Do You Have to Respond to Every Blog Comment?

As a blogger, I love getting comments. This is one major way in which blogging is different from all other forms of writing. You get near-instant feedback. This is tremendously gratifying, but it can also be a challenge to keep up with them.

A Dinner Party - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/jentakespictures, Image #14874643

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/jentakespictures

Over the last six months, I have seen my average number of comments per post double. This has been due, I think, to four reasons:

  1. Making the comment counts more visible. You’ll notice next to my post title three “talk bubbles”: one for Facebook shares, one for Twitter posts, and one for blog comments. (Note: this is not a WordPress plugin. It is custom code I had written.) This lets people know that a conversation is happening and subtly invites then to join in.
  2. Providing an incentive to comment. Each month, I post my top blog posts and commenters for the previous month. I also give my top 10 commenters a free book. This has its downside in that some commenters are just motivated by volume. But, on average, I think it is been helpful in “jump-starting” the conversation. I plan to continue.
  3. Installing the Disqus commenting system. Not only can my readers login using just about any method they chose, they can even post anonymously. I also don’t require authentication or approval before the comments are posted. (In my opinion, this just penalizes 99% of my commenters who play by the rules.) Most importantly, I can respond to comments via email, which makes it very easy to keep the conversation going.
  4. Engaging in the conversation myself. I think this is huge. The comments provide a forum for people to ask follow-up questions, provide additional links, or even disagree with me. But for this to work like it should, I have to engage with my readers. I have also styled (via CSS) my own comments, so they stand out from the rest.

The problem is that this system doesn’t scale if I think I need to respond to every comment. If your blog audience grows, it won’t scale for you either. Think about it: if you get fifty-plus comments per post, can you really reply to all of them. I doubt it—at least not consistently.

The good news is that you don’t have to. I don’t, and I don’t feel the least bit guilty about it. Here’s why:

  • A blog conversation is like a dinner party. You have invited everyone to your home for some food and conversation. Your content is like the appetizers. You offer it up to get things rolling.
  • The main course is the conversation itself. Sure, the food is important, but the difference between a good dinner party and a great one is not the food. It’s the interactions with the other people at the table.
  • As the host, you don’t have to respond to every comment. In fact, at a real dinner party, it would seem downright weird. It would draw too much attention to you. Instead, the party has to be about them—your guests.
  • You should be present and add value as appropriate. I comment occasionally just to let know people I haven’t invited them over and then disappeared. I also comment when I think I can add value by answering a question, clarifying something I said, or pointing my guests to additional resources.

The bottom line is that you don’t need to respond to every comment. Though this isn’t scientific, I tend to respond to about 20 percent of them. You may want to do more or less. For me—for right now—this seems about right.

Question: What is your practice in responding to comments? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • http://www.warriorshepherd.com/blog Dave Hearn

    Thanks for this blog. I was starting to feel stressed if I didn’t respond to every comment to my posts, even though I don’t have very many on my blog (yet!).

  • http://twitter.com/joannamuses joanna

    I don’t get many comments at all, except for the occasional nasty one when people think I have been too harsh on the books that changed their life. I do try to reply to all my comments. There is a lot of things people could be doing with their time and a lot of blogs they could be reading so I think the fact that they have bothered to not only read mine but comment on it is worth acknowledging.

    • http://blog.ashleypichea.com Ashley Pichea

      I think it is important to not only valid your readers’ comments but also to show them that you truly appreciate them taking the time to read your blog and comment on it!

      • Sc_lowcountry_illustrator

        How true is this, I feel that’s proper etiquette to respond at least to a few folks should show a small measure of post presence to their blog.

  • http://jobbingwriter.blogspot.com/ Morningaj

    I try to visit the blogs of people who comment on mine and leave comments for them. Expecting a ‘conversation’ to start implies a requirement for people to visit the same post several times to see my answers and others’ comments. Most people just don’t have the time to go back more than once.

    I’ve noticed that a few people have been regular visitors to my blog but then their sites have taken off and they stop calling round because they get too busy maintaining the input. As you point out – it doesn’t scale up once their sites get busy.

    • http://twitter.com/joannamuses joanna

      That’s why I like it when people use commenting systems that give you an email notification when people respond to just your comment (not every comment on the post). Intense debate is good for that

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        Yes, so is Disqus.com, which is what I am now using. (I was using Intense Debate before.)

        • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

          I don’t care for Intense Debate at all…

          • http://goldbackedsavingsplan.com Cheryl Jones

            I tried to use Intense Debate when Glenn Beck had it for his 912 Project site.  Since then, I guess he no longer runs that, but I never could figure out how to use it.  It really aggravates me when things are so complicated.  I’m sure the programmers are familiar with it, as they built it step-by-step, but as a  non-technical person who has put a lot of effort into learning enough technology to get me around on the internet, I really appreciate systems that are created “user-friendly” that don’t require a lot of learning to implement.  And while I am on the soap box, another thing that I think is counter-productive is sending a new user someplace with so much “busy-ness”, links, and choices that it overwhelms the new person.  When there is too much information, I click off, especially if it will take me an hour or more just to try to figure out where the information I originally wanted resides.

          • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

            Totally agree with you!

          • Patti Schieringa

            Me too, Well defined,Cheryl

        • http://blog.ashleypichea.com Ashley Pichea

          I love Disqus (when it doesn’t take forever to load) for comments… I love the email notifications and ability to respond via email. It makes continuing the conversation so much more manageable!

        • http://FatWalr.us/ Luke

          Have you (or anyone else out there) looked into LiveFyre? Personally, I use Disqus on my blog (and love it), but people that use LiveFyre are raving about their support team and better integration with social networks, video sites, and some other interesting differences. I haven’t found many good “Disqus vs LiveFyre” comparisons, though, so I’m wondering who out there has used both or researched the key differences.

          • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

            I have never even heard of it. I will have to check it out.

          • http://FatWalr.us/ Luke

            If you really are interested, their site is (not surprisingly) http://livefyre.com/ . You can also see it in action with a pretty decent conversation about its pros and cons here: http://www.spinsucks.com/social-media/moderating-blog-comments/ (just so happens to be a post with very similar opinions to your own).

            Personally, I think that Disqus looks a lot better, and it’s easier to actually leave the comment with them (I don’t believe that you can leave an anonymous comment with LiveFyre). I’m interested to see LiveFyre’s claims about social networking interaction, though. At the very least, I think that they’re a start-up worth keeping an eye on.

          • http://FatWalr.us/ Luke

            In response to my own question, I poked around and ended up writing up a comparison of Disqus, IntenseDebate, and Livefyre ( http://fatwalr.us/2011/05/compare-commenting-systems-disqus-vs-intensedebate-vs-livefyre/ ). The founder of Livefyre left a comment within minutes of my post…they are just really on top of custom service. I’m still using Disqus, but I won’t be surprised if that changes in the future.

      • Joe Lalonde

        Joanna, I like those types of commenting systems too. I also like commenting systems that notify you if someone replies to a post that was a reply to yours. That way you can see the conversation continue. I know I’ve had conversations branch off and have not been notified. I then lose interest in the thread. If I had been notified that a reply to a reply had been posted, I’d be more likely to continue in the conversation.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      If you register at Disqus.com, then you can keep up with all your comments across multiple sites. Also, any time someone responds to one of your comments, you will be notified.

      • http://twitter.com/MacKinnonChris Chris MacKinnon

        Somehow I missed the value of receiving emails when others comment on my comments when I signed up for Disqus. I’ll go back and take advantage of that. Thanks for mentioning it.

      • http://tonychung.ca tonychung

        Oh yeah. That’s one more area where my experience paralleled yours, Michael: I started with Disqus years ago when the company was just starting out. I switched to Intense Debate because you liked it, (we even spoke through Twitter DM about your experience) but found its interface and spam handling methods less effective, so I switched back. Glad to see you made the same choice as well!

      • bethanyplanton

        I love the fact it lets you know when others reply to your comment. It can be hard to keep up with the conversation if there are lots of comments, but Disqus makes it so easy.

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          Agreed. I was never able to engage before like I can now with Disqus.

          • bethanyplanton

            Was it fairly easy to set up the Disqus option on your blog?

          • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

            It was for me. It just took a while, because it has to sync all the comments from your WordPress system.

          • bethanyplanton

            Thank you for the info, Michael! I appreciate it!

  • http://www.leahadams.org Leah Adams

    Because my comments are still at a managable number, I do respond to most of them via email. Occasionally, I will respond in the actual blog comment area. I think that responding to comments, at least occasionally, enables the person who left the comment to feel a sense of connectedness and value.

  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    As a novice blogger, I reply to every comment I recieve from my readers. I get few comments from my readers. I am on the path of building my online presesnce. I completely agree with your advice on replying to comments.

    • Karl Mealor

      I feel your pain, Uma. I’ve had a hard time getting comments on a couple of blogs that I’ve run in the past. (Who am I fooling? I’ve hard a hard time getting views, much less comments.) Learning from my past mistakes, and looking forward to the launch of a new, hopefully more successful blog. I do plan to respond to every comment in the beginning.

      • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

        Same here.

    • http://blog.ashleypichea.com Ashley Pichea

      I’m still learning about how to get more comments, but I’ve found that not saying all there is to say on a topic is a great way to invite comments, as well as asking a direct open-ended question at the end of a post with a link directly to the comment section.

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        I agree. You have to intentionally leave room for others.

        • http://blog.ashleypichea.com Ashley Pichea

          And that’s something I struggle with both on my blog AND in real life!
          Working on being better about BOTH! :)

      • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

        That’s a great thought! If we say everything and cover every angle, it makes it seem like their is no need for further conversation.

        I have also been using a direct question at the end of a post – it seems to help.

        • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

          I’ve been doing that too! I got the idea from Mr. Hyatt! :)

      • http://www.fitnessnowstephanie.com Stephanie Hodges

        That is really good advice. I had never thought about intentionally leaving things unsaid. I just started a new blog, so definitely respond to 99% of the comments for now. There’s a difference between comments with content and those saying, “great post”.

  • http://davidsantistevan.com David Santistevan

    At this point I typically respond to every comment because I can. If I received the amount of comments you did, I probably wouldn’t. The good news is, my comments are growing for sure!

  • Timothy Fish

    I try to respond to all direct questions. Other than that, I try to respond often enough that people realize I’m reading their comments. I don’t always respond when there isn’t much more to say than “I agree” or “Thanks for commenting.”

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I think that is the right approach. That’s what I try to do as well.

    • http://www.tonyjalicea.com Tony Alicea

      I think it’s also good practice to respond to a well thought out comment. If someone has taken the time to give a thoughtful response, it merits a reply.

    • Joe Lalonde

      That’s a good path to take. I know I like it when the blog owner responds and engages me in my comments.

      • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

        It does make a difference to me when the blog owner engages my comments – especially if I am new to the community. I don’t expect it all the time – especially in bigger communities. It is exciting, though, when somebody takes a moment to respond to what I am saying.

    • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

      Exactly! I don’t respond to those, but I will if someone says their thoughts in a few sentences or asks a direct question. I think that is important!

    • http://blog.ashleypichea.com Ashley Pichea

      I agree… responding to comments that are “final thoughts” really doesn’t add to the conversation. I like to try to engage my readers to think deeper by asking open-ended questions in my follow-up comments.

    • http://FatWalr.us/ Luke

      I agree. Thanks for commenting.

  • http://www.solobizcoach.com SoloBizCoach

    I try to respond to every comment that is left on my blog, but it does stress me out at times.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      If your blog grows, it will get worse. That’s why I think it is important to have a philosophy about this early on. Thanks.

  • Phil

    My blog is quite new so comments are quite slow. But im ok with that. I also have a second blog which is a year old that averages 15-30 coments an article. Just takes time to get things going I guess.

    As for me, I comment on other blogs if I have something interesting to say. Say about 70% of the time I will comment.

    Thanks for sharing! :-)

    • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

      Yeah, I comment on pretty much every blog that is “meaty”.

  • Anonymous

    Ah! I combed the internet looking for code for that comment box. You should sell that code. I’d buy.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      We are seriously thinking about it.

      • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

        I have been looking for it as well. Did you create it yourself?

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          I designed it and had a developer actually write the code.

          • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

            Awesome! It would be cool if you could sell or publish it! How long did it
            take to create?

          • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

            Honestly, I don’t recall. Probably about 10 hours of programming time.

  • http://twitter.com/knosmo Kelly

    I’m actually making a conscious effort to comment more on the blogs I do read. I use Google Reader, which is fabulous for keeping up with content, but I often miss the conversations in comments. There are many times that conversation is even better than the initial post.

    As a reader, I don’t feel like I’m being shunned or ignored by a blogger if they don’t respond to my individual comment. Some posts may have hundreds of comments (particularly if it’s a very popular blog) and it’s just not possible. Other times, I may have a comment that really doesn’t warrant a response, and that’s okay too.

    It’s definitely an extension of your dinner party analogy – I may simply agree with you. I may simply thank you for a lovely evening. Delving into the infinite loop of agreeing with agreement or thanking someone for thanking you adds nothing to the conversation.

    • http://blog.ashleypichea.com Ashley Pichea

      I’m a big fan of Google Reader as well, but I do agree that I miss out a lot when I don’t get to read the comments on a post. I’ve just started realizing this… the comment section is where the real connections happen.

    • http://markjmartin.com Mark Martin

      I use Google Reader as well, but recently have found the “Next” button that you can install on the bookmarks bar. When you click the “Next” button, it brings up the next post in your reader for you to read actually on the blog site.

      I like it, because it forces me to read some blogs that I’ve subscribe to, but may skip past in my reader.

      Could be an advantage for you to use this. That way, you would see the comments at the end of the post.

      • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

        I always read on the Google Reader and then click on the site to comment. I wish there was someway to comment directly from the google reader. Then again, I would probably miss out on a lot of conversation!

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          I put a link in my last question, so people can click on it and go straight to my comments. I designed this to work especially with RSS readers.

          • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

            That’s a greta idea! I’m gonna start doing that!

          • http://markjmartin.com Mark Martin

            Is that an extra step each time you post, or is yours designed to put that link at the end of each post?

          • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

            I have it programmed as a macro. Using MarsEdit, I do it all with a keystroke.

          • Karl Mealor

            Nice. That’s helpful.

  • http://joyfulmothering.net Christin

    I try to engage as much as I can. I admit though. Sometimes I just don’t know what to say so I don’t say anything. I guess some comments just don’t warrant a response.

    I love the Disqus plugin as well, because I can easily respond from email, but also, my readers will get a response in their email so they know I responded to their comment. For me, that’s huge. It’d be pretty pointless to carry on without them knowing about it! :)

    Great post!

  • Karl Mealor

    I must admit that when I first started commenting on your blog, I was motivated solely by the freebies. However, this has eventually morphed into seeing that commenting is a means of connecting with a larger community. Many of you have provided insight and advice that has greatly helped me in the past few weeks. Thanks to all…

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I am glad you are part of this community, Karl.

    • Joe Lalonde

      Karl, I started that way too. But it’s become fun commenting and reading Michael’s blog. I’ve become connected to some other great bloggers and have started to read their blogs too. I wish that the conversation continued more than it normally does. It seems to die after two to three posts.

      • Karl Mealor

        I’ve noticed that as well. It probably has to do with the large number of comments. No one wants to sift through a few hundred comments to find what they wrote a day or so earlier.

        I also have enjoyed reading other bloggers on this site. It’s allowed me to find out about blogs that I’m pretty sure I would have never have found otherwise.

        • Joe Lalonde

          Karl, that could be part of the reason. But with Disqus you can be notified of replies to your comment. It will then send you a link to go straight to the new reply. Where I start to lose track is when someone replies to a reply of my comment.

          • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

            Disqus does make it easy to keep up with the thread connected to your comment. The larger number of comments just means more time given to communicating in the community.

            To keep up with the ‘whole dinner party conversation’ does require a bit of a commitment. Although, for me, it is a commitment that I enjoy.

          • Karl Mealor

            Can you sign up to Disqus without registering your blog?

          • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

            Yes. You don’t have to have a blog to register.

          • Karl Mealor

            I haven’t spent a lot of time trying to figure out Disqus. Looks like I’m gonna hafta…

      • http://blog.ashleypichea.com Ashley Pichea

        I have also made some great connections through the comments on Michael’s blog. It’s been fun to interact with you all and follow you on Twitter!

        • Joe Lalonde

          Ashley, great to hear that. I wonder if my comments have led to me getting followers on Twitter. I don’t use Twitter for anything other than my weight loss notification and contests and to follow a few select people.

          • http://blog.ashleypichea.com Ashley Pichea

            I often check out quality commenters on Twitter and add to my following if I
            like what I find. I only follow tweeters that add something to my life,
            though, not those who only promote themselves and their work. Twitter is
            like a dinner party as well – you have to bring something to the
            conversation if you want to be a part of it.

          • Joe Lalonde

            Good rule of thumb for Twitter or any site that you may follow. Follow what you like and adds value. I’m just not that interested in Twitter to try to contribute anything of great value at this time. Maybe in the future that will change but for now it’s just not appealing to me.

          • http://blog.ashleypichea.com Ashley Pichea

            Right. And I completely understand. As bloggers/social media consumers, we
            have so many different platforms from which to choose. We have to guard our
            time wisely, opting to invest in only those platforms in which we have an
            interest!

        • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

          I too have made some great connections through this community. And, I know that my engagement here has lead to connections on other blogs – with people checking out my blog and me checking out the blogs of others.

  • Karl Mealor

    But don’t get me wrong, I still love the freebies ;-)

  • http://theperkinsblog.net MichaelDPerkins

    I typically respond to all of them. But this has become a task to respond 25-30 times a day. I’m going to be honest and say that I used to be dead set on responding to each one, but as this goes on it would be a lot easier to comment to about the 20% that you are speaking of.

    • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

      True

    • http://blog.ashleypichea.com Ashley Pichea

      I need to get better about setting aside a chunk of time each day (or 4-5 times a week) to respond to comments. Right now I’m doing it as I feel like it, which tends to be 2-3 times a week at random. I like it when a blogger responds back to me within a few hours of my comment, and I’d like to be able to do the same for my readers.

      • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

        This is where the email notifications help me a lot. I see a notification and can respond to it fairly quickly (if it warrants a response) – especially if it is something like Disqus and I can respond through the email.

