Which comment would you rather receive?
“Great post! Check out my blog at someblog.wordpress.com.”
“Well said! I know exactly what you mean about X, and I’m glad that I’m not the only one who thinks so. I would even say that A, B, C! Your candor is greatly appreciated.”
The second one, of course. Why? For one thing, it follows the etiquette guidelines below. But even more importantly, it was written with the intent to forge a relationship, not to self promote.
Relationship building is a much more effective and rewarding strategy for attracting new visitors to your site than spamming, so if you’re interested in boosting your readership, keep the following tips in mind when you leave comments on others’ posts:
1. Be specific. Personalized comments show authors that you’re genuinely interested in what they have to say, and that you actually took the time to read what they wrote. This doesn’t mean you need to write a long comment, just be sure to articulate why you felt compelled to say something in the first place. Did you learn something new? Did you have a similar experience? Do you want to voice a different perspective? Quote the author directly if you need to clarify what specific sentences you’re responding to.
Even if you simply want to compliment someone’s work, explain what you liked about it. Avoid vague comments like “Awesome! Thanks for sharing.” If you’re not sure what to say, consider using the Like button to show your support.
2. Don’t leave a link to your blog. When you leave a comment on a WordPress.com blog post, your name will automatically link to your blog, so there’s no need to include it twice. (This setting can be found under Users → Personal Settings in your dashboard, in the Account Details section.) Blatant self-promotion is generally frowned upon and is likely to be ignored, so be careful not to tarnish your reputation by creating the perception that you’re a spammer.
On a related note, when you mention another author’s post on your own blog, do include a link, instead of just mentioning the post title or blog name. This will generate a pingback and inform the author that you mentioned their post.
3. Stay on topic. Take care not to diverge too far from the subject of the original post. If you end up in an off-topic exchange with other commenters, message them directly to avoid distracting from the comments left for the post author.
It’s perfectly acceptable to share relevant links, just be sure to explain how they relate to the original post.
Bonus trick: Turn text into links with HTML by using the following code:
<a href="http://wordpress.com">My favorite blogging platform</a>
creates My favorite blogging platform when published as a comment.
4. Be nice. Even if you disagree with someone, it’s never appropriate to use insults or other offensive language. Rude comments don’t add any value to a discussion, and only divert attention away from the author’s work. It’s perfectly fine to offer constructive criticism, just be polite. If you see others writing disrespectful or incendiary comments, or you receive such comments on your own blog, ignore/delete them. Acknowledging them will only encourage the aggressor, so don’t waste your time.
5. Keep it brief. The more concise your comment, the easier it will be for others to read and respond to. In most cases, a few sentences is plenty.
But what if you feel strongly about a topic and have a lot to say — is it appropriate to leave a long-winded comment? Or should you write a response on your own blog, then leave a comment that summarizes your post?
It depends. Some bloggers feel that long comments are overwhelming and disruptive. Others prefer to keep the conversation all in one place. What do you think?
Speaking of building relationships with other bloggers, it’s not too late to join the Post a Day/Post a Week challenge if you’re interested in interacting more with other members of the WordPress.com community. Check out The Daily Post for details.
Have questions about comment settings and management? Find the answers you need in our extensive support documentation on comments.
- Feb 15, 2011 @ 7:16 pm
- Better Blogging
Feb 15th at 8:53 pm
Your points were well articulated and realistic. That you for the advice. Also sometimes blogs are more scientifically or intellectually minded for those who are seeking that type of informative blog. Other times it is nice as you say to be less so, to others you are more. For me, I try to use Word Press to voice my own heart whether it is read or not. But to also try to attract viewers of many interests.
Thank you for your insightful thoughts.
Feb 15th at 8:54 pm
Well, I’ve gone from essay comments to saying Awesome, thanks for sharing, Now, I must find that great balance in between.
