Say Something: Commenting Etiquette

Previously, I wrote about how to drive engagement and build relationships on your blog through good comment moderation. Today, let’s…

Previously, I wrote about how to drive engagement and build relationships on your blog through good comment moderation. Today, let’s talk about the other side of that: being a good commenter yourself. As Michelle pointed out, leaving comments on other people’s work is one of the best ways to lure others to interest others in your own site. But some comments are more effective at this than others. Here are some tips for how to win at commenting:

  • Read thoroughly. Before commenting, make sure you’ve read the entire post and the other comments before yours. Your comment should never make the writer (or the other readers) wonder if you actually read the material. Also, if your point is on target, it might have already been made by someone else – in which case, you can reply to that person’s comment!
  • Contribute something of value. Every post can be the start of a conversation. Try to add something substantial to move that conversation forward. Don’t get me wrong – most bloggers appreciate every comment, even if it’s just a simple ‘enjoyed this post.’ But a meatier response is more likely to result in visits to your own site.
  • Keep your comment comment-sized. If you have a lot to say on a certain subject, leave two or three representative sentences in the comment section, then link to a post on your own blog where you have expanded on the topic. This is a clever way to engage readers who share your interests.
  • Don’t leave shameless plugs. One of the top complaints in the comment thread on my last column was commenters who leave nothing but a link and a ‘thanks!’ There’s no shortcut to building a readership – intelligent and thoughtful comments are the way to go.
  • But do link to your correct site. If you leave intriguing comments, other people will want to check out your blog – so make it easy for them to find you! Make sure your website field is updated in your Personal Settings, so that your username links to your site. Upload an eye-catching Gravatar and fill out your Gravatar profile with your social media links and a short bio.
  • Mind your manners. If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, don’t say it in their comment thread. Criticism is fine, but there’s no need to be hateful. And remember, only a blog author can delete a comment, so if you comment in haste you might repent at leisure.
  • Be yourself. I’ve discovered many favorite blogs by becoming a fan of a certain commenter. Rather than any one comment, it’s the style and personality of a commenter that really makes me want to read more of their work. Whether you are smart, witty, or just plain bizarre – be you! No matter your perspective, a unique voice will get attention.

What type of comment catches your eye? Do you have a certain style of commenting yourself?


  1. I like comments that show the person even read something or looked at photos more closely as well as an unknown fact related to the blog post. My style: Sometimes I say alot, sometimes not.

  2. I have to say “wow”–this was a great post AND engaging comments! As a ‘newbie’ blogger I know I am still learning the ropes but your tips–especially about making sure the profile is complete–will make a huge difference in my approach. Thank you to the many comments as well that opened my eyes to things I had not thought of (especially reverse reciprocity)….even if it took forever to read ALL of them!

  3. Excellent tips! Have already started fleshing out my profile and I like the note about being yourself. I have a bad habit of trying to sound overly formal instead of just being me, which is frankly way more appealing to people. Stressed formality can be a turn-off.

  4. If someone new “likes” a post of mine – and of course ALL my posts are VERY likeable! – without leaving a comment, I usually check out their blog, especially the “About” page. If there are a lot of comments on the “About” page from other people saying “thanks for liking my post, I’m liking you back”, I conclude that the “like” was just a bait to get me to visit their blog. Maybe I’m jumping to a wrong conclusion?

  5. Здравейте!Намирам идеята за интересна. Но първо искам да споделя едно мое разочарование – виждам, че важната тема за децата ни вече е приключила Мисля, че бързо препускаме из интернет и това може да бъде за нас някой ден една лоша шега. Такава съм аз- често сълзлива Иначе съм голям образ- започнах да пиша коментарите си под мъжки псевдоним.После се усетих,че това може да предизвика смешно объркване и се представих в блога си като жена каквато съм Имам съвсем слаба компютърна грамотност обаче продължавам смело да действам. Няма да се учудя, ако направя някой сериозен гаф.Не зная дума английски, но това не пречи на моята самоувереност С една дума- като се вгледам в себе си и осъзнавам колко съм смешна И често пъти коментарите ми са съдбоносни и трагични Такава съм, за сега ще се зарадвам, ако се разделим с усмивка Пошегувайте се с мен- доста съм комична.

  6. i have an amateur blog and my heart skips a beat when someone likes or comments. it’s sad to know though that people only do such things to showcase their blogs. i hope people are nicer than that.

    commenting too is something i am fond of, especially when i find a person very fascinating. the way a person writes tells more about him, prolly more than his about page could ever describe ‘em! no to fake commenters! rawr.

    commenters unite. let’s make this blogosphere a better world. we hope! :)

    1. Аз харесвам коментара на Бубу.Също смятам, че личностите са по-важни от блоговете Като че ли всички се интересуваме само от себе си.Аз съм в интернет, защото искам да общувам с хора от целия свят, да зная какви са техните вълнения и мнения Според мен трябва повече да контактуваме помежду си, да се опитаме да бъдем силна общност от личности

  7. I have a self hosted blog, so I use WordPress software, but I don’t have access to some features like have a “Like” option on my posts. I used to envy the WordPress sites I would see that would get a lot of likes, but now I’m not so sure. While sometimes I would like to get those “likes”, it does seem as though some people abuse the system by just posting hundreds of “likes” on as many blogs as possible just to get their little gravatar icon on as many screens as they can.

