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Perennial Faves: How to Think Up Good Comments

Lots of commenters on Tuesday’s post mentioned how challenging it can be to write substantive comments. Here’s a great piece from…

Lots of commenters on Tuesday’s post mentioned how challenging it can be to write substantive comments. Here’s a great piece from last year to give you a commenting boost.

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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Featured image: perennial “Fatal Attraction” echinacea by F.D. Richards (CC BY-SA 2.0).

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  1. For me, responding is akin to reading the emotional temperature of the other blogger. This is, obviously, much easier when that person is a friend, but the writing style and feeling behind the words give clues too. Sometimes, if another writer is very distraught (for whatever reason), I just write something like, ‘Hugs’ or ‘sending love’ – because lots of words can further frazzle an overwrought mind. It depends upon the nature of the blog post: more intellectual subjects will elicit a more analytical comment, for example, whereas personal memories may well need sensitive handling and a gentle comment.
    Thanks for the great ideas.

    1. Nicely stated & good advice. I like your suggestion on just responding with “hugs,” sometimes that’s all another person needs.

  2. When I comment, I try to take personal experiences with whatever the post is about and make them relevant. That gives more context and dimension to whatever I’m saying.

    I also love to point out specific parts of the post that I loved, so that the writer knows what portions of the post are eye-catching and alluring.

    1. Excellent points: it sounds to me as if you write fabulous comments! Me? I’m a bit of a Curate’s Egg in the comment department. Must try harder, must try harder, mutter, mutter…

  3. I find this topic (and the likening it to your personality at a real life party) absolutely fascinating! I have this thing (OCD?) about not being redundant or having too much overlap with other commenters have already written. Therefore I always read all other remarks prior to leaving my own. Woe is me when a post has hundreds and hundreds of comments!! Am I the only weird one who gets hung up on this?

    1. I will do the same thing – just run down the comments – and if I can, leave a comment that’s my own. It also leads me to other great blog posts & it’s a win-win.

    2. I like to read all comments as well and found if there are dozens unfortunately I don’t bother leaving mine unless I am truly moved by a post then I don’t have to read anyone else’s. As I am moved to write what I felt.

      1. So randomrose, am I hearing correctly that if a post really strikes you, then you can bypass reading all other comments and just write your own? I’ll have to talk to my OCD voice about that option and see if “she’ll” let me do that too! ;-)

      2. Yes, I do. If the post really inspired me to say something off I go. Having an adult daughter with many problems including OCD I am pleading on your behalf…”pleeeese OCD let Little Miss Menopause do her thing!” Hope it works.
        (You see, you inspired me, that is why I replied…cheers randomrose

      3. Thank you for your beseeching. And now that you have shared a bit about your daughter, PLEASE know that I do take the condition of OCD quite seriously, although my lighthearted comment may not have indicated such — I grew up a hand-washer, a door-locker, a checker and a worrier (and can rattle off a dozen medications for it) and know how much it can wreak havoc on life. However since I write a humor blog, I usually try to find the giggles in just about anything. I certainly hope your daughter is doing well today.
        Take care!
        Stephanie

      4. I do understand about humour, my daughter also suffers with bulemia and her health is not good at all but we both have what we call our dark humour and that is to have a laugh over the not so good things, it helps our days. I feel for you and the thousands that suffer day after day. I don’t know you but I am proud of you for your strength to carry on and run a blog as well. Cheers randomrose

      5. Ironically, I just left a comment (during the same time you were writing this) on your gorgeous blog! The more you mention your daughter, the more we seem to have in common. Blessings for you both.
        Stephanie

    3. I’m glad you’ve brought this up. I also thought I was kinda different because of having this sort of OCD.. :) I couldn’t just post a comment immediately and it takes time for me to comment a post because I read first the insights of other people to weigh things up and come up with a relevant remark.