Feb 15th at 8:55 pm
Thanks for the notes on posting. Although the things you share should be pretty commonly accepted as good manners when blogging, or even e-mailing, they are things that sometimes get set aside in the heat of the moment when feelings are strong about a particular posted message. And I definitely agree about the “spamming.” I’d much rather not receive any comments at all that to receive artificial praise just so someone else can post a link to their blog.
Feb 15th at 8:55 pm
Great post Erica!
And very true…
For some it’s very easy to get carried away by forgetting the fact that there are honest-to-goodness, and very tangible human beings on the receiving end of their comments. I think your article would do very well in informing a large majority of the Youtube population as well.
Many may not put too much stock in your 5 points on comment etiquette. If that’s what they want, then fine. But for others who wish to develop a reputation as someone professional, and credible… i think your points are absolutely essential for building just that.
A good book to read on this subject was written by Dale Carnegie, called “How To Win Friends And Influence People”. Anyone can download a free PDF of it online. It’s a must read if anyone really wishes to improve on their social communication skills.
Thank you for your post Erica.
Feb 15th at 8:56 pm
Thanks for this post, Erica. I’m quite new to the blogosphere so it’s good to know the do’s and don’t's before I get too far along! And I’m happy to be able to say that in my short time blogging, all the comments I have received have been genuine, and it gives me a little thrill every time I see someone has responded to something I’ve said!
Feb 15th at 8:57 pm
I swear so people just copy and paste comments. I got 2 identical ones on my last blog, on a post full of pictures, saying they liked my opinion, and how some people are more inclined that others!
Feb 15th at 8:59 pm
This makes perfect sense to me, and I just can’t see why other people don’t naturally understand these points. I see #2 (short, vague comments followed by blog links) all the time, and it drives me crazy. All I can think is ‘How rude’. It’s funny because these are the comments I tend to ignore, so despite posting their link for all to see, it actually drives me away from visiting their blog.
As for the longer comments … I think I would leave this to the visitor’s discretion, but if you aren’t sure, make the blog post and let the author who inspired it know about it. I don’t mind lengthy comments, but not everyone is the same. Always better to be safe than sorry : )
Feb 15th at 9:00 pm
Great tips and I am learning how to properly link and all that fun stuff. I wish I could do my interview on you!
Feb 15th at 9:00 pm
I think I’ve been practicing this commenting etiquette but it’s nice find something written like this. thanks…
Feb 15th at 9:02 pm
Thanks- very helpful and being relatively new to this something I have been guilty of but will take care in future. So much to learn about the world of blogging……
Feb 15th at 9:04 pm
I like comments more when they give an alternative viewpoint to the main piece, although comments that support are very much appreciated too.
Feb 15th at 9:07 pm
A truly useful and highly informative posting. Many thanks!
Feb 15th at 9:07 pm
Great tips. I agree. Sometimes though long comments that give insight or encouragement are beyond supportive. As long as your not leaving it all about you or your situation of course!
I love comments. But I know what you mean about self-promotion. It’s clear when someone is commenting for that purpose usually though. Let them be I guess…
Feb 15th at 9:09 pm
LOL couldn’t help but laugh at Viktor’s comment. In this case, I normally try to follow good etiquette in commenting. On the rare case that I do not follow your suggestions like post my blog’s url is when there is a feeling that a person is totally off base and rather then make a long post on his blog, I will direct him to an article I’ve written. Erica thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Feb 15th at 9:10 pm
I’ll keep it brief. Right on!
Feb 15th at 9:11 pm
I always want more comments, and I’m ashamed to say I’m happy with pretty much any comments that give even the slightest evidence that the writer has actually read my post. I used to be good at leaving comments on others’ blogs, which helped to generate more discussion back at my own pages in return. Thanks for the reminder to do that more often…
Feb 15th at 9:19 pm
Thanks Erica. Good reminder )
Feb 15th at 9:20 pm
I have to say many of the spammer commments (and poor English) can be entertaining, but I hope the blogging community is doing a good job of blocking them as a whole.
