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Making Conversation: How to Think Up Good Comments

Here on The Daily Post, we’re always advising you to build blog relationships by leaving substantive comments on other people’s…

Here on The Daily Post, we’re always advising you to build blog relationships by leaving substantive comments on other people’s posts. That’s easy enough to say, but how do you think of more to say than “Great post!” when all you can think to say is, well, “Great post!”

I often have trouble coming up with things to say — both in blog commenting sections and at parties. Here are some questions I ask myself when I want to leave a comment on a post but find I’m at a loss for words: 

  • What was my reaction to the post, specifically? Did it make me laugh? Did it make me sad? Did it touch me? Did it inspire me to take action? Why did it make me feel that way?
  • If the blogger made a point or expressed an opinion, do I agree with them or disagree? If I agree, is there any additional reason why I think the same thing that the blogger didn’t mention? If I disagree, why?
  • If the blogger wrote about something that happened to them, have I ever had a similar experience that I could share?
  • If the blogger wrote about a book, a movie, or an album, have I read, watched, or listened to it? Did I enjoy it? Can I recommend anything similar that the blogger and their readers might also enjoy?
  • Does any part of the blogger’s post remind me of something that I’ve read elsewhere recently — a news article, another blogger’s post? If so, I can mention how that article relates to the post and link to it in my comment.
  • Is there any aspect of the story that I would like to hear more about? Any questions left unanswered? Any point the blogger made or conclusion they drew that I did not quite understand?
  • Did the post change my mind about anything in particular, or did it teach me something that I didn’t know before?
  • If I still can’t think of anything to say but “Great post, enjoyed it,” can I at least think of an original way to say that, that displays some personality and that lets the blogger know I actually read the entire post? For example, instead of “this was hilarious. I lol’d” maybe say something like “when I got to the part where the old man stole your shopping cart, I laughed so hard I scared my cat.”

If there are other comments on the post, you can (and should) also read through all of those. If the original post didn’t prompt you to respond, one of the other commenters might.

Finally, if you have absolutely nothing to say about the post, but you really enjoyed it and you want to reach out to the blogger, read some of their other posts! You’re bound to have something to contribute to one of them.

Do you leave a lot of comments or do you tend to lurk? Do you have any additional tips for coming up with interesting comments?

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  1. It’s lovely when someone posts a thoughtful comment – especially when it generates a ‘conversation’. There’s usually something in a post that will do that, or a question – I like questions, and have to get better at asking them. :)

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  2. Thanks for your really helpful post, it came just at the right time for me! I’ve just uploaded my first post and this is my very first blog (I know, I’m a little bit late to catch on! LOL) so I really need all the extra tips and help I can get! :)

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    1. Dear Lyn,

      Congratulations on your first post! We all had our first. Big things start small you know. Good you’ve all ready started something. Keep spirited in your passion for writing. Small by small you’ll carve a niche for yourself. Only remember to keep your writing positive and up-building, and, guess what? You’ll soon start recounting your astonishing adventures in blogging! Cheers.

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    2. Welcome to the blogging world Lyn! I am pretty new myself and am thrilled to be part of the wp community. This post had pretty good advice- Im sure to be thinking more deeply about my reactions to posts in future. Thanks Elizabeth!

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  3. I think one of the nicest things about blogging is being able to interact with others. I like to leave comments on most posts that I read, and always scan the other comments if I have enough time. I think that is why my recent problem in not being able to comment was so painful. And as Wanderlust Gene says it is always lovely to read a thoughtful comment on your own posts and enter into a conversation.

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  4. There’s nothing better than getting a substantive comment on one of your posts. I try to ask questions in my posts in order to invite discussion. As for leaving comments on other people’s posts, I try to find at minimum one specific thing to comment on, whether it’s the way something was phrased or an idea that hadn’t occurred to me before. Everyone likes to hear “Great Post!” but adding something specific is much better.

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  5. I love to comment. I think writers in general often work in a silo and never know if they’ve connected with their readers. Blogging has changed that. We now have the opportunity to let writers/bloggers know that their words have resonated with us in some way. We need to take advantage of that. And if it’s simply a “Great post!”, so be it. It’s nice if it’s more, but recognizing that there was a connection is what’s really important.

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  6. Personally, I would rather read a comment regarding my blog. Whatever the comment, I can learn more about my readers and myself. I have pushed the LIKE button on many other blogs, but have recently been trying to leave comments as I understand the importance of thought put into the work I just read. When I am short on time; however, I become a lurker.

