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Blogging 101, Day Eleven: Be a Good Neighbor

Get out your calling cards, and leave comments on at least four blogs that you’ve never commented on before.

The best thing you can do to build a readership is to engage. Publishing posts is just one part of blogging; interacting with the community is the other. You’ve already been following topics and blogs, so let’s take that up a notch with some comments.

Today’s assignment: leave comments on at least four blogs that you’ve never commented on before.

Why do this?

  • Because engaging in conversation is inspiring; you never know where (or who) your next post idea will come from.
  • Because if no one knows about you or your site, the best way to spread the word is by connecting to other bloggers. No blog is an island.

Engaging with other bloggers is the only sure way to increase engagement on your own blog. We know it can be a bit intimidating to leave your thoughts on someone else’s blog, but it’s an invaluable habit to start cultivating — so much so that we’ll be doing it repeatedly in Blogging 101.

When you leave a substantive comment, you make the original post that much richer, drawing others into the discussion. Not only that, but leaving thoughtful comments means that other readers will want to know what else you have to say — and will find their way to your site.

Head to your Reader and browse the latest posts in the topics you follow. Take a minute to check out the “zerotohero” topic, too. When you read something that resonates with you, take a few minutes to leave a thoughtful comment.

Need more inspiration? Check out our post on thinking up good comments — and our post on what not do to.

Not sure what a “thoughtful comment” is? You’re not alone! Here are some tips for crafting comments that contribute to the conversation:

  • Try to avoid comments that simply say “Great post!” or “Thanks!” — make an effort to add to the discussion.
  • Be specific about why you enjoyed the post.
  • Ask a relevant question.
  • Respectfully offer a counterpoint. (And because it can’t be overstated: respectfully.)
  • Share a related experience.
  • Be concise. If your comment ends up being more than two paragraphs, consider writing a post of your own and letting the blogger know they inspired it.
  • Don’t leave a plug that simply links to your blog — your name links back to your blog anyway.
  • Mind your manners. If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, don’t say it in their comment thread.

Also — remember the blogs where you left comments, because they’ll play a role in the post you’ll write tomorrow.

If you’d like to take this a step further, add a post to your own blog today highlighting and linking to the four blogs. Let your readers know why they intrigued you. Links are the lifeblood of the blogosphere; every time you link to something you love, you strengthen the fabric of the blogging community. Sharing great links with your readers also helps them see you as a trusted resource.

If you’d rather not share them in a post, feel free to share them in The Commons.

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  1. Great advice! I start joining the conversation right here. Although I could have probably taken your tipps more seriously and thought of something more sophisticated. But hey, I’m practising. ;)

      1. Great to see people encouraging commenting on other blogs – it is such a missed opportunity to connect and meet with other bloggers – I have been mentioned in books authored by other bloggers simply by starting a conversation in comments on their blog posts – it is a powerful tool to connect and add value across everyone’s blog network.

    1. Yes it certainly helps. Last night went on few different blogs, shared my opinion and had a great positive feedback..

      Love this assignment. For me its a motivation tool to do this everyday :)

  2. I am really enjoying this series. Even though I had already implemented many of the things recommended, I have learned a lot and made some necessary changes, such as my About page and tweaks to by sidebar. Thank you so much!

    1. yes this series is awesome. I have made a lot of changes myself…Also love your blog.. Its very engaging.. I am happy to know that there are people like this on wordpress spreading wonderful messages through their blog.. :)

  3. I’m new to this blogging thing but I want to tell everyone that I am open to suggestions to my site and what I post on it.

    1. Me too, still learning the terminology plus real anxious about what I would like to write about. So many issues for me lol! Good Luck to us both as newbies!!

    2. I, too, am new to the blogosphere. I know, i.e., I have a slew of topics I’ve written about privately, what I want to write about. Now the big leap from anonymity. I’ve worked over 15 yrs as a copywriter, but am hoping this platform will allow me to express more than headlines and taglines. I invite any suggestions, criticisms – preferably constructive, essential feedback. Good luck Celinda! And I’ll keep a bit of luck for myself.

      1. Hi, David, your comment sounds like what i would say, I have a copywriter for pretty much the same amount of time, and i have tried getting into the blogging groove for a while. It nice to see so many writers sharing, experiment and connecting. will definitely check out your blog and may be learn a thing or two from you, cheers

    3. I’m new as well and recently started two new blogs. I’m really interested in learning about the blogginsphere and connecting with other bloggers!

