Are You Making This Mistake When Leaving Your First Comment On A Blog Post?

Within the comments section of my blog posts, I’m often told that the comments are just as interesting as the blog post itself.

Given that many ideas I get for blog posts are born from the comments left on my blog and the blogs of other bloggers, I believe that to be true.

It’s why commenting is one of the key ingredients to becoming a champion blogger and having a successful blog. However, it’s not just any old comment.

#bloggingtips #blogging #comments

If you’re a blogger, leaving good quality comments on the blog posts of other bloggers is an excellent way to get you and your blog noticed.

However, as much as I enjoy getting comments left on my blog posts, there is one situation after a comment has been left that often has me scratching my head.

It’s not the empty comments that add no value or do not strike up a good conversation about the subject of the post, it’s a comment that could have gone on to be the catalyst of great discussion if only the person who left it had not made a run for it.

Can you spot the difference?

What am I talking about? Have a look at two images of the same comment I recently left on a blog post of another blogger. Can you spot the one difference between them?

Yes, it’s the tick in the little box in the bottom left corner of the comment on the second image. That’s the box to tick if you want to be notified of new comments via email.

Can you think of any reasons why anyone who leaves a comment would not want to be informed that their comment had been answered?

We all want a response to our comments, don’t we, so why do some readers not tick that box?

Nobody likes to be ignored, do they?

I often come across times when my response to a comment goes unanswered. In these cases, I’m talking about a response to a comment where I ask a question (or questions) to the person who left a comment, and I get no response back from them.

I’ve left responses offering free codes to download pieces of software I’ve reviewed, or a free book, yet don’t receive any response back.

These are the head-scratching moments I referred to earlier.

In my blog posts ‘Is Now The Time For WordPress To Remove The Number Of ‘Likes’ From View On All Blog Posts‘ and ‘How To Make Your Blog Post Standout From All The Other Blogs Out There‘, there were a number of my comments where I didn’t hear back from people who left comments.

Even though I’d ask them for more information or asked them a question, it all seemed to fall on deaf ears. I got no response from the people who’d left the comments.

Why would somebody not reply to a response to their comment?

There could be several reasons for this.

  • They don’t have the answer(s) to any questions(s) they’ve been asked.
  • They don’t have any further information.
  • They simply don’t want to respond.
  • They forgot/didn’t tick the ‘Notify me of new comments by email’ box so didn’t know a response had been left.

However, in my cases, it made me feel as if my response to their comment was being ignored. Interestingly, I also noticed that in most cases it was happening with certain bloggers.

Don’t make this mistake.

The mistake I am talking about in the title of this post is not ticking the box next to ‘Notify me of new comments via email.’

Without ticking that box, how would we know our comment had been responded to?

I suppose we could try and remember to keep going back to the post to check if it has been answered, but isn’t that wasting time when a more straightforward method is available?

For me, not ticking the ‘Notify me of new comments via email’ box is like opening a door, shouting a comment, and then slamming the door and making a run for it.

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Some people may say that they don’t tick the box because, if they do, their email box will get filled up with all the responses and comments of anybody else who leaves a comment on the same post.

That’s true, but there is an easier way to stop your email box overflowing than leaving a comment, making a run for it, and having somebody think you’re being rude because you didn’t respond to their questions.

Take a look at what I have pointed out in the response I received from Renard to the comment I left on his blog post.

Yes, there is an ‘unsubscribe’ link on all comment emails which you can click at any time to stop receiving further emails.

Whenever you leave your first comment on a blog post, make sure you tick the box next to ‘Notify me of new comments by email’ so you at least have the chance to respond back to the author of the post.

Who knows, they may ask you a question or want some information from you. You may be offered a code to download a book or piece of software for free or even an opportunity to write a guest post.

You could be missing out on lots of opportunities from other bloggers for ignoring the responses to your comments.

Not responding is as bad as not responding to the comments left on your own blog posts.

Once you know the conversation between you both has finished, by all means, click the ‘unsubscribe’ link so that your email box stops receiving further notifications of comments.

However, remember what I said at the beginning of this post. Comments left on blog posts can often ignite ideas for future blog posts. They can be a fantastic source of creativity.

Do you always tick the ‘Notify me of new comments via email’ box? If not, tell us why you don’t tick it and what you do instead to ensure you see the responses to your comments.

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  1. Hi, I’ve always wondered why someone would NOT tick this box. Why comment without the chance of a reply/engagement. I love ticking this box and waiting patiently for replies! And I love it when a comment develops into a conversation, and not just a comment and reply and ‘the end’. Thanks for the post, I hope it helps more people to be active in the comments sections of our blogs! 🙂

    1. Thank you, Cheryl. I’ve had a mixed reaction to who does and who does not tick that little box. For me, it’s a must because I get so many ideas for future posts from the comments. Plus, I like to read what everyone else has to say. I think not replying to questions when replying to comments is rude. Thank goodness that it only seems to be a tiny group of bloggers who never respond to my questions when replying to their comments. Now I know who they are, I’ll just thank them for leaving a comment as they obviously don’t want to get into any conversation with me or anybody else.

  2. Hugh,I don’t subscribe to comments because I get far too much email as it is. As previous commenter Norah said: I prefer to “pop back to their blogs regularly to check on responses. I don’t find it onerous. In fact, I find it far preferable to having an overflowing inbox.”

    When I comment on a blog where I see no responses from the blogger, I assume there will be no response, so don’t check back. When I leave a comment on a blog where I see the blogger interacts with his readers, as you do, I cut and paste the hyperlink after I comment and email it to myself to check for reply.

    1. Thanks for sharing with us how you deal with responding to responses to your comments, Jean. I’m afraid I leave too many comments to be able to remember where I left them, so ticking that little box works best for me. Plus, reading the other comments often also gives me ideas for future posts.
      However, as I’ve said to commenters, we have to do what works best for us.

