Menu

Perennial Favorites: Don’t Undermine Your Comment with a Plug

Learning the art of blog commentary isn’t hard, if you follow a few easy-to-remember tenets of blogging etiquette.

Learning a bit about and practicing good commenting etiquette will help you become a thoughtful member of the community. Get the skinny on commenting dos and don’ts from Michelle, in this fun post from our archives.

We talk a lot about commenting — why it’s important, what makes a good comment, how to moderate a vibrant comments section.

There’s one surefire way to get your comment ignored or worse, deleted: leaving a shameless plug. If you’re going to take the time to visit others’ blogs and press the “comment” button, avoid this basic mistake.

What constitutes a shameless plug?

A shameless plug is a comment that exists simply to provide a link back to your own blog. It says little — or nothing — other than your URL. Things like:

The Faint Praise

Really informative, I look forward to reading more.
youshouldclickthislink.com

The Bait-and-Switch

What a good post! If you want, come visit my new blog: ijuststartedblogging.com.

The Drive-By Linking

nothingbutmyURL.com

The Faintest Praise

Great!
visitmyblogprettyplease.com

Sometimes the shameless plug comment includes content, like “Nice post!” or “Good job!” Sometimes it’s nothing but a URL. Either way, the best case scenario is that it gets ignored. The worst is that it gets deleted, and you look like a spammer.

Why don’t bloggers like them?

We all love comments and we love being told how great, interesting, awesome, informative, and funny we are, so why are these comments counterproductive? Two big reasons:

  1. The plug is too obvious. When you leave a comment, your name links to your blog. This happens automatically if you’re logged in to WordPress.com; if you’re not logged in, you’ll be asked for your name and URL when submitting the comment. When you put your URL in the comment itself, you’re saying, “I’ll take any opportunity to put my blog in front of you!”
  2. It looks like you’re not paying attention. Engagement is a two-way street: I share a post, you share a relevant comment, and that deepens the conversation and creates a relationship. If you leave a comment that indicates you haven’t paid attention to my post, I know you’re interested in promotion, not engagement.

The overall impression you leave? Someone who’s only interested in traffic, with nothing of value to say. Maybe that’s true, but maybe it’s not; it takes time to understand and develop good blog etiquette, so you may not realize the negative impact of your comments.

Of course, now you know — so it’s time to stop.

AC Spark Plug by , (CC BY-2.0).

There’s no way to get your superfluous plugs clean enough, even if you can cram a horse into your bathtub. (AC Spark Plug image by dok 1, (CC BY 2.0).)

What makes a good comment?

Coming up with a killer comment can be easier said than done. Lucky for us, Elizabeth, our in-house Emily Post, has written a lot about what makes a great comment and how to think of ways to contribute. A few of our favorite points:

  • Ask yourself some questions: What was my reaction to the post, specifically? Why? Is there any aspect of the story that I would like to hear more about? Did the post change my mind about anything, or teach me something?
  • Think of a creative way to say “Nice post!”: Find an original way to say it that displays personality and that lets the blogger know you read the post. Instead of “LOL!” try, “When I got to the part where the old man stole your shopping cart, I laughed so hard I scared my cat.”
  • Read thoroughly: Make sure you’ve read the entire post and the other comments. Your comment should never make the blogger (or other readers) wonder if you actually read anything.
  • Contribute something of value: Add something substantial that moves the conversation forward. We appreciate simple comments like “Enjoyed this post!” but a meatier response is more likely to result in visits to your own site.
  •  Be yourself: No matter your perspective, a unique voice will get attention. Let your personality and perspective shine through.

What do I do with all these non-comments?

Here on The Daily Post and on The WordPress.com Blog, we delete comments that (1) are simply links; (2) contribute nothing other than “Nice post!”; and (3) are notifications of reblogs without any substantive commentary. We don’t do it because we don’t care that people think we write nice posts, but because we’re trying to cultivate meaningful conversations.