    4. I’m a total noob too! I think many of us here are. I’m still figuring out blogging and figuring my way around WordPress. It can be intimidating! I’ve been trying to jot down snippets of conversations, things I read, and even songs I hear and using them as post titles and inspiration. I save them all as drafts then start with and outline and work from there. I haven’t posted a lot but so far thats what been working for me.

    5. Yep… complete noob here too. I’m often nervous about posting anything that might even slightly tick someone off! Haha, I think I’m thinking about it too much. Good luck to you and all other fellow newbies!

      1. Your blog is the one place *not* to be nervous — it’s for you, by you, and reflects you. It will never be all things to all people, so it might as well be a place where you can say what you’d like. Your people will find you!

  4. I think that it is important to give someone the full credit of their argument or their opinion. One part of that is reading and understanding what they are saying fully. Then, I can respond and ask questions, which show the person I am responding to what is important about what they have written or said.

    Thank you for your thoughts on how to improve our blogging experience, but I think that this is also sound advice for life and how to have face-to-face conversations as well because so often people just talk over one another. As oppose to giving full credence to the content and conclusion that the other person is saying and then responding to it before adding to the conversation.

    I have always appreciated your contributions, that is why I follow you.

  5. This is probably my greatest failing. I just feel like I might be *bothering* people, and I have a great fear of that. When I got nominated for a Liebster award, I had to nominate eleven others and comment on their blogs to tell them they’d been nominated, and also provide a link to my own blog so they could read the instructions. I felt like I was spamming them. Yes, it’s that bad.
    But I need to get over it.
    So… hi guys! :D Anyone want to tell me to have a look at their amazing blog because I’d like it and they won’t be shocked and disgusted if I commented on it?

    1. Haha…no we’ll love it. I started blogging very recently and I’m blogging anonymously (so more difficult to find readers). I jump with joy every time someone likes a post or posts a comments. Its the best thing about blogging – hearing back from those reading your post. So please don’t hesitate. I’m sure we’ll all love to hear from you. I know I will ;)

    2. I also feel like I’m mithering people but then I’m new to all this. I need to get over that and make the most of it once I’ve found my way around. There’s so much interesting stuff to look at – I’m almost spoilt for choice!

      1. Haha, I know! I feel like I’d like to have a sit down and just read through the majority of the blogs I’m following so I feel like I’m up to date, but there’s never enough time. :/ Must invent time machine.

    3. I know that “spammy” feeling. :D Also, when you’re working on time constraints, it becomes even more important schedule actual time slots to reply properly, otherwise, I never get any commenting done!

    4. Okay, so I hope your offer is open to not-so-amazing blogs. :) Feel free to look around at mine, say anything you want….or quietly click the back button and pretend like you were never there! You are very welcome and I look forward to check out yours.

    5. Hi! I love your blog! I sincerely do! It was so much fun reading your Liebster Entry! :D Sure, you deserved the award! Anyway, I’m pretty new to blogging. Only started last night. Hoho! And yes, how I would love you to see my blog and give your feedback! http://juleyyyy.wordpress.com/
      Nice to meet ya! :)))

    6. I just took a look at your blog, quite happy to say I like what I see. Keep up the great work! I’ve followed you, too, can’t wait for most posts.

    7. I so related to this. I am curious – - do you also have a difficult time calling people on the phone? Ever since email came out, I stopped calling people completely. I feel that it is intrusive and that at least with email, the receiver can pick and choose when and even IF they want to hear what i have to say. I do believe this is a self-esteem problem and I’ve worked hard to overcome it. Anyhow, Please visit my humor blog (and comment!) and if you return back in a day or so, you’ve actually inspired me to write a funny post about people who are too “shy” to make their presence known on blogs. Thank you!

      1. I’ve always hated calling people on the phone, yes, simply because I sound awkward as hell and confused as to why the little device in my hand is making human noises. I call when I have to, text mostly, and yes, if I can, email them or perhaps Facebook message them.
        I’ll check out your blog, yeah. :) Will look forward to seeing that post. ;)

    8. A few thoughts on your blog- I like the title of your blog (had to find the post to understand why the chocolate tea pot, maybe include a link to that post in your about me), I love all the random pictures that you draw and include in your posts. I do wish the theme was more colorful only because I think it would fit with the colorful pictures and the somewhat eclecticness of the blog. just my thoughts

      you can look at my blog if you want to, always love hearing peoples thoughts :)

      1. Hey, thanks, I’m glad you like the blog and the pictures. :) “A chocolate teapot” is a popular turn of phrase in the UK, meaning something useless, which is why I chose it (I am useless in any practical sense, but hopefully amusing.) Thanks for the advice, I’ll take it into account. :) I’ll definitely take a look at your blog.

