The Perfect Blog Comment

The Perfect Blog Comment

Thanks to joining a blogging group and getting involved in various other online communities that encourage sharing posts, I’ve had quite a few comments on my blog recently. More than I’ve had in a fair while, really, and they’re good comments. Compliments that feel genuine. Suggestions I hadn’t thought of. Personal responses that give me a glimpse into the life of the commenter just as I’ve given them a glimpse into my life in the post.

It’s not that I never get comments normally: I have a few committed commenters who pop in now and again and leave meaningful remarks in response to my posts, and I appreciate them aย lot. (Seriously. Shout out to you guys.) But for the most part… the comment section is quiet. Every year it gets quieter.

It’s not just me. All the bloggers I know say that they get fewer comments these days. When I started blogging, we’d have entire conversations in the comment sections of posts — partly, I guess, because I had blogging friends I didn’t talk to on any other platform. Now, I’m lucky to get a couple of comments on a post, even if they get a similar or large number of views.

It seems to be a shift in blogging culture and how people interact with posts. Most people are on mobile at least some of the time, which makes commenting less practical. They’ll reply on social media where a post was shared, or mesage you to mention that what you wrote was helpful to them. And that’s without considering the impact of internet-wide truth: “Never read the comments!” Maybe the toxicity of so many comments sections is why others fall silent, avoiding the space below a post because they don’t want to see what anonymity does to people’s attitudes.

It’s totally understandable, but it’s still sad. I miss the days of blog comments.

Because comments on social media don’t last.

Of course I love it when people respond to my posts on social media, or when they message me about them. But when I stumble on the same post months later, their responses may as well never have existed. If I can find them at all, it’s only throught rawling back through Facebook, and other, more ephemeral forms of social media will have lost them entirely.

It’s so different from those posts from 2011 or 2012, where I can see all the conversations happening right below the post. Discussions with total strangers, sharing ideas and further reading. Other readers could see what had already been said, or how popular a post has been.

Comments on blog posts are both more permanent and more public than a lot of social media. Maybe that’s why people avoid them, but it’s also what makes them great. At times, I’ve learned more from comments than from posts themselves!

Sometimes, though, people’s hesitation to comment is just that they don’t know what to say. They tell me as much: “I read a lot of blogs, but I never know how to comment, especially when it’s someone I don’t know.”

I won’t pretend to be an expert, and I only read a certain type of blog, so these tips won’t be helpful for everyone. But here are a few guidelines, as I understand them, to writing the perfect blog comment — especially when it’s the first one you’ve left on someone’s blog.

How To Write The Perfect Blog Comment

Step 1: Tell them you liked the post.

It’s pretty easy. You can actually stop there, if you’re busy or stuck for ideas. “Loved this!” can brighten a blogger’s day. “Great post, I’d love to hear more about this!” may sound cheesy, but it lets a blogger know that a topic has at least one interested reader.

If you’re worried about seeming clichรฉ or like a spambot, though, try:

Step 2: Tell them WHY you liked the post

“This really resonated with my experience!” “I loved what you said about [X]. That’s a great way of phrasing it.” “I didn’t realise anyone else thought [X].” “I didn’t know about this before, but it’s really interesting.”

Suddenly you seem more authentic and interested, and the blogger gets to see which parts of their posts were effective.

Step 3: Offer your own perspective

This one has to be handled carefully. Don’t jump straight to step three, or you’re making it all about yourself. (And remember, if you don’t have a useful perspective to offer, you can easily stop after step 2!) But maybe offer a contrasting viewpoint. I find this easiest on book reviews: “I totally agree about [X], but I’m surprised you felt [Y], because I liked/disliked that part!” “Have you read [X]? If you liked [y element], it might really appeal.”

It works on other posts too, though, but if someone’s talking about something very personal or emotional, you’ll need to tread a little more carefully. “Sorry to hear about your intense personal tragedy, but mine is so much worse” = no. “Sorry to hear about your intense personal tragedy. When I went through a similar thing, I found that [X] helped, but I don’t know if it will work for you” = better.

(Commenting on posts about serious subject matter is always harder, though, and this advice won’t necessarily transfer over.)

