Monday, April 07, 2014

How to Comment on Blogs

With the A to Z Challenge in progress, I thought this would be a timely topic.

We all love blog comments. They acknowledge our efforts and make us feel worthy as a person. A comment means we evoked a response. And while blogging isn’t a popularity contest, lots of unique comments also means we have a lot of friends.

What is proper etiquette when it comes to leaving a comment?

1 - Demonstrate that you read the post.

Sometimes we don’t mind “Great post,” but that really doesn’t tell us anything. A comment should reflect on something the person wrote.

With book announcements, “Congratulations” or “Sounds like a great book” work, although it would be better to say a little more. But comments like that on a guest post are shallow. “I hope you sell a million books” sounds nice, but if the person wrote about a topic, a comment should reflect the content.

Cutesy comments on one word or the title also don’t say anything.

Commenting about something else entirely isn’t polite either.

2- Avoid a major argument.

Sometimes a blogger tosses out a controversial topic and invites strong opinions. it’s okay to get involved in the discussion with an opposing position, just remember to keep it civil. Visiting someone’s blog is like visiting someone’s house - remember your manners.

If the person isn’t inviting a discussion, just stating an opinion, don’t rain on his or her parade. It might be something held dear to that person. Maybe it’s his or her dream. Don’t be a sourpuss. If that person loves a book you hated, just politely say “Sorry, I just couldn’t get into it.”

Don’t get into a flame war with other commenters, either.

If it’s a subject that you just can’t say something positive about, remember the old saying - “If you don’t have something nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

3 - Comment because you want to comment.

Commenting just to get people to return the favor is selfish. Comment because you care about the topic or you care about the person.

At the same time, returning comments is just good manners. Try to find something nice to say. If it’s a topic way out in left field or offends you, it’s okay to walk away though.

4 - Don't comment just to promote.

It's okay to have a link in your comment, but not a blatant, obnoxious promotion.

The comment itself shouldn't be all promo.. Don't comment just so you can tell that person about your book, product, service. etc. Unless it directly relates to the post, just don't do it.

Those are the basic guidelines. What else would you add?

Good luck to everyone participating in the A to Z Challenge!


  1. #1 is huge! I've never had anyone get argumentative in the comments, but there are times when I wonder if someone is just copying and pasting the same comment into a hundred blog posts.

    I wish sometimes there was a way for #3 to let someone know you read the post but don't have anything constructive to add to the comments. Like signing a guest book - show you were there.

  2. Good advice about commenting, Diane. I've just visited a blog about 'fantasy' and neither of the two previous comments had anything to do with the blog - one sounded as if it was a loan company trying to sell loans! At least they weren't offensive.

  3. Hi Diane .. be friendly and interested ... and preferably say where you've come from ... as new commenters occasionally we know not where they've come from or through who ..

    It's being thoughtful - about how you comment, and what you say ... as if you're talking to them ..

    I struggle sometimes with books and authors and try my best to give something back to the post ...

    But excellent reminder points for us all - cheers Hilary

  4. Great advice on commenting. The ones I struggle with are the cover reveals and posts just shouting out about a book release. My comments don't really say much on those type of posts but I do want to support my blogger friends and comment.

  5. I find that the most difficult posts to comment on are the book promos on blogs. If I haven't read the book - and most of the time I haven't - then it is really tough to come up with a unique comment. If the premise of the book sounds good, I will say something about that. Sometimes all there is a "congratulations" and "that cover is awesome." It is why I honestly prefer authors to write SOMETHING, ANYTHING unique when they do a blog tour. It gives me insight into a blogger/author I don't normally read and ups the intrigue factor considerably regarding their book.

  6. Adding value to a post through comments is especially nice for the blogger. I know I've seen many blogs where the commenters really *made* the post.

    Nice guidelines here, Diane.

  7. Wonderful timely post, I just wish there was a way to get everyone to read it. It's the ones that just promote their blog in the comments, that drive me nuts.

  8. Vicki, I guess that's when a "Good post!" would be okay.

    Natalie, after about the fifth one, there's not much more to say, is there?

    Robin, I agree.

    Rhonda, those make me nuts, too.

