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Five Comments No Serious Blogger Should Ever Post

By Tiffany Monhollon

Most people’s journey into the blogosphere goes something like: lurker to commenter to blogger. In fact, there’s a concept called participation inequality that says that about 90% of people online fall into the first group, and about 0.1% of people into the last. But those who evolve through these phases know it is a positive, natural process that helps us learn the norms and customs of interacting within the communities we engage with.

When you get to the blogging stage of this process though, it’s important for your all your online communications habits to evolve with you, because your goals and tactics change when you move from a commenter to a blogger. To develop an effective commenting a strategy that can work for you, your network, your ideas, your blog, it’s best to start by understanding what doesn’t work. So in that spirit, here are the top five comments no serious blogger should ever leave.

1. “Great post.” Bloggers love affirmation, and there’s nothing wrong with these words in and of themselves. But there’s nothing really right with them in isolation. And you’re a blogger now, so when you’re leaving a comment, realize that your comments will be seen as an extension of your blog and your brand. And you want to be seen as someone with important things to say. So go ahead and tell the author it’s a great post, but don’t leave it at that. Ask a question, add some insight based on your area of observation or expertise, or add to the conversation in some way. Take the extra minute to come up with an engaging comment that will get the blogger’s community and the blogger involved with you on their blog, and you’ll start building relationships and enhancing your network, along with your presence online.

2. “You suck.” Popular bloggers have to deal with the reality that they may get personally attacked online. It’s not okay, but it happens. Personal attacks have gone too far, resulting in the end of some of the most popular blogs on the internet. So most bloggers (and loyal readers) don’t have any patience when they see people personally attacking other bloggers. So it’s a waste of your time, plus a pretty immature move, to put time into personal attack comments. Some bloggers will tell you that that stirring up controversy online is a great way to generate traffic, but don’t confuse controversy with slander, libel or malice. Telling people they suck isn’t exactly a great Personal PR move, especially as the web continues to evolve and regulate itself, so avoid this tactless, pointless type of comment, for the sake of your blog, your online identity, and the whole of online communication.

3. “You’re awesome.”
These two words are nice, sure, but you really need to say more than this for a comment to work in your favor. That said, a lot of people rely on outright flattery as their sole commenting strategy. Mostly because it’s easy and safe. The reasons it doesn’t work are broad, but it boils down to that these comments don’t drive traffic to your blog, don’t help you build relationships with the blogger - who will most likely appreciate the thought but leave it at that - and won’t engage the blog’s readers either – they’ll just label you a suck up. Plus, there are more effective ways of demonstrating to bloggers that you think they are awesome – like, engaging with their ideas, expanding on their thoughts, or promoting their content to your network. If you’re going to compliment a blogger in a comment, make sure it’s wrapped inside an intelligent comment and not just a short, two-word high five. It’s worth your time to make your comments meaningful and thought-provoking while keeping them affirmative and encouraging.

4. “This sucks.”
Sometimes, you run across whatseems to be the most ridiculous, idiotic post ever written. The blogger’s base is way off, and you’re agitated to the point of posting a long, lambasting tirade. Especially if they’ve involved you in some way, say, by linking to a post you wrote or bashing you, your company or your ideas. Now in this instance, a lot of bloggers will tell you to let it all hang out. But there are some very high profile cases in which this has happened, and it’s turned a blogger’s community against a commenter. If it’s that important and you want to risk it, that’s up to you, but I’m telling you, it’s a really bad Personal PR move. There are better ways to effectively handle ideas you disagree with online. Unless you want to be the Alec Baldwin of your blogging community, avoid a posting out of outright rage and instead opt for a mature and respectful disagreeing stance. Think about what you would post on your own blog before you leave comments on a post you disagree with, and if you wouldn’t bring it to your community, don’t leave it in someone else’s. Because you usually can’t erase those words once you’ve hit “submit.”

5. “I’m awesome.” This is perhaps the one of my least favorite types of comments. Yes, often worse than even uber-negative comments, because those are more easily dealt with (usually, deleted). I really cringe when I see people leaving comments that add nothing to the conversation and serve only to toot the commenter’s horn, to link to their business or service, or to promote their own projects. People see right through them. Unless that’s the specific request of the blogger in the post you’re commenting on, avoid this type of comment. Shameless promotion that doesn’t add to the conversation doesn’t get you far with most bloggers, or their communities. And it can get you classified as spam. So learn to walk the fine line of self-promotion online by leading with your ideas. If you’ve got something insightful to say, people will follow you to your blog, your product, or wherever you want them to go.

Taking the time and thought to craft a meaningful comment can seem like a lot of work, but it’s worth it because commenting is one of your most powerful tools for blog outreach and for Personal PR. So avoid leaving these five types of comments, and keep in your mind that as a blogger, your comments are an extension of your blog, your brand and your ideas. Treat them as seriously as you do the content on your own blog, and strive to truly add to the conversation wherever you’re writing online.

