31DBBB Day 20: Leave comments on other blogs

This is day 20 of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog,a group project 60+ of us bloggers are doing together in an effort to help each other become better bloggers.

Leaving comments on other blogs is a practice that many of the 31DBBB participants have already been doing for nearly 20 days. Leaving a comment on another blog in your niche is a great way to get yourself noticed and is probably the best thing since yellow hot-shots.

What is a yellow hot-shot?


A hot-shot is basically an electrical device used in the agricultural industry to make an animal move from one point to another. It delivers a small electrical jolt via two prongs. When used correctly, this little zap can get a cow or other animal, such as a blog, moving in the right direction. But when used too much or used incorrectly, it ends up being counter-productive and just makes things worse.

Commenting on other blogs in your niche is just like using a yellow hot-shot. When used correctly, it can really add value, not only to you, but to your blog also. Using your “comment hot-shot” effectively takes a little more effort than just zappin’ everything in sight.

Without copying and pasting all the great information, here are the things that stand out if you want to hot-shot comment effectively.

  • Add value to the post you are commenting on. Just because you can comment doesn’t mean you should comment. If you don’t have anything other than “Great Post!” or something similar, keep your hot-shot in your truck.
  • Add questions about the topic. These can be directed right at the author, or to be even more engaging, ask a question that other visitors might try to answer. Blogging is about engaging the reader. The more you can help in the discussion, the more credible you become. Use your hot-shot to keep the conversation going.
  • Add a disagreement about the post. Obviously this needs to be done out of love, but there is no better way to get people’s attention than to disagree. Be cautious in using this hot-shot method. Your comments are a mini-resume about you.
  • Add a link to something you have written that specifically adds value to the post. If a Christian blogger is writing about King David, don’t throw in a link about your cousin David’s dog and the time you used the hot-shot on him.

There are so many ways to comment ineffectively that I won’t list them all here. There are a few no-brainers to avoid such as putting 6-7 links in your comment, one or two word comments, bad grammar and bad spelling, and dominating the conversation.

All in all, commenting effectively can sure get your own blog and your credibility moving in the right direction. When you add value and substance to a conversation, people will start to take notice. By commenting intellectually and effectively, you will have people drop by your own blog to see what else you have to say. Who knows, you might even be asked to write a guest post on a big blog one day.

Discussion questions:

  1. When you leave a comment on a blog, do you subscribe to the follow up comments so you can stay in the conversation or do you just perform a “drive by comment” and leave?
  2. Do you try to comment on every blog that you read?
  3. After reading today’s topic, do you think you will comment on other blogs more or less?
  4. Would you be more apt to comment on a post that you agree with or when you disagree?

The Extra Mile

A few other things you can do to take your blog, other bloggers, and this project even further today…

  • Reply & give other bloggers feedback on the little things they do.
  • When other bloggers include a link to a new article they’ve posted today, click, read, and comment on it.
  • Check previous posts in the series for new comments.
  • Tweet, share, & bookmark this post.
  • Please review Janis Van Keuren’s blog, Open My Ears, Lord, and give her some feedback.

Kevin Weatherby is takin’ a look at God’s Word from a meat and tater’s perspective instead of fish eggs and fine china. He blogs at Campfire Cowboy Ministries and you can follow him on twitter at @CowboyMinistry.

69 Responses to “31DBBB Day 20: Leave comments on other blogs”

  1. I really appreciate this post. The notable site I recently "added value" to actually asked for constructive feedback, but clearly preferred the boringly, routine and patronizing "great blog" comments or variations on that theme. That said, I suppose I did get a little enthusiastic, but I did speak in love and I did constantly affirm the host throughout the engagement – its saddened me to see my efforts at sincere engagement so easily lost. I suppose we have to accept that when that happens, we must just move on.

  2. I have to be very honest here:
    1. This is a major strategy to my efforts to build trust, relationship and referrals to my blog
    2. The reward is way, way, way outstripped by the effort.
    But then again, things like trust and relationship don't happen quickly – they that time and lots of effort.

  3. To me this is one very good way to sow so that we can reap – by investing in the blogs of others we will surely get some payback on ours, a biblical principle. Thanks for really useful insight.

  4. 1. I usually subscribe to the comment replies so that I can stay in the conversation if I have the option. Some blogs do not have this option.

    2. I do not comment on every blog I read. I have become more active on several of the blogs in our group. Not just because we are supposed to, but because the content is engaging and it relates to me. I will continue to do so even after our time here is done.

    3. It will probably be about the same. However, I have been thinking about putting together a schedule of finding new blogs and recording how often I am looking for new places to engage. This will keep me pushing me boundaries.

    4. I would probably comment on either. However, I feel it very important to disagree politely.

    I have posted my opinion post today. A book review of Linchpin by Seth Godin: http://larrywestfall.com/book-review-of-linchpin-

    Kevin this was a great post. I love how you can take your cowboy stories with you everywhere you go.

  5. Yes, I subscribe to the follow-up comments. I want to know what happened next, as well as what came before.

    No, I do not try to comment on every blog I read. If I don't have something I really want to say about a subject, I don't comment.

    I think I will continue to comment on blogs about the same as I have been. (Maybe a little more, now that I'm not as "blue" as earlier this week. Thanks for your prayers!)

    I tend to comment more on things I agree with than disagree with. As I mentioned yesterday, I don't like confrontation. (And I got my first "disagreement" comment on my blog for yesterday's post, although the poster didn't read the linked post which explained a little more. I replied and hope I did okay!)

    ~Jennifer

  6. Thought I would take a chance and ask a favor. I have posted a poll on my blog to explore what topics are of interest for others. I was hoping that everyone might encourage their readers to stop by and vote. The results can be seen by anyone so it would give each of you an idea of what the voting readers are looking for.

    I realize that some of you are write in a different niche than mine but your readers may also be interested in subjects outside of your writing. Everyone have a great day!!!

  7. Kevin, you're such a good writer with such an inviting style. This could have been another "duh" topic from the series, but you made it interesting and provocative.

    There are some blogs that do not allow comments on posts or, if they do, the comments go acknowledged. I tend to lose interest in those very quickly. I'm not reading blogs like a newspaper; there are online news outlets designed specifically for that. Blogs, to me, are like a pool party, everybody jumping in at once, being loud, having a good time. No matter how small the blog, engaging your readers keeps them coming.

  8. Kevin, nice job with this topic. Like Erica was saying this could have been a "been there, done that" kind of post/lesson/assignment but you made it interesting. And I think you made it clear that even if we've been commenting on other blogs, that it's worth thinking about how we comment and perhaps adjusting the way we do that to add more value.

    I almost always subscribe to receive an email notification of follow-up comments. I'm interested to see what if anything people write in response to my comment, and I often reply to replies.

    And on that topic, I would HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend to every blogger here that if you don't have an "subscribe to replies" option on your blog that you add it. It's one of the best ways to help facilitate back-and-forth discussion on your blog. People don't have the time to keep checking back on blog posts they've commented on. Me, I usually just forget. So, IMO, not having a "subscribe to relies" option is missing out on a big opportunity.

  9. I like commenting on other people's blogs. Aside from reaping and sowing and building up some kind of brand recognition and reputation, I like letting bloggers know that their stuff is being read. I like telling people that I like their posts and that it spoke to me, even if I don't have anything at all to add. So I do try to subscribe to the follow up comments and I certainly try to comment on every blog I come across, but I only comment when it's positive. (And disagreements can be positive.)

  10. Thanks to everyone for your kind words. John Acuff has a blog called, "Stuff Christians Like" and I have become a pretty avid reader. I heard him say in a post that he rarely replies to comments on his blog. His view is that his comments are the post and then he just lets everyone else have at it. He thinks that if you constantly reply to every comment, you tend to keep the discussion between you and one person instead of everyone as a group. He also mentioned that if you try to reply to every comment and then miss one, you kind of alienate that person.

    What do ya'll think?

  11. Oh yeah, it's HOT SHOT FRIDAY!!!

    My opinion post is up this morning, you can use it to disagree or agree or add value or just shake your head and turn me into the cops after reading it.
    http://campfirecowboyministries.com/2010/05/i-qui

  12. Not trying to dominate here, but I have a question for ya'll. What do ya'll think about moderating comments?

    When people comment on my blog, they are posted automatically. They are not held for moderation. An email is sent straight to me every time someone comments and then I can decide if I need to rush in and do something about it.

    It's kind of frustrating when you have something to say and then you get the message "Your comment is waiting for moderation". You go back an hour later and it still isn't there.

  13. Commenting is so fun!
    I usually subscribe to the replies by e-mail if that option is available. If I do that very much it begins to fill by inbox, but oh well, it's still a good way to keep up with the conversation.
    Questions are almost always good in the comments. I enjoy answering the questions or asking a new question to try to clarify what they were asking. I need to get better at asking questions when I comment on others' blogs. Kevin asked some great questions on my opinion post yesterday and we had a good discussion going: http://junctionforjesus.blogspot.com/2010/05/four
    The agree/disagree doesn't matter as much to me in commenting as much as if I think I can add to the conversation and if it really interests me.
    We are traveling from Colorado to Kansas today to visit our daughters. I need one of those yellow hot shots for my teenage son. Can't get him out of bed so we can get going. –Richard

  14. Woo Hoo! Got my cattle-prod (yellow hot-shot) in hand and am ready to punish some overly religious bloggers like the sacred cows they pretend to be!

    Okay, not really. Just sounded kind of fun!

