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