  9. Well,, it seems I follow must of these tips. Mostly the one of "if you don't have anything nice to say,..." But mostly because the topic doesn't make my braincells sparkle with a comment of substance. The problem with cover reveals is that there are so many and often it is just the picture and the blurb, so it is difficult to come up with anything more than congratulations, or I like the artwork.

  10. The comments that have nothing to do with the post puzzle me. I post such a variety of things - you couldn't find one thing to comment on?

  11. This is such a good topic, Diane. I'm with several of the others. I have a hard time knowing what to say when it's a book promo post. I want to be supportive, but I can't lie either. I think the advice you've given here pretty much says it all.

  12. This is an excellent topic to touch on, and you pretty much covered what I told people at my Effective Blogging class last week. Making genuine comments (because you want to, not because you have to) goes a long way. :)

  13. Al, those are tough, because there's not a lot you can say.

    David, it's obvious when the comments aren't genuine, too.

  14. Thanks so much for this post. I'm pretty new to the blogging world, so this is an excellent help. I think my biggest struggle is when I want to comment, but I can't necessarily think of anything constructive to say. :/

    As far as book promo posts, I would assume the bloggers just want to know that the promo is reaching people. Maybe 'congrats' is all they're really looking for.

  15. I am an amateur blogger. I often manage my time in commenting others not to promote myself but they write well. I envy because they write so well, influential and creative.
    I always comment on some of the blogs that I have already listed to follow it despite my tight schedule.
    Thank you for enlightening me on this issue.

  16. As usual, excellent post, L. I typically don't check out the blogs of people who simply write, "Great post!" I do reach out to a lot of the people who comment on my blog, but that's only because it's really the only way I get introduced to new bloggers--and I'm always looking for a new perspective on things. I don't do the "just because" thing though. There are several blogs I follow that I'm totally captivated by, so I always read their updates (such as yours!) But as for others...I read what I can when I can, as schedule and interest provides.

  17. Occasionally I start a comment with "Great post!" but then I continue to explain what I found great about it.

    It is obvious when someone comments and just says "Great post" or "Great tips" with a quick thank you that they probably didn't even read the post.

    I also get a lot of spam with random links that completely off topic. Nothing irritates me more.

    By the way, GREAT POST! :p

  18. Great post! LOL! I agree with all of your points. I've posted on subjects people assume they know about, and their comments reflect that they only read the post title.

  19. All that you've listed ring true to me. I'd add that if you enjoyed the post or found something of value, it would be good share it in some way. Tweet, post on fb or link back from your own blog.

    Thanks for the blogger comment guidelines. They started me thinking about other things I could do I I comment.

  20. Sometimes I have a hard time knowing what to say, particularly when it's a book promo or cover release. I'll leave SOMETHING, but it may just be a congrats or Way To Go!

    Even if that's all I get when I post something, I appreciate it. At least I know someone stopped by and took the time to write a few words.

  21. Oh gawd, you've made this so COMPLICATED... I didn't know there were so many ruuuuules... *whines*
    Can't I just drop by and see what you're writing about and say, "How's it going, eh?" and leave it at that?

    Great post, though.... :)

  22. This post reminds me of the importance of leaving a question at the end of my blog so the people can leave a constructive comment if they wish. I don't mind people leaving a short "Good post" because I'm just happy when anyone takes the time to type out a reply.

  23. Great post!

    Just kidding :) That is some great advice, though, especially about commenting on the topic at hand. While I appreciate any and all comments, I still get a chuckle out of someone who, obviously, didn't really read the post.

  24. I'd add that, as a blogger, please don't write extra long posts all the time. If you do, don't expect people to always follow the first rule. It's very time consuming to read slews of lengthy, detailed posts. Skimming and commenting is much more polite than doing neither.

    Also, return a follow. I've followed many bloggers who don't comment or return my follow. Insert sad face here.

    Thanks, Diane.
    Be well.

  25. Also make sure they know who you are. I have had a couple of commenters I couldn't find to respond on their blogs.

    Good points.

  26. I sometimes don't say what I think because I don't want to sound argumentative. Bloggers can make commenting easier by asking leading questions as you did.

