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.

    • What happens if your comments are misunderstood?

      Look, whatever, I do really value what you are saying here – it is about trust and relationship building. It is through engagement that relationships get through polite veneer to real interaction and a shared vision. I really believe in what you are saying – thanks Phillip.

  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.

    • do unto other what you will have them do unto you?
      wish that worked
      then I'll have 1000 comments a week

      • I know it doesn't directly, but there is a ratio – some say its about 20:1 – there is also a biblical principles. I believe in giving and letting God pick up the tab later. It always comes back somehow, sometime, but often we miss it.

      • There’s a lot of stuff here that I’m going to have to come back too. Currently sunning mysel in Saundersfoot. Caravan all set up, family off walking and I’m having 5m to myself :)

        anyway will catch up with replies on monday.

  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.

    • I meant to say: sometimes comments go unacknowledged. You knew what I meant.

    • We did know what you meant, but I had forgotten all about it by the time I had gotten to the pool party. I'm trying to find my trunks.

      Good insight. Taking time to engage our readers in conversation shows them that we appreciate them being part of the conversation.

      • I make an effort to respond to every comment made on my blog, but there are plenty of times where I'm reading it and thinking "ok well I can't really put together an intelligent reply to that one." or the only the reply that i can come up with is "Thank you for your comment." And that's just trite and almost as insulting as not saying anything at all. Do you think it would be better for an author to respond intelligently where it's warranted or should (s)he respond to every comment made?

        • I think we should always respond with intelligent dialogue. This is hard for most of us men because we mostly just convey information, we don't really know how to converse. As a blog grows I imagine it will be impossible to respond to every comment. It would take all of your time. Paul doesn't do that here because that is all he would get done. However, I think that there are times when we can engage our readers and ask them to further explain, thank them for dropping by, refer them to another post they may like, ask an unrelated question (I ask Kevin cowboy questions that are usually not on topic), etc… I think we could follow up with most comments in some way if we would take the time to be creative, the problem is that we just may not always have the time.

        • I try to respond to each comment on my blog as well. Often I have a lot more to say on the subject of my post than I was able to put into the about 400 words that I try to limit myself to. So when I get good questions it allows me to add content that I had to cut in the original post. And so it extends the conversation by adding new thoughts to the subject at hand.

          Does anyone else do that?

        • When that happens, I step away for a minute (or twenty). Comments aren't phone calls that demand an instant uh-huh. Once I figure out what to say, I come back with a reply. The trap of replying to every single comment is having to reply to every single comment. But I do it, mainly because I don't have the time to comment on every blog that I read (that's an 8-hr job!) So I engage readers when they take the time to comment on mine.

          Disclaimer: when someone comments on an old post, I will probably leave it hanging. Holy moly, I can't engage on two weeks' of posts. Where were you the day I wrote this? Haha…

          • LOL Erica. I regularly get email notifications of new comments on posts that were written months or even years ago. I rarely respond to those either. :)

    • Great points, Erica. Kevin did an excellent job with this post. And like you, I think on good blogs the comments are at least as important/interesting as the post itself.

  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?

    • I love Jon and his blog. I understand his perspective, but he also has the benefit of having thousands of readers, something most of us don't have. When other readers are replying to each others comments, then I agree the author of the blog can sit back and watch the conversation. But if you have only a few people comment on a post, I think it's good to reply, though I think the point about not replying to every comment is probably a good one.

      • Yeah, I have gone back and forth on this one…it seems that when I reply to every comment, it tends to be single conversations instead of a group effort.

        I have tried on other blogs to ask open ended questions and not just address the author, but other people as well

      • I agree with you, Paul. I don't have many readers and when I get a comment, I want to respond to make that reader know his/her comment was important to me.
        I think the commenting is part of building relationships.
        Janis

    • That's something that I struggle with too. I typically don't have a ton of commenters but knowing when to respond and when not to, especially if you don't have anything more to say to the commenter then "agreed."

