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Blogging 101: Be a Good Neighbor

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

Welcome to Blogging U! This course isn't currently active, but you can learn more about what we offer and register for upcoming courses on the BU home page.

Remember, comments are closed on Blogging U. assignments. If you have a question, or want to share or chat, head to The Commons.

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 “blogging101” 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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