Blog commenting has long been a great way to interact with your favorite blogs and engage with authors and other readers. It’s also a great way to dig a little deeper into someone’s blog topic and ask further questions. But this is just scratching the surface of what blog commenting can do for you.
In this post I am going to discuss blog commenting in some detail, focussing on:
- Identifying a purpose for blog commenting.
- What you shouldn’t do when you leave comments.
- How to “do” blog commenting correctly, with an example of one of my own comments.
If you’ve only ever left comments on someone’s blog, without any other motive than to say thanks or to add something to the main discussion, then I applaud you. This is the purpose for which commenting was originally intended.
You are unlike a great many others though who only consider blog comments as purely an opportunity to promote themselves in some way. Now, I’m not at all against promoting myself in a blog comment at all, but I believe there’s a right and a wrong way to do so. I’ll come onto this later.
Before I get into any discussion about the ethics of commenting though, let’s examine the many ways in which blog commenting serves an extremely useful purpose.
Identifying a Purpose for Blog Commenting
I’ve already touched on a principal purpose of blog commenting: to make blogs more interactive. Comments enable blog visitors to engage in a discussion with the writer and other visitors who’ve commented. As such it’s a great way to tease out further details from the blogger or add more detail yourself.
If this is the only thing you’ve used blog commenting for though, you’re missing a trick, since there are many more strings to a blog comment’s bow!
By commenting on someone’s post, you can share your knowledge on a subject and add to the topic of discussion. If your comment contains real insight or highlights information that is not commonly known, you have the potential to make a real impact on anyone who visits the page and sees what you’ve added into the discussion mix.
If you regularly post insightful blog comments, especially on the authority blogs in your niche, the effects will compound and do several things:
- You may be seen as someone worth knowing, since you clearly understand your subject.
- Perhaps you’ll become seen as an expert or thought leader in your niche.
- Maybe people will want to visit your blog through the comment link, so you’ll start to get actual visitors to your own blog from the comments you’ve made.
Which brings me on to links in comments.
Links in Blog Comments
Most blogs permit at least one link back to your blog through their commenting system. This is where your link is added to the name you leave when you submit a comment.
Many other blogs also permit you to add links within the comment text itself. Some commenters try to stuff links in their comments as a technique to drive visitors to their blog. Or they might believe there is an SEO benefit that boosts the position of their linked pages in search results.
Most blogs nowadays automatically add the nofollow attribute to outbound links added into comments. The nofollow attribute specifically tells search engines not to pass any value from their blog posts to these links.
We know that search engines count links as votes for a site. The more votes you have, the more likely it is you’ll see your pages appearing higher in their search results. Because nofollow links tell search engines not to count them as votes, they offer little SEO benefit in comments.
Personally, I have no problem with people adding links into comments, as long as they leave something that adds value to the post and do not spam me with multiple links to their site.
Building Relationships Through Comments
A further purpose of blog commenting in my view is to build relationships. If you regularly visit popular blogs with a very active commenting community, over time it’s likely that you’ll begin to build relationships with other visitors who respect what you have to say. This is especially so if you often involve yourself in discussions and frequently add value to them.
Commenting like this can lead to all sorts of real promotional possibilities down the line such as:
- Requests for quotes or interviews.
- Sharing your content.
- Sharing your links.
This is where good commenting can help to generate links from other domains that DO pass value to your domain… and these links have a real SEO benefit, since they’re true link votes for your blog.
How You Shouldn’t Do Blog Commenting
Have you ever visited a blog, read to the end of a post and come across thin comments? Or worse, a blatant attempt to add links with no thought into the comment itself?
If I’ve spent a day writing a blog post, the last thing I want to see as a comment is one word like “Awesome”. All this says to me is that Awesome is just looking to drop a link from my blog post to their blog.
Worse than this though though… spun comments with links to clearly disreputable domains. These types of comment might look substantial at a glance. However, reading through them shows the content is scraped from a number of different sources, stitched together and populated with links (usually several) to very dodgy domains.
I’m a big believer in commenting when done right and I always approve what I feel to be a genuine comment. I’ll approve a comment like this even if it doesn’t necessarily add to the discussion.
I never approve anything I consider to be spam and neither do most other bloggers.
How to Do Blog Commenting Correctly
The following is based upon my experiences of commenting on blogs. Practically all of the comments I write are approved when the blog author moderates them… most likely because I:
- Never write spam.
- Am courteous.
- Never write a one-word comment.
- Try to add to the discussion.
So how do you make a blog comment in the right way? Here’s my take.
Read the Blog Post
When I say read the post… I mean actually read it! You’ll never write a relevant comment if you haven’t shown you’ve absorbed what the post is about.
Properly reading a blog post will enable you to refer back to something on the post that stood out for you. It shows you’ve read the post rather than landed on it during a link-building-through-blog-commenting spree!
It also shows any other visitors that you might be someone worth finding out about. It’s way better than just saying “Awesome”!
A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.Dale Carnegie
If you can see the author’s name… use it. Personalise your blog comment to the author shows respect. If they don’t publish anonymously, it’s good to show you’ve noticed… and it’s another sign you’ve read their post properly.
This article from the Washington Post explains why using someone’s name is important and why.
Refer to the Post
Show that you’ve taken the time to read what the author has written by referencing something you’ve found interesting in what they’ve said. Perhaps you agreed or disagreed with something. If so, add it to your comment, but if you disagree with something be respectful.
If there’s something you didn’t quite understand, or something you’d like to know more about, ask a question? Questions go beyond a simple approval and actively solicit the author to engage with you by responding to what you’ve asked.
Add to the Discussion
If you agree with the things you’ve read and have further insight, share it. You might be able to further improve the reading experience for other people. Your insights might add value to the post and impress other readers enough for them to check your link out.
Remember… an excellent blog comment on a page getting lots of visits can drive people to your blog, so it’s worth the effort of making your blog commenting a work of art!
If you’re going to add a link within your comment text don’t overdo it and only add it if it adds value to your comment. Never add a link for the links sake as you’ll look like you’re spamming.
When you’ve said everything you needed to say in your comment, say thanks or something else complimentary. The blog author doesn’t have to publish your comment, even if it’s good, so be courteous in your parting shot.
A simple “thanks for writing this” can go a long way and shows again that you’re respectful.
Blog Commenting Example
To outline how I create a comment as per the above advice, here’s an example of a comment I left at Martin Dasko’s Studenomics blog, along with his response:
You can see I use Martin’s name in the first line and then discuss the main topic of Martin’s topic from my own experiences.
I’ve tried to add value to the post by providing my personal response and insights to what Martin has written, and I’ve finished with a reference to how I felt about Martin’s post.
Martin approved the post and said he “loves this comment”. Not only that but he goes on to say he’ll reference some of my points on Twitter.
I’ve gone the extra mile and taken the time to write a detailed comment that adds value to the post and Martin has acknowledged this.
- Blog commenting can be a very powerful way to promote yourself on other people’s blogs… as long as you do it in the right way.
- When you comment on someone’s blog be courteous, complimentary, add value to the topic and say thanks.
- If you add value to the discussion you may generate links to your blog, shares/mentions and citations. You might even encourage other readers to visit you.
That’s it for now!
Over to you! Feel free to drop your blog commenting tips in the comments below.