Sep 10, 2014

Building Your Blogging Community : Comment Etiquette

Build Your Blogging Community










 

I talk a lot about how important community is to this blog.  When I come here each day, it's with something that I hope is going to make you think, and want to start a conversation.  Without community, I don't know what this whole blogging thing would even be like.

There are plenty of ways to help build your blogging community, but one of the most important options is by commenting on posts you enjoy, and responding to comments on your own posts.  As important as this is though, there are some misconceptions out there about how you should go about commenting.

Only Comment if You Have Something to Say

It's absolutely important to comment on blogs if you're contributing to the conversation.  But you know the old adage "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all?"  Well, I'm going to change that up a bit to say "if you don't have anything meaningful to say, don't say anything at all."  

As much as I love talking to my readers and responding to comments on this little space, it's really hard to come up with a response to "I'm your newest follower! Follow me back?" or "Great post!"  So instead, try to say something like "I really love this post.." and then mentioning a relevant experience you've had, or how the post has been helpful for you.  There are all kinds of great things you can contribute to the conversation started by a blog post!

Don't Ask for Followers

That's just etiquette.  Seriously - please don't be that spammy blogger, because you're not contributing to anything; you're just spamming people's feeds, and making everything about you and your blog.

If You Don't Agree, then Tell Us!

Remember that adage I just mentioned about not saying anything if you don't have something nice to say?  Well, forget I said it because I don't agree.  I'm not saying to be rude (please - be nice! We're trying to make friends here, after all.), but if a blogger has posted something particularly controversial, you're allowed to tell them if you disagree with their opinion.

After all, a difference of opinions is what fuels great conversations in the first place!

Respond

If you want your readers to leave you a little note, and you're looking for ways to grow your blog and your community, responding to comments absolutely MUST be at the top of your list!  A conversation is a two-way street, and that can't happen if you're leaving your readers with unanswered questions after they comment.

Use Disqus

For a long time, I used the Blogger comment system on She is Fierce, which meant that I wasn't able to respond to a lot of the lovely comments I got on my posts, because they were coming from no-reply-commenters.  That alone was the reason I finally made the switch to Disqus, and I cannot recommend it enough!

I had a little trouble installing the system on my blog, and the customer support team at Disqus was fantastic at helping me to resolve it, both via Twitter and Email! Since installing it, I've seen more of my readers interacting with one another in the comments, and I've been able to respond to everyone!

So what about you?  What would you tell a blogger looking to grow their community?

40 comments:

  1. I'll have to agree with you on using Disqus for comment threads. I recently recommended this to a friend who personally emailed me to let me know that she's been receiving my comments on her blog, and she swears she replies to each one of them, but these don't surface in her admin page. Her life has gotten better since switching to Disqus.


    Jae
    SCATTERBRAIN

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  2. I'm so glad I finally made the switch - because I know I had people regularly commenting and I had no way of responding to them. It was frustrating; so I'm really happy to have Disqus now.

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  3. Great post! I've been thinking about how to get more people to interact on my posts and never thought about the way they logged in to comment maybe being a part of the problem. Thanks for the tips.

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  4. hahaha I always enjoy that (at least until people get mean)!

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  5. I think it's definitely something people are growing more and more away from google comments, because they're at times difficult to use, and they make it very hard to foster communication beyond that first comment. It wasn't something I ever thought of either up until recently, but I'm glad I stated using Disqus! I hope it works well for you :)

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  6. I LOVE using Disqus–I wish everyone would.


    I'm all for people disagreeing, but it seems like these days very few people understand the art of disagreeing tactfully. The important thing people need to remember is that having a difference of opinion doesn't make the other person stupid, ignorant, evil, whatever. It's about separating the opinion from the person. Attacking an opinion is okay as long as you don't attack the person who belongs to that opinion.


