How To Setup Comment Reply Notification to Improve Engagement with Your Readers in Your Website.

Last Update: August 02, 2021

Hello Everyone!

Do you notice that when your readers comment on your blog post, and you reply to their comment, there is no way for them to know that you have done so?

By default, WordPress does not have this feature. After asking around, I have got my website set up such that whenever my readers comment on my blog post, they will get a notification in their email after I reply.

I believe this should help in our engagement with our readers.

So this post is to share with you what I have implemented, and if you would like to do the same, you can replicate it with the steps below.

I didn't do this as a tutorial because I also have some questions, which I hope fellow WA members who have more experience on WordPress can also guide me further.
Plugins Needed

The following plugins are needed:

1. WP Mail SMTP

2. Comment Reply Email

  • Note that the Comment Reply Email plugin only has 200+ installs, and you may be worried whether it is credible. And as at the point of writing this post, this plugin is showing as not tested with the current version of WordPress.
  • I got to know this as I was trying my luck in the GeneratePress Facebook Group community, and I got this as a recommendation. A few members vouched that it still works, including the creator of this plugin (also part of the community) as he created this plugin for his own use.
  • And it also works for me.

But in case you are not comfortable with the above plugin, there are 2 others you can try:

  • Comments plugin by wpDiscuz which has 80k active installations but is also untested.
  • Comment Approved Notifier Extended - and it is compatible with the current version of WordPress

  • Actually, this is recommended by our fellow WA member (Triblu) and I used it first. Unfortunately, it didn't work for me and it also seems to have an issue with the Pagespeed score. Trish has reached out to the developer for help and we are awaiting feedback.
  • You can follow Trish's video tutorial and my comment thread with her if you like. (Shoutout: Thanks again, Trish!)
    Notify Those Who Commented on Your Blog That You Responded (wealthyaffiliate.com)

I think why it didn't work for me earlier is because I didn't install the WP Mail SMTP plugin first.

I only figured out later, which is using the Comment Reply Email plugin. So I believe as long as you install the WP Mail SMTP plugin and got it set up correctly, either of the comment reply plugins above should work.


WP Mail SMTP Setup

In this section, let's go through how to set up the WP Mail SMTP plugin.

After installing and activating the plugin:

Step 1: Set up SMTP Mailer

You will be brought to the Setup Wizard as shown below. Click Let's Get Started.

Choose Other SMTP as shown below and click on Save and Continue.

Step 2 - Configure Mailer Settings

From your Site Email, select the email you want to set up and look at the Outgoing Mail Setting details.

  • As you scroll down, you will need to fill up the following too:
  • SMTP Username - input from your Outgoing Mail Settings
  • From Name - Name that you want your reader to see in your email
  • From Email - Input your website domain email.


Step 3 - Email Features

In this step, just uncheck Smart Contact Form and click on Save and Continue.

Steps 4 to 6 can be skipped in the wizard. You should automatically receive a test email after that as shown below.

Once the above is done, you can proceed to install the Comment Reply Email plugin (or any others of your choice).


Setting up Comment Reply Email plugin

There isn't much to set up for this plugin. After you have installed and activated your Comment Reply Email plugin (as shown below), you can proceed to look at its settings.

The plugin setting is located in the Settings itself.

And in the settings, the only thing you really need to do is to click the "ALL - if anyone replies. No checkbox shown." option from "DISABLED - no emails sent", as shown below.

Note: You have the option to add an OPT-IN CHECKED checkbox for your reader to decide whether they want to be notified or not. I initially thought that is better but unfortunately, it didn't work for me. So I went with "ALL" and it works. I have also feedback to the developer of this plugin and waiting for a response.

You can change the email subject and message if you like, but I had a look at the message and it looks sufficient for my use.

And that is pretty much it on setting up a comment reply notification to improve your engagement with your readers.


Plugin Performance

I just want to highlight that when I install the WP Mail SMTP, my PageSpeed Insight score will drop on the first loading. And when after I install the Comment Reply Email plugin, the score will drop even further on first loading. Mobile/Desktop PageSpeed score is 60/98, looks bad on the mobile side.

But with 2nd click of the Analyze button in the PageSpeed Insight page to analyze my website, the score is 93/98.

And when I test out in Pingdom, the performance still looks fine as shown:

GTmetrix also shows a good result after the setup.


Quite frankly, this is something I still don't understand. Does a low score in PageSpeed Insight on the first loading really matter?


Final Thoughts

I hope this post is useful for you if you also intend to set up a comment reply notification functionality to engage your audience.

Let me know if you have any questions, and I will be happy to help if it is within my knowledge.

And I am also hoping that fellow WA members may advise me about the PageSpeed Insight issue that I am seeing.

Thank you.

Regards,
Richard

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Recent messages
richardgb Premium
Hi Richard
I also use Comment Reply Email plugin. Seems ok to me but only been using it for a few weeks so far.
:-)
Richard
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Dhind1 Premium Plus
Thank you - this is very useful
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OCH3943 Premium Plus
Hi Alexander, you are most welcomed. Let me know if it works for you too.
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DCaribbeanQ Premium
Hi Richard,
This is very helpful. Trish recommended one to me a while ago and I am yet to receive a notification.

I am very happy to see this one and will give it a try.

By the way, you should really do this as training.

Candy Benn
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OCH3943 Premium Plus
Hi Candy, I think it could be the same one that Trish shared. :)

I have not tried creating a training before. I should really try to use this to try it out...

Do give the above a shot and let me know if it also works for you. :) I believe with the above guide, it should just take you not more than 30 mins to set up and test everything. I probably spent about 5-6 hours on this topic to figure things out.
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