        1. That box is a default setting on WordPress blogs when first setting a blog up, but it can be removed with a simple tick in a box in the dashboard of a blog’s settings.
          Thank you for your lovely feedback about my blog, Jean.

  3. I hardly noticed that button, lol. Thanks for the tip. Although I’d like to see my blog even get a fraction of the responses you received for this one, Hugh.

        1. Is that it, Hugh? Well, I forgot my password and that’s when all of this started. How do I connect by blog to my Gravatar and get rid of the “duplicate” blog, which I established by accident in

        2. Yes, the mistake I’m referring to in this post is not ticking that box. However, there are many other mistakes, some of which I’ve covered in other posts.

          Check this post out on connecting your blog to your Gravatar.

          How To Add Your WordPress Blog To Your Gravatar

          To delete a blog, on the dashboard of your blog, go to settings, general, and at the bottom of the menu, you’ll see a box where you can delete your site permanently.

  4. Hi Hugh!

    I totally agree with you about checking that box. I always do… when it’s available. And what happens afterwards – if all goes according to plan – is that I receive all the replies from the blogger and the comments from others in my inbox and, once I read a reply to my comment that doesn’t need a follow-up, I unsubscribe from the thread. Just like you mention in your post. This is best-case scenario and I don’t mind the extra influx in my inbox as quick swipes take care of that.

    But… oftentimes, I read blogs that don’t have the box! I can’t figure out why not and have even suggested putting that box there to certain bloggers. I always expect a reply to my comments. Everywhere. And, I look forward to that reply and the communication that ensues. So, in the “no check box available” cases, I leave said blog post open in a tab on my computer or iPad and refresh it daily to see the reply. If it comes, I read the comment and close the tab. However, often I have to keep an eye out for this reply for weeks or months. At some point, I give up and close the window or tab. Sometimes, I stop following that person, because it annoys me they don’t reply to comments of their readers.

    To finish this rant… I do have the check box on my blog. However, I’ve noticed that people who checked it not always get my reply. On the same note, I’ve checked the boxes on certain blogs and never receive the reply either. So, for these blogs, same process… I have to leave the posts open in a tab, until I read the reply.

    WordPress works in mysterious ways (all this used to work smoothly in a distant past) and I will have to write them about the not receiving replies when that checkbox has been checked. I could live with it in regards to other blogs as I try and deal with it, but I’m bummed that mine doesn’t work as it should…

    1. Hi Liesbet, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this post.

      WordPress.Com users have the option of not including the ‘notify me of new comments via email’ box. I found out from an earlier comment that when somebody sets up a new blog on WordPress, the box is already ticked as a default setting. You have to untick the box in your blog’s setting to get rid of it. Like you, I don’t understand why bloggers don’t have that box. It’s so helpful, especially given that not everyone has the time or memory to keep checking if a comment they’ve left has been replied to. I find that having too many tabs open on my computer not only slows it down, but it also makes me feel overwhelmed, so I can’t bear to have too many tabs always open. I can’t image how much time it all takes up, especially if the blogger concerned takes weeks or even months to get back with a reply.

      Could I ask how you know that your readers who tick the ‘notify me of new comments via email’ box on your blog don’t get your reply? And how do you know that when you’ve ticked the box on other blogs where you left a comment that you don’t always get a response? Did the blogger definitely reply to you? On my own blog, I found that it’s usually the same bloggers who don’t respond to my replies, yet I’ve seen them reply to responses from other bloggers on other blogs. Maybe I’m asking difficult questions, or perhaps they don’t tick the box on my blog because of the number of comments I get? If you are definite that there is a problem, then I would recommend you report it to WordPress.

      1. Hi Hugh!

        There are a few blogs that I follow that have the check boxes, which I always check, but of which I don’t receive the replies in my inbox anymore. I don’t follow as many blogs as you, so I usually have some sense about who “needs” to reply still. Or I realize after a while that someone still “owes” me one. 🙂

        One of the blogs that has the check box, but whose replies I don’t receive for many months already, for example, is Debby Gies’ blog. I noticed it had been a while since I received a reply from her – this was months ago – and returned to the posts I left a reply on, only to see that she had replied each time. That’s how I discovered that this particular check box doesn’t work anymore for me. Since then. I leave her posts open in a tab and refresh until I see her reply to my comment. The same thing happened to a few other blogs. All WordPress blogs. But, on other WordPress blogs the feature still works OK.

        In my own case, I have replied to comments with another question and didn’t receive another reply. That doesn’t prove anything about an issue, as those people might not have checked the box or they didn’t want to deal with receiving all the comments and replies. But, I asked one of my readers recently whether she still gets my replies to her comments in my inbox and she said “no”. I’m still getting to the bottom of that and will do a few more tests, before I contact WordPress.

        I hope this answers your questions. 🙂

        1. Thanks for coming back to me with a response to the questions I asked you, Liesbet.

          Debby Gies’ blog is self-hosted and, as with other self-hosted blogs, I have to confirm the subscription to her blog whenever I leave a comment (even on the same post). If I don’t confirm the subscription, then she doesn’t know I have left a comment or a reply. The subscription comes via an email and can also be confirmed in the subscription area of my blog’s settings. Do you get an email asking for you to confirm the subscription to Debby’s blog whenever you leave a comment on her blog?

          To be honest, I find this happens a lot with self-hosted blogs. Every time I leave a comment, I have to complete a form confirming my name, email address and website address. This is despite me already having left a comment on the same post. Then I get the subscription email again. If I don’t confirm the subscription, then the comment seems to get lost. It’s caught me out a few times. It never seems to happen on WordPress.Com blogs.

