Comments on blogs — it seems so simple, but there are many things to consider as both the host and as the commenter. In the blogging world, comments are a big deal. It means someone’s reading our stuff and engaging with it! And how people comment can tell us a lot about how well our post did. It lets us know the types of posts people like too. It keeps pages active, which helps SEO.
So, what’s all the hubbub?
➺As a Host
Should you monitor every comment before it posts? Just the first one?
This is a tough one. I prefer to monitor the first comment by a new visitor, then let the rest go through. I think it’s much more work to have to approve every comment, than delete the odd spam comment that got though the filters.
Should you have captcha?
No. Blogger and WordPress both have great filters, and they are always being updated. Monitor your comments; you should be reading them anyway.
Should you use other commenting systems rather than the one that came with your blog?
No. No, no, no, no. Don’t make hoops for people to jump through. Many of these outside services are invasive, make people sign up for new stuff, or want access to accounts. They won’t do it. I don’t.
Should you reply to comments?
I think it’s a good practice. It reinforces to visitors, both new and old, that you’re engaged and interested in them. This doesn’t mean you have to reply to everyone. Make your replies count.
Should you leave comments turned on for older posts?
For me, I have found older posts just don’t get comments. Perhaps it’s because people think hosts won’t see a comment on an older post or that since it’s older, comments don’t matter. I have my blog close comments on posts older than 60 days. My two big reasons:
- Older posts attract the most spam
- Leaving comments open on all posts, slows loading time (it has to do with page requests, data, and crude)
Should you visit and comment on every visitor’s blogs?
This is a trickier question, and I don’t think there is a flat yes or no here. I do when I can.
➺As a Commenter
Why leave a comment?
It can lead to people commenting on your blog. Not just the host either. When I see a good comment, I visit that person’s blog and often add them to my RSS feeds.
What’s an appropriate comment?
Anything that is not spammy. Now, the better the comment, the more you’ll stand out to the host and other visitors. I mean, we all want them to visit us, follow us, and become our buddies! Secrets to leaving a good comment:
- Read the post
- Try not to just restate what’s been said
- Can’t find something specific to comment on, just let them know you like the post, be sincere
- Don’t go overboard with a dissertation
- Add something: share an example, add insight, add a point, add an amusing observation, or ask a related question (remember to comeback and look for the answer)
Should you have a avatar?
Yes. It adds to you, show’s you off, and helps you stand out. It also makes you more recognizable. If you visit WordPress blogs, get a free gravatar account. All you do is attach an image to an email account. You can add your blog URL too. It take less than two minutes.
- Note: Gravatars can slow page loading, but here I think the trade off is worth it.
Should you add links to your post?
Nope, not unless it’s a reference to your comment. In almost all blogs, your name links to your blog, there’s no need to add it. Adding links often throws comments into directly into the spam folder.
- Note: I don’t allow html in comments. This has cut down on spam and moderation.