You might notice comments like this on your blog, especially on a post that attracts more traffic than normal — one that’s passed around Facebook, or gets featured on Discover. It’s your blog, so you decide what conversation you’ll allow and what gets nixed. You can even be completely transparent and publish your comment policy (on a new page, or in a text widget or sticky post) so readers know what to expect. Feel free to snag our guidelines as a starting point.

You’re taking the time to click over to someone’s blog and fill out the comment box, so don’t throw that away with a comment that leaves a poor impression. Spend the extra moment composing a meaningful compliment — it’ll make the blogger feel great and help build your own audience.

Show Comments

75 Comments

Comments are closed.

Close Comments

Comments

  1. Whenever i see “nice post!” on any of my blogs, i cringe. It’s just another way of saying, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, I read your post now I want you to come read mine…” OR “I really didn’t find anything useful about your content, so I really have nothing to say. But somehow I feel obligated to let you know I was here.”

    If you don’t feel that you can contribute anything new to a post in the comments, you should rethink commenting all together.

    Liked by 9 people

    1. Aww, I don’t see it that way at all. If I was just wanting them to know I read their post, I could simply click the LIKE button and keep moving. But if I take the extra couple of moments to leave a comment, no matter how brief, I do it with a genuine heart and I’m not doing it for any other reason. How people interpret those few kind words is entirely on them, but I don’t think everyone looks at it in a negative way like yours. I love comments, even if they are just a couple of words, and I’m certain I’m not alone.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. You’re not…when I log in to wordpress it is during that portion of my day that I give to keeping up with my blog and other social networking accounts…often all I have time for is a brief one or two
        word comment…so you’re not alone..:)

        Liked by 4 people

      2. While the “nice post!” comment might come with good intentions, my point is it adds nothing of value. It’s not real feedback on what was written. Especially when at the end of my posts I ask specific questions to understand what people’s thoughts are.

        Liked by 5 people

      3. I definitely agree with you, as a new blogger with only one post I already love the smallest of comments! I like knowing that someone, anyone, read my content even if it is just a “Nice post!” Remind me that others are “hearing my voice”.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah but sometimes it gets annoying when you notice someone noticed they liked your post and merely commented. You’ll know for sure they just want you attention. Its annoying cause me as a new blogger I need real people who’ll stay in my blog and not just hit and run a single post never to be heard of again.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, I learned something today. Thanks! I didn’t know that when you make a comment on a blog, that it automatically shows a link you your own blog. I have mentioned my blog name in a comment, before, but now guess I shouldn’t. Guess that’s because I sometimes get a comment and want to find the person to thank, but didn’t know how to if they didn’t leave a clue of where they are coming from.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. In the past, I made a few of these “nice post” comments with links back to my blog. Then it happened to me. It felt very similar to chatting with someone at a party, only to see the other party goer looking around over your shoulder to see who to talk to next! I don’t leave those comments any more.

    Liked by 9 people

  4. Agree, agree and agree. I hope this comment would not be deleted 🙂 Thanks for all the helpful links. I’m enjoying the whole process of learning the in and out of blogging thanks to the Daily Post and the hard working people behind it. I particularly dislike the “follow me I follow you” policy. People should comment, follow, like etc. out of genuine interest or otherwise why bother.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A corollary to this is people who obviously just hit Follow on everything in hopes of driving reciprocating Follows on their sites. It isn’t always obvious, of course, and I’m sure there are some people wondering why I’m following them (I have extremely wide-ranging interests is why!) but there are some where it is so glaringly obvious.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Whenever I get a new follower, I check out their ‘About’ page. If the comments are filled with things like ‘Thanks for the follow! You might be interested in seeing my magnolias at shamelessselfpromotion@i’mnotinterestedinyourplatform.com’, I keep a wide berth.

      Drives me nuts.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. All of these neg. critics must think we followers all hav a selfish motive for printing out every comment. I am not Mother Theresa obviously but I comment because I feel someone went to trouble of blogging or sharing some thoughtful info. Only a truly me person
      wouldn’t respond or really aren’t deep enough to credit the blogger with a some valuable comment.