Step 4: Ask a question

If you want to start a conversation, ask a question. Seriously. It works so well. By asking to clarify a point in the post, or asking for more info, you might cause a comment chain and start a conversation (which could become a friendship), or you might give the blogger an idea for another post.

“This advice is so useful! Do you have any posts about [X aspect]?” E.g. my friend Cait wrote a post about bookstagram, and I asked for advice on using Instagram Stories, because they’re fairly new and weren’t included in the post. Or: “I loved this book but the sequel doesn’t come out FOR. EVER. Do you have any recommendations to tide me over?” (Book bloggers love to ramble about books.)

Even simple curiosity about an unusual hobby can start conversations: “What’s the difference between a hop jig and a single jig?”

Don’t expect the blogger to do all the work for you, particularly on sensitive issues (Google exists), but showing that you’re interested is the best way to go deeper.

Step 5 (even more optional than all the others): Share your own post

Read the room on this one. Book reviews, it’s probably fine. After responding to their review, maybe suggest “I reviewed this book too — it’s here if you want to check it out: [link]”, or “Based on your opinions of [X], I think you’d like [Y] (here’s my review: [link])”. And if they’ve asked for linkbacks, that’s also fine, link with impunity. But be a bit careful, and don’t comment in such a way that suggests you’re only doing it to promote your own blog, because that’s not cool.

When in doubt, stick with steps one and two. “Loved this post! I hope you write more about [X], you have a great perspective on it.” And read the room. If you know the blogger personally, all bets are off, the rules are gone, etc etc. If you’re a regular commenter, same deal. But first time comments? Honestly, it’s hard to go wrong with a quick compliment and a few details.

Finally, remember this:

you are not annoying the blogger by commenting on their post.

They want to hear what you think! Unless you’re commenting just to start an argument or make personal remarks, I can almost guarantee they’ll be thrilled that you commented. Even if they don’t reply straight away, that doesn’t mean your perspective isn’t wanted (they’re probably just busy, or their notifications are glitching and they missed your comment).

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go follow my own advice and comment on a few blogs. I’ve been neglecting my various subscriptions recently…

Step 6: Say “I love your blog, so I just donated to your Ko-Fi to help you keep it running! I know these things can get kind of expensive and everyone uses adblockers so there’s no real revenue in ads, but I turned mine off for your site in case it helps.”

Reviews on the book blog this week: Things A Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls, Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake, and Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce.

18 thoughts on “The Perfect Blog Comment

  1. Hey, what a useful post! I really appreciated your list, because step by step guides, especially nuanced ones that show an awareness of the limitations of generalizations, are awesome. Keep up the great work :)

      1. ;) It was deliberate, but also sincere. I really appreciated the reminder that I can do a bit of good, just by letting someone know how they helped me — online or IRL.

        1. I’m really trying to do better about telling people when I appreciate what they do, or even just their existence in general. It’s easy to think, “Ehh, they know I like them,” especially as I come from a family that’s not hugely demonstrative in our emotions. But it always makes ME so happy when someone verbalises that they like my stuff, so I’m trying to pass that on to others too.

          1. Exactly! I’m also trying to be more mindful of how I prefer to receive critique, and treat others in the same way (to the extent that I think they have the same communication preferences). Like, I prefer that someone show me an example of what they want me to do, rather than just tell me, and if they must tell me, I prefer if they can couch the criticism within some genuine praise. So this post was great on multiple levels, cuz you reminded me and showed examples :)

          2. It’s all about communication! For a world that’s so connected, and an internet that’s based around communicating with people, it sure is difficult to know how to do it.

    1. Thanks! I’m glad it was useful to you. It wasn’t solely intended as a trick to bring nervous commenters out of the woodwork, but I’m very happy for that to be a side effect, haha.

  2. YES to so much of it. I love the blogging community we’re a part of because people comment on posts, as I was basically getting 0 comments on my actual blog but now I get to interact with wonderful people regularly. I also love hearing the WHY they love a post particularly since I’m trying to get people to laugh. :) Thank you so much for sharing this.

