Wednesday, March 8, 2017

10 Common Misconceptions About Blog Comments

Read a post, then comment on the post. It seems simple to some people. Others feel differently. Here’s a list of misconceptions about commenting on a blog post.

1- I have to write a lot in order for it to be a good comment.

Nope! Even just five kind words are worth leaving. Blog analytic programs count the number of comments or interactions each visitor leaves, not the number of characters in those comments. Leaving without a comment makes for a poor bounce rate and a negative social engagement. Meaningful, quality comments build relationships and are the ideal… but empty blogs with no comments are disheartening.
Leaving comments — It's what bloggers do for each other. How important is it to you to be a valued member of the blogging community?
You can achieve the goal of commenting on as many A to Z blogs as possible while leaving thoughts and questions based on the content of the post.
You can communicate positively by trying to add to the idea and increase your social relationships by asking a question about the post.
Bloggers depend on comments, so be supportive by taking time in April to leave as many as you can.

2- It’s rude to leave a link back to myself.

Quite the opposite! Those who participate in a blog hop are looking to connect with others. A link makes that faster and easier.
You can achieve the goal of connecting with other bloggers.
This is a positive communication strategy and it will increase your social relationships with other A to Z bloggers.
Be assured that a vast majority of A to Z bloggers expect a link-back, which is why there are instructional posts on hyperlinking a signature.
Here are four of those instructional posts:

3- I might look foolish.

Most other comment leavers don’t have time to troll to read what you wrote. The blog owner is grateful for the boost in the number of comments. It’s true that most everything online stays forever, but reread what you wrote and ask yourself if it’s really as bad as you think it is. If not, post it. If it is, then go back to just simple, polite, and kind words. Even a few smile emotes is better than nothing.
If you are worried about your spelling and grammar, try the Grammarly extension in your browser.
You can achieve the goal of coming across as a polite blog commenter capable of true interaction and thoughtful questions.
You can figure out a positive way to communicate with simple, short comments.
It is acceptable to come back to that blog on another day, as perhaps it will be easier to comment then.
Keep your comment on topic and add something of value if at all possible. Here is a post with some ideas:

4- I have to respond to every comment on my blog.

This is a matter of personal preference. Regular readers might stop back to check if you have replied. Anyone who included an important question in a comment will probably come back to check if you replied. There are some comments that are just there because someone was being kind enough to say hello. Personally, I think the nicest reply to those is to click the link the person hopefully left and leave a return hello on their blog.
You can achieve the goal of connecting with people who visited your blog.
You can increase your social relationships by sorting through the comments you receive.
Some people respond to comments imminently, some take a few days, some only write responses on Sunday, and others wait until the end of April to write replies.
Consider this: Do you expect your comments to be replied to? If you wrote this comment, would you want a reply?
Here is a good article on this subject:
A quote from the article: “the best way to respond to a generic comment is with a generic reply.

At the very least, check your comment spam folder daily during the challenge. No one likes being stuck in comment moderation purgatory!

5- I am concerned that I may actually be a robot, one with poor math skills…

I worry about this too. Captcha and the like are good ideas with poor implementation. If I can’t solve the image in three turns I give up commenting. Then I make fun of the captcha on my Pinterest board.
You can achieve the goal of inspiring a better way to prevent spam without alienating real people. For example, some systems only have a box to check.
You can communicate using humor to bond with others over this Internet creation.
Robots might take over the world one day, but probably not in April 2017.
Google and other search engines have built in calculators to help with the math captchas.

6- There is too much arguing in the other comments for my taste.

That can be a tricky one. A desire not to attract the attention of an angry mob is a survival instinct. A simple “Dropping by from the A to Z Challenge,” and your name should be more than adequate as a comment. In this case, I might link back to the challenge page or the homepage of a search engine rather than my own blog (if a link is a required field).
You can achieve the goal of leaving a comment without engaging in confrontation.
You can communicate positively instead of joining the argument.
You can maintain a positive and supportive status without engaging in conflict. You could also comment on an older blog post with less argumentative comments.
There is a fine line between facts and opinions in some cases. Do you have something of value to add? Can you bring another perspective to the topic? Consider your own blog brand, and how you want to represent yourself, before submitting a comment.

7- I do not understand the post, and therefore feel unable to comment.

I hear you. Sometimes it’s a translation problem, and sometimes the post is about a subject you have no knowledge or interest in. Once again, I’ll recommend a simple “Dropping by from the A to Z Challenge,” and your name as a comment.
You can achieve the goal of being a nice person who is dedicated to leaving comments.
You can deepen a social relationship by asking the blogger questions about the post.
You could check the blog for a post that is clearer, easier to understand, and better to comment on.
If it is a translation issue, perhaps try a different browser’s translation service.

