Sunday, June 28, 2015

Should You Be Commenting Back? | Book Blogging Tips (#6)

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If you're a blogger, you probably know that this is big deal in the blogging world. Everyone wants comments, dozens and dozens of comments, in fact.

While it's nice to have someone listen to what you're saying and feel acknowledged, sometimes we bloggers have really unrealistic expectations of our readers.

It doesn't matter what kind of content you post, it's still nice to have someone respond.
Commenting Back, yay or nay?

Some bloggers like to let you know that IF you comment on their blog, you're guaranteed to get a reward in form of a comment on your blog.
It has become a custom among bloggers to reciprocate comments and I think that's a wonderful thing.

You don't only get a nice treat for making someone else happy, but you might also start a friendship or a nice conversation like this.

What also plays into the whole thing is the quality of comments.

Quality VS Quantity

While we do all want our blogs to show a bunch of comments- let's be honest here:

Would you rather have twenty comments saying "Cool blog, go check mine out" OR two longer comments that are actually tackling the topic of your post?

I'm sure most of you would choose the latter.

If you're an avid participant in the Commenting Back system, leaving quality comments will easily get very exhausting.

The bigger you blog, the more comments you get and the more comments you're going to have to give. It's a beautiful system in theory, no questions asked, but in reality I imagine that it's hardly possible to keep up when you've got a massive follower reach.

So what do you do then? Leave comments that scream TL; DR in return? Does the content of your comments matter to you or are you just happy to have them?

Getting Those Comments In The First Place

Discussion posts are more likely to get comments because they are asking for opinions, memes are pretty likely to get lots of comments if they're lists and rather short.

But what about reviews?

I've always wondered why people tend to not comment on reviews. When do you even comment? Regardless of the content you prefer - do you comment on excellent posts or on really bad ones?

Blogging SHOULD NEVER Be All About Comments

I can imagine that if you're a really big blog it'll easily become a chore to comment. As bloggers we want people to truly care about what we have to say, don't we?

Aside from that - ask yourself why you even want those comments. The first goal of your blogging experience should be to make yourself happy. It's perfectly understandable that you don't want to be caught shouting into the void.

But is commenting back really the answer to it all? I always feel like I'm only getting a quick nod back, because typically those "commenting back" comments aren't necessarily the basis for a great conversation with the person commenting.

Well, there ARE exceptions, but I honestly want people to comment for the sake of my posts, not because I left a comment on their blog in 1927 once.

Just like everything in life, it comes down to preference, but I truly believe that commenting back is a nice concept - IF you use it responsibly and don't leave nonsense contributions everywhere for the sake of pushing your own comment count.

On what kind of posts do you like to comment?

For the Bloggers: Do you comment back? Why/Why not?

More Tips:

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  1. I try and comment on any posts that interest me - reviews/memes/discussions. You are right though discussion posts are the easiest to comment on. I try to comment back on anyone who stops by (my blog is small so it isn't a huge issue). I also understand that a lot of blogs I visit and comment on don't comment back and that's fine. It is not why I commented in the first place.

  2. I totally agree with Grace! I usually try to comment back on every blog that stops by, however, if there's nothing that interests me or grabs my attention I also don't want to leave a 0815-comment saying "Oh, great post! Thanks for stopping by!" - I'm not a big fan of those comments. Well.

    I actually like commenting on reviews of books that I either already read or plan to read sometime in the future - it's interesting (at least I think so) to read other people's opinions and thoughts and helped me a few times to decide if I should buy a book or not. But you're right, I also always wonder why people aren't commenting on reviews. That would be really interesting to know. :D

    Yvonne @ A World Between Folded Pages

  3. That's lovely to hear. You should comment on other blogs in the first place because you're interested in their posts. If they comment in return, that's only the cherry on top. Love your point of view.

  4. Probably because they're too long. People like to read short posts and a review spans 300-700 words on average. I don't know, I'd love to see on poll on that topic. But I guess people who don't comment, won't speak up and tell us why though. :/

  5. I agree with you! I definitely think that quality over quantity is best :) That being said I try to respond to all my comments on the blog, I may not get back to theirs but at least they know I saw, read, and appreciated their comment. But even that for someone with a big following would be a tedious, time consuming task.

    With blog memes like F&F and TTT I try to comment back on the person's blog as I see that the point of those memes is to meet new bloggers, but again that's not always possible either.

    Great post!!!

  6. I really need to get better about commenting back. It’s hard because it’s so time consuming, and I need that time for reading and writing book reviews. I feel bad for leaving a “Thanks for stopping by” comment. I want my comments to be at least slightly meaningful.

  7. Thank you! I think everyone has to decide for themselves. Commenting for the sake of it isn't really serving the purpose anyways.

