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. 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.

Group Discussion:

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?

Nicholas Cardot

About Nicholas Cardot

It's my personal quest to enable every person that I can to unlock that dormant potential concerning their online influence. Also, I'm a geek.


  • Eric B. says:

    Thanks for the tips! I think I might get a Gravatar. Do you think it’s okay to use your site’s logo as a gravatar, or should it be an actual photo? At the moment, a photo wouldn’t be an option because I don’t currently have a working camera.

    On my blog at, I post under my full name (Eric Bannatyne), but when I’m commenting on someone else’s blog, I like to keep it short by using Eric B. On forums though, I usually register as either FWebDe or aldld.

    • Eric B. –> The main idea with a gravatar is simply to give others something to visualize with your name. It really doesn’t matter if it is a picture of you or of something that represents your website. However, I have noticed that some of the avatars that are nice looking pictures of the comment author really stand out in my mind.

  • Man I always used the name of my site. I guess it is because I think North and Clark is pretty cool sounding and doesn’t have to sound spammy. But I wondered about proper etiquette. I certainly don’t want to annoy my fellow bloggers.

    • Casey Brazeal (North and Clark) –> It’s not that North and Clark sounds spammy, but those who do spam our comment sections seem to always use words instead of names so that when I glance through comments I’m drawn toward the ones that are the least likely to be spam. Then later if your comment is really legit then I pay it some attention. But do you want your comments to be on people’s back burners or right up front and easy to notice?

  • Dave Sparks says:

    @Eric B personally I don’t think using your logo is a problem, some people just don’t like showing themselves which is fine.

    Thanks for the article Nicholas, maybe this will become some guideline for general commenting? I’m sure there’ll still be plenty of spam though.

    • Dave Sparks –> I agree. Some people don’t like putting their face on the internet and their is nothing wrong with that. You’re welcome and thanks for providing your feedback for Eric as well. Input for other readers is always welcome here! 🙂

  • Like this one? I thought my comment are not looked spammy because I never comment in less than 3 rows of the comment field. Sorry if my English is bad, I’m not American or British, or Australian or whatever. I’m just a boy who live in Indonesia.

    • Reza Winandar –> Taking the time to write a longer, more plausible comment is always a great way to increase your effectiveness in engaging with others, but why settle for getting just one of the ten principles right? Let’s shoot for all ten, right?

  • Eric Overton says:

    Nicholas thanks for more good advice. Hadn’t thought of leaving my whole name, but definitely makes sense as it helps with branding who I am.

    • Eric Overton –> It sure does. I like being able to see who you are and now I have a full name to associate with the conversations that I’ve had with you and that helps me to remember you and engage with you in ongoing conversations!

  • Evan Kline says:

    Like some of the other commenters, I had never left my whole name before, but what you say does make sense. Most of us share the same first name with many people.

    I do like when people have artistic images of themselves as their avatars, as they really stand out (and I guess give some privacy if that is desired). Is that an image of you in your avatar Nicholas?

  • Arisu says:

    Great points. Now, I fail to use my whole name, my photo and I´m not sure how “proper” is my English -but if English ain´t your nativ language at least you should check an online dictionary, it won´t fix your grammar but it would make more readable your post.

    About the name, I think is very important not to use the blog´s or site´s name alone, cause people ain´t talking to the blog, right? It is only the tool or media to communicate with the person. The blog doesn´t write nor does it have an opinion. You do.

    And photos are up to each persons preferences. Drawings or avatars are fine if you don´t like pictures of you, or if you´re worried about stalkers XD Logos are kind of impersonal, but no one is going to feel anoyed about them.

    • Arisu –> I like your comments about not talking to a blog. You are exactly right. One of the most effective ways to comment is to work to engage with real people as a real person. I’m entirely convinced that it is one of the most important keys to successful blogging!

  • Joe Cassada says:

    One of the many things I dislike about other blogs is the heated comment section filled with anonymous commenters. It seems that when folks use their full names, they tend to be more cordial to one another.

    Great tips, Nicholas. One question: do you prefer Nicholas or Nick?

    • Joe Cassada –> Most of my friends just call me Nick. Wanna be my friend? 🙂 LOL. Nick is fine. Heated comments really don’t accomplish anything. I have no problem with different view points, but they really should always be presented with civility.

  • Bruce Teague says:

    I always wondered if I should do my name or the site name. I’ve changed it depending on the blog. Now I know.

    Proper English is a little tough for me. I have terrible spelling and grammar. My wife edits all my posts, but I don’t think I can get her to edit my comments.