  27. These are great tips. I love all comments (even the "good job" ones) but there are ways to go beyond that. The tip about reading the post is the most important to me because you can always tell when someone just skimmed it and says something that completely contradicts what your article is about. On the other hand, the average reading speed is 250 words per minute, so writing a 2,500 word post is just begging for a skim.

  28. Excellent points! Comments should be fun, friendly and relevant!! :)

  29. Good tips that we can use during the Challenge. I agree that it is good to be able to actually say something that relates to the subject of a post.

  30. Great post.

    Okay, sorry, just being mean :P. Anyway, I think the most important thing about commenting is to engage with the post writer. That's why we're here, right?

  31. Nice post! --See how I got creative and mixed it up by using "nice". :)

    There was a great article on NPR recently where after the title and first line they wrote, "do not comment on this post". It was a test to see if people really read before commenting. - It had tons of comments based on the title of the post only. Granted blogs have different readers but sometimes comments can be a curious thing.

  32. Personally if I liked it well enough to comment, I always thank the person for sharing.

  33. Hi, L. Diane. *waves* Sorry that it's been forever since my last visit...
    I have only this to add: In my case - and perhaps many others - there just isn't that much time to visit everyone we would like to. I try and remember during the month who I have and have not visited, and drop by accordingly. When I do drop by I try to leave a comment of substance. Sometimes I'm just trying to maintain the relationship. It's very easy to lose people when we know as many as we writers do. Anyway, it's just a thought.
    I hope you and yours are well, my friend.


  34. Hi L.Diane! I am trying to work my way back into blogging. I agree it is about relationships and really caring about people. Life gets in the way sometime as do deadlines. I think we have to remember we all have lives and do the best we can.
    A timely post and so well said~

  35. Diane, you have a very helpful list of guidelines here. I've never understand why someone would comment on a post and say something that has nothing to do with that post (unless they are trying to contact the blogger and that is the only way to connect with them).

  36. I'm sorry, I'll probably comment less, since telling someone their post was a 'great read' is now considered rude.
    I do have a life and try to comment on each post - but sometimes it's impossible. I didn't like the post, I found it ignorant or stupid, or simply uninteresting. I do try to comment honestly whenever I can, but not to be insulting. If I'm on a time limit - which is usually the case, coming up with something astounding is almost as hard as coming up with something to post about. Etiquette is nice - the list here is nice - but is it really necessary? Comment or not - you stopped by and read the post. Isn't that enough? With the large number of blogs I follow I seldom find a post worth creating a continuing conversation about. And when I have sometimes my comment is ignored. No conversation takes place. Honestly, if you took the time to read my post - THANK YOU! Would I love more, of course, but I know how busy life is, so you're excused - move on, come back again, anytime, and if you want me to visit leave your link. That's all I need. Thank you!
    Your time is appreciated!

  37. I try my best to make my comments have an actual point and to be useful. One thing I'd add is that bloggers need to get rid of CAPTCHA. It seriously slows you down. Especially if you're on a tight/random schedule like I am since I don't own a computer. You give some great tips and being polite is essential. Who wants to visit someone making rude comments? Not me.

  38. Sometimes it's obvious the blogger hasn't read a post, skimmed real fast, or only read the title and top part. Sometimes they just say, "Thank you for visiting my blog," and I think that comes for newbies.

    I like to be specific in my comments, or if it's a long post about several things I may just hone in on one thing.

  39. Hi human, Diane,

    Great pawst! Thanks for sharing! Okay, enough of that garbage.

    You bring up a lot of good points. Points that my human and I have been doing from the outset. I'm sure you realise that about us.

    We also think, logistics permitting, a blogger should also try to comment back to each person who commented on their site. Gives the personal touch. What do you think about that?

    And yes, sincere reciprocation on other sites, without leaving vague comments that actually prove one hasn't actually read the post, is a big no, no.

    Pawsitive wishes,

    Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar!

  40. I try to comment more often than not on the blogs I follow, so I never feel guilty if I just don't have anything to say every once in awhile. I've only once got a "Great post, thanks for sharing!" comment and I was surprised at how insulted I felt when I read it.

