January 22, 2011

8 Tips on How to Leave Great Comments

What blogger doesn't appreciate getting thoughtful comments? Not only do meaningful comments begin building a relationship between you and your favorite bloggers, it can help direct traffic to your own site. Here are 8 tips of mine on how to write comments that will help you get noticed by bloggers and other readers. 
handful of happy
1. Be specific. This will help you immensely as a writer overall. Don't get me wrong, simple, quick comments like "great outfit" still make me smile. As a blogger, I will visit the site of every commenter who isn't spam. But frankly, it's not likely that other readers will do the same. Think about what particular aspect of the post appeals to you, how and why. Using an outfit as an example, was it the color palette? Or how the particular blogger combined disparate styles? Did it inspire you in any way or recall an event, mood or work of art? Pinpoint the element you find most intriguing and convey it in your comment. Detailed comments illustrate the quality of the writing and aesthetic that is presumably expressed on your own blog. And never, ever leave obvious cut and paste comments.  

2. Be helpful. One of my most treasured comments came from Brittany of Va-Voom Vintage in response to a post of mine about struggling to curl my very fine hair. She suggested a product (LottaBody) and a few methods that have proven so helpful, I've shared them with the ladies at my favorite vintage shop. If you have knowledge, expertise or experience with regards to a problem the blogger has expressed, by all means share it. When a blogger asks a question or seeks an opinion in her/his post, this is an excellent opportunity for you as a commenter to shine. If you feel that a blogger would enjoy a work of art or artist, say so. Melliefee noticed my respect for Mark Ryden and introduced me to the art of Nicoletta Ceccoli. Now I'm a fan of both Ceccoli and Melliefee. 
2010-02-27 smiley face cookies
3. Be known. If you wouldn't sign your name to a comment or say it in person, should you really be writing it? This doesn't mean you must only be positive and uncritical of a blogger. If you truly found a post or image insulting, ignorant or inappropriate, you should speak up. Everyone's entitled to an opinion, but if you're on a soapbox wearing a mask, who would take you seriously? Having courage in your convictions and sign your name. 

4. Be Consistent. If you are regularly pleased by someone's blog, leave comments often. A busy blogger who receives 20+ comments per post probably doesn't have time to visit every reader's site or reply individually. However, if you regularly leave good comments, he/she is likely to notice you, maybe even include you in a blogroll. I about peed in my pants when I realized Ulrika and Quincy had included me in theirs. 
5. Be Personal. If a post really struck a chord with you, say so. Did you share her childhood passion for eraser collecting? Did her post about olive trees recall fond Mediterranean memories? When you write something personal, you're not just sharing with the blogger but anyone who reads the comments. It is an opportunity to demonstrate some of your unique personality. 

6. Be thoughtufl. As in "showing careful consideration or attention" (New Oxford American Dictionary). Before you hit "publish," read over your comment and consider how it may be received. Communication is less about what you say, but how it is heard (or read in this case.) I once left a comment on Bored and Crafty I intended to be tongue-in-cheek, but came across as sarcastic and offended. Thankfully, I was able to clarify in a follow-up comment, but I learned my lesson. In writing, unlike speech, you do not have elements like body-language or tone of voice to help convey meaning. If you want to sound concerned, be sure you aren't actually coming across as condescending. Recognize the difference between knowledge and opinion and make sure it's clear which you are expressing. 

a jelly jar of smiles
7. Be sincere. Don't just leave comments as a means of self-promotion. Sure, this is an integral part of getting your site noticed, but only if you do it well. Sincerity is one of the most attractive traits, that's why children are often so charming. Even if you leave simple comments like "nice outfit" or "cute dress," really mean it. Comments show the blogger you care, so if you don't really care, don't comment. The problem with cut and paste comments is that they scream insincerity and self-promotion. 

