7 Things to Avoid While Leaving A Blog Comment
Many people already wrote about the rules of blog comments before. Most of them, however, focused on the so called blog comments etiquette. That is, they told you how you should always add value to the discussion, respect the other people, never feed the trolls, be genuine and yada yada yada.
While that advice is solid, I feel that it lacks some practical sense. There are other points that I see people doing almost daily when leaving comments, and they can be equally annoying for the blog owner and for the other readers and commentators. Below you will find them: 7 things to avoid while leaving a blog comment.
1. Using the bold or italic attributes to highlight your whole comment
Blog comments can send good traffic to your website, and if you manage to catch people’s attention with your comments, this traffic might increase. Now, attention should be grabbed with a funny or interesting comment, and not by making your comment text bold or italicized.
Use bold only or specific words that you want to put in evidence, and italics on names and titles of books and similar.
2. Signing your comment
As you probably have already noticed, most comment forms ask for your name on the first input box. That is, you already signed your comment even before writing it, so there is no need to finish the comment with your name a second time.
Apart from being redundant information, it is also annoying for some people. For more on this topic read “If You Sign Your Blog Comments, You Are a Dork.”
3. Including a second (or third) link to your website
The previous point applies to website links also. Most comment forms allow you to include a URL that will be used to hyperlink your name. If you include that URL at the end of your footer a second time it will give the impression that you are just spamming the comment section for some links.
4. Leaving a comment without reading the article first
Common sense you say? I wouldn’t bet on it. I have seen a huge amount of comments, both on my and on other blogs, from people that had no clue about the topic of the article in question.
Sometimes they knew what the article was about, but they interpreted the message from the author on a completely different way.
If you are going to leave a comment, make sure that you have read and understood the article to begin with.
5. Leaving a one-word comment
It might be the case that people leaving comments such as “Great!” or “Thanks!” truly read the article and mean it. Regardless, those comments will be considered as spam.
Just take the effort to come up with a complete sentence, will you?
6. Leaving a second trackback
If you link to another post on your blog, your blogging software will send a notice to that blog, which will in turn create a link pointing back to your post on the comments section. This is called a trackback.
Sometimes trackbacks will not work, and in this case you could leave a comment mentioning that you wrote about the post in question. If the trackback worked, however, you would be spamming that blog by leaving a second comment with a link pointing to your article.
7. Leaving a comment as if you are the know-it-all guru on the subject
Whenever I come across a comment that begins with “This is just stupid…” or “You are so wrong…” I already arm myself against potential nonsense ahead.
If you disagree with the opinions of the author, express it politely. Even if you are right about the issue you will be seen as a jerk if you come with the I-know-it-all attitude.
Just take it easy.
Update: Obviously these are my opinions, so feel free to disagree. And if you are guilty of one of these points, remember that it is not a big deal. Just keep it in mind for future comments!
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97 Responses to “7 Things to Avoid While Leaving A Blog Comment”
I think people do 5 and 6, and it’s okay. I don’t immediately assume they are spam. Some people just have nothing to say.
I totally agree with “4. Leaving a comment without reading the article first”. Yes! Sometimes it’s so obvious that the only thing this fool did was read the post title, and form and opinion. Infuriatingly, he “agreed with me” and turns out I was pointing out something completely different about the subject matter.
People, atleast skim. It’s not thattt hard.
@Eric, many people seem to not like signed blog comments, that I why I included it on the list. I agree it is not a clear cut though.
@Dana, I am all for simplifying and cleaning things as well.
@Tanny, another point I personally don’t like is leaving your website name or SEO keyword on the “name” section of the comment form 🙂 . It sounds like those take away from the personal level and from the relationships that blogs are supposed to build.
@Bilingual Blogger, on those situations I also think its fine to drop a URL to your blog or specific post in question. What I try to avoid are redundancies. As long as what you are doing has a purpose and has not been done before, that is all right.
@Mike, at least your comment is honest 🙂 .
I tried to think of something really funny to say… everything funny has already been said.
I tried to think of something smart-alecky to say… that’s been done too.
Then, I tried to be clever… i’m not very good at that.
Regarding putting a URL at the bottom of or in the body of a comment, it is sometimes a necessary evil. I’ve had to do that on several occasions when somebody has blogged about my blog or referenced something I wrote on my blog but then they either didn’t put the correct URL or in a few cases they forgot to mention the name of my blog. There was one blogger who wrote an entire entry of roughly 300 words about my blog and didn’t mention the blog name once and didn’t post the URL!! And it was a positive write-up!!
In those situations, I leave a comment thanking them for the mention and then I write something along the lines of if anyone wishes to check out the actual post or the actual blog mentioned, here’s the URL and then I list the URL.
Why not just privately email the blogger, you say? Well, I do that as well, notifying them of the error or the oversight, but on two different occasions when I just relied on the person to fix the mistake, it wasn’t taken care of properly. I’ve learned that the best insurance is to send a private email to the blogger letting them know of the error AND posting a comment on the entry in question with the correct URL. That way you definitely have all the bases covered.
The comments that drive me batty are the totally bland, generic ones, usually found on high-traffic blogs like Problogger.
They are comments that add nothing whatsoever to the conversation and seem designed more to get on Darren Rowse’s radar because so many of these bland comments address him directly, including his name in the comment while thanking him for “great tips” or “really nice tips” or “wow, these are some really good tips.” Yawn.
On a recent featured post on tools and techniques to building relationships with other bloggers, I had to wade through a bunch of those meaningless “these are great tips” type of comments before I read a comment that actually had something interesting/worthwhile to say.
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This is a great post and very helpful too, I know this only your thoughts, but I love to sign my name in the end too. Sometimes I write my name in the name field and sometimes not, like this one here.
Anyway I agree with all you other points and I too hate when people are spamming my blog
@Daniel, haha no, that wasn’t directed at you at all just something I’ve experienced and seen on other blogs.
Thank you for some good common sense points that go beyond just the usual etiquette statements.
I’m putting my vote on the side of no signing needed at the end of a comment. This is simply a comment, not a letter, or email. That’s almost like saying your name after each part of a conversation. If we already know who is speaking, we don’t need the name again!
@Muscle Post, good point. I hope I don’t do that often 🙂 .
I agree with all of these points. One thing that I don’t like is when someone leaves a polite but critical comment on a blog, and the author of the blog gets very defensive and doesn’t give any merit to the comment. He just tries to disprove it as if his post is the only possible answer and the comments section is just a means for people to tell him that. A lot of bloggers need to learn to take constructive criticism or at least not react so defensively as their first instinct.
These points have the underlying common thread that they are more than simply etiquette – though that’s not a bad thing. These tips will help make your comments more effective for a lot of important goals. If you’re commenting to build a relationship with the blogger, you want to be respectful of their space and add to the conversation there. If you’re commenting to build your presence or brand in a niche, it’s important not to look like a know-it-all and be accessible as a person. If you’re commenting to increase traffic to your site, you need to avoid looking like spam at all costs.
It amazes me the number of comments I see that are, in fact, legitmate, but that turn me off to the writer because they’re either merely self-aggrandizing or entirely promotional.
I never sign comments. It’s just not something I do. That being said, I have no problem with it when other people do and it doesn’t really bug me at all. Not sure why or how that one made the list.
The rest are spot on though. Good post!
@Paula, no worries not a big deal as I updated on the post.
As for names, imagine a post with 30 or so comments, where every commentator would also sign his comment with his name. I think it would look a bit cluttered, while not adding anything useful.
This is my take though, and other people seem to like the signatures.
Leaving a one-word comment
I think it’s fine to leave a one word comment, as long as it’s a descriptive word. For example, I sometimes write “Yum” in response to a recipe. Or to a photograph with no words on the post, “colorful” might be a good response. After all, the post itself didn’t have words! Do you need a lot of words to clog up your comment?
Gee…guess I broke all these rules!
Okay – I’ll calm down on the bolding.
But I don’t mind when people sign their blog comments — even if their names are above them as well.
Our brains are just used to seeing the names below as well.
@Matt, usually I am fine with people leaving their name a second time, but there are many people that are not.
Check this post from Lorelle titled “If you Sign Your Blog Comments, You Are a Dork”
I’m not sure I agree with you on not stating your name a second time. Signing off your comments isn’t a huge deal for people reading them. I don’t personally do it, but it sounds a lot like you personally get annoyed when you read these types of comments and just decided to throw #2 in there.
LOL, just kidding, I completely agree, although I find myself doing some of these things, thanks for the reminders
Tom – StandOutBlogger.com
haha, just messing. the thing i hate is when people add extra links in their comments. Cause usually it is just them trying to get people to visit their blog!
Phew, not guilty of any of these. Still good to keep in mind for the future comments.
@Ali and Joanna, the signing one is a polemic topic indeed.
I also sign emails, but because they are more like electronic mail, so a kind of letter.
A blog comment, on the other hand, is a short and faster type of communication, so I am not sure if its necessary to drop a signature at the bottom.
Let’s see what the other readers will say 🙂 .
Pretty cool list of common sense tips that too many people don’t follow. It was good to hear it from a pro and I am glad I have not been a rule breaker so far.
I agree with them all except 2. I always sign my name – hadn’t thought it might bug people. It seems friendly to sign off with my name – I see the ID in the comment box as being as an identifier in the list of comments, not something that says this is from me.
I think I’m going to stick with this one unless a lot of people tell me to stop!
great tips, i never made any of those mistakes as far i remember, but it’s still good post to remind us not to make those comments mistakes
Ali from The Office Diet
#2 surprised me. I must confess that I am guilty of “signing” my comments, but I do this because I sign emails (even though my name appears as the sender) and because I think it’s polite to sign off. I quite often sign forum posts too (partly because my day job involves forum moderation — our users are UK government professionals and we’re taught to sign off politely.)
Didn’t realise I was breeching comment etiquette by signing my comments, though — oops!
@David, that is not an issue really. The problem is when people bold the whole comment text.
How many one word bold comments are you expecting. My money is on 3.
@Farfield, yeah I think so too 🙂 . Usually those are good points to keep in mind even if you just want to promote your blog. They will minimize the chances of getting your comments deleted or marked as spam after all.
OK, I guess everybody will be very carefull while writing a comment on this post. I agree with all 7 points, and I’m happy to say I never made any of those mistakes myself. But I saw a lot of them, on my own blog but also on other blogs. So I guess it’s needed to have this post. Thanks!
5. Leaving a one-word comment
Well not really is the same with my blog. I do get a 1 liner comments which is like so irritating.
I just don’t approve them at all. Haha..
- Kamal Hasa
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