Now that you know why it's important to comment on other teacher's blogs, you must understand how to write great blog comments. In short, you don't want to end up getting banned from blogs for being a spammer, or spend all your time commenting without providing any value to your own blogging efforts. So where is the happy medium? Professional blogger Darren Rowse has written an article on his site ProBlogger.net called The Ultimate Guide To Leaving Comments On Blogs. I strongly recommend you read it here.
In short though: If you follow these four steps, you'll be writing great comments in no time:
1. Read the post.
This really should go without saying. Make sure you understand the blog post you're going to comment on, and that you fully comprehend the author's intent. Of course, if you have questions, then those are perfectly acceptable to include in your comment on the post. They may even start a conversation with the blog author.
2. Read the comments that have already been made, if any.
It's really annoying as a reader and a blog owner to have a conversation going — only to have someone come in and ask the same question that has been asked five comments ago, because the writer didn't read all of the comments. Make sure you're a part of the conversation, not just a drive-by commenter.
3. Figure out what you can say that will add value to the conversation.
As I mentioned earlier, if you have a question about the writer's post, ask that question. Chances are, if you're confused, someone else will be, as well. Most blog authors will welcome your questions, and the opportunity to clarify their messages. Make sure you're polite, and that your intention is to understand better, not to point out faults or argue. (That said, some bloggers love to argue, so you'll need to read the blog and other comments to get a feel for each site and what is acceptable.)
If you have a unique perspective to offer, a story to further illustrate the blogger's point, or a point to add to what is already being said, then by all means, respectfully contribute your thoughts. While writing “Great Site!” in the comments is nice and respectful, it doesn't really help contribute to the conversation or help the author understand where you're coming from. If you think the post is amazing, make sure you explain why you think so.
This is also why it's important for you to allow commenting on your own website. The contributions of your readers will add value to your website beyond just giving people more to read.
To put this into “teacher-ease,” you will need to first make sure you understand the original post. If not, ask questions to make sure you are fully comprehending the topic. Once you're past that phrase, you can start analyzing and evaluating the concepts discussed in the original post and subsequent comments.
Here are some questions to help jog your mind. (I know that at the end of a long day, my brain definitely needs help in the jogging department…)
- Do you know of an application of the concepts that isn't being discussed, and that is relevant to the conversation?
- Are there any patterns or trends you can point out?
- Can you predict what might happen next as a result of the topic at hand?
- How do the concepts in the conversation compare to others you are familiar with?
- What recommendations do you have?
Sometimes, simply sharing your connection with the conversation will be enough:
- Have you experienced something in your life or your teaching practice that is similar to the topic? If so share the short version and tell what you learned from that experience.
- Did you read a book or an article that discussed the concept, and what was the author's perspective? What was your takeaway, and how does that relate to this conversation?
- Have you heard about someone else's experience that is similar to what is being discussed? Can you share that experience?
(My ELA teacher readers will recognize these as text-to-self, text-to-text, and text-to-world connections. Hey! You should show your students how making these connections will help them in the real world when they're trying to connect with other people online in their hobbies or careers…)
4. Include a link back to your blog in the “website” or “URL” field of the comment form.
As Darren mentions in his article, some people are so afraid of spamming that they don't even link back to their own site. If you're adding value to the conversation though, and you're not just trying to promote yourself, then there is no reason not to put your blog link in your profile so that others can see what you have to say on your site, and follow your blog, as well. That being said, do not include a link to your site in the body of the comment. Most bloggers will include a place for you to add your website address (URL), and that is enough.
A Few Basic Commenting Tips
Here are a few more basic tips to help you become a successful blog commenter.
- Keep your comments short. No one wants to read a novel in the comments section.
- Make only one point per comment. See #1.
- Proofread your comment before you hit submit. Once you've published that comment, there is no taking it back.
- Finally, if you don't have anything nice to say, or you can't think of a respectful way to make your point, keep your comments to yourself. No trolling!
Finally, here are some additional resources to help you learn how to write great blog comments:
- How To Write A Great Blog Comment by Quick and Dirty Tips
- The Ultimate Guide To Leaving Comments on Blogs by ProBlogger
- How To Write Comments by The Blog Herald
Finally, you can watch this video: