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Should You Respond to Comments via Email or in Comments?

Respond-To-CommentsIn my last post on responding to comments on your blog two readers, john – from fat to fat and Lynnae, both post the question of whether a blogger should respond to comments via email or via comments?

I’d like to throw this open as a reader question – what do you do?

Let me share a few suggestions to kick off the discussion.

I think that either can work – and in some circumstances it can either be worth to respond via comment AND to send an email.

Respond in Comments – The advantage of responding via comments is that it’s a public response that could answer questions of many and that shows the wider reader community that you’re engaging with them. The disadvantage of doing it via comments is that the person may never see it as many people leave comments and don’t keep track of responses.

Respond via Email – The advantage of responding via email is that the person will see the response and that it’s a much more personal thing which can have a real impact upon your reader. Of course the downside is that it’s a private thing and something that your wider reading community can’t participate in.

Both? – The third alternative is to do both which will cover all your bases (although it’s a touch more work).

I guess for me it depends upon what you’re responding to. If it’s an important question I’d do both. If it’s a comment that has more of a personal question in it then I’d respond via email and if it’s a little more general in nature I think just doing it in comments is ok.

Another Option – There’s one more alternative though and it’s something I’m doing right now.

You can respond in a new post.

This has the advantage of continuing the conversation by drawing attention to an older post, highlighting a reader’s comments and getting you another post.

What do you do?

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. nika says:

    I started doing both because I found out that as a commentor I really liked it when the blogger emailed ME with the response or even just a personal email extending the conversation more off topic.

    I would not mind a plugin (WP) that makes it automatic (may be one, I have not found it yet, would like it) but doing it by hand is not that hard!

  2. I personally try to respond via the comments as much as possible. I’ve thought about doing an email response also, but never had. Then I thought… hey why don’t I write a plugin to do both: submit my comment AND send an email.

    Of course one glance down the comments and Linda R. Moore above has suggested an existing plugin that does just that. I’ve gone and downloaded it and will try it out tonight after the commute home.

  3. Rich Minx says:

    I always reply via the comments so everyone can read my response. The only time I email is if I think the person would prefer my reply to be private.

  4. I’ve created a Firefox extension that let’s me respond to comments on the blog AND in email at the same time. It works on all WordPress / WordPress.com blogs.

    Should be released by the end of the month.

  5. I handle this the same way I handle responses to students in my online course.

    If a student poses a question in email that calls for a brief answer, I respond in email.

    If he poses a question on the Discussion Board, I respond on the Discussion Board.

    Regardless of where they post, if the question calls for a deeper and longer answer, and concerns everyone, I write an article and add it to the course resources or FAQs.

    I think creating a new blog post about an issue that warrants it, is an excellent way to handle this.

  6. Deb says:

    So thrilled to see this, because I’ve been thinking a lot about this. I email the person, because often times I don’t go back to a site where i left the comment, and prefer to be emailed…

    on the other hand, if i do both, other people can participate in conversation. I wish i was better about adding it onto my blog comments as well

    people like to be acknowledged and heard, so as long as the writer of the comment feels heard, i feel like i’ve done okay

  7. What I’ve been doing was respond to them on their blog after I’ve read what they posted that day… which I don’t think is working like I thought it would so I will be doing the comments to comments thing Unless I can somehow get a comment email responder on BLOGGER.

  8. WrenC says:

    Yeah, does anyone know of either

    1. A plugin to automatically respond to commentors thanking them for their comments, etc. (by email)
    or
    2. A plugin that lets you write a response to a commenter and both emails it and posts it as a comment

    FOR BLOGGER

  9. Darren:

    I tend to leave private messages in email format. I like to stay out of the public discussion and serve as a moderator. However, I do see merit in your approach of engaging the public in a discussion over the issues your post has covered. I pledge to become more engaging in my own posts in the future.

  10. Conrad says:

    I’ve never even thought about writing a new post in response to a comment. When I do this, I will email the person asking the question in the comment to inform them of the post.