Blogosphere Jaunt: Are Blog Comments Key to Building Your Connections & Influence?

A Blogosphere Jaunt: On Comments, Connections & Community

“Think twice before you speak (or write), because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” Napoleon Hill

Blog Commenting: Is it a cup of Tea, Tea leaves in a Cup or Death by Words?

Recently, I was on SeededBuzz, a site that helps you to promote your blog, meet bloggers, and guest blog with others, when I came across a post by another member highlighting a 100 comment challenge that was starting quite soon. The blogger, Thu Nguyen, of Blogging For Dot Info, led me to another blogger, Jacinta of Creating My Business Online. I liked Jacinta’s guidelines which essentially was a call to action for 100 bloggers to support other bloggers (each other) by commenting on their blogs. Every blogger on the list can expect to get 100 comments. Each blogger follows the guidelines and leaves a comment for all participants; this maintains the integrity of the challenge.
I have since joined in the 100 comment challenge and another blogging group led by bc_bloggers_secret. I’m meeting and connecting with a new and varied group of bloggers which is great. Why? Because blogging can be a lonely endeavor and building connections with other bloggers helps you grow or soon you start to feel like you are talking to yourself. I know that feeling…

The exercise got me thinking about what the whole point of commenting on blogs means and whether, in fact, it is a viable way to build your blog, your traffic and your community online. Can commenting help or hurt you and your community? Can it help? Yes. Definitely. Can it hurt? It depends…

What is the point of commenting on blogs?
I did a quick Google search on the phrase “commenting on blogs” and about 13,800,000 results appeared in (0.20 seconds). Yes, a lot has been said on the subject and opinions vary on the purpose/power of commenting on blogs; see views from WebworkerDaily, Problogger, Copyblogger, and Chris Garrett here. While the jury is out on whether commenting will bring massive traffic and blogging influence our way, it is definitely a way to build community and link our blogs to other bloggers; some of whom will ultimately develop a meaningful blogging relationship with us.

People comment on blogs for many reasons: to raise a point, offer support, challenge an opinion, get blog comments back, get noticed, gain blogging karma, get links, to spam, or make a connection. When someone stops by and makes the effort to leave a kind word or two on our blog we ought to appreciate/acknowledge it by commenting back. Sure, it isn’t feasible, on a post with lots of comments, to individually respond to tons of messages flying in at once; that is why some bloggers respond to a selection from the group or add comments that respond to a majority of comments at once. Call it graciousness or consideration, it is an act of reciprocity and a good thing. :-)

What are some areas of concern?
What is not good and defeats the point of establishing solid blogging connections is trolling around the blogosphere leaving spammy links and unrelated inflammatory comments. The chance of building meaningful relationships, community influence or positive feedback is greatly diminished when someone leaves spam. Even if you do it unwittingly, others might simply assume you did it on purpose and it could hurt your reputation. There is nothing wrong with filing a legitimate complaint about a product and getting a concern resolved; that’s the whole point of contacting customer service. Spam is different; it is usually out of context and directed at the wrong party. Avoid spam. Why do you leave Comments? Why do I leave Comments? That is an important question to always ask oneself.

What about our digital footprint/building influence/personal branding?
Our online activity, including our comments and connections build a footprint that follows us like a silent observer; recording all we do. We must manage our footprint well and know that we might unwittingly get associated with things that are taken out of context or that have nothing to do with us; some things you can resolve, others you just have to ignore and move on.

Copyblogger recently held a powwow with 60 top influencers on the internet and each gave a comment about - How to increase your influence on line. The answers given were poignant and varied but I think the underlying message was about showing people you care and making authentic connections with others; everyone wants to be heard and appreciated. Listen. Respond. With millions of blogs worldwide, people can only connect to a finite number at any given time. This means that one must graciously honor and acknowledge readers and guests who visit our blogs to support us. Listen, respond to a request, offer help and support back.

If we think of our personal brand on the internet and the message that we put out there, then, it is smart to manage our comments and check for clarity, consistency, language, grammar and the overall impression we wish to create. Perfection is not necessary just some effort. Sometimes I post a comment on a blog and realize, after the fact, that I made a spelling mistake or left a word out. Too late to recall it! It is best to double check our comments though we might still miss an error. When that happens, move on.

