Are You Afraid of the Big Bad Blog (Comment)?: An Introduction to Comment Etiquette

Gray WolfNOTE: This is a guest post from Stephanie Adams, MA, LPC of Beginnings Counseling and Consulting.

Have you ever seen a blog comment that just made you cringe? Maybe it was spelled poorly. Or it might have been so absurdly off-topic that you felt sorry for the writer. Or perhaps – heavens! – it was just plain rude.

If you’re like me, you’ve seen bad blog comments before. Additionally, you may have reacted like I did, by backing off from interacting with the blog world for a while. If other people thought (incorrectly) that their comments were appropriate, what if I were to make similar mistakes? How embarrassing!

That simply won’t do!

Fear not, gentle readers. You don’t have to sit on the sidelines of the blog world! Blog commenting etiquette is simpler than you might think! Ultimately, it’s about courtesy and friendliness. With that in mind, I’ve listed some Do’s and Don’ts for you below to help you bring both to your blog communication.

DO’s

  • DO read the blog post before you comment, and make sure you understand it. I can’t count how many times I was glad I did another quick read-through before clicking “Post Comment.”
  • DO read the comments already posted before you write yours, to make sure other people haven’t already said the same thing. Is there an echo in here?
  • DO list your website if the comment box has a space for it, but DON’T put it in the body of your message, which can make it look spammy and self-serving. Okay, so that’s technically a “don’t.”
  • DO contribute useful information, which means not repeating and rephrasing the same things. It’s repetitive and redundant.
  • DO ask questions if you have them. It keeps the conversation going, and isn’t that what it’s all about?
  • DO have a photo as your avatar whenever possible. It keeps it personal! It’s not absolutely necessary that it be blue and speak Naavi.
  • DO reply to a blog comment back to you as soon as you see it, or it’s likely you will forget. Plus, people will be so impressed by how involved you are! Tip: check the box that says “Notify me of follow up comments via email.”
  • DO be complimentary – the blogger worked hard to produce this article for you!
  • DO comment back on comments others make on your own blog. Good opener: Thanks for your comment! Bad opener: O lowly blog reader, congratulations on reading my post.
  • DO comply with any posted rules, like no foul language.
  • DO politely and privately contact the blogger if you have a concern about the content or integrity of their post. This leads in to my one and ONLY (OFFICIAL) DON’T, and it’s a big one.

DON’Ts

  • Don’t argue with people in comments – your commentary will be publicly available on the web for a long, long time. Want someone looking you up for a job someday to see ranting and raving? No! It’s not cool, and it defeats the whole point of commenting on blogs, which is to have a conversation. Once people start being rude, it stops being a conversation, and becomes a fight.

I base these particular recommendations on my experiences reading blog comments and commenting myself. But keep in mind that if you just focus on maintaining a genuine connection with others, you’re already halfway to your goal.

After all, you write comments because you want to exchange ideas with the blogger. You want to contribute to the conversation – and conversation is based on connection! By using thoughtful, connection-focused commenting etiquette, it becomes much more likely that people will listen to you, allowing you to continue contributing and conversing!

As a professional counselor by trade, I have learned that when someone makes the relationship the priority, everyone wins. So with blog commenting, and with life in general, focus on connection. Other people will feel valued, and you will find yourself feeling more confident in your comment savvy. Then you don’t have to be afraid of the Big Bad Blog Comment…or of anything else!

Stephanie Ann Adams, MA, LPC is the co-author of “The Beginning Counselor’s Survival Guide: The New Counselor’s Plan for Success from Practicum to Licensure” (available now in paperback and e-book) and the owner of Beginnings Counseling & Consulting, where she provides counselor innovation consulting and life counseling for emerging adults.

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Comments

  1. Stephanie! Girl, you do get around! It’s good to find you here!

    This is an excellent list of do’s and don’ts. When I first started, I was forever making some of these mistakes . . . including leaving my URL along with my comment. Was so embarrassed when I learned that that was proper etiquette.

    The one thing that makes me shudder now when I see others comment on my blog is when they intentionally attempt to re-direct traffic back to their own sites. It looks . . . insincere and cheap. If you leave a thoughtful enough comment . . . and contribute to the dialogue in a meaningful way, folks will track you down and check out your website without you having to appear so sleazy.

  2. It appears like your site ate my first comment so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I submitted and say, I’mthoroughly enjoying your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to everything.heathrow airport transfer

  3. Tamara, thank you for this comment, and that is one of my pet peeves as well. I try to give an extra measure of grace when it’s not a spammy comment, but simply a matter of someone new to the blog world. Like you said, we’ve all been there and made mistakes we were embarrassed about later on! However, I think it’s ironic that your comment has been followed another commenter that is a prime example of someone who is simply “seeding” comments to get a linkback. Though I may be breaking my own rule here, about arguing in blog comments, let me simply say (a la Stephanie Tanner – remember that?) “How rude!”

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