          I think the process puts some readers off from leaving comments on self-hosted blogs. I can understand why when they’ve already left a previous comment, completed the form and confirmed the subscription.

        2. Thanks for that insight about the subscription emails (for Debby’s and other self-hosted sites). And, no, I do not get that email, when I check her box or the ones for the other sites that don’t send me replies. And, like you, I always have to fill out my contact info again (also for a follow-up reply), despite being signed into WordPress and all our blogs being WordPress blogs. Interesting. So, if I were to get the subscription emails (for the comments), I should be able to receive their replies…

          My blog is self-hosted as well. Do you know/remember whether you receive a subscription email (to confirm clicking the check box to receive comments) to follow my comments? Maybe there is some error in that field of the confirmation emails… Also, some of the comments to my blog, of repeated followers who have left comments in the past without issues, now end up in my email spam folder. But, that’s not WordPress’ doing.

          What bothers me most is that all this worked smoothly a year ago and none of us changed any settings on our blogs or with WordPress. Yet, these issues just popped up, seem random, and are unfixable by ourselves.

          I forgot to mention earlier that another way I’m checking all this check box/comment replies stuff is by leaving a test comment on my own blog and then replying to it from the dashboard. Again… no notification email for subscription in my inbox, or the replies! 😦

          By the way, there was no “reply” option to your last reply, so I’ve hit the “reply” button on my last comment to keep this conversation grouped. 🙂 And, wow, for people following this post and the comments, this entire topic will become a gigantic resource and wealth of information!

        3. Hi Liesbet, yes, I get the subscription email when leaving comments on your blog, too. It’s only self-hosted blogs where I get the email asking me to subscribe whenever I leave a comment (even on a post I’ve already left a previous comment on).

          There has been an ongoing issue with comments ending up in the WordPress spam folder. I’ve been sent to to the ‘spam’ prison three times, with all my comments on other blogs ending up in spam. The last time it happened to me was back in 2016, but I understand it still affects some users. I usually inform somebody if their comment has ended up in spam by mistake and ask them to check if it’s happening on other blogs where they leave comments. If it is, then there is way out, but you have to go via the Happiness Engineers at WordPress.

          Which brings me on to why there have been some new bugs on WordPress recently. The classic editor is creaking at the seams with WordPress only doing repair patches to issues. They are withdrawing the classic editor altogether at the end of 2021, so the repairs they are doing are a quick fix. However, it’s resulting in some of the bugs (and new ones) also affecting the new Gutenberg editor. Support for the classic editor is being removed by WordPress at the end of 2020.

          Those reply options stop showing after three replies. I think WordPress think nobody will want to leave more than a couple of comments on a post. How wrong they are!

  5. My humble thoughts: Comment when you feel a post is worthy of a comment. Don’t worry about getting a response to your comment. Keep moving forward and don’t expect reciprocal gratification from the praise you give to other people. Maybe I have missed the intent of this post.

    1. I don’t agree that comments should never go unanswered. I’ve written about the subject many times, and the majority of my readers say that they dislike being ignored when leaving comments. In fact, many will unfollow bloggers who do not respond to comments. I see it as asking somebody around for coffee and totally ignoring what they have to say. Commenting is a two-way thing and, in my opinion, most bloggers don’t like being ignored. They much rather leave comments on blogs where they know they will get a response.

  6. Hi Hugh – I enjoy your blogging posts.
    Wanted to chime in here because your suggestion would not work for me because I am trying to get away from using email.
    Hate it and it does take up too much time and then to add a reply for comments would only stifle my stride.
    However – I see the value in it and when I was relying on WordPress to show me comment replies in my feed – they missed a lot – it only kept the recent 100 (or something like that) and so I went back to blogs And found a comment reply waiting for me – I realized WordPress was not always letting me know –
    So in my case – I try to remember to go back and that works for me right now –

    Years ago I followed a blogger who ran a challenge and I notified that she knew the bloggers that did not come back after they “dropped” a comment –
    She realized who dropped and left

    And I kind of know that now too

    Anyhow – another thought to share is just recently I realized that I love when a blogger comes back for that follow up. It had gotten to the point where I know which ones do and don’t – and the ones that do seem to have that extra touch – so what you write is important –
    To get interactive and follow up –
    But this will not work for everyone –
    As you know – some bloggers do not even visit others
    Recently stopped following someone who tons a challenge and when I left a comment he said it was nice to know he wasn’t alone in blogosphere and felt good to know someone was out there – after his year of blogging he did not find the need to visit and still (as data as I know) just keeps posting and posting and posting.
    Then there are the bloggers who visit and leave generic “drop and run” comments – which is far less interactive but I still value their contribution
    And when I consider the free time that is sucked up by the often black hole of blog workd (an awesome one too) but I do not judge them if trust is their MO is to drop and run – we might not bind as much but I am glad they are here in their own way – and I know to never ask them questions –
    And if anyone is perturbed that they ask questions and the person does not come back – maybe they are trying to have too much of a discussion in their comment sections? If it is a legit question maybe the person could go and visit the blogger and ask again ….0

    1. I always say to my readers to do what works best for them. As somebody who does leave a lot of comments on other blogs, there’s no way I could remember which blogs to go back to if I did not rely on the email notifications. Plus, I can unsubscribe from those notifications at any time I like. As you mentioned, WordPress does not always put every comment in our notifications centre, so there is always a chance we could miss some. As I also get lots of ideas for future posts from the comments left on my blog and those of other bloggers, I find the emails useful. I do filter the emails, with deleting those comments that I class as dead comments that don’t add any value to the post. Comments such as ‘Great Post’ or sentences less than 10 words fall under that category.