    1. Yeah, exactly! I need to do better about returning the favour and commenting on other people’s blogs, though. I’m one of those who is always on mobile and I let the impracticality get in my way, but I’m planning to do better and contribute as much as I’m getting. I like being part of a blogging community again; I used to join in with monthly blog chains and stuff, but the ones I participated in before no longer exist and it’s hard to find your way back into that kind of thing. It makes me more interested in blogging, too, because I like to have a link that I can share when Lorna asks for latest posts and it sort of galvanises me to make sure I actually HAVE a latest post!

  3. Ohhh so much agreement. And I’m still frustrated with how commenting (and even blogging?) is less of a popular thing these days. I miss the conversations! (Although recently I had someone wanting to really battle it out with me in my comments that diversity in books is preachy and should only be done in sparing amounts and like… ๐Ÿ˜‘I know those people can’t be reasoned with but it rankles me SO MUCH when people infer that a someone identifying with multiple minorities in a book makes it “forced”. Hmm, no. And I hate that that’s the only comment thread I’ve had, basically all year!)

    Aaanyway. I know people say not to comment “good post” but hey I actually like it! And comments don’t have to be long either! I think this one is getting massively lmao, but short comments are ok and sincere comments are great and use emojis and jUST LET’S ALL INTERACT AGAIN!!

    (Also I guess with social media you get the notification that someone replied? Whereas with blogging a lot of people don’t have it set up to send replies. And we’re all just too impatient to read a blog post when we can just glance at a 100 word tweet. ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ)

    1. Yeah. Arguments tend to spawn threads but… they’re also not a lot of fun. Sigh. Charley and I used to have really inane blog comment conversations ๐Ÿ˜‚ Though I had some arguments in my time, too.

      And yeah, notifications are a big factor! It’s why I always liked WordPress better than Blogger, because it has a notification system built in, but for people without a WP account or who don’t check it, that’s less useful.

      People do huge epic tweet threads and people read the whole thing… but they won’t click through to a blog. It’s a shame. I like having my own space to write stuff! Other social media just isn’t the same as having your own individual site.

  4. I agree – I love getting meaningful comments, which say more than “love your post, now come and check out mine!” Perhaps in the age of fast social media scrolling, we’ve got used to just clicking “like” and moving on, but I think it’s great when people take time to be part of the discussion, and I try to do the same if I have something to say. It’s the best way to get to know your blog readers, and I think one of the best ways to get more comments is to be proactive and comment on other blogs.

    1. Yeah, definitely! I think it also makes for a more… mutual blogging experience, if that makes sense? If I blog, and people press ‘like’, then it’s quite one way. I’m the writer, they’re the reader. But comments make it a conversation, and a more equal relationship. It’s still ultimately in my space (my online ‘territory’ as it were), and I set the rules for the conversation, but it blurs the divide between writer and reader.

      I definitely need to get better about commenting on other people’s blogs. I comment fairly regularly on a handful, but they’re all people I’ve engaged with for years, and I need to make more of an effort to seek out new bloggers.

  5. It’s interesting to hear about the chnges in commenting from someonw who’s been blogging for so long. I’ve been blogging for four years but I feel like commenting has been pretty consistent, though maybe it has dwindled a bit. the thing is I go through hases with having blogs that I comment on regularly and then ones that I don’t. right now it feels like I can barely keep up with the blogging itself (I have two fully written blogposts for my second blog, which have existed for months, and I just need to make graphics for them and post them and yet I haven’t). I want to comment more but there are only a few people who I really do it for. and I’m useless at replying to comments too, I tend to do one big exhausting splurge of replying and commenting back every three months, lol.

    1. I’ve been blogging for… nine years ๐Ÿ˜ฌ how did this even happen. Blogging culture has changed so much, not least because when I started, other forms of social media weren’t nearly so ubiquitous. I mean, they existed, but it was all just… different.

      I sympathise with that! I have a lot of email subscriptions to blogs and I always end up letting them build up for ages and then reading them and commenting on stuff whenever my email inbox goes above 100 and starts guilt tripping me, lol. Which is the stage I’m at now. Got a lot to get through. I’m not great at keeping up with blogs where people post too regularly, so I’m almost glad when people are fairly intermittent! ๐Ÿ˜‚

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