    9. Oh god no, I doubt many people are annoyed that people comment. I just wish more people did comment on mine, particularly the new blogs I seek out to comment on all the time.

      Most of my comments appear to come from established readers – I appreciate their efforts but it is nice when people I comment on respond in kind too!

    10. Hi Anna! I dropped by your blog and had a good giggle :D I like the pictures you made. Did you make it directly in the computer? Left a comment there, which probably will be the first of many ;) I see that you like to use emoticons. Me too! My English fails me most of the time, so I got to find another way to get closer to my point :p Btw, do you mind checking my effort in writings? :)

  6. This is an excellent post, Michelle! My thought: Being a good neighbor, is about “listening” (or in this case, reading) and not necessarily making your comment about you. If you have a relevant and related example, that’s one thing… trying to “one-up” is another! It’s hard to practice giving comments related to your own experience without seeming like you’re doing that, in my opinion.

    Either way, thanks for this post! :)

  7. Great advice, just read this from the Reader, I would add that it is good to have a gravatar photograph so that people recognise your likes (which acknowledge you’ve read and enjoyed the post) and connect your comment quickly with your image.
    Best wishes
    Charlotte

  8. I know I’m supposed to do this (comment on new blogs), but this post is a good reminder. I’m wondering – is it normal that I cannot access The Commons? I’m curious about it. It tells me to submit my name and something might happen. I’ll give it a try.

    1. The Blogging 101 Commons is private to the participants of the challenge. I’ve just sent you an invite to your email address so you can join us! :)

  9. Really great points, I am looking forward to reaching out to some more of the wonderful bloggers taking the zerotohero challenge! I definitely will be posting about the ones I comment on later today. I can’t wait to find some great new work. Thanks guys!

      1. Look out — looks like you posted a link to your dashboard, not to the post. I’ve edited your comment so now it’s just a general link to your blog.

  10. This is a pretty interesting assignment, I don’t really comment on blog posts often unless I really have something to say, because many a time, I’m worried that my comment will be too short or too random! But this assignment challenged me to go post comments on others’ blogs and also, the tips for commenting helped, thanks :)

  11. Some times what we are looking for is right next store….
    I like to sing that old Safeway commercial jingle to myself from way back when, “If we can’t be neighbors, lets be friends”…… Safeway…lol

  12. All I can say is I keep trying. My biggest concern is just knowing basic guidelines to posting and what, how and when. Not that much of a computer whiz. #JustTheBasic, #KeepingItSimpleForMe

  13. I’ve been in the hospital for 2 days now (for my dad) so it’s good to know that I can easily do this challenge! :) I think it’s time for me to browse first my own followers and check the blogs of those I haven’t followed yet. Giving the love back! :)

  14. Done, with happiness and joy. In my first months of blogging, I was so focused on MY blog and tweaking one thing then another, I never really got around to connecting with other bloggers. Boy howdy, I have been missing out! Thanks for the continuing nudges.

  15. Being a good neighbor is important, since a lot of people are doing this to interact with others. Before I started this series, I was disappointed at the lack of interaction with other blogs or even linky parties I was doing. It was very disappointing. But since doing this series, I am blown away by the awesome people I have met who love to interact. It’s great. I do have to comment more on other blogs, which I will doing throughout the day. But sometimes, I don’t since I don’t have much time. On those days, I make it a point to comment on everyone who has commented on my page. I don’t them to feel as ignored as I have with other blogs.

