Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Is Responding To Comments Worth It?

You’ve seen me respond to thousands of comments, but is it really worth it? To date, I’ve responded to 50,696 comments on Quick Sprout and a few thousand more across the web.
On average, it takes me just over a minute to read each comment and then respond to it. Sure, sometimes it only takes a few seconds, but in many cases, you ask complex questions, and my responses require more time.
Here are the pros and cons of responding to comments:

Responding to comments increases your traffic

One of the biggest benefits of responding to comments is an increase in traffic. The more comments you have on each blog post, assuming they aren’t spam, the more text each page will have.
The more text you have on a page, the more long tail keywords you will rank for. This will help increase your overall search traffic.
In addition to more search traffic, you’ll notice that the number of repeat visits will go up as you continue to respond to more comments. When you respond thoughtfully, people look forward to your responses and come back to your site to read them.
When I look at my 3 marketing blogs, Quick Sprout, KISSmetrics, and Crazy Egg, I see that Quick Sprout has the highest percentage of returning visitors at 40.8%. KISSmetrics is at 34.1%, and Crazy Egg is at 18.7%. These last two blogs aren’t as active from a comment perspective because we don’t consistently respond to every comment.

Responding to comments increases sales

One thing I didn’t expect to find is that comments impact sales. At Quick Sprout, I help cover some of my costs by selling memberships to Quick Sprout University. What’s interesting is that most of the people who have bought the membership have commented on the blog.
A large portion of University members – 68.1% –  have commented on the blog before. Maybe these people are giving me money because they are thankful for my responses to their comments, or maybe they appreciate the free content I am publishing.
I don’t know the exact reason why commenters are more likely to purchase, but they are. For that reason, I should focus on encouraging more comments since the percentage of people who comment on the blog is less than 2%.

Responding to comments increases social shares

I surveyed two groups of users: people who commented on the blog and those who didn’t. I asked them one simple question: would you consider sharing Quick Sprout on Twitter or Facebook?
People who commented were 294% more willing to share a Quick Sprout post on the social web.
By responding to comments, you are encouraging more comments, which indirectly helps increase social shares, which should help you increase your social traffic. Not only will you get more search traffic and repeat visitors, but you will also get social media traffic.

Responding to comments allows you to control your traffic

Any time you comment, you can link to a page of your choice as there is a URL field in a comment box.
comment box
Every time I respond to a comment, I put in the URL box. As a quick test, I had my developer change all of the Home Page links (in my 50,696 responses) to my About Page.
The result was an increase in traffic by 5,137 visitors a month to my About Page. Sure, the traffic to my Home Page decreased, so I changed that URL back to it, but it shows that I am able to control where I send a portion of my traffic.
After a while, it adds up. In a span of a year, I can direct 61,644 visitors to a page of my choice. Commenting will help you direct traffic to the pages that matter.

Responding to comments takes time

I spend roughly 26 hours a month on responding to comments. It may not sound like a lot of time, but that is about half a workweek each month that goes towards commenting.
I’ve tried leaving shorter comments over the last few months, but I noticed that the average number of comments per post has declined by 39%. I have to go back to more thorough replies as the stats show that leaving well-thought-out responses produces a positive return on investment.
If you want to do well, you can’t do a mediocre job at responding to comments. You need to take the time and respond with something that people will want to read.


Overall, I would have to say responding to comments is worth it. It’s so valuable that not only should you be responding to comments on your blog, but you should also be responding to comments on industry-related blogs.
The results on Quick Sprout have been so great that I even started to respond to some of the comments on Crazy Egg and KISSmetrics. I’ve only been doing it for a few months, so I haven’t seen any results yet, but I expect to see a positive impact within the next 12 months.
So, what do you think about responding to comments? Do you think it’s worth it based on the data I shared?
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