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Check Your Blog Commenting System

Posted by on Dec 20, 2011
Listen with webreader

More than a year ago I wrote a post titled Is Your Comment Process In Error? In that post, I talked about two things that are irksome in regards to commenting on other people’s blogs. One of those things was when people write posts and immediately close comments. The other point is still a gripe I have, that being people who have comments open, you leave a comment, and then you never hear back from those folks.


via Flickr

Today I’m only talking about the second one because it’s hit me that even after more than a year that there are still a lot of people who aren’t recognizing that people aren’t seeing that their comments are being responded to. This isn’t a problem like what we deal with on systems like Blogspot, WordPress.com, Typepad or many other blog services which some of you know I absolutely hate. In this case, folks don’t have anything extra on their blog such as a checkbox where we can decide if we want return messages, and the blog owners, who are being good by responding to comments, don’t know that no one is seeing those comments, hence they’ll never get any return comments from those folks.

I made an assumption that some people would add the threaded comments plugin if they had a WordPress blog, but I realized that there’s no way for me to know. I also thought about it and wondered what people that didn’t use WordPress (who could that be?) wouldn’t have access to the plugin. Finally I said “Heck, if people don’t know people aren’t getting responses, then why would they even think about it at all?”

Therefore, this is a brief educational pause to all of you that have noticed that you never, and I mean ever, get anyone to return to your post if they’ve left a comment you haven’t responded to. There’s actually one things you should be paying attention to, one thing you need to do, and I’m going to help you out right now.

The first is to ask yourself if you get email notification that someone has written a comment on your blog. If the only time you know there’s a comment is when someone writes you to tell you they left one, or you have to go to your blog and that’s when you see comments, then your comments probably aren’t working.

The second is if you’re unsure if it’s working or not, then you need to do a test. Even though I knew it was working on all my blogs, I still did a test with the last 3 blogs just to make sure. This is really simple. What you do is go onto your blog site and write a short comment on one of your posts. Sign in using a different email address than what’s associated with the site; you don’t have to put in a url because you’ll be trashing the comment pretty quickly.

You leave a comment, then check your email to see if you got notification of the comment. Whether you do or not, go into your admin panel, look at your own comment, and reply to it. You don’t have to write a lot; just write something like “test” on your original comment and your reply. Then check your email once more to see if you’ve received a response. If not, then you know that no one else has been receiving your replies either.

At that point you can either check all of your settings to see if you’ve missed something, add the plugin I’ve recommended above, or find something else that can help you monitor comments while giving people the option of receiving comments or not. This is a very proactive way of making sure people are getting your replies, and that helps build community. After all, people love knowing you cared about their comments, and if you’ve been doing that but they don’t know, it’s the same as not doing it at all.

And there you go; another blogging tip from Mitch! ;-)
 

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22 Comments »

Haha, hey Mitch, I stopped reading the article half way through, sprinted over to my blogs and checked the commenting sections. I’m glad to say that I had enabled the threaded comments and subscribe to replies on most of them. You’re right though, it is something I hadn’t really thought of until recently. This is evident in that my newer blogs are all sound, but the other ones need updating.
Frank Bowes recently posted…Google E-BookstoreMy Profile

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Glad I got you to check it out, Frank. You have to admit it’s irritating when you’re left wondering if people even take a look at your comments on their blogs, then sometimes find that they indeed did respond.

December 20th, 2011 | 10:31 AM

I moved to a third party commenting system through intense debate, partly to solve this problem. The default wordpress commenting is ok, but requires severel plugins to have all the functionality that I like, so I switched to having one service/plugin that does it all.
Richard recently posted…A Few Things to Consider Before Starting Your Own Online BusinessMy Profile

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

At least you took care of your issue, Richard, which has to please your commenters.

