Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Jun 11, 2014
Most of the time I talk about spam it’s commentary more than anything else. In one post back in September, I told you how to identify spam on your blog.
This time I’m going to give you some actionable steps to reducing spam, or at least have it going into the spam filter so it’s not showing up in your comments area.
Unfortunately, there’s little to be done to eliminate spam totally. You can moderate your blog, but anyone who reads this blog knows how much I hate that (and yet so many of you still do it purposely; oh well…). You also know that sometimes there’s false spam, such as when I talked about certain browsers sending comments into the spam filter for some goofy reason.
So, we’re going to take on the next big thing, which is reducing it. Based on settings, you can probably reduce it more than mine, or you might decide you don’t want to go as far as me. I give you the steps; the settings are all yours. Here we go.
1. If you’re using a WordPress blog, in your Admin area go to Settings, then down to Other Settings. The 3rd item down says “Automatically close comments on articles older than”, and there’s a box next to it. You can check the box on the left, then put a number of days in the box and at that point in history comments will turn off.
The beauty of this is the majority of spam that comes in goes after older posts that you’ve pretty much moved on from and this takes care of that issue. The negative of this is people might read some of your older posts, especially if you link to them like I did above, but they can’t comment on it. You get to decide which of these is more important to you but truthfully, you’re always going to have more activity on your newer posts unless you’ve posted something very constructive that people can use… like this post.
By the way, though I mentioned the biggie, there are plenty of other things here that you can alter that will help block some spam. I have anything that has links in a post go to the spam filter, and I also use the comment blacklist option to block certain words and sometimes certain IP addresses, which is shown to you next to all comments, blocked or not.
2. Turn off comments on select posts. Most people won’t like this for their WordPress blogs but sometimes you might have a post that’s more of an announcement or maybe a sales post or, I’ve noticed from some bloggers, a post that’s so personal you can’t bear someone intruding their own thoughts into it.
In this case, instead of limiting it for every post, when you’re writing your post there’s something at the very bottom of the page where you’re writing your post under Discussion that’s automatically checked saying Allow Comments. If you uncheck it then that post won’t get any comments at all.
This can also be used if you decide not to use what I gave you in #1 because you want some of your posts to always be live. This way, you can pick and choose; that’s pretty neat.
3. Add images to your blog a different way. I’ve also noticed that much of the spam that seems to make its way through does so through the image area, which is really weird. I mean, what program is it that’s addressing the image on a blog post instead of the post itself?
This can be defeated in two ways. One, you can decide to upload an image you want to use to your server, then when it’s time to add an image add it via a link instead of uploading it from your computer. I picked up on that trick on a fluke and it works pretty well. The downside to that might be if you don’t have unlimited storage or little storage via your hosting company. Overall that shouldn’t be an issue.
Something else you can do is add a plugin that’s connected to a website that supplies images. I heard of one the other day called, I believe, Pix 500, but I use one called Compfight. It’s tied into Flickr’s Creative Commons images, which means it’s done the work to determine which images bloggers are allowed to use ahead of time, thus no copyright issues. It has its own settings that you can alter within the Admin panel so that if you like a certain size of images each time you can make it so. Ah, I love when my inner Captain Picard comes out.
4. Use the GASP plug-in. By now, if you haven’t heard of this plugin you’re years out of the loop. It not only helps reduce spam to the point that you can alter settings to block certain types of spam from ever getting to your blog in the first place, but you have multiple selections you can make such as determining whether someone has to stay on your post for a certain length, determine if they have to write so many words, or even verify trackback links to see if those sites are legitimate.
I’m not going to get too deep into the settings on this one because there’s a ton. Instead, I will say there are good and bad things about this one as well. The good is obviously eliminating as much spam as you want to from ever getting onto your blog, which means you don’t have to moderate anything… well, almost.
That’s part of the bad. Sometimes it’s so strong that it starts blocking people who’ve come to your blog for years, who you sometimes give a free pass to a short comment or maybe they’re responding to your response to their comment. Sometimes having these things go to your spam filter isn’t a bad thing at all. After all, blogs are supposed to be about engagement, so there should be some allowances here and there; don’t you agree?
