#NewBloggers 101, Book blogging, Discussion

Book Blogger Etiquette: How To Get Comments? Part 3 of #NewBloggers 101 post series

Today we are talking about a VERY important part in a blogger’s life – the secrets of book blogging etiquette, or… how to get comments! As I felt that this topic might be a little tough to navigate alone, I have enlisted the help of my lovely advisor Shruti @ This Is Lit! Do check out her blog. She is awesome and hilarious <3

As you might or might not be aware, I have recently started a #NewBloggers 101 post series, mostly meant to go with our support group in order to help all those new book bloggers who have just started out! Keep your eyes on the blog on Fridays to see other posts in the series. If you want to find all the other posts in the series, expand this list:

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2018 (16)
 

This time we’ll be talking about how to get comments.

Why do you even need comments? Shruti obliges:

  1. They help you interact with the book community.
  2. Comments help you assuage engagement of your blog posts.
  3. They help you draw traffic from other blogs (NOT from links you leave in the comment but from your site’s link WP automatically adds)

So what IS the commenting game?

What are you even talking about, Evelina? Comments are for when people have something to say about your post. I comment whenever I want!

Don’t I..?

Have you ever wondered why some blogs have loads of comments, and some don’t? While some of the actually cool-looking and interesting book blogs might have zero on every post, you’ve all seen some 90’s design poorly aligned ones with weird font choices that seem to have 25 comments on each post. How does this even work, huh?

And this is what I’m going to talk about today.

BOOK. BLOGGER. ETIQUETTE.

Most people catch into this very fast! But there are people who just don’t. And believe it or not, a lot of those who HAVE caught up on that in a timely fashion, will think those other people are super rude or just full of themselves. But what if you’re just not in the know? Well that’s what I’m here for 😉

The general rules are fairly simple:

  1. Want to get comments? Visit others, and first GIVE to then RECEIVE.
  2. Someone commented on your blog? DO visit back. And ALWAYS comment back. If you can’t at the current moment, write it down. (Make a list. It works!)
  3. Can’t comment back right now? Like their comment. But do come back later. Shruti whispers that it’s very helpful when you just set aside a block of time in a day to do this. It’s a full fledged task! (*Now, liking a comment is optional – for example, my blog does not allow me to like people’s comments, purely technically. I’ve seen people assume it’s rude to not like comments though.)
  4. Don’t answer some people’s comments on your blog but leave others hanging. People might think you’re labeling. It’s best to always answer people in batches.
  5. Did you participate in a linkup? Don’t just drop your link and run to get comments. Visit other people’s links! Or better yet – come back again tomorrow to visit those who linked up AFTER YOU. (I will talk more on linkups in a later post!)

So you think these are simple rules. But you’d be surprised how many people don’t follow them!

Want to be even more sophisticated? Shruti advises:

  • Join some really cool comment challenges! One here, one more here, and one here – if you’ve got more, drop me a link, I’ll put it here! People sign up for these to make a promise that they definitely comment back. But if you join, don’t just join and then ignore comments altogether (people actually do that!) Go forth and comment on others’ posts to get some yourself.
  • Write comments that add value to the original post. Don’t leave generic comments that just add to the noise, be relevant!
  • Don’t leave spam comments. This is just for all the Spammer Sams out there. I once received a comment that just said “follow me”. With no punctuation. And nothing about my post.

So Why Should You Visit Back?

Have you ever noticed that the biggest, coolest bloggers VISIT YOU BACK? For example, Cait @ PaperFury or Alyssa @ Eater of Books ALWAYS visit back and comment on people’s posts. Should we think we write such awesome posts that they roll over their heads to read us? Well, some of us might, but definitely not all of us! But they visit back for ALL of us. Which brings us back to what…

Book blogger manners 😉

Bottom line: want to one day be as big as PaperFury? COMMENT BACK. ALWAYS.