    You hit on some really good points in this post–very well written, as usual. :)

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  7. I love Disqus too, I think because it's so universal. Commenting is so important because in addition to building a community and sparking discussion, it also actually really drives traffic. I wouldn't say a LOT, but a noticeable amount of traffic to my blog is from comments that I leave on other blog. And I so agree with you about leaving a comment that's meaningful. Sometimes I'll read a post and realize that I actually have nothing to say about it.

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  8. YES! I was having a disagreement with someone yesterday who felt the best way to express his opinion was the "scream" obscenities in all caps and to drag his words out like tthhhiiiiiiisssssssss as though I may be a child or unable to understand English because I don't agree with him. It's frustrating, and doesn't make your opinion more valid than mine.
    Thank you, Jana! I really appreciate that compliment :)

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  9. I definitely agree - how are others supposed to find us, if we don't put ourselves out there? This blogging world is HUGE and there's so much more to it than just posting each day.

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  10. What are your thoughts on reply to comments so they show up on your blog vs. responding to the person via email? I personally like to see the comment thread on my blog and I think it lets people know you respond but I feel like a lot of people just like to personally email back.

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  11. I'm still trying to figure out which I prefer - if I respond via e-mail, it's easier to build a conversation with the commenter. But leaving responses here means that other readers can contribute to the conversation. Which do you prefer?

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  12. Disqus is growing on me. But it's interesting, because the few people I talk to regularly use the same comment form I do (the standard Blogger one), and I feel like I'd lose them if I switched because they're not Disqus people. Maybe I'll just hope that one of these systems emerges as the standard, and then I don't have to debate anymore. :P

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  13. I love Disqus! What makes it really useful is the fact that people get an email back when you reply. Also, if you have a blog, people can just click on your disqus profile and find that out rather than pasting your url in the comment itself. Great post! Thanks!

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  14. I had that same concern, but Disqus is super easy to use and log into, so it's not excluding anybody the way that Google comments does. I know I didn't lose any of my regular commenters, and I'm definitely better able to have a conversation with people now :)

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  15. Exactly! I wasn't sure whether I should respond here, or by email when I first made the switch (and I'm still not sure which method I prefer); but I love that no matter how I do it, the person knows when I've responded to their comment - it makes it so much easier to have a conversation!


    And that's another thing I really like about it - with Google comments, if you used Wordpress or something else, I couldn't click over to your blog. With Disqus, no matter what your platform you can connect them.

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  16. Loving the new Disqus commenting, I was so happy when I made the switch as well!

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  17. I have been considering switching to Disqus, I like that I can have a back and forth conversation with my readers in our inboxes though. I feel like with Disqus most people don't respond multiple times, there is the initial comment and the bloggers response, but with Blogger comments I have had conversations last many back and forth's.


    Also, asking for followers is the worst, I never know how to respond. I follow people when I genuinely want to follow them and I hate feeling forced to either follower or just skirt around the issue. Generally if someone comments a few times on my blog (without asking me to follow them) I will notice that they keep coming back and then go check out their blog and follow anyways, it is much more productive!

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  18. I love these points on not only leaving comments but responding to and interacting with them when someone leaves you one. I adore Disqus and agree on you about it because there is NOT BETTER platform for it, at least in my opinion. I've been so behind on responding to and commenting because of everything crazy going on right now and it is KILLING ME. I can't wait to get all caught up. Awesome post today!

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  19. Thanks, Crystal! And I never thought so before, but now that I'm using Disqus, I definitely agree that it's the best system out there :)

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  20. I definitely put it off for a while, but I'm so so happy I finally installed it!

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  21. Technically, you can do that w/ Disqus! The email notifications you get when someone comments on your post has their email, so you could email them rather than responding on the post itself. I can't figure out which I prefer though - I love that email allows a back-and-forth ongoing conversation; but commenting here means that other bloggers and readers can get involved in the conversation.

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  22. I love Disqus especially when I'm flipping through my bloglovin' feed, but I wish there was an easy way to respond from my phone (like with blogger, if it wasn't a no-reply) I could just email them back. my phone is so finicky when it comes to Disqus.

    I also am always overly self conscious about making sure my comments are worth reading. I always think "is this something I would have a solid response to?"

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  23. I was so angry when I realised that Wordpress.com didn't have Disqus! I wanted to switch to Blogger right away! Hopefully I'll go self-hosted soon and so I can finally get this system! I just love it so much!

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  24. I completely agree that a conversation is a two-way street. It's a conversation between you and your readers.

    I love Disqus. Very easy for interaction and to drive traffic to other areas on your site.

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  25. If you don't have much to say but enjoyed a post, I think a great alternative is to share the post on social media. I'm always grateful when someone does that to me because it exposes my blog to lots of a new readers! Switching to disqus has also helped me keep up with responding to comments, and it's also helpful for commenting on other blogs because I get a little notification when they respond to me. The community that blogging creates is 90% of the reason I continue to blog.

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  26. I love that point! It's something I always try to do when I really enjoy a post, even if I did comment on it. I know how much I appreciate it when people share my posts, and you're right - it opens your work up to so many more people who might not have seen it otherwise.

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  27. YES TO USING DISQUS... sometimes I'm snobby and don't respond even if I have something worthwhile to say if they aren't using DISQUS.. Call me spoiled - it's just easier. I dont' like logging in or yada yada; and the people that use blogger's default comment system, rather us fix our profile so they can reply via email - but mine is connected to my Google+ profile so I don't think they're able to respond anymore, which makes them irritated as well! HAHAHA :)

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  28. Use Disqus-- YES YES YES. Honestly, not to sound completely rude, but I'm so tired of having to enter in all my info into wordpress blogs to comment. I really have to want to comment to do that! Love this post, girl!

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  29. I definitely make an effort to still comment, just because I know I used Blogger comments for the longest time. And I still think people should keep their emails on their Blogger/Google profile to avoid no-reply, because a lot of people still use that commenting system and you could be missing out on great conversations. But I definitely agree that Disqus is so much easier to use, because once you're logged in once, you're good!

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  30. I definitely agree - I still do it, because I know I was that person on Google comments for a long time. But Disqus is just SO much easier

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  31. That's great! I see too many blogs/sites where page owners don't respond in the comment section.

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  32. See that's something I'm still not sure which I prefer - responding in the comments themselves, or responding by e-mail. They both have positives, so I'm still on the fence.

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  33. Great points and I couldn't agree more. Especially with responding to your commenters. SO IMPORTANT. I have unsubscribed and stopped reading more than a few blogs simply because the author never responded to, not just mine, but everyone's comments.

    I don't care how great your content is. If you can't find the time in your day to make at least a small effort to communicated back with your loyal readers than what's the point of allowing comments at all?

    I love love love Disqus. I've had a few people that I know personally complain that they don't like it because it's just another thing they have to sign up for, but I think a majority of avid blog readers either already have it, or are willing to sign up because so many blogs use it.

    V
    Life+1

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  34. Yes Madison!! And am I the only one who gets really annoyed with the math CAPTCHAs? Lol. Math has never been my strong suit. I must confess, I actually have to count on my fingers sometimes just to submit a flipping comment!

    V
    Life+1

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  35. You make a great point Emily. I actually find that I get a bit of traffic via Disqus too. It's just a well executed tool for blogs. So easy to use.

    V
    Life+1

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  36. Haha! I just cannot stand captcha!

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  37. Those drive me crazy! It's just not worth it, especially when, at least on blogger, spam comments tend to get blocked before they ever make it to your blog anyway.

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  38. Especially with posts that involve something heart-felt or some kind of advice, why not respond? Your commenters are either trying to help YOU or are asking a question, and by not responding you're leaving them hanging.

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  39. Sing it Kiersten!


    Someday soon when I'm a big time blogger (visualization...workin on it!), I'll do my darndest to keep conversing with the lovely people who take the time to comment. Never forget the little peeps!


    x
    V

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