Are You Commenting the Right Way on Blogs?

Blog commenting is half art, half science. ~Codrut Turcanu

Is there a “right way” to comment on blogs? 

I’ll answer that below, but first (with permission) I want to share an interesting conversation via email with a fellow blogger, Codrut of http://www.codrutturcanu.com

He zipped me an email asking how I felt about bloggers who rushed to comment on as many blogs as possible leaving the comment, “great post!” or “thanks!” and putting their keywords into the name field or links in their comments.  It led to a conversation about how to comment better on blogs.

Here’s what I wrote in reply to his question:

Hi Codrut,

I think from my perspective the difference is intentions.  If someone’s leaving a link with their keywords just to get the link vs. a new blogger who’s not quite sure what to add but wants to jump into the conversation.  I’m totally cool with comments that don’t add stunning insights or new revelations (because really, how often can we come up with that?).

Most of the time when I comment on a blog it’s because I’ve connected with the blogger either in social media, through a blog challenge, a link from a friend or colleague, etc.  And I just try to connect with something they wrote.  Let them know which part of the post was helpful or made me think.  If I do have additional suggestions or resources I’ll sometimes include that, too.  Something to let them know I read their post and thought about it, and that I didn’t just load the page, scroll to the bottom and throw something in the box to get a link from their site.

Another thing to consider is whether we as bloggers are making it easy for our readers to comment. Sometimes a post makes it difficult — by either being so comprehensive there’s nothing to add, or not asking a question or inviting comments. So we can encourage and help our readers learn to leave better comments by throwing in those prompts (what would you add to my list? what’s your opinion on x? have you been through this?).

What’s your thoughts on the topic?  :)

Michelle

The conversation continued:

you’re right… each approach is unique… and this blog commenting is half art, half science…

I like the fact you mention that sometimes blog owners don’t make it easy for readers to leave their feedback :)

something to ponder about, right

What kind of blog posts do you think have the power (or ultimately lead to) a swarm of comments?

Could you share a (link) example from your experience or someone else you know?

cheers,
C.

I sent back a couple of links to the most commented posts on my blog at the time:

It’s still kind of funny to me that a post about rewarding blog commenters is one of my most commented posts.  :)

So, what’s this art and science thing?

Isn’t it awesome how Codrut worded that?  It’s a perfect description of effective blog commenting.

Here’s my two cents:

The art is communcating and building relationships.  Being able to effectively share thoughts and ideas relevant to a post.

The science is the links, SEO, and  all that.  It’s choosing the right blog posts to comment on and knowing how it will help you build links (no follow, do follow, CommentLuv, TwitterID, etc).

Right vs. Wrong

Is there a “right” way to comment?  I think there are some general “no-no” strategies like:

  • spamming blogs with incoherent comments about their greatness so you can link to your blog
  • leaving the same “awesome post” blah blah blah comment on multiple posts on the same blog
  • blasting a blogger with profanity because you disagree
  • what would you add here as a “no-no”?

When leaving comments myself I try to think about them from the perspective of how I’d feel if they were left on my blog.

I’d rather you say “Great post!” and share a quick thought than not comment at all.   I appreciate every comment.  And I suspect most bloggers feel the same.  Short and sweet is okay.

And I love when people take time to share their own thoughts and experiences in the comments–adding resources or additional ideas!  That totally rocks.  So those are the kind of comments I try to leave elsewhere.

My best advice would be to just get out there and leave the type of comments you’re hoping for on your blog.  Simple as that.

What do you think?

  • What type of comments do you appreciate or not appreciate?
  • Do you think there’s a definite “right” way to comment on blogs?
  • Which of your posts get the most comments?

Photo Credit: iqoncept/StockFresh

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36 Comments

  1. I can’t get either of the links above to work (the ‘links to the most commented posts on my blog at the time’). Sometimes I just like to leave a great post! Because I don’t know what else to say, but I agree with the person. Or if I’m in a hurry and know I won’t remember to get back to it later.

    I think the posts that get the most comments for me are some of the ones that I think of as “fluffy.” I feel like I have my real writing, and then I have my “fluffy” writing. Because I’m in such a small niche, I try to generalize some of my other writing to make it more popular. Every once in a while I will write on a current event that I really don’t care much about because it’s popular. I try not to do this, because it feels a bit like selling out to me (whatever that means).