    Great post, Kevin.
    1. I usually subscribe to the comments, unless I've left something short and sweet about the blog I've read.
    2. No, I only comments where I think I have something to possibly add to the conversation.
    3. More. I know how I like having the interaction on mine. I'm trying to share the love too.
    4. Usually when I agree, but I'm trying to learn how to add comments in a way that isn't disagreeable when I don't see eye to eye with the post. I try to use questions when this happens instead of just making statements.

    In my post today, I compare my son to Ferris Bueller.http://captainestes.blogspot.com/2010/05/they-all

  15. I read in another book by Darren that only 1% of your blog's readers actively make comments. I want to check my stats and see if this is true for my blog, you may want to do the same with yours.
    I think that one way to increase that percentage is to be engaged with other blogs, especially the blogs of your readers. In most of the comments I have reference to building relationship with readers, and one way to do that is to give, not simply take comments.

  16. Okay, my opinion post is up. I have left a lot of unanswered questions, so stop by and leave a comment on Worship Woes.
    http://ronniespoon.blogspot.com/2010/05/worship-w

  17. Another option for responding to comments: write a post based on them. Which I did today :) http://justapen.wordpress.com/2010/05/28/religion

  18. I have a question. We're talking about commenting on people's blogs, but I think this can apply to commenting anywhere. Commenting or liking what someone says about what you said on Facebook, retweating or responding to someone on Twitter, or places like here in the chat room knowing when to respond and when not to.

    On our own blogs when people leave comments, I don't always know how to respond to their comments. It's something like "I agree" or "you covered it all." I just don't have anything great to respond back with, and I feel that I need to because we've talked about how we should do that.

    What do you do in that situation when you should respond but don't have more than a two word answer? Do you still comment, or do you not comment (aka unacknowledged comments)?

  19. I posted my opinion post today. Talking about Worship Woes in the blog today.
    http://ronniespoon.blogspot.com/2010/05/worship-w

  20. Kevin this was a very useful post. This is a relational business in a relational kingdom. We must sow, others will water and God will add the increase.

  21. I sometimes subscribe to the comments if I left a question i'm hoping gets answered, or if the conversation is interesting. Normally I don't subscribe.

    I do not comment on every blog I read. I comment when I feel lead to, or when I feel I can add value or just want to say that I really liked what they had to say about that topic. If I can't relate or don't feel I'd add value I don't. I'm also an avid RSS subscriber and tend to be a rather silent reader. Working on becoming less silent and actually going and visiting the blogs and commenting.

    I think I'll comment about the same but will try to remember that some things may not be the best to say.

    Post for today – Top 5 Posts this Week –http://tijuanabecky.wordpress.com/2010/05/28/top-

  22. Kevin, What a great post. I love your sense of humor that is packed into all of your comments, posts, and now today's assignment. I agree with Erica. You took a simple concept and made it interesting. Well done.
    Probably the only thing I disagree on is the idea of not commenting on someone's post if all you can think of saying is great post. This is probably personal for me. As I get few comments, I would appreciate a comment that just said, "Great Post" because I would know a real live person actually read my post.
    And to all the real live persons that have commented on my blog today–"Thanks" for all of your helpful ideas. You guys are great!
    From My Heart to Yours,
    Janis

  23. This is great. I think you are really sharing some helpful ideas with folks. I can't wait to check out the other posts.

  24. I didn't have anything to do with the disappearances. When you do find the responsible party, Kevin has a torture device that he sometimes uses to discipline his children and the cows.

  25. I survived a hard week at work, and am looking forward to a long weekend when I can finally get back to my blogging! Yee-haw! (I think I could use a yellow hot-shot at work. Maybe that would help.)

    Commenting is an area I've fallen off of. Heck, I need to catch up on my blog reading. But there is definitely something to what Peter says: you reap what you sow (though not right away). And I really like the emphasis on adding value — that makes so much sense.

    I did manage to sneak two posts in:
    Pray for Louisana, crushed by our sin, a news post
    Jesus Manifesto, a review of a book about to be released

  26. 1. I usually subscribe to the comments. I like to know if there is a reply afterwards.
    2. I haven't and likely won't comment on every blog I read. There isn't always a reason to comment.
    3. After reading today's post I will likely try to comment more often.
    4. I would likely comment if the topic of the post is something I am passionate about. Whether or not I agree is not the deciding factor on whether or not I comment.

  27. The points you raised in todays write-up are very vital. However the issue of diagreeing with the writer in his own blog may generate controversy and if not managed properly he may treat you comment as a spam.

  28. I just leave my comment to those blogs that really get my attention whether I agree or not. It is fun to stay in the conversation. Sharing my own views and then learning from others is really great.

  29. Everything is very open with a really clear description of the challenges.
    It was definitely informative. Your website is very useful.
    Many thanks for sharing!

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