Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
April 4, 200910:45 PM

Six Ways To Leave A Better Comment

In this past week, there were multiple people from very different parts of the Marketing and business world that asked about Blogging, its relevancy and how to really dig deeper into these conversations.

Without question, the whole "is Blogging dead?" conversation is taking another turn. More and more people are turning to the online channels for text-based content, and they're wanting to know two things: One, who can they trust in terms of valuable and real content? And, two, if they're feeling the desire, how does one add comments without looking stupid, like a jerk or like they don't know what they're doing?

Here are six ways to leave a better comment: 

  1. Read the full post. It's easy to skim the content, jump to a conclusion and lash out with the keyboard. I'm consistently shocked when I read the comments on some of the more heavily trafficked Blogs, and see how many of the people who are commenting think they are being contrarian when - in reality - all they're really demonstrating is that they did not take the time to really digest what the Blogger was saying.
  2. Read all of the comments. This is really difficult when someone has a popular Blog. It's not uncommon to see some Blog posts generate 50-100 comments. If you really want to leave a better comment, you have to know and understand how all of the content (the original post and the comments) flow and form.
  3. Add a new perspective. This is the usual showstopper for most. I often hear feedback from people who say they read the Blog and follow the comments, but feel like they have nothing more to add. More often than not, I bet those people are just being too hard on themselves. Here's a trick: take some quick notes as you read a post and the subsequent comments. Odds are, by the time you're finished, you'll have a couple of interesting things to add - a whole new perspective.
  4. Continue the thought. Sometimes it's not about a new perspective, sometimes the original post was just a quick thought that deserves some kind of follow-up and continuation. Some of the best comments on Blog postings start with, "to continue on this thought..."
  5. Do not linkbait. The temptation to leave a comment like, "great Blog post, I completely agree!" with a link to your space might be high, but resist. Yes, Google might find it and give you some link love, and a Blogger loves to know that someone is reading and agrees, but if the comment looks more like a way to generate links to your own space, then all is lost. Instead, follow the steps above, add value and people will click to find out who you are because you're interesting. And, those clicks will be much more valuable... and real.
  6. Come back and see if there was any follow-up on your thoughts. Just because you left a great comment does not mean that your job is done. If you really left a great comment, that should generate some kind of addition comments from others as well. Make sure to come back, respond and take ownership of your thoughts. There's nothing more frustrating than reading a great thread of comments and seeing it die because those who took part, and turned it from a monologue into a dialogue, never took the additional time to come back and keep it going.

Did I miss anything? What do you think people can do to leave better comments?

By Mitch Joel


Comments Comments Feed
  • Posted by Daegan Smith
    Mitch Joel

    Simply blog often and think of it as a conversation. Consistency is HUGE when effectively attempting to forge a trust and dialogue on a topic or with a group of people.

    Reply
  • Posted by Ari Herzog
    Mitch Joel

    If you enjoy reading content and take the effort to tweet a link about it, you're doing the blogger (and other readers) a disservice by not adding a 1- or 2-liner comment.

    Like this.

    Reply
  • Posted by Adam Singer
    Mitch Joel

    I see no problems with linking in a comment if my thought continues the conversation. In fact, I own several blogs and love when people drop *relevant* links. You're right, if the link isn't contextual no value - but don't count out linking entirely if it makes sense.

    Reply
  • Posted by Jim Crocker
    Mitch Joel

    Mitch, I agree with your suggestions. However, after a few months of Twitter I'm discovering how impatient my reading has become. A full post? And all the comments? With notes? How many characters is that?! My suggestion is for the blogger. Keep it short. Or clearly separate the key ideas visibly (colour, #). Like you do. Then there's a chance that comments will be targeted even if there's no chance of the post being fully read.

    Reply
  • Posted by Sea
    Mitch Joel

    thanks for the useful advice.

    if i may add a way

    always comment to the content and not personally to the poster.

    Reply
  • Mitch Joel

    oh if people would actually read the full post....

    Reply
  • Mitch Joel

    It takes a lot of work to engage in a meaningful way, but this is key if you want to generate a real following. As the blogger, I think it is especially important to read all the comments and comment back when possible—of course, following all the rules you have articulated. Great post!