I love commenting on blogs as a way to support other bloggers, respond to an engaging topic and make a connection. I make an effort to add something in a complete sentence. Sometimes, the visit might be to just give a quick reminder to let them know I have completed a task as in “I am now following your blog via Google friends” or such and that is fine too… I also enjoy commenting, when I have something to add, on articles in the New York Times as it is another way to build /exercise our commenting muscles.

“Ask not what the blogosphere can do for you but what together we can do for the blogosphere.” Chris Garrett

Blog Commenting: Is it a cup of tea, an espresso moment or death by words?

Does every blogger allow comments? No. I can think of two top bloggers, for instance, Seth Godin and ZenHabits , who have excellent blogs with no commenting allowed and they are two clear examples of where influence and content carry the day. Developing great content takes planning, learning and effort…. Ultimately, the goal is to either have original knowledge/expertise or develop expertise in your subject or area of focus.

What about content? When I think of content, a saying comes to mind; “One man’s meat is another man’s poison.” People read blogs for a variety of reasons; entertainment, knowledge, pass time, learn something new, connect with like-minded souls and so on. We blog to bring focus to the areas that hold and engage our interests and to dig deeply into those subject areas and write about them regularly. Content is an important factor in developing a blog that builds a following and lasts. Sure, it takes time but we can learn as we grow our blog and follow the advice and insights shared by two top bloggers, ProBlogger and Copyblogger. As we work towards building a viable blog with great content; tweaking it, making necessary changes, our blogging life will continue to grow.

How do you feel about commenting on blog posts?
Personally, I believe that leaving meaningful comments on a blog is an important way to interact with others and build connections. It is blogging etiquette not a rigid law. What is a “meaningful” comment anyway? Leaving a complete thought or comment that responds to the post at hand. I don’t think it has to be long or a repeat of the posts content but more of a conversation that continues the dialogue. I don’t get offended by the length or nature of comments on my blog because I don’t think we should control the direction or style of a conversation initiated by a blog. I leave complete comments/thoughts on blog posts but that is my choice. I also understand that people can get busy/lazy, are pressed for time or whatever reason they have and so the quick response is fine.

As long as there is a mix of other types of comments on our blog, we really don’t need to fuss about this. My tip to the commentator is: Don’t forget to imagine how you’d feel if your blog post was filled with one word comments … At the end of the day, it’s our call how we choose to comment or deal with comments. But how does that affect our digital footprint? Tremendously… Read the paragraph above. As per building influence, I think comments, content, connecting and gaining the trust and respect of others within your community, over a period of time, are key factors to consider. What are your tips?

What other points matter?
Clearly, blog commenting is a topic on many minds especially as we all want others to know that our blogs exist and we want them to read/respond/share/ our content. One of the joys of blogging is knowing that someone, somewhere, has read your post, and lingered long enough to say hello via a comment, a Twitter tweet or a social network bookmarking. What stands out in some of the posts I have read on the subject is that comments are appreciated, that commenting etiquette includes, responding to comments, rewarding top commentators, making some effort to say something other than Ditto! Great post!, and offering a complete thought related to the blog post. Our comments could be short but the idea is that one should make some reference to the post and share their point of view…

Are our comments left for posterity?
You bet. We can delete comments we made on sites where we have access/control, but on others blogs…? Well, no. If you plan to build a commenting history or make commenting easy, Cocoment or OpenID are great ways to keep track of what you say. My advice is that we must be vigilant. We all make mistakes, we get angry, but before adding a comment anywhere, we must make sure we are ready to stand by it forever. Remember that everything You say on the internet is … well, forever. What do you think?

“But if you find … people in your life that are like the roots at the bottom of (a) tree you are blessed. A tree could have a hundred million branches but it only takes a few roots down at the bottom to make sure that tree gets everything it needs. When you get some roots, hold on to them but the rest of it… just let it go. Let folks go.” Medea – Character from a Tyler Perry Play

Baobab by Alli Cooper

What’s Next?
Below, I have pulled together a few sites, communities, and projects that I have connected with as a way to develop blogging relationships, share comments and grow. This is not a comprehensive list and I will happily add more you share with me or as I remember/find others to add to the group. If there are any you’d like to recommend, please add them to my comments and I will update my list.

