I’m terrible at promoting my blog and other writing. It’s the idea of selling that leaves a bad taste in my mouth. But expanding a business or increasing readership requires a certain amount of promotion.
However, there’s something much more important than self-promotion, and that is to build relationships. An easy way for bloggers to do that is to connect with other bloggers by leaving comments. There are many benefits to commenting on other blogs, such as getting backlinks, increasing your blog’s traffic, building your brand, and expanding your professional network.
Unfortunately, many bloggers make the mistake of using the shotgun approach, firing out comments on as many blogs as possible. Instead, it’s better to leave fewer comments that add value and utility, not just for the blogger but for anyone else who reads the thread.
Therefore, always opt for quality over quantity. All it takes is posting one comment a day, which is what I do. Below is a list of things I DO and DON’T DO when commenting on other blogs:
Things You Should Do:
- Leave thoughtful comments. Spend a few seconds first to figure out what you want to say. Answer a question, share a short anecdote, give an example, or provide a different viewpoint. If there are already lots of comments, add something unique to the conversation.
- Read the whole post before you comment. Commenting without reading the entire post is just lazy. That’s like asking a first date out to a steak house when they posted online that they’re a vegetarian.
- Address the blogger by name. If you know the blogger’s handle or name, use it in your comment. It gives your comment a more personal touch.
- Sign up for Gravatar. Doing so allows you to add an image or visual brand to your profile. When someone else sees your comment, all they have to do is click on your image, which will send them straight to your blog. Get your Gravatar account here.
- Say what you like about the post. The more detail, the better. You could say how the post enlightened you, made you laugh, or changed your perspective.
- Let them know if you retweeted or shared the post. Doing so will let the blogger know you found their post valuable.
- Try to get there early. If possible, try to be the first or one of the first to leave a comment. Somebody will likely read it more than the others.
- Be cautious about leaving links. Habitually leaving links looks like spamming. Do this sparingly, and only leave something that’ll add value.
Commenting Behaviors to Avoid:
- Don’t ask others to visit your blog. Please, please, please don’t post things like, “check out my blog” at the end of your comment. If other readers are interested in your blog, they’ll click on your Gravatar image, but not if you ask or beg them.
- Don’t even mention that you have a blog. It’s already assumed. The curious will visit without any prompting.
- Don’t just leave short, 2-word phrases. Want to leave a comment that a blogger will hate, or at best, feel indifferent to? Then write, “Great post!” “Nice info!” or “Wow, thanks!” These phrases don’t add value, even if they’re positive. If you do write these, follow them up with more meaningful commentary.
- Don’t be a jerk when giving feedback. If you think the blogger missed an important point or made a mistake, point it out politely and show goodwill. Don’t be a troll.
- Don’t dump a bunch of links. You don’t want your comment to look like spam. I already mentioned this in #8 above, but this bears repeating.
- Don’t leave a long comment. You add more value by getting to the point than droning on and on.
- Don’t merely repeat a point from the post. Parroting something from the post is just lazy. Expand on it or give another interpretation.
If you’re not normally a commenter but maintain a blog, give commenting a try. Take some time, catch up on the blogs you follow, and post one comment a day like I do. You can check out Problogger for more tips on leaving comments.