      I have a small percentage of bloggers who leave comments on most of my posts but who never come back and answer any questions I may ask them in my response. It makes me feel a little like I’m being ignored. If it keeps happening, then I will just leave a reply that thanks them for their visit because I know they probably won’t even see my response.

      I’ve been asked many times by bloggers ‘how do I get people to visit my blog and leave comments?’, to which I ask ‘Do you visit other blogs and read the posts and leave comments?’ Nine times out of ten, the answer is ‘No! I don’t have time to do that.’ So, they’ve answered their own question. As you mentioned, being interactive with other bloggers is key to blogging. Most of the people who ask me the question I said earlier don’t seem to last very long in the blogging world. Mind you, I’ve seen a considerable amount of bloggers come and go in my six years of blogging.

      I firmly believe that the comment section of a blog is the place to discuss what has just been read. I don’t think anybody can have ‘too much’ of a discussion about the subject of a blog post. In fact, I see it as a very healthy way of blogging. If a comment clearly shows that the contents of the post have been read, then I don’t mind so much. It’s those ‘dead comments’ I spoke of earlier that tend to niggle me. It’s a little like being ‘click-happy’ with the ‘like’ button when somebody clicks ‘like’ on lots of posts within seconds of each other or within seconds of a post being published.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the subject of this post. The comments have been fascinating, and I’m glad it’s a subject that many readers have had something to say about.

      1. Thanks for the nice reply – and I can how you use the email notification without it being overwhelming – so I am sold to at least try it ….
        and now that this topic is breathing a bit I have realized that I might especially need to use it when I take a couple weeks off – that is when I know I have lost track of anything I need to follow up on…
        And also understand what you meant with:
        ” I don’t think anybody can have ‘too much’ of a discussion about the subject of a blog post.”
        I now agree.
        But it does remind me of a blogger who used to comment richly but not always directly on the post. it would be something triggered but the post – and It kind of annoyed me at first –
        But then I came to appreciate it and I enjoyed the dialogue because he was genuinely interacting – and the post content spawned the rabbit trail….

        1. Providing comments touch base with the contents of the blog post then I think that is a good healthy discussion. It’s when general chit-chat creeps in that have nothing to do with the content that it starts to get annoying for me. That’s the kind of content that should be taken offline. I used to be guilty of it myself, but now I never get into any discussions that have nothing to do with the content of the post. I much rather message whoever is asking me by way of the contact form on their blog or via the Twitter messaging platform.

        2. I can see how that works for you – but here again I find that works so well for you would not work for me – because adding twitter to the mix is another thing that I do not want – I never enjoyed the platform and actually recently deleted my account – and so like email – I am scaling back on social media sites and so moving to another platform would defeat what my goals are.
          But I know what you mean about the general chit-chat and how it can not be hospitable – and just off. For example, I know two bloggers who always engage in personal general chit-chat on posts. They can go back and forth with their little jokes and inside words – and it takes up like 60 or more comments in the comment section. I just ignore it and scroll to leave my comment (because I do liek the blogger that does the posting) but all their chit chat is superfluous and just between them – but I get it – they share a lot and it is not meant for other readers to glean from or even enjoy. In contrast, the type of posts you make – where you offer blogging tips (like I recall your helpful one on how to use the block editor) well i can see how the comments can lead to enriching shares and also how it spawns new ideas for you.
          in closing – can I mention a pet peeve about comments.
          I have one follower who tends to leave comments about other pages or she will reply to my comment from her post in my comment section.
          Did that make sense?
          Here is an example – she was commenting on a photo post – and then said something like “thanks for complimenting my painting” and then added something like “I noticed your hair is darker in that photo of you on the books page.”
          I mentioned it to her gently – and asked her why she piggybacked on comments from her post while on my blog post – and she minimized it by saying she might be a bit lazy.
          but here is the thing – I could not recall the painting – and then I had no idea what photo of me she was talking about – and only had a black and white photo up (cannot tell darkness from that) –
          so Hugh, I think I just stumbled on a major commenting pet peeve!

        3. I once made the big mistake of having too many social media platforms. Spreading yourself too thinly on them does not work. It’s now why I only have three active social media accounts, although I don’t put a lot of work into two of them. After the WordPress Reader and search engines, Twitter brings in the most amount of traffic to my blog. It’s taken me a long time to build up a following there, but it’s working for me. It’s the one social media platform where I do put in a lot of work.

          Thank you for filling me in on the general chit-chat that occurs in the comments sections of various blogs. I get what you mean about comments meant for other posts also landing in the wrong place. If it’s not important, I tend to just acknowledge the comment with a ‘like’ and move on.

  7. Hi Hugh as always great advice and set out so well for us all to understand. I must admit I tend to rely on WP. notifications. I am scared of getting bogged down by email but I see your point . I will give it a bash Hugh. Thank you.💜

    1. Just be aware that not all comments end up in the notification centre, Willow. However, you should do what works best for you. I enjoy reading comments because I get lots of ideas for future posts and short stories from them, so don’t mind them ending up in my email box. I can get through them very quickly.

    2. I am the same with you, Willow. The WP notification works for most free WP blogs. Some I don’t get notifications from and I don’t know why. I must be honest, I never noticed that little block before.

  8. I like to know about the response I’ve made to comments, Hugh, either on my own or someone else’s blog. But I never tick the ‘notify me’ box, for one simple reason: I keep track of my blog with the WordPress app for iPadOS, which allows me to receive notifications for likes and comments. It rarely misses one, and is easy to manage. So much better than further stuffing in an already crowded email inbox!

    1. I don’t use the WordPress App, so I’m not sure how notifications work on it, Clive. I’m glad it’s working for you, though. The desktop notification section doesn’t always show all notifications. WordPress is aware of the problem, but all their efforts are currently on the editors they are changing.