For more tips like these, subscribe to Personal PR today.

By Tiffany Monhollon | February 13, 2008

Topics: Networking, Personal PR, Strategy |

57 Responses to “Five Comments No Serious Blogger Should Ever Post”

  1. @Stephen | Productivity in Context Says:
    February 13th, 2008 at 7:36 am

    This is a great post, one that everyone see in the T&C of a web-host or blog platform. Thanks!

  2. Sayz Lim Says:
    February 13th, 2008 at 7:53 am

    I’m awesome,

    lol… just kidding, but you do have a great post, I like it a lot and let me realize what must be done and what must not… have you written anything about on how to improve the relationship between blogger and the reader?

    I haven’t found any yet… keep moving Tifanny

  3. Jason Says:
    February 13th, 2008 at 8:34 am

    Great post! You’re awesome! I’m awesome!

    Kidding…=)

    Seriously, I just followed a link from Copyblogger to discover your blog. Seems like there are a lot of great tips on here. This is a good one. Looking forward to checking out a couple more posts that caught my eye.

    All the best,

    Jason

  4. Tiffany Monhollon Says:
    February 13th, 2008 at 9:53 am

    I didn’t think about what an interseting conversation a post on what not to say in comments would produce! :) This should be fun!

    @ Stephen - You’re right - it’s important to keep these types of guidelines in mind more than just on blogs.

    @ Sayz Lim - I’ve written around the topic of improvnig the relationship between the blogger and the reader, but stay tuned, because something specific is in the works regarding this very topic, so you won’t want to miss that.

    @ Jason - Thanks for letting me know how you found the blog. It’s always nice to know where the engaged readers link from. Hope you enjoy the rest of the posts.

  5. Katherine Says:
    February 13th, 2008 at 10:41 pm

    Found this post through twitter (user doshdosh posted it). As someone who has been blogging for a while, I’ve had my share of inadequate comments. I try to comment only when I can say something meaningful. This post serves as a nice reminder of the etiquette.

  6. rjleaman Says:
    February 13th, 2008 at 10:56 pm

    Absolutely. But sometimes I really wish there was some socially acceptable way of leaving a comment that’s the equivalent of heartfelt applause - yet won’t be read as self-serving flattery. Some posts say it all, and say it so well, that I feel that I have nothing truly useful to add - but would still like to acknowledge a post that’s particularly well done.

  7. Barry Welford Says:
    February 13th, 2008 at 11:20 pm

    If you can’t find anything to say, then don’t say it. Your best way of showing appreciation is to Digg, Sphinn, StumbleUpon or otherwise publicize a post you really like.

  8. Chris Estes Says:
    February 13th, 2008 at 11:34 pm

    My personal favorite is comment link dropping. I love it when people drop irrelevant links into comments.

    Ramkarthik posted a series on blog commenting at blogging tune. I posted a follow up on my site but the best post I have found are over at
    http://www.bloggingtune.com/tag/blog-commenting/

  9. robdogg Says:
    February 14th, 2008 at 12:23 am

    Wow… great post, you suck for comming up with this list but i guess that is your you’re awesome. This sucks i didn’t make this list, but i’m awesome in my own little ways =)

  10. rjleaman Says:
    February 14th, 2008 at 12:46 am

    @Barry, yes, I see your point - and of course, one does the digging and sphinning too - but how is one to know whether any given blogger might be one of those who do welcome a verbal acknowledgement, as long as it’s something more than a two-word spam splat? I’m just saying, it seems that “Add to the conversation in some way” can be a bit of a moving target!

  11. Tiffany Monhollon Says:
    February 14th, 2008 at 2:32 am

    @ Katherine - I think we’ve all posted comments like that. It’s a learning process, for sure! Glad you enjoyed the post.

    @ rjleaman - I think you did a good job navigating the issue you bring up in your comments posted here! But you do have a great point. It is a fine line to walk, because encouragement is greatly appreciated from a blogger’s perspective. But, from a commenter’s perspective, especially if you never give more than a verbal high-five, it’s not going to help you a whole lot. If you’re commenting to bring traffic to your blog, people are more likely to click on a comment that’s interesting or good. If you’re commenting to build a relationship with a blogger, you’re one of many, so to effectively stand out, you have to have something of quality to say.

