Now, like I said because of what I'm hearing from experienced bloggers, I have to say I stand by everything up there. But one important question has come up:
Is it silly to expect people to return to your blog to read your response to a comment?
Hmm. That's a good point. Many readers will not ever return to your blog to read your response. Some people do subscribe to responses, and I guess I've always thought that if someone really wanted a response they would do so. But you might have something to add to a comment and that person may NOT have subscribed.
Blogger Matt MacNish emails responses to his readers which, turns out, many people seem to really appreciate. This is a great tool for building relationships and I greatly admire this response tactic. Particularly because it really seems to fit with Matt's personality.
But here's the thing: when someone publicly asks a question or makes a comment they are leaving it for other people to see. Lots of times a reader will come a long and NOT comment because something similar has already been said or asked. But that second reader still wants to know what the blogger's response would be. I've been really frustrated, in fact, when I've read a blog, seen a question that I want to know the answer to and then never see a back up response. It's not fair to only respond to public comments in a private place.
It also is somewhat about appearances. It looks better to readers when the blogger takes time to respond to readers.
Some bloggers like Michelle Fayard leave a comment on the blog but then email the person who left the comment to say, "I have left you a response to your comment on my blog".
This is a better tactic and I personally really appreciate it. But it could be argued that it creates more work for the person who commented. Maybe an even better idea is to both comment on the blog PLUS email a copy of the comment to the person who posted it.
There still is a problem with that last idea: the person who originally commented might have missed out on other things readers said related to that comment if you just email what you said.
The one last problem with emailing and commenting is that it takes time. Which takes you away from other things.
I guess in the end I would say this: What is your goal with your blog? If you are trying to build relationships, make every effort to make it easy for your readers. Email and comment on your blog. If your goal is to maintain a presence in the blogging world while you focus on your writing, then don't spend too much time responding to comments.
What do you think about the subject? Do you like to be emailed responses? Do you like it when authors respond on their blog?