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21 Brilliant Bloggers Talk About Commenting

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Brilliant Bloggers is a weekly series here at BlogWorld where we look at the best posts from around the web all surrounding a specific topic. Every week, we’ll feature three of the most brilliant bloggers out there, along with a huge link of more resources where you can learn about the topic. You can see more Brilliant Blogger posts or learn how to submit your link for an upcoming edition here.

This Week’s Topic: Commenting

Posts about commenting generally fall into two main categories: 1) how to effectively comment on others’ blogs to build your brand and boost your traffic and 2) how to police the comments on your own blog. Both are topics that you need to consider if you want to be a successful blogger. After all, audience participation through commenting is one of the biggest differences between a blog and a static website. Today’s Brilliant Bloggers discuss this topic from top to bottom, so you don’t want to miss a single post!

(This is serendipitously a really relevant topic for this week, since Facebook just unveiled their new comment box plugin.)

Advice from Brilliant Bloggers:

How to Use Blog Commenting as a Networking Superweapon by Arik Hanson

Dude, if you want a go-to guide for how to effectively comment and turn those comments into something more than just a few clicks worth of traffic, this is a post you need. It’s actually a guest post for Social Media Examiner, so it’s also a good example of how to do guest posting the right way! Arik does an awesome job of guiding you through the ins and outs of finding blogs and leaving comments…and then talks about how to leverage that initial interaction to do some awesome networking. After you read the post, you can find him on Twitter @arikhanson.

Is Commenting on Blogs a Smart Traffic Strategy? by Brian Clark

I love this post because it addresses something that grinds on my last nerve – people who leave senseless comments on popular blogs because they want to be first. In fact, on the biggest blogs out there, that’s what people say: “FIRST!” Ironically enough, often there are 10+ people who all leave “first” as a comment. In any case, rushing a comment to be first not only makes you look like a tool, but it also doesn’t really give you traffic benefits – at least, that’s what Brian argues in this post (and I agree). Check it out and follow him on Twitter @copyblogger.

Creating a Blog Comment Policy that Works by John Saddington

I recommend that everyone has a comment policy posted someone on their blog, especially if you post anything controversial. Debates can turn sour in a hurry, and comment policies can help your readers know where you’ll draw the line. John’s post will help you create a policy if you don’t have one already, and you can also check him out on Twitter @tentblogger. (Also, unrelated, but his blog has the best subscribe button ever.)

Even More Brilliant Advice:

Did I miss your post or a post by someone you know about comments? Unintentional! Help me out by leaving a comment below with the link!

Next Week’s Topic: StumbleUpon

I’d love to include a link to your post next week – and if you head to the Brilliant Blogger Schedule, you can see even more upcoming posts. We all have something to learn from one another, so please don’t be shy! Head to the schedule today to learn how to submit your post so I won’t miss it.

Overheard on #Blogchat: Spamming Yourself (@OneGiantStep)

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Do you participate in #blogchat? Every week, this weekly discussion on Twitter focuses on a specific topic and bloggers everywhere are invited to join in. Because I often have more to say than what will fit in 140 characters, every Sunday night (or Monday morning), I post about some of the most interesting #blogchat tweets. Join the conversation by commenting below.

(Still confused? Read more about #blogchat here.)

This week’s theme: Blog Comments

There’s one issue relating to blog comments that I debate with people more than others – whether or not to answer comments on your own blog. A number of people brought up this topic during #blogchat this week, and this one sums up how I feel about the topic:

OneGiantStep: I worry that if I respond to EVERY comment that I’m just spamming myself

I’m firmly on the side of “not every blog comment needs a response.” Some bloggers disagree with me. A number of the comments that I highly respect respond to every comment and encourage new bloggers to do the same. I don’t, because I think it can get out of hand. Like OneGiantStep noted, it starts to look like spam on your own site.

That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t reply to any comment. I know bloggers who do that as well. Some are just lazy. Others are misguided (in my opinion) and believe that its best to remain silent while they let their community engage with one another. I personally believe that you need to be somewhere in the middle. As a professional blogger, it’s part of your job to respond to your community.

Here’s when I don’t respond to a comment, though:

When I Don’t have Anything to Say

What, you were expecting a long list? :-p

Sometimes, comments fall through the cracks. There are only so many hours in a day, and occasionally I miss comments that require a response. I think we all do. No one is perfect. Even if you have a VA, you’re going to miss some comments.

But just because I haven’t answered a comment doesn’t mean that i missed it. Sometimes, I just have no further comment.

Now, it’s important to not leave questions unanswered. That’s a given. Even if you don’t know the answer, acknowledge the question and try to help the reader. Leaving the question unanswered just looks like you don’t care about your readers. Email the answer? Still, leave a comment. Other commenters don’t know that you emailed the person who asked the question, so to them, it just looks like you snubbed the reader.

But what about other comments? Should you respond? It’s a judgement call. Here’s the rule of thumb I use: If someone adds something to the conversation, I should try to respond with my thoughts. If they don’t really add much, but are instead thanking you or saying what others have said, I don’t always reply. Don’t get me wrong – those comments are important to me too! I just don’t want to respond to “great article” with “thanks.” That means there are two comments now that don’t add anything for future readers.

Here’s an example of my thought process. Let’s say I write a post about my favorite kind of cake. Because I like cake. Reader #1 leaves a comment asking if anyone knows where they can find a gluten-free recipe for that kind of cake. Reader #2 leaves a comment saying that they once ate a version of that cake while on vacation that used chocolate frosting instead of peanut butter frosting and it was also really good. Reader #3 leaves a comment that thanks me for the article because they had been looking for a good cake recipe.

I would 100% reply to Reader #1 with links to some gluten-free resources. I would also reply to Reader #2, thanking them for the suggestion and noting that not only would chocolate frosting be good, but readers should try mixing and matching other recipes as well to find new flavors. I would probably not respond to Reader #3. What do I have to say? Nothing.

Of course, there are a lot of other issues to consider here as well. How do you comment in a way that doesn’t dominate the conversation? Should you respond to troll comments? What about comments left on older posts – should you answer them too or spend your time focused on comments on new posts? Is it ethical to hire someone to answer comments for you, under your name?

But for now, I hope that I’ve simply given you some food for thought about the general concept of replying to every comment. Thanks OneGiantStep and everyone at #blogchat this week for inspiring this conversation!

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