Feb 15th at 9:29 pm
Thank you for sharing
Feb 15th at 9:33 pm
LOL…I feel the same way as intelligent challenge. I’m new to all of this and am still quite clueless Good information here.
Feb 15th at 9:35 pm
Thank you for sharing your perspective. I really enjoy it when people take the time to leave meaningful comments. Most of us blog to inspire a conversation and connection with others, right? Thank you for the tip about creating a link as well, I never knew how to do that.
Feb 15th at 9:36 pm
THANK YOU so much for this, Erica. My own ‘About This Site’ disclaimer warns would-be commenters:
“If you choose to leave a comment about an article on this site, be aware that it is my prerogative to delete comments as I see fit, especially if they are mean-spirited, inappropriate, self-promotional, or just plain stupid.”
Meanwhile, I’ve observed that, sadly, there are some very unhappy and angry people out there, many of whom seem to spend an inordinate amount of their lives leaving nasty comments throughout the blogosphere. The Huffington Post blog (I believe that’s a WordPress blog too) is a good example. Many comments there are like sitting in on an anger management support group….
Feb 15th at 9:37 pm
this is really helpful as we tend to take the blogs for granted and reply to it instinctively, but your blog highlights the relevance of etiquettes in the Blogging world encouraging more discussion and view-sharing. Thank you Erica.
Feb 15th at 9:40 pm
I always thought leaving a link to your own blog (after an unwarranted, inane, generic comment) was pretty tasteless. I’m glad that this post just verified it for me. My biggest pet peeve is a well written comment followed by link to their post supposedly about the same topic, but the post is totally irrelevant.
Feb 15th at 9:52 pm
I think that the one thing you should also include is “accept the house rules” when commenting at blogs and have your comments policy clearly evident at your own blog either in a widget or on its own page so your commentators will know just how to fit in and engage in a civil manner at your sand pit.
Feb 15th at 9:55 pm
Good tips – though personally I don’t mind people commenting just to say “awesome, thanks for sharing” or that sort of thing. if that’s all they have to say, it’s still nice to hear. sometimes blogging can feel like you’re talking to the wall in a very echoey room…
As for lengthy comments – *big sigh* I’ve sometimes had people write what I felt was a whole sermon and I thought: whoa, this is my blog, not yours… so generally I’d say if you’ve got more than a paragraph or two to say then it’s best if you do it on your own blog and include a link. When I’ve read a blog that got me thinking and I had a lot to say, that’s what I’ve done – blogged my thoughts and then posted a comment saying: you got me thinking, I’ve written about it here… (but this was elsewhere – here you’ve got the pingback system so there isn’t even a need to post a comment.)
Feb 15th at 9:56 pm
Great stuff! Promotion comments are pretty terrible, it’s sad when people feel the need to resort to them despite the auto-link.
Feb 15th at 9:58 pm
Good idea to publish guidelines / etiquette related to blogs!
I only slightly disagree with length… I really do not mind long comments on my blog. I actually like them as they show a real engagement on the reader’s part. I do not typically respond to a short note “I like A and B” (except maybe a thank you). It might be a question of taste!
BTW what is the etiquette in terms of response to a comment? Some bloggers always answereven if only to say “thank you”. Others do not respond at all unless there is a question. What do you recommend?
Feb 15th at 9:58 pm
Thanks – that was really useful – I have just started a blog and it was refreshing to find the right info so early – before I make any blogging faux-pas!!!
Feb 15th at 10:03 pm
I’ve just read your blog and I thought it was very well presented, with some excellent ideas.
Thank you very much, some very good points there!
Feb 15th at 10:04 pm
I learned something from this post. Thanks.
Feb 15th at 10:14 pm
Several people who follow my blog are friends and have included personal material in their comments that’s from outside the domain of the blog–more like a private email exchange or maybe a Facebook exchange. I debated removing their comments…but I wasn’t sure of the etiquette from the other side.
Feb 15th at 10:15 pm
My rules for my blog are pretty basic. No profanity and nothing that I deem degarding towards women. Those 2 are set in stone and I will not budge. Other than that we all need to play nice. If i post something and someone says I am off my rocker and here’s why. Another thing is our culture is so much more crass than it was 30 years ago.
