The cheekiest reason why you should reply to comments is to instantly double them! This can make a big difference to a blog that's starting out.
A blog with a load of comments which haven't been answered shows the blogger doesn't care about his readers. This certainly won't encourage them to return.
I know some people can see this activity as unnecessary time and trouble, but really replying to your comments is a worthwhile pursuit. This infographic explains why:
And here's some code you could paste into your own posts (via the text mode) if you want to share this Infographic with your readers.
Create a community
A blog should become a safe haven for its readers. It is somewhere to read good content, to be educated and entertained. It should also be a place to mingle with like-minded people as well.
A blogger who doesn't reply to comments obviously doesn't value his readers. He forgets they are the life-blood of his blog. He should communicate with them as much as possible, to keep them sweet and on board.
And readers should be encouraged to talk to each other through comments. The more interaction there is between readers, the more comfortable they will feel about commenting on the blog.
Nurture a following
You don't need to focus only on your blog to build a following. Social media is a fabulous place to build a relationship with your readers. Here the proceedings are freer and less encumbered, especially since you can respond in real-time.
Wherever you share your content, you are exposing it to potential readers. They will be more interested if they feel your blog is written purely for them. And this is highlighted even more if you are around to reply to comments.
You can use replying to comments as a method of finding out more about your readers. Ask them questions to get them to open up. Show a real interest in their answers. Divulge some of your secrets to get them to relate to you.
Build up loyalty
Replying to your reader's comments helps to get them on your side. They will regularly return to your blog because they know you're their friend. They know they are always welcome.
Growing your community of commenters means they will start to become advocates for your blog. They will look out for each other, and even help police your comments against trolls and other undesirables.
And happy readers will be more willing to recommend posts which are relevant to the subject being discussed elsewhere.
Get more social shares
A band of loyal readers and commenters will feel more disposed towards sharing your content elsewhere. When they see your social sharing buttons, they will be more likely to use them.
It's good to know that by merely replying to your readers' comments, you are instantly in their good books. They feel part of your blog, which includes sharing it on social media.
When your loyal readers share your posts, they are exposing them to bigger the audiences. Which, of course, means more potential readers and ultimately commenters.
Acquire more backlinks
Sharing your blog posts' URLs on social media and elsewhere increases the backlinks to your blog. Now this is always something a blogger wants, because it arouses the interest of the search engines.
If your loyal commenters do this for you, the backlinks are spread over a much larger area. These could be coming from intensely relevant sources, which gives the backlinks more credibility.
Relevance is always important to the search engines. Influential backlinks can be obtained by commenting on other posts, and by inserting a URL to a relevant post when you submit your comment.
Achieve higher rankings
Obtaining higher ranking for your posts is a blogger's dream! This is done by obtaining more backlinks, both by you commenting elsewhere as well as replying to your readers' comments.
This higher ranking also helps to increase your blog's Domain Authority. Consistent commenting on your blog (doubled when you reply to comments) and elsewhere with relevant backlinks tells the search engines you are a popular blogger.
The search engines are on the look out for both popularity and relevance. They are hungry for new content, and a blog that ticks all the necessary criteria is definitely worth ranking higher.
Result in more brand queries
The more popular you become with your readers, the more likely they are to think of your blog as a relevant resource. This means they will probably type in your blog's name into the search engines rather than remembering its URL.
Google picks up on repetitive brand requests in its search criteria. Here must be a worthy source of excellent and indexable content, which deserves to be placed higher in the search results.
Replying to comments results in better relationships with commenters. These readers remember your blog, and many will prefer to type in your blog's name to find the URL. If yours comes to the top of the search results, you know you've made it!
Network of content sharers
These happy commenters, who regularly share your content on social media and recommend your posts in relevant sites, will also be more likely to share your content elsewhere.
Some people like to create roundup posts or curate blog links to back up their post's subject matter. If your reputation precedes you, there is a high chance your blog will be included.
All this accomplished because you happened to reply to comments. Who would have thought such a simple act would have such far reaching repercussions?
Do you reply to comments?
I hope you do and that you reply to all of them, even the really annoying ones that say just 'Nice post'. I used to ignore and delete these, but I've learned now that to build a community, these also need to be answered.
If the reader is tentative about commenting, they need to be encouraged. A 'Nice post' comment should be replied to by asking which bit of the post did they find nice? If they return to look for your reply, they may be encouraged to respond with the answer.
Replying to comments is a kind and forthcoming thing to do. It shows your appreciation for the bother your readers took to leave a comment. Never take your readers for granted.
What did you think of this post? Let me know in the comments below, and I promise to reply to you!