I find that I am also often aggravated about how people ditch linkups. I can understand once or twice, you’re busy – that’s alright, everyone has tough times. But I have been in a linkup for over a half a year and dilligently visited everyone on the list, even those who link up after me. Some of those people have never deigned to visit me. NOT ONCE. That? Incredibly rude. So don’t do that. It’s mean! Shruti pokes her head in through the door and says: I know I won’t have time to visit every link in a linkup which why I don’t participate in them. If you can’t do it, DON’T.

So just remember – if you put your link on a list somewhere, you owe it to the people to visit them. At least the ones who were there before you linked up. If the rest visit you, you will visit them back if you’re following the second rule of book blogger etiquette! It’s simply following the Golden Rule – treat others the way you want to be treated yourself.

Now there are a few more things when it comes to comments. Good etiquette would require you to not link drop on other people’s blogs. Some people will drop a link to their own comment. This is generally looked at warily and I suggest avoiding that, unless the author of the post specifically asked you to, although it is generally deemed to be good for blog SEO. While I might be too nice to point this out myself, Shruti helps me out by saying that a lot of people will mark these kinds of comments as spam, herself included. However! There can be exceptions. Apparently, not all people know how to set a link to appear on their commenting profile for Blogger blogs, so if you don’t have that set, you should leave a link, because the blogger you’re visiting might find it hard to comment back otherwise. However, don’t do this on WordPress blogs, because your link will automatically be on your name in the comment.

There’s also another thing that you should consider putting on your own blog to  make it easier to get comments, and that is…

You might have noticed that when you post a comment on my blog, you can tick the CommentLuv box and you’ll be able to pick one of your newest posts! For those of you who have the ability to install plugins (this goes for self-hosted people), I suggest doing this because people love leaving their own link on someone’s blog, especially if it’s a new post. So if you have the ability, definitely install this plugin. For some, the older CommentLuv plugin doesn’t work – then you can try NoseGraze’s CommentLuv version.

And that seems to be all for commenting! Have you heard of inferred any of this stuff? Is that how you thought you actually get comments? Maybe you have something to add?

I’m Evelina and I try to blog about books that matter, with a bit of fun there too! Disability and equality will be topics you see a lot, but there’s also a lot of scifi, fantasy and… GIFs. I’m also the proud founder of #ARCsAnonymous.

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Anupama C K
Guest

Thanks Evelina for tips, it was really helpful. Thanks to your older post I created an Edelweiss profile and got 2 books approved so far. Looking forward to read more

katherine @ paperbackdreamer
Guest

this is actually such good advise !!
although, i will admit i’m awful for forgetting to reply back at times xD

Rasya
Guest
I agree with all of the points above! As a commenter, I’d feel a bit bad if the blogger that I commentated does not reply my comment. I’m not expecting a comment on my blog posts as my blog is not exactly commentable but I’d expect a short reply. Talking about comments, don’t you find that some of the blog posts are difficult to comment? Like a totally personal post (eg: battling depression, mental illness) or book review that I’m totally uninterested in? I’ve tried commentluv before but it doesn’t work so I drop the plugin lol. Would love to… Read more »
Louise @ DickensDoesBooks
Guest

So basically… be a decent human being! I will always comment if I have something useful or relevant to say. If I don’t, I always try to make sure I like their social media posts and try to interact with them that way 🙂

Shruti
Guest

Ayyyy, bomb post, Evelina! xD I’m loving the “While I might be too nice to point this out myself, Shruti helps me out by…”. Haha! Someone needs to say it!

Tiffany Chiang
Guest

Loving this series! I definitely agree that commenting on others’ posts and responding to comments on your own is so necessary to improve your own blog’s image. It’s also just so fun to interact with others and make friends~

Darius Jung
Guest

Thanks again for another really informative post. I’m definitely going to check out the CommentLuv plugin. Also curious to see your Linkup post to find out what that is, though it sounds like I won’t have the time to actually do one.

ireadthatinabook
Guest

This series is great! i really appreciate all the work you do for us new bloggers!

