve talked about building your blogger brand in the past, and it makes sense to keep this advice in mind when replying to comments. If your blog posts are edgy, be that same edgy personality in your comments section. If you’re blog posts are sweet, don’t suddenly become a no-nonsense witch in your comments. This is an opportunity to shine through, giving readers an addition look into who you are.
This is especially important when responding to negative comments. Some people are jerks just to be jerks. They’ll never visit your blog again, and sometimes haven’t even read the post initially. They’re just trolls – commenters who take pleasure leaving useless, rude comments to get under your skin.
Some negative comments, though, have merit. The person doesn’t agree with you, and whether or not they actually have a point, it can be difficult to not get defensive. Now, I know a few bloggers with personal brands where it makes sense to call out the other person or even get angry, but for most bloggers, snarky replies just don’t fit your overall personal brand. Give yourself some time to cool off after you read a negative comment, so that you can come up with a classy reply that fits your style.
Where’s the conversation?
When reacting to your comment community, do your best to create a conversation. I find that the best comment sections are one where people are not only replying to you, but to other commenters as well. Ask questions. Point others to read a specific comment. Just like you should formulate blog posts to entice readers to comment, you should also formulate your comment replies to encourage others to react.
Remember, a conversation isn’t about repeating what you’ve already said in the blog post. One of the most basic tips for leaving comments on someone’s blog is to say something original and add to the conversation. You should keep this in mind when you comment on your on blog as a reply to your readers.
Allison Boyer is a writer for BWE’s blog and the owner/manager of After Graduation. She likes making new bloggy friends, so leave a comment (or follow her @allison_boyer).
Image credit: sxc.hu