  • Roger Peace

    Thanks, to be honest I have not even tried to engage in my blog comments, or even sought out to have comments made. I really appreciate your insight and encouragement to open it up and get feedback and respond by asking leading questions. I have only responded once to your blogs, even though I read every one… Bottom line is I need to get put this into action! Thanks for making us think and making it practical

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    With the latest version of WordPress and with third party comment systems you can now respond directly to other commenter’s via comment threading. This is huge, and really adds to the conversation. I really think your blog comment section is one of the best conversations on the web. I really enjoy some of the other bloggers that visit here.

    On my blog, I try to respond to most comments within a day. Having a smart phone helps me keep in touch, as it automatically e-mails me when comments come in. Some bloggers have gone to a forum style interface for conversations, but I actually like the Disqus system the best. (I just wish I could get it to work on my blog).

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Why don’t it work on your blog, John? Have you tried contacting Disqus support?

      • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

        Doesn’t wordpress now have a “respond by email” feature? I think I saw that in my settings…I might be wrong though. I haven’t set it up because I use my site email (that I don’t check too often) for my account on wordpress.

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          I am not sure. I think you might have to use a plugin. IntenseDebate has it (supposedly), but I could never get it to work consistently.

        • http://www.thedailywalk.net Adam

          I think that many be for .com wordpress sites and not .org.

          • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

            It might be…I’m not really sure though.

      • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

        It wouldn’t load all my old comments and it didn’t accept new comments properly on my blog. I contacted support a couple of times but I wasn’t able to get it resolved. The built in commenting system in WordPress is working well and it does e-mail me so I’m pretty happy with the status quo.

    • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

      I must agree with you on one of the best conversations on the web. I learn a lot from this community. And, I have made some great connections with others in this community. Plus, it is just an enjoyable “dinner party”.

      • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

        Hmmmm…dinner party…? I might wanna tell all my readers now that whoever comments the most will get a steak! And the least amount of comments…well…you get crackers! :)

        • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

          You may be on to something there…steak would sure get my attention :-)

  • http://www.lisawhittle.com Lisa Whittle

    The dinner party analogy is a helpful perspective, Michael. I’ll be thinking of that as I respond to my blog commenters. Thanks!

    • http://twitter.com/MacKinnonChris Chris MacKinnon

      I agree. For those who are just getting into commenting, they wonder why they are responded to. A new perspective is opened up to us when we understand that it’s a conversation with EVERYONE and not just the blogger.

    • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

      Definitely!

  • http://jancoxabetterway.wordpress.com Jan Cox

    When I commented on another blog using Disqus I received so many emails that I was constantly deleting for a whole day. I use the open ID because I understand it but if you comment back to me I miss it unless I go back and use finder and search for my name.

    One blog I write does not allow comments as it is about prayer which I feel should be contemplative and not involve discussion. I do give my contact information so if someone felt a need they could respond that way.

    So I am still working my way through this “commenting” aspect of blogging. I comment only when I have a question or the blog stirred an urge to write something.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      DId you try setting up an account in Disqus and then using that to log in? That should ensure that you only received replies to your own comments.

      • http://jancoxabetterway.wordpress.com Jan Cox

        Michael,
        No I clicked on Disqus on someone’s blog and keep getting comments days after. I will try what you said. Thanks. To find your comment I had to go back here, click on MORE COMMENTS and search for my name. lol:) I do have to find a “better way”. Blessings, Jan

      • Anonymous

        I signed up for Disqus. That went fine but I can’t put Disqus on my blog as I only use WordPress.com
        Jan

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          Yes, that is true. You can’t put it on a WordPress.com site. It has to be self-hosted.

          • Anonymous

            Ah – but I got your comment in my email.. That is a step in the right direction. Thank you.
            Jan

  • http://www.tonyjalicea.com Tony Alicea

    I think this is good practice for a huge blog like yours. However, in the early stages (i.e. 5-10 comments per post) I believe it is imperative to reply to every comment. There are only a few people commenting and they see that, so many feel that it makes them feel “welcomed at the dinner table” when they make the effort to comment.

    I agree that when you start getting 50-100 comments per post, it’s not wise or even helpful to respond to every single comment. But like I said, it only works once you’ve grown substantially.

    I don’t think EVERY single comment ALWAYS must be responded to in the beginning but it definitely helps with engagement. My blog is still small enough where I respond to every comment.

  • http://www.MinistrytoWomenLPC.blogspot.com RosalieG

    I require approval on mine because mine has the word “women” in it (MinistrytoWomenLPC.blogspot.com) and I get many many spammers trying to put link in for escort services and porn. No way am I gonna give them a minute of link time in my blog.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      If you use good spam detection software like Askimet or Disqus, it will filter all that out. I get almost zero spam showing up, though the system catches hundreds every day.

      • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

        Askimet is what I use…it has stopped 12 spam so far!

        • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

          I have been really surprised at how much spam Askimet catches (meaning, how much spam my blog gets – especially with how young the blog is). Thankfully, it does not make it into the published comments!

          • http://b.kraft.im Brandon Kraft

            When I blogged on the Movable Type platform, I had to change the page name for the commenting system (typically /mt/mt-comments.php to something like /mt/mt-comments-nospam.php). There are plenty of spam bots, I think, that check your site out, determine the platform and then attack it based on that.

            With MT, you could comment on any post in the system via a call like /mt/mt-comments.php?id=xxxx, so once I switched the page, my spam comments fell off but my 404s (for /mt-comments.php) went through the roof!

            Askimet and now Disqus have kept spam at bay since moving my site to WP.

          • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

            Me too! I have had over 16 spam comments already (1 month of switching to
            wordpress). All of them have been advertisements from campanies and stuff
            like that. I’m glad wordpress has that to block all that spam. I’m sure mega
            sites like this one get tons of spam!

    • Karlherbold

      I totally agree with you.. with so much spam and profanity.. I find I have to be on top of things just for that reason.. unless Michael has another way to control this?

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        By the way, I get hundreds of comments per day. Disqus catches 99.9% of all spam. (If you use native WordPress, install the Askimet plugin. It will also catch almost all of it.) Moderation REALLY cuts down on engagement.

  • http://jaydinitto.com Jay DiNitto

    I respond to almost all of them. I don’t get many comments although I get decent traffic. I’m not interested in being a comment factory (to use a subjective term), to be honest.

  • http://callistasramblings.blogspot.com Callista

    I would like to up my comments. I want to get my own domain and change to disqus or intense debate. I do try to reply to some comments but like you said, it doesn’t make sense to respond to everyone, especially if they are just agreeing with you or many comments basically say the same thing. You don’t respond back to everything everyone says in real life. Great post. I like the idea of making the blog owners comments stand out too. I’ll have to remember that.

  • Learning Catalyst

    I am always amazed at how engaged you are. I make sure that I don’t ask to receive notification of blog comments for the same reason. It can be overwhelming on a blog with a lot of activity.

    PS – You don’t need to respond to this.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      It’s part of the joy of blogging!

  • http://twitter.com/MacKinnonChris Chris MacKinnon

    I think some comments don’t have to be responded to. If the message is true and honest and everyone who reads it will understand and agree, I think there are times you can just leave it alone. Thanks Disqus and other 3rd parties, you can sort of “amen” a comment with the “Like” button. Sometimes that’s enough to let people know you are reading and appreciate what they had to say.

  • http://twitter.com/anirudhbb Anirudh B Balotiaa

    Neat article!

    Loved the analogy with the dinner party…so very true!

  • Dan Greegor

    I would say that it depends on the comment. Some comments are worth a response or maybe several responses. Others are not. I would also say that it is worth responding to those that comment a lot. In this way, a blogger can keep the comments coming as those commenting know that their voice is being noticed.

  • http://www.paulbevans.com Paul B Evans

    I respond to comments that have questions or that take the thought of the post to the next level. It’s also interesting to see the different style of comments on blog post and Facebook. The medium often dictates the strength of the comment.

  • Joe Lalonde

    I think if your blog is small, responding to most, if not all comments is a great practice. As a blog grows, it can become quite difficult to respond to everyone. At that point, I think I’d pick and choose what posts I respond to.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      The only problem I see with that is that you are creating an expectation. As your blog grows, will your readers be disappointed that you aren’t able to keep up this level of engagement?

      • Joe Lalonde

        I could see that happening now that you brought that up. I guess I hadn’t thought about it that way.

  • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

    I usually respond to every comment on my site (if it is related to the subject) because it lets everyone know that I am engaged.

    One thing that does not happen on my site very often is others responding to others. I feel like it is just me… I do want it to be a whole big discussion though. Any tips?

    Btw- Disqus loads really slowly for me (one reason I can’t comment here very often). It is all trial and error when it will work. With that said, would it still be a bad idea to install it on my site?

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

      Good observations. I’m where you are, Brandon, in that I reply to every comment. But I’m in the early stages of blogging (two weeks and counting) so I’m responding to the one comment that comes in per post.

      Disqus works well for me on this site. I haven’t installed it on my website simply because I haven’t figured out where the plug-ins are (WordPress). I’m a little slow on the uptake every now and then.

      • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

        Very cool! I will check out your blog. What is the link to it?

        • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

          If you click on my name (I’ve checked out your website, by the way, well done), it should take you straight to my website called The JOURNEY. Otherwise, it’s tnealtarver.wordpress.com. And thanks for the opportunity to plug.

          By the way, I noticed the line under people’s names–some had them, some didn’t–and discovered line under name means person has website. Very cool stuff!

      • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

        Oh also, I did want to ask you…Are you using self-hosted wordpress or
        wordpress.com. In wordpress.com, there are no plugins. I figured that out by
        searching everywhere! In wordpress.com, you just have widgets that you can
        add to the sidebar…

        • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

          I’m using wordpress.com. Thanks for the explanation. I found the widgets once. With your explanation, I’ll find them once again. Thanks, Brandon.

          • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

            Your welcome! Also, you want to make sure you have a template that can
            automatically create and archives page. Here’s a link so you can read about
            it: http://tentblogger.com/archive-page/

          • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

            Thanks. I’ve been following tentblogger for awhile. Now it’s time to go back and apply those earlier posts of John’s to what I’m actually doing. I appreciate the specific guidance from you.

          • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

            His site has really helped me! Oh…thanks!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      One tip: Reply with another question. Sometimes, others will chime in to answer.

      I haven’t heard this complaint before. What browser and hardware are you using? I test my site routinely with respect to load times. I have only found one blog that loads faster. I am using an objective third party service (WhichLoadsFaster.com), so my local machine is not a factor.

      • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

        I will try that…thanks!
        Oh I know it is not your site. It does it with everything! I am using
        Internet Explorer and I have a PC that is running windows vista. Do you
        think that could be the problem?

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          It might be. However, there are so many variables, it’s hard to say.

          • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

            It has been working today so I hope it stays this way!

      • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

        That’s a great tip about replying with a question!

        As for Disqus on your site, I have found it to work well about 95% of the time. There are occassions when there seem to be problems – either the styling won’t load, the commenting system will not be available, or a comment won’t post properly.

        The strangest one was with the first couple of days of March’s Top Posts and Commentor’s post… I tried several times to put comments in. It looked like it worked. But, nothing seemed to register with Disqus – either being displayed on the page or accessible through the ‘Activity’ shown through the Disqus profile. It did this whether I was using a Mac or PC, IE, Firefox or Chrome. After a couple of days, I could comment again.

        I wonder if that is why the overall comment count for that post was quite a bit lower than the normal count…

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          It might have been. I know they have glitches from time to time. Nothing is perfect, I guess. Thanks for your persistance!

          • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

            So true – nothing is perfect. And it wouldn’t be much fun if everything was perfect :-)

      • http://www.brandonkraft.com Brandon Kraft

        I was reading up on whichloadsfaster.com and it actually runs client-side, so it your local machine would have some impact (e.g., DNS caching, location of servers (self-hosted from across the house would always kill!), etc). My site loaded 35% faster on six runs, which doesn’t make sense from my experience of visiting both our sites at, say, a coffee shop.

        I like whichloadsfaster.com a lot, so just a clarification.

  • Beth West

    I thought the dinner party comparison was very terrific as well. I’ve noticed through the years reading blogs that when a writer puts up a great post, and then there’s a wonderful discussion happening in the comment section and the writer of the post is nowhere around, it seems a little weird! Yet by the same token, if there are 90 comments and she’s replied to each one of them, that’s a little strange (and exhausting for her) too. The dinner party analogy describes the situation perfectly.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Good, I’m glad it works for you. I find that what works in the real world usually works online as well.

  • http://twitter.com/BobEwoldt Robert Ewoldt

    Michael, I think that your site is like a large party, where there’s pockets of people talking in the kitchen, in the den, and outside in the backyard. My site is like a group of 4-5 people that are getting together to watch a game :) When you have lots of different conversations going on at once, you aren’t obligated to be involved in all of them all the time. But when there’s only one conversation going on, I think you’re responding to most/all of the comments.

    • Anonymous

      this is a great analogy.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      You might be right. Again, I think the key issue is scalability.

  • Anonymous

    I think blog comments are a place for everyone to have a conversation; it is not the responsibility of the blog writer to respond to every comment. The blog writer has already written their piece; comments are a chance to step out of the way and let others have their say as well. Of course, some comments invite the writer to respond, to answer a question or clarify a point. But, for the most part, comments do just fine if the writer steps out of the way and lets everyone else engage in the conversation.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FJRLITL5IEFHDDFURAESLXOOZ4 Jim Whitaker

    I have to admit that I am small time blogger and do it more for my own kind of outside of the box activity. I do not have a large following of folks like you do and so I respond to every post that I get. I am though in the process of re-vamping my blog and really appreciate the insight that you have provided here. I have to admit to that your incentive was the thing that caught my eye and moved me from an everyday reader to an everyday poster too. I like Disqus and may have to consider it as part of my overhaul of my system. I really do appreciate the way you integrate yourself into the conversations, I remember in the beginning thinking, wow here is the CEO of a book company responding to me and telling me that he appreciates what I wrote. Thanks for the post and keep the cool content coming.

    • Karl Mealor

      “I remember in the beginning thinking, wow here is the CEO of a book company responding to me and telling me that he appreciates what I wrote. ”

      Michael, that personal contact impressed me as well, and I think it probably has more to do with the success of your blog than you may realize. Even when you’re not responding to something I write, I still take note that you’re taking time to respond specifically to others.

      • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

        Tagging on to Karl’s thought, I know I have several of your responses to my comments filed under “encouraging letters.” I’ve appreciated your name among the comments posted. You’ve entered the conversation at appropriate times and we sense your presence in a positive way. Thanks to my experience here, I hope to duplicate a lot of what you’ve done for me and pass it on to others. My blog has a different focus but I hope in time to replicate the feel of a Michael Hyatt blogging experience.

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          Thanks for those kind words. I’m grateful it is working.

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        I actually agree with you. I am surprised more bloggers don’t do it.

      • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

        I had the same experience. Michael responded to the very first comment that I ever left in the community and it resulted with the same “wow” thought. Since then, the level field of conversation that I have experienced has been incredible.

    • http://twitter.com/BobEwoldt Robert Ewoldt

      I agree, Jim. Smaller blogs are easier to manage when there’s a smaller number of comments.

  • http://www.kevinteast.com Kevin East

    Good post, Michael. I disagree with a couple of your points, though. Here are the 5 reasons why I think many people comment on your posts, in descending order:

    5. You are proven. You aren’t a rockstar, but I think there is something to interacting with a (former) CEO of a large organization. That isn’t something people do everyday. There is much wisdom to be gleaned.

    4. You are active. You blog regularly, consistently. Your content is precise, honed in on a very small target range. Having followed your blog for about 6 months now, I know around 90% of your posts I will be interested in.

    3. I agree with you, that you incentivize your commenters. Because you value the comments, you reward those who participate.

    2. Again, I agree, you engage in the conversation. You didn’t just create, and leave the blogosphere watching from a distance. You interact with people.

    1. This one is the kicker. You shepherd your “followers.” Through your tweets and posts, people really get the impression you care. I don’t see that with many people online. I appreciate that about your activity online.

    Just my thoughts….

    • Karl Mealor

      Very well said, Kevin. I particularly agree with #1. You get the impression that Michael isn’t doing this just to build his online following. There’s a lesson there for all of us.

    • http://twitter.com/BobEwoldt Robert Ewoldt

      I think Kevin is right about his #1: you give advice and guidance to your commenters.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      This is excellent input, Kevin. Thanks for such a thoughtful comment. From a distance, you can obviously see things that I am probably too close to see.

  • Anonymous

    Great post Michael. Thanks, as always, for sharing.

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    Mike, you’re dinner party analogy works very well and illustrates exactly what I’ve experienced since moving from lurker to commenter. I’ve gotten to know other guests at the party and have enjoyed their comments as much as yours. Your readers bring a lot to the table. In fact, taking your dinner analogy one step further, I find you offer the first course, your posted article, then others bring additional food for thought and let us feast together. We’ve had some good eating over this past year.

    • http://blog.ashleypichea.com Ashley Pichea

      I like your description of moving from lurker to commenter within the dinner party analogy – it’s been a fun adventure getting to know the other guests at the parties!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      It’s like a potluck!

      • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

        Only not as fattening! :-0

  • http://snappycasual.tumblr.com kelsey williams

    Thank you so much for this post, Michael. I love the dinner party analogy.

    I get less than 25 comments per day, and I am constantly feeling guilty for not responding to all of them. To me, responding to their comment means visiting their blog and leaving a comment for them.

    I’m not as “big” as you (yet!), so I feel very much the importance of growing my readership. I appreciate every commenter (I think everyone does) so much that I want to say thank-you in some way.

    I want my blog to be my main job someday in the next few years, so I feel that I have to hustle. I think that the more you put in, the more you’ll get out. However, maybe responding to every comment is not where my time should be spent. The ROI is maybe not the most effective.

    Because, I wonder, when do I reach the point where I stop responding to all comments by visiting their blog? When do I “get there”? When do I stop reading hundreds of blogs and commenting on them and spending so much time doing this? Am I just commenting on their site so they comment on mine again? Is that not a natural relationship? So many questions…not enough answers! :)

    • http://blog.ashleypichea.com Ashley Pichea

      I used to visit the blogs of all my commenters, but anymore I struggle to keep up with responding to all the comments I get (and it’s not very many most days). I need to set chunks of time throughout the week to respond to comments and visit my commenters’ blogs.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      The key, I think, is that you have to allow time to write your blog. Comments are important, but if I don’t blog regularly, they will stop.