Feb 15th at 10:16 pm
I love people who comment, just not people who comment with ,”check out my blog.” Unless it’s relevant, like SHARE the link to those lemon ricotta pancakes pluuueaze! This post should be a blogger 101 reading requirement. Ha!
Feb 15th at 10:19 pm
Great entry, Erica.
You may very valid points. In business, It’s important to engage with people rather than pander. Constantly asking for something will leave you getting nothing. You must build a relationship first.
Also, common courtesy and friendliness is always something I think people need to, unfortunately, be reminded about.
Keep up the good work.
Feb 15th at 10:19 pm
Right on another way to perfect your e-life.
Feb 15th at 10:20 pm
Great post Erica.
It was logical, to the point and easy to understand.
In regards to your 2nd point; I think it is ok to provide a link back to your’s or another’s blog if it is linking to an article about the same topic. This is particularly useful if you are engaging on a technical topic and you want to add detail / weight to your comment at hand and helps keep your comment brief; which covers your 5th point.
Feb 15th at 10:21 pm
A great reminder. I certainly try to keep my comments meaninful – afterall, what does a simple “Awesome!” mean? Such phrases as this have become a cliche among many other fairly unsentimental phrases. Before writing a comment, you must know your purpose, without direct intent to promote, for writing that message. Commenting on blogsbsuch DailyPost may merit a short response, something tjat analyzes the topic prompt and responds properly. On other WordPress blogs, thought should be expounded to an even greater extent.
On my blog, I have received many short answers in response to my posts – even fairly unrelated. Yet why do I approve them? Some comments are made by my cousin, who has yet to even reach her teenage years, and I do not hold high expectations for her responses, as she is not the type of person to elaborate upon a thought for the sake of responding to some medium on the internet – perhaps that will change over the years. As for other commentors, I find many insightful and genuine thoughts – in which I find great content that someone has read my post and gleaned something out of it.
I myself have been guilty of limited comments, of which I look back upon with great distaste. I note where I could have established a genuinely thought-provoking comment, yet chose not to.
When you comment, be sure to voice your respectable, courteous, and intellectual opinion. You will soon find that a short answer will fail to suffice – or otherwise refrain from such pursuit altogether.
Feb 15th at 10:24 pm
Great to know!
Feb 15th at 10:25 pm
Thank-you for the advice. Question for you if you have time, I’m new to the Twitter share function – am I supposed to approve Twitter pingbacks when they appear in my comments section? Sorry if this is a silly question.
Feb 15th at 10:26 pm
Very good, I enjoyed reading your views on the etiquette of leaving a comment.
On a related topic, the etiquette of dealing with the comments on a site could also be worth addressing.
One pet peeve of mine: bloggers who do not answer a specific question left in a comment.
In food blogs this type of situation shows up often, and some bloggers seem to just ignore them completely.
I think it’s important to keep a feedback with the readers, otherwise why have the posts open for comments?
Feb 15th at 10:26 pm
O’ how I wish I had this post last week! I had a debate with a colleague who did something similar to what you describe in #3. I called him on it immediately. When he conveniently “didn’t get my point,” I broke it down like this: If someone walked into his home, interrupted the conversation he was having with all his guests (the exchanges were on Facebook) and started talking about his own issues, he wouldn’t like it much. No, he still ‘didn’t get it,’ and I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain it further.
(…and he wonders why his business isn’t thriving!!)
Feb 15th at 10:33 pm
Hehehe… all too true… Nice that someone wrote about it although I am not sure if the spammers are really that impressed as well…
Feb 15th at 10:35 pm
You said it well.Thanks for sharing.
Feb 15th at 10:35 pm
I LOVE articles like this which address issues most people take for granted, yet affect our daily experience.
Oh, Erica…you can comment on my blog anytime you please!!!