Louise Nettleton
Guest

This series is fantastic. What I find difficult is sometimes I say ‘this sounds great’. I don’t mean to be spammy, but it might come across that way. I think knowing when to wait until you’ve got more to say can be the hardest thing. x

Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews
Guest

I always try to comment – both on my post, and visit the commenter on their blog. It’s part of the fun interactions, yeah? However, I have to admit that sometimes, I feel a bit overwhelmed – especially if I’ve had very busy weeks at work. The main linkup I participate in is Stacking the Shelves and the Sunday Post. I love both – and I love visiting other blogs. I have been lagging a bit this past month or so – but I promise to do better 😉
Great post, Evelina <3

Tanya @ Rantings of a Reading Addict
Guest

I like to comment to try and spark more conversation and make new friends. I try to ALWAYS reply when someone comments on my blog, but always seem to have trouble getting to theirs. I don’t know if it is because I use Disquis or what. Does CommentLuv send you a message when you have a comment, then alerts the commenter when you’ve replied?

Lydia Tewkesbury
Guest

These are such good tips. Nothing drives me more crazy than someone just commenting ‘check out my blog’ – like, there’s a reason this is called a bookish community. It’s because there’s participation involved.

I am really looking forward to your post about linkups because I have no idea what those are. I’ve been kicking around here for like 2 years now, so I probably really should!

Inked By Books
Guest

Such a great posts! There’s definitely some things that I didn’t know about ☺️

Tammy @ Books, Bones & Buffy
Guest
Some great advice here. However, I am going to have to respectfully disagree with one of your statements. I do not feel joining a link-up requires you to visit EVERY post on the link up! That’s just crazy. I would never expect to hear from every single person on a 200+ blog link up! Anybody with that kind of time, well kudos to you, but I certainly don’t have time to do that. I’d much rather spend time leaving meaningful comments on blog posts that speak to me, and working on my own blog. Link ups to me are OPPORTUNITIES… Read more »
Sahitya Kosuru
Guest

Great advice… I definitely learned this through practice… Only got followers and comments on my blog after I started doing the same on others blogs….

Aparna Prabhu
Guest

Lovely post. Seriously someone, commented just “follow me”, that’s outright rude

Kester from LILbooKlovers
Guest

Great advice, Avalinah and Shruti!!! I might try visiting every commentor’s blog and commenting on one of their posts–sounds like a great idea! 🙂

Shruti
Guest

Thanks so much, Kester! That’s what I’m doing right now. xD

Sophie Eloy
Guest

Hehehe you are a dream team! As you said it’s basic etiquette! I keep Shruti’s advice to note it somewhere as I’m really busy during the week and can’t comment as much as I’d like to. Fantastic job Ladies

Shruti
Guest

Blocking aside a set time is the only way I can keep track of comments! Another thing that helps is the voice in my head that goes “shame! shame! shame!” every time I skip commenting back on at least a post of all the people who spent time commenting on mine. xD

Sophie Eloy
Guest

Shame is a powerful feeling indeed Shruti! It never leaves me LOL

Rosie Amber
Guest

This is such good advice, I try to leave comments, but I know I need to try harder.
I’ve also signed up for a discussion post link up this year and I’m trying to follow good etiquette there. I’m starting small so that I don’t over-commit and then fall short.

JJ @ This Dark Material
Guest

I’m pretty good about staying on top of the comments on my own blog/social media, but don’t always have the time to click through and visit the blogs of commenters I don’t already follow. That’s going to be something I’ll work towards doing more consistently in the future 🙂 Lovely post, as always ♥

Mathangi
Guest

Very useful post as usual Evelina! And I loved Shruti’s inputs as well. It’s such a simple thing, commenting back, yet one forgets it’s an etiquette every blogger needs to develop!