  • http://blog.ashleypichea.com Ashley Pichea

    I really like how you’ve pictured the comments on a post. As a “small” blogger, I do try to respond to every comment on my blog, but even then, I get overwhelmed at times. I’m working on trying to build community within the comments, but my readers are still slow to respond to one another in the comments. Once this happens, my responding to comments will definitely slow immensely. Thanks for the food for thought!

    • http://jackr.myopenid.com/ Jack Repenning

      Do you have opportunities to respond in ways that link comments together? Like “I’ve wondered about that too, Sue. Have you tried the trick Joe mentioned?”

      • http://blog.ashleypichea.com Ashley Pichea

        With Disqus, you can link directly to other comments. I haven’t thought
        about doing so, though within the comments. Thanks for the suggestion – I’ll
        definitely have to try that!

  • Karl Mealor

    Michael, related to your discussion of posting your comment counts: do you have a sense ahead of time as to which posts will get more comments? Do you evaluate your posts based upon the number of comments? Do you choose future topics based on the number of comments that you get on certain posts?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I am honestly terrible and predicting how popular a post will be. Often, I think I have posted something that is “killer” and it dies on the vine. Other times, I post something that I think is half-baked, wishing I had more time, and it takes off. Go figure.

      Typically, if I get 50 comments by 8:00 a.m., I know the post is going to be big. That’s about as scientific as I have gotten.

      • Karl Mealor

        It’s interesting that a post on comments has received a rather large number of comments.

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          Yea, I am kind of surprised.

  • Kay

    I don’t have a blog, but I have been thinking about it. This post has made me realize that it is quite a responsibility to maintain it. I like Micheal’s equating the blog with a dinner party conversation.

  • Jan Udlock

    Michael,
    Loved the dinner party analogy…But would your advice be the same if you have a smaller…(read that as tiny) blog?

    I know you’re speaking to the larger blogs and their many comments but my blog along with smaller blogs need some help with traffic. I want to encourage moms to comment so I comment back to them.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I still don’t think I would reply to every comment. I think it looks over-bearing—just like if you replied out loud to every comment at a dinner party. I think I would focus more on writing great posts. But that’s just me. Others in this thread disagree, and that’s fine.

  • http://www.jdeddins.com JD Eddins

    I think you have provided a great analogy with the idea of the dinner party and I agree with what you shared there. As for my blog, I have much less volume so I feel that I do need to try to comment back on 99% of the comments made. I know I am not going to get 100%, but I as I try to grow my blog I think it is important for my readers to see me engaged with their input.
    Do you think a blog should have a certain readership level before you start trying to do giveaways?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I have never really thought about the giveaways and the amount of blog traffic. I do it to drive traffic, of course. I think experimenting is REALLY important. Try it and see if it works!

      • http://www.jdeddins.com JD Eddins

        Thanks. I do think I need to keep experimenting with it. I have done a couple of giveaways on my blog, but they have not generated the number of responses I was hoping for. I think it is just matter of continuing to build my readership base, writing compelling content and trusting that at some point I will get the results I am looking for.

  • http://www.deiricmccann.com Deiric McCann

    On the money as usual Michael – some ideas I’ll definitely implement.

    A question if I may: how long after you first started your blog was it before you started to see comments flow ?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      It was months. If you look back at some of the posts in my archive you will see that they have very few comments. They started happening when I got more intentional. In fact, I have a post that you might find helpful in this regard. It is called “7 Strategies for Increasing Your Blog Comments.”

      • http://www.deiricmccann.com Deiric McCann

        Thanks for your honesty and openness. Very heartening (despite all the reading I’ve done on the topic I think I did somewhat expect that ‘if I built it they would come’ :-)

        In your debt,
        Deiric

  • http://cynthiaherron.wordpress.com Cynthia Herron

    I’m fairly new at blogging, but I’ll definitely remember your post for future reference! I anticipate comment growth as the months progress and as I chronicle my path to publication. Since I’ve just signed with my agent, I’m in the preliminary stages, but your advice today is wonderful! Thank you!

    You are an excellent teacher!

  • Ralph Stoever

    Great ‘dinner party’ analogy! I don’t have a blog yet, and am not sure I will. But the analogy gives me a way to think about it, see how to engage and how to contribute as a dinner party guest (blog reader).

    As an accepting reader, I did not care too much about whether comments require approval or not, but I feel very generally annoyed that some people’s bad behavior (not only on blogs) is used to justify penalising everyone. If I do start, I’ll use the same policy of open commenting.

  • Anonymous

    I try to comment back, but it is getting harder, especially since people will comment on the blog, Facebook, and Twitter. But I also count that as a blessing, as it means more people are reading, which hopefully means more lives being touched.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yep, that is exactly the way to look at it. It is a blessing and a privilege.

  • Anonymous

    Wonderful post today! I engage a few times a day with comments on Live with Flair. I think it’s really important to create a “community feeling.” By the way, I noticed the ad above about following your calling to publish! I JUST DID! I used createspace.com to publish “How to Write with Flair.” It was a wonderful experience, and the sales are moving. Here’s what I did: http://livewithflair.blogspot.com/2011/04/why-and-how-i-wrote-writing-book.html. Is Westbow talking about self-publishing? Thanks!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      WestBow is the self-publishing arm of Thomas Nelson.

      • Live with Flair

        Thanks! I’m requesting a catalog. I love your advice about responding with a question to further engage readers. Very teacherly!

        • http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com Gina Burgess

          I published my book “Refreshment in Refuge” through WestBow Press. I highly recommend it. I was able to create my own design inside, and my own cover outside with my own copy. As I went through the process, each person that helped me was very professional, courteous, and gave me such great advice. It was a good experience.

  • http://scottkantner.com Scott Kantner

    I think it’s a function of how many comments you’re geting combined with the half-life of the original post. Since you blog basically every other day, there is a point at which it becomes counter-productive to continue to reply to comments on a given post. The law of diminishing returns sets in.

    So I would say that new bloggers need/want to reply to everything in order to build audience, whereas well-established bloggers with high comment traffic need to draw the line in some way in order to remain productive.

    //Scott

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, this is true.

  • Angela Braach

    I have just recently connected with your blog. I am the secretary at a small church in Tennessee. Yesterday we had terrible storms so my son and I stayed at the building all day. In between hiding in the communion room and electricity problems, I read your E-book (CreatingYour Personal Life Plan) that I had recently downloaded. It has helped bring structure to information in my brain. This has given me amazing peace and focus.

    I like the information in your blogs. I learn something when I read your writings. Today I learned about commenting on blogs — something that I usually shy away from. I was encouraged to comment my thoughts. I like that. Stretches me.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Awesome. I am so glad to hear it!

  • http://twitter.com/BobEwoldt Robert Ewoldt

    Question: I know you’ve said that you spend over $1000 per month on your blog; how much of this is on giveaways and such–like the books and postage for commenters?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      None. That is all paid for by the publishers in exchange for the visibility they get.

  • PhiHoffman Email

    Thanks 4 validating this pt. You are the most helpful and masterful social media guru that I have found … But I’m more of a “lurker” who sponges your awesome ideas and suggestions. I’am so appreciative to your open helpfulness & acumen for helping others learn.
    I’m hesitantly trying to dive into the blog world but haven’t quite made the jump but am close.
    I’m also a big iPad fan, which I understand your position on the Kindle / McAir.
    Also enjoyed your video with Jim Collins … my two favorite leaders.
    Keep up your leadership by example,
    Phil

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Phil. I am just stumbling my way along!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for these tips. I never thought of comments like a dinner party conversation. It removes the stress of trying to respond to each comment. Thanks for another helpful post!!

  • http://twitter.com/breatheingrace Shelly Warren

    Thanks for the insights and the example of inviting folks to a dinner party; it makes perfect sense, like walking through the room and picking up on conversations but not necessarily contributing to everyone. It must be rewarding to “host the party” and get conversations started.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      It is an enormous privilege to be able to initiate the conversation.

  • http://hopefulleigh.blogspot.com/ HopefulLeigh

    As I average just a few comments per post right now, I tend to respond to them all. Unless the comment just says “great post.” I appreciate the sentiment but if it’s a regular commenter, I don’t feel the need to thank them every time. I can see as my response volume grows, I’ll need to be more discerning about who and when to respond. Good food for thought!

  • http://www.suttonparks.com Sutton Parks

    Excellent post! I was wondering the best way to comment. I’ll try to follow your guidelines; very helpful. Thank you Michael.

  • http://www.marcia-richards.com Marcia Richards

    Right now, I don’t have that many subscribers, so I can afford to respond to all comments. But I can see your point…respond to the comments which need an answer to a question or bring up a point that you want to highlight for other readers. The others who commented will enjoy reading your responses and will be likely to comment more often, maybe with even higher quality comments so they’ll get a response from you, too. Getting a response from a blog author, creates a more intimate connection with the reader, so it is something that readers/commenters reach for, in my opinion.