      What is the link for Jon's blog? I'm interested in checking it out.

    • Personally I think that smacks of some form of arrogance.

      Sure he can't respond to every comment, but when someone has taken the time to comment intelligently having read the blog, then the least he can do is acknowledge some of them on each post.

      Jus my 2p with the hot-shot prod.

  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.

    • Kevin, I agree. I hate it when blogs don't post your comment until the moderator approves it. I think bloggers who set up their blog like that are probably motivated by irrational fear rather than a good understanding of blogs and comments.

    • I myself moderate, because I have had some strange comments left. (Not by any 31DBBB-ers and they were all pre 31DBBB) I like having the option to keep things on

    • I feel the same frustration if my comment doesn't appear right away, although most of the blogs I have commented on have active moderators who quickly check out the comments and get it up. However, I have commented on blogs where this wasn't the case and I have since stopped reading them.
      Another frustration is having to go through a 5-6 step validation process in order to post a comment. Most times, unless I have something really important to add to the conversation, I just skip it.

    • I strongly dislike comment moderation, especially when it takes a week for approval and a 700+ FICO score for publication. As Paul said, there is an irrational fear working somewhere. Someone might actually disagree with you. Or immediate publishing could somehow erupt a flame war. Like that's gonna happen on our relatively small blogs. We wish people cared enough about our topics to start a fight. That'd be awesome.

      If potential spam is the issue, there are filters for that.

    • I have a strong dislike of moderation and pauses and such, (I'm not sure how to turn that option off on my blog yet, anyone know?) but at the same time there is the real possibility that someone can show up and be deliberately hurtful or disrespectful without really commenting on the material. We can delete and remove those comments once we find them, but that could take time. Don't misunderstand me, I think that is the remote exception and shouldn't rule how we run comments on our blogs, but once burned twice shy right?

    • I have been experimenting with both options because of the amount of spam comments that I have received in the past couple of weeks. I found a middle ground with my wordpress settings. I defaulted to an earlier setting I had that puts all first time comments in moderation and if approved then there comments will post automatically after that. That way if I have any spam it will get sent to moderation and never make the blog page.

      It seems that many are opposed to moderation. It seems that most don't like it when dealing with it on another blog, but I am interested as to how each person handles the comments on their own blog.

      • Larry, I think as Erica alluded to, the best thing is to have a good spam filter module in your blog. I'm not sure what platform you have your blog on, but with WordPress installed in a hosting account there are lots of spam plugins available.

        We use Spam Karma here. We get about 250 spam comments and 50-100 legit comments each day, and it's very rare that a spam comment gets through. It does seem like 1-2 legit comments are flagged as spam each day though.

    • I love you guys, and am glad you discussed this because I've been wondering some about that. I do comment moderation on my blog normally and sometimes feel bad if there is a comment and it took me awhile to allow it.
      Thinking i'm going to make some changes due to you're feedback. Thanks!

  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)?

    • One way, I think, is to make it personal: You can say "I agree," but add why it matters to you (whatever "it" is). Then you are adding to the post.

  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-

    • I saw that you posted your most commented on posts this week. Just wondering if this hurts or helps your traffic. I have done that a couple of times and my traffic goes way down.

      • Well you get any regular daily traffic that you'd normally get from those coming to see if you have something new up. And you have the ability to say that you posted something rather than nothing (nothing bringing close to no traffic). You still have the RSS readers but you can't tell when they read or not unless they click to comment or to read one of your top posts, which today was my first time doing that and those all weren't particulary popular so didn't bring in many readers from RSS. Those who click the link from twitter or Facebook probably didn't click because is said "Top 5 Posts" instead of something more exciting that they actually want to read about.

        So it brings in your regular traffic, but the people from Facebook/Twitter/or here don't click to read because of the title. So today I haven't had very many readers compared to other days but I had more readers than if I hadn't posted anything.

        Does that make sense?

  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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