    Reply
  • Posted by Janet
    Mitch Joel

    Blog owners can help a lot by making it possible to subscribe to the comments. I'm much more likely to return to continue a conversation when I receive notification in my email of all subsequent comments.

    Reply
  • Posted by Darby Sieben
    Mitch Joel

    To add a little different spin, I think that large brands and corporations should consider your 6 steps above as positioning to their social brand strategy. Much is said through bloggers about major brands, and these brands can a) learn lots in terms of what its customers are saying about them and b) engage in the social conversation through comments to discuss perceptions. Sometimes by simply listening to what people are saying about you and then engaging them in conversation, can differentiate your positioning in the market.

    Reply
  • Mitch Joel

    To #2 about reading through all the comments...I would like to add that keeping comments to a few lines or a single paragraph increases the odds that they will get read.

    As I read through comments, I tend to skip those that are extremely long and can't be succinct and to the point.

    Reply
  • Posted by Stuart Foster
    Mitch Joel

    The Follow-up comment is a sign of a truly great individual commenter. Love it when folks come back and put forward their best effort to continue the conversation. Jason Falls is probably the best at this that I have seen at this. I wish I could make a more concerted effort to do this on a more regular basis...going to try harder now.

    Reply
  • Posted by yates
    Mitch Joel

    Good post

    Reply
  • Posted by Connie Crosby
    Mitch Joel

    Fantastic list, Mitch, and I agree with all of your points. I also think of a comment a bit like a "tip" to the blogger--if I appreciated the post, leaving a note saying so is a great way to show appreciation, even if I don't have anything earth-shattering to add to the conversation.

    #5 in your list--about not linkbaiting--is my favourite. If someone leaves a generic "nice blog post" comment with a link on my blog, I assume it is spam and remove it.

    So, when I leave a note of appreciation, I do try to say something specific about what I liked.

    Cheers,
    Connie

    Reply
  • Posted by Steve Howard
    Mitch Joel

    "Come back and follow up"

    Great advice, but it makes sense for the blog to make this easy. Many - but not all - blogs make it possible to be emailed if follow-up posts are made when you post a comment. Although that can have down sides too if you make lots of comment (as I often do), with a barrage of follow-up notices.

    I'm also on the side of "but time is not on my side" - Twitter brings so MUCH great material to my attention. I'm a constant reader and probably read/browse a couple of hundred or more web sites daily.

    Should I spend more time on individual posts? Sure, but there is so much out there, I feel I get better value for my time if I take a "general browsing" approach, rather than an "in depth reading" .

    Do I miss out on detail and understanding? Probably, on an individual post level, but I think I win overall by reading more posts rather than fewer but in more depth.

    Do I follow up on comments I make? Yes. Often. Sometimes I will even keep a few specific blog posts open in my browser for days (I like Firefox for optionally saving open tabs).

    Reply
  • Posted by Minter Dial
    Mitch Joel

    Sometimes there are blogs talking about blogging and now comments talking about commenting.

    Agree with Ari in most cases... and definitely agree with you Janet & Steve re the follow service. Louise, I think that pithiness is worth its weight in virtual gold. The other fact is that comments are not blessed with editing enhancements. Other than paragraphs and good syntax, a comment can be awfully dry and cumbersome to read if it is a long one.

    I look to real world examples for some guidance. Thoughts that come to mind: too many people at a dinner table speaking at the same time, not listening to one another.... Too much noise turns me off. Same at a work meeting, especially when everyone believes that just the act of speaking up (getting noticed) is needed. We need to encourage participation, but often times, we drown out the good stuff.

    In the "real" world, if someone seldom speaks, but always has nuggets of gold, one knows to listen. What I would like to see is a way to rate comments for example... a universal comment rating tagger deli.tag.ios?

    BTW Mitch, don't believe we, as commenters have a particularly easy task with this platform... it's rather a small square...?

    Reply
  • Posted by Joy-Mari Cloete
    Mitch Joel

    Number 7: Ask a question. It shows that you've read the post, thought about it, and now you want to test your own understanding.