Vish
Guest
I am a newbie blogger but i was commenting back even before i read your post. I just felt that is how it should be. someone writes to you, u appreciate the effort and comment back. If you read something you like, you show appreciation. That was just my go to thoughts . But after i read your blog i realized how true it is to grow your community. I never thought of it that way and now when i see it, it is indeed a really really great advice! Regardless if someone does or not, you should definitely take… Read more »
Chantal
Guest

This is interesting!
I don’t have the option to like peoples comments on my blog 🙁 But I always comment back! 🙂

Jo
Guest

Wow, I didn’t know that something like comment challenges exist, such a cool idea! Thank you for this post, it was really helpful 🙂

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H.P.
Guest
One thing I’ve noticed for other people’s WordPress blogs is that I DON’T get an email notification if they reply to my comment, but I DO get an email notification if they Like my comment. So the Like notifications are how I know to go check for replies to my comment. The WordPress App, on the other hand, notifies you of replies to comments on other blogs. I just downloaded the app for my iPhone, but I am finding it super convenient (if a little redundant in addition to email notifications, which I may just turn off). I reply to… Read more »
Danielle
Guest

When I first started blogging, I didn’t get any comments. But when I’d done things like Book Blogger Hop, top 5 Wednesday, prompts where you have to interact with each other, that’s when I started getting more comments and gaining more confidence as a content creator. Because there was more of an audience to look forward to reading my stuff. 🙂

Ivyclad Ideas
Guest

Commenting back is definitely a good way to get regular commenters. I always try to do it, though I might miss the odd one from time to time.
I’m pretty bad with link-ups myself. I always comment back on the people who comment on mine, and I get a few other people off the list too, but once it gets past about 20 posts, I’m definitely not going to get to them all. Sorry!

The Lexington Bookie
Guest

You make it sound like it should be easy, but like, I’m furiously scribbling notes here, haha! Thanks for the tips, and I’m going to attempt to be more mannerly!

Sophie @ Blame Chocolate
Guest

Great post, Evelina! You seem to have tackled some of the most important commenting issues and I hope newcomers and veterans alike can appreciate your tips 🙂 Very helpful.
I always comment back, and if I can’t right away I’ll do it whenever I get the time. It’s just a way to show appreciation and let others know you care about their content just as much as they care about yours. It’s not only polite, but I think the biggest part of the whole experience: connection!

Paul Liadis
Guest

Those first two points are key:
“1.Want to get comments? Visit others, and first GIVE to then RECEIVE.
2. Someone commented on your blog? DO visit back. And ALWAYS comment back. If you can’t at the current moment, write it down. (Make a list. It works!)”

I remember doing this quite a bit when I was chasing comments to get on my blog. Back in the old days 🙂

Sam Bean
Guest

This is super helpful! I didn’t know there were comment challenges, but I will make more of an effort to return comments and comment on other people’s posts. I’ve unfortunately gotten into the habit of reading and not commenting. How did you come up with all these post ideas? They’re a really good idea!

Atheinne
Guest

Thank you so much for this! It’s very helpful and I’m hoping to use these tips soon as a newbie in the blogging universe 😀

Kristina
Guest

Yaay ! My comment etiquette seems to be on point ​

some times however, I don’t find anything interresting to post a meaning comment to (or some time harder to find one I havent already commented on !) woops.. ​ happens, right ?
Im already excited for your next blogger 101 post ! Im loving them, thank you so much for teaching us, lovely !

Atheinne
Guest

Phew! Glad I’m not yew only one experiencing this! Sometimes it’s a struggle to think of what to reply too and will take me a few days to craft something to say ll

Vicky Who Reads
Guest

This is all great advice! Thank you for sharing! The only problem I’ve found with some of the really huge blogs that do comment back is that when you respond, they’ll usually not continue the conversation unfortunately (obviously not things like “Thank you!” “You’re welcome” but actual convo), so sometimes it feels a little forced. Which is understandable, but also a little disheartening because you want to have awesome bookish conversations, no matter where you’re talking!

Dani @ Perspective of a Writer
Guest
I always comment back on every comment I receive. I soooo appreciate comments as I’m one of those looks super pretty but doesn’t get a ton of comments, lol. I figure though its because I’m a little odd. I don’t do a ton of blog hopping … that’s because its actually taken me all year (2017) to even THINK about what to say to many comments let alone posts. I’m a ton better at it now but even so many times I get a “thanks for visiting” comment to my indepthful one, lol. *shrug* I am trying to get faster… Read more »
Cahleen Hudson
Guest
Hi there! Thanks for working so hard on the Blogger 101 series. I just started my blog a few weeks ago and still have no idea what I’m doing. I’m also wondering how far I really want to take this whole blogging thing, since my first love is reading and blogging means less time for reading (plus I homeschool 2 kids, very little time over here). But your series has been so helpful to me and given me so many ideas! I find that most bloggers will at least like my comment or reply, but I get almost no comments… Read more »
Mridula Gupta
Guest