  8. Oh yes, I absolutely agree, this is obviously less about the comments you get on your blog, but more about whether you go to someone else's blog to return the favor. I definitely agree that the discussions in the comments are a big part of why I blog and have fun doing so.

    Yeah, your comments are insane! I have no idea how you do it - I could never manage to reply to so many comments AND check those people's blogs out. I have an insane amount of respect for that and I'm sure it's a lot of work. Everyone has to handle it their way, I can just agree to everything you said here.

  9. Wow, that's a very amazing blog post, I too have that sign, so I religiously comment back and I try to comment something related to the blog post not just for the sake of commenting back, and I too get one or two comments related to my reviews, so I feel glad that there are few bloggers who like to say nice things about my reviews.

  10. I love this post! I absolutely HATE when people comment with something like, "Nice, check out my blog." There is one girl who left that actual comment on my blog at least once a week for MONTHS! And eventually I just started deleting them because they got ridiculous.

    I always try to comment back, but if I'm just really not in the mood or know I don't have time to leave quality comments for whatever reason... I struggle a bit with whether to bother at all. I don't want to be insulting!

    And I feel you on the review comments! I definitely do like commenting on reviews, especially if it's a book I've already read. I guess that's weird - that I'd rather comment on reviews of books I've already read... But I like to discuss! If it's something I haven't read I feel like I'm just saying the same things: either "I'll read it too now" or "that sucks" or the like. Oh well.

    Soooo complicated!

  11. Thank you! Absolutely agree to that.

  12. Yeah, I know :/ I have about two or three commenters who do that exact thing. In the beginning I stayed polite and replied to them like I would to any other comments by saying thank you, but seriously, sometimes I just ask myself what these people think they are achieving...

  13. I have so many thoughts on this - it's hard to really get them all together into one comment.

    Generally, no. I do not comment back. I don't like feeling obligated to do that - and there is a lot of entitlement in this community when it comes to that. Do I visit? Yes. BUT, I will only comment if I have something to say on a post. As far as my blog goes - I don't want comments if someone is just doing it for a return comment (this happens). And I am OKAY with only having a few comments on a post, or even none. It shows me that those people that continue to comment, are genuinely interested in what I post.

    Discussion wise - I comment back on THEIR comment, and that is how I like to have conversations. If they ask me something, i answer and ask something else. Having two comments on two different posts, let alone blogs, is not a conversation IMO.

    But I comment on anything/everything that interests me. Reviews, memes, discussions.

    Great discussion!

  14. Well, this is it. The one comment that reflects my opinion 100%. I have nothing left to add. Thank you so much, I agree with every single thing you said there.
    I wouldn't want people to comment on my blog solely because I commented on theirs - this is why I don't go on every single blogger's blog. Well, actually I do go to their blogs sometimes, if the comments were very nice or the exact opposite and when I happen to see something nice, I'm commenting. Yo. That's basically the same thing you said, but yea.

  15. Wow, this is tough. I have actually been pondering it for a few days, because I am kind of torn. On one hand, I am so completely overwhelmed and pressed for time and basically don't sleep, so that part of me totally agrees with you.

    But then... I don't know, I do LOVE commenting on people's posts, especially when they are people who I have actual conversations with on my OWN posts. And I am thinking from the sound of it, you feel the same way. And I get what you are saying about the "cool post" thing, and I will even give you an example:

    So, about two weeks ago, I was trying to catch up on comments, and this person said something that didn't fit AT ALL with the content of my post. So on a hunch, I copied the comment and Googled it... and wouldn't you know, the results showed that this person copied and pasted the EXACT comment in the posts of EVERY person they'd visited on that meme (it was a Top Ten Tuesday, and I wasn't following the rules, as usual ;) ) even though it didn't even APPLY to my post. So not only did they not even bother to READ my post, but in this copied and pasted "comment", they encouraged me to visit THEIRS. Now, here's where I should have just NOT visited theirs, right?

    Well, since I am so ridiculous about commenting, I STILL visited her post and STILL left a nice, appropriate, pertinent comment. And WHY!? I have no idea. I need to listen to the things you are saying because honestly, I am going to drive myself nuts responding to every single word.

  16. Don't let Cait fool you, she's secretly a cloned army of Caits. ;)

    In all seriousness, I do not know HOW she does it- at all. Magic, if I had to guess.

  17. Wow! Why did you do it then? I never respond to comments like this, I used to, but honestly, I'm done. Writing up decent blog posts takes so much effort and these people can't even be bothered to write something original? Nope, I'm not giving them more any more attention. On the other hand I think it's admirable what you're doing - I mean who has the time to leave a comment on every blog that comments on theirs? I certainly don't. Well, if I actually did that it would put so much pressure on me that couldn't handle it.