8. Be responsive. If you have the time, return the favor and comment back. This is especially true if you have a smaller readership. It shows that you pay attention to your readers and value their input. Unless you're already famous, you are trying to build a community, not a fan-club. Once you have a large following, leaving a reader a comment could really make his/her day. Marie left me a comment once and I was beyond delighted that she was even aware of my existence. 

Well folks, that's all my tips. If there's any others you'd like to share, please keep them to yourself, mmmkay? JUST KIDDING! 

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  1. Your post is clear and very understandable. I'm surprised on how many comments don't even include one of these tips. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Loved this article. I hate seeing cookie cutter comments. Also, the images you chose were spot-on and actually made me smile.

  3. I love this article. I've been making a bigger effort to comment on new blogs every week and I've found a lot of amazing bloggers I had never heard about just by spending the time to click through blogrolls and respond to my comments. You give some great advice that will definitely help :)

  4. Thank you for writing this! I have been trying a lot more now to comment on every single website that goes to my blog and be more .... out there, I guess, haha. You have a wonderful blog and this was a amazing blog post, and I mean it!

  5. Melina, this is such an awesome post! And I hope more of our fellow bloggers will take advantage of this. I admit that while I love and appreciate every comment someone leaves on my site, the short unspecific comments make me feel like they just want a comment returned and that they have no real liking for my blog.

    So this is great!! Thanks!



  6. I try to leave a thoughtful comment on every blog I visit. I mean - I took the time to come to your site and read it. Having my own blog, I know the blog owner typically wants to know someone is out there paying attention. When I first started my blog, I sometimes felt like I was "inside" the monitor knocking on the glass "Hello? Is anyone out there?" because my stats said I was getting page views but everyone was silent! Oh dear!!
    The one thing I noticed when I was first learning the ropes - people leaving "follow me - I follow you" comments. That seriously annoys me. I feel like "Did you see the pictures? Read the post? That's ALL you have to say?" Not only on my blog but others I was reading.
    I agree with all your tips. I have challenged myself to leave at least 10 thoughtful comments each day or more on other blogs. Once you get in the habit, it becomes so much easier to do.

  7. fantastic tips! this needs to get into Blogger 101.

  8. is it weird that I found those pictures so adorable and lovely with the comment tips? I'm a new reader as well and I found this so useful especially all your specifics. I've been trying to apply all of your tips in my comments before so it makes me feel happier that I'm on the right track! Thanks a lot for all your insight. Also all your happy pictures reminded me of this cute little blog: http://thingsweforget.blogspot.com/

    ~Newscutouts from www.newscutouts.blogspot.com

  9. Great post, I read so many blogs but I often don't comment because I don't want to leave just another "awesome!" If I have something useful or interesting to say, I do. I think the chit chat things like "nice outfit!" etc. are great on twitter.

  10. I love visiting blogs and leaving comment. But there are times that my comments are a bit useless for the writer, I hate to admit. But I do write thoughtful comments once in a while. I guess it depends on the post, if I can relate to it or not. I guess being honest in your comments should be part of it too.

  11. Great post, sometimes I read a blog and go to the comments and someone has already said what I wanted to say so I don't leave a comment. I don't feel like I need to comment on everything I read and I only give a comment if I have something new to add.

  12. such helpful and concise tips, thank you melina! glad i found you on the linking path of blog land. i love when i make a great discovery!!! xo!

  13. I was wondering where I could go and see how much a dress from Lounge Craft would be now.  I have a dress that was my great aunts and it has the label like yours and its green purple and pink with white checks I played with it alot when I was a little girl please email me at jenn_davis_2000@yahoo.com thanks Jenn

  14. I found this post due to a helpful comment you'd left in a post at Little Chief Honeybee about blogging. Which goes to show, I guess, that you're tips really do work! 

    I really liked all your tips,  especially about the "be thoughtful." Without the physical and inflective cues, so much can be taken different ways (I was once really mortified that a sincere thank you came across as sarcastic). So thank you for sharing.

  15. Yes, so true that words without the "context" of voice and body language need special care

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