Over the 3.5 years I’ve been blogging, I’ve come up with a relatively consistent way of going about my blogging business. Even if I don’t do it all the time, I have some ideas about what are “best practices” for me in terms of when to write posts, how to write reviews, what books to accept and what books to ignore, and when to take a break from the “have to reads” and immerse myself in the “want to reads.”
This is not to say I’ve got the blogging thing figured out. Far from it, in fact. What it does mean, however, is that I have a good sense of how I operate and some ways to be at my blogging best (even if I don’t always do that…).
One area I continue to struggle with, however, is developing a “best practice” for responding to and leaving comments. I have a way of doing comments that I’ve developed, but recently it’s started to become overwhelming and I think I need a new plan.
Right now, I have a “policy” of responding to every comment on this blog: I try to write a reply to every comment I get. I also have a “policy” of trying to leave comments for bloggers who have left comments here for me. Under this model, if I get 10 comments on a post, then I effectively have to write 20 comments in response – 10 on my blog and one on each of the blogs of the 10 bloggers who left a comment for me.
In an ideal world, every night (or, every time I was prepping a blog post for the next morning), I would spend the time answering all comments on my most recent post plus any others that have been left on older posts. That way, I’d never get behind.
In practice, I end up putting off responding to comments for days at a time, then come at a huge backlog the takes hours to deal with, effectively taking away an entire evening from doing anything else. No reading, no blogging, no bumming around. Just comments. It drains me, and I think that’s a problem.
Lately, I’ve been wondering whether spending time writing replies to all the comments left on this blog is a good use of time. Instead of writing 10 replies here and only 10 comments out in the blogosphere, does it make more sense to shift the ratio to replying to fewer comments here and leaving more comments elsewhere?
Everyone loves to receive comments. That’s basically the single blogging truism I can think of. But do bloggers who leave comments like or expect to receive responses to those comments? I’m not sure.
All I really know is what I myself do when it comes to comments. After I leave a comment on another blog, I occasionally go back to read replies. If I’ve asked a specific question, I’ll often subscribe to the comments via e-mail to see if I get a response. Or, if the discussion is particularly interesting, I’ll come back to the post during the day to catch up (Teresa of Shelf Love’s recent post about Friday Reads is a perfect example of this situation). But if the comment is a simple one, I leave my sentence or two and move on. If the blogger responds, I’ll never know about it.
To me, that seems like a waste of time – not for me leaving the comment, but for the person writing a response to my comment that I will never see.
I haven’t decided what I want to do about this, but I do know something needs to change or I’m going to burn myself out with comments… and I’m just not willing to do that. I’m hoping other bloggers and blog readers will have some advice:
- As a blogger, what is your policy about responding to comments? Do you have any “best practices” or advice to share? When do you think replies to comments are necessary and when do you think they can be skipped?
- As a blog reader, what do you usually think about responses to comments? Do you expect them? Do you return to posts looking for them? When do you think replies are necessary and when do you think they can be skipped?
Thank you in advance for any insight you can give! I’ll try to collect the comments and do a follow-up post with some ideas and suggestions in the next couple of weeks.