      1. Blogging and commenting takes on an entire different tone for “our personality type” doesn’t it? I think I just found my topic for today! With a humorous spin, of course. Thanks for chiming in so I not only no longer feel alone, I am actually starting to feel in the majority. ;-)

  4. I always try to place myself in the eyes and feelings of the author of a post, Before I comment to truly understand the message conveyed and when I read people sending me comments I always welcome exactly how they feel, if someone doesn’t like I always appreciate knowing why not, just a thought :)

  5. This is some good food for thought. I feel that if I read a blog and hit the Like button, then a comment must follow out of pure etiquette. I wish more people would comment on my blog so I could learn what my readers enjoyed or did not enjoy.

    1. I agree, but greatly appreciate any input provided. I’m also very thankful for those who click a SHARE button too.

  6. I love reading comments, and leaving comments even more. My only advice would be that people SHOULD leave them and always be honest.

  7. As a puppy in the blogging world, I really really appreciate teaching lessons like this one in blogging etiquette – so merci beaucoup at first for that! but besides all those precious thoughts on how to comment in a contentful, personal, non-redundant way, I have to say that a comment just saying “great post” to me is better than not leaving anything at all (if you liked what you read, of course). It may not be a revelation to the author, it may not add something outstanding to the conversation, but hey – a polite nice remark is better than none at all, isn´t it? just like in real life…..

  8. Interesting. In my little corner of the Blogaverse, none of us ever seem to have trouble finding content for comments. It just kind of like, blurts out. That’s because we’re passionate about not only the topics of our posts–we’ve also developed into a community of “bloggie friends” who really care about each other. Our comment strings are conversations, full of caring and emotion.

    In the rare event that I’m at a loss for words (heh!), I simply hit the “like” button, to let the blogger know that I was there and thinkin’ about ‘em, but maybe just not totally “plugged in” today.

    Love youse WP wranglers xoxoxo

    1. Exactly, Laura – just a “thumbs up” by clicking the like button is of course the shortest way to say you cared! Good you mentioned that. Cheers!

  9. Sometimes it really is hard coming up with something that doesn’t sound too generic. This post has been helpful. I’ll be sure to try these tips.

  10. I’ve been having a lot of issues with this as of late. I tend to browse blogs quite late in my day, by which time I often feel too tired to think of meaningful comments. I always make sure to read the post and I always make sure that it’s clear that I’ve done so, but otherwise…yeah.

    Thanks a lot for this. I like the idea of mentioning similar posts in particular; I’ll try to remember that :)

  11. I allocate at least as much time to reading blogs and writing comments as I do to writing my own blogs.

    If I want people to spend time on my blogs and write thoughtful comments I need to do the same on theirs.

    I also read through all the comments on other blogs, which gives me a great opportunity to bring up my gripe and that is people who have their comments set to newest first, rather than oldest first. So I either have to read through in reverse order which really jars, or scroll down to the bottom and then read up, and then go back down to comment. Does my head in. One thoughtful blogger actually changed this when I pointed out how difficult it was for reading through.

    My priorities for making comments are my core readership/regular commenters. I can’t comment on daily bloggers because I don’t have the time, but I will try and catch up with them once or twice a week.

    Building up regular commenters is like building any relationship, you put in as much as you want to receive. Finding new reciprocative bloggers is the hard job.

    I’m digressing slightly, but it’s related. Why comment if you don’t want someone to return your visit? Because we all do want more traffic/comments. Which brings me to the point of commenting a number of times on a blog and they never visit yours. You leave a handful of regular comments and they just aren’t interested, so you move on.

    My next point though is that I try and write a new post when my comments top 40 or 50. I know it’s a pain for people to read through a lot of comments and sometimes my readers write lengthy comments (like me). My current post about copyright theft has some 70+ comments, so I must write something tomorrow! I’m not interested in the hundreds and I want my readers to have an easy but interesting read.

    I don’t attract ‘good post’ comments because people expect to engage in discussion and often go off topic. So it’s very two-way. If you write a good comment and someone just says thank you, you wonder why you have wasted your time.

    And I’m sorry, I can’t think of a single tip. OK, maybe I can. If I’m writing about someone’s photos, I’ll write what makes it attractive to me, whether it is light, angle, composition. Text? Sometimes I’ll ask a question as I may want to know more about the story.