  • Brandon Weldy

    I currently have one follower on my blog (my brother) so I do not have a problem with this. I’m hoping one day I have more comments appearing and this post will really help for when that happens. I really liked the dinner party picture. I imagined myself running around, butting into everyone’s conversations with a quick one liner (or sometimes a long dialog) and then rushing over to say something to every other person in the room. It does not make sense. It really does give the readers an opportunity to interact with each other and sometimes leaving a comment every couple posts is just rude and makes the blogger seem like her is the only one with anything valuable to say.

    • http://twitter.com/BobEwoldt Robert Ewoldt

      Brandon, If you put a link to your blog posts on Facebook and Twitter, I find that it generates traffic to the blog. People who are interested in you on Facebook will see your link in their feed, and some/many of them will click through.

      • http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com Gina Burgess

        Plus you can activate a link between blog posts, Twitter, and Facebook so that when ever you post a new blog entry, it automatically posts to Twitter and to your Facebook page with a link. Joining Networked Blogs on Facebook also generated some new traffic for me.

      • Brandon Weldy

        As simple as that is, I had not thought of that. Thanks! !

  • http://multihatpastor.com Steve Cuss

    Michael,

    As a sometime commenter, I think reason #4 generates the most comments and also the fact that you seem to write in such a way that makes us desire to comment.

    Love the dinner party reference – that’s a great visual for how comments should operate.

    Steve Cuss
    http://multihatpastor.com

    • http://twitter.com/BobEwoldt Robert Ewoldt

      Steve, I really like your website! In addition to the content, I really enjoyed the header picture (can I be that superficial?).

  • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

    My blog is still relatively small – which makes it fairly easy to keep up with the comments. With this, I do try to respond to most comments – largely as a way to acknowledge, validate and thank the people that have taken the time to leave a comment.

    • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

      Ditto!

  • http://ashleyscwalls.wordpress.com Ashleyscwalls

    AS a new blogger with very few comments, I do respond to every comment. But I do agree with the suggestions provided in this post.

  • http://www.justcris.com Cris Ferreira

    I use the WordPress application for iPhone to keep up with the comments on my blog. I can easily read and respond using this application. I don’t like to use it to edit the posts, but it is very useful for the comments.
    I only wished it would have alerts, like the Twiter apps, it would be awesome.
    BTW, Michael, the first things that caught my attention when I first visited your blog is how you participate in the conversation. We don’t see it too often when the blog has the amount of comments your does.

  • Ianw386

    i really like your take on this issue, while i don’t get enough comments i can see this being a problem/challenge. I like the dinner party analogy, the host that keeps butting into conversations reminds me of the salesman that just won’t leave me alone!

  • http://wkevingilbert.me/ Kevin Gilbert

    More great insight from you, Michael. The party analogy is a great one. I’ve heard that before about social media, but hadn’t applied it to the blogging/commenting scenario. Excellent tips and insight.

  • Nicholas Scibetta

    Well laid out piece. This is the never-ending questions that not only bloggers, but brands are also grappling with.

  • http://profiles.google.com/suthenangel Kristyn Phipps

    I have an inspirational blog and I set a rule for myself to engage in conversation with my readers, but only if their comments needed feedback. Some people’s comments are perfectly fine left unanswered. Others are good for deletion as well!

    • http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com Gina Burgess

      Exactly, Kristyn, I feel the same way about deletion. However, if it isn’t foul and the poster makes a good point. I leave it up. I even leave up the ones that seem like the poster didn’t even read my blog.

    • http://twitter.com/BobEwoldt Robert Ewoldt

      I agree; there are some comments that don’t need to be answered.

    • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

      I placed a policy line on my site that states up front that I reserve the right to delete offensive comments…

  • http://markjmartin.com Mark Martin

    I comment on most of my comments. Like many others who have commented on this post, my blog is fairly new, so I don’t get a lot of comments yet. I did get the most comments earlier this week.

    Do you think it’s best to comment on all posts when the blog is young, and decrease responses as it grows? Or should one have this philosophy you are proposing from the start?

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

      Mark, that’s a great question and hits a lot of us. We’ve recently been inspired by our experience here, have some thoughts, and now we’re crazy enough to put them out there in cyberspace to float around until our mothers actually read and comment. So what does reply-to-comment look like at the beginning and how does it change as our blog gains readers or dies from natural causes and/or neglect?

      • http://markjmartin.com Mark Martin

        You’ve got to start somewhere, right?

        I have been replying to most comments, but not all.

        Hope things go well for you in your new blog.

  • http://www.thedailywalk.net Adam

    I try to respond to all comments. I feel it just gives those that comment the sense that I reading their comments and not just hitting publish and moving on.

    Great post by the way. Good info.

  • http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com Gina Burgess

    I respond to comments because I want my commenters to feel “loved” and appreciated. I don’t have as many followers or comments as you do, Mike. I’m rowing as fast as I can :)

    PS I absolutely LOVE Disqus. I didn’t know so many bloggers had it until I started using it. Now at a lot of places, I don’t have to “sign in”; I can just post.

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    Michael,

    From time to time, you post an article that generates more thoughts and comments from me. This happens to be one. When that happens, I like to dip into the dining room and offer short observations, a few snack items, then duck back out into my other world (or worlds, depending on if I’m writing fiction or not).

    You’re point #2, providing an incentive to comment, i.e. a good book as a gift, really pushed me forward into the conversations. Even if I failed to communicate, at least enough failures equaled a good read.

    I still enjoy the incentive but good conversation drives my comments more than anything. After all, when someone makes a helpful or insight-filled comment, I like to say, “Well done,” (and I’m not talking about the burger–oh, we’re having steak tonight?).–Tom

  • Louise Thaxton

    I just started my blog a few months ago – so I am a “Baby Blogger”! But I have been a bit discouraged that so many people do NOT leave comment on the blog – BUT will send me a message on FaceBook – or an e-mail – and say “hey….loved the blog…” – and I’m thinking – “….so why didn’t you put it in the comments!” My coach, Tim Enochs, with Building Champions reassured me that this was “normal” and pointed out that I don’t post a lot of comments on HIS blog – OUCH!

    I realized that I am a “closet blog reader” also! I read many blogs – and think “that was GREAT!” but never comment. But – I’m changing my wicked ways – I am a born-again blog commenter now!

    • http://twitter.com/BobEwoldt Robert Ewoldt

      Louise, don’t be discouraged. There are a lot of people that don’t comment on blogs. It takes a while to build up a following so that there are people that will consistently comment on your site. Also, make sure you’re drawing people in with questions so that they have a springboard to start from. I also notice that Michael will often (after writing out his question) put “Click here to leave a comment,” which might drive the commenting from Facebook to the actual blog.

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        Yes, this is precisely why I do it, so that where ever people find the post, they can get to the blog comments with a click.

        • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

          So…. this might be a dumb question. But how to you make the “click here” link take you to the comments instead of the page top?

          • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

            I wish I had an easy answer. This takes some knowledge of PHP. Do this at your own RISK!

            You will need to modify your single.php file in self-hosted WordPress. It will be in your current theme folder. (If this confuses you already, then stop and hire a professional.) In that file, add this code snippet:

            Add this just above where your comments code section begins. Save the file.

            Now when you want to take users directly to the comments section, append this bookmark to the end of the permalink. For example,

            http://michaelhyatt.com/take-your-organization-to-the-next-level.html#respond

            Hope that helps.

          • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

            This does help. Now to just get around to figuring it out…

    • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

      I agree with Robert. It takes people a while before ther feel comfortable entering the community. I have several people who’ve made comments on my site, but only a few so far, who’ve joined the conversation and comment regularly. As much as I am impatient, I would love to speed up the process. I have to keep reminding myself that it takes time… it takes time… it takes…

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        It does take time. Everyone (including me) looks for the quick fix. But mostly this takes being intentional, strategic, and—most of all—patent.

        • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

          Ahhh, patience. I wish there was a faster way to get that…

  • bethanyplanton

    I love the analogy you used today. I think that is a great way to think about comments. I have not had much experience with blogs yet, but I sure have had experience with planning events. It is great to be able to plan an event so people can mingle with each other.

  • http://movethemountains.blogspot.com Chad Jones

    I’ve been wracking my brain, trying to figure out why I don’t get more comments. I have (I think) compelling content, a commenting system, do a reasonable amount of promotion… Even implemented suggestions you gave me via email, Mr. Hyatt. And yet, so often it’s crickets.

    Anybody who wants to can pop over to http://www.randomlychad.com to see for themselves. Please don’t be bashful about telling me what sucks.

    Thanks!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      The one thing I noticed, Chad, is that you aren’t ending with a question. In other words, you are not inviting me into a conversation. I would start there.

      • http://movethemountains.blogspot.com Chad Jones

        Thank-you, sir! I can do that.

    • Louise Thaxton

      I checked it out, Chad, and I found it interesting and insightful and I have had seasons where I felt the same way.

      • http://movethemountains.blogspot.com Chad Jones

        Thank-you very, very much, ma’am! I replied to you there as well.

    • http://twitter.com/BobEwoldt Robert Ewoldt

      Chad, I visited your site, and found it to be very good. How long have you been blogging?

      • http://movethemountains.blogspot.com Chad Jones

        Thank-you very much, Mr. Ewoldt!

        I’ve been regularly blogging since about last October (though I
        initially created the blog in 2004).

  • http://cashwithatrueconscience.com/rbblog Ryan Biddulph

    Hi Michael,

    An excellent post that resonates strongly with me.

