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!
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!