    The good news is, there are creative ways to add - if not to the conversation, then value to the blogger - when you comment, in ways that will help them. Like, for instance, mentioning that you enjoy the post and how you found it sometimes works. As I mentioned before, it’s always great for bloggers to be able to know where engaged traffic is coming from, i.e., the 9% of people do comment are highly valued, and bloggers want to know how these valuable readers find their content. So that’s one idea. Another is to tell the blogger how you will use their ideas - like, I’m forwarding this to my boss or friends. Or ask the blogger a question related to the post, and they may comment or e-mail you a response. If you want to tell a serious blogger they did a good job, link to their post (since this post is geared towards bloggers, that’s where that advice is coming from). Or as Barry mentioned, tag or recommend it.

    I agree that sometimes, you just want to tell a blogger they did a great job, and there’s nothing bad about that, but the point is, going beyond is a much more effective strategy, especially if you blog.

    @ Barry - Great ideas. I don’t think there’s anything particularly wrong about letting a blogger know you like their ideas, but doing more is going to help you more. It’s as simple as that.

    @ Robdog - I’m glad to see I made an impact! :)

  12. Kosta Kontos Says:
    February 14th, 2008 at 3:18 am

    This post got me thinking about the value-add a good comment brings to a blog;

    There are times when I read articles that impress me. I’m usually enticed to add my 2 cents. More often than not I have something unique to add. But every now and then I find myself in the situation where the author has covered all of her angles; ie: I couldn’t have said it better myself.

    In such scenarios I quite badly want to acknowledge a well written post, but as you’ve already pointed out, a mere verbal high-five doesn’t attract much attention to my commentary skills (nor does it bring traffic to my blog).

    Thus I’ll build on what Barry has already shared: if you have nothing good to say, then don’t say anything.

    It’s perfectly ok for me skip out on commenting every now and then, forgoing the opportunity to drive traffic to my blog. “Quality is better than quantity” is cliche for a reason.

    Keep it up Tiffany. I enjoy your practical tips.

  13. Time Leadership for Bloggers - a case study | How to be an Original Says:
    February 14th, 2008 at 4:40 am

    [...] “great article, very inspirational” simply don’t really add to a discussion, and should be used in moderation. They most certainly won’t make people visit your blog for your insightful [...]

  14. Tiffany Monhollon Says:
    February 14th, 2008 at 4:41 am

    @ Kosta - Reading this honest, heartfelt post
    from Penelope Trunk today and the comments that followed illustrates perfectly how you can tell a blogger “great post” without leaving it to just those words. You can (and should) leave supportive, encouraging comments, especially when bloggers write from the deep, on personal topics.

    The point is, to think of comments as becoming a part of the conversation. Conversation isn’t always filled with challenging questions or theory or insights. Sometimes it’s filled with empathy or admiration or whatever. And that’s ok. Good, even. Great. It’s simply that it tells the writer why it’s a great post - like that it moved your or inspired action or caused you to think about something in a new or different way.

  15. Sonia Simone Says:
    February 15th, 2008 at 10:42 am

    Another one I’m not crazy about is some version of “this other guy sucks.” Uh, don’t come to my blog to bash other bloggers, thank you!

    Blog comments are just like small talk at a party. You try to interject interesting stuff, but you also make it a conversation and not a monologue. I’m actually no good at party talk, but I’m ok at comments. :)

  16. Tiffany Monhollon Says:
    February 16th, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    @ Sonia - I totally agree - that’s another bad one! I like the analogy of blog comments being like party talk. Because sometimes we go to parties full of people we don’t know, so we have to work our way into conversations. But sometimes we go to parties with just those nearest and dearest to us. And it’s easier to just jump into a conversation. Because we know that community.

    Comments are the same way. The more you read a site, engage in the community, and comment, the easier it gets!

    Thanks for sharing that idea!

  17. The Details Are In For the Magazine Headline Remix | Copyblogger Says:
    February 19th, 2008 at 1:18 am

    [...] Five Comments No Serious Blogger Should Ever Post [...]

  18. Tom Beaton Says:
    February 19th, 2008 at 3:39 am

    I think the key is really to actually say something as opposed to just commenting for the sake of it.

  19. Ash Says:
    February 19th, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    Great post.
    ;)

  20. When It's Time to Stop Commenting and the Worst Type of Comments - Blog Tipz Says:
    February 19th, 2008 at 9:25 pm

    [...] Tiffany Monhollon from Personal PR and Lorelle VanFossen of Lorelle on WordPress expressed their views on this issue titled "How Not to Comment on Comments" and the "Five Comments No Serious Blogger Should Ever Post". [...]