PROBLOGGER 31 DAYS TO BUILDING A BETTER BLOG

SITSGIRLS/BLOGFROG

MOMBLOGGERS CLUB

SEEDEDBUZZ

100 BLOG COMMENT CHALLENGE

COPYBLOGGER TIPS

BC_BLOGGERS_SECRET

COMMENTLUV

Have you had a unique commenting experience you’d like to share? What insights have you learned from blogging/commenting? Any tips and thoughts would be appreciated. Thank you!

PHOTO CREDITS:
All photos ~ courtesy of My Collection

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank

About these ads

29 responses to “Blogosphere Jaunt: Are Blog Comments Key to Building Your Connections & Influence?

  1. I agree completely that if you’re going to comment it should mean something, contribute something, or at least make someone think or smile.
    I’ve been involved in the SITS/ Pro Blogger challenge and it’s been eye opening. I’ve found some wonderful blogs, like yours, and I’ve found some that have no connection for me. If I have nothing in common with a blogger I will move on. I don’t think commenting for the sake of commenting helps anyone.
    Thanks for the post!

    • Thank you Barbara,
      I agree that a comment needs to contribute to the conversation; keep things going
      I can appreciate the quick comment as both show me the author cared … just differently.
      Will stop by your blog soon to catch up. :-)
      E

  2. Hi Elizabeth,

    Thanks for the mention. I’m glad you’ve decided to join the 100 Blog Comments Challenge as it’s a great and interactive way to see and learn the power of blogging with many bloggers. So far I’ve met wonderful bloggers whom I’d never think I’d met as they come from all types of background, interests and even products.

    Truth is blogging isn’t about the word anymore but about the relationships you’re building to share content with online. Thus, commenting is one way we pop in to check up on each other and even support one another when we’re launching something new, revealed some experience or even release ourselves.

    Whatever it is, commenting and blogging go hand in hand. Without the other, you’re leaving a lot of reactions on the table. Overall great list of commenting places. I would also add SeededBuzz as it’s new however segregated, let’s you find posts to react to but at the same time connect.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the blogosphere.

    Cheers!
    Thu

    • Hi Thu,
      What a wonderful surprise! You beat me to it… Thanks again for leading me down the path to the 100 blog comment. Yes, I agree that blogging and commenting go hand in hand and helps keep the conversation going. I will add SeededBuzz to the list and need to go back to the site and buzz up the post too. I like communities that encourage blogging comments as it brings people together and exposes all to different writers and ideas.
      Will stop by your blog today! :-)
      Eliz

  3. I don’t have a blog yet but I can undrstand the way you write about this.
    Adding comments to a blog shows you care enough to stop and write something.
    I don’t understand why some withhold their comments. It is a gift to be shared freely. I love b

    • Hi Bree,
      Correct. It shows we care and that we have something to add to what is written. I dont mind constructive criticism but perhaps, some feel uncomfortable sharing their views.
      Thanks again for your support! :-)
      E

  4. I’m inspired to leave comments when a post resonates with me..or as a way of showing that I appreciate the blogger’s talent/effort/sense of humour..etc It’s saying ‘good job, I like this, please keep it going’ Another good post Liz!

    • Thank you Goz,
      You are an example of the dream commenter; always adding ideas, views and suggestions to the conversation at hand… I appreciate your feedback’ and agree that blog support is important. There is a dynamic that I didn’t address and I will consider it. Thanks again for your support! :-)
      E

  5. Thank you for stopping by, I agree that finding inspiration is hard. I have stopped looking for it. It seems to find me at the oddest of places and times. Not always but it does happen.
    As for leaving comments, I think it is important to do so if one has something to say. I do enjoy reading my comments and responding to them. This way I stay in touch with my readers and they deserve this respect. After all they have taken the time to stop by and read what I have to say.