December 20th, 2011 | 10:36 AM

I do get a notification every time someone leaves a comment on my blog, plus, as you know, I use the ReplyMe plugin to make sure people know when I reply to their comment as well, since I think it’s VERY important to make them see I do care about their opinion. I admit, I usually don’t reply to comments straight away, but I do reply to all of them.
Gabriele Maidecchi recently posted…A Very Practical Trick For Using Gmail in Your BusinessMy Profile

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Gabriele, I respond as soon as I can, which often is within minutes, but even I have to do other work sometimes. :-)

December 20th, 2011 | 11:17 AM
Cindy:

Sometimes I had some troubles with the commenting on my older wordpress blog, but i thought i was because of my free theme. So I decided to pay some bucks for a more professional wordpress theme, it would be worth because of the stable and secure environment. But I got some troubles in the comment section, too. I think something is with the wordpress engine wrong. I plan to give a try to the commentluv plugin, maybe it will be much better.
Cindy recently posted…Dental blogMy Profile

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Cindy, I’d try the Subscribe to Comments plugin I linked to first because CommentLuv, from what I remember, doesn’t have anything that tells people you’ve responded to their comments.

December 20th, 2011 | 3:50 PM

Same as Frank Bowes. I had to stop reading and change settings on comment moderation.
jim syyap recently posted…Facebook Fan Pages – Which Design Works BestMy Profile

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

At least you looked at your settings Jim; that’s a major step forward from a lot of folks unfortunately.

December 20th, 2011 | 4:11 PM

For sure problems are less and easier to deal with on WordPress. On my main website, it is my own commenting system and in the last couple of days looks rock solid in terms of comments. With zero spam and instant notifications sent to 2 emails.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Carl, that’s why I might not have gone with your theme for that site. The commenting process is kind of difficult, though it works okay overall.

Carl Reply:

I just mentioned that is going well, actually seems that re-captcha is showing some unreadable code very often which was reported by few members. Generally, I am not targeting commenting system on my website now, it is good to have more comments, however it isn’t exactly regular blog.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

That’s true. But you pointed out why I absolutely hate captcha.

December 20th, 2011 | 9:15 PM

Well, that’s great when there is an opportunity to have a conversation with blog owner, when you can answer questions and get answers to them or anything else.But I do know some blogs where its owners don’t respond at all and don’t react on comments at all.Then I have a question “Why do they need these blogs? Just for fun or what?” because I, personally,stopped visiting them and I guess that other readers are doing the same….
Amanda recently posted…WordPress ThemesMy Profile

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Amanda, sometimes you just don’t know unless you go back to check those blogs out. I do from time to time, which is why I know it’s a big issue.

December 21st, 2011 | 8:28 AM

I encourage conversation on my blog, but I think most commenters are merely stopping by to leave something obligatory to perpetuate the interchange between blogs. I almost always respond to comments that I receive and do get enough return comments to those responses that tell me that at least a few readers are subscribing to comments or at least coming back on their own to see if I did respond.

Lee
Arlee Bird recently posted…Transformers: Dark of the Moon–my reviewMy Profile

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Lee, that’s actually one of the problems with a Blogspot blog. It requires a person to sign up for an account in some fashion to be able to get notified back if there’s a response to a comment. Sometimes I don’t want to use my business account on a blog so I’ll respond with a different address, like the one from this blog, and hope to remember to go back, because I’ll never know otherwise. It’s the same with WordPress.com blogs.

December 21st, 2011 | 2:20 PM

This is a good issue to address. I’m sure many bloggers are wondering just why they don’t get such good conversations going on their posts – this is most likely why. This, or they need better content!
Daniel recently posted…Boise Real Estate- Time to Buy?My Profile

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Good point Daniel, as it could always be a combination of both.

December 21st, 2011 | 5:50 PM

I’m only making use of the ReplyMe plugin to contact my commentators ONLY when someone uses the threaded comment feature to leave them a reply OR when I leave them a reply.

Someone recently pointed out that the Subscribe to comments plugin sometimes has issues processing unsubcriptions and this could lead to your emails being marked as spam when folks can’t unsubscribe to torrents of comments folding their mail box.

Just like you I made sure to test the system to be sure commentators would get comment notification emails without delay.
Udegbunam Chukwudi recently posted…How Free Mobile & Desktop Web Browsers Make MoneyMy Profile

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Good deal Chuks. I’ve never heard of ReplyMe, but I’ll keep it in mind if the one I have starts messing up.

January 4th, 2012 | 8:07 AM