    Jim, the length of a post depends on what the blogger has to say; some ideas need more writing than others.

    Reply
  • Posted by Wendy Van Parys
    Mitch Joel

    Comment length - I wonder if anyone has researched optimum comment length. A couple of succinct paragraphs seems most likely to get digested.

    Short comments are often too trite, say something like "Great post..." If it's too long, the reader is more likely to read the opening and skim or skip the rest.

    @wvpmc

    Reply
  • Posted by Matt Moore
    Mitch Joel

    IF you are blogger, is your comment one that you would value if the roles were reversed?

    Is it a genuine conversation or just spamversation*?

    Joy-Marie - Deffo like the questions point.

    *"Hey Motch, gr8 blog post! Check out my viagra-enhanced rolexes here"

    Reply
  • Posted by Mike Gero
    Mitch Joel

    Mitch:

    One additional thought I have - don't be afraid to disagree - be it with the original post or with the comments themselves. While there are cases where I see this happen, sometimes quite animated (especially with controversial topics), many times the majority of comments are in agreement. This leaves me to wonder - how many people disagree, and even have some good perspective or data on which to base their thoughts, but for not wanting to offend the blogger or the audience, they don't?

    Reply
  • Posted by Robin Browne
    Mitch Joel

    If your comment is based on someone else's idea (which is cool) include links to those people.

    Reply
  • Posted by Jack Zufelt
    Mitch Joel

    Great tips. I think I'm most guilty of not checking back for follow up comments.

    Reply
  • Posted by Sharon Wilson
    Mitch Joel

    I agree with Ari's comment. The infamous two word comment is one of my pet peeves. If you enjoyed a post enough to comment on it you can write more than "great post."

    Reply
  • Posted by Joy-Mari Cloete
    Mitch Joel

    Thanks, Matte. ;)

    And Mike, I wish more people could learn to disagree respectfully. It would make for more interesting discussions. I read many blogs where someone offers a different opinion but gets flamed because of the way in which it was done.

    Reply
  • Posted by Steve Howard
    Mitch Joel

    @Joy-Marie - the trouble is that somehow people forget their manners when they are online. Saying things that would be deemed outlandishly rude in public is seemingly perfectly OK for some when they are posting from the anonymity of the Internet.

    Shame.

    Steve

    Reply
  • Posted by Scott
    Mitch Joel

    I agree that people sometimes forget their manners online because of the anonymity but it also depends on the content on the reading or blog, there are limits when there is serious or formal information, and it depends also on the owner that is the moderator.

    Reply
  • Posted by clubrococo.com
    Mitch Joel

    Clubrococo.com offer complete range of leather jackets, leather lingerie, leather bags leather garments both for men and women. Our women leather jacket, leather lingerie, leather bags & clothing has wide range of variety including casual and classic leather apparel, leather lingerie, leather bags and leather jackets. We also have complete range of men’s casual and classic leather jackets, leather lingerie, leather bags and leather garments.

    Reply
  • Mitch Joel

    Leatherjackets99.com has very stylish leather jackets and garments in pure leather.

    Reply
  • Posted by Chris Louboutin
    Mitch Joel

    agree with Ari's comment. The infamous two word comment is one of my pet peeves. If you enjoyed a post enough to comment on it you can write more than "great post."

    Reply
  • Posted by Graham G
    Mitch Joel

    I very much agree with what you saying your list could also be a good for moderating the comment you allow on to you blog i would think

    Reply
  • Posted by artwaerwe
    Mitch Joel

    What I appreciate most about the collection--which ranges from a " Louis vuitton handbag “evening bag with long jewel strap to the "Alba" top handle made of seamless horsehair, "Allegra" hobo, "Amata" clutches and "Ai" carryalls--is their lush, unadorned sentiments. I particularly like the "Amata" bag because of its sheer practicality: not only is the clutch frame detachable for convenient cleaning, but the larger version features a convertible version that snaps on just like that! Frumpy Swiss Misses stay away; with nary a logo in sight save for the subliminal "A-shaped" hardware or the quilted trapezoidal pattern available on select models, they're a must-have for the ladies who love Jil Sander, Balenciaga and Yohji Yamamoto. What's more, for pre-fall, Akris is experimenting with new fabrics like Dalmatian and cashmere. Simply put: these bag are something to yodel about.