      Like

  6. I agree 99.99% but we have see look at this in context. I recently received the comment “nice” on one post but seeing who it was from, knowing her blog’s style, it was a real comment. By and large though, real feedback is an awesome gift.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. And sometimes I post something short and sweet because I’ve read the post on my cell phone and want to respond in some manner, knowing I may forget to do so once I’m sitting at my computer and because I despise having to ‘type’ via my cell phone. I had no idea some might misconstrue my good intentions as being self-serving.

      Sigh.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. I think short and sweet is ok. Context is definitely a “thing” as has been mentioned. A “nice!” doesn’t bother me. I think the main point on the original post here was short combined with a very obvious plug to your own page. I’ll keep a “nice!” comment up on my page. A “nice! come check me out at xxx.xxxx.com” is at best going to have me look at their site first before deleting the comment but more likely I’ll just delete the comment.

      Like

  7. As a relative newcomer I see that some of my commentary style may be misunderstood as not reading or caring….I follow people to see what their blog is about and if, over time, the interest isn’t there I UN-follow them…But I think what I’m beginning to like about Word Press IS an emphasis on respect and etiquette.

    I find the gaming mentality narcissistic and tedious and many of the
    bad habits described in this post are the result of people who are more focused on “stats” then they are on cultivating their work and a nurturing support system that will allow them top evolve as artists and writers…

    Thank you for an excellent and informative post and to the people who replied….

    Rob Goldstein

    Liked by 6 people

    1. I agree whole-heartedly. I love just about any comment on my blog, but the nothing but “nice. come see me at xxx.xxx.com” will be deleted. I would think as long as you aren’t leaving those then the comments you are leaving are fine.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 🙂 at Robert. Yeah, I have a friend who for some *strange* reason says this to me a lot. Actually, I have a few friends, many from across the pond who have said this to me. NO IDEA WHY. :::sarcasm font::: It just seemed fitting for my all over the place blog.

        Like

  8. Pretty much nailed it with the false praise comment spam thanks for keeping these sections clean. Much easier looking at old articles without having to wade through a bunch of nonsense.

    Another thing I’ve noticed is the daily prompts keep getting spammed with unrelated pingbacks by the same bloggers trying to get their mediocre blog on the front page. You guys might want to take a closer look there as it’s annoying and makes the prompt look like a free meal for spammers.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I read through all these comments first, because I was looking for someone who commented on the unrelated pingbacks for the Daily Post. I find them so annoying. I just delete all the pingbacks. I really don’t understand the reason for the pingbacks, unless it is to drive traffic to your blog. Thanks for mentioning this, SomniVision.

      Liked by 3 people

  9. Well, I have to be honest and admit that I have been guilty of the very subject of this article! The author speaks the truth. Thanks for publishing this article on such an apt subject.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thanks Krista for reminding me about something, not necessarily connected with the post 🙂 Love the picture above, which is done in very specific and old school way of expression 🙂 Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi @Swav! All praise to our Michelle W. — the original author of the post. I brought this back from our archives to share it with some new readers that have been dropping by lately. 🙂

      Like

  11. I’ve read posts that have made me smile and others that have made me cry, but I’ve never known how to properly convey that emotional response. There are times when I can only write “this really hit home”, or “I truly enjoyed this”. It’s not that I don’t want to make constructive comments, I just don’t know if others appreciate the visceral nature of some replies.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thank you for the post. I’m fairly newish to the blogging world and it’s really useful to have something that points me in a direction re:comments from both ends of the spectrum.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. This is mostly common sense stuff but I guess it’s good to review it. Personally I just like getting comments in general. As my own blog grows, I have the feeling I’ll get used to regular comments, and will become much pickier on what I consider valuable or not valuable.

    In short, if you’re just starting out don’t worry, be thankful for even the weak, non-committal comments you get, as long as they aren’t spam. They at least show some semblance of interest.

