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 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?