8- I have to log in to something to comment, and then create a whole other account, and I just don’t want to.

I do not feel bad not leaving a comment on blogs with such a system. There are ways to avoid that, as is evidenced by the overwhelming majority of blogs which allow comments without forcing someone to jump through a hoop.
If the blogger has a Twitter link, I’ll usually go there and leave a tweet instead. Logging in to my own Wordpress, Google, Twitter, or Facebook account I accept. But creating an account just to comment on one blog… that’s something only extremely famous people might need.
You can achieve the goal of encouraging bloggers to disable this by contacting them through other means.
You can communicate on social media about a desire to have such functions removed.
Time is valuable, so you be assured that you are not the only one skipping a blog for this reason.
Here is a website that discusses such commenting systems. (Warning: Ad heavy.)

9- The blog posts are all just shared reposts from other blogs. I do not know if I am meant to comment here or on the original post.

As this practice grows in popularity, the amount of original content decreases. If the blogger had something fresh to add, then of course you should comment. If not, the original writer would probably appreciate you more.
You can achieve the goal of keeping blogs fresh by commenting with a question about the poster’s take on this shared repost, or by thanking the person for including a new perspective.
You can increase your social relationships by seeking out the original poster.
The blogger felt this post was worthy of his or her blog’s precious space. You can try to figure out why the blogger felt someone else had such a value and generate a comment based on that.
Here is an article about why this practice exists:
(Not to be confused with guest posts.)

10- If I comment on a blog, and then the person comments back, then I’m stuck commenting on their blog again. It’s too much!

That’s how relationships form and grow. It’s a give and take process. Sometimes one blogger posts three times a day and the other blogger posts three times a month. That certainly makes it more difficult. You have to find a balance. Figure out what works for you, your schedule, and your online-social-presence goals.
You can achieve the goal of making new and lasting connections with other bloggers.
You will only encounter this if you have communicated positively and thus increased your social relationships.
You should take the time to build this into a positive and supportive relationship.

by J Lenni Dorner
Reference and Speculative Fiction Author
A to Z Challenge Co-Host
Operation Awesome Debut Author Spotlight Organizer
Please visit the blog of @JLenniDorner Operation Awesome Debut Author Spotlight Organizer @JLenniDornerFollow @JLenniDorner on Twitter please WhatAreThey on Facebook pages


Carrie-Anne said...

#8 drives me up the wall! I've been ready to comment on a number of great blogs, only to realize I need to register with some unique to the blogger commenting service, or a minor service almost no other bloggers use. I only broke this rule last year on the first day of the Challenge, when I couldn't let some jaw-droppingly shocking, hurtful, offensive, anti-autistic, pro-"cure" meme go unchallenged.

I also hate when bloggers moderate every single comment. I get moderating the first comment if the blog is about a hot-button issue (such as some of the radical feminist and gender-critical blogs I go to), but after we've proven ourselves as good eggs, it seems pointless to keep moderating.

Leanne said...

This was a great overview about how important commenting is. Comments are a joy to me - I love the interaction and that someone took the time to say hi and tell me that they enjoyed my post. Really looking forward to the A to Z this year (after swearing I'd never do it again!) and to meeting some new blogging friends.

Noah Dietz said...

I always feel the need to personally respond to every comment on my blog, it took me ages to realize that sometimes all you need to say is thanks for visiting, haha
Solid list here though, good post!

Song a Day

Debbie D. said...

Excellent advice! Thanks for posting this. In my opinion, it's good blogging etiquette to try and respond to all your comments, even if it takes a few days. That said, time constraints during the A to Z Challenge make it difficult, but at least, I make the effort. If the blogger has Twitter set up properly, their post gets tweeted and simulcast on my site's Facebook page. "Fly by" comments drive me nuts! They look something like this: "Nice post. Dropping by from the A to Z Challenge. Here's mine." Those comments I usually don't respond to, or I will pointedly ask them a question. Only once did anybody come back to answer it. ☺ Comments are so integral to a positive blogging experience and can lead to genuine online friendships. Otherwise, we're all just talking to ourselves, yes? Carrie-Anne is SO RIGHT about the Blogger moderation issue! Aggravating to be moderated when you've been commenting on that blog for months or even years Everybody hates captchas don't they? The ones that ask you to check a box are okay, but otherwise, total frustration. Looking forward to this year's challenge!