    For example, many of my friends wrote on the recent death of Amy Winehouse, and about how tragic and sad it is. I’ve got few opinions on people I don’t know, and don’t always understand the fascination with “stars” and such. While that’s not always true, it certainly is in this case, so I didn’t feel like posting something about it. Several of my friends in a similar situation posted on the impermanence of life and how millions of people die every day. I guess that would have been my approach on the subject, but it was a bit of a downer. ;)
    Amethyst recently posted… Setting off on a New AdventureMy Profile

    1. I think I’ve got those links fixed now, thank you for letting me know. :)

      It’s surprising sometimes what connects with people. “Fluff” does seem to be popular… and I can understand why bloggers choose big news or other events to share thoughts on, I don’t do a whole lot of that here (I can’t really think of any posts I’ve done about new/stars/etc but I might have in the past). That’s something to think about though–why do those types of things connect more and how can we build that same connection without feeling like we’ve sold out or surrendered to group think.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Are You Commenting the Right Way on Blogs?My Profile

  2. Hi Michelle,

    I agree with your comment that almost any comment is welcome, unless it is negative or an obvious spam. My blog is so new that I can use all the comments I can get to a point. Thanks for bringing this up. I have struggled with this many times.
    Gary Johnson recently posted… Never Give UpMy Profile

    1. It’s tough, such a fine line sometimes between what feels like spam and what doesn’t. I like the “almost any comments welcome” approach. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… 50 Places to Find Inspiration for Your Next Blog Post IdeaMy Profile

  3. “When leaving comments myself I try to think about them from the perspective of how I’d feel if they were left on my blog.”

    You hit the nail on the head with that one! That is the exact question that runs through my head the second before I hit the ‘submit’ button.

    If you run a blog about balloons, you shouldn’t be commenting on a blog that revolves around Alligators. Relevant topics are key! (in my book)

    I also agree that if you read a post that you disagree with, either do not comment or, at most, relay what you feel and why – in a professional way. Maybe they will see the topic in a different light…
    Anger solves nothing. :)
    Brock Blohm recently posted… What Is YOUR goal in life?My Profile

    1. I love a good challenge to my thought process–as long as it’s done in a respectful way. Those comments that disagree can be the most valuable, because it forces us to look at our reasons for something and either become stronger in our convictions or accept a change for the better. Either way–helpful!

      Relevance is a smart thing to think about when we’re commenting on blogs.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Are You Commenting the Right Way on Blogs?My Profile

  4. This is actually a great thought provoking post. I have often wondered what some people were thinking within the spam folder when they wrote there comment. You know, “dude, this was a great post”,
    Personally, I like connecting to the particular blog post or the blogger themself. I like you, seem to find blogs via UBC or via a comment someone might have written at the end of a blog post.
    I would rather have a comment from a person’s name vs. their keywords or a link back to their site as their name.
    Thanks for sharing this because it is a question I have personally been thinking about.
    Ria recently posted… 10 Uses For Taper CandlesMy Profile

    1. Yep, same here. It drives me crazy when people put “Buy Shoes Online” instead of their names (or something like that). I want to know who they are, not what key phrase they want to rank in the search engines for. (And I’m not referring to keyword luv here, I have nothing against that plugin or that strategy–as long as the name is in there somewhere, it’s cool.) :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… 50 Places to Find Inspiration for Your Next Blog Post IdeaMy Profile

  5. I’m still quite new at blogging (just 1 year), so I appreciate anyone who takes the time to stop by and leave a comment (as we are all so time-starved). However, I do find myself getting a little miffed when bloggers advertise their blog giveaways etc when commenting on a post. Isn’t that like gate-crashing a cocktail party and talking non-stop about yourself? I never post links on another bloggers posts. I do however add links to some of my fav bloggers on certain posts I write, and they usually reciprocate back. I try to always think of it as a 2-way relationship.It’s so easy to forget rules of etiquette just because we are not facing the person.

    1. Excellent analogy! It is like gate-crashing when we do that.

      Resource links that are helpful are welcome, I think, but promoting stuff unrelated to a post just seems… spammy.

      Seems like that happens a lot on the internet. Many times people forget there’s a real person on the other side of the computer screen.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Are You Commenting the Right Way on Blogs?My Profile

  6. p.s couldn’t open the links to your most commented posts Michelle :-( I would so love to read them.

    1. Yep, I’m fixing those now – I so appreciate those who’ve let me know!
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Are You Commenting the Right Way on Blogs?My Profile

  7. The Golden Rule Destroys Relationships – http://su.pr/2X8lCJ

    I only leave a comment if the post moved me. as for spammers, including people who (well I think they are robots not people) who leave the exact same comments showing they obviously never read the post at all—as you describe in your post, Akismet plugin gets all those in Word Press so I never have to deal with them.
    Excellent and informative post, once again, Michele. Thanks.
    Ali Bierman recently posted… How The Golden Rule Destroys RelationshipsMy Profile

    1. That’s a really interesting link, Ali, and a great point. I often joke with my husband that my “love language” is coffee (seriously, bring me home a mocha and that makes up for almost anything). But that definitely wouldn’t work the other way around. LOL

      Maybe that’s part of the issue with commenting. Even though it doesn’t bother me, it still does irk others and I need to think about that some more.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… The Human Connection: Why I Love Social NetworkingMy Profile

  8. For everyone who can’t open the links it’s because there’s a double http://. Remove one and you should be able to read the posts. :)

    I agree there’s a right way and wrong way to leave comments. Writing “Great post!” without self-serving links I don’t see anything wrong with that and take it as is. On the other hand, if there are self-serving links I would think twice that the person was trying to get a link back. I appreciate all comments that are relevant to the post and topic.

