The Finesse of Commenting

Thinking up a great comment is hard work.

Thinking up a great comment is hard work.

If you think of blogging as a conversation with the author over coffee, commenting becomes easier. But what do you say when the conversation is one sided—or the person said something that left you with no way to respond. It happens. This is perhaps the most difficult part of blogging.


  • The post is boring (gasp) or not something you’re interested in
  • It’s too deep, too personal leaving you flummoxed on an appropriate response
  • It’s all over the place and you’re not sure what it’s about

But you still want to comment because they usually have good stuff or you’re reciprocating a visit.

My tips:

  • Read the comments, often this can trigger you’re brain
  • You can thank them for sharing and leave it at that, especially if it’s personal
  • Check out their previous post and comment on that if you haven’t already

Why make the effort?

  • It lets the blogger know you read the post
  • That comment means a lot to the blogger (it can pick them up, when they’re having a sucky day)

As the blogger, you can help

  • Focus your post
  • Ask a leading question, one that prompts an answer
  • Prompt a discussion
  • Ask for input, which is how this post will end

Comments on Comments from The Art of Commenting

If you use Google Analytics, you’ll notice that you receive a lot more reads than comments. I’ve read this is because most readers aren’t bloggers, but commenters are bloggers.

My most read posts are the ones about gemstones and the ones about 1917. Even when I had comments open on all posts, no new comments came in. What can you do when you read an old post? You can comment (if comments are open) or you can share it on social media sites.

⇥Leaving comments open on older posts.

Carol pointed out that she blogs once a month, so she leaves comments open for all posts. How often you blog is a good guide to how many posts to leave open. I leave the last eight posts open. I’ve found most people who leave comments only go back three to four posts. I doubled that number for the outliers.

⇥Why I turned off HTML in comments and commenting on older posts.

SPAM shut down my site (this was about a year ago). Yes, some ne’er-do-well left a comment with over a hundred active links. Even though it went into the SPAM folder, I was shut down. Blogs are set up to read everything when they are visited. Those links hogged too many resources. While I was getting things back up and running, I had a nice chat with my site host who tuned me in to a lot nuances of the commenting system. 😉


What are your tips for commenting on difficult posts? Do you just skip ’em or struggle to come up with a comment?

PSST: Test your commenting skills on a tricky post next week when I post about a new gemstone.
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Updated: April 16, 2017 — 9:16 pm


  1. Hi Holly – I comment on bloggers posts – but leave the professional ones alone: yet I enjoy what I read, and what they share.

    Sometimes I'm totally befuddled … so that post probably won't get a comment … but regular readers and bloggers I try and make the effort – and engage with the post. I don't like 'thanks for sharing' seems a waste of a comment, even if it tells they've visited … if you've read the post – there must be something relevant you can add.

    Alex's comment set good examples of succinctness, yet of relevance.

    Cheers and thanks for this helpful post … Hilary

    1. I used to follow a few hundred blogs–read and comment on them. Not only was the way too much, but I ran across a lot of blogs that had posts that struggled with content. Once I trimmed that down, it helped.

  2. Hilary, thanks! Wow. And my comments are so short.
    Crappy thing to do with leaving a comment with all those links.
    There is usually something to comment on in a post. That's why I offer a variety of topics in mine – hopefully there is something for everyone.

    1. Giving people a choice of things to talk on is helpful.

  3. Interesting and sensible theories on why people do or do not comment. We all love comments though, don't we? Especially if we are bloggers ourselves.

    1. I don't if they can back that up with facts, but once I read it, it really made sense.

  4. I've hit a few posts that were either boring or all over the map and I just didn't know what to say.

    Blogging is a social networking and visiting and commenting is part of that.

  5. I've traveled far and wide reading and commenting, I enjoy making discoveries and sharing them.

  6. Excellent advice. Those occasional "tricky" posts can be a problem. Sometimes I'm so at a loss of what to say, I'll simply tell them to have a great week or something generic like that. Great post! 🙂

    1. Yeah, sometimes that's all we can do.

  7. As a rule, I don't like to leave a general comment saying: thanks for posting/sharing this information. But there are times when I have to because the content is something I'm not too clued up about.
    I hope I'm a "constructive" commenter…well, you'll have to let me know after I leave a comment on your tricky post next week. And I know next-to-nothing about gemstones so it will be a good test.

    1. Being clued in! That's a perfect way to put it. When you're not, it's hard.

  8. Once I'm a regular follower, I get to know the person well enough that even their "off-day" blogs are easy to respond to. Where I have trouble is getting started with a new blogger. There are some exceptions. There are some people who just jump off the page and into my head or my heart. Love it when that happens.