    I always answer each comment on my own blog (which is easy when there are between 5-30 comments each week), because that's how I feel we all get to know each other a little better. I enjoy the blogs that get replies on comments, and will get discouraged if I visit a blog & comment over and over again without any acknowledgement from the author of the post. If I want to shout into the Internet air, I'll go to Twitter. ;)

    This was a nicely thought-out post, and I'm going to happily share it with others. In fact, I ended up here today because Gary...I mean, Penny...shared it on G+.

  41. Amanda, that's probably all that's needed.

    Dumcho, never be intimidated.

    Randi lee, it's hard keeping up with everyone.

    Chrys - LOL!

    Sharing is a great idea, Lee.

    Cathy - LOL.

    Mark, all you can do is shake your head and laugh at those people.

    Robyn, good point about the length. I'm a fast skimmer, but I'd rather not.

    Maurice, it is.

    JE, yes!

    Holly, that is funny. Obviously people didn't read it.

    James, and that's a good thought. I only post once a week because I can't keep up with everyone. I visit a few on Monday and they play catch up with comments the rest of the week.

    Yolanda, a comment is the only way we know if it was read though. People just want to know someone heard them.

    Gary, that's why I spend the rest of the week returning comments! LOL

    Thank you, Lynda. I don't reply to individual comments, but I do try to reply to most of them. Eventually!

  42. Finally someone explains backlink in words I get. Thank you, Diane! I've never clicked backlink because I didn't understand what it was. Scary, eh. Great post.

  43. Great advice on commenting. Of course its a way to chat with people. So reading the post gives us what that person is saying.

  44. During A to Z is the perfect timing for this post. I'll never understand the skimming and generic comment leaving - what's the point of stopping by if not to read what the blogger has to say?

  45. Interesting post, I think you made many valid points ..... was that noncommittal lol! I always revisit com mentors (eventually) and if I find the post hard to comment on I scroll through past posts - can usually find something that gets my interest :)

  46. This rocks! I love how you compared a blog to someone's house. It's okay not to agree, but that doesn't mean it's okay to be rude about it. Minding manners is huge! And, for me, the whole, "nice post" followed by: here's a link to my new book or follow me cause I followed you - ugh. Not so much.

    She said as she leaves a link =P

    AJ's wHooligan in the A-Z Challenge

  47. Joylene, now you know about backlinks.

    Nicki, and when the post is short, why skim?

    Suzanne, unless they are way out in left field, there's always something there of interest.

    Elsie - LOL!

  48. Yes, something about blog etiquette! I think folks get this sense in their mind that they're invisible behind that PC screen, or Dumbphone gadgetry, and therefore that gives them the "right" to type something they'd not consider if they really were at one's house. (such as you state) And the "canned" response such as: "Good post" really doesn't tell me anything, although I truly do appreciate when someone takes the time to at least show up. Thank you for a well written, thoughtful, insightful post. :)

  49. So true. I have to say that people who comment in ways that prove they didn't read what I wrote annoys me.

    Luckily, it's not a common occurrence.

  50. Great advise all. It is often so obvious when you get a "have to" comment from someone who hasn't read your post at or or barely skimmed it. And I don't mind opposing views, but civility really is so much more, how shall I put it, ... civil. I really appreciate comments that are constructive and encouraging, so I try to make it a point to do just what you suggest. You have helped assure me that I am on the right track. thanks. Enjoying the A to Z Challenge. Maria

  51. Congrats!

    Oh wait. LOL!

    It really depends on the blog post sometimes the way a blogger leaves a post, I sometimes have NOTHING to say or comment on. So it's really important for the blogger to engage the reader.

  52. I struggle for a meaningful comment when the post is about something I have no interest in, i.e. the release of a book in a genre I don't read. That's when I resort to "Congratulations" or "Good luck", but it always feels forced and flat.

  53. I agree with a lot of the other commenters here that it's not always easy to come up with something unique and interesting to say when you don't know much about the topic (book releases, cover reveals, etc). Time is a big issue for a lot of people too, you want to visit blogs and friends and show them you're there and supporting them. If sometime takes the time to visit my blog and comment, I'm happy. :)

  54. Good advice. I return comments out of politeness, and I find all manner of interesting postage in the process. I have a feeling some folks would stop visiting my blog if I didn't make the time to return comments. Takes me about an hour a week -- I can manage that, and it's well worth the effort.

