Bloggiesta Mini-Challenge: Comment, Comment, Comment…Spread the Love and Grow Your Network

commenting button

I am happy to be hosting a mini-challenge for this summer’s Mini Bloggiesta. Bloggiesta is a chance to catch up on your book blogging to-do list, learn valuable tips and tricks of the trade and meet and mingle with fantastic book bloggers.  Bloggiesta runs from Saturday, July 20th through Sunday, July 21st, the mini version is short, sweet and I hope it is super-productive!

Do you comment on all the blog posts you visit? What drives you to leave a comment? Or what prevents you from doing so? Leaving comments on blogs you visit starts valuable discussions, helps grow your network and allows you to make blogging friends.

Why Should You Comment on Every Blog Post You Visit?

1. It lets the blogger know what you like or don’t like. If you are taking the time to visit a blog and don’t comment, how will they know what you liked or didn’t like about their post? Bloggers write because they like to engage in a discussion, so leave a comment and discuss how you felt about their post.

2. It encourages return visits to your blog. It’s your “I was here” stamp on their blog. You have to give visits and comments in order to receive them. If the WordPress site you are visiting has CommentLuv on the bottom of your reply entry, when you enter your website info, it will leave a link to your last post. If you comment on a Blogger blog, tell the blogger which post they should visit on your blog that is relevant to the topic .

3. Grow your support network and regular readers. I visit my favorite blogs regularly and love that I can count on them to return the visits and comment. I feel like I get to know them better as people and better yet, as bloggy friends.

 

How Do You Leave An Engaging and Valuable Comment?

1. Be original. Show the blogger you really read and thought about their post. Don’t just copy and paste a generic comment. Don’t be a perpetrator of what MomComm calls “Comment Vomit”.
2. Describe what you agreed with and how it relates to your life.
3. Ask the blogger a follow-up question that continues the conversation so that the blogger will reply to you.
4. If at first you don’t succeed, try again. Just because a blogger does not respond once, does not mean they do not care. Maybe they were busy. Visit bloggers several times before deciding you will not comment anymore.

This topic has been covered by several great bloggers, and here are some of my favorite links.
MomComm’s article “Comment Vomit: The Facebook Fan Page edition
Book Bloggers International article: The Importance of Commenting
Book Bloggers International article: The Importance of Commenting, Part Deux
and yes, cause I gotta agree as Southern Mess Mom says: Captcha is Evil!. Can you moderate comments instead to help prevent spam? You might be surprised how many readers are turned off by Captcha requirements. They are hard to read!

 

How Do You Get People to Leave Comments?

You will notice that I try to end my post by asking questions of my readers. Have they read the book? Are there other books with similar themes they have read and recommend? Find a way to connect the book to your own life and ask how it connects to the readers’ life. Some of my favorite comments were when I wrote a review on a book about sisters. I asked about my readers’ siblings and loved hearing about everyone’s family situation. Some commenters left some very personal stories I was surprised they would share but it helped me get to know my readers a little better.

If you are on a WordPress blog, download the CommentLuv and Comment Reply Notification plugins. CommentLuv will allow the commenter to enter their website URL and their most recent post will be visible below their comment. It allows you and your other readers to visit their blog easily and helps showcase their latest post. Comment Reply Notification will send an email to the commenter when you reply to their comment. This way they can continue in the discussion and pay you another visit to reply.

If you are on a Blogger blog, see this blog tip on setting up comment reply notification. I visit so many blogs, I cannot rely on my memory to know who I visited and when. Make it easier for the commenter to know you wanted to continue the conversation.

 

What’s the Mini-Challenge?

So now that you know why you should comment, how to leave a valuable