    Michelle, you write so well and so thoroughly sometimes I find it hard to leave a comment because really it is just that…a “Great Post!”

    1. Thank you – you said what I was trying to, but better. LOL I think that’s the difference between meaning it and writing it to get a link.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… 5 Ways to Add Visitor Interactivity to Your WebsiteMy Profile

  9. There are times I’m not sure what to say, or it’s such a controversial subject. But I want the blogger to know I read it and thought about it. So times I just write “interesting subject to ponder” or some equivalent.
    Nancy Rose recently posted… Are you taking time for simple pleasures?My Profile

    1. I might be in the minority but I totally think that’s okay, Nancy. I’m still at the “I love to know people are reading” stage and I’m not sure I’ll ever outgrow that. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Top Ten Reasons I Haven’t Commented on Your Blog (Yet)My Profile

  10. It’s funny that you’re writing on this becuase I just ranted about something very simillar on my blog. The post was about blog hops and how I’m sick of people choosing any post and then writing “i’m blah, blah, from the blog hop. I’d love it if you follow me back!” or something simillar. It drives me nuts. Most bloggers work hard to write something that is interesting to their readers and some even put their heart and soul into their posts, so to just ignore a post and leave a comment like that is just plain rude. I had one reader respond by telling me that she had this happen to her on a post where she was opening up about her son that was stillborn. How heartbreaking that someone would leave comment like that on such a personal post! I find it to be bad blog etiquette! I always make a point of trying to leave a meaningful comment on other bloggers posts and if I can’t then I don’t comment at all. Anyways, I think I’ve rambeled enough! LOL! Thanks for this post…it is a good reminder to people who want loyal followers…ones they can build a relationship with!

    1. I’ll have to hop over to your blog, Lisa. I think a lot of us struggle with this topic and having some good conversations about it is really helpful.

      Those comments aren’t helpful… and I’d bet you’re not the only annoyed by that. If it doesn’t seem like they’ve read the post at all…

      That’s a terrible response to leave on such a personal post. :( I can’t imagine why someone would think that’s okay.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… What Does it Take to Succeed as an Entrepreneur?My Profile

  11. The right way to comment is to augment the points the writer brings- or to examine why those points may be a little dull.
    This can be done via anecdote or declarative. The point of the comment is to enhance the next reader’s experience.

    Thanks for your post- and I hope i have!
    Roy A. Ackerman, Ph.D., E.A. recently posted… “Who are you?… Who? Who? Who? Who?”My Profile

  12. Great post!

    P.S.

    No, really. I’m thinking about opening public comments to all of my articles, not just blog posts. Insights such as yours help me.

    Will
    Will Bontrager recently posted… A QR Code GeneratorMy Profile

  13. Guess I should be glad I don’t get that many of THOSE kinds of comments, but I don’t get many comments at all, which is disappointing, as people seem to appreciate the theme of the blog. Two reasons spring to mind — annoying pop-up optin boxes (just removed!) and also the posts are long and rich, so people might not read to the end, or see the invitation to comment.

    I think I’ll shorten up my posts AND add a cute cartoon (I draw) in the middle of the post with an invitation to comment at the bottom.
    Lisa Rothstein recently posted… Lessons from Comic-Con 2011My Profile

  14. Michelle, i must say you have a way of starting of article that i wont consider writing because it wont occur to me. But when i see it here it just blows me away. Who would ever consider how people comment a topic that will draw so much interest and attention?
    I leave comments when i actually have something to say after reading the article. It is important to keep it real and not pretend to have something to say all the time.
    I believe the reason people are compelled to leave a comment even when they havent read the article is because most times we are told in a challenge like this to comment as much as possible so it is like a ward round where you just go round dropping any comment just so you are visible to the other person.
    pamela Evbota recently posted… Steps to Take when Starting a BusinessMy Profile

  15. What a great topic to dive into!

    I appreciate all comments to my blog. Even if it is short but they showed that they actually read, listened or watched the post then I’m fine with that! I know they looked closer at it if they mention something about the post inside their comment.