  18. That's just it- the pressure is really getting to me. And you are right- if they cannot be bothered, why should I? I am not doing it any more! You have inspired me to be less ridiculous! Actually- today I was trying to comment back, and there was literally NOTHING I could comment on- I knew NONE of the books, so... I didn't! It was kind of liberating :)

  19. Well, I firmly support commenting back, but I do understand what you are saying up there. Sometimes it feels like a chore to go comment back on all the blogs, but at the same time, I genuinely love doing it! To me, the whole system of commenting back is a way to get to know other bloggers. I got introduced to a lot of blogs when I started out, through commenting on blogs and commenting back.

    And also, about comments themselves, they matter a lot! Come on, I don't spend hours to put my thoughts into words and form a post, just to be satisfied with the fact that people are reading it, right? I want feedback, and I personally think that blog posts are a way to initiate conversation, and there's no fault in desiring reply, is there?:)

    Wonderful post , btw, Jen!:)

  20. I try to always comment back. I don't do this out of obligation, I do this because I love blogs. I have discovered and followed a bunch of sites through commenting back. Half the people I get in my email are folks that stopped by and left a comment and now we are virtual friends on the net. I also try to answer comments on my site. I want people to know I am a real person who cares that they left a comment. I appreciate those comments. I don't just blog for them, but it makes me giddy to know people thought enough about my post to leave a reply.

  21. Just do what feels best for you. You don't always have to comment back, I mean you can still stick to doing it occassionally. ;)

  22. I absolutely agree, it really is a great way to get to know other people. The thing is, I don't want people to comment on my posts just because I commented on one of theirs. I want them to do it on their own, because they liked the content.

    Thank you! <3

  23. Aw, thank you! <3

    I understand it has good intentions, but. Doesn't always work out that way, sadly

  24. Sadly, I don't feel like the majority of the people who do comment back actually care for my posts. I want people to read my stuff for the sake of it, not because they just need to find to comment back on.
    I think it's rather hard to make actual friends in the blogging community. There are a few people that I frequently talk to, but being actual friends is a different thing.

  25. I've never been one to comment back for the sake of commenting back. I always go check out the blogs of those that comment on mine simply because I'm a bit nosy. If I see something to comment on I will, but I've always been more of a fan of writing comments with substance. I often write essay-like comment son others blogs because something they posted has left me with so many things I want to say. I've found lots of wonderful blogs using my system on commenting only when I have something to say, but I do sometimes worry that people will be upset that I don't comment back. I also comment on any post really, discussions are easiest to comment on simply because they are already asking questions and raising discussion points that will give you something to comment on, but reviews I comment on if I've read the books, or it's made me want to read a book, I comments on memes if the mood takes me. It simply whether or not a person has written something that gets you thinking or not.

    As you say, in theory, the commenting back system is fantastic, but the time and effort involved is sometimes too much for people to do and as long as others are understanding of that it is great.

  26. Yup, I agree with all of that - I didn't even notice that it's actually nosiness that makes me want to check out other blogs. Especially if the comments are something that makes me rethink my own point of view, I tend to go on their blog and look what they've been up to.

  27. I usually comment back if I feel like I have something meaningful to say in regards to the post. As a blogger, I do like receiving an "You got a comment" email. However, I want to get a comment related to whatever it was that I just posted, instead of "hey great blog, follow mine!".

    As for commenting back - I try as much as I can to do it. But again, if I don't it's not because I'm ignoring the person who wrote me something or because I don't want to, but because I don't have anything meaningful to say.

  28. Absolutely agree. No comment is better than an irrelevant spam comment.

  29. Commenting back is tricky for me. I used to be really good at it for a few months, but then found that it was making answering comments take so long that I was going weeks without answering at all and that didn't seem good either. When I do try to comment back, there are times when there are just no posts on that blog that interest me at all so I don't want to force it and leave a meaningless comment! In the end I guess I just try to comment back when a person's post catches my eye and not stress myself out too much :-/

  30. Definitely, if the comments get me thinking I'm way more intrigued with what people's blogs look like. And I long ago accepted my following back to other people's blogs is just blatant nosiness on my part. I prefer to think of myself as naturally curious rather than nosy, it sounds better. Less like that little old lady that lives next door that's always peering out her window and getting in your business, more like that fun friend you have that always seems to have all the good gossip.

  31. I do comment back, I also blog partly for the comments, it's what makes blogging fun. But if I really have nothing to say I won't force myself to comment. 99% of the time though I feel like I can leave a meaningfull comment in return. I do see your point though, you want people to comment on your posts because they are great and they find it a great review or interesting post. Not because they simple comment back, although I do appreciate the gesture. And I don't want people commenting on my blog simple because they know I comment back and they want that return comment.

    On the other hand taking the time to visit someone's blog and leave a comment back is a nice way to say thank you. I have little time each day to comment, so in that case I prefer to comment back and show those bloggers some extra love who took time to comment on my blog. Sometimes that means I comment on a post I might not have commented on else. And most of the times I am still happy I read that post and looked past my initial expectations. And sometimes it does feel like an obligation to comment back, even though I believe in doing so, it's still something I force upon myself.

