Monday, November 9, 2015

The Basics of Commenting and Answering Comments on a Blog—Blogging Basics for Writers, Part 9

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 When 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 When 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.

What else would you add to these tips? Be sure to leave your things in the comments section below.

Don't forget to join the conversation!

Add to your online platform by commenting on other sites - @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

The Basics of Commenting and Answering Comments on a Blog - @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Blogging Basics For Writers: If you've missed the previous posts in this series, here are the direct links:

Part 1 - Blog or Website, Which Does a Writer Really Need
Part 2 - So What Do I Blog About
Part 3 - The Dos & Don'ts of Blogging
Part 4 - How to Label and Tag Your Blog Posts
Part 5 - How Fast Should a Blog Grow
Part 6 - Tips for Getting More Comments on Your Blog
Part 7 - What do I Need in My Blog's Sidebar
Part 8 - Blogging Success is as Easy as ABC


  1. I really like these Monday posts on blogging basics because so many times I can overlook things without knowing it. I still do not get a lot of comments on my blog, but a few weeks ago I blogged about a controversial topic and did get a comment from a reader that was negative. When I first started blogging that would have been a downer for me, but now I can see it as positive because it did get a response from someone and made them think about what I said. I am always on the lookout for anything to make my blog more productive. Thanks for the tips!

  2. Thanks Edie. As always, the best advice and clearly stated.