    As I receive more comments I see how time consuming a process it is to respond to each one. I’ve yet to reach a tipping point but as the numbers increase all I can do is to respond to the ones I can respond to.

    As we grow, we learn to continue doing certain things and releasing on others.

    Thanks for sharing!

    RB

  • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

    What is the best way to get others to comment in reply to others instead of me doing it all the time. I would like to have a community like this one some day!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I would ask follow-on questions. Also, it might be good to cast the vision on your blog for the kind of community you want to create. That might help. When in doubt, ask for what you want!

  • http://twitter.com/BarbaraThayer1 Barbara Thayer

    Since my blog is new, I have a manageable amount of comments so I like to respond to them all. However, I can see the wisdom in what you wrote about coming to a place where it would not be possible to respond to all comments. I can tell you that as a writer I put my heart into what I write and it blesses me to interact with others who at least come and visit me and comment. I like fellowship…God made us all for that so a blog can give us that type of atmosphere if we work to encourage it. Thank you for your article. So helpful to a new blogger such as myself. Blessings!

  • Agatha Nolen

    Thanks for the pratical advice; I’ve read experts take both sides about responding to every comment. I don’t get that many, but some are similar or just agreeing with the post. I do have comment moderation on–there are a few from some people in my past that were not appropriate and I’m glad my webmaster had an opportunity to review before they went public. Thanks again for timely advice.
    Agatha

  • Anonymous

    I just set up Disqus on my blog. I use blogger and it only took 5 minutes. Very simple! Thanks for the recommendation. I think it did remove some of my old comments. I might have to play around with that.

  • Ebenezerspastor

    I seldom comment on blog posts. And I seldom read comments left by others. Being a bivocational pastor my time is quite limited, so I read it, consider it and apply what is valuable for my situation and ministry. This may appear to be somewhat shortsighted by some, but when time is so limited I must use it most effectively.

  • Jmhardy97

    Thank you for this. I felt I needed to reply to everything. I feel a lot better after reading this.

  • Duke Dillard

    Thanks for this, Michael. I was not able to read every comment so maybe this was mentioned already, but I was wondering if maybe at some point you could comment (maybe a post or series of posts?) on the parts of your site that are custom code like the “talk bubbles” you mention in the post. Do you have recommendations for the uninitiated as to how we can learn to do that? Are there teaching sites or books you recommend? Thank you.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I doubt that I will do that, Duke, only because it would apply to such a small subset of my audience. Writing this kind of code is not for the faint of heart. It takes knowledge of PHP, HTML, and CSS. I could do it myself, but it would take hours and hours. That’s why I chose to hire a professional and stay focused on my writing.

      • Duke Dillard

        That makes sense. I did not understand that from your post. Thanks for the clarification. Can you let us know who you use for these kinds of customized codes? You have mentioned companies/people you use but I am not sure if this is different.

  • http://fitmindfitlife.com HT

    Great post again. I love the idea of hosting a banquet where your guests have the chance to “talk”. I use the plugin ‘Subscribe to Comments Reloaded’ on my WP blog.

  • http://www.tillhecomes.org Jeremy Myers

    I try to respond to every comment, and I also try to visit the website of the person who commented and post a comment there. Often, I end up subscribing to their RSS feed also.

    Clearly, this is not possible for a blog like yours where you get so many comments. But for us smaller blogs, it helps build community.

    • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

      I often do the same thing. Glad to know my mind isn’t the only one that thinks like this!

  • Melissa – Mel’s World

    What a relief and I don’t have half as many comments…ok, not even a fraction, as you do, but the reality is that the discussion is not about me, but a collaboration of everyone there talking and discussing things…love your direct approach and logic behind it, thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.growup318.com heather joy

    This is a great article! I will be referring back to this in the future, no doubt.

    My blog isn’t nearly as “active” as this blog is, but I do get quite a few commenters (most of them frequent visitors who engage in conversation and post multiple comment). And I’ve struggled keeping up with it all.

    On mondays, I post a Question of the Day, but I’ve made it a rule to stay out of the conversations that engage there as much as I can. In fact, I even have it written down in the “comment policy” on my blog. This gives my readers a chance to discuss something without me getting involved and voicing my opinions like I do the other 5 days out of the week that I publish a blog post. It’s my chance to hear strickly from them, and give my big mouth a breather. :]

    Thank you again though for this advice. Very helpful.

  • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylereed

    Michael you are a master at responding to comments and I think the biggest reason for that is because you care. I think that could be the thing that trumps all pieces of advice for gaining for comments, caring.

    You definitely display that and show that and I think people respond well to that.

    I also know, anything that involves competition and status will definitely gain some more traction as well. Great idea.

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  • Wayne Bays

    If I feel I have something interesting or insightful to say; or I find the subject worthy of one more comment, after reading he rest, I’ll toss in my two cents.

  • http://twitter.com/jeffreyMurias Jeffrey Murias

    You’ve been doing a great job Michael, and I’m really enjoying your blog. Congrats on the home office!

  • http://coachradio.tv/ Justin Lukasavige

    Good insight. I always want to jump in, but realize it can be rude. I like the anology.

  • http://writespeaksell.com Jeannette Paladino

    I don’t get nearly as many comments as you do, although I do try to reply to each of them. But you bring up a good point. It’s not about me, it’s about the conversation among the people commenting. I’ve been thinking about this myself lately and it looks strange that every other comment is from me. Hereafter, I plan to reply after every few comments, as is your practice, when I can sum up a thread in the comments and can add something and also to let people know I’m interested in the conversation.

  • Anonymous

    I have always appreciated the fact that you respond to so many comments.

    I received a comment on my blog, once. But it was a wrong number. : (

  • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

    I love being interactive on my blog, and while I’m smaller than a lot of blogs, I have the ability to replt to most of the comments if I choose to. I love the conversation that happens here.

    My opinion, I think you’ve hit the right balance in replying to comments.

  • http://FatWalr.us/ Luke

    I just finished a post on my own blog about the importance of upgrading a blog’s commenting system from the default ( http://fatwalr.us/2011/04/commenting-systems-why-every-blog-should-have-a-better-one/ ). I’m also a Disqus user and agree with Michael’s thoughts on their platform. I’m going to write up a comparison of some of the available options in the next few days.

  • http://twitter.com/ficwriter Darrelyn Saloom

    Great post! Though I think if someone takes the time to leave a comment, I need to do my best to show my appreciation. In return, I have gained wonderful new friends and a great writing partner. But I only write a monthly guest post for Jane Friedman’s blog, There Are No Rules. If I blogged every day or a few times a week, it would be much more difficult to do.

  • Scsf41

    Well you used to censor comments on your blog. Anyone who disagreed with you got blocked. Then you would send one of your junior editors around spamming blogs of those people. And Westbow is just a plain rip-off although of course you believe differently. A vanity press that rips off writers coming and going. I just wonder about people who mix their religion with making money. Seems to be an inherent conflict of interest.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I still do delete comments on occasion—like I almost did this one. But that is not censorship, Michael (yes, we know who you are). Censorship is what the government does when they violate your first amendment rights of free speech. But that does not give you the right to access private media. You can’t just show up at NBC and demand a microphone. Nor can you demand that the New York Times print your article. If the content is not appropriate, you will be sent packing.

      Obviously, I disagree with you about WestBow Press, as would most of our customers. And, just for the record, it’s not like you don’t have a dog in the hunt. I am well aware of the books you sell on do-it-yourself publishing, which, by the way, is a legitimate option. It’s just that we believe “assisted publishing” (like WestBow) and traditional publishing (like Thomas Nelson) are also legitimate options.

      Let me finish by saying that this is off-topic with regard to this post. I will delete further comments from you on this topic. Thanks.

    • http://FatWalr.us/ Luke

      Scsf41, I can’t imagine why your posts would ever get removed…I mean, they add so much to the conversation…

      As Michael points out, you are complaining about an act of moderation, not censorship. You can’t show up on other peoples’ blogs, whine about their content, company, or moderation policies and expect to be heard. You also can’t go to China and start IHateTheChineseGovernment.com. One is an example of moderation. The other is censorship.

      If you want to be taken seriously, I suggest coming up with a username that sounds just a little less troll-like (it won’t be hard), get yourself a nice profile picture, and then think up content that will add to a conversation. You don’t always have to be positive…you can add to a conversation with a negative perspective. You do, however, need to come across with respect, something that this post shows no signs of.

  • http://www.jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy’s Confessions

    Interacting with commentors is one of the best parts of writing a blog. When people take the time to add their thoughts, it enhances the experience for everyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Hi. Interesting points.

    Quote: “As the host, you don’t have to respond to every comment.” – yes, it has to be all about the guests and probably you don’t have to respond to every comment, but as the host don’t you greet everyone at the party? Isn’t that a courtesy aspect?

    Moreover, the comments under an article are about what you wrote, not about things that the people commenting posted. So the best entitled to respond to the issues is the author of the post. Plus, the comments are directed at you, the author, not at the others; except when specifically mentioned.

    So, it’s not as black and white as in this point. Ok, I can understand that having 100 or more comments under a post, it’s a long task to reply to each of them. But at the same time, people took time to read what you posted, each one of them, and took time to think and write a comment. What if, no one took the time to read or think and write a comment under a post?

