I’ve been following the recent debate over using signatures in blogs and I’ve come to the following conclusion.
Not everyone knows what a blog is, how a blog is structured, or that you can click on a commenter’s name to get to their website. To them, a blog is just another website. This is especially true if the blog isn’t technology oriented because the target audience may not be very net savvy, much less blog savvy.
Some blogs don’t make it obvious that someone can click on the commenter’s name to visit their website. Some people understand this and leave their signature for those non-net-savvy people who will figure out the sig is a link and click through.
However, I do see both sides of this coin. As a blogmaster, I do find it rather redundant to see signature lines when there is a perfectly good link in the commenter name.
But rather than criticize the people who leave signatures in comments, we can take some initiative and help them out.
We can make the commenter name stand out as a link by changing the color and underlining it.
And it doesn’t hurt to provide a note letting the visitor know they can click on a commenter’s name to visit their website. We can also prominently display our comment policy with regards to linking.
For those who do leave signature lines in comments, please reconsider. Instead, craft the perfect comment.
How do you craft the perfect comment? That’s easy. Before you comment, think about it.
- Is this a personal, informational, or professional blog?
- What is the tone of the entry and what type of language is used (i.e. casual or formal)?
- After reading the entry, how did you feel?
- Did you learn anything from the entry?
- How can you support or rebut the entry?
- How long will your response be?
- If it’s long, would it be better to write an entry to your blog and track/ping back the original post (or comment with a link if their track/ping backs are disabled)?
When you’ve fully assessed the entry, write your succinct, on point, and well thought out comment. If it pertains to any particular entries or pages on your website, link to them in the comment.
Some blogs do not allow HTML in their comments and in that event, you can annotate your links. I believe it to be a neat way to keep the comments in order while maintaining the relevant links to outside entries.
I briefly discussed editorial guidelines for blogs a few days ago. After reading about a blogger being sued because of comments on his blog, it made me realize just how much things do need to change.
1 – http://www.optiniche.com/blog/52/editorial-guidelines/ (editorial guidelines for blogs)
2 – http://www.seobook.com/archives/001130.shtml (blogger being sued because of comments)
- Don’t spam
- Try not to use more than 3 links in the comment
- Avoid using long signatures
You increase the chances your comment won’t be edited or deleted if it is relevant, well written, and abides by the guidelines set out by the blogmaster. Visiting someone’s blog is like being invited into their home – behave (and speak) accordingly.
EDIT: Updated Friday, December 30, 2005 for brevity and clarity.