I think this has gotten long enough so I’m going to stop there. These tips should drastically reduce your spam on their own, and if you tweak some of the other settings you can reduce it even further. Good luck with it all and let me know how it works for you.
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Jun 8, 2014
To some folks who visit this blog, it probably looks like I’ve slowed down in creating content. There’s both truth and non-truth to this statement.
While doing my consulting out of town, I find that I get back to the hotel and I’m just exhausted. I have two different biorhythm schedules, depending on where I am and “when” I am.
When I’m home, on Eastern time, I stay up until 2:30 or 3 in the morning and sleep usually until 9 or 9:30 and take naps whenever I feel the need. Because I keep irregular hours, I can work at any time of the day and also have lots of time to blog and all is good with the world.
When I’m on the road, on Central time, from Sunday night through Thursday night I “try” to get to bed by midnight because I have to be up at 6:30 to be at the office by 7:30. Of course there’s no naps coming, so I get really tired, have to find ways of staying awake in the afternoons, and often come back to the room and then take a nap, rush to dinner, and literally try to stay awake until later so I won’t wake up too early the next day.
On the weekends, I revert back to my “norm”, only an hour behind when I’m at home… sometimes. Sometimes I stay up later, knowing I probably wouldn’t stay up so late at home, sometimes I crash because I’m just exhausted.
Either way, it’s taken a toll on blogging, but that’s not the only thing going on.
I’ve finally started making a more concerted effort to edit my second book on leadership. I’m committing at least a little bit of time each night to it because I want to get it done some time within the next couple of months so I can get a couple of people to read it.
I’ve also committed myself to trying to do a video every day this month for my business channel on YouTube. This is new content and it’s me putting in time to build up the portfolio there. If you’d like an example, here’s last night’s video on communicating with irate people:
I’ve also been creating videos on my other YouTube channel, though not as often; here’s the latest video from there, which prompted me to write on this topic:
Two other things. Today I was interviewed for a radio program that was turned into a podcast by a guy named Fasil Khan, who owns Khan Coaching, and the hour-long podcast is here: http://lawandorderoflifeddv.com/leadership-mitch-mitchell. And a few days ago a guest post I wrote for Jessica Peterson of Customer WOW Project went live, and since I don’t think it’s getting much love I’m going to link to it here, as it’s titled Business Tips From Mitch Mitchell, though I’d titled it 10 Things To Know If You Want To Go Into Business For Yourself.
I have still been writing here and on my other blogs as well, just not as often. So you see, I’ve still been following on my never ending quest to continue creating content, but I’ve been spreading myself around. Still, in my own way I keep trying to prove why we all must create content if we hope to keep our names out in front of others, even if it’s not always in our own space.
Why must we create content? Let me highlight the reasons…
* new content helps keep our websites or blogs fresh
* new content lets people know we have things to say and helps encourage them to keep coming back for more
* new content helps you build up a credible portfolio that you can always direct people to
* new content helps you to learn how to become more creative and to hone a style that works well for you
* new content could potentially help make you famous, ala getting a video to go viral
* new content can enhance your status as an expert/specialist/rock star; take your pick
For me, new content means someone’s always finding me for something, and I get interview opportunities. On my regular YouTube channel, I’ve had the opportunity to interview other people as well, and hopefully some of them have used their interviews to promote themselves, as I did with the interview above. Even if it’s not my content specifically it’s still me, and any chance I get to promote myself more, and it’s free… no brainer!
How do some of you feel about the concept of creating content, no matter where it is or in what form? If you’re a blogger I know you’re doing it, but have you given it much thought, or thought about other ways to create content? Let me know; by the way, in case you need more entertainment than what I’ve written, enjoy this video & let me know if you hear a scream…
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on May 18, 2014
Back to blogging for a bit.
There’s a lot of bad blogging advice out on the internet. There’s also some pretty good advice. However, what I find is that sometimes people are misinterpreting what they’re seeing, and that’s never good.
A major truth is that for every bit of advice someone gives you as to how you should do something, there’s someone who’s violating every one of those principles and succeeding in doing so.