  21. Anita Bruzzese Says:
    February 20th, 2008 at 2:37 am

    I think these are all great suggestions, and I would like to add a couple of things: Please make sure your facts are correct when you post a comment. I don’t want inaccurate stuff posted in comments when I’ve gone to the trouble of doing my research for the post. And, just as a minor pet peeve: Please learn to use all the computer keys. The capital letters need some use, as wellasthespacekey. Sometimes comments are like trying to decipher hieroglyphics. I want to make sure I understand what you’re saying so that I can respond in a useful way.
    Anita Bruzzese

  22. Shawn Says:
    February 20th, 2008 at 4:00 am

    I’ll admit I’m still a newbie when it comes to blogging so I find your tips very helpful. Like, for example, I wish I would have know that I shouldn’t say “Great post” when I was commenting yesterday. But now I know :-)

  23. Tiffany Monhollon Says:
    February 20th, 2008 at 5:01 am

    @ Anita - Great ideas. Sometimes it’s difficult to spend the time editing our comments like we would a blog post, but it’s important to make sure we’re putting the effort and attention to detail out there.

    @ Shawn - It’s really going to benefit you more to put some thought into comments you post. If you’re going to take the time to do it, do the best you can!

  24. But Wait, Isn’t Commenting Inseparable From Blogs? « Bloggingnormsandethics’s Weblog Says:
    February 20th, 2008 at 9:00 am

    [...] Five Comments Not To Post [...]

  25. Copywriting 911 Says:
    February 20th, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    Good post, Tiffany.

    Really: I think such an approach to blogging is

    Effective and quite

    Awesome.

    Thumbs-up at StumbleUpon!

    People who commented here were very helpful too.

    Ok, now I’m going to send the link to my friend;

    So, the only thing I’d like to add:

    Thanks :)

  26. Bronson Says:
    February 21st, 2008 at 2:58 am

    Great post, that’s awesome !! … just had to take a digg.

    I often think that folks working in competitive industries use commenting as a substitute for backlinks; problem is that if your comments suck, your product probably does too.

  27. Tiffany Monhollon Says:
    February 21st, 2008 at 4:28 am

    @ Bronson - I agree - and comments are a good way to generate links, but you’re right on the mark that people will percieve the pruduct, site, brand or individual based on the quality of content. It’s a better investment of your time to put quality comments out there to generate interest - both from bloggers and readers of their blogs.

    Thanks for chiming in!

  28. Irena Says:
    February 23rd, 2008 at 3:58 pm

    Well, in my own opinion there are so many sites with no useful info at all and these uncountable copy-paste articles, so you cannot help leaving amessage such as … eh…No.5 from the given above.

  29. Make Time to Make Connections : Brazen Careerist Says:
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  30. Mark Dykeman Says:
    March 18th, 2008 at 11:29 pm

    I remember stumbling upon this article a few weeks ago and liking it.

    While 1 and 3 have some temporary egostroking value, they really don’t have a long term impact unless you can develop a mutually beneficial relationship with the blogger in question. Having said that, they could be a springboard if genuine.

  31. Tiffany Monhollon Says:
    March 19th, 2008 at 12:24 am

    @ Mark - Thanks! I think you’re right on track - there’s nothing wrong with those types of comments, they just don’t really get you anywhere in isolation. There are times when it’s the best approach, but more often than not, offering just a little bit more will have a lot more traction.

    I see so many people relying on only those types of comments as a strategy to try to promote their own blog - especially since it’s so rampant, it’s just not an effective use of commenting.

  32. The First Step To Starting a Blog: Ask Yourself If You Actually Want One | Twenty Set Says:
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  33. Comments about comments « WOM Class Says:
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    [...] reading: 5 Comments No Serious Blogger Should Ever Post, Tiffany Monhollon; Geek to Live: Lifehacker’s Guide to Weblog Comments, Gina [...]

  34. olivier lalin Says:
    May 4th, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    I have been blogging seriously for a couple of Years now- It has been a time consuming hobby but has helped my sites tremendously. Leaving comments are of course part of getting google to notice your site. Those comment are simply quite useless although quite frequents !

  35. Baby TShirt Says:
    June 19th, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    Excellent words of wisdom. After allowing people to comment on my blogs I often find posts like this. So generic spam ones are really irritating.
    Maybe I should add one or two of these words to my spam BULK moderate comments…

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    I don’t like it when i get spam like this: Go to my blog NOW > http://limboinmetropolis.blogspot.com > Have a nice say!

  37. Kristal Says:
    August 12th, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    Good idea

    Kristal L. Rosebrook

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  39. Melvin Says:
    October 12th, 2008 at 12:12 am

    I’ve learned in the past couple of months that blogging can be extremely time consuming, especially when you get spam post. Your blog is very helpful to me.

  40. Rikky Says:
    October 20th, 2008 at 7:57 am

    Now this some great info!!! Thanks a lot!

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  43. William Mitchell, CPRW Says:
    January 28th, 2009 at 3:23 am

    What I hate worse is the auto-posts that I always seem to get on my blog such as “I don’t understand “BLOG TITLE”, but I enjoyed reading it. I was tempted for a while to remove commenting, that would be biting off my nose to spite my face, now wouldn’t it?

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