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Two days ago I published an article here entitled, “6 Vital Reasons to Comment on Other Blogs.” In that post I listed several incredibly important ways that commenting at other blogs can actually benefit your own blog.
Although comments can greatly benefit you and your blog, there are many things that most bloggers fail to get right when interacting on other blogs. Failing to follow these rules will basically result in your comments being nothing more than a complete waste of your time.
On the other hand, if you follow these rules, people will trust you more. They will appreciate your input in their conversations. Most importantly they will value you and likely visit your site.
10 Commenting Rules to Accelerate Your Site
1. Use your name.
One of the most common traits of spam is that instead of using a real name, the name field is filled in with the name of a website. Here at Site Sketch 101, unless I know the person and have checked out their website, I won’t publish comments that don’t use a name.
How many famous people do you know of that are recognized by something other than their name? There may be a few rappers that get away with this but more often than not a real name builds solid credibility. If you absolutely insist on using your site’s name then try something like this: Nicholas Z. Cardot @ Site Sketch 101.
2. Use your whole name.
The best bloggers that I can think of go by their first and last names: Darren Rowse, Daniel Scuocco, John Chow, etc. I want people to be very familiar with the name Nicholas Z. Cardot. Using your whole name demonstrates your confidence in your online presence which in turn builds your credibility.
3. Follow the topic.
Make sure that your comment has something to do with the topic of the post. If you have something else to say then start your comment by talking about the post and then ramble into your question or comment. Or, if you have to, leave the feedback area altogether and use the contact page to email that blogger directly.
4. Use Gravatars.
Gravatar.com provides a unique service that allows you to associate an avatar with your email address. If you take 2 minutes to set this up then every time you leave a comment somewhere on a gravatar enabled blog, your image will automatically appear as your avatar.
To see this in action simply check out the comments section of this blog. People are visual oriented creatures. When other readers see an image with your name and comment, it provides something to really let them remember you.
5. Address the author by name.
The comments are the ones that create a genuine conversation between the author and the readers. When you engage the author personally you demonstrate that you are real person with interest, knowledge and sincerity. Your comments will seldom be confused as spam when you make them very personalized.
6. Ask questions.
One of the best ways to get the author and other readers begin interacting with you is by simply asking questions about their post. Ask for more information about the subject. Ask for clarification about something. Ask if their principle would be best in a particular situation. Ask questions.
7. Provide personal experiences.
If you have personally dealt with something that the author discussed in their post then don’t hesitate to share it. Let people know about your mistakes, your successes and the things you’ve learned.
When people leave comments that make me relate to them personally, I not only respond to them but I usually click through to see their site. When someone is personal it makes me want to genuinely connect with them.
8. Use proper English.
Take a few seconds after each comment to proof read it. It really subtracts from your professionalism when your comments are riddled with grammatical errors.
Capitalize words that are supposed to be capitalized. Don’t use all caps to make a point. Use periods. Break up the run on sentences. Break up long paragraphs. Check your spelling. These are a few of the basics that many people seem to fail at.
9. Interact with other readers.
If another commenter asked a general question about the topic and you have an opinion about it then feel free to share it. Or if another reader left some input that you have a question about then don’t hesitate to let them know.
10. Post few or no personal links.
Unless your comment is about three paragraphs long this will simply end up looking tacky. I see way too many comments that are only a half line long and yet they include a signature and a link back to their website. This looks cheap and self-serving. It only serves to take away from your credibility.
If you are posting a short comment then simply place your website address in the appropriate field and leave it at that. The only exception to this rule is if you’ve taken the time to develop a long comment that really adds substance to the conversation.
The vast majority of these ten principles can be summarized by these two concepts: developing genuine connections and building credible authority. Each of these 10 principles when put into practice will aid you in accomplishing one of these two goals.
Which of these rules are new to you? Which of them do you agree or disagree with? Are there other rules that you can think of that would greatly improve our commenting effectiveness?