    Anyway, that is my opinion and no, I don’t expect a reply to this comment LOL.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I do read every comment, but I don’t comment on every one. It just doesn’t scale.

  • Anonymous

    I comment only when I have something to say. I agree you get instant feedback and can ask a variety of questions but you don’t have to respond to every post. I would rather spend my time writing for my book.

  • Anonymous

    I love disqus, and therefore try to install it on all of the blogs that I use.

  • http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/ David Peach

    There are some of my sites where I don’t get many comments. I try to respond to every comment on those because it doesn’t take too much time. I don’t know if all commenters follow up on their comments, but I hope it shows them I am interested in their comments.

    I have not decided if I am a fan of the Disqus system. As someone who owns several websites I have been frustrated with commenting systems like Disqus. I want the ability to leave a comment with a link back to my most appropriate website based on the blog I am commenting on. The simple WordPress commenting system is perfect for this. I put in my name, web address and email address. I can make the choice right then. With a system like Disqus I need multiple logins for each one of my websites. Not a big fan. Therefore I usually always leave a comment as “guest.”

  • http://punditcommentator.blogspot.com Pundit Commentator

    Us newbie bloggers have to respond to every comment in order to grow a community…and of course, we want to! Plus Disqus makes it so easy and fun with the like button.

  • http://articlebin.com/view-Trade4Target-93314.html trade4target

    Thanks so much for this! I haven’t been this moved by a blog for a long time! You’ve got it, whatever that means in blogging. Anyway, You are definitely someone that has something to say that people need to hear. Keep up the good work. Keep on inspiring the people!
    regards:
    trade4target

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  • PAC_sg

    Been following you in twitter and couldn’t resist dropping a comment here. Glad to read some of your interesting posts and say thank you for your posts. I don’t blog and think of starting soon. But if i start one, can see a challenge on comments and liked your pitch.

  • Anonymous

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  • http://www.badcreditwhiz.com Bad Credit

    Great blog, its feels so relax reading your blog.

  • http://hemalshah.net Hemal

    I got here through a blogger friend and am sure I am not disappointed. You specified a gread deal of how we can sail through the comment – reply delima.
    :)

    Thanks, Hemal

  • http://goldbackedsavingsplan.com Cheryl Jones

    You know, I was doing a search for something else and came across your site.  I really like the idea that you are open to people commenting.  So often, there is such a policing of information.  How many times have I had good information in health, politics, business or some field…sometimes something people really needed to know… and there was such a “wall” to getting the information through, that it I had to choose whether I wanted to take the time to go through the wall. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for noticing that. I have tried to make it as easy as possible. Some bloggers fear spam; others fear criticism. Both of these are over-exaggarated. I use Askimet, a WordPress plugin, to filter out spam. It is 99.9% reliable. I also find that the trolls are less likely to post when they see the blogger actively engaged in the comments.

  • http://frankdickinson.me/ Frank Dickinson

    Hi Michael –

    I’m thinking of switching back to DISQUS from Intense Debate. I am completely in the dark about CSS styling, but would love to be able to set my comments apart from the rest like you have here.

    Is it simple to make that happen – any tricks or tips?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I love Disqus, especially as compared to IntenseDebate. You will need to know some CSS if you want to customize. I have learned mostly Googling what I wanted to do.

      In the Disqus control panel, go to your website, then select Settings | Appearance. Scroll down to the Custom CSS box at the bottom of the page. To get you started, here is what is in mine:

      /* Styling overall comment section */
      div#disqus_thread{
      background-color: #FFFFFF !important;
      padding:10px 20px 0px 20px !important;
      font-size:12px;
      margin-top:0px}

      #dsq-content .dsq-comment-message {
      font-size: 14px;
      color: #333333;
      font-weight:normal;
      background-color: #FFFFFF !important;
      }

      /* Styling for MH comments */
      #dsq-content .dsq-special .dsq-comment-header {
      background-color:#CEE3F6 !important;
      border-color:#58ACFA !important;
      color:#333333 !important;
      }

      #dsq-comment-buttons {
      color: #333333 !important;
      }

      /* Styling for Reactions */
      .dsq-h3-reactions {font-family:”Trebuchet MS”, helvetica,arial,sans-serif; margin-bottom:20px;}

      .dsq-references .li {background-color:#f0f0f0;}

      .dsq-h3-trackbacks {font-family:”Trebuchet MS”, helvetica,arial,sans-serif; margin-bottom:20px; border-top:1px solid #ccc;padding-top:10px;
      background:#f0f0f0;border-top:20px solid #e6e6e6;margin:0 -20px;padding:20px;
      }
      #dsq-content div.dsq-item-trackback {display:none}
      #dsq-content #dsq-references {
      background:#f0f0f0;
      margin:0 -20px;
      padding:0 20px 20px;
      }

      #dsq-content #dsq-references li {margin-bottom:20px}
      #dsq-references a {color:#317DC9;font-size:1.2em}
      div#disqus_thread{padding-bottom:0}

      .dsq-brlink{margin-bottom:10px;display:block}

      #disqus_thread #dsq-content #dsq-reactions .dsq-comment .dsq-header-avatar a.dsq-avatar img { height:32px; width: 32px;
      background-color: #ffffff;
      color: #333333;
      }

      #dsq-comments-title h3 {margin-top:10px;text-transform: capitalize}
      #dsq-content #dsq-comments .dsq-append-post {margin-top: -1em}

      #dsq-content .dsq-comment-message {
      background: none !important;
      }

      Hope that helps.

      • http://frankdickinson.me/ Frank Dickinson

         Thank Michael – much appreciated!

        I’ll give it a whirl now.

  • http://debomendoorhetbosch.blogspot.com/ Andre J.C. Bor

    Thank you for the tip to use Disqus as your blog-commentsystem. Last week I installed it on my blog. And I would hate the thought to switch back already :-)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I am still loving Disqus after more than six months. I wouldn’t go back either.

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  • http://twitter.com/bhoday Lynie Rose Tinguban

    I am in trouble how to use facebook and twitter when my visitors post a comment.

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  • Tawhid224

    this is outstanding

  • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

    Yes, I have written about this here: My Advice to Beginning Bloggers.

  • http://trickearnblog.com/ Karan Lugani

    Nice one..!! Disqus seems to be a great deal.

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    Thanks for this blog.That’s one more area where my experience paralleled yours, Michael: I started with Disqus years ago when the company was just starting out. 

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    Have you had anyone ask you if you can make the script for the three “talk bubbles”. Or maybe it’s for sale somewhere?  Maybe?  :)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      We have discussed it, but probably won’t do it. It’s a lot of work to turn it into a plugin, and I am just not certain we would see a good return on investment. As an alternative, you should look at ShareThis and AndThis.

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    I think you don’t need to respond to every comment. Its best to let a conversation flow throughout the comments. Users will generally answer the comments for you. There is no need to answer a comment, unless its a useful on topic question that other users will find the answer to helpful. 

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    I think you should only respond if it makes sense to and you have time. Otherwise you will spend all of your time responding to comments, rather than writing new blog posts.

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    I like responding to blog comments. It’s nice to start the conversation with your readers but then again, I know there are comments that are there to spam you. 

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    It really aggravates me when things are so complicated.  I’m sure the programmers are familiar with it, as they built it step-by-step, but as a  non-technical person who has put a lot of effort into learning enough technology to get me around on the internet.

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    I think that responding to comments, at least occasionally, enables the person who left the comment to feel a sense of connectedness and value.
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    That’s a good path to take. I know I like it when the blog owner responds and engages me in my comments.

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    THIS IS VERY OUTSTANDING.I THINK THIS BLOG GET FOR THANKS.

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     I like it when people use commenting systems that give you an email notification when people respond to just your comment..

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Disqus has this feature. You must activate it in your Disqus profile settings.

    • http://www.essexportal.co.uk Jon

      Yeah, Discus does that, there is also a WordPress plugin, Subscribe to Comments, that does the same. 

  • http://www.mactonweb.com Web design London

    I love the email notifications and ability to respond via email. It makes continuing the conversation so much more manageable!

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  • http://www.mactonweb.com/ Web design London

    I love Disqus (when it doesn’t take forever to load) for comments… I love the email notifications and ability to respond via email. 

    • http://justin.am/ Justin Wise

      It’s pretty great! We like it here on the site for the same reason. Flexible platform, ease-of-use, and email moderation make it a WINNER. Thanks for reading, James!

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  • http://www.mspy.com/ Mang Marquart

    Of the thousands of blogs out there, someone took the time to read and
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    That is really good advice. I had never thought about intentionally
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  • http://www.kingscrossmedia.com/ Kkmedia508

    Ya i have also a 2 blogs and most of the time respond to the commenter.

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  • Rmembrme

    Thank you–I am new to blogging and was feeling overwhelmed with comments.  I blog on a quilting website and sometimes the comment is just to say my current project is neat.  If someone asks for more info or details, I respond via their email, or if they help me with a specific problem, I also respond personally.  If five people give me the same info, I respond in the blog.  I hope this is okay.  Thank you for the tips.

  • Jon Wade

    Group replies make sense. Sometimes several comments on one topic lead me to write a new blog post to address those questions.

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    some time its not to easy to respond to every comment…the only which seems to be relative or asked for any query or suggestion are responded

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