Most people don’t leave comments on blogs. You might read many blogs, but you leave few comments. But there are good reasons to leave comments. There is a complicated and largely unwrittten etiquette for leaving blog comments. The easy shortcut is that leaving blog comments get people to come to your blog. Leaving friendly blog comments gets more people to your blog.
The first rule is, of course, writing blogs that people want to read. But what are those rules for leaving comments? Here are eight ways to make your comments welcome and likely to gain you a return visit:
1. Be nice. Find a typo or mistake? Skip over it or, if you must alert the blogger to the mistake, make every effort to find an email address to send the message off line. Can’t find an address? Re-think leaving a comment pointing out the mistake. You might leave a comment that indicates you’d like to be contacted instead.
2. Be positive. Instead of “You are wrong about. . .” say, “I have a different opinion about. . .” Using positive instead of negative wording makes your message easy to consider instead of easy to dump in the trash.
3. Someone else’s blog is not about you. Leaving a brief, “Nice stuff” and then adding your blog url as a link is not cool. It looks like phishing. Even if you add, “come visit me at [your url]” it’s still trying to make someone else your blog mule.
4. You can add more information to someone’s blog content, if you do it well. Start by pointing out a fact in the blog that you agree with. Then add information that shows you have the same interest. Include the additional facts. If you’ve written a blog with more or different information, add the permalink (not just the url for your blog). Be prepared that the blog owner may remove the url. Be OK with that, too.
5. If you wouldn’t want to see it on your blog, don’t leave it on someone else’s.
6. If you are old enough to have an adult opinion, you are old enough to leave your name and email address. Anonymous comments are often the mark of an insecure commenter. If you have an opinion, have the courage of your convictions.
7. No drive-by Tweeting. Leaving your tweets, complete with hashtags as a comment show you aren’t interested in anything but space. Write comments that express your opinion, add interest or expand on an idea. Leave your Tweets for Twitter.
8. Do not advertise your own classes, books, products or services on someone else’s blog. No matter how many nice things you say first, it’s still crass. And that’s not you.
–-Quinn McDonald is a writer and creativity coach who works with businesses to communicate well.