Or are they? Truth be told, sometimes people are doing just what they’re supposed to be doing, but it’s not being seen for what it really is, or what it really means. It can be confusing to new bloggers, but it’s also true for long time bloggers who are trying to be something more than just another writer, yet don’t know whose words to follow.
I’ll tell you; follow mine! lol Okay, that’s a blatant throwaway statement, so let me clarify. Here are 7 blogging beliefs you’ve probably read somewhere that are both true and not true, depending on how you’re reading them. As always, I’m going to tell you the truth… MY truth.
Yours might be different; heck, I know it will be for some because I’m going to be interpreted rather than understood. C’est la vie! lol Here we go.
1. People won’t read long blog posts.
This one is always out there on someone’s blog, with the explanation being that you can only hold someone’s attention for maybe 2 or 3 minutes. Luckily, it’s not true, and some of the most successful blogs you’ll find have very long posts, even longer than some of mine.
The problem with some long posts is they don’t advance in any way as people go through them. For instance, some people harp on the same thing over and over, thinking they’re finding new ways to tell you something or complain about something while we see it as the same thing. No one likes to read rambling thoughts that don’t mesh together in some way.
That’s why list posts are a good type of post to write. It involves putting some thoughts together up front and then writing about them, and each point is different. Thus, if it happens to go long, people will still read it, or possibly jump to the points they want to see. By the way, as I’ve done on this post, it’s a good idea to highlight either the topic line or the point number so they can jump to it easier.
2. You need to have a blogging schedule.
There are some people who see the word “schedule” and their minds freeze. Suddenly, it makes blogging, or anything else they’re doing, look more like that dreaded 4-letter word “work”.
When people talk about blog scheduling, what they’re saying is to try to have some kind of frequency for writing posts that people can get used to. If you write once a week and can stick with that, then that’s your schedule, and people know when to stop by and look for something new. If you write twice a week, nothing says it has to be on the same day each week, and nothing says you can’t deviate from it every once in a while.
The basic reasons for writing a blog are to have a platform to say what you want to say and to have visitors stop by and read what you have to say, hopefully learning something or interacting with you in some way. Schedules help you keep them coming back for more, which is a good thing. You can do what you want, but if you want consistent visitors you’ll find a pattern that works for you and stick to it.
3. You must define your niche to be successful.
I know you’ve read about niche blogging; how could you not? After all, if you can find someone who’s interested in your specific topic and you can stay as close to always writing about that topic as you can, you can build up a loyal audience.
However, writing on a niche that’s too finite can spell doom for both you and your readers. Say you love humpback whales and start writing about them, and only them. How long do you think you could write on them before you have no idea what to write about next? Say you’re a person who researches humpback whales so you actually have a lot to keep writing about. At what point does your writing stop seeming to be fresh and invigorating? When does it become like a parent who takes 100 pictures of their baby every single day, seeing changes that no one else can see?
Every niche has a way of being broadened so that you, the writer, has a lot to talk about. If I decide I only want to write about blogging I can write about process, write about writing, write about blog platforms, write about plugins for my blog, write about colors, fonts, images, making money, page rank… on and on. I could write on it for years… oh yeah, I have! And I can deviate from it here and there and not lose anyone because when all is said and done it’s still about blogging.
4. People don’t care about your spelling or grammar as long as they understand what you’re saying.
True and not true. If you have some typos here and there it’s never a big deal. If there are certain words you misspell because you’ve always done so, maybe people will overlook it and give you a free pass.
However, one of the saddest things a blogger can do is not learn anything about the craft or try to improve what they do and how they say it. Truth be told, how you write influences how people see you. If you write like a professional, people will see you as one.
Think of it this way; how easy is it to define spam on blogs or email based on how the messages are written? You’d never think about clicking on any links where the language is barely understood would you (please say no lol). Well, say you’re selling jewelry; would you really expect people to buy from you if you wrote a sentence like “these ones is nice”?