      1. There is a notifications section in iPadOS (and iOS) settings which allows you to choose if you want notifications, and how they appear, on an app by app basis. I tend to use the desktop for creating posts and the app for everything else. As you say, we should find what works best for us.

  9. Hugh, I always value your insight. I’ve only ever checked the notify box when a fellow blogger has either shared/reblogged one of my blog posts or is generously hosting. In all other cases, I just rely on WP notifications and I reply as soon as possible. Thanks for sharing this tip, as always. 🙂

  10. Thank you! That cleared the mystery up for me. I’ve been timorous to touch that fearing this means I’m going to get notifications on all further comments on the entry. Know I no better.
    this is my first time ‘clicking’ on this – see what happens.

    1. You will get email notifications, but remember that you can click the unsubscribe link at any time. If it’s on a blog post that gets lots of comments, I suggest clicking ‘unsubscribe’ after you know the conversation between you and the author of the post has come to an end.

  11. I’m embarrassed to say this isn’t something I’ve really thought about. I’ve been relying mostly on people ‘liking’ my comment, then going back to the blog to read their response. Lately, however, I’ve had far more comments go unanswered, which is surprising. I always respond to comments left on my blog, unless I feel it’s directed specifically to an author featured during an interview or promotion that day.

    1. I only ever ‘like’ a comment that has been left for me if I have nothing else of value to add. I see it as a way of acknowledging what they’ve said. Some of your comments may be going unanswered because not all of them show up in the notification centre of our blogs. WordPress is aware of the problem but are concentrating all their efforts on the upcoming changes to the editor which they announced last year and again this year.

      I do the same as you in that I do not respond to comments not directed at me. When I have a guest over at my blog, I always ask readers to leave comments for my guest and not for me. Not everyone listens to what I say, so I will just ‘like’ any comments sent to me on the post.

        1. For as long as I’ve been blogging, WordPress is always making changes and doing updates to their platform. I agree that not all the changes they make are good, but I often put some of that down to me not being a big fan of change. There will always be bugs and problems in the world of technology. I just wish it wasn’t always me that they seem to like to visit. 😀

  12. Thanks for the response Hugh, Now I’ve alarmed because I never realised some comments wouldn’t show in notifications. Interestingly I had followed your advice and when I left my earlier comment I ticked the “notify me” box but never got your response as an email. It did show in notifications though. So I’m trying the experiment again with this comment 🙂

    1. It’s worked this time and didn’t end up in my WordPress spam folder. I believe that once an owner of a blog marks a comment as not spam, further comments for the same post won’t fall into the spam folder. I don’t know if it happens with comments you leave on other blogs, but it may be worth checking, especially as not all bloggers check their blog’s spam folders.

      1. WordPress seems to throw a wobbly now and again and sends a large bunch of alerts from blogs I follow direct into my spam folder.
        Now here’s a topic for you to consider for the future – whats the best way of following blogs? Pros and cons of wordpress Reader or a tool like Feedly…

  13. Good tip Hugh. Like so many others here I usually rely on WordPress reminding me via its notifications. You’re right about it not being 100% though as I often notice replies to previous comments aren’t flagged back to me. I guess it all depends on how many blogs you follow as to how serious the email issue would become. I pick and choose from blog to blog. Commenting though is so important isn’t it?

    1. I’m glad it’s not only me that has seen that not all comments end up in the notification centre, Jonno. Thanks for letting me know that you’ve also experienced it happening. I’ve reported the problem to WordPress, but they have other more pressing matters to deal with at the moment (like the classic and Gutenberg editors).

      And, yes, I agree. Leaving good quality comments is a vital element to blogging.

  14. Well Hugh, you’ve done it again! I had no idea that ticking that box could be so important. I (mistakenly) thought I was doing the right thing because I was minimising my number of emails. Up until now I have diligently gone back and checked for follow up comments, and either ‘liked’ them or commented further, which can be very time consuming!!! Often though I am notified in the WP side panel but as you say in a comment above, not always. Some blogging platforms don’t seem to have this provision so I will now give it a try when I can. You are so very helpful, and your explanations and reasonings are very clear. Thanks again.

    1. There’s nothing wrong with minimising the number of emails we get, Debbie. Only recently, I unsubscribed from receiving email notifications from those bloggers who publish more than one blog post a day. It helped me a great deal. Now I can turn on my computer in the morning and not be overwhelmed by the number of emails.

      I’d never been able to remember which blogs to keep going back to and see if my comment(s) had been responded to. That’s why ticking the ‘notify me of new comments via email’ box acts as an excellent backup for me. Yes, I get lots of emails containing comments, but I don’t mind getting them as I see comments as a great source of ideas for future blog posts (and short stories).

      I could (and sometimes do) use the notification centre, but I know that not all comments end up in there.

      However, we all have to do what works best for us.

  15. I’ve never ticked that box, Hugh. I didn’t think I was missing anything because I always get your responses in my notifications…I may have to reconsider that.

    1. You may be getting my responses in your notification centre, but are you getting responses from everybody else in there, Aimer? I only say this because I know I’ve had comment email notifications, yet the comment is not in my notification centre. It doesn’t happen a lot, but (as you can tell) I’m a bit paranoid about not responding to comments.

  16. Always great, valuable information, Hugh! I’m kind of on the fence but now know I can unsubscribe to comments. Usually, WP notifies me of comments in my email settings as a rule. Those who blog on self-hosted WP sites, when I have subscribed to their comments I was inundated…sadly, I have left comments on those but never hear back even with comments subscribed. I have also been inspired by others’ comments and even have gone so far as to copy and paste a couple of lengthy ones to a Word doc to save for later. There is probably a better way but it seldom happens. Thank you for taking the time to train us on how to utilize our blogs better!

