Across the board comments on blog posts are down. I’ve written about this before and why I don’t think this is a negative thing, but today I wanted to share a few thoughts on blog commenting etiquette and highlight some ways you can do it to help your own business.
There are still benefits of leaving comments on blogs. I personally believe that social media (especially Facebook) comments are of much more value, but if you are wanting to get on a blogger’s radar then commenting on their actual posts is a great way to do this. If you are posting informed and interesting comments you may also gain new followers for your own site because people can click through to find out more about you.
This must be done with caution though. If you are only leaving comments to try and boost your own traffic or help your website’s SEO, then it is usually pretty obvious and can really hurt your brand and reputation.
Here are a few things you must never do when leaving blog comments:
It kinda goes without saying right? Never ever ever leave blog comments for the sole purpose of attempting to drive traffic back to your own site. Most bloggers won’t approve them and if they’re stuffed with keywords or links they’ll get caught in their spam filters anyway. Don’t waste your time.
Post links to your own site
Unless a link is relevant to the discussion, don’t post it in the body of the comment! It looks super spammy. Instead put your URL in the field above the comment. Most people know how comments work and that if they want to see more from you they just click your name to go to your site.
It is usually pretty obvious if someone is only leaving a comment to try and get links back to their own site. Even if the comment is relevant to this discussion, it’s really irritating. A lot of bloggers will simply delete these comments (or edit them to take out the links) anyway. A big tell tale sign of someone doing this is when they also post under the name of their business rather than their real name.
Write anonymous hate
Again, this should really go without saying but if you’re posting anonymously (or using a fake name and email address) to write hateful or mean things those comments aren’t going to get approved! Disagreeing with something, in a polite way, is fine but don’t try and get into some kind of flame war for the sake of it. Always be constructive and respectful in your feedback. Remember, all comments can be tracked back to your own unique IP address (even if they are anonymous). Does what you’re saying reflect well on you and your business?
Post one or two word responses
If you haven’t got anything worthwhile to add then you probably shouldn’t bother! Yes, writing “good job!” or “cool!” might show the blogger that you enjoyed the article, but if that’s all you ever write it can start to be quite counter-productive. If you want to show your appreciation for a post but haven’t really got anything to add, why not tweet a link to the article instead (and @ the blogger in it so they can see)?
Reply to all your comments
Yes, this is in the ‘don’t’ pile! If you’re the post author you should definitely make the effort to reply to your comments, especially if someone asks you a question, but don’t feel like you have to reply to every single one. If you do it can look a little desperate and, honestly, not every single statement needs it’s own “Thanks so much!” response.
Let’s hope none of you have been making any of these big etiquette mistakes. If so, don’t worry, here are a few things you can start doing in your comments to make up for it!
Asking questions shows that you not only enjoyed the article but you want to get into a discussion about it afterwards. Questions build community because somebody (usually the blogger) will respond to it which can start a conversation.
Add to the story
If you know something about the post subject that hasn’t been included then by all means share it in a comment. You could even link to other articles you’ve enjoyed on the same topic as long as it’s relevant of course (don’t just link to your own site!)
Sign up for Gravatar.com
Gravatar is a site that creates ‘globally recognised avatars’. If you’ve seen people commenting and they have a photo next to their name and you’ve been wondering how they do that, well this is how! Having a photo of yourself is great because people will recognise you a lot easier from a photo and it makes it feel a lot more like the comment has come from a real person.
Be an early commenter
The earlier your comment is in a thread the more likely it is to get read. Make the effort to go first and start the conversation!
There are a few people that comment super regularly on my blog. I not only love them for it but I also always remember their names (and faces if they’re using Gravatar!) I’m much more likely to go and check out someone’s own site if I see them consistently popping up in my comments feed.
Share via your social media
If you enjoy a post enough to leave a comment, why not share it on your own social media accounts too? It will show the blogger that you loved the post so much you’re willing to go above and beyond by sharing it with others. They’ll super appreciate it and may even reciprocate sometime.
So there we have it, some of my thoughts on what you should and shouldn’t do when commenting on blogs. Have any of you had success with these ideas, or have I missed something that’s worked really well for you?
- Photography: Chellise Michael Photography