    • Thanks for your visit Yogasavy, yes inspiration is a dastardly thing.
      As per comments, I’m on par with you on that one.
      I appreciate my comments and respond to them.
      It’s all in line with the conversation and keeps it flowing.
      Will visit you again. :-)

  6. This post is fantastic. I agree with your take on commenting. You wrote, “leaving meaningful comments on a blog is an important way to interact with others and build connections.” I have greatly enjoyed the connections I have built through blogging.

  7. Thank you Mrs M.,
    I have made connections with other bloggers too and like you, I cherish the relationships very much. I truly believe that supporting other bloggers by leaving a comment is appreciated. I, for one, do and I reciprocate. :-)

  8. I do leave comments on blogs, when the post resonates with me and I feel I have something of value to contribute.It also depends on who’s blog I’m reading the post.

    I myself, think that most bloggers, who do ask for your thoughts on their post, do appreciate that people stop and spent their precious time to leave a comment. I think these are bloggers who want their blog to be conversational and see that comments can also help them become a better blogger.

    A friend of mine has a little text on his blog, he calls it:“Hidden wealth”.
    He says that there’s a wealth of useful content in the comments on many posts. They can be more valuable than the original posts!
    I agree with him. I have asked his permission to use his text and I got that permission.

    This is a great topic, Elizabeth

    • Hi Deana,
      Thanks again for your support and comment. You would think that people would appreciate comments, right? So do I, but that is not always the case… I am grateful for comments.and it keeps the conversation going :-)
      Eliz

  9. I came over from Mom Loop comment follow and I have to say that this post is very apropos. Many of the blogs that I’ve come across just have nothing to do with my life. Not here though! I love the depth you go into on these topics. Thanks for the info!

    • Thank you for your visit and comment! It is much appreciated…
      I am still working on understanding commenting and building community.
      I will stop by to complete our Mom Loop task; thanks again for the reminder :-)

  10. Love this! For me commenting is more than just saying ‘nice post’. It builds relationships and connections with others and I do cherish the thoughtful comments people has been leaving on my blog – you included! I wish there are more times in my day for me to visit many more amazing blogs out there :D

    • Hi Maureen,
      Long time no hear! I visited your blog recently as you mentioned you’ve been busy with the new job and other changes. I agree that commenting is appreciated especially when it is reciprocal. Hope all is well. :-)
      Eliz

  11. Katty Flouee

    It was rather interesting for me to read this post. Thank you for it. I like such themes and anything that is connected to the matter of commenting. I would like to read more soon. BTW, rather nice design your blog has, but how about changing it from time to time?
    Katty

    • Thnak you Katty for your comment… If you visit now, you’ll notice that I have changed the theme/template. It’s always a good thing to refresh a blog. Don’t you think so? :-)
      Eliz

  12. Kate Kripke

    Interesting blog you got here. It would be great to read more about this topic. The only thing that blog needs is some more pictures.
    Kate

    • Kate,
      Thanks for your feedback though I don’t think there is need for more pictures on this subject…it’s about blog comments. At least, it is the view from here. Do you have a reason why more pictures are needed? I’d love to hear more from you.
      Stop by again! :-)

  13. Nice post. I read and learn about challenging topics on different blogs everyday. It’s always stimulating to read content from other writers and learn a little something from their knowledge. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you Stan. I enjoy reading other blogs for the same reason too; to learn from their topics. What other subjects are you interested in learning about? Do you blog?
      Thanks,
      Eliz

  14. This post on blog comments is a popular topic everywhere. Bloggers write about it all the time.
    By the way, I really like the colors on your blog. Did you design this blog yourself or did you outsource it to a professional?

    Merwin

    • Yes, all bloggers want people to leave comments so a conversation can take place; so it is a popular topic… :-)
      Since your visit, I have updated my blog and changed the template. It was done in-house. Thank you for your comment

  15. Pingback: On Blogging: Can We Talk? | Mirth and Motivation

  16. Pingback: On Blogging: Can We Talk? | The Blog Farm - A Growing Blog Community

  17. You’re right, blogging can be lonely. I find reading excellent work such as yours refreshing. After reading “Blogosphere Jaunt: Are Blog Comments Key to Building Your Connections & Influence?” I feel as if I know you already.
    Thanks for the read.

Your Comments are Always Appreciated. Thank You!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s