    1. I enjoy sharing these little bits of blogging wisdom with you all, Terri.

      I agree with what you say about comments. I get lots of ideas for blog posts (and even short stories) from the comments left on my blog and those of other blogs. I don’t like to miss out on any of them. However, if the comment is only a few words long, then I hit ‘delete’ straight away.

      1. Yes, I’ve been doing that with some. The only downside to that is that if we leave comment on a blog that is known for numerous comments, we may receive numerous replies until we get replied to. I just hate clogging up my inbox that is already overwhelmed on a daily basis, lol 🙂

        1. That’s true, although sometimes comments can be the trigger to more ideas for blog posts and even (in my case) short stories. They also help me filter out the people who only ever leave what I call dead comments (ones that do not add any value to the post).

  17. Great post again Hugh. It’s true, many shy away from the notify me box because of a bombardment of comments. I do that now, but still appreciate getting notifications by WP notifier instead, lol. Most blogs (like yours) I don’t tick it because I do get notified from WP. 🙂 x

    1. Thanks, Debby. I’m glad you get notifications from my blog but are you 100% sure you’re getting them from all the blogs you leave comments on? I’ve also occasionally had comments that come through on email that don’t show up under notifications. I’ve reported the problem to WordPress, but it’s not something they see as urgent at the moment. It’s a little like the problem of not all my newly published posts showing up on the WordPress Reader. They seem to be concentrating on more urgent matters like the Classic and Gutenberg editors. However, I get that. 😀

      1. I think you are right. And as you saw, I did come back again and comment again and ticked the box. Just to let you know, I just saw this reply from my notifications, didn’t have to go to email. I do know WP isn’t consistent though. 🙂

        1. So long as you are aware that not all comments show up under the notification centre. I’m glad mine does, but you just never know when a gremlin will get hold of one and make it disappear into thin air.

        2. That’s true Hugh. Incidentally, I told you I received your reply through notification. When I went to my email, I had about 20 reply emails from your other commenters. I did what you said and unsubscribed, which immediately unsubscribed me completely from you blog. No option to ‘unsubscribe from comments’ only. I had to go back to your blog and re-follow you. Just thought I’d let you know. ❤

        3. How strange. I’ve never had that happen to me when clicking on ‘unsubscribe.’ Strangely, I’ve also not had an email to say you’re following me again. I wonder if it has anything to do with you having a self-hosted blog, Debby? In any case, thanks for refollowing. 😀

  18. Great tip, Hugh 🙂
    I use to use the Reader and see comment there. Or to use the one in left side of the Reader called Conversations. Not all end up there, but mostly do I think.
    Years ago, when I was following much too many bloggers in one time, more than 700, I needed to disconnect my email system and only read from the Reader. Otherwise I could use a half day daily to go through the mails.

    1. I know what you mean, Irene. It’s one of the reasons why WordPress added the ‘unsubscribe’ link to the comment emails. Once I know the conversation between the author and me is finished, I unsubscribe from any further email notifications.

  19. I learned something new today. I did not realize you could stop the comments with the unsubscribe button. When I leave a comment I have been relying upon the WP notification system to get any response. The last time I clicked the “Notify” box I got 300 e-mails. Your responses always come into my notifications.

    1. You’re definitely not the only one who didn’t realise there was an ‘unsubscribe’ link, John.

      That’s a lot of emails. Now you know how to stop getting so many. However, I think the comments can often be as entertaining as the blog post itself.

  20. I guess it shouldn’t surprise me not to rely on the WP notification system. I am really glad to know that checking off the “notify me” box will be a backup of sorts. Blogging is all about communicating (in my view) and the comments are the conversation! As a side note…you mention the demise of the Classic Editor. I think that’s what I am using and I like it. How do I know for sure? (if you’ve blogged about this before, and I missed it, my apologies!)

        1. Yes, don’t get left behind when the Classic editor is discontinued. From the end of 2020, WordPress is removing support for the classic editor before removing it altogether from the end of 2021.

        2. I’ll try not to. Do you like the new editor? Any quirks to look out for? I read in this link that previous posts will be preserved somehow. Hopefully that’s the case. Thanks again for your thoughts!!

        3. At first, I disliked the new Gutenberg editor. But that was only because I had not given it any time or read any guides on it worked or how to use it. It’s not difficult to use, just different from the Classic editor. Once I gave it some time and read some guides, I soon become a big fan. You can convert blog posts written with the Classic editor into the Gutenberg editor. It’s a straightforward process. These posts may help.

        4. Thanks so much! I’ve bookmarked both. Apparently ignoring this change won’t make it any easier when the time comes when I don’t have any choice. I guess my biggest fear is losing content. I have hundreds of posts I’d have to convert.

  21. Thank you for your encouraging words, Hugh. I like the concept of how we can individualize even our comments and responses. This keeps the Fun Factor in blogging for me. I learn a great deal of applicable information from your posts. Thank you!

  22. I agree with your introduction, Hugh. I often learn as much from the comments as I do from the actual post.

    Interesting topic. I still consider myself the newbie blogger in the cheap seats. I have a great deal to learn. My concern is that I initially was ticking the little box and then I sometimes had fifty plus comments on someone else’s post coming into my email. I enjoy and follow many bloggers. These emails from that post may continue to come to my inbox for the next month.

    My ideal situation is that I would definitely want to respond to a comment left specifically as a response to my comment. I find I have been getting all responses from this post. I am not talking about a blog post I have published. In that situation, I hope and expect to be advised of all comments. I hope I haven’t lost you on my train of thought.

    I find my system is to return to engaging posts and see whether there is a response to my comment.

    Of course, I may be doing things wrong.