    I think the concept and the idea is great and I love receiving comments back and comment back myself. I do think it can be a bit of an obligation to comment back and soem people probably do comment for the coment back. I do think that the idea that blogging should come from both sides it a nice idea. If someone comments on your blog, it is nice to check out their blog in return.

  32. My main problem is getting overwhelmed as well. I mean it's not a big deal if you check out someone's blog weeks after they commented, but it's a bitch to keep up with everything. Don't stress yourself.

  33. In theory that's great and all, but not everyone has the time and motivation to do that. What if I don't see anything on that blog that I'm interested in? Should I leave a non-sense comment? I'd never do that, I'd rather not comment than leave a contribution that isn't doing anybody good.

  34. I agree and I understand not everyone has the time and motivation for it. For me it works, but I also don't mind when bloggers don't comment back. I can see also see the other point of view.
    When I comment back it happens sometimes I see nothing that catches my interest I usually do try to read a post and see if there is something I can comment about. I don't think you should ever leave a non-sense comment that doesn't help you or the blog on which you comment.

  35. Exactly, I figure people are willing to forgive the time lag, but that just means that it builds up to hours worth of work that a whole Saturday has to go to!

  36. I've always been a big proponent of commenting back because I LOVE building relationships with other bloggers and I do find that the people I comment back and forth with the most feel like blogger "friends" to me. That being said, I NEVER post a "Great post!" type comment and always try to come up with something actually thoughtful to say. I sometimes have to go back a few posts to find something that interests me enough to do that. Now, I will say that, since my blog has gotten a lot bigger, I've had to give myself permission to not ALWAYS comment back, especially if there are times when I'm just overwhelmed with other (usually editing) deadlines - there just aren't enough hours in the day (this is even more true since I also read every single discussion post posted to the discussion challenge and comment on all of those - even if I get behind sometimes, like I am right now - discussions I can pretty much always come up with something to say!).

    Anyway, that was my long-winded way of saying that I totally support commenting back, but I agree with you that mindless comments are useless. I want to build a dialogue, not just spout nonsense! :-)

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  37. I try to comment back just because I appreciate that someone took the time to read my content and felt like they had something to say about it. I then feel compelled to check out their own blog, especially if they left a meaningful comment. I like what they're saying, so chances are I will like the content on their blog. I have found some great blogs that way... like this one! I am here as you left a comment on one of my posts and I was curious to check out your own blog. AND I LOVE IT :) And am now following and will be back regularly to comment. I love finding new blogs that way.

    But I agree that I would rather two long, meaningful comments that are relevant to the posts than the spam comments of 'Great post! :) Check my blog out' as they are pointless.

    I comment the most on discussion posts, as they obviously give me more to comment on. But I also comment a lot on reviews that I read.

  38. I always comment back depending on the content of the comment. Some are conversation starters. Some I just follow back to their blog and comment there :) It's a nice gesture to let bloggers know "I read you".

  39. I think a compliment is fine, too I always get excited when people say nice things!! :) Yes, the people on whose blogs I comment frequently on and who comment back on my blog do feel like friends, it's awesome.

    Thank you!

  40. Oh, oh my god!! Thank you I had no idea! I'd love to see you here more often, your blog is great!

  41. I don't expect bloggers to leave me a comment for every comment I leave them, but I am stopping following bloggers who don't regularly comment on my blog. I really like the back-and-forth interaction when I regularly comment on another blog and that blogger regularly visits me. There are so many great blogs out there, I feel like this is a good way to narrow it down to those which will lead to the best interactions.I don't think it makes sense to comment back if you don't have something meaningful to say though.

  42. I don't know I think that's a plan that works as long as your follower count is in the two digits or maybe low three digits. I don't expect every blogger that I comment on to read my blog and vice versa. I honestly think comments are earned. I wouldn't find something to say on someone's blog just because they're a frequent commenter on mine.

  43. It definitely helps that I only have a few hundred followers, but the real cap here is the number of blogs I can read. I can only read several dozen blogs and so I narrow that list to bloggers who also regularly comment on my blog. I feel like that's the best use of my blog reading time. I don't expect every blogger whose blog I comment on to be following me or visiting regularly, just those whose blogs I follow.

    I am also able to comment back in response to nearly every comment I get, but if I can't find something meaningful to say, I don't say anything at all. I think with practice, I've gotten better at finding bits of a post that I can relate to though, so it's less common for me to be unable to write a meaningful comment.


Comments make every blogger's day. Don't be afraid and say something, even if it's just a smiley face or a quick "Hey, I liked this" or "Hey, I didn't like this". Don't be shy! xx

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