“This is the worst blog I’ve ever read. You’re an idiot.“
Imagine that you’ve spent hours crafting what you hoped was a thoughtful and well-written post for your blog. You post it and the comments start coming in. You’ve got a great dialogue going — and then, you get a comment like the one above.
And it stings.
Yet, comments like that one are not uncommon — almost every blog gets one at some point. As we all know, the Internet seems to encourage people to say things to others they would never say in person. Some people even make a game of it, visiting blog after blog and making insulting or offensive comments to see what kind of reaction they can get.
But if you are trying to build a positive online reputation, that’s the last thing you want to do. Everything you do online, from status updates and photos you post on Facebook to the comments you make on blogs and news stories can — and will — be seen by others. If you’re trying to land a job or gain followers for your social media feeds, your online life is on full display, including that nasty remark you made to a mommy blogger who had a different opinion about breastfeeding than you — a remark that could take you out of the running for the job.
On the other hand, thoughtful comments can actually help boost your online brand and reputation. That doesn’t mean sucking up to the blogger, claiming that their post is the best thing you’ve ever read (although praise is always welcome and acceptable), but instead adding to the conversation. Doing so can reap serious benefits for you, your reputation and your blog or website.
How many times have you read something online, only to get to the comments and have the first few only say “first!” or something similar? You might wonder why people are so excited to be first, but the trend is actually a traffic-driving strategy. Statistically, the first one or two comments on any post are the ones that other readers are most likely to click on, meaning those commenters’ blogs will see a traffic boost.
However, most people aren’t going to visit the blog of someone who has nothing more to say than “first!” so if you want to attract visitors to your site, you need to be more eloquent.
Comment Like You Mean It
There are a number of reasons to comment on a blog: You want to respond to a poignant, funny or insightful point; you have a question;or you disagree and want to share an opposing side to the issue.
Whatever the reason, there are certain “rules” to commenting. First, use your real name and link to your website whenever possible. Most blogs make this easy to do. Avoid putting your blog address or other links in the comment itself. Not only may the practice be banned by the blog owner, but other readers are likely to ignore them. If you add your site in the comment form, you’ll automatically create a link for others to follow.
Must Read: 10 Tips to Get Comments on Your Blog Posts
Second, make your comment meaningful. A bland “Great post!” doesn’t really say anything. Commenting is a great way to build relationships, both with the blogger and the other readers. Create an insightful post that adds to the conversation. Highlight what you liked best about the post or share an anecdote. Remember that in many cases, your blog comments will show up in online searches of your name.
Get the Most from Your Comments
While being the first to comment on a post isn’t mandatory, being among the earliest commenters is a good strategy for having your comments read. Most people don’t read all of the comments on a blog, especially when there are dozens of them. Also, try posting early in the day; the sooner you post, the more likely people are to read your thoughts throughout the day.
Don’t forget to respond to other commenters as well. It’s about relationships, and making thoughtful comments to others’ posts can get that ball rolling.
Your blog comments are one piece of the puzzle when it comes to your online presence, and what you say does matter. When done right, they can be a major boost to your public image and gain you more followers, so remember what your mother always said: If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.