I read several blogs, and I make an effort to leave meaningful comments on each post that strikes me. If I can’t compose a good comment just then, I generally don’t leave any comment at all.* Yes, I said “compose.” You’re a writer. That should extend to everything you write, not just your posts. A strong, well thought out comment is not only a great way to connect with other bloggers, it also improves traffic and builds a sense of community. Who doesn’t want that?
Now, then. I’ve noticed some very flat and–worse–clunky replies. Here are a few ways to add finesse to your comments.
- Read the post fully. Skimming is OK, but every one likes to feel like they’ve been heard. Getting details wrong or missing the point of the post just demonstrates what a bad reader you are. Tsk tsk.
- Relate without comparing. Talk about what stood out to you the most, trying not to go off on some tangent about how your Aunt Tilly did something similar. Nobody likes a one-upper.
- Compliment the blogger. You read that entire post for a reason; you liked it. Tell them why. Remember: if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.*
- When appropriate, link back to yourself. Don’t overdo it. Shameless self-promotion is generally frowned upon, whereas a little humility is a good thing. Some sites use comment services such as DISQUS or comluv, which make linking back easy. (Note: These use script which is not allowed on a WordPress.com site. If you are self-hosted or use pretty much any other free blogging site, you should be OK.) Alternatively, use HTML tags.
- Use HTML tags.Most blogs allow simple HTML tags in comments. Again, this is something you should use sparingly. Among the list of typically permitted tags:
- Italics: <i>italics</i> or <em>emphasis</em>
- Bold: <b>bold</b> or <strong>strong</strong>
- Block quote: <blockquote>This is an example of a quoted block of text.</blockquote>
This is an example of a quoted block of text.
- Anchors: <a href=”URL” target=”_blank”>Anchor: hypertext reference</a> or, simply, a link. Typing your link directly in the comment will be converted to a link, but then who wants to see all of that?
Hide it in an anchor tag, and type the title between the open (<a>) and close (</a>) tags. Much cleaner. (The target=”_blank” bit just ensures the link opens in a new window or tab, so as not to direct the reader away from the blogger’s page. It’s just good manners.)
I hope this has been helpful to you. Happy blogging! Now go leave some stellar comments!