How to be awesome at commenting: part 1!

comment form
A comment form! Tada!

How to be better at commenting

To me, commenting does two things. First, it connects you to other bloggers– you leave comments on other blogs so people know you visited, so you can give your opinion or advice, so you can agree or disagree with something, etc. It’s a connection! Which is good.

Second, commenting grows and enhances the blogging community. If nobody commented we’d all feel like we were speaking to ourselves all the time. Some people don’t mind that, but I think most of us like having people say “hi” every so often. If WE never commented on other people’s blog, meanwhile, we wouldn’t be doing anything to enhance the community, and that’s sad. Commenting is so easy once you get the hang of it that it’s kind of a shame NOT to, not when there’s so many benefits.

The worst thing that commenting does is suck up time! I only dedicate about half an hour to commenting nowadays, though, and if I stay focused on my goal (comment on X number of blogs, for example) I can usually do it within that time frame. You can do it, too!

Here’s some “rules” on how to be better at commenting, keeping in mind that the goal is NOT to just dump lots of “lol great post” comments indiscriminately. The goal is to get better at having short conversations with other bloggers, and to foster connectedness between yourself and the larger blogging community.

1. Leave at least one comment every day.
Commenting consistently, like everything else, takes practice. Dedicate about fifteen minutes each day to finding a blog post to comment on, and then comment. It doesn’t have to be a BIG comment, but do keep rule #3 in mind.

2. Respond to comments on your own blog.
I’m kinda bad about this myself, but responding to your own comments does two things: a) it gives you a bit more practice at commenting, and b) it lets your readers/lurkers know that you DO actually know you have comments and that you do in fact value them. People like to feel valued. Plus, it’s nice to actively encourage conversation on your blog! Keeps it from being dead boring.

3. When commenting, think “does this continue the conversation?”
If yes, good! If no, think of a way to fix that. Example: which of these is the “best” kind of comment?

a) “I love this book.”
b) “Great review!”
c) “I never really thought about (that thing) before, but you have a good point. What do you think about (this thing)?”

The answer is C, duh. ALL those comments would be better than no comments at all, and sometimes when you can’t think of a single thing to say you’ll have to go with A or B just for politeness. But C is the build-em-up kind of thing that comments should aim for: build up conversation, build up community, build up friendships! Yay!

comments notification from wordpress
WordPress’ comments notification thing. Tada!

4. Keep track of your comments (on other blogs) and check back on them for replies/more conversation/etc.
For example, I bookmark mine for ease of use (and so I don’t get 50 emails/day). Some comment platforms give you notifications whenever there’s new replies to your comments; Disqus, for instance, and WordPress. You can also just subscribe to comments through your email, but that can get overwhelming if you start commenting a lot.

5. Comment on new-to-you blogs at least once a week.
Don’t neglect your friends! But every so often give a newbie a try. Usually I find new-to-me-blogs through Twitter (someone will retweet a blog post or something). You can also find n-t-y blogs just by leaving comments at the blogs of people who leave comments on YOUR blog, too.

Once I find a new blog, I try to comment at least twice, once on the newest post and again somewhere else. It feels friendlier than just commenting once– which feels a bit like a hit-and-run. But that’s just my personal preference!

And those are my “rules” for how to be better at commenting! I hope they’ve helped and/or inspired you to be better at commenting, too.

Do you have any tips for getting better at commenting? Leave ’em in the comments below!

For more blogging tips, click here.

16 Comments

  1. The ‘do it 15 minutes a day’ tip is the most important thing (for me) in continuing to leave comments, even when I’m too tired to write new content for my own blog. If you take that time, it becomes a habit, you make friends, and you usually remember why you choose to blog (at least partly for the community, one hopes!).

    Thanks for sharing this – it’s very useful.

  2. lol great post!!!!!!!!!

    I wish I had read this post when I first started blogging. I kept waiting for people to comment on my posts but didn’t do anything active about to actually make it happen!

    My tips are to refer to something specifically said in the post and to make things personal by mentioning how the post made you feel, gave you a new perspective etc.

    • I did the same thing when I first started blogging, Brona! It’s like I thought that just because I posted something, people would comment. Not so! You have to build friendships/readerships just like everything else: by first putting in an effort yourself.

      EXCELLENT tip! I personally love it when people mention something specific about my review/post that they like. I know they’ve actually read it, lol!

  3. I find that I’m much more likely to comment if I keep up with my google reader. When I get too far behind, I’m either too late to join the conversation or I just get overwhelmed by the number of posts. Comments are good but timely comments are even better. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I agree! Well, kinda. I’ve gotten some nice comments on old posts (I’m talking back in 2010), so I think there’s value in continuing the conversation even if you think it’s dead. BUT I’m more inclined not to post new comments on older posts, myself, or on posts that’ve already got 50 comments, so idk,

  4. Whoa now, what? I did not know that you could have a thing where WordPress will tell you when someone has replied to a comment you left somewhere else. Is that real? How can that happen? Can I make that happen?

    • You don’t have a WordPress toolbar thing at the top of your page? Maybe it’s in Jetpack or something– mine’s got the comment notification, update notifications, new post/edit post/stats, etc. in it. I’m not sure how I got it, but it’s been there for a while now.

  5. This is all such good advice! Commenting is so important, and something I’ve gotten a lot better at since I started blogging. I was so shy when I first started that I was a BIG lurker! Now I try to comment whenever I have something interesting to say on a post, even if I’m new to the person’s blog.

    I have one additional one to add, maybe? In order to be more easily recognized by fellow bloggers, when you comment and fill in the “name” section, but your name @ your blog name. I’ve noticed that I have a couple followers that I get mixed up because they have the same name and I can never remember which one belongs to which blog! Lol. I still respond to their comments and I follow them both, but it gets confusing trying to remember which one I’m chatting with.

  6. In the past few months, I’ve started setting a time aside once a week to respond to comments on my blog and follow-up on comments I’ve left on other blogs. I find it super-useful; I don’t have to worry about comments during the rest of the week. I keep track of the comments I’ve left on other blogs in a basic note on my computerโ€”I use Notational Velocity, a lightweight Mac app, but there’s plenty similar apps out there.

    • I’m going to set aside a specific time, too, since I’m starting work back up again and won’t have time to do it throughout the week (unfortunately). It’s good if you can get through it quickly, but I tend to linger when it’s responses to comments on my own blog.

  7. I love commenting on other people’s blog ๐Ÿ˜€ I use the WordPress notifications to track my comments, but my problem is it only tracks comments I’ve made on wordpress sites. ๐Ÿ™ I also use Disqus which is great because it also has a notification feature when someone replies to my comment. When commenting on Blogger blogs I bookmark the page to easily check back when there’s a reply to my comment ๐Ÿ˜€

    – Farzy @ Books Keep Me Sane

  8. Lots of great advice! I really like the tip of setting aside specific time, which is something I try to do, too. I also bookmark posts I want to comment on when I’m reading if I don’t have time at that moment. For me, I’m not sure I’d rather have “Great review!” than no comment. A comment like that (one with just no substance – I don’t even know if they read the post!) just seems more like a comment looking for traffic than an actual boost for the community, so I’d almost rather not have it there.

    • I’m with you on the “great review” comment. Any comment is nice, but one with actual content/discussion in it is NICER. Still, I struggle myself sometimes with coming up with a meaningful comment (mine often end up being something like “Yes, I want to read this book now”) but since I still want to acknowledge that I’ve read their post in some way…anything is better than nothing, I guess?

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