    1. Sorry for butting in here Milo and L. Diane, but that's what these little Reply buttons are for, isn't it ?

      I've been enjoying reading all the comments, and have to say to Milo that I believe blogging is reciprocal. If you're only spending an hour a week you are getting off lightly. I think most bloggers spend lots more. People won't visit and comment if you don't do the same.

  55. U R right, a comment should at least indicate you read the post, though I don't mind an occasional happy face if I know the person. I try and leave a comment only if I really have something to say or add and often don't comment on a post even if I really liked it. There probably should just be a code word to show you dropped by and liked a post. One blogger, "Unclke Skip" suggests "bacon" works for me.

    Gossip Girl sent me.

  56. I've had people comment with totally unrelated things to my's like geez! great tips lady love!

  57. I'm not meaning to break the rules but I do have to slightly disagree with number 1.

    From my experiences, new bloggers love any comment, even "great post." It may seem very superficial to those of us that have been around a while but for a newbie, it could be the highlight of their day and keep them motivated for that next post.

    If you have something more to say, absolutely, keep it on topic and don't spam in any manner. But don't forget that not all of us have been doing this for years, not all of us are in blogging groups, not all of us have an established readership.

    "Great post" beats blank space every day of the week.

  58. I think these are great tips, although I have to say that I a guilt of leaving very dry comments now and then. I just run out of words at that moment, and it can even happen when I like the topic - I feel like all the commenters have said everything -what can I add?
    Maybe that would fit in an IWSG post. :)
    Thanks for the advice - I agree with it all. I'm just not good at following it all the time.

  59. Going back this time through the comments, I have to say that I agree with Robin and Natalie, who both pointed out that it's hard to comment on book promo when I haven't read the book.

  60. It seems quite evident when someone hasn't read a post by the comment. But I don't dwell on it. We get what we put into any endeavor.

  61. I like to read whole posts and find a part to comment on. It's easy to tell when someone hasn't read your posts but I don't mind. Commenting is a lengthy business if you consider it carefully and I fully get when people are pushed for time. I love chatting about controversial topics, but not on blogs as due to different cultural expectations, it's too easy to offend. Aussies laugh and poke fun at everything, but most cultures don't.

    So, 'great post' L. Diane, and it really was. We can forgive the A~Zers for not reading posts properly. That's one of the downsides of the challenge ~ so much time has been expended to prepare wonderful posts, but who's reading them with any depth? on to the next one...


  62. Great suggestions. I hope a lot of bloggers out there were paying attention.

    Wrote By Rote
    An A to Z Co-host blog

  63. Great tips, L. Diane!
    As usual.


  64. Thank you, all! Sorry, had a big project this week and was offline a couple days.

    Maria, there's no need to be uncivil, is there?

    Jennifer, it is! If no question is asked or the post doesn't spur opinions, it's hard to comment.

    Milo, you are much faster than me.

    Joeh, and among friends, that is fine. Kinda funny even.

    Tammy, I see those all the time.

    Tyrean, I can run out of words sometimes. I'll just stop visiting others until they come back. And book promos are the one place where a simple congratulations works, because what else are you going to say?

    Denise, that's another reason I didn't do it this month, as I knew I'd be rushed for time. And I spend one or more hours a day blogging, with the exception of this week.

  65. I think we all have moments when we fall flat on our faces with commenting. I think, "This person was so kind to comment on my blog. I'd like to return that favor." And then when I show up I can't find a single thing to say based on their post. Thank goodness there's always cheese to fall back on. =)

  66. I confess I have not always followed these commonsense guidelines, especially if a post is quite long. But I'll keep trying.

  67. Very good advice, Diane. I've been blessed to have very thoughtful and responsive comments to my blog posts, especially during A to Z. I'm trying to follow those readers' good example.

  68. My problem is I spend too much time thinking about what to say in a comment. I write something then delete it, sometimes it takes me 10 min.! I like Vicki's idea of having a guest book. Sometimes, I just don't feel I have anything to add, but I want the person to know I've stopped by to support them.

    I agree the cover reveals and book promos are hard to come up with good comments especially if it's not in a genre I typically read.