    But actually, what is a good comment? Two examples on my blog are Phil, who commented about how he had been told about some of his photos for sale on someone else’s site (!!), and Vicky who pointed out why copyright and photo theft should be taken seriously. Both excellent comments.

    I won’t give the link because I would hate to plug ;) but you can get to it from my name anyway as it’s my last post. Sometimes to look at what makes a good comment, you need to look at the ones on your own blogs that you think have contributed well.

    1. Phew, your comment is probably longer than most of my posts! But I do agree with pretty much everything you have said (and sorry but I do have comments in newest first order, I hadn’t considered that it might be irritating to commenters</em).

      1. I know, that’s why I don’t have problems thinking up comments! But blogging isn’t just about writing on your own blog, WordPress, more than any other blog host provides such a good opportunity for discussion so we should use it. (oh I type fast as well).

        I know it’s not just me that reads comments because people on my blogs comment on other peoples’ comments, and the easiest way to do that is by scrolling down, so you can catch any updates, rather than going down and scrolling up. The eye naturally scrolls down. Hope that helps.

  12. When I write my posts I make 100% sure as much as I can that spelling, grammar and everything else is perfect. However, when I comment I tend not to be so careful and sometimes even use text speak. Is this wrong? Should I take as much care when commenting? I’d really like to know what other people think. Thank you!

    1. i wouldn’t worry. When people ask me to edit their mistakes though I do, and after that, I will change any spelling errors for them automatically. I don’t like text speak but I don’t go into a faint about it.

  13. I actively try to comment (when I actually get around to reading posts, that is), but most tend to be short. These are some great ideas on how to expand on that.

  14. This was very helpful in a little education on leaving comments. I am so new to this so trust me when I said this is what I needed. I am that person when a card gets passed around I stare at it trying to think of a comment. I think from reading this I will focus on topics that maybe mean something to me, then maybe it will be easier to comment. Sometimes I find myself commenting just to comment and I am notorious for those hey great post comments, this was eye opening.

  15. @michelle w

    I often have trouble coming up with things to say — both in blog commenting sections and at parties.

    Me too. I’m not a brilliant conversationalist now and have never been one. I’m an introvert who gets caught up in deep thinking and finds it hard to surface and chat. One hour in the company of extroverts engaged repartee either in person or on a blog drains me dry, and by the two hour mark I’m almost guaranteed to have developed a headache.

    Though commenting is not my strong suit, I do love reading and I enjoy reading comments as much as I enjoy reading posts. So those whose blogs I do follow can be assured that I read every word in their posts and frequently read posts more than once, whether or not I comment or simply click the appreciation button (like button).

    When it comes to like button clicking I will click it even if I disagree with the blogger’s point of view, provided they have done a good job of expressing whatever it is and backing it up with cogent reasoning. What I am communicating is my appreciation for the fact that they have what it took to express what they had to say and why the felt compelled to say it.

    Your eight commenting prompts above are gold. Thanks so much for sharing them with those need them, like me. In particular this one stood out for me:

    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?

    1. I know you don’t believe me but I am actually an introvert personality. Even though I can rattle off comments like no tomorrow. I always appreciate your comments when you make them, and like others who read my blogs but don’t always comment, its enough to know you are reading and occasionally remind me that you do. We all work differently. And thanks for your input on the forums re the photo theft issue. Appreciated. As was the input of rc and ac.

      1. Hi there,
        It`s good to know you accept me as I am. I do try to make the time to comment but when I see 50 comments on a post and I`m pressed for time I`m more inclined to click out than I am to read them, unless the subject matter in the post is extremely interesting to me. I read all of your posts some more than once but I only skim read the comments.

      2. I do welcome the comments on my blogs, but I agree with you, my heart sinks when I see more than 40 or 50 on someone else’s so that’s why I try and post a new one on mine when it reaches those figures. If I see a blog in the hundreds I don’t even bother, I leave those blogs alone, they don’t need me.