We will give a pass to those whose first language isn’t the same as our own though; after all, most of us only know one language, and I’m always amazed that people seem to easily learn English, even if they don’t learn all the nuances. That’s why it’s true and not true at the same time; if English is your first language, you should be better because you’ve had more time to learn it. Just sayin’…
5. You need to optimize your posts and titles to rank well on search engines.
Have you been paying attention to Matt Cutts lately? Although everything isn’t, and shouldn’t be about Google, there are some interesting things one can learn by hearing what they have to say.
The biggest push Google has made over the last few years is natural writing that conveys what your content is all about. You might get an immediate bump from a well written title and stuffing your content with the same word over and over, but eventually the algorithms will catch up and work on determining if what you’ve written is pertinent to anyone.
I always feel it’s best to have titles that tell people what the article is about most of the time, although sometimes a funny title will catch a person’s eye. Don’t ever deceive the audience; they won’t like it.
As for content, if you tell your story you’ll help get across what it is you’re writing about without having to stuff your article with a certain percentage of your keywords and keyword phrases intentionally. For instance, this article is on blogging, and notice how many times I’ve used that word or phrases around that word and the short version without intentionally doing it. Think it’ll get the point across okay?
6. You can’t use too many big words.
This one makes sense but it’s not really telling you the whole story. If I wrote this blog and I used 10 large words for every 500 words written, I might lose my audience. And yet, William F. Buckley did this intentionally and his books sold millions.
Any of you ever read the New York Times? Not the news articles, but things like movie and book reviews. I do all the time, and invariably there’s going to be a word that sticks out like a sore thumb.
One of the things the New York Times seems to want to stay away from is talking down to its audience. Showing that you have some intellect every once in a while boosts the IQ of the audience you’re communicating with, whether they like it or not. In my opinion, education is never a bad thing.
However, that’s still misinterpreting the statement. As an example, let’s look at the word “intelligence”. I could write 20 blog posts in a row and use that word in all of them, and within the same article I might use that word 5 or 6 times. At a certain point it starts to water down the content and now it means nothing to anyone. Kind of like the phrase “the shocking truth”; how many times have you seen that by now and how often do you check those types of articles out because, unfortunately, there’s not really a shocking truth?
What works instead is to use “intelligence” maybe once or twice, and if you have to go back to it again change a word, maybe saying “brilliance”, “perceptive”, or maybe even “smart”; that’s not too big a word right? The idea is to change things up from time to time to stay fresh while elevating your audience just a little bit. Yeah, I know, pipe dreams… lol
7. Blogging is hard/easy.
Both of the above are true and not true. It depends on what you’re writing about, if writing comes natural to you, if you have a lot to say, if you’re a good or bad communicator, and if you care. I think that about covers it. lol
I visit lots of blogs; I love blogs. I see some good writing and I see some bad writing; that goes with the territory.
The worst thing I see are blogs that have long gaps between articles, or blogs that suddenly stopped having any new content. I’m one of those folks who occasionally takes time out to go through blog comments, and there’s plenty over almost 7 years, and checks on links to see if blogs are still around or not. Lots of them are, but people stopped writing in 2012 or before; what the hey?
Last year there were a lot of big time bloggers who decided it was time for them to close up shop. They weren’t getting what they initially were getting out of blogging, or mentioned that they didn’t have time to keep up with it any longer, and they up and quit.
I know what that’s like, as I stopped writing my leadership newsletter last February after 10 years. I could have continued writing it, but I’d lost any passion for it, never got the type of movement from it that I thought I might, almost never got any feedback on it, and frankly I didn’t think anyone cared any longer; have you felt like that sometimes?
Mentally it was hard to keep doing. Technically… I can write forever, because I still have my leadership blog. So I ended it, and though it’s not left as an eyesore for anyone to come across accidentally, truth be told one of these days I’m going to have to figure out what to do with all those article links, which are sitting on the site not linked to anything; now that’s a shame.
Anyway, there’s my take on 7 blogging beliefs. Did I touch upon any of them that you’ve believed that you’d like to offer an opinion on? Let me know; enjoy!
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Apr 25, 2014
Sometimes the only way you can begin to offer tips on how to do or not do something is to start with a story. This is one of those times, and I hope you hang in through the story so we can get to the tips.
