Not Another Post About Blog Commenting!

I know, I know – you’ve already ploughed through a squillion posts about blog comments this month (I think I have!) So what am I playing at, writing another one?

Well – there’s just a little niggle that bothers me, which I want to ask you about – it’s something I’ve referred to in a previous post about blog commenting, but it’s still in my “unresolved issues” tray.

Blog commenting problems

Computer Problems—CollegeDegrees360 (Flickr.com)

How Do You Know Whether a Blogger Has Responded to Your Comment?

I continue to find some blogs that do not provide an email notification, alerting me to the fact that the blogger has replied to my comment. On such blogs, there are usually only two ways I’ll ever see the blogger’s response:

  • Subscribe to the entire comment stream

I no longer do this, because it can lead to dozens of unwanted emails (I don’t want to see ALL the other follow-up comments – just any responses to my own), plus I’ve found it can be a right old hassle to unsubscribe.

  • Keep returning to the post to check for replies

This I also rarely do, because it’s just too time-consuming – particularly if it’s a post with hundreds of comments.

I think this is a shame, because bloggers who respond to my comments, but don’t have a mechanism for notifying me of their reply, are effectively wasting their time. Okay, so there’s a reply published on their blog, but the intended recipient is probably never going to see it. And it deprives us of the opportunity of continuing the conversation – if I don’t see your reply, I’m not going to be able to respond to it, which I might have wanted to do.

Please reply to my blog comment!

When I first began receiving comments on my blog, this was something that I quickly started worrying about  - I couldn’t see the point in responding to people’s comments if they weren’t going to see my replies, and I didn’t think I could expect people to keep coming back to check.

My initial solution was to install the ReplyMe plugin, which automatically sends an email notifying readers of any replies to their comments. The problem with ReplyMe is that it hasn’t been updated since the dinosaurs walked the earth – I’ve not heard of any problems with it, but I guess it’s a bit of a risk because it’s potentially so out of date.

Like a lot of other bloggers, I now have the premium version of CommentLuv installed, which includes a ReplyMe function. However, this is not a FREE option and, although I’m a big fan of this plugin, I’m aware not all bloggers want to use CommentLuv for a number of reasons, including the cost.

So – the question I’m posing in this post is this:

Are there any viable FREE solutions for bloggers who want to notify readers of replies to their comments? 

I realise there are third party commenting systems such as Disqus, Livefyre and IntenseDebate – also Google+ and Facebook Comments – but I don’t want to get bogged down in discussions about these in this post. I’m interested in a solution for bloggers who want to continue using WordPress comments, but who would like a simple way of notifying readers when they reply to their comments.

I’ve done a bit of research for bloggers using WordPress, and I’ve found 4 FREE plugins that may be of use. Please note, I have not personally tested any of these, so the information below is what I’ve been able to glean from the plugins’ information pages.

If anyone reading this has tried any of the following plugins, please let the rest of us know what you think of them in the comments below this post.

4 FREE WORDPRESS COMMENT REPLY PLUGINS

Send Email Only on Reply to My Comment

This plugin gives readers the option to receive an email notifying them of responses to their own comment. I’ve been unable to discover exactly what the email contains, but I assume it includes a copy of the reply. This plugin was last updated only 2 weeks ago. It has been downloaded 4,235 times and has a star rating of 4.2 out of 5, from 5 reviews – the one low rating was due to the fact that a user said it proved too much hassle to make it work in Spanish.

This plugin is a modified version of Subscribe to Comments Reloaded, which only gives readers the option to received emails about ALL subsequent comments, not just replies to their own.

Comment Email Reply

This looks like a very new, very simple plugin. Not much information is available. It just says it sends an email notifying the author when someone replies to their comment – I’ve no idea whether this includes a copy of the reply. It was last updated a week ago. It’s been downloaded 121 times and has only been rated (5 stars, of course!) by the plugin creator.

Comment Reply by Admins Notifier

This is a free plugin that sends the reader an email to notify them when you’ve replied to their comment. Unlike ReplyMe, the email does not include a copy of your reply – you have to return to the post to read it. But it looks as if the email includes a link back to the reply. This plugin was last updated 4 months ago, has been downloaded 390 times, and has a five star rating, but this is from just one review.

ReplyMe

Despite not having been update for FIVE YEARS, the ReplyMe plugin is still available – this is the one I was using until a few months ago. It automatically sends an email to the reader when someone replies to their comment. It’s been downloaded 13,913 times and has a star rating of 4.4 out of 5, based on 10 ratings, so as you can see it’s been a popular old bird in its time. What a crying shame its creator has left it to fester :(

AND THE WINNER IS…….

From the limited information available, I’d say the best of this bunch is probably

Send Email Only On Reply to My Comment. 

It’s been very recently updated, well reviewed, and it allows readers to opt-in to receiving notification of any replies to their own comment. Anyone out there tried it?

How Do You Let Your Readers Know You’ve Replied To Their Comments?

Speaking for myself, I love receiving those email notifications of replies to my comments – it’s just great to know that someone’s taken the trouble to read my comment and respond to it. And it does sometimes lead me to make further follow-up comments – so I think it’s well worth making the effort.

Do you have a way of letting readers know when you reply to their comments? If so, how do you go about this? And if not – why not? Are you tempted to try any of these free solutions?

I’d be very grateful if you could let me know what you think in the comments below – particularly if you’ve tried any of these free plugins.

I’m also conscious of the fact that my own experience is limited to WordPress – so if anyone knows of any solutions to this for bloggers using other platforms, please share.

And, as ever, if you’ve enjoyed this post and think others might like to read it, please don’t forget to “share”.

Happy blogging!

Sue Neal

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Filed under: Blogging Tips

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