When I started this Commenting 101 blogging series, I expected it to last a couple of weeks. I also expected to lose a few readers because I know my philosophy on blogging and communication isn't for everyone. Imagine my surprise when this ends up being Week #10 and I gained quite a few new readers over the course of the last couple of months. I guess some of you do agree that Commenting on blogs is an important and worthwhile task for bloggers.
I thought it would be a good idea to wrap the series up with a quick highlight of what we've learned, and a few links to some other resources that I've found helpful! Here are the Cliffs Notes:
Week 1: Why Should I Bother?
Week 2: 8 Reasons Why You Should Comment on My Blog
(guest post from Heather of Dollar Store Crafts)
We remember names when they show up routinely in our Comments section. This can lead to establishing relationships with other bloggers...who will be likely to read your blog in turn. You may even land a guest post or a job!
Week 3: How to Leave a Good Comment
The basic gist of a "good comment"? Be genuine, read the entire post, NO SPAM!, and make it easy for bloggers to return your comments.
Week 4: General Commenting Etiquette
Just like in the world outside our laptops, standards of behavior apply to blogging too. Basically, don't leave the same exact comment on 56 other blogs in an effort to boost your own hits. Don't ever request a "Follow." It's a huge turn-off to seasoned bloggers. And please, don't be rude. You'll wind up featured on My Favorite Hatemail. I promise.
Week 5: Commenting and Link Parties
There is a way to participate in link parties graciously. You can link to 94 blog parties every single day, but if you aren't engaging your readers, how full is your blog?
Let other party participants know your link is on the list too by visiting a few others. (Novel concept, right?) Leave a few thoughtful comments, and remember that you can't make anyone visit your blog and/or leave a comment.
And please don't forget the hostess! It is a huge amount of work to put together any link party, whether it's a weekly event or not...and I see a lot of hostesses neglected. They may have 350 links at their party, but only a handful of kind "thank you" comments. Not cool.
Week 6: Responding to Comments
This week in a nutshell? If you have a new blog, or a small blog...you really need to return those comments by visiting the commenters and leaving a genuine comment on their blogs. This is the most basic building block of networking, and it will lead to great relationships with your readers. And if you're serious about growing your blog, this needs to be done in a timely manner. If you're waiting 3 or 4 days to return comments, your readers have most likely forgotten what they may have said in the first place.
At some point, your blog will grow and reach a place that returning 20-30+ comments each night is just not doable. In those cases, I recommend replying via email to as many comments as you can. Read each one, appreciate them, and move on.
Week 7: Fitting it All In
The honest truth? You can't. You can't be everything to everyone, all the time. When life comes calling, you have to answer. If you've put in the time to build a loyal readership, they know that you can't blog about life if you aren't living it.
Week 8: Why Word Verification is Bad
Word Verification (click over if you don't know what that is!) is awful, the bane of most bloggers' existences. Please take it off your blog. You will have happy readers.
Week 9: Adding Your Email Address to Your Blogger Account
Really, those "firstname.lastname@example.org" emailed comments are just as bad as seeing Word Verification on your blog. Busy bloggers don't like having to click through 10 hoops to answer a question that could be taken care of in a simple email.
That's the series in a wee nutshell. If you are a new blogger, I really recommend reading through it. These are all things I've learned during my time blogging...I wish someone had shared these thoughts with me when I first started out!
Here are a few fantastic Resources that I found helpful:
1. 10 Techniques to Get More Comments on Your Blog (via ProBlogger)
2. Comment Love (via Thrifty Decor Chick)
3. 10 Tips for New Bloggers (via Southern Hospitality)
4. Blog Unto Others How You Would Have Them Blog Unto You 1 (via The Stories of A to Z)
5. Blog Unto Others, part 2 (via The Stories of A to Z)
I have fun ideas for two new series...the trouble is that I can't decide which one to do next...so tune in next week to see what I decide on.
Thank you for sticking with me throughout this series!
33 minutes ago