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Enhance Your Comments with a Plug (Wait, What?!)

I know, I know: didn’t I just publish a post, which spawned a massive discussion, about not leaving plugs in comments?…

I couldn't find an image for "plug" as good as the one in the other post, so here's Oolong the rabbit balancing a waffle on his head instead. (Oolong's Last Performance by tangotango, CC BY-SA 3.0.)

I know, I know: didn’t I just publish a post, which spawned a massive discussion, about not leaving plugs in comments? I did!

Does that means plugs in the comments are always no-nos? As the conversation following that post showed, it’s not quite so black and white. When is it acceptable to leave a link to your site in a comment?

I couldn't find an image for "plug" as good as the one in the other post, so here's Oolong the rabbit balancing a waffle on his head instead. (Oolong's Last Performance by tangotango, CC BY-SA 3.0.)

I couldn’t find an image for “plug” as good as the one in the other post, so here’s Oolong the rabbit balancing a waffle on his head instead. (Oolong’s Last Performance by tangotango, CC BY-SA 3.0.)

In the interest of speaking aloud the unspoken rules of blogging etiquette, here are two important exceptions to the “no comment plugs” guideline:

  1. When you’ve been told to: you’re participating in a blogging event, and the organizer asks you to leave a link to your entry in the comments of the post or page announcing the event — a fairly common request. By all means, add your link!
  2. When you’re linking to a specific, relevant post or page: you’ve written something that relates to the post you’re reading and would like to offer it as additional reading. Just be sure to leave a comment explaining why you’re including the link.

The issue with drive-by linkings and contentless-comments is the suggestion that the commenter hasn’t bothered to read our post, and is only leaving a comment in the hopes of driving traffic to themselves. Even if it’s sincere, it can look like spam.

If you’re following instructions or offering a related viewpoint, you’re doing precisely the opposite — you’ve read the post, and you’re fully engaged with it. In that case, link away!

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  1. This and the last post have helped learn what is good and bad ettiquette when it comes to commenting. Thanks again – I have learned so much from The Daily Post. If it hadn’t been for your Daily Prompts and Weekly challenges in the early days of my blogging I might have given up before I had got started – so thank you!

  2. I’ve gotten a ton of those spam’ish comments before that leave me with the HUH!? look. Which begs the question, If your comment clearly shows that you didn’t read my post why would I visit your blog? 0.o

  3. Phew! After I’d admitted I’d done point 2 in a comment on the last post, I felt quite exposed and questioned if I’d lost all ethics! But in my heart I knew my link was specific to the post and relevant and not a con to drive traffic to my blog. I’ll certainly we such a thing cautiously and mindfully ;-)

  4. Good suggestions. I also sometimes feel that all these “nominate ten people and link back to me as the person who nominated you” awards can serve the same function as spam comments.

    And in the spirit of spamming, I’ll include a link to my parody of those awards.

    http://bumblepuppies.wordpress.com/2013/08/26/the-same-old-blogging-awards-insult-my-intelligence/

    I’ve seen a few blogs (Anglo Swiss comes to mind) that sport badges asking for no award nominations… but I kind of wish it weren’t necessary for people to spend their valuable blog space to advertise that they don’t want those comments.

    1. Then can be, although in my experience, they’re often passed along by bloggers who sincerely care about one another. In particular, the Leibster does a great job encouraging new bloggers to keep at it.

      My old food blog frequently got awards. I’d always reply politely on the comment/post saying thanks, but that I didn’t participant in blog award programs — most folks get it and move on, and I preferred doing that to a permanent badge on my own site. But, as with all things, YMMV.

      1. This is exactly how I handle these “awards.” For me, these awards, with all the strings attached – thank the the person nominating (no problem, a simple courtesy), then nominate 27 other blogs for the award, post links to and from everyone, isn’t really an award. It’s more work.

        So I politely thank the person nominating me, tell them I’m truly honored, which I am, and that’s as far as it goes.

      2. I’m just asking, but how did these blogging awards come to be? Did people just make them up, like someone thought up the Sunshine Award out of boredom or something along the lines of that?

      3. I’d imagine so, yes — a blogger or small group of bloggers, looking for a way to give others some appreciation and help grow each others’ traffic.

  5. I feel better, now. A few weeks ago, on Community Pool, I responded to something someone wrote, a character analysis I think. And I offered up two of my own in links. I saw the “Comment Awaiting Moderation” and thought I had broken a rule. The comment was accepted, finally, two days later. Thanks, Silent

  6. Related to this is the – how many links do you set your moderation to – question (if that makes sense). ie I think I have mine set to two, so more than that and it goes into the queue. I had one in there today with three links on from a regular commenter who had given me some photo links. I approved it as soon as I saw it, but the akimet catches a zillion silly links. I think it is worth setting a low number, regular readers will know you will look for their posts and then approve them.

    My comment usually tends to be on the lines of ‘I’ve written about this before, and rather than clogging up your blog with a lengthy response, here is the link.’

    1. Here on The Daily Post and on my personal blogs, I keep it set to two. Akismet does a good job sending real spam to “Spam” and potential comments to “pending,” and I’d rather skim the spam folder ever few days to rescue a real comment than have more spam get through onto my sites.

      1. Go into:

        Dashboard

        Settings

        Discussion

        You have a choice how to set your moderation.

        Comment moderation. Hold a comment in the queue if it contains X or more links.