    Reply
  • Posted by rytreyy
    Mitch Joel

    What I appreciate most about the collection--which ranges from a [url http://www.prevalentbags.com]Louis vuitton handbag [/url] “evening bag with long jewel strap to the "Alba" top handle made of seamless horsehair, "Allegra" hobo, "Amata" clutches and "Ai" carryalls--is their lush, unadorned sentiments. I particularly like the "Amata" bag because of its sheer practicality: not only is the clutch frame detachable for convenient cleaning, but the larger version features a convertible version that snaps on just like that! Frumpy Swiss Misses stay away; with nary a logo in sight save for the subliminal "A-shaped" hardware or the quilted trapezoidal pattern available on select models, they're a must-have for the ladies who love Jil Sander, Balenciaga and Yohji Yamamoto. What's more, for pre-fall, Akris is experimenting with new fabrics like Dalmatian and cashmere. Simply put: these bag are something to yodel about.

    Reply
  • Posted by dfsgersdf
    Mitch Joel

    What I appreciate most about the collection--which ranges from a " http://www.prevalentbags.com Louis vuitton handbag “evening bag with long jewel strap to the "Alba" top handle made of seamless horsehair, "Allegra" hobo, "Amata" clutches and "Ai" carryalls--is their lush, unadorned sentiments. I particularly like the "Amata" bag because of its sheer practicality: not only is the clutch frame detachable for convenient cleaning, but the larger version features a convertible version that snaps on just like that! Frumpy Swiss Misses stay away; with nary a logo in sight save for the subliminal "A-shaped" hardware or the quilted trapezoidal pattern available on select models, they're a must-have for the ladies who love Jil Sander, Balenciaga and Yohji Yamamoto. What's more, for pre-fall, Akris is experimenting with new fabrics like Dalmatian and cashmere. Simply put: these bag are something to yodel about.

    Reply
  • Posted by freewed
    Mitch Joel

    Mitch, I agree with your suggestions. However, after a few months of Twitter I'm discovering how impatient my reading has become. A full post? And all the comments? With notes? How many characters is that?! My suggestion is for the blogger. Keep it short. Or clearly separate the key ideas visibly (colour, #). Like you do. Then there's a chance that comments will be t health careargeted even if there's no chance of the post being fully read.

    Reply
  • Posted by Ravi
    Mitch Joel

    With more and more random posts on the internet, people are getting lazy and just want to get to the point. I think people should be given the right to leave a comment and or link, only as a reward. Maybe the link gets activated only when the comment or post gets a vote from another reader. That way comments left such as 'I fully Agree' may get negative votes therefore the link is never activated. Your thought please, it is something I might add to my own site.

    Reply
  • Posted by Claus
    Claus

    Ravi, I think your idea about making links active only if visitors find the comment useful or relevant one way or another quite good. Since I've been thinking about engaging actively in my own personal blog, I might actually adapt your ideas in some form. The thing is that more and more people today are demanding an internet with quality stuff rather than nonsense and nonrelevant content and I welcome any efficient idea to achieve this. Perhaps yours might actually work.

    Reply
  • Mitch Joel

    Ravi, I think your idea about making links active only if visitors find the comment useful or relevant one way or another quite good. Since I've been thinking about engaging actively in my own personal blog, I might actually adapt your ideas in some form. The thing is that more and more people today are demanding an internet with quality stuff rather than nonsense and nonrelevant content and I welcome any efficient idea to achieve this. Perhaps yours might actually work.

    Reply
  • Posted by mbt
    Mitch Joel

    I might actually adapt your ideas in some form. The thing is that more and more people today are demanding an internet with quality stuff rather than nonsense and nonrelevant content and I welcome any efficient idea to achieve this.

    Reply
  • Posted by Diggerman
    Mitch Joel

    I am so thrilled about what I've read here that I will begin posting better comments right away.

