I always remind myself that not everyone knows what I know, and how to post on a blog may be something the reader truly does not know. —Shirley George Frazier, Successful and Outstanding Blogger
Reading blogs is only one part of being part of a community. If you stop at that point, you are missing out of half the experience and half of the fun. Blogs are really intended to be part information sharing, part conversation between the writer and readers. As HART, a reader at Successful Blog said, “” . . .half the show is in the comments!”
Visiting a blog is much like stopping by a neighbor’s house. It’s cordial way to let the owner know that you stopped by. If you’ve stayed long enough to read something, leaving a comment is a nice gesture and a relationship-building act. It’s like leaving your calling card on a business call or leaving a note at the house of a friend.
How to Comment
- Does the writer want comments? Rare is the writer who doesn’t. There are a few. They are easy to spot. They have removed the comment box from their blogs.
A writer may have chosen a design that makes the comment box hard to find. If you don’t see it, look up near the title of the post. Some template designers think that’s a good place to put it. The designer was thinking of the design not the reader. Take the time to find the box and comment despite that, for the sake of the writer.
- What do I write?
- Can I leave a link? The biggest mistake I see is that occasionally visitors don’t understand that they are on another person’s blog, a space that someone has spent time and effort putting together, a place where a community has formed. This leads them to act in ways that don’t work in their favor. Whether it’s leaving a link or words that don’t sound right. Look around and see what others are doing. It’s a when in Rome kind of thing.
- Are Trackbacks okay? Trackbacks are often good, particularly on business-type blogs where they are used to connect articles of relevant content. Be careful not to use them as your only form of communication, though, especially with blogs you’ve never visited. It can make you appear as if you are “too busy to be bothered” with actually visiting to comment in person.
If the post inspired you, or made you think of something–a memory, a question, an argument, or a reason you agree–say so. If it didn’t, try “thank you.” That always works. You’d be surprised how nice just leaving a 😛 can be.
A Comment Policy
Each blog owner can control whether a comment is posted to the blog’s comment page. That decision is made based on the blog’s comment policy. Have and state the comment policy for your blog.
The policy at Successful-Blog is simple–no spam, no profanity, and no disrespect for people who use this blog. Links that serve readers are welcome–though more than three, might be excessive. Harmless fun is always welcome.
–ME “Liz” Strauss
Links from Outstanding and Successful Bloggers
Commenting on CTBizBlogs
The Comment Policy at Home Office Voice
Once again Liz, said with style and grace 🙂
One thing you said did stick out for me though – you talk about a comment policy. Is the onus on the reader to assume a general comment policy of “no spam, no profanity, and no disrespect”, or should it be on the blog owner to clearly state somewhere sensible (I’m guessing top of the sidebar/the about page) that that is what they expect from comments?
From a reader standpoint, could it be seen as off-putting or even offensive if the blog I’m reading says upfront “I want you to comment, but play nice”? It is as if they have such low expectations of me, the reader, that they assume without being told I will misbehave.
I am stretching the point a little bit here, but part of me thinks it is similar to the “Film piracy is a crime” and “this film looks better in the cinema” adverts you get when you go to see a film. I know the film looks better in the cinema, that’s why I paid a fortune and went to the cinema in the first place, and I resent being treated like a thief for something I haven’t done (and more to the point have no intention of ever doing).
Also, isn’t “no spam, no profanity, no disrespect” pretty much a given and how we should be living our lives, regardless of whether it’s in the comment field of a blog. Does it need stating?
Then again, the blog-owner part of me applauds the idea, because then when (when, not if) there are nasty comments and spam, I am perfectly justified in deleting it, pointing to my nicely written policy, and telling the offending commenter to take a running jump.
I have no conclusion to the problem. It just made me think.
J. H. Shewmaker says
Liz, I have to disagree with the paragraph which you wrote on Trackbacks. Good trackbacks occur when the words which one blog author wrote strongly affected another blog author to such a degree as to write more than simply a comment.
If you are visiting another blog for the first time or if you have never commented before, then the right thing to do is to write a LONG article on your own blog which is very relevant to the topic raised by the first author, explaining why you are either endorsing what was written by the first author or in complete disagreement. However, it is important to remain on topic, relevancy is key in this situation.
While it is true that there are bad trackbacks, getting a good trackback from another blog is even better than comments because the other blog author has publicized your posting on his blog and has written extensively about what you said.
ME Strauss says
I like that you said it. I think my feelings run the same from both points of view. I was wondering myself where to put my comments policy for the very same reasons that you state. Reading your comment made a light go on for me. I’m going to add it to my About Me page. There’s nothing wrong with adding a paragraph to that page that gives my views on how blog readers and blog writers best interact. Then it’s not in anyone’s face and it’s just me talking over there. I do a lot of that. 😛
ME Strauss says
I stand corrected. Your point is well taken and well expressed. I had in mind a specific example and a post already written when I wrote that paragraph about trackbacks.
