As bloggers, we know we need to respond to comments on our blog posts. This lets our readers know there is a real person behind the blog. But have you thought about whether or not your readers are seeing your responses to their blog comments?
WordPress does not automatically tell your readers when someone has responded to their comments. This means if you don’t have a comment notification plugin, your readers don’t know you have responded to their comments.
If you have a blog that allows comments from readers, you need to have a WordPress comment plugin that sends notifications to your readers to let them know when you have responded to their comments. In my opinion this is an absolute must! Otherwise the reader may forget all about the comment she left on your blog post and may never return to your blog to see if you responded.
If this person is already a follower of your blog, this may not be detrimental. But what if this person just stumbled upon an article you wrote? What if that person liked what they read, commented on your post, and then left to work on something else? How are you going to turn that one-time reader into a follower?
Don’t use Jetpack Subscriptions for Comment Notifications
You may have activated Jetpack when you started your blog. It automatically comes with new WordPress downloads. This is a great plugin for some features, but I would NOT recommend using Jetpack for comment notifications.
As a blogger and frequent blog commenter, when I see the familiar wording from Jet Pack, I immediately make sure that box is not checked.
Because I know I will get an email every single time a new comment is left on that post. So annoying! This is a feature of the plugin and there is no way to change that, aside from using a different plugin.
If you are not familiar with Jetpack Subscriptions, this module adds a check box below the comment form to give readers the option to receive notifications of new comments on that post. But it doesn’t say they will get notifications for every single new comment left on that post.
Most readers only want to know if the blogger reads and responds to their own comments. They don’t necessarily care, and sure don’t want to be notified, about everybody else’s comments on the post. (I am basing this reasoning on my own experience as a blog reader, as well as discussions with other bloggers.)
For a popular blog that receives a lot of comments, the reader may unsubscribe from updates before the blogger even gets a chance to respond to that’s reader’s comment.
If you are not sure if you are using Jetpack Subscriptions for comment notifications, you can go to Settings -> Discussion in your WordPress dashboard and scroll all the way to the bottom.
If you see the Jetpack Subscriptions Settings and the Follow Comments box is checked, your blog is using Jetpack Subscriptions for comment notifications.
What is a better option?
There are a lot of WordPress comment notification plugins, but not all of them will give the reader the option to only get a notification of a response to her own comment.
Two plugins that are capable of this, and that many bloggers recommend are:
Make sure you test whatever plugin you choose to make sure it works with your site. You can do this by commenting on one of your own posts while logged out of your dashboard. Then log in and respond to your own comment.
I currently use the plugin, Comment Reply Notification. This plugin has not been updated in the past 5 years and it’s not as easily customizable as I would like, but it serves its purpose.
It doesn’t matter what WordPress comment reply plugin you choose. The important part is that you are letting your readers know you are responding to their comments so you can build that relationship and retain those readers as followers.
Do you use a WordPress comment reply plugin for your blog? Which one do you use?