        Any further queries, the forum is probably your best bet :)

      2. You’re welcome. Most of us on here seem to set it at two, so you may want to start with that. As I say, check out the support forums or start a thread if you want to ask more about moderation.

  7. I just started my first blog a few days ago and, I don’t know if it’s rude of me to ask on your post, but how do I look for blogs about a certain topic and how do I get others to visit my blog? Again, I’m very sorry if that comes off as rude in any way, it’s my first time using a blog.

    1. Welcome, Noah! In addition to the ebook timethief linked for you, searching this site for “traffic” and “Reader” will pull up tons of posts on how to grow an audience and explore the WordPress.com community.

  8. oddly I signed up for this blog over 3 months ago. However, I just began writing and posting just a few days ago. Didnt realize there were so many do and donts. I also just tend to visit the site of those that follow me and read an entry or two. Then i go through the comments and randomly pick another blogger to visit their site as well. Doing this, I’ve come across a few great reads and an excellent food blog. I’ve yet to plug myself-I dont think. I will make sure this isnt a mistake I make either.

  9. @Michelle W Thanks for not shooting my bunnies :-) Such good points raised. I like it when someone comments without a plug the first time they visit so that we can begin a little conversation and get to know each other. When this has happened and I’ve found myself regularly following and commenting, I might include a link to another person’s post within my own post and they might do the same for me. These kind of links feel more genuine and natural than someone adding a cold plug in the comments. Somebody said in your previous post on this topic about not commenting unless you are genuinely interested in the topic and there’s a lot to be said for that. These are helpful and interesting posts so thank you!

  10. I enjoyed this follow-up article. We can always use a little humor when talking about things are are absolutely NOT funny. “Spam spam spam we all love spam!” said no one ever.

    Also, I wanted to point out that your last paragraph could be misconstrued to imply that this article is open for putting in our plugs IF we finished reading the article all the way through. Just a thought from a non-serious point of view.

    Etiquette on the internet is extremely lacking so when someone takes the time to be a good sport and “join the conversation” rather than inhibit it, then I applaud. High five every one!

  11. I’ve always been hesitant to leave a plug to a prior post in comment sections for precisely this reason. But now I’d feel more comfortable doing so if of course it is relevant and adds to discussion.

    As to the previous post, I instantly trash comments followed by a plug because it seems like the author is only interested in self-promotion, not discussion.

  12. I’m pretty prudent about leaving plug for a blog post of mine. It must be on topic and I have left a meaningful comment.

  13. Great tips. As a new blogger, I have no idea about proper etiquette so I definitely appreciate the lesson. Plus, I can’t resist a bunny with a waffle on its head.

  14. I was struggling with this concept, but now this is the 5th post I have read about this. There are so many dos and don’ts with blogging. However, I am getting it now! Follow your heart and be interactive with respect to others. 😃 I am blogging away on a weekly bases about intimacy and I feel great!!!! Is this a good plug (laughing)!!!!

  15. I LOVE!!! That pic of the rabbit with the waffle on it’s head!! How do you add pics on to your blogs??? PLEASE I need to know!! With my blog I need pics to show what I am saying I can get a little confusing at blogging!! HELP!!

  16. well – while in the wp reader – coming across this rabbit with the waffle – was such a great sense of fun! bahaha – thanks for that – oh – and I read the tips too – :)

  17. Great posts Michelle. I’m all for shameless self promotion when it comes to my photography, but a little blogging etiquette goes a long way. I’ve never shared an unsolicited link in a comment unless I REALLY felt it was relevant to the post at hand.

  18. Great clarification. Just yesterday I wanted to leave a link to a related post but didn’t, in def to getting a drive-by linking rap. Turns out the original writer really DID want to read it, searched my blog for it, couldn’t find it, then reached out to me for it. I could have saved him some time. But it is good manners to be judicious in doing so. Again, thanks for updating yesterday’s post.

  19. I’ve seen so many people leave comments at the end of the blog, that i started doing the same, and have been leaving this message whenever it is so: “I loved this post (insert and i did read it) and thanks for liking my post (insert post.)” So you are saying that is SPAM? Wow. I didn’t consider that sapm when it was done to me. Also, I write two blogs and that is the only time I do it — when it is my art blog written by me. It is too hard to sign out and sign back in under another name. Call me spammer!

  20. hahaha love the connection b/w the last post and this one! This makes a lot of sense though, I just started blogging and realized that the more you read other people’s blogs and are interactive, the more comfortable you will be with promoting your blog and interacting with other bloggers. Thanks!

  21. Im very new to blogging. Does a plug mean merely mentioning your blog or a post, or does it mean leaving a link? The latter, I’m not sure I know how to do anyways! These posts are very helpful. Thank you!

  22. I just started a blog a few dahs ago and I thought this would help me get everything I’m feeling off my cheat. Last November I got scammed and they hacked our account and took all our money. Since this has happened my husband has made very hurtful comments. And last night he did it again in front of our friend. I immediately went up stairs, I was so hurt. I thought how many times do I have to go through this before it goes to far next time. I told him that I have never lied or stole from him. We’ve been together for 13 yrs and married 11 in September. I have never felt so heart broken in my life. What do I do?? We had a very long conversation last night but it just didn’t help. From Distressed

  23. I agree with Steve. I am a new blogger as well and the articles that the Daily Post have been posting are giving me some great tips on etiquette!

  24. Rude barbarians are free to visit my blog any time. It’s a polite blog, but if you’re changing literary lanes in a hurry and happen to cut across my blog, welcome.