    • Bruce Teague –> Although your grammar can enhance the site, the most important factor is that you are presenting yourself as real as possible and working to genuinely engage and connect with people. If you are just link dropping then you aren’t really adding value to the conversation. And if you aren’t adding real value to the community then you aren’t really building your brand and credibility. You are wasting your time. So don’t worry about the grammar as much as simply being a real asset to the conversation everywhere you go! 🙂

  • sbcjr says:

    Ahhh… very good info! I had never really thought about the difference between using my name and my web username, but I’m convinced!

    Thanks so much for the explanation, Nick! 🙂

  • Ha! And there I go, clicking “Submit” before changing my name!

  • Chris Cline says:

    Great Info Nicholas….

  • Good tips, Nicholas. As you can see here we are following your advice.

    I’ve been doing some of the points you mentioned, but never thought about using my last name… this is my first time!

    • Natalia Ventre –> I’m always really excited to see others learning from these articles. That is, after all, the purpose of this blog. I’m glad that you’re putting that into practice and I think that you will find it easier for others to engage with you in response to your comments.

  • Thank you very much.

    I tried doing it upon suggestion of another friendly blog, not to experiment but to genuinely communicate with other blogs, and I received words that told me they were going to visit. They did! They gave me very positive comments, too.

    You are right, Nick. Communicate sincerely and you get equal treatment.

    • Luisa Mercado » That’s really the key! I think that too often bloggers are looking for quick and easy ways to just drive traffic to their site when the real secret is taking your time and learning to genuinely connect with others. When we use comments to genuinely connect then we will end up getting traffic back to our site. It’s really funny how that works.

  • Eric B. says:

    I tried uploading an image of my logo to use as a Gravatar, but it ended up looking awful. So for now, I just used a piece of a screenshot of a text editor with some code from one of my projects.

  • Thank you so much Nicholas!

    I will run and get a gravatar photo!

  • […] 10 Commenting Rules to Accelerate Your Site […]

  • Ani says:

    Thank you so much for the great info. I didn’t even know about gravatars. Is it added automatically to sites who use these? I don’t see a place to add it. I guess I’ll see when I submit.

  • Fran Civile says:

    Thank you Nicholas for the good advice… I need all the help I can get!

    I agree with you Jeff B that it’s nice
    to see the same avatars and after a while start to recognize some trends
    in the comments those commenters are

    Fran Civile

  • gautam hans says:

    Gravatar have a huge impact basically because of the reason that it is easy to remember a picture than the name. It helps a lot in branding. I use the same gravatar in twitter, stumbleupon, and various other sites so that they know who is behind it.

    I agree with the point that the comments should be engaging and if possible pertaining to the topic. This increases your chances of getting noticed by the author and hence maybe increase a reader to blog.

    And Name should be used always that ensures that the comment is not spam but made by a genuine person. Though i don’t mind the idea of using name|Blog name as the name.

    On the whole this a great read Nicholas!.

    • gautam hans –> Thanks. I still maintain that a real name is the most courteous and appropriate way to use a comment field. After all, the field doesn’t say “Blog Name,” it says “Name.” Even if you do use your blog name, I can guarantee you that those who use their real name are much more successful than those who don’t. So if you want to use a fake name instead of adding more genuineness to your comments then understand that you WILL reduce the impact that they have on those who read it.

  • Nick,
    Very interesting read. I’m a first-time visitor (linked through one of my feeds), and, although I’m neither a blogger nor a webmaster, I think your thoughts and advice can certainly be applied to most forms of online communication.

  • Wow, I use my personal name all the time. From the beginning it I was on the net leaving comments, I used my name. I think this helps people know about me and my site is my surname which helps a lot as well.

    I try and interact with others, but it’s not always that easy. I am trying to get my gravatar to be the same for all other sites and programs, stamp my authority so to speak.

  • A wonderful set of tips, that really do help when put into practice. Like others, I also like the effectiveness of using my full name. I hadn’t thought of using that before, and I think it’s a brilliant idea. (Just tested it out)

  • Nicholas, This is a great post on commenting. Isn’t it cool that post about comments get a lot of comments. I really like how you interact with each and every person who comments on your blog. I know that takes a lot of time and effort. That is one area that I am trying to improve on. BTW, I will be featuring these post in my weekly best blog post series tomorrow.

