I love commenting on blogs – I really do – and I comment on quite a few. But it all started to go pear-shaped a couple of weeks ago.
My email inbox was becoming so full of notifications of comment streams I’d subscribed to, I felt as if I was drowning. Keeping on top of these messages was taking up all my time – and unsubscribing wasn’t always as easy as I thought. Sometimes it was a one click job, but not always. The REALLY irritating ones were those that took me to a link, which kindly informed me I’d be getting another email with a link to the unsubscribe page – AARRRGGGHHH!
Why, you might ask, have I been such an idiot? Why have I subscribed to all these comments? Here’s why:
Three Reasons Why I Clicked “Subscribe”
- The main reason is simply this – I regard blog commenting as a conversation, so I like to know if someone’s responded to me – that’s not unreasonable, is it? Otherwise, it’s like dropping comments into a black hole or speaking to my husband when he’s watching the football – futile. If you’re just leaving comments to score points, I guess it won’t be that important to you, but it matters to me.
- Occasionally I’ll include a question in a comment – but what’s the point if I’m not going to see the reply?
- What if the blogger replies by asking me a question or says something that warrants a further comment? I obviously can’t respond if I haven’t seen their message.
Why Some Blog Comments are Like Unposted Letters
If you don’t find a way to let your readers know you’ve replied to their comment, it’s a bit like writing them a letter but not bothering to put it in the mail. Do you expect them to come round to your house to collect it?
When I started to receive the first few comments on my own blog, apart from being very excited, I was immediately concerned about how the commenter would know when I’d posted a reply. I hated the thought that a visitor might never know I’d responded to them. I knew I couldn’t rely on them returning to my blog to check – why should they?
Do other bloggers not worry about this?
Initially, I manually sent an email, notifying each commenter of my response. This isn’t difficult when you’ve only got a handful of comments to deal with, but it obviously wasn’t a long-term solution. I noticed other bloggers seemed to have some automated reply system, and eventually discovered the wonderful ReplyMe plugin, thanks to Adrienne Smith, blog commenting Queen extraordinaire! I’ve now replaced ReplyMe with the premium version of CommentLuv, which includes the same function. This means whenever I post a response, the reader automatically gets an email with a copy of their comment together with my reply – so they can see what I’ve said without returning to my site.
I know many of you provide a ReplyMe service – for which you have my heartfelt thanks – but sadly, by no means all bloggers do. This means that unless you opt to subscribe, in order to be notified of follow-up comments (if that option’s available), you may never know whether the blogger or anyone else has replied to your witty, thought-provoking contribution. The only other way is to keep going back to the site and trawling through the comment stream to check, which could involve several fool’s errands, assuming you don’t have a telepathic link informing you if and when the blogger’s got around to posting a reply.
How Do People Commenting on Your Blog Know If You’ve Replied?
- If you’re reading this post and you don’t have a way of letting people know when you’ve replied to their comments, how do you expect them to find out?
- If you offer them the option to subscribe, what will they be letting themselves in for? Some blogs give you the option just to be notified of responses to your own comment, but not always. Often you have to tick a box that means you’re going to get emails from now until kingdom come whenever someone leaves a comment on that post – unless and until you unsubscribe.
- Which brings me on to the next question – how easy is it for your readers to unsubscribe? Personally, I think it should be a one-click escape route. The systems that send you to a link telling you you’re going to get yet another email to yet another link are totally infuriating and have me screaming at the screen, “Is it not obvious by now that I don’t want any more emails?!”
Why I’ve Sadly Unsubscribed From Blog Comments
Well, I’ve had it with subscribing to comments, folks – life’s too short, my inbox can’t stand the strain and I have better things to do with my time than keep on top of endless lists of subscriptions.
So I’ve spent the last couple of weeks unsubscribing from all blog comment streams and won’t be ticking those little boxes any more. And I don’t have time to navigate back to every blog post I’ve commented on to check, so if you want to be sure I’ve received your reply, you’ll have to find some way of getting it back to me. I’m really sorry about this, because I’d love to see your messages and there are times when I might want to drop you another line in response, but I just haven’t time to visit all your houses to collect my own mail!
OK – that’s my rant for the week. Over to you – how do you deal with this issue? Do you subscribe to comment streams when bloggers don’t have a ReplyMe service? If you don’t provide such a service yourself, have you considered how your readers will know you’ve replied? Or maybe this doesn’t worry you at all. Do let me know what you think by leaving a comment below (to which you WILL receive a reply!)
And if you think your friends and followers might appreciate this post, please don’t forget to ‘share’!
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