        Half the comments on my blogs are often related to something else anyway :D

        I value everyone who reads. Some people have time to comment and have something to say, others don’t. I can skim read pretty quickly, so can get down a load of comments on other blogs, but I’m not interested in reading a lot of banal ones. Some discussions can be quite funny/clever and I do enjoy reading them (I’m not talking about mine here).

        Thanks for making the time to read mine, whether it’s once or twice :D

  16. I am still learning all this etiquette, but one thing I did learn from the other side of the comments is if you get a comment that rankles you, take a deep breath, walk away and think about it, before you blow off at the fingertips. It is the same concept of being careful what you say face to face, because you can’t take it back and on the web it’s not just a few people that have witnessed your tantrum but potentially half the world.

    1. That’s a very good point. I do the same. I spend at least 12 if not 24 hours thinking about it, and then if I still think it merits a reply it gets one in the cold light of day. Not n the heat of the night.

      1. @lindalh and roughseasinthethemed
        I’m with you on that but I use the 48 hour rule. I published a post devoted to this topic and titled it as Keeping your blogging cool. It’s a very popular post but I’m worried that if I link to it this comment will disappear.

  17. I’ve always done this…if I don’t know how to respond over a post, I read a few more from the same author. Then I can clearly get what’s on their mind.

  18. I love reading other blogs and find them easy to respond to as they are all slices of life except as I said in an earlier post if I am stuck for something to say( not often) and there are dozens of other comments to get through I tend not to leave mine. I can’t be bothered reading them all and I could just be repeating what others have said.

  19. Reading this post and the comments have made me thing that commenting is rather like making small talk: you can do it well or you can do it poorly, and when you take the time to do it well people know that you really are interested in what they have to say.

  20. @michelle w When I read your eight commenting prompts above it sort of reminded me of english classes I went to once upon a time where we has a teacher who ave very similar pointers on engaging with our subject matter to write up stories or essays & even reports. Thankfully I enjoyed the classes so I am not put off by your pointers!

    I will most defiantly work on the last point as I do read the posts & the ones I enjoy I often do not say anything at all partly because I do not want to write great job love your post and partly because I am unsure if I want to engage – I am trying too like right now I am engaging with this!

    Now I need to find the elusive time factor to read & engage as well as post!

  21. When you have to think about how you’re going to comment for the next 15 minutes: that’s too long. That means the blog post did not resonate /inspire you. So move on to another blog post or blog.

    A person’s genuine response and meaningful comment has to be that quick in terms of tapping out a useful comment for a blogger.

    1. I think that actually depends on the topic of the post at hand. Mostly, if you’re going to type something argumentative, then you might want to take your time and write as clear and concise as possible, rather than just scrawl an incoherent mess that makes your point(s) messier.

      Although I didn’t take as long as 15 minutes for writing this reply, I did take my time optimizing my word choice and fixing typos.

  22. This is a great article! I ask myself many of these questions before commenting and it really helps. I tend to ramble so my biggest issue is sitting back, looking at my comment and seeing if it makes sense.

    I’m not a big fan of ‘liking’ a post without commenting, it irks me sometimes when people do it to mine. However, I’ve come to realize if I don’t have anything else of value to add the least I can do is let the poster know I’ve read and agree with them.

  23. I rarely comment on posts. I often read other comments and think, “Well, they’ve said it all, what else can I say”? However, this post just woke me up from that stuporic attitude towards commenting. From this day on, I shall comment!

  24. I try to read with attention and read comments too, not only blogs but articles online. I do like many posts if I’ve read them but don’t know enough to comment.sometimes the issue is a bit scary, makes me want to make myself scarce. Most blogs are worth commenting on, the ones I follow, I mean and commenting is also part of being a community and appreciating the thinking and creativity that goes into a post.

  25. hello there. can i can ask favor .please comment on my post. its just for our final grade ,thank you. your comment will be counted. thank you again, GODBless :)

  26. “You’ve to leave a unique comment”
    “What is it that the content creator would want to to read ?”
    “Should my feedback be brutally honest?”
    “An appreciative comment can truly motivate someone!!”

    These are just a few thoughts that go through most people’s minds before commenting…
    And here is an entire post dedicated to thinking up good comments !