    • Tycoon Blogger –> Ha ha. That’s very true, isn’t it. I guess when people are specifically reminded about it then they are more likely to put it into practice. You know, sometimes it does take a lot of time and effort, but that is what it’s all about: interacting with as many people as possible. Thanks for featuring this on your site tomorrow. I look forward to seeing the rest of your listings as well!

  • Walter says:

    I think I need to reconsider my commenting strategies. Recently, I have incorporated gravatar on my email because I realized that it’s easy to remember an image than a name which may have duplicates.

    I hope you see it here. 🙂

  • Daniel A. says:

    Great Post.
    I agree with walter it is easier to remember a picture than a name

    • Daniel A. –> Yeah, Daniel. By giving them something visual to picture with your name it really aids in making yourself much more memorable. Thanks for stopping by and thanks for commenting.

  • […] 10 Commenting rules to accelerate your site – Site Sketch 101 […]

  • Typhoon says:

    I follow all the rules except the one i.e the use of My Whole Name. Instead of that I use my Pen Name which I use for almost all my internet activities.

    But I think the name couldn’t be a problem.

    But If I start commenting with my full name now then probably most of the bloggers won’t recognize me until they see my blog URL.

  • […] Accelerate your site by paying attention to these rules for commenting on other’s blogs and ar…(site sketch 101); […]

  • Mukund says:

    I want to upload my Gravatar but I simply don’t know how to do that? Will the Gravatar work only for word press users? I am powered by blogger. So, will it work or not? I don’t think so!

    • Mukund –> It will work on any blog that allows gravatar enabled avatars. This includes most WordPress blogs and several other platforms. I don’t think that blogspot uses it which is actually another reason that many people are migrating away from blogspot.

      • Ron Boracay says:

        I am a blogspot user (quite a lover also). And I am searching for some way to integrate gravatar with my platform.

        As of now, I am unsuccessful searching for it.

        Anyway, disqus does offer quite same thing like gravatar (I guess).

        • BM says:

          that is some of the disadvantages of using a blogspot blog. But you can always use Disqus or Haloscan as add on if you want a gravatar.

          But of course it’s free, so you don’t worry if there’s any surge in traffic. Your blog won’t get any ‘suspended’ page

    • ZXT says:

      This is the same reason why I got my own domain and a hosting service instead of getting a blogging in blogger. You can get full control of your blog plus it is usually compatible with other third party applications.

      Getting a host and domain is like $5 a month more or less. Pretty worth it.

  • janelle says:

    we have the same opinion. after reading this, i have realized the things that i’ve been doing in commenting for the past years. and i feel like laughing myself because i never thought that it’s ethical. take the use of the real name for example, i’ve been using my real name in commenting for years for no apparent reason at all. maybe because i feel comfortable in using it than pen names? i also wanted to be known by my name nonetheless. but i never thought of using my whole name in the net. maybe i should start doing that. haha!

  • ZXT says:

    I’m a brand new blogger so I wouldn’t know which ones doesn’t work hence I can not disagree with anything. But I can agree with not posting a link if it’s not relevant and the use of Gravatars and proper english.

    Most comment box doesn’t allow edit afer you posted already so make sure to proof read it to edit the typos and spelling mistakes.


    • ZXT –> Well for being a new blogger you sure have the basics down well. Follow those rules that you just laid out and you will go much farther than many of your peers.

      • ZXT says:

        Lolz. I didn’t practice what I’ve preached. I missed my typo (wrong spelling) from my last comment but I certainly proof read it.

        Anyways I’m using ZXT because I’m known in the internet as ZXT for the last 10 years. And friends call me Z for short.


    • Ron Boracay says:

      ZXT, that is a great idea, posting some link to edit a commenters post after they comment and even posting a link wherein the commenter may suggest to the blog owner to delete their comment for some reasons.

  • Ron Boracay says:

    Woot, I am hit by this, time to grab my own gravatar now.

    But I think, some people get away with rule number 1.

    • Ron Boracay –> Some people may get away with it, but those who follow it are far more successful.

      • Ron Boracay says:

        My Gravatar is updated!

        Yeah, you are right, People who get away with it, I think, doesn’t last for long at the top.

        • Ron Boracay –> I really can’t think of any bloggers who gets thousands of unique hits each day who uses a fake name. It just doesn’t happen that often.

          • Ron Boracay says:

            I think, using some kinda pseudonym is sometimes useful for some instances, like for example you are a blogger and you are to much dependable on keywords and hottest niche.

            It is not wise to use your real name when you have two or more different unrelated blogs.

