Most newbies and even those with experience sometimes make mistakes when commenting on blog posts. I know I have. It’s probably because there are so many unwritten rules associated with blog comment etiquette. Here are seven:
1. Don’t blatantly promote your own blog or website
When you comment, the relevant fields will usually provide an opportunity for you to promote your blog or website, so you don’t need to repeat your details in the main body of the comment. Doing so can make you look ignorant or even greedy. Your comment may also end up in trash or worse—spam.
2. Provide an individual name
Leave your name, even if it’s only your first name, username or blogger name e.g., bluesuedeshoes. Don’t leave your organisation’s name instead of your own. If you don’t have an online presence, you can make one at Gravatar and find a suitable avatar to accompany it at free-avatars.com.
3. Leave true and relevant feelings
Bloggers are looking to make a connection with readers and view comments as an elaboration of their posts, a sharing of experiences for all to benefit. Try to ensure your comments relate to posts and don’t wander off-topic. Your comment should be brief, not like a mini blog post of your own. Unfortunately (and stupidly), an editing function isn’t available for comments, even if you make this mistake through overzealousness, which I have done. Aim to write only as much as others do.
If you don’t agree with a blog post, express your thoughts in a diplomatic way without hurting the blogger’s feelings. At times, it’s best to follow the maxim if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.
Read comments from other people as well as your own. Gradually, you will learn to enrich your words with honesty, warmth and personality.
This reminds me of warships dropping depth charges (explosives) to cripple or destroy submarines. Every time you include a link with your comments, it shakes the blog post and disrupts the thread. It can also send your comment to trash or spam. A better way to do it, I now find, is to refer to something without providing a link e.g., I read something similar at Writer’s Digest.
5. Like, but also comment sometimes
If you like a blog post, but can’t think of anything to say, use the *Like feature if one is available. Be aware, however, the more you *Like without providing comments, the more you risk marking yourself as a serial blog crasher—like a wedding crasher, only virtual.
‘If you want readers to
return, engage with them.’
6. Reply to readers
This one is for bloggers. Reply to comments to form a two-way communication channel and show your visitors you appreciate them. Replying also creates an opportunity to build working relationships with like-minded people. Two bloggers who do this with panache are Dianne Gray and Charissa Stastny. They usually always reply promptly and keep topics alive. They are in many ways my role models when it comes to responding to comments.
Some bloggers don’t reply at all or only reply to some (which can appear discriminatory). If you want readers to return, engage with them. Every comment deserves a ‘timely’ response to maintain topic momentum.
7. Delete inappropriate comments and spam
If you have a blog, delete inappropriate comments such as those with no relevance to your posts. Also, use a service like Akismet to deal with spam. This will keep your comment area tidy and ensure your readers only see considered comments.
Related (and loosely related) resources
- What is Gravatar and Why You Should Start Using it Right Away by Editorial Staff at WPBeginner
- The 11 Do’s and Don’ts for Writing and Managing Blog Comments by Ginny Soskey
- Creating a Blog Comment Policy that Works by John Saddington
- A Guide to Australian Etiquette by Ita Buttrose
- June Dally-Watkins Education and Training
What’s the worst boo-boo you’ve made or seen with comments?