Tony Laplume said...

I hate generic comments. It's clear someone has just written something to drive traffic their way. It's an insincere social tactic. If I have a small social circle, I'd rather it be a sincere one than a bunch of people just looking for validation. If the content doesn't interest them, there are other ways to find friends.

Nilanjana Bose said...

Succinctly summarised. And brilliant advice. Agree with Carrie Anne re strange one-off commenting services - no, thanks. Moderation should be off too, during the Challenge month.

betty said...

I agree with what Tony said. I too hate generic comments. I call they "fly bys". I leave a comment that indicated I read the blog post; not just wanted a return visit back to my blog by saying something like "great post" and leaving their link to their blog. Excellent points brought out here for those participating in the challenge this year (I'm not). Biggest problem I faced in years past was trying to comment on posts that had me go through this and that to be able to leave a comment. Keep it simple, especially during a challenging challenge like A/Z.


Sylvia Plathypus said...

This was eye-opening, and very informative -- thank you for sharing these nuggets of wisdom! My blogging habits will be different going forward, and dare I say, better. :)

Sylvia Plathypus said...

This was eye-opening, and very informative -- thank you for sharing these nuggets of wisdom! My blogging habits will be different going forward, and dare I say, better. :)

Gossip_Grl said...

I have a question- when I follow a blog I am not showing up as following the blog. How do I change that? I've looked through my settings and can't find it. Can someone help? I want to resolve that before the start of the challenge. TY

Janet said...

Great post! Thanks so much for the valuable lessons. I am thinking of making some kind of spreadsheet or log to help me keep track of the blogs I left messages on because I don't like clicking where it says "notify me of follow-ups" because then I get an email every time anyone comments on that particular blog and that overwhelms me and my in box.

Click said...

These are all good tips.

I think the A to Z Challenge has spoiled me because now whenever someone leaves a comment on my blog, I follow them back to theirs and comment on it too. If their blog is one which really interests me I'll add it to the list of blogs I follow and try to read and comment regularly.

But sometimes I find a blog through another medium and leave a comment because I'm genuinely interested or have something to say, but they don't reciprocate. I wish it would become more standard practice to return a comment when someone visits. :-)

Cait @ Click's Clan

Pat Hatt said...

I roll my eyes at the generic ones and ignore away. #8 I just pffft and keep going. Not jumping through 50 hoops, no thanks.

J Lenni Dorner said...

Follow in which manner? Show up where? I'm happy to try to help, but I need more information.

J Lenni Dorner said...

You could also use a separate folder in your bookmarks, depending on the Internet browser you prefer.

Mary R. said...

Thanks for a thought provoking post! The hoops required for some comments is a definite turn off, but it is so nice to find a friendly comment on one of my blogs that I try to get past it. I have a WordPress account just for this.

D.G. Hudson said...

I don't like logging into other media systems to comment, especially if it's a blog I'll never visit again, and if it's difficult to find the 'comment' area, I give up. In addition, one person who commented here said they disliked moderation of comments. There are many reasons for moderation IF one takes the time to consider. Moderating comments means no spam finds its way onto your blog and it blocks those who might harass a person if all comments are simply posted.

Unknown said...

This was/is definitely an issue for me, as I find it difficult to post a comment on something I just liked rather than something that feels like I can add to it so often I just click the like button or share it on Twitter for them.

Nick Wilford said...

I'm trying to be better about replying to comments in the thread. I know I do on occasion go back to see if the poster replied, but I wonder if this practice drops off during the Challenge? I also don't like complicated steps and logging in to something else to comment, and I wouldn't be likely to follow a blog that was all reposted comment. I like to get to know the blogger's own personality. I like to leave thoughtful comments, but it's good to know just leaving a "hello" is also acceptable. Very helpful post!

diedre Knight said...

Great tips! I really should check the spam box more often. I do reply to every comment. I worry more about my comments being too long, rather than too short.

Rajlakshmi said...

These are excellent tips. I personally don't like logging in or Captcha, My favorite comment section is where I can enter a url. Saves the trouble of adding the url in comments.

PromooCodes said...

The misconception of many people you cleared. But i would like to ask you to do? Would you share some tips before starting a blog? i am seeking answer of this question.

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Shirley Corder said...

Good points, especially about CHECKING YOUR SPAM FOLDERS! Someone told me they found my comments in the spam folder because of my link, and for two days I stopped using links. Immediately my comments dropped through the floor. So USE links, but CHECK the spam folder as well! Build A Better Blog: I is for Interesting Images. #AtoZchallenge.