Your information clearly adds dimension and depth to this post and I thank you for taking the time to contribute it.
Sincerely I do.
I found a blog by chance which had its comments turned off, and without an e-mail contact. My impression was the person is not interested in any interaction and I went elsewhere. It was a shame, because it seemed there might have been common interests.
Hsien Lei says
Then there are the people who complain about receiving comments. What?! Honestly, some people just don’t “get” blogging, do they? You, Liz, obviously get it. 🙂
HART (1-800-HART) says
Thanks for quoting me 🙂 It’s true that the show is the comments, at least on this blog! And Martin’s blog. And Darren’s blog. And I can easily point out at least 10 others that I feel the same way when reading. Sometimes I just read and move on. Other times, I’m back just to see what someone else might have added to the conversation. Sometimes (and I hate myself for this part) I just come back to see if I ‘twigged’ anybody’s nerve and inspired a comment or rebuttal about my previous comment. Sometimes I come here specifically to see if Liz DOES NOT get the last word in!! (so far I haven’t found that lol)
I know when I comment on blogs .. I sometimes type too much that it might have made better sense to make a comment on my own blog, and let the trackback show that I was here and your blog affected me in some way … but I’m not that conscious about doing that as I should be. If I did that, I think I would come and also comment to explain why there was a trackback and I felt I would answer it on my own blog. I have been doing that “meme” thing on my personal blog, for music and pictures .. it’s the same thing. It’s what blogging is all about, and helps me practice my blogging wares.
[ btw – on an unrelated topic. I think I figured out why I keep getting moderated .. it’s because your blog doesn’t like me … j/k! it’s because I often rotate the website URLs here and usually rotate my email addresses too. I’ll stick to this main one from now on. ]
ME Strauss says
I know what you mean. When I first started blogging I might not have noticed that the comments weren’t there or thought that this was some very important blogger. But I came across one last week who offered a chance to take a permalink, email, or buy something and I thought I was at the Hard Rock Cafe and left because I was hungry. I want to interact or feel like someone cares that I was there.
ME Strauss says
Hi Hsien Lei,
Thank you. They complain, but they want “glory.” I can’t quite get far enough away from me to find the glamour part–so I go for the fun part. It’s got be the interaction that makes this fun, because it sure ins’t the money. Is it Hsien Lei?
ME Strauss says
I go back to read whether there have been comments added, often to see whether someone has responded to something I’ve said. Hardly ever to add an additional comment. Hart, I had no idea I was (me stopping to giggie uncontrollably here–must go get coffee) providing you with such entertainment. My son who is a master at the last word would get a real kick out of hearing you say that. I do know that when a meeting pulls me out of the house. i feel bad to come back and see that I’ve made someone wait for an answer. Now I’ll know that I’ve just been keeping you in suspense. 🙂
I’m more like you when it comes to trackbacks. I guess that’s part of why I “got it wrong” in the post. My gut says, you’re there say say your piece, then go home and share what you have to share and tracebace what you say there. I guess my “last word gene” would kick and made me go back and explain my trackback in some cases too. I don’t get the meme ping thing, I’ve only see the way they do it on personal blogs and there it’s rather silly.
Robert Purvis says
Your article is outstanding, very easy to understand. The concept of blogging is relatively new to me. I’ve studied it for about a month now and just can’t get it. I learned to build dynamic websites in about 2 months, but blogs baffle me. I’ve even read some blogging books and studied the WordPress site. Are there any ‘Blogging books for Idiots’ out there? I would appreciate your input.
ME Liz Strauss says
I highly recommend Lorelle’s Book . . .
Blogging Tips, What Bloggers WonÃ¢â¬â¢t Tell You About Blogging
Robert Belton says
I’ve been dithering over comments, but you may have convinced me.
I watched the video of your presentation at WordCamp Dallas and then checked out your site.
My blog “evolved” or stumbled along from a flat site to WordPress as CMS to what’s now much more of a blog.
No particular idea of audience and no desire to monetise it.
Why no comments (until now) ?
Well, what if I gave a party and no-one came? I’m a very niche blog with extremely modest amount of visitors.
How will I deal with commentary I don’t like?
It is different from speech. Speech hangs in the air only for so long; it doesn’t come up in search engines.
Is what I write suitable for comments? I’m not sure.
But I going to take you at your word and maybe find all those people just like me and maybe have a small niche somewhere in the blogsphere.