Managing, Moderating Your Comments Well as Your Blog Grows

I love comments, even these.

[This is part of the Developing Great Blog Content Series.]

One of the neat challenges that many of you will experience in the coming months and years is the challenge of managing lots and lots of comments.

Now, a lot of this may depend on your own personal style, how you’ve chosen to develop your blog community, as well as perhaps your official blog comment workflow and your blog comment policy.

But you’ll  have to make a choice: Do I engage with all of my commenters or just a few (or none)?

The simple truth is this: As your blog grows and as you get more comments per post it takes a much longer time to read and respond as it once did. And this is a good thing because comments (and community) are part of your content strategy, right?

At first this was easy because you had just one or two a day and you could easily respond with gusto but when it’s 10, 20, 30 comments per blog post (and you publish more than once a day) this becomes difficult.

But, at the same time, you don’t want to abandon your readers who have gotten used to you engaging with them – you value their input and want to show your support for their time and effort to comment with a reply. What do you do? How do you balance the tension and manage the growing challenge?

Here are some of my thoughts and strategies:

Batch Your Management:

This is a strategy that you can learn today and one that I wish I had learned earlier in my blogging career: The art of batching my work.

How this relates to comment management is quite simple: I have chosen two explicit times during the day during which I will read comments and respond to them, once in the morning and once in the evening (and if you’ve been around here for a bit you already know this!).

By doing this I can commit myself to executing efficiently and not be worried about an inbox full of un-answered comments. I do this by creating Filters in Gmail so that they can be skip my inbox and not clutter that area up:

Filters are awesome.
No worries...

In this way I don’t get anxious about them or become distracted in my main inbox as they fill up during the day.

Of course, I’m always at liberty to break my own rules and answer comments if I have a few moments or see one that is especially time-sensitive, but I try and make it a point to stand firm on the two times a day that I engage with my commenters – batching is a powerful strategy and method!

Leverage Community and a Culture of Conversation

Now, at this point with this blog I’m still able to tread water but just barely – there will come a time as this community continues to grow that I will probably be unable to respond to every comment. I have committed to reading every comment but it’ll eventually become impossible to always respond to every single comment that comes in.

What I hope will happen (and it’s already begun) is that community champions will rise up and be a catalyst of engagement in the comments when I cannot.

A perfect example of this happened just yesterday when Graham responded to another commenter’s question before I could get to it:

Thanks Graham!

Not only did Graham answer the question but also has been around long enough to know that I’ve covered that particular topic and provided a helpful link!

Wow, I couldn’t be more humbled to see this level of engagement and community, especially since developing a culture of conversation is not something that I explicitly set out to do.

But it happened, and I really value it and am quite thankful for it!

What Will You Do?

Again, it’s ultimately up to you in terms of how you will grow in your moderation and management of comments for your blog. Currently I’ve chosen to read and respond to nearly all comments (for now) but I know it won’t be sustainable long-term – but I’m looking into some more advanced ways of managing and providing even more community (so stay tuned!).

What do you do for moderation and management for your comments and community? Have an particular process or system in place?

[This is part of the Developing Great Blog Content Series.]

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