Feb 15th at 10:37 pm
Great comments come from people who genuinely appreciate other bloggers and want to connect. Taking the time to build relationships is as important as the the time to write a post. What’s the point of writing to yourself ? The WordPress challenge has certainly taught me how important it is to have great “buddies”. Spammy comments are just a PIA… I allow about 2hrs most days to visit and comment on my buddies blogs and also connect with new ones. It’s great fun and by reaching out to others I’ve learned so much
Feb 15th at 10:48 pm
I learned from this, thanks Erica !
Feb 15th at 10:51 pm
Very sound advice!
Feb 15th at 10:51 pm
Great post, some people still don’t know how to post; you will never visit them – most of the time you just know they are irritating.
Feb 15th at 10:51 pm
Those are decent guidelines. But they are largely useless for deciding how to comment in specific situations. Every blogger and every commenter has different expectations.
I personally love long complex comments with tons of links, but most people might not. I also don’t care if anyone stays on topic. I’ve met some people who share my style and I’ve met those who don’t.
I say be yourself and find out which other bloggers share your way of communicating.
Feb 15th at 10:51 pm
Thank you very much, shame it has to be said, but I realize the necessity of it. Peace and light be with you.
Feb 15th at 10:52 pm
Excellent article! I love comments and generally reply to them unless they’re blatant self-promotion. Thanks for the good guidelines.
Feb 15th at 10:53 pm
Nice post, Erica.
I’d like to think I have a pretty good idea about comment etiquette.
I do admit that I hate it when people double-link, however.
Feb 15th at 10:55 pm
This is a very helpful post – especially in view of the fact that I just read an article suggesting that to increase traffic to my blog I should include my blog link in comments. It seemed tacky to me!
Thanks for the perspective on long comments – I do tend to say a lot! According to the poll most people don’t like that so I’ll trim it down!
Feb 15th at 10:55 pm
Thq Erica good stuff to guidelines especially newbies
Feb 15th at 11:08 pm
Personally, I rather enjoy the long posts. As long as they stick to the topic and do not contain nonsense/insults I find they tend to be more interesting and generate better discussion than the short posts that hardly address anything.
Agree on the shameless self-promoters though. Really it just makes it hard to distinguish between bots and real people.
Feb 15th at 11:11 pm
Cool! A poll on the main blog!
Btw, great that you’re telling people this, it’s annoying to get spamish comments…
Feb 15th at 11:15 pm
I love comments, and I love talking, so these two loves seem to marry quite nicely when I’m going around reading people’s stuff. I like to chat it up and share my opinion, and enjoy it when they come and say hello to me in a post too!
Feb 15th at 11:21 pm
Great timing with this post Erica. I am tempted to make a “before you post” link to it.
On self promotion; I am surprised at how many people leave inappropriate links or comments directing people to their sites. The blog I help maintain is for an orphanage and you would be amazed at the crude things I’ve had to delete. I’m all for free speech, but the kids read the comments as well. On a positive note – 99% of the people posting there are genuinely kind people that just plain make you feel good! Happy Tuesday!
Feb 15th at 11:22 pm
I’m very sorry, but I simply LOVE to get long-long comments. My favorite commentators write like that — and my answers to them are often even longer.
If I had to miss that, I might give up blogging people. What’s in it for me, if someone flatters me? No, I want to discuss, like in an old 18th century academy. I want spirit, not dull phrases. Er, on WordPress I didn’t find such gallant way to discuss yet. I had to kill all the comments, it weren’t bloggers at all and wanted to sell something. But frankly: Party on two blogs at the same time would be anyway too much.
Feb 15th at 11:30 pm
This post was very helpful for me as I am a new blogger. Thanks so much!
Feb 15th at 11:32 pm
Thank you for this sound advice, and I will keep it all in mind as I blog.
Feb 15th at 11:34 pm
I think what you’re saying is: LISTEN. A thoughtful response shows that you are listening. People really just want to be heard, don’t you think?
P.S. What polling plug-in or tool did you use here?