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    1. I’m bad about just clicking that like button, too. Likes are always nice, but I’ve been trying to take the time to also leave a comment lately on posts that I “like.”

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  7. Thank you for this helpful post! Sometimes I find myself struggling to put down a “Great comment” on someone’s post despite having something to say about the post. These questions help bring the mind and expression of thoughts together..Like a bridge! Woo!

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  8. Great post! (ha ha ;-) Seriously, though, these are really useful tips – I will be bookmarking this post to refer to the list of questions to ask myself when a post resonates with me. I am hopeful they will help me when I respond to readers who comment on my own blog as well. I am always grateful to readers for stepping up and saying what they think, and how a post affected them, and I want to show my respect and appreciation by replying to them. Often I can’t come up with much more than “Thank you,” which isn’t much. I’d like to leave thoughtful replies, and I think this will help. Thank you.

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    1. Good point – responding to comments on your own posts is also really important, and sometimes can be just as difficult to come up with something to say.

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  9. Your post was clean and to the point. Quite ingenious actually. Here I am typing a comment to you. I would have to say that worked out perfectly. In fact, I liked it so much I will be putting a link to it on my own page. Thank you for taking the time to educate and lead. Very well written.

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  10. Sometimes we forget the simple things… “Thank you so much, both for reading and for commenting”….and then add whatever else I can say (either before or after) re: the other’s comment. We Americans seem to have such a difficult time simply telling one another “thank you.”

    Thank you, Elizabeth, for bringing up this topic. Maybe it will help us all be a bit more gracious to those who take the time to read what we write.

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  11. I always have trouble finding the right words after I read an amazing post. Thank you so much for the suggestions.

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  12. Great advice! I enjoy reading other blogs but always struggle to find the perfect words. Then of course I wonder if my comments are too long or too short. These tips are also helpful when responding to comments on my own blog. I’ll keep them in mind :)

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  13. Comments eh? Key to blogging on WP. I spend as much time or more on commenting on other blogs or replying to those on mine as I do on writing posts.

    I will reply to ‘great post’ or ‘supah photo dahling’ comments with a thanks, but not with a long comment.

    Most of my commenters are terrific. They write long comments, engage in discussion and address virtually every point I write about. And often go off on an interesting tangent, and engage in great discussion.

    But on commenting on others’ posts, I wouldn’t recommend thinking up good comments. If the post doesn’t inspire you, leave it. It will sound fake anyway. Either you think of something you want to say, or you don’t.

    Of the regular blogs I read I invariably find something to say. Or else I wouldn’t be reading them would I? I read a couple of new ones recently and commented on there. If they don’t visit mine/comment back I’ll not be back there either.

    Reciprocity is key. Perhaps that is the answer to what to write. If you just follow, like, write ‘great post’, you won’t get anything interesting. I read a blog today with regular comments of more than 100. (And none of those of were the blog author’s). But none of them said anything meaningful. Depends what we are all aiming for.

    Photo blogs without text are often the hardest. ‘Great photo’? So what, any better than any other? As with food blogs.

    To me, the whole issue is about being interested in the blog you are reading. That way, you will always find commenting easy. With which, I must off to reply to a comment on mine.

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    1. But on commenting on others’ posts, I wouldn’t recommend thinking up good comments. If the post doesn’t inspire you, leave it. It will sound fake anyway. Either you think of something you want to say, or you don’t.

      Very true about not forcing an insincere response. But I think this also depends on your personality. Some people are naturally able to articulate how they feel and think about what they read more easily than others. For others, making conversation takes practice – in life and on the internet. Some people might really want to respond to something, but they have to work harder to find the words.

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      1. Thanks Elizabeth, that’s a fair comment. But I’ve had commenters who have said they don’t feel they are good writers (is that important? no) or that they can’t live up to the discussion (! university this is not).

        Any polite comment on my blog is welcome, regular commenters also disagree with my points of view, but I don’t want anyone to feel intiimidated. One commenter said it took her a while to dip her toes in the water. People shouldn’t feel like that, rather that there will always be a warm welcome for anyone taking the time to comment. It doesn’t have to be clever or intellectual, just something that shows you have read and appreciated the post.

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  14. I love these pointers. I enjoy receiving thoughtful comments and I try to leave some too. These suggestions will help me when I can’t think beyond “what a beautiful photo”.

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  15. I’m always flattered that people will read my post, no matter what their comments are! They sat down, read it, then were kind enough to leave me a message. Those who write a bit more – how they found the post, how they could relate, because of a previous incident in their lives – are even MORE meaningful to me.

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