    Kudos :-)

  27. Great topic, thanks!! I am a fairly new blogger, about a year into it. And do not usually have trouble finding something to comment about because I have become used to sharing and supporting others in a reciprocal way. If you asked me 5 years ago, it would have been a different story, as I sat in front of another site, too afraid to comment, too afraid to speak up online. But I forced myself and over time it became much easier open up to others, and in a meaningful way. One other note about liking vs. commenting. I added a widget to my site that shows blog posts I like by others. And so I think before liking something much more these days. If it winds up on my site for my readers to see, it needs to be a post I think might interest my readers too. So find I comment more than press the button.

  28. This reminds me of how people keep on pressing “like” on some posts and no comments whatsoever but leaves the owners of said posts grateful on liking. Probably that’s what they wanted, especially with teen agers, kids at heart they just want to be liked.

  29. Wow, you have dug up so many questions to ask when finding it hard to write a comment other than just ‘great blog’. If a blog makes me feel happy, then I like to tell the blogger just that because I’d love to know that one of my blogs may have made somebodies day. If its a subject I am really interested in (like time travel!), then I will ask lots of questions just to see if the blogger has different opinions to myself. Thanks for publishing this item again.

  30. I like my comments to be expressive, conveying what I feel and thats why sometimes they take up a lot of time, when it comes to responding certain meaningful comments :)

  31. I realy liked your tips as I have trouble coming up with interesting comments, I’m definetly going to try them. Thanks so much.

  32. I lurk, afraid my words are empty and who cares about my opinion, however when I take the time to read a post I like to comments, this will give me things to think about to make them meaningful, thanks.

    1. Claudia, author Jane Porter once made a wonderful comment at a workshop of hers I attended: NEVER underestimate the reach of your words. I’m paraphrasing, and she referred to one’s storytelling efforts, but the principle applies. And if one shares from a kind, honest and compassionate standpoint, you just never know whose day or life you’ll impact. Just sayin’ :)

  33. I really enjoyed this article. The only thing that I would like to add in relation to leaving comments is to be always positive and to never offend. A respectful disagreement could start an interesting conversation. Also, I find that if I read about a subject expressing a different view than my own, I try to spend time and think about the opinion expressed. Most blogs can be an addition to your own way of thinking and/or writing.

  34. Although I wish I could read all the comments, some posts have so many I simply can’t due to time limits. I do, however, make sure my comment reflects having read the post in some shape or form. On occasion, my response is overlong (for my taste). That’s when I cut it, thank the blogger for inspiring me and link back to that blog when I post said response at my li’l blogging corner of the web. One long-winded comment turned into a two-part write up, lol.

    Glad you re-ran this one. I’m thinking I must have missed it the first time. Thnx!

  35. I must admit I am terrible at making comments and replying to comments on my blog. Maybe, because I am terrible at talking to other people, too. Comments are usually sort of informal, and in most cases, I find it difficult to simply loosen up.

  36. I am not good at giving comments, so when I post a comment like “awesome” or when I hit “like”, I really mean it. I just can’t express it in a way that sounds more sincere to the readers. I agree the other comments here that this has something to do with personality. I am a reserved type of person, I find it hard to start a conversation with a stranger or mingle with people whom I just met. Now, I want to change this. This makes me hesitate to immediately post a comment to a post. Well, thanks to this post. This will serve as my guide to logically express my viewpoint

  37. I comment to be noticed (99% of us) :)))) ; I comment to help shade some light based on my own experiences ( 1%). Somebody tell me this isn’t true!

  38. Before starting my blog, I am guilty of seldom leave comment on blog posts which I think it is interesting. Feel troublesome with the login to comment feature and keying in captcha code. However, after having a blog, I feel so much more appreciative with readers leaving a meaningful comments. Having comments push the blogger to write more and better posts. I love the interactions with the readers so I would not want to deprive the bloggers’ satisfaction to know my praise for their posts.

  39. I always comment the first word that comes into my mind after reading the post. And the first word that came in my mind after reading this one was “VERY HELPING”. Thanks :)