Feb 15th at 11:39 pm
Hah! I was totally just thinking about this. I get a ton of comments on my blog that are purely spam, or are very tinly veiled spam. I like those comments where I can tell someone has genuinely read my blog, and is interested enough in what I’ve posted to comment on it.
Feb 15th at 11:54 pm
Thank you for the brief run down on blog comment etiquette ( I am fairly new to the world of blogging communication and particularly liked the tip on being careful not to self promote). Funnily enough driving into work today I heard something similar on the radio about Facebook etiquette – which was ‘if you can’t say it to the person face to face than you probably shouldn’t write it”. Good manners should be applied whether in the blog sphere or the physical realm.
Feb 15th at 11:56 pm
Hello. Very impressive and wise advices for writing effective comments. Thanks for sharing.
Feb 16th at 12:01 am
Thank you, Erica, for tossing up these very helpful, constructive guidelines.
Feb 16th at 12:04 am
I really appreciated the advise on how to embed HTML links. I will be using this, thanks!
Feb 16th at 12:09 am
Thank’s for this enlightment
Feb 16th at 12:10 am
i just read your post really good share, thank Erica
Feb 16th at 12:11 am
Thanks Erica. for these guidelines and etiquette ideas.
As a complete newbie, I appreciate the tips. I do love reading comments, letting me know who read my different posts and pages. And now, I know not to leave a link back on WordPress blogs.
Feb 16th at 12:28 am
Being pretty new to this Article writing, I have had some problem, but I manage. Many thanks for the tips – I am sure I will put them to good use. Roy
Feb 16th at 12:32 am
Thanks for tip on turning text into html.
Feb 16th at 12:34 am
Erica, i will have to thank you for the beautiful instruction on about how to comment respectfully/
Feb 16th at 12:36 am
I think long comments are interesting. To me, the point of a blog is to start a conversation, otherwise it’s just self-spamming!
Feb 16th at 12:49 am
Olá grande Érica, obrigada por escrever algo tão esclarecedor, espero não ter cometido nenhuma gafe até agora.
Eu gosto que me escrevam fico muito feliz em receber comentários, e respondo de imediato.
Tenho recebido coisas estranhas nada a ver com o meu blog, e o engraçado que entra como comentário das receitas ou matérias que escrevo.
Ai recebo páginas enormes falando de família, eu jogo na lixeira. Eu estou blogando há 1 ano, mas procuro fazer tudo dentro do contexto.
Pode ser que cometi algum erro, como tenho muito a aprender é possivel.
Abraços a Érica e a todos!!
Feb 16th at 12:50 am
No one likes spamming, but I do like information sharing, so I think it’s okay for people to leave links IF it’s something related to the topic and comes from a genuine desire to add something to the discussion, not just ‘check out my blog’, I hate that. Leave a link if you like, but do it subtly and let us decide whether we want to check it out or not. Being specific in your comment is the important thing here, really participating genuinely in the conversation.
I leave a link where I think that I’ve said something on my blog that is in itself a comment on the blogger’s post. If I don’t leave a specific link, they’ll never find the post.
I guess we do what we want others to do on our sites and avoid what we don’t like people doing on ours. People have different ideas on when information sharing becomes spamming. It’s got to do with frequency too.
Feb 16th at 12:56 am
I think it’s essential to publish a Comments Policy – on its own page, where it can be easily found, not as a post. That way, even if people haven’t bothered to read it, they can’t complain if their comments are dumped for being in breach.
This is my first rule, just so there is no misunderstanding :-
1. This is not a democracy – the only absolute right to free speech, here, is mine.
That might seem high-handed, but everything that appears on my blog ultimately reflects on me, for good or ill, including the comments which it has been my decision to publish. Obviously, I prefer comments to reflect well on me just as, in a newspaper, the choice and balance of the letters printed reflects upon the Letters’ Editor.
My comments are moderated – anyone who has been blogging for any length of time will have come to realise, unless they’ve been very lucky, how essential that is.