    Sometimes short and sweet is just as good as a longer comment. Obviously I think in general its always good to leave a comment offering value and your honest thoughts on the subject are the best. ( of course adding in the science part as you mentioned) :-)

    Thanks for the AWESOME read!
    Roshanda Gilmore recently posted… How To Write A Blog Post That Will Keep Your Readers Hooked!My Profile

  16. I’m glad you stated it was OK to comment “Great post” rather than say nothing at all. Sometimes that’s all I want to say. For you in particular, your posts are detailed and have lots of to do’s. Instead of reflecting on it I go and do what you say and follow your many links. I forget to come back! I will make a point of saying something first in the future. :)
    Sherrie Koretke recently posted… Stuffing Down Business GreatnessMy Profile

  17. Hey Michelle,
    That’s a great blog topic to write a blog post about!
    Cartoon Coach recently posted… Network Marketing Super Heroes – Tishina PettifordMy Profile

  18. As a blogger, I love all comments, except the ones that are obviously meant as spam. Like you, short and sweet is fine. But my all-time favorite thing is when a discussion gets started and not only am I responding to commenters, but they also are responding to each other.

    So as a commenter, I try to read other comments in case there are any I want to reply to, but sometimes, I just don’t have time. I am sure that is often the case with people who are commenting on my blog so I understand the short ones.
    Jeanine Byers Hoag recently posted… The Beauty of Different: Insights about The Beauty of AgelessnessMy Profile

    1. I love that too, Jeanine. Such cool thoughts come out when commenters are interacting with each other. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Free Resource Alert: Google+ GuideMy Profile

  19. I try to leave comments that let the blogger know I read and appreciated the post.

    I am most grateful for comments on my blog that show the reader has read the post, but more especially, if he/she has something further to contribute. On my Monday Metaphors, I frequently as for examples that the reader is familiar with.

    Thanks Michelle.
    Barbara Bockman recently posted… Monday Metaphor: Anacoenosis: Don’t you see it my way?My Profile

  20. Oh I’m so glad you pointed this out, actually, because I’ve wondered the exact same thing before especially when I get some of those random comments and wonder if my post was actually even read by them!! I think it’s SO important to actually read and respond in a way that shows you’ve taken interest to the topic–thanks again for such a great blog topic, Michelle–you are awesome!! :-D

    1. Right – I think the blog owners appreciate it when our comments shows we read and connected with what they wrote – even if it’s a short comment, just something that shows we read the post. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Free Resource Alert: Google+ GuideMy Profile

  21. Great insight…especially the part about commenting with the types of comments that I would like to receive on my blog.

    I do a similar thing as you in that I will read the post and then comment on something from the post (ie the first sentence)….definitely to let the blogger know that I value their point of view and that a particular point resonated with me…but also, like you indicated, to continue building the relationship that I have built with the blogger.

    I use other social media outlets (G+, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc) to enhance and solidify those connections because I hope to build a large network of professionals in all sorts of industries and be able to share their expertise and send them business if the opportunity warrants.
    Steve Rice recently posted… “Tell Me What to Do” – Building Power-Packed Landing PagesMy Profile

  22. I do my best to add something interesting in the comment. Sometimes it is tough to say anything though, if the post is just a great post! I love to add why I liked or what I liked about it and often I get great tips from the posts I read. Generally speaking if I don’t comment, it’s because it was all said and didn’t find anything original to say! Definitely like to have a comment that relates to what I have posted, and adds to the conversation if there is one. Michele sometimes I won’t leave a comment on a blog, cause I have such a minimal knowledge base about the subject. Or i haven’t even understood what the post what about! You have such great info, I love stopping by!
    Holly recently posted… I Watched The Life Drain From HimMy Profile

  23. This topic is real important to me because I delete comments that almost look fake. Sure some people just don’t have much to say, but if I know them or have connected with them on some type of level, I don’t expect their comment to be long-winded each and every time. Nevertheless, if I find a post that hits me hard, then I tend to lead a very detailed comment.

    Bloggers have a tough time trying to coming up with content as it is and when they do, I believe they work their tail off to make it good. I think leaving a well thought out comment helps the author understand that you complete understood and “read” their entire post (rather than skimming through it).

    People want to know that you cared about their article so how you articulate your comment is crucial. I have connected with some awesome bloggers this way and this lead to more traffic back to my site.
    Sonia recently posted… 6 Reasons Why You Should Create an About.me Profile PageMy Profile

    1. You bring up a great point, Sonia — if we want to get traffic back to our sites from the comments we leave, the content matters. Readers (other commenters on the blog) will be more likely to click through and visit our sites if we’ve added value to the conversation.

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