    I do use the “like” button myself, but I try to limit it to just using it on photo posts, the weekly photo challenge for example. Otherwise, I try to leave a comment.

    One other thing. I do wonder if some people are just a little shy or apprehensive about leaving a comment ? Maybe some people are perfectly happy with their circle of friends they have developed with their blog and when they do come across a new blog maybe they are not so sure if they will be welcomed, so they just use the “Like” button instead of writing out a comment.

  8. As a blogger, I find this to actually be one of the hardest things to do, for one reason alone — TIME! I love reading blogs and reading in general… but when you have a full-time job (as a writer, mind you!), and then have to fit in writing / moderating comments on your OWN blog during your off-work hours… it’s tough to also fit in reading / commenting on all the other GREAT blogs out there. But I have to remind myself, too, that it’s important to MY writing to engage in other blogs. Why? 1) Gives me perspective on what’s going on around me; 2) Helps me gain new ideas / fresh insight for my own writing; 3) Enriches me because I’m actively playing a part in the writing community at large. After all, if I want others to engage on my blog, why would I expect any less of myself?

    Great post!

    1. i completely heard this which is why i have limited myself to a few choice blogs i follow and then on occasion when a comment sparks some interest i will visit a new blog but there is just so much goodness out there it is difficult to choose…

  9. wow! I am so grateful I’ve read this blog. I’m new in this site and I still don’t know what to do especially about “liking” and commenting. Elizabeth, thank you so much for the tips.

  10. this is a great and helpful post – i love receiving comments and so because of that i love to give them but definitely try to make them meaningful and helpful/encouraging [unless i really didn't dig something - if i have something constructive to say i will often inbox the person] or something funny but yeah the encouragement of someone thinking what you sad was worth reading really spurs you on to write more and better…

  11. Sometimes it is challenging to leave an original comment, especially when so many others proceed you. If I find what I am reading is marginal i usually try to leave a positive comment, but no one directly reflecting my opinion. No one wants harsh criticism in their comments for others to read and have their opinion affected.

    You have excellent reminders for each of us as we try to enjoy the community of bloggers and build relationships. i appreciate the knowledge share!

  12. This is one of the few posts I read completely including all of the comments. So I obviously must have ‘liked’ it. :) I’m running a couple of blogs (8) here on wordpress and I’m getting some likes immediately after posting. I always visit their blog if they’re new to mine to check them out. Most are disappointing because judging by their blogs, they really can’t be interested in my stuff and were actually just luring. I’ve even acquired some strange followers of the aforementioned kind. I don’t care about them, to be honest.
    I hardly leave any comments because I either don’t have the time (it takes me a while because I’m not a native speaker of English) or – in most cases – don’t want to repeat what the other commenters have already said. I do leave ‘likes’, though, and do so only after I have read a post. I also leave likes in a row, especially on photoblogs, because I visit some of them only once or twice a month. Nothing wrong with that in my opinion if your ‘like’ is an honest one.

  13. I actually wrote a post in my blog about how I use the “like” feature. For me it is a tool to help me keep track of posts that I either want to reblog and add my own thoughts, or else link to in my own writing. But I read most of the post before hitting like. For me it’s not a means to increase stats, but an organizational tool. And once I have reblogged a post or linked to it, i unlike because again, that feature is an organizational tool, and the fact that I reblogged a post or linked to it means I like it.



  14. es muy cierto, a veces para comentar escriben con un vocabulario inadecuado, no son concretos al decir las cosas, siempre se deja a un lado, pero ahora es como fundamental escribir el comentario adecuademente y tener conocimiento de lo que se ha leido !

  15. This is a great article, Elizabeth. Thank you for taking the time to make the information clear and easy to understand. Very useful! When commenting in a thread I try always to be encouraging. There is too much negativity. So even if I feel that criticism is in order I make every effort to say it in a kind way.

  16. Good tips that I wish some bloggers/commenters would observe. Shameless plug only makes sense if the other person’s blog post is same topic or will dovetail in as an addendum. Should be used very sparingly. I especially hope that some bloggers would return an occasional visit especially for blogs where I’ve commented meaningfully for them on multiple posts over several months. It’s only good manners and keeps the good blogging espirit de corps up.

  17. Thank you for the considerate tips here Elizabeth, having read a few posts concerning commenting etiquette from other bloggers I’m acquantanted with, I’d say you’re surely right on in the need for sincerity. Still I find myself having to work on leaving shorter comments, perhaps the technique of leaving a few sentences straight to the point on the topic with a link tying it in will prove helpful – sounds more reasonable anyway, so I will definetly keep that in mind vs. the paragraph type I’ve been prone to!
    I also find other commenter’s input helpful; I would “like” them too were there such a button!

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