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How to Write a Great Blog Comment

Nine simple rules for writing great blog comments.

By
Mignon Fogarty
Episode #162

Rule #6 -- Make One Point per Comment

People have short attention spans, and in my experience attention spans are shorter on the Web and even shorter when people are skimming comments. A comment should be just that—a comment—not a manifesto. If you have something so complex and important to say that you can't do it in a few short paragraphs, start your own blog. If you have two separate things to say about the video, photo, or blog post, it's usually better to break it up into two separate comments. Remember, people are often skimming.

Rule #7 -- Keep it Short

This is really an extension of Rule 6, make one point, but since it's possible to go on and on about one point, I thought I'd also remind you to keep your comments short. Again, it's a comment, not your own blog post.

Rule #8 -- Link Carefully

If you're posting a comment with the hope of driving traffic to your own site, think carefully before you include a link in your comment. Of course you should include your link if the comment box has a place for it, but leaving a link in the body of your comment is a risky thing. Many people think it's great marketing, but a minority of people think it's obnoxious and pushy.* If you decide to do it, make sure you've written a thoughtful comment that truly contributes to the conversation on the owner's site, not a useless comment that's just a transparent excuse to leave your link. It's also considered more acceptable if your link points to something you wrote that's relevant to the conversation, not just a link to your general landing page.

Rule #9 -- Proofread

I know it's hard; those boxes in which you write comments can be tiny, and they usually don't include a spellchecker. But proofreading is important because if you have a lot of typos or misspellings, it undermines your authority. Any troll who disagrees with you can just say, "What do you know about chocolate storage, you can't even spell 'their.'" If you have trouble proofreading on the Web, write your comment in a word processor where you can see the whole thing and run it through spellcheck, and then paste it into the comment box.

So that's it, the nine simple rules for writing a blog comment. Did I miss anything? Leave a comment! 

Blog Image: Blog iconiiiiiii, Cortega 9 at Wikimedia. CC BY 3.0 Unported. 

*Based on my non-scientific survey of Twitter and Facebook users that got about 80 responses.

 

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About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of the Quick and Dirty Tips network and creator of Grammar Girl, which has been named one of Writer's Digest's 101 best websites for writers multiple times. The Grammar Girl podcast has also won Best Education Podcast multiple times in the Podcast Awards, and Mignon is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame. Mignon is the author of the New York Times best-seller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing" and six other books on writing. She has appeared as a guest on the "Oprah Winfrey Show" and the "Today Show" and has been featured in the New York Times, Business Week, the Washington Post, USA Today, CNN.com, and more. She was previously the chair of media entrepreneurship in the Reynolds School of Journalism in Reno, NV. She hates the phrase "grammar nazi" and loves the word "kerfuffle." She has a B.A. in English from the University of Washington in Seattle and an M.S. in biology from Stanford University. Mignon believes that learning is fun, and the vast rules of grammar are wonderful fodder for lifelong study. 

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