    Is there a way to see only the responses to my comments? On very popular posts and blogging sites, I may be notified of one hundred new comments. As I read further, you do answer part of my question. I do often find the author of the post may not have the opportunity to respond back soon. Therefore, I am still left with a considerable number of emails.

    This has turned into a lengthy comment, since I have been puzzled by all of this since I first began blogging. I try to make sure I return to posts where I have left a comment and I haven’t received a reply. I find this to be courteous and I don’t want to miss out. Thank you for listening Hugh. I did learn more about the process:) (Practising with “the tick” and maybe “unsubscribe” in the future?)

    1. No, you haven’t lost me, Erica. And you’re not doing anything wrong. I always say to people to do what works best for them. What works perfectly well for one person may not work for somebody else. I’d find it very difficult remembering which posts to go back to and check if a comment I’d left had been responded to (because I tend to leave lots of comments). It’s why I use the email option. I agree it could mean an email box full of comments, but as somebody who likes reading the comments section of the blog posts I’ve really enjoyed reading, I don’t mind that. Plus, reading those comments ofter triggers new ideas for future posts. I’ve even offered guest blog posts opportunities to some of the commentators, as well as seeing it as a chance to be introduced to some new blogs and bloggers.

      As far as I am aware, there is not a way to only get an email notification response to your own comment. I believe that is why WordPress added the ‘unsubscribe’ link to the email so that you can unsubscribe whenever you like.

      1. Hi again, Hugh, I wanted to share an update on my questions and your post and response. Yay! It works! This week I have subscribed to comments on specific posts. I was also able to unsubscribe from the conversation. I have enjoyed the flexibility and control. Thank you. Erica

    1. I’ve had comments from other WordPress bloggers not show up in the notification centre. It’s a little like finding out that not all my newly published blog posts show up on the WordPress reader. WordPress is aware of both problems (and they’ve seen the problem firsthand), but it’s a problem they’ve said they will look into at a later date (probably after the Classic editor has been discontinued in 2021).

  23. I don’t tick that box unless the blogger’s post is a reblog of one of mine, a book promo or review, or guest post where I respond to every comment. I don’t think I’m missing anything because I get all responses to my comments in WP notifications (like Norah). I’m pretty sure that I get notifications from non-WP blogs too, though I’ll have to watch that to make sure. Great point, though, about not ignoring comments. If someone took the time to comment, the least we can do is reply! Even better… visit their blog and return the kindness. 😀

    1. Hi Diana, I’m afraid I don’t have a great deal of faith in the notification centre. It’s a little like the WP Reader where I’ve occasionally find out that my posts (and those of other bloggers) have not appeared. I’ve come across comments from WordPress bloggers that I get via email that do not show up in notification centre. Not a huge amount, but more than I like. I’ve reported the issues to WordPress, but they have bigger fish to fry at the moment (what with them discontinuing the classic editor in 2021). They did, however, inform me that they would let me know when the issue was fixed. I’m not expecting it to happen anytime soon.

    1. There’s nothing wrong with using the notification centre. Cathy. I have found out that not all responses to comments show up in there, but most of them do. I’ve reported the problem to WordPress, but I think they have bigger fish to fry when it comes to sorting out issues on their blogging platform.

        1. The only thing I find I get wrong with the admin page is approving the comment before responding to it. It then disappears and I have to go and find it so I can reply. I guess it’s because I’ve always been used to approving first and the replying. 😂

        2. Oh yes, I can see how that would be annoying. Mine seems to automatically approve unless it’s from someone who hasn’t commented before 🤔

  24. I do tick the box to notify me of follow-up comments. Well, mostly I do as, on one or two occasions I have thought that I had, only to discover that I had, in fact neglected to do so. Whilst I accept that someone may not know the answer to a question asked of them, the polite response in such a situation is “sorry, I don’t know”, rather than the rude alternative of not responding. In terms of my own blog, I try to respond to all comments left (if only to say thank you), however I have, very occasionally missed a comment. In such instances I can only apologise to the person who left the comment, as we are all but human and occasionally miss things/make mistakes. Best, Kevin

    1. I agree entirely, Kevin. I’d always resound to a comment left by the author of a blog post even if I did not have the answers to the questions they were asking. It’s only polite to do so. I’ve noticed a tiny fraction of the same bloggers who seem to leave an initial comment on my blog posts and never respond to the response leave (even if I’ve asked questions). I can only put it down to them not having ticked the box next to ‘notify me of comments via email.’ Although, as mentioned by Norah in an earlier comment, our responses also show up under the notification button on our blogs.

      1. Thanks for your response, Hugh. I guess that another reason why people do not respond, flows from them not having clicked the link to confirm that they wish to receive follow up comments, (as you know, some blogs send an automated email, after you have checked the box confirming that you wish to receive comments, which contains a link on which the recipient needs to click to confirm that they are happy to receive follow-up comments). I suspect that some people may not notice these emails, they may go to spam etc. I, personally find these emails annoying as I wouldn’t click a box unless I meant to perform the action, but I guess that those using the click on link within the email would say they are making doubly sure that the person clicking “receive follow-up comments” meant to do so. Best,

        1. I know exactly the ones you are referring to, Kevin. For me, I seem to get those emails when I’ve left a comment on a blog that is self-hosted. However, it doesn’t matter how many time I leave a comment on the same post, I still get asked to fill in lots of details like email address, name, and a web link to my blog, as well as being asked to subscribe to comments again. It’s one of the reasons why I don’t leave a lot of comments on self-hosted blogs. I can understand being asked for the information the first time, but not over and over again when leaving a comment on the same post.

