Monday, June 23, 2014

Social Media Monday—The Etiquette of Commenting, for the Blogger & the Reader

by Edie Melson  @EdieMelson

Blogging is a great way to build an online community—when you take time to learn how to do it right. Part of the things you need to learn including how to write a focused post, how to keep to a schedule, how to facilitate conversation with open-ended questions and today’s topic, the etiquette of commenting.

It’s important to know the dos and don’ts of commenting because part of growing your blog means you’ll be leaving comments on other sites, as well as replying to comments on your on site.

The etiquette involved isn’t complicated. As a matter of fact, I think it’s fairly intuitive. Most of us do the right things most of the time. But there are some things we may over look. Today’s post is designed to help you learn the etiquette of commenting for the blogger and the reader.

 Etiquette for Leaving a Comment
  • Be Specific. Let the blogger know what about the post resonated—or didn’t—with you.
  • Stay Focused. This isn’t the place to write your own blog post. It’s fine to ask questions or share a thought or two, but be careful, make sure what you’re writing is in direct response to the post.
  • Be Brief. Usually, less is more when it comes to blog comments. There are exceptions. In the past few days a couple of my blogs have gathered longer comments. I specifically asked for my readers to share their thoughts on difficult subjects. In that type of situation, long is fine.
  • No Links. The quickest way to get labeled as spam from a website spam filter is to leave a link to your own site. When you sign in and leave a comment, most of the time your name is linked to your own site. If someone wants to find out more about you, or get to know you better, they can click on your name. Again, there are exceptions. If someone responds and asks you for a link to something you mentioned in a comment, then it’s fine. But it may take longer for your answer to show up because the blog owner will probably have to dig it out of the spam folder.
  • Be Nice. I really shouldn’t have to say this, but it’s important to keep things civil. Remember this truth, What happens on the Internet, STAYS on the Internet. That includes blog comments. It’s fine to disagree, but keep it polite.
  • Try NOT to Be Anonymous. Sometimes anonymous is the only way you can leave a comment. If that’s the case, end your comment with your name. That makes it easier for the blogger to answer you. This also applies if your commenting name is something other than your name. 

Etiquette for Answering a Comment
  • Thank the Commenter, by Name If someone took time to read your blog post AND comment, the least you can do is thank them. It is okay to answer several commenters at once if you find yourself inundated with comments. But if you do that, be sure to refer to the commenters by name. If it’s not possible because they didn’t leave a name, try to make the reference obvious so they know they weren’t ignored.
  • Be Specific. When possible, refer to something they said in the comment. Let them know you value their insight or how their thoughts made you consider something new.
  • Answer Questions. Often commenters will ask questions on my site. Sometimes they comment on old posts and ask questions there. No matter how old the post, I always try answer the question. If it’s a topic I already have a blog post written about, I’ll tell them to expect the answer in an upcoming post.
  • Be Nice. Sometimes commenters can touch a nerve, either by disagreeing or by the phrasing they use, or the fact that they go on and on…and on. No matter what, take the high road and stay civil. You don’t have to agree, but practice the art of civil disagreement.
  • Leave a Link. When you own the blog, you can include a link in a comment. If you have a blog post that clarifies something for the commenter, it’s fine to leave a link.
  • Be Brief. Don’t give in to the temptation to write another post when you answer a comment. Refer to one or two things, thank them for their comment, and sign off.

These are some of things I know are important in regard to blog comments. What suggestions do you have? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Don’t forget to join the conversation!



  1. When I first began blogging, I didn't know the ins and outs and I rarely responded to comments. I learned that a response is both appreciated and a good way of developing relationships with readers.

    One thing that irks me is when bloggers never respond to comments. I realize some are popular and receive numerous comments on all theirs posts, but I tend not to comment on blogs when the blogger never responds. (Just my two cents worth!) :)

    1. Joan, I agree about bloggers never responding to comments. It's like talking into a black hole. I follow blogs to learn, but also to engage and be part of a conversation. A blog missing either element won't be one I follow for long. Thanks so much for stopping by, Blessings, E

  2. Thank you for this rundown of proper commenting etiquette, Edie!

    I have a couple questions: Is it OK to share one of your blog comments on, for instance, Facebook if you found it particularly encouraging? And, if so, should I tag the person who left the comment?

    1. Sharyn, great questions. It is fine to share a comment and it's good to tag or at least mention the person who made the comment. Thanks so much for stopping by, Blessings, E

  3. Useful suggestions, Edie. I’ve attended a few workshops on social media, and none of them have included guidance about commenting on blog posts. A tweet led me to your site, and now I’m a subscriber. I need to learn more about how to encourage comments on my blog; I bet you have some advice for that, too.

    1. Iris, welcome and thank you for subscribing! I have a post on how to encourage comments, here's the link:

      I found you on Twitter and also found your blog, It's a cool site. I'm so glad you stopped by and introduced yourself. Blessings, E

  4. It’s important to know the dos and don’ts of commenting because part of growing your blog means you’ll be leaving comments on other sites, as well as replying to comments on your on instagram likes