They can't all be funny

Practice Good Blogging Etiquette, Leave Your Readers Satisfied

Immersing myself in a variety of new and Freshly Pressed blogs recently, I found myself distracted. (It happens. Pause for shocked reaction.) Here’s the thing: it wasn’t the writing. Most of the posts were well written and a few engaging enough to follow.

The number of new blogs dropped every day? Impressive. And yet something was bothering me. I felt vaguely unsatisfied. What was I missing?

Then the voice that lives in my head had a wha-huh? moment and in her best Bette Midler impersonation, belted out: NO COMMENT REPLIES!

It was a tectonic shift in blog commenting behavior and it’s left me wanting.

Replace dressing with commenting and you’ve got style. (image via Wiki)
Replace dressing with commenting and you’ve got style. (image via Wiki)

If you’re like me, writing a post is as much about diving into your word pool as it is about paddling with your blogging friends.

Two things that go together like a sunny day and a smile.

When you choose not to reply to comments, what you’re putting out there to your readers is only half the story.

I subscribe to the Sex in the City form of blogging. There’s a scene in one of the early episodes where Carrie and gang is invited to a baby shower for an old friend who used to live in Manhattan. Now Lannie lives in Connecticut and is expecting her first child. Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha are voicing their opinions about why they shouldn’t leave the island to schlep all the way to another state. And Carrie says,

“When you see an accident on the side of the road, you pull over. Lannie’s having a baby. YOU PULL OVER!”

In this comment scenario, I’m Carrie.

Call me old school but replying to comments is good blogging etiquette. We say please and thank you to complete strangers every day. This practice of good manners also has a place online. In this time of frantic social media-itis, you need to hop off the merry-go-round. If only for a few minutes. Reading your comments and engaging in some chatty back-and-forth helps establish a connection between you and your readers. You get to slow down and enjoy the ride.

Writing is hard work. You have to be committed yet willing to strip off your cloak of perfectionism. It’s a fine line. You want every word to be pitch perfect but if you spend your time waiting for that to happen, you’ll never hit “publish.”

Once you’ve girded your loins and your post is live, that’s when the real fun begins. The pressure is off. That post you sweated multiple beads over is out there and you’ve started a conversation.

Sure, you can go back and edit what you’ve written. We all suffer from writers’ anxiety. I call that feeling “post interruptus.” Ignore it. Because it’s time to see if your post resonated with your readers.

It’s time to pull over.

If your readers are anything like mine, they’re pretty savvy. If you’re really lucky, they “get” you. With all your bumps and warts. Some of the best times I’ve had blogging have been when someone posted a comment that got me thinking. Not about editing the piece but about how everyone has their own perspective and for me, it’s like a refresh in my mind. The twinkle of an idea forms. Pretty soon, it’s demanding my attention. And it won’t quit me ’till it’s fed and watered.

We complain of being busy. And we are. That’s life. But busy isn’t an excuse for not replying to comments. In this instance, the saying “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” does not apply. Worst case scenario, you come off as uninterested. And no one wants to feel that what they have to say doesn’t matter.

So the next time you write a post, don’t send it out there and then ignore it like it’s some lonely orphan child. Look to your comments for future inspiration and remember to engage your reply button.

It could be a blog-changing experience. For you and your readers.

Are you a comment-friendly blogger?

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17 thoughts on “Practice Good Blogging Etiquette, Leave Your Readers Satisfied”

  1. I agree – it’s one of the things that I need to really improve on and I know that I have lost some followers due to my lack of replies on occasions, but i find it quite difficult to keep up sometimes, even though I read and appreciate every single one of them. I have now set aside a day – in my case, Saturday, where instead of writing a post I try and reply to every comment that I have received that week and so far it’s working reasonably well…

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    1. It’s amazing how many bloggers don’t reply to comments. I can’t quite figure out why. Thankfully, many more bloggers seem to enjoy responding to their readers and I love that.

      Your idea to take one day a week to respond to readers is brilliant! *grin*

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent advice. I’ve replied to a blog before and never heard back. It’s like being at a party, saying hello to the hostess, and then being totally ignored. After that experience, I was determined not to do that to anyone. I’ll answer comments and then check out the blog of a person whose name I don’t recognize.

    Replies to other blogs can be both a good thing and a bad thing. I once replied to a blog and the blogger edited my message making it look as if I’d written a horrible reply. It’s not good blogging etiquette.to change other blogger’s replies.

    Then there was some woman who thought she was destined to run the world. I thought she was writing a humor blog. She didn’t like my reply and threatened to come after me once she was rightfully on the throne. After laughing myself silly over that one, I was more careful about whose blog I replied to. 🙂

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    1. How on earth can someone not reply? It’s like saying hello to someone and they give you the “talk to the hand” thing. Frightfully bad taste.

      And to edit your reply? How rude. I was once asked to write a guest post, and I did. Then she wanted to edit what I wrote before posting. And I don’t mean for typos. She wanted to change the entire piece. You just don’t do that sort of thing when it comes to blogging. Unless you’re being paid and even then, tread lightly when it comes to what someone has written.

      Some people like to think they rule the world. I generally try to run in the opposite direction when they come around. *grin*

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Now that my new smart phone is up and running, I’ll be able to reply to posts more promptly, instead of waiting till i get home from work. I’m one of those people who has been accused(?) of writing better comments than blog posts…I’m not sure if that’s true, but…

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    1. A “smart” phone. Does this mean you’ll be more prompt with your smart comments? ‘Cause that would be smart. It’s smart to keep your readers satisfied.

      You’re like the Get Smart of your generation. How smart is that? *gleeful grin*

      Like

  4. I try my best, even if I find my words awkward. There was a time when I blogged more often, but for the most part, this year the tables have turned. I now find myself interested more in reading others blogs, joining in the conversation and discovering that an old dog really can learn a new trick. It’s refreshing to get to know what writers are moved by, what ‘gets their goat’ and why they chose to put it all out there for us to see.
    I recently happened upon a writer that stirred the cyclone of wonder inside of me. At first I was uneasy about walking out on the ledge to see if this person was here for sheer shock value, or was there something spectacular and deeper that I needed, or wanted to uncover? One morning the reality hit me, “I really have to wrap my head around this person’s writings. This person ’causes’ me to think.”
    I thanked them for doing so, and am very thankful I didn’t discard the blogger because of my own insecurities or misconceptions.

    Thank you for bringing forward this bit of ire. Everyone of us appreciates being accepted, or listened to, we all enjoy the reward of feedback. It is good to be challenged. Growth is a powerful reward.

    Like

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