    1. Same here! Those discoveries are wonderful.

  9. Not always, but sometimes I end a post with a question for just this reason. Most bloggers who comment visit 20+ blogs a day and it can get tiring so I try to assist. 🙂

    1. Another good point. People who comment, comment on several blogs a day, so helping them out helps!

  10. I've found that looking at other commenters helps me when I'm not entirely sure what to say but want to leave a comment. It definitely gets the gears in my head turning.

  11. Interesting as always, Holly. I just had the experience this morning of reading a post which actually had very little there, so I tweeted it as it was a close blogger friend.
    I read ages ago that the posts with questions at the end get the most comments. Also, I explored the idea of turning off comments but couldn't find a way to turn them off except post by post and that's out of the question when you've been blogging for so long.
    But people come by for years. My most read post had about 30 comments but absolutely thousands of views over the years. Interesting.

    Denise 🙂

    1. In Blogger, I don’t think you can turn just some of the comments off, but you can moderate them for older posts. Go to Settings > Post, comments and sharing then click on Comment Moderation Sometimes. There you can add moderation for older posts.

  12. This is an outstanding post. You give some excellent advice. As far as my old posts I leave them open for comments but have moderation on so I can screen out any spam of which I get very little. Some of my most interesting comments have come on older posts because it was a result of someone doing a search for something and they're lead to my blog. More than once have I either gotten an old comment from either someone I know or should know or someone interested in the same thing I am. The old comments are pleasant surprises usually.

  13. I definitely think inviting a discussion is the way to go. Even there though it can be tricky because I still want to engage with what the blogger said rather than weighing in with all my own opinion. I occasionally leave a "thanks for sharing" post if there's really nothing I can add – don't particularly like it though!

    1. Yes, I don't like to weigh in unless the blogger had asked for my opinion and sometimes then it can be tricky too.

  14. Sometimes I find it difficult to comment on a post and I don't comment as much as I should. I like your tips on ways to comment when you're not sure what to say.

  15. And if all else fails, you can just leave them cheese in the comments. 😉

    I've seen way too many posts that even leave me scratching my head how to respond–me who has 9 years of experience doing this. I suppose that's why I threw in the Truth or Lie game, so even people who don't have anything to say can find something to say. =)

  16. This post was boring and way too deep for me and all over the place, so I'm not really sure what to say.

    Oh god, I'm just kidding, I'm just kidding. How about making it awkward like this? Is that an acceptable form of commenting?

    As a talkative idiot, I find that I can talk about almost anything. So… that helps, maybe?

    1. Babbling works just fine. 😆

  17. "I’ve found most people who leave comments only go back three to four posts." –> Hey! This answers the question I had on the previous post!

    These are great tips. I've always been a fan of your posts, so I don't usually have issues figuring out how to comment.

  18. I will be honest, there are times that I read a blog but have nothing further to add, but I did enjoy reading the blog so I will leave a smile face. It is not meant to be rude, but I really had nothing to add.

    Other times, I'll say that I enjoyed the post but don't have more to add to the conversation.

    I had to put moderation on older posts because of spam. I like your idea of not allowing html on there as well.

    As for comments, I enjoy reading them a great deal. But I'm also happy with the folks that read my blog and don't comment. I have a real-like friend that reads them all but we only talk in email about them. She says she's not comfortable commenting.

    Comments are interesting. I know that if someone writes a mega long post, I will often come back to that post later in day so that I can read it better but even then, I might not have anything to add.

    Anyway, thanks. Good subject matter.

    1. I totally get that. If it's a juicy post, I love coming back to read all the comments too!

  19. You're brave writing about blog posts and comments. But you did it in a very non-judgmental way, so maybe that's why you can tackle a topic I never would. The only thing I disagree with is the "Thanks for sharing" comment. Those are a pet peeve of mine. I have refused to return comment, and in one case, every time the blogger wrote that to me, I copied and pasted it as my comment on his blog. Let him see how it feels to know the person didn't even bother to read the post. If you aren't going to read, why comment? Are you getting paid for the number of comments you make per week? Expect that commenting on 500 blogs will sell books? It's a big waste of time and energy, believe me. I only visit people I truly want to and my comments reflect that 'cause they're really long! Like this one! LOL

    My posts go to moderation after 2 weeks. I get a ton of SPAM with links on the older posts. I've been lucky not to crash my site.

  20. Re: If you aren't going to read, why comment?

    I find this interesting. If someone is taking the time to leave a comment, however brief, I think it helps with discoverability/SEO. Maybe they aren't generating conversation, but they are helping in a small way. Or maybe they don't care for the content, but felt compelled to write something as a fellow blogger.

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