This is such an informative post. And yes, more and more engagement should always happen. And it should be receprocated 🙂

Sim @ Flipping Through the Pages
Guest

Nice post Evelina. Comments are such a crucial part of blogging. I would say Iw as not good at all with blog hopping in past year but this year I am trying to do better It really feels bad when people don’t comment back specially on the linkup memes because it takes a whole lot time to go through each blog and comment in them, and naturally you expect a favour.
But I hope this will help all of us

Merv
Guest

Just wondering… is it weird if someone commented on my post (of course, I reply back on it) then I comment also on their blog. I mean, would they find it annoying if I appear a lot on their notification or something?

Cait @ Paper Fury
Guest

Omg I’m blushing. And absolutely YES to all this advice! I spent 2015-2016 absolutely commenting SO MUCH AND SO EVERYWHERE and it definitely made a huge difference for my blog. Also I’ve met the best people ever?! So that’s amazing.

Anyway A+ post. I couldn’t agree more.

Amy
Guest

This post is super helpful and full of some really important points! One of my resolutions for 2018 was to comment on people’s posts more often and share other people’s work that I’ve enjoyed online, so I’ll be using these tips 🙂

Stephanie Jane
Guest

Great post! I am making a concerted effort to stay on top of my commenting this year. I often get discouraged by being snowed under so I am trying to be more methodical. It’s working so far!

One problem with CommentLuv on Blogger a couple of years ago: I found it only worked in desktop view for visitors. Mobile view would default to Blogger’s own comment system plus, if a person commented via Blogger on mobile, any already existing CommentLuv comments vanished! Exasperating!!

Aj @ Read All The Things!
Guest

Awesome post! I try really hard to comment back, and I almost always click the blogs in link-ups. Another way to get comments is to write content that is easy to comment on. In my mind, the point of a blog post is to start a discussion. I like posts that ask questions and leave things a bit open-ended.

Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity
Guest

Great post. Commenting is one of the things I fail at most. Whilst I totally understand comment etiquette finding time to both reply to comments on your own blog and comment back is hard. I do make an effort to comment back though because I know how appreciated it is but I have to hope bloggers are understanding that it may take me about three weeks to do so. It’s definitely something I didn’t grasp as a newbie blogger.

Caro @ bookcheshirecat
Guest
Thanks for your post! I find it really helpful, especially if you’re not sure how to start 🙂 I’m always trying to comment back when I can, but lately things have been more stressful so I’m sadly not able to do so daily. However, I find it a good idea to have a certain time of the day dedicated to comments 🙂 I’m regularly linking up with the #T5W meme and try to visit many links that people post in the group – not only do I get to see what everyone else has chosen for this week’s topic, but… Read more »
Katie @ Doing Dewey
Guest
I definitely don’t feel as strongly as you that commenting back is necessary, in that I don’t find it rude if someone doesn’t return my comment. I still return comments religiously myself though and I’m much more likely to follow a blogger if we have a back and forth relationship where we both comment on each other’s blog. And I agree completely that commenting is the best way to get comments and that comments shouldn’t be spammy and should almost never include links. I do have to admit that I don’t visit every other link in a link-up and I… Read more »
Laura Thomas
Guest

I don’t think I can add anything to what you two have mentioned. I’m really loving your feature and it’s always fun to visit and see what you have to say:)

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Lara @ Words With Lara
Guest
If I could give newbies one piece of advice it would definitely be this! Always comment back and go and comment on other peoples blogs. I recognise the people on my blog who always comment and I always make an effort to reply to everyone and comment back on their blogs. I usually sit down a couple of times a week and dedicate a certain amount of time to reply to people and go and check out their blogs. It definitely helps! (Also you can definitely tell when someone hasn’t read a post and has just left a generic comment… Read more »