    Like

  14. Wow, this one really hit home. Thank you for letting me know this was a breach of etiquette, as I’m sure I’ve done it more than once. So many unwritten rules to trip one up in this brave new world of blogging . . . .

    Liked by 2 people

  15. My own rules for commenting (or not) go like this:

    – If I liked a post but genuinely can’t think of something interesting to say, I will just hit the ‘like’ button. It’s nice to acknowledge but I don’t want to waste anybody’s time.

    – The above rule may be flexible if I know the blogger well.

    – I will only add a link back to my blog if it’s to a specific post which relates directly to the post I’m commenting on.

    Happy blogging people!

    Liked by 3 people

  16. I agree with all the points here, but I have to confess that I very occasionally include a link in my comments but for one reason only, that what my link goes to is related to the post I am reading and I thought the original poster might like the option to view it.

    I *always* include commentary and make it relevant to the discussion and do my best to make it a meaningful engagement.

    If you follow those rules, is it a shameless plug still?

    On the “nice post’ comments im 50/50 – I appreciate that someone took the time to comment, but wonder why they bother a bit. I hadn’t considered the point someone made about brief comments because they read on their phone, and long comments are a PITA to do in that case.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d add to that, that it’s so easy for many to label something as self-promotion when it really isn’t.

      An example from my own recent experience: I got to know a blogger I sincerely followed and so I read several of his posts just to get to know him better; he did the same thing. At the same time I noticed that though he read and liked 4 of my posts he passed over the one post I particularly wanted him to read, and so I went over to his blog and said in effect:”I’m glad you’ve read my posts but please visit my article “Blahblahblah” at “web address//articleIreallywantedyoutotakealookat”

      I don’t see that as shameless self-promotion (what a label!), just normal interaction between bloggers getting to know each others’ blogs.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, yes that’s the kind of thing I’m talking about, sharing something you think is related and relevant. Of course just dumping links into comments is poor form ,but if dialogue is engaged it should be ok?

        Liked by 1 person

    2. If you follow those rules, is it a shameless plug still?

      Not at all — if, in your comment you share a link to a post on your blog that’s relevant to the discussion at hand, sharing that link is perfectly fine, in fact, that’s encouraged. That sort of response makes a discussion deeper and richer — and that’s the sort of community we’re trying to foster.

      Like

      1. OK good, cos that wasnt the impression I was getting from the original post. Im all on board with ‘don’t be a dick’ but didnt feel clear on where it was OK 🙂

        Like

      2. Links to random posts on your blog, or simply a link to your blog left as a comment might not be welcomed by others, but when your link is relevant or adds to the discussion at hand, or has some additional insight to share, that’s definitely welcomed.

        Like

  17. Wow. I really learned something new today. I never thought at a brief post without added value wasn’t really appreciated. Huh. But then I thought it for a while and you’re right. It’s like walking to an artist to say “oh that’s cute” then putting the object back on the shelf. UGH. Lesson learned.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Being new to the blogging world this was really informative. I’ve never considered that making a “nice post” comment could be rather rude ( but I also didn’t blog before). It’s also nice to know that it is ok to delete comments if they don’t adhere to certain standards.

    Like

  19. I appreciate you taking the time to write this; I am new too, and I hope I haven’t offended anyone by typing two or three word comments. Because of this article, I will make a concerted effort in the future to make at least a sentence when I choose to comment. There is so much talent here, and the learning possibilities are endless, with just a little bit of effort to pay attention and be polite. Thanks again, and have a great week.
    Susan

    Like

  20. Wonderful site you have here but I was wondering if you knew of any forums that cover the same topics talked about here?
    I’d really like to be a part of group where I can get suggestions from other experienced individuals that share the same interest.
    If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

    Cheers!

    Like

  21. Good tips about commenting. But commenting is a right of the person. how can we ask someone to comment only good? I added a survey as per blog201in my blog, and one person commented that “she doesn’t like the posts because she doesn’t like religious posts online, so she cant give any rank to my blog” Its ok, that is her view, I can’t ask her to write good.

    Like