    Reply
  • Posted by Anika
    Mitch Joel

    I am just going to go to youtube right now! alert(1);

    Reply
  • Posted by buy backlinks
    Mitch Joel

    As a backlink builder i am always looking for better ways to create pertinent comments, useful comments, funny etc. I hate that people who owns blogs etc are so selfish and label everyone "spammers" indifferent of the comment they leave or it's quality. About the #2 advice, it would've been better if you said "read the most popular/best comments"

    Reply
  • Posted by Robert Stewart
    Mitch Joel

    Like you said, read the article. Most of the time if it is a sorry comment they are just looking for the link-back and aren't even worried about relative content so they didn't bother to read the article. Link-backs are great and how we all help each other. But, without integrity, nothing works. I guess if ya don't have a real comment, just leave the site until you do or stay, read and educate yourself. Thanks for posting this blog. It needs to be said.

    Reply
  • Posted by Wendy's Cashmere Sweater
    Mitch Joel

    It is really important to know what they're talking about before you comment on anything. Yes, this is online - but we all have to remember our manners. Great points everyone. I learned a thing. Or two.

    Reply
  • Posted by Omowali Isidore
    Mitch Joel

    You are right. One thing that any blogger hates is when people or even robot leave comments that have nothing to do with the article nor add any value to the conversation.

    Reply
  • Posted by Lenceria Cherry
    Mitch Joel

    this is really something everyone should be doing for the good of blogging :P good post, and i think the most important is the first one, to read the full post.. sometimes people leave comments only based on the title and because of that the comment has no sense..

    Reply
  • Posted by Jason Phimosis
    Mitch Joel

    If you are leaving a comment for the sole purpose of linking then you are not providing value. However, if you leave a comment that has VALUE to the readers or other commenter, then you should be compensated with a link back to your site. Just one man's opinion.

    Reply
  • Mitch Joel

    I agree with most of the guys above.. I activated akismet for comments on my blog.. You won't believe how many of them it catches every single day..!!!

    Reply
  • Posted by Nettikasino
    Mitch Joel

    I agree with Jason's comment. When you contribute value to the article, the link back to your site is kind of the reward. Stupid and nonsense comments just annoy and are useluss for most of the readers, therefore should not be published.

    Reply
  • Posted by Jay
    Mitch Joel

    There a huge temptation to leave a comment like, "great Blog post, I completely agree!" This sort of posting give blog posters a bad name. It really doesn’t take must to read the article formulate an opinion and than express it.

    Reply
  • Posted by lenceria
    Mitch Joel

    If you are leaving a comment for the sole purpose of linking then you are not providing value. However, if you leave a comment that has VALUE to the readers or other commenter, then you should be compensated with a link back to your site. Just one man's opinion.

    Reply
  • Posted by Frank
    Mitch Joel

    Thanks for the tips. A few of them I already knew, a handful were really obvious ones I should be doing, and some I just never thought of using. So thanks for the info! I'm sure it will help my site out.


    Reply
  • Posted by Alex St Clair
    Alex St Clair

    It would be so nice if people really did follow these suggestions, but the reality is that almost all blog comments on most blogs are put there for the sole purpose of creating a link to another website.

    Very few commentors are actually interested in the content of the post they are commenting on. It's just a means to an end for them. They skim the post in the shortest possible time, and hope to make a comment just relevant enough to survive the blog owner's sifting!

    Reply
  • Posted by Brooks Morgan
    Mitch Joel

    Having my own blog. I like to see usable context on my site and not the blog bot signing and posting some kinds words. like great post i look forward to reading more from you. They go right into the spam/trash bin.

    Like the post above me stated most comments are made for the sole purpose of getting a link. How ever if your into a niche like smoking meats then most have an end to the means.
    Thanks for letting me share

    Reply
Add a Comment

Please complete all the fields below, including the spam filter (to prove you're not a robot).

  1. Fill in your email address to have your Gravatar photo included with your comment.
  2. Please type the word pixels here:
TrackBacks

TrackBack URL: http://www.twistimage.com/movabletype/mt-tb.cgi/1105