            For example you have a blog that targets or caters to vegetarian people. Then, based on your research, you found a hot niche that caters to meats, pork or alike.

            Using your real name, on both of this blog, can kill your blog. How? People will ask “How come you pushes veggie foods then you are selling those meats and pork on the other hand?

            This will ruin your credibility as a blogger.

            Just my own point of view.

  • I believe interacting with previous commentators and subscribing for followup comments via Email is a powerful way to show the existence in the blogging world. Once a person finds you an interesting person, he is sure to pay a visit to your blog and, if your blog is worth, he will love it.

    This way you can create a great community on the net.

    Thanks for the useful tips.

  • I agree with everything Nick.

    Except using my real/full name…I guess it’s just because I want my blog to be known (branding wise) more than who is behind it. I don’t claim to be the only pinaybackpacker. Actually, one of my long term goals is for many Filipinas to become backpackers. I hope that explains why I’ve chosen to use my blog’s name.

    On everything else, I think i’m doing a pretty decent job so far. 😀

    I have only one complaint. My face looks too fat! But that isn’t your fault Nick. Haha!:D

    • ZXT says:

      I agree with you PBP. Sooner or later you’ll get the branding and people will recognize you as PBP. DO you use the name on your social networking sites and emails too?

      • ZXT –> I still strongly disagree. When I see you all use these acronyms, instead of thinking of that as your brand, it makes me feel like I still have no idea who you really are. Usually when I meet someone, the first thing we find out about each other is our names. I feel like I haven’t even met you yet. Not only do I feel that way but so do many others. It may be your way of branding but you are really decreasing how effective you could be.

    • Ron Boracay says:

      This is also one of my point if you will take a look with my comment not so far above.

      Sometimes, using nickname or pseudonym is an advantage.

  • akira07 says:

    Ah i become aware i’m not good commentator :P. My english is not good, i use no gravatar, i’m using not real name, etc…
    But you should understand every blogger have a reason behind it.
    Just example is about english, i can’t use proper english since english is not my mother languange.

    Well, but i will try to be more better.

  • Nick,

    I am sure enjoying your blog. Your post are easy to understand and sure does cause people to comment on them.

    I have been trying to get a friend to use her name instead of her website name so maybe by sending this blog to her will help.

    Now for a question. I have been led to believe that if you comment to each person that comments on your blog that helps your site to move up in Google, is that correct and maybe you can expand on that?

    Thank you for a great blog experience.

    • Sort of… commenting on other sites is a great way to build links to your website which on any blog that uses DoFollow links will improve your standings with Google. Some sites will be a waste and some will help you.

  • Eric says:


    I like addressing the author by name and letting them know I know them personally by this at the least.

    I feel it shows a more personal tone to the comment and makes everything much more at home feeling. All great ideas here.

    Proper English is also good practice and the more you learn how to use it the better you’ll get with it.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: The Most Money You’ll Ever Make With Your Blog =-.

  • Keith Davis says:

    Hi Nicholas
    I do most of the points you’ve made and I get annoyed when people don’t follow the rules and start leaving links in the body of the post.

    Guess not everyone knows the rules but this post sets it out pretty clearly.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Flying in formation =-.

  • Wow! I have to admit that this is the best post on WordPress that I have read! In fact, I notice that I made a mistake on another comment on your blog!

    Now, I don’t subscribe to many blogs, but this post has simply made me your fan! 🙂

  • […] 10 Commenting Rules to Accelerate Your Site by Nicholas Cardot (@nicholas_cardot) […]

  • Hi, Nicholas

    Thanks for the post. Great info and tips. I’ll have to bookmark it.

    I’m a relatively new blogger and a few of these tips are new for me. For example, I didn’t think to check out the commenter’s website before posting their comment. It’s a neat way to reduce spam (in addition, of course, to using plugins). I agree, that it’s better to use your full name instead of a website and to use Gravatar.

    By the way, would you suggest holding each comment for approval before publishing it in a post? And would you suggest using a photograph of yourself or your company logo?


    • To your first question, I would not hold them for approval. I believe that rapidly slows the pace of conversations. Akismet will catch most of the spam so you shouldn’t have to worry too much about that and you can delete anything that slips through.

      To your second question, I’m always in favor of humanizing our online interactions.

  • George says:

    Investing time to develop a good style of commenting can add some uniqueness to the comments. Years of experience in blogging helps to derive a commenting strategy that helps others to recognize you by reading what you comment.

  • […] 10 Commenting Rules to Accelerate Your Site […]

Leave a Reply