  16. day by day there is not only increase in our blog archives but there is also increase in traffic, comments, likes and it is not just because of what we write but it also reflects the way we comment on other blogs.
    I see here all the comments praising about the great advice but why don’t use the opportunity to give a link of the best blog we think on our site. Here is mine :
    http://name5ake.wordpress.com/2014/04/20/i-am-mine/
    I would be happy to hear from all you guys and also share your posts :)

  17. Thanks for this post, i just starting blogging yesterday in a effort to meet likeminded people for advice and help with my career. And (selfishly maybe, ok probably) have just been writing my own posts, i stumbled across this and find your post enlightening and useful. See, sharing is definately caring

  18. Hi, all! How I wish I was able to join the challenge since you started. If there is anybody who needs much advice and suggestions, it’s me! I only started last night and it would be very sweet to be receiving feedback from all of you. Please and thank you! ^_^

    http://juleyyyy.wordpress.com/

  19. So I just started this blogging thing and to say I’m finding it hard would be an understatement! I know my writing skills are not amazing and I ramble on but would be grateful if someone looked at my blog!

  20. This is a great reminder to be social when using social media, which a blog can arguably to categorized into. I just started getting comments on my blog, which is still in it’s infancy, and I love that people take the time to read my blog and then feel compelled to respond to it. Thank you for helping me realize that I need to pass along that feeling to others :)

  21. This is actually the hardest thing for me. Whether it is real life or online I am afraid in engaging conversation. So I will start by saying hi here.

    Everytime I post in comments I get nervous…

  22. I wish more people would leave comments on my blog. A few “likes” here and there, but not many take the time to make a comment – even after I changed from the standard “your comment here” to “Don’t just read it, say something”. Still nothing. Too harsh? Maybe I just haven’t found my readers yet.

    I have been able to write two posts that were inspired by bloggers, so reading other people’s stuff has inspired me. Seems like I should have told them.

    1. Commenting on other blogs is absolutely the best way to draw people to yours — you should definitely let other bloggers know when they’ve inspired you.

  23. This would be the part of blogging I struggle with the most. It’s hard for me to comment because I either don’t want to sound stupid or I can’t think of anything constructive to say. And even when I do I usually don’t know how to word it right. Gah! I will do my best though :)

  24. I feel like I am missing out on all the fun. Because we are in the process of moving, we don’t have our computer hooked up quite yet and all of my viewing and comments are going through my iPhone. At some point, I’m going to write a post that gives love to my neighbors and uses the bogging 101 widgets. For today though, I will read as many posts as I can and be sure to leave some comment on each one.

  25. Great advice! I’m brand new myself and commented instead of just liking a post the second day on a random blog. Felt kinda funny, especially since the blogger had replied to everyone else already like she knew them. Then I got a couple of ‘likes’ by people for one of my posts and thought how much I would’ve appreciated a comment or two. So, I will be commenting more!

  26. I just stumbled upon this, and I am furiously working to catch up. I absolutely love this and needed it! I’m not counting this as one of my comments, just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate this.

  27. I don’t know how I got this, but thank you! I love having specific “assignments” to do. One thing I’ve learned in beginning to transition from employed to “freelance”, is how important self discipline, and the ability to structure my day/time are. And – how I am not nearly as skilled in these! Ultimately, that will have to come from within, but to have some “outline” to follow is very helpful. So I am going to follow your lesson plans!

    I compare it to the first time I trained for a marathon. I knew how to run, but I also knew there were specific ways to run/train that would best prepare me; and many people who were experienced in doing this. I researched others’ training plans and used one to follow,, tweaking it a bit to fit my needs. The next time, I made a few more changes; and eventually I had my own training plan. It took learning someone else’s plan first to enable me to actually run a marathon,, then have experience to be able to start making changes to a training plan and ultimately developing my own.

    I will be happy if I get as far as to have “my very own” blog which maybe 1 or 2 friends have look at. It seems foolish to start out blindly, when there are so many experienced sources who can guide me. Had I tried to run a marathon without using someone else’s training outline and knowledge,, I would likely have been curled up, vomiting at the side of the road, with noodles for legs before I was halfway. I think the same could happen with my writing “career” if I am not wise.

    Also, this is NOT specific to writing. as I see the same for meditation, running, dog training, any topic possible: so ,so many people selling courses, books, webinars, special gadgets; claiming that they can show me the way to success. Some of them for a rather hefty fee, at least by my standards, which I admit are low! So much that,I now have a financial counselor, who I do not pay anything. Think about it. Do people who really need financial counselors have a lot of extra money? Do most people trying to “make it” in the writing world have money to spare for such “luxuries:? None that I know!

    Oh, the financial counselor is legit,, also. My credit union uses to company to provide free services for customers. I was kvetching to him about listening to all these purported financial “experts”, but I just give up, They are all dealing with issues such as what to do with that extra $100,000,, should I take a 2nd mortgage on my third house,?, or what I should have been doing in my 20′s. Not only is none of this anything I can relate too, I am now more depressed because I was so “bad” in my youth, hence suffering the consequences now. He laughed, and said: “Those people are trying to sell books and DVDs”. This person is truly interested in helping ME. I have found this scenario to be true in most other areas where I have looked for advice or knowledge. One often doesn’t really know the background or skill level of someone selling something, or what they offer is really what you need, and you can’t find out without handing over some cash. I have found that some of the best “teachers” will share their knowledge without charging a fee, because they don’t need to, and they are so passionate about what they do, they are just eager to talk about it and share their experience

    I’ve found running coaches, a dog trainer, financial advisers willing to help me free of charge. This is not because I do not think they deserve to be paid, or should be. II would pay them twice the going rate if I could. I cannot pay them right now. because of illness,, living on a very limited income, and trying to pay off large medical bills (the marathons were before that, now I am working up to running a mile) . These “teachers” I have been blessed to find, I believe realize there are a lot of people “out here” like me,, different stories, but all the same, wanting to help ourselves, learn, help get our lives back. These are the people I want to support. I do “pay” them in other ways, if I can. I edit for the trainer, and help him write articles. No one should be deprived of knowledge because they can’t afford it.

    Look at all the people selling meditation CDs, courses,, “techniques”. I’ve been studying meditation for 2 years with Buddhist monks, live streaming classes, talks, all free. There is so much print information available free of charge, I could never read it all. And – I am learning from the “pros” . As the monks say: “No one has to pay to become enlightened”,. Nor can you buy that. I have, however; seen ads for books, DVD, etc. trying to convince me otherwise.

    So, thank you for our help.!!!!!!

    Question: 1. can this count as my bog comment? I think this could be a blog! 2. can you teach me how to start my very own blog.. I mean the mechanics.. like what do I do to get a page, etc… I am very very new. to this….

    1. Just head to WordPress.com, click the signup button, and follow all the prompts — it will walk you through picking an address and a theme and getting the basics set up. Then, come back here and you can start working through the assignments from the beginning. There’s all here:

      http://dailypost.wordpress.com/courses/blogging-101-zero-to-hero/

      There’s also a great tutorial site at http://learn.wordpress.com that will help you get things off the ground.

  28. Don’t know if you can help me,,, I went to blogging 101 Day !. However, I believe I need Day 0. I do not know how to “make a blog”. Physically. How do I get a page, website or whatever it is that I put my blog on??

  29. Wonderful article and a great reminder. Community is important and links are the lifeblood of the blogosphere. I will look at Reader and the “zerotohero”. I commit to highlighting and linking to the four blogs soon. Regards and best wishes. Bob

  30. Done! I liked this assignment because it made me stop & smell the roses! Actually I was forced to take the time & read! I’m glad I did because I learned about some of my followers & followed some new people. Thanks!

  31. Great challenge! Hey, if anyone is so inclined, please feel free to leave a comment on any of my posts at http://theurbanalgorithm.com/

    I’m trying to focus my blog on leadership and personal growth. My most recent 4 posts are on receiving feedback, personal change, uncovering your core values, and emotional awareness.

    Cheers!

  32. I’d like to point out, our Ogre Breeze came about because of a conversation over a blog post. Blogging opens up worlds of possibilities if we let it.

  33. Great tips, my only concern is that this has the potential to become cyclical and you’re only getting comments/likes from a circle of people. Yes, it might get your views up, but are you bringing in any new visitors? I’m curious as to how to make posts that will not only touch on a large group and be interesting to them, but not get too tangential leading to a lack of development for a particular niche.

    1. Part of the beauty of comments is that they’re public, so it’s not just the blogger whose blog you’re commenting on you visits you, but *anyone* who sees your comment and thinks it’s interesting.

      Also, comments from a circle of people are better than no comments at all :) We all have to start somewhere.

  34. It’s lovely to see this put into words. I know a few people who either need to read this because of an attitude problem or because they’re lacking in ideas for a “kick-start” for their blogs. Thanks for the advice!

  35. Okay, I am getting caught up. I have updated some widgets and my about me page. I have added a new post as I have been getting behind. I also visited at least 4 other blogs today leaving comments and finding some new and interesting stuff out there. I am having trouble setting up my link page the way I want it. But feel free to visit and let me know what you think:

    http://beckygblog.wordpress.com/