On Facebook at the beginning of the week I came across an image that someone had put up. The image shows a black woman and a white woman next to each other, although in two different pictures. Both pictures were mugshots, and both of the women had been arrested for some kind of child abuse.
The child abuse the black woman did was to leave a six-year-old and a two-year-old child in the car while she went into an establishment to interview for a new job. The child abuse the white woman did was to be stoned, drive her car down the road with her six month old baby in the baby carrier on top of the car. At some point the baby carrier fell off the car and into the street.
Both of these women lived in the same state, Arizona, one in Phoenix and one in Scottsdale. If you’ve ever been there, you know it’s pretty much the same city. What happened to the black woman is that she’s going to trial and had her children taken away from her. What happened to the white woman is that she got probation and got to go home with her child.
Now, it’s possible that there are extenuating circumstances, but on the surface it looks like obvious racism. Obviously the two different judges didn’t see things the same way, and that’s an indictment on the justice system.
Everybody who reads this blog may not know that along with speaking on the topic of leadership, which is highlighted by the book to the left called Embrace The Lead, I also speak on diversity topics. I have spoken on racial diversity, succession planning, and the rights of women in the workplace and sexual abuse. I happen to be one of those people who, when I see issues that have to do with “isms”, I will comment on them in some fashion, even if my only comment is passing along what I’ve seen.
Thus, when I saw this picture I decided to share with folks who I’m connected to. I didn’t add any extra commentary to it, but I thought it was important enough to share.
I happen to be quite liberal in my politics, but I have a few friends on Facebook who are more conservative. One of the ladies who responded had a point of view that I could take into account and think she might be right. The other lady however… well, she decided to tell me that I shouldn’t be sharing things like that and that all I am doing is stoking the flames of racism because I’m always talking about it.
One of the rules of talking about diversity is that you cannot be afraid to bring up topics that some people might not want to talk about. Many people get uncomfortable when you talk about these things, and for whatever reason they can’t keep their mouths shut and just roll with the punches. Instead, they feel the need to try to justify themselves by inserting their opinions, which are always counter to the other opinions, and showing themselves for what they are.
That might sound harsh, but it is what it is. Not everybody who has a differing opinion expresses themselves in the same way; I like to think that for the most part when I have a differing opinion I choose my words carefully so that we can at least debate an issue without it becoming overly divisive; doesn’t always happen I’ll admit.
That didn’t happen in this case. One of the things I don’t cotton to it having anybody tell me what I should or should not do, especially if I didn’t ask them, and if I feel they have no idea what they’re talking about. I didn’t make it into my mid 50′s just so people can condescend to me. Anybody telling me what I can or cannot share in my own space is going to hear from me, and maybe a bit more vociferously than I need to be.
In this case, after I responded to her, she decided to go on a diatribe and say that I had no right to say anything if I wasn’t doing anything to try to change things. Once again, even though this is someone I’ve known for a long time, she obviously had no idea of the types of things I’ve done in my life and do now. I expressed that in my response to her, as well as asked her if any of the things I have experienced in my life that proved that there was racism in this country meant nothing to her and that they shouldn’t mean anything to me.
Her response was to say that obviously I was dismissing her and that we couldn’t be friends anymore. Then she decided to leave me a private message to tell me how disappointed she was in me and my promotion of racism. I have to admit I was expecting it, and I almost dropped her a month ago for the same type of thing; oh well…
I let her have the last word on that one because she’s someone from another country who had a horrible background at one point in her life, came to the United States and made a nice life for herself, but obviously has no idea exactly what racism is and how people like me and people in my situation don’t have the opportunity to be racist towards anybody in the United States. If you don’t believe me just go look it up for yourself.
As a point of reference, I would love for you to check out this story I told many years ago I my business blog about an encounter I had while having a witness, who never believed me when I told her about racism I encountered, saw it for herself, titled Am I An Invisible Man. Sometimes racism isn’t quite as subtle as it seems to be.
