A few questions for you today:
Do you ever leave comments on the blogs that you visit? (Show of hands please)
Do you often leave comments on the blogs that you visit? (Again, raise ’em up if this is true)
Do you often leave thoughtful comments on the blogs that you visit? (Still lots of hands up for this one?)
Are there some blogs that you read, that the author has no idea that you’ve ever been for a visit because you’ve never left a comment? (Wait, do I see a few in the back?)
Last one: If you are a blogger…how does receiving comments make you feel? (hypothetical…no hand raising necessary)
Girls, I know I’m probably one of the few “old-fashioneds” under 60 left in this world-and call me what you will, but I still believe in the power, graciousness, and elementary good breeding of a kind, heart-felt thank you.
There are all sorts of occasions where a thank you note is in order – to let your host know that you appreciated the delicious meal she fixed for you, to let your friend know that you appreciated the thoughtful birthday gift, or even just because somebody said something sweet that made your day. Thank them! Who wouldn’t want their life marked by gratitude?
In my mind, a comment is the blogospheric equivalent of a thank you note. It takes just seconds, but it lets the host of a linky party or giveaway know that you appreciate the time, effort, and often money that they put into making such an opportunity available to you. On just an everyday blog post; if what you read inspired you, made you think, encouraged you, taught you something, made you smile, whatever…taking time to thank the one who shared it with you will MAKE THEIR DAY!
I know that I speak for many bloggers, both new and well-seasoned, when I say that hearing back from our readership is a large part of what makes blogging worthwhile! Blogging should be (as most optimistically hope when they start out) a two way street. Bloggers like to talk, engage, and get to know people. That’s what blogging is all about…the community! Now, I know that there are those who simply have a blog to document their life for posterity, and perhaps this isn’t your goal in blogging. But for the rest of us I venture to say, it’s true. I’ve heard even from huge bloggers that they still read and cherish every single comment they receive (even though it’s impossible to respond to them all), and you just never know when a new friendship might sprout up from one simple message!
Much could be written about commenting, and others have said it far better than I ever could. For example: Amanda over at Serenity Now wrote a whole series on commenting…you should check it out!
But for now, I’ll just leave you with a few parting thoughts:
*Do you have word-verification turned on for commenting at your blog? If so, please for-the-love-of-all-that’s-Holy turn it off! Don’t know how? Just ask. – It is the nemesis of all well-intentioned commenters…
*Please, if you do choose to leave comments, don’t leave the same one on every blog you visit. You will be discovered. Tacky.
*Please don’t use commenting as a way of promoting your own blog. For example: “I love your blog. Please come visit my blog now. Become my follower. Join my party. Enter my contest. Here is my address.”
*Lastly: I’ve been known to say that coming to read a blog on a regular basis and not leaving a comment is the equivalent of peeking into someone’s window and then sneaking away, instead of coming to the front door and yelling in a cheerful “hello” so you don’t get labeled a stalker!
Disclaimer: I am not a comment guru, expert, or aficionado. Like everybody else, I have situations when I’m blog reading and can’t leave a comment (like when I’m in bed with my netbook and hubby is trying to sleep…he hates keys tapping). I do, however, try my best to make a conscious effort to say hello to the girls at my regular visiting spots at least once a week, and I just want to encourage the rest of the world to do the same! Let’s spread a little comment love around, shall we?
EDIT: We had a great comment/question today from Stacey (see first comment) who asked about how to best respond to comments. My advice is to e-mail a response! Set your comment preferences to “send comments to your inbox”, and then if the commenter has an e-mail address linked to their account (please link an address to your accounts ladies – ask me how if you don’t know!) then all you have to do is click “reply” and your reply will be sure to get to them. If you’re sneaky like me, I make you enter your e-mail to leave a comment so I can respond (heh, heh) 😉 Infinitely better than leaving an unrelated or personal message on their latest post, and speaking for myself, I have never once gone back to a blog to check if the author has responded to my comments in her comments (I barely have time to read posts in the first place my reading list is so long!)
Another comment was about SPAM and word verification. Two things to say: 1. Read THIS article by Amanda and 2. Blogger has recently implemented better automatic spam filters and WP has plugins you can install. You can also take word verification off and alternately moderate comments. As Amanda says in her article, I have TONS of times written a very long, thought-out comment, and clicked submit – the screen refreshes, so I think it’s gone through, and just as I’m clicking over to the next blog, I see the word verification flash for a split second, and my comment is GONE (because I had clicked away thinking it posted). Super Bummer. But I don’t have the time or heart to go back and write it again – so there goes another comment lost to WV.