        2. I adopt the same position as you, Hugh as regards self-hosted blogs.

          Being blind and a user of screen reading software which converts text into speech and braille enabling me to use a Windows computer or laptop, I usually find that self-hosted blogs are less accessible than those hosted on WordPress. For example I often find that links to social media on self-hosted blogs are unlabelled so I don’t know whether I’m clicking on Facebook or Twitter (unless I actually click through to the relevant social media site), Again, when commenting I find that lots of self-hosted blogs don’t have the fields on comments forms labelled to be read by a screen reader, consequently its difficult to comment (and sometimes impossible) on such blogs.

          Sorry I appreciate I’ve gone somewhat off topic here.


        3. No, not at all, Kevin. You raise another valid point about social media icons that do not contain words. I know it’s one of the options WordPress offers for its sharing buttons. I use the social media sharing buttons that contain words. If you hadn’t pointed it out to me, it would never have occurred to me that the option that does not include words is not user-friendly for some people. Thank you for mentioning it.

        4. You are welcome for the mention of the inaccessible nature of some sharing buttons, Hugh.

          I was not aware that WordPress offered sharing buttons with no text attached to them. I shall contact WordPress Support with a recommendation that they only offer text-based sharing buttons. With equalities legislation such as The Americans with Disabilities Act, and the (UK) Equalities Act) I’m surprised that WordPress are not more mindful of the need to ensure their service is fully accessible.


  25. 🙂 Hugh, in my case, I never had an issue that pertained to not receiving notifications about comments.

    And, to be quite honest, I do not subscribe to the comments that were made on my own blog.


    Because I pay close attention to my blog.

    However, if I commented on someone else’s blog post, I would most likely subscribe to their comment feed.

    1. You’re lucky, Renard. I’ve had a number of my own responses to comments go unanswered.

      I didn’t know a blogger could subscribe to the comments on their own blog. I thought you always got notified if somebody leaves a comment on one of your posts. I always do, but maybe I’ve ticked a box somewhere in my blog’s settings.

      1. 🙂 Under “Settings” in your dashboard area, click on “Discussion”; you will see, “Follow Comments”; in there you will see, “Show a “Follow Comments” option in the comment form; there is a box in front that you can tick on to activate this feature (You probably have that box unticked).

        Do let me know how it all turns out for you, Hugh.

  26. Hello Hugh I always tick the new comments box but don’t always tick the notify me of new posts box, mainly as I receive the latter via a collective source such as Chris the Story Reading Ape, and similar. Gradually the comments peter out and I forget to unsubscribe but periodically there is a blog or discussion that gets resurrected, sometimes years later, and then it’s usually from a whole new perspective and it’s interesting to read and at times connect again. 🙂

    1. Same here, Suzanne. I don’t tick the ‘notify me of new posts’ box unless I definitely know that it’s a blog I will want to follow. I also only see that box on self-hosted blogs (even if I’m already following them).

      You make an excellent point about comments that can come in months/years later after the publication of the post. That’s another good reason to tick the ‘notify me of new comments’ box.

  27. Interesting, Hugh. I don’t tick the box for two reasons. 1. As you have said, I don’t want my inbox overflowing. I have had this happen before. 2. If the blogs I comment on are WP blogs, which most are, then I am notified of replies in my notification panel. If it’s not a WP blog, then I just ensure that I pop back to their blogs regularly to check on responses. I don’t find it onerous. In fact, I find it far preferable to having an overflowing inbox. Have a wonderful week.

    1. Thanks for your thoughts about it, Norah.

      Unfortunately, I find that not all the replies turn up in my notifications panel. I’ve had several occasions where this has happened to me. WordPress told me that it’s a bug (which they are trying to fix), but I think they have their hands full with more important bugs.

      My memory can sometimes be like a sieve, and I read so many blog posts that I often can’t remember which ones I have read and left comments on. That’s why I find the unsubscribe link so useful. As soon as I know a conversation is finished, I click the link to stop further emails. However, because I get so many great ideas from the comments which have been left, I then start asking myself if I’m missing out on something.

      1. I’m glad Norah mentioned the notification tool within wordpress, I use this because I too have a terrible memory and can’t remember all the comments I have left. The notification panel gives me an at a glance view of any responses. I don’t think I want my in box overwhelmed so I prefer this mechanism

        Commenting on non wordpress sites is more of an issue however, I don’t know whether Blogger or Typepad has the same “notify me of new comments’ box. Will pay more close attention next time the opportunity arises.

        1. I agree that the notification section is a great tool, but I’ve noticed that not all comments end up in there. For example, your comment (for some reason) ended up in my WordPress spam folder. And guess what? Comments that end up in the spam folder don’t show up in the notification centre. It’s just another example that not all comments end up in the notification centre. I realise that not everything is guaranteed to work 100%, but the box next to ‘notify me of new comments via email’ is a great backup to ensure that you do see all comments. And, you can unsubscribe from further emails at any time.

          I’ve seen the notify box on Blogger, but I’ve never read any blogs on Typepad so can’t confirm if it does show on there.

    2. I agree with you, Norah, and I have added more thoughts in my response. Your comment summarizes my lengthy concern:) (I did do “the tick” this time to see the results)

      1. Thanks for alerting me to your response here at Hugh’s, Erica. I popped over for a read. I make it a priority to respond to comments on my own blog. I mostly get notification from other blogs I respond on. While the comments of others are interesting (it is the conversation it’s all about after all), I don’t always have time to read everyone’s comments. I do when I can.

        1. Your response resonated with me, Norah. Also much shorter than mine, since I have been puzzled on this point the entire time I have been blogging. I appreciated reading the other responses and trying to find a shortcut. No real shortcut:) Thank you for commenting:)

        2. I’m yet to find a shortcut. Like many of us, I’m constantly behind, drowning in emails and notifications, but loving the conversations. 🙂

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