In any case, this leads us to five lessons I’d like to give you on what not to let people tell you what to do on your blogs or in your life. I need to offer a caveat, that being if you’re reading a blog or an article that’s giving you suggestions on how to live your life better, that’s not what I’m talking about. What I’m talking about is if you’re having a one-on-one conversation with someone, whether it’s in person or via e-mail or any other medium for its one-on-one, and you didn’t ask for their opinion.
Now, if someone’s giving you an opinion because your life is going down the toilet, that’s another caveat, but in a way you might have asked that advice. But in general terms, these are five lessons, or five things you should let people tell you what to do.
1. Don’t let anyone tell you what to write on your blog. Remember last year when I wrote the post about a friend of mine who was being bullied about her blog?
I have given people advice on this blog over the years on the types of topics they may not want to address if they don’t want to deal with controversy. That’s general advice to the masses, not specifically directed at any particular individual. Truthfully, write on anything you want to write on, as long as you’re willing to deal with the consequences you write about it.
2. Don’t let anyone tell you who to be friends with, or who to hang out with. I’m very picky on who I allow myself to call a friend, and I’m that way for a reason.
To me, a friend is someone I have something in common with who I can pretty much talk about anything with. A friend allows me to be me and allows me to have other friends and other interests. The friend doesn’t control what you do or what you do with others unless you ask them for advice. Those are people who don’t want you to be anything except what they want you to be, and none of us needs to be with people like that.
3. Don’t let anyone who hasn’t already succeeded at something or even tried ad not succeeded at something give you advice on what to do. One of the most common themes I see on a lot of blogs is where the writer talks about mentioning to someone else that they wanted to either work for themselves or wanted to try blogging for a living and how the other person put them down for their dream. The thing is, none of those people who ever put them down ever even read a blog, let alone tried to write one.
There are times when all of us asks the wrong person for advice about something they have absolutely no clue about. Most of the time their advice is negative because those folks don’t have any experience with it, and have no idea how to support you when you present certain things to them.
I tend to believe there are people who can give you advice on almost any topic and not kill your dreams because they have common sense knowledge. I also believe that a lot of people don’t look to those folks and instead look to someone who they hope is going to put down their dream because they’re not confident enough in themselves already.
Don’t do that to yourself; you may not be able to do everything you want to for one reason or another, but you can probably do pretty well, especially if you research, invest the time, and give it the very best you can.
By the way, you’ll often hear motivational speakers talk about “failure” or failing. People only fail if they quit too early. Everything else is an experiment; you try things, then you try again if they didn’t work how you wanted them to work. A change in perspective can be a strong thing.
4. Don’t let people hold you down by finding ways to keep you from going for your dreams. The other day I did a video, which I’m going to include below, where one of the things I said is that you don’t have to give up your friends in order to succeed. However, you might have to change your behaviors with some of those friends who don’t seem to be offering you support in trying to better yourself or achieve your dreams.
If you do end up dropping some of your friends, realize that it’s not your fault that things are changing, because a true friend would wish nothing but the best for you and try to help you get there in whatever way possible that they could, including giving you time and space to work on your dream.
5. Although this is difficult, try not to get caught up in someone else’s drama. The other day on Facebook, I could have gotten vicious and really made things ugly across the board. However, I didn’t want to do that because I didn’t want to continue making everybody else uncomfortable.
As you’ve seen on this blog, over all I’m a pretty positive kind of guy. There are people who will be negative no matter what the issue is. Sometimes their negativity can affect you, and it’s never in a positive way. Sometimes it’s directed at you, sometimes it’s not. But it always drains you, takes away a part of your soul, and that’s no way to live.
When the drama is a consistent thing, you need to take stock of your life and decide if you want to feel bad, if you can handle someone else’s drama and be there for them, or if you need to step away and work on yourself for a while. When it’s intentional drama and you keep getting caught up in it… I just can’t imagine that anyone can be happy with that for long.
If there’s a person among you who’s content with an unhappy life, I wish you well. If you have dreams and inspirations, don’t let the proverbial “man” keep you down. Get help, get motivated, get planning, get moving, and get it done.
Whether it’s blogging, life, love or dessert (hey, someone had to say it), live life your way. And if you need help doing it… just read some of this again, or watch one of my motivational videos.
And while you’re at it, check out the one below:
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Mar 23, 2014
First, I want to thank everyone who’s ever left a comment here. Second, I want to congratulate anyone who’s ever left a comment on any blogs. Third, I want to say that I offer what’s following this paragraph with love… well, sort of… lol And fourth… except for those phonies who are leaving comments to get links that, later on, you ask me and others to remove because you got a “slap” letter from Google and you think it’s our problem to now remove your stupid links. Huff, huff… lol
I’m big on courtesy; always have been. If two people are already talking I won’t interrupt unless it’s extremely important. If people are following me towards a door I’m compelled to hold it open. I was raised that way, and even though there are some people who don’t deserve it, I’ll often say hi or hello to people who seem to be looking my way, even if deep down I know they’re not going to respond… and most of the time they don’t; sigh…
It’s for that reason that I’m glad to have my own blog, where I can put out my missives on blogging and writing and Bigfoot and behavior and… commenting.
Yup, this is a post specifically on commenting. I thought “Hey, I’ve written lots of posts on commenting” and then I decided to take a look back through the archives to find out it’s not true. I’ve mentioned commenting lots of times but out of all my articles I’ve only addressed the specific acts of commenting 7 times, with the first article coming in November 2008 and the last coming in August 2013, and neither of those are on the specifics of commenting. As a matter of fact, it seems that I’ve never really addressed commenting and courtesy in any fashion; now that’s a shame.
I thought about turning this into another 10 point article but I decided to just hit the biggies quickly and get away; y’all have seen way too many words for me and maybe a shorter post will generate better conversations… or not. Let’s find out with these 5:
1. Address the topic of the post. This is the number one courtesy and it’s the most vital because how one comments could decide whether the owner of the blog will accept the comment or not.
Sometimes people launch into something that might be pertinent and yet it looks like they have an agenda because they didn’t even mention anything within the post. Sometimes the comment may skirt what the article was about, indirectly touching on the topic, and might not be fully understood for relevance.
2. Get a gravatar. Or, if you prefer, avatar. I gave reasons last April on why people should have a gravatar and even included a link telling people how to get one. If you’re going to be a one and done visitor maybe you don’t need one but many people won’t accept comments from people who don’t have one.
Just like readers love knowing the people who are writing the content, blog owners like to see a picture of who’s leaving comments. It’s easy to do and, if you have a business or are looking to make money in some fashion it’s also smart.
Two hints; one, don’t use the image of someone of the opposite sex from the name and two, logos and cartoons aren’t always good unless it’s what you’re known for in many places already.
3. Fake or keyword names. Nicknames are one thing but stupid fake names like “jonny’s dog” are, well, stupid. And in these scary Google days (for most folks; I don’t really care as much…) keyword names are more dangerous than you can possibly imagine, and people like me won’t accept those comments anyway so you could be wasting your time. No one wants to respond to someone’s fake name and we also feel that either you’re spam or you’re a fly by commenter who’s never coming back.
4. Don’t leave one line comments. Unless you’re a regular and the writer understands your humor (the only time it’s acceptable to leave a one-line comment) it’ll be considered a throw away comment and most people will delete it. One line means you really didn’t have anything to say. I’ll admit that some articles don’t leave a lot to say but come on, you can’t think or more than one line? I’ll offer the caveat that if that one line happens to be a well thought out and long line that it might not be as bad, but it best not start with “It was a dark and stormy night” type of language. lol
5. Try using the writer’s name in the comment. By the way, this one goes for the blog owner as well. Not only is it courteous to name the person who wrote the article but it helps people figure out if you’re a real commenter or not. You get a break if you have to go searching for the writer’s name.
If you’re the blog owner, share your name somewhere to make it easy for people to use your name. Look at my blog; go ahead, look at the thing! My name is in my About area and on my About page. It’s on the top book and in the sales area for both books. It’s in the little thing advertising my YouTube channel. And it’s at the top of every article, just under the title. Why write if you’re not going to tell people who you are? lol
There you are, 5 tips for being a courteous commenter, and something for the writers as well. So, what do you have to say about these?