How to recognise good comments

good comments

Good comments are those which contain these seven elements. A reasonable amount of content, adds value which is useful or helpful, at least includes a greeting, keeps to the subject, entertaining to read, no self-promotion, and written to encourage others to reply.

A reasonable amount of content

What I mean by a reasonable amount of content is a minimum of three sentences. You could even think of these sentences as your comment's beginning, middle and end. However, so many people try to get away with writing a few words, such as ‘Nice post’ or ‘Thank you for this post’.

Now you don't have to be an experienced wordsmith to write good comments. But you do need to make more of an effort. This is because the one-word or short phrased comments are meaningless, and will not be appreciated at all by the blog's author, or anybody else who reads them.

Commenting is not just an opportunity to create some noise to show you’ve read the post (or not, as is usually the case). This may be acceptable on social media, especially for the time-poor who prefer to quickly scan through their time-line, happily 'liking' as they go. But this tactic is not applicable for blogs.

Adds value to the original post

Good comments provide value which enhances the original post, such as adding content which may be missing. This could also include answering a question, clarifying or rectifying something, or offering an alternative point of view.

You could acknowledge what you have learned from the post, and then tell the author how this will transform your life/business/website and what you are going to do with this newfound information. This shows you fully understand the subject and how this affects you.

The last thing you should do is be smarmy or over ingratiating. This is a practice taken on my spammers, who desperately want their comments published. You can show your appreciation by extending the conversation within your comment, rather than gushing about it.

Includes a greeting (at least)

The majority of comments do not include a greeting of any sort. What I mean by this, is using the author's name at the beginning of your comment. This simple tactic immediately gets their attention and warms whoever moderates the comment towards you.

However, it does require a bit of work before writing your comment. This means finding out something about the author first. You could use just 'hi', 'hey', 'hello' or 'hiya', but actually using a name within your greeting has a much better effect.

And if you want to go the whole hog, why not sign off with your name at the end of the comment. You started being personal, so finish in the same vein. This goes towards creating a professional relationship with the author, which could be useful for later communications.

Keeps to the subject

There is nothing more irritating than a comment banging on about a totally unrelated subject. In fact this is just plain rude towards the blog's author. What right have you to talk about something else?

And yet so many comments do this. Remember you have been invited to comment on this post, so as a guest you should respect the author, their blog and their subject. It is important to focus purely on this and not on yourself or your chosen topic.

Remember you don't want to confuse whoever reads your comment, especially if you're trying to get a point across. Set the scene which other commenters can follow, and show respect to whoever wrote the post or owns the blog.

Entertaining to read

As well as continuing the conversation started by the post, good comments are well written so that they are a joy to read. You want your reputation as a commenter to go before you, with people ready and waiting to read what you have to say.

The idea is to get recognised for your good comments, so that you are welcomed on all the blogs you regularly visit. The information your provide within them needs to be relevant and accessible to all.

Your comment should have a defined structure. After the greeting, the next part should compliment the post's subject by adding value. Finally summarise the bigger picture, or explain what you will do with the information you have just gained.

Not used for self-promotion

No commenter wants to be mistaken as a spammer. And yet so many desperate businesses do just that, by adding a link back to their website in their comments. They think this is a bona fide way of creating backlinks, when really this isn't tolerated by moderators.

Good comments have no need to be littered with links. They can become a mechanism for attracting traffic through their content. If what you have written is so compelling to whoever reads it, they may be more inclined to click on your name to visit your blog.

The link is the URL you provide when you submit your comment. This should be totally relevant to the post's subject you are commenting on, and not your homepage. You could also hint within your comment for readers to click on your name if they wish to find out more.

Written to encourage a reply

Commenting is about communicating with other people. This could be the author of the post, and also their readers and other commenters. Your comment should speak to them, and be thoroughly relatable to how they think, to suitably resonate with them.

This resonating is important if you want people to reply to your comment. What you write should inspire or compel them to share their own experiences. This is all part of continuing the conversation or creating a stimulating discussion.

Good comments stimulate replies, and the more responses you get breeds popularity. And it's not only people who are attracted to this, but social algorithms and search engines as well, providing more reach to your comment.

Are you ready to write good comments?

If you would like to write good comments every time you visit a blog, why not take my How to Write a Good Comment course. This will give you all you need to know to become an expert commenter.

Being good at commenting could set you apart from your competitors, drive more traffic back to your blog or website, and help you create relationships within the social world.

You can use comments to enhance your reputation, showcase your knowledge by helping people, allow them get to know, like and trust you, and become the go-to-expert in your field.

And why not make a start by leaving your best comment below. We would love to hear from you.

Alice Elliott
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