Leaving the Perfect Comment

Teli Adlam —  September 15, 2005

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.

Example of commenter link visual cue
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.

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.

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[1] a few days ago. After reading about a blogger being sued because of comments[2] 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)

Finishing up:

  1. Don’t spam
  2. Try not to use more than 3 links in the comment
  3. 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.

Teli Adlam

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18 responses to Leaving the Perfect Comment

  1. How can your name be considered redundant because it appears twice…once as a hyperlink and once as typed text? Is this not clever marketing?

    I see this as an opportunity to get your name out there twice as often.

    Sue Richards

  2. Hi Sue,
    Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

    When I refer to being redundant, I’m talking about a link. The link already appears as a hyperlink for the commenter’s name.

    It’s really not necessary to leave yet another link to their site at the end of the comment. At that point, they’re just trying to use the blog as their own means of self-promotion – not very polite.

    I often finish off a comment with my name, and it is a bit of clever marketing while remaining polite to the blogmaster.

    And as I mention in my own comment policy, I allow commenters to finish up a post with their name; I just discourage the second link to their website.

    ~Teli

  3. Hi Teli,

    I hadn’t noticed the double dipping signature. I get it now. Thanks for clearing that up.

    And like the folks in the debate over at pro blogger, I suspect like everything, there’s a time and a place.

    Sue Richards

  4. Hi, I just wanted you to know that I am new to your blog and I am enjoying it! There is a ton of useful information. I will be sure to visit again.

  5. Hello Dawn,
    Thank you for visiting and taking the time to leave a comment.

    I’m really glad to hear you enjoy the site and find it useful. You’re welcome back as often as you like :).

    ~ Teli

  6. Patricia Govezensky September 23, 2006 at 5:16 am

    Hi,

    Really nice blog, I really loved this one Teli.

    Patricia Govezensky

  7. Hi Teli. I agree that there are still a lot of people who don’t know that the personal names in comments link to websites. If people don’t know that you know they don’t know about trackbacking.

    Steve 🙂

  8. Very good summary of the use of blogs for backlinking. I assume most blog comments are reviewed before posting? The best part about this is the fact that you read the blog before posting and most of the time you will learn something like good SEO practices.

  9. Steve,
    You’re right that some people don’t understand the name is hyperlinked within a comment, but generally, those aren’t the people leaving comments/creating signatures.

    The ones who need to know about trackbacking are the ones who are skilled enough to leave comments linking out to their own blogs.

    In any event, I’ve written a WordPress trackback/pingback tutorial and there are a number of other tutorials for the various blog software apps. If you manage a blog, there’s simply no excuse for not learning about trackbacks/pingbacks/comments. 🙂

    ~ Teli

  10. Hello Myspace Layouts*,

    I assume most blog comments are reviewed before posting?

    Whether the blog comments are reviewed before posting truly depends on the blog’s owner – here, as stated in the comment policy, all comments are moderated and reviewed before being published.

    When you take the time to read a blog entry, craft the perfect comment, and adhere to the blog’s comment policy (if it has one), then you can definitely build up your backlinks along with credibility.

    ~ Teli

    * You may have noticed your link was deleted. This was done in accordance with my comment policy, because I’m 99% certain your name isn’t “Myspace Layouts” and you didn’t sign your comment with your name.

  11. Came across this article while researching promotion for a wordpress site. Thanks for the good article!

    Vance

  12. Here are the Pro’s talking,

    But like it was said before, not everybody knows that his/her name is linked and not everybody is leaving a signature under the post.

    There are a lot of older people who are new to blogging and things should be kept easy for them. Web should be fun, so I don’t thing there is a perfect comment in general.

    Except something like:

    “I donate to you 1000 bucks…”

    Just my 5 cents

    Jermaine

  13. Nice article for blogs and tips. Thanks 🙂

  14. No more comments? While reading this post, i really liked the discussion here. I lost my bookmarks and found the link to this site again. I will stop by soon to see if others find this post too and give their 5 cents.

  15. thanks for tips.

  16. Helpful tips, thanks. My way is to comment on pages that my background supports. It is easier to get into the subject. There are millions of sites to comment in. Better to zoom in and focus!

  17. Teli, what an absolutely beautiful blog. I can tell you’ve put a lot of time and love into it. Got it bookmarked. Thanks!

    Oh and excellent post 🙂

    Kind regards,
    Martin

  18. Hi Teli,
    In researching WordPress for an upcoming blogging class I’m teaching, I came across your excellent explanation about Trackbacks and Pingbacks.

    Your online demeanor speaks volumes of how willing you are to share with others.

    I’ll be referring to your site a lot. Thank you.