Reply to Blog Comments Like a Pro

It’s fine to reply to your blog comments with a simple “Thanks!” in certain cases, depending on the comment itself. Answering your readers in encouraging, thoughtful ways improves your blog’s commenting culture and readership. Think of it as the way we respond to each other when we’re face-to-face — polite professionalism goes a long way.

Here are a few suggestions for replying to comments like the pros do.

The generic comment

Don’t assume that a generic comment, such as “Thanks for sharing this article” is spam, says author and blogger Jeff Goins. The reader may have only skimmed over your story, but even if this is the case, they still improved site traffic.

Maybe the comment author visits numerous blogs, and leaves the same quick “Thank you” after reading the posts she enjoyed the most. Rather than ignoring or deleting generic comments (and risk hurt feelings, or even heated backlash), respond with something such as, “Thanks for reading!”

Commenters appreciate prompt replies. Consider enabling comment notifications via email, which will immediately alert you of reader participation.

Purely promotional

After putting so much effort into an article, receiving a comment from a self-promoter is like watching a lazy coworker dawdle (or even cheat) their way to a paycheck. But what if the comment author has a relatively popular blog that you could benefit from? If a promoter leaves a blurb that vaguely relates to your story, and adds a link to his blog, Goins suggests thanking him, and then visiting his site. There, comment on one of his posts, and include a link back to your site. Stay on topic, though — you don’t want to risk coming off as a spammer to another site’s audience.

The long comment

Some readers go on and on about how much they appreciated your article, what they learned from it, or how it’s incorrect. Reply to long comments in a way that proves you read them, says social-media speaker Marcus Sheridan on the Social Media Examiner.

If you disagree with a reader’s comment, you might reply with a non-confrontational, “I appreciate your opinion.” If the comment author is right about your misunderstanding of, say, fruit species, respond with something humbly professional like, “Thanks for pointing out the difference between Comice and Bosc pears!”

What if the reader thoroughly enjoyed your article on baking homemade bread, and her comment included a story about her trip to Rome, and a memorable stop at the mythical Le Levain Boulangerie? Your reply could include a promise to visit her beloved bakery if you ever venture to Italy.

Crabby comments

Thankfully, most commenters are mature and respectful, even if they disagree with something you’ve written. But occasionally, a disgruntled reader might comment in a flurry of unsavory terms, unnecessary exclamation points, and capital letters.

Blogger and podcaster Yaro Starak suggests softening the mood, rather than starting a word war. Simply delete any offensive language from their comment, and then thank the reader for their opinion. If you prefer, delete the comment entirely, and forget it happened.

Visit your WordPress.com My Sites menu to enable or disable comments. You can also customize your comments settings there.

The spam

To spot a live spammer, or a computer-generated comment, check for red flags, including a nonsensical email address, no full name provided, or a link that has nothing to do with your niche, explains the Jetpack website. If you suspect spam, don’t reply. Just delete the comment.

Your WordPress.com site already has Akismet enabled — that’s one of the web’s leading anti-spam tools. It automatically screens and deletes most spam comments before you ever see them.

Too few comments

Eager to receive more blog comments? Encourage chatter by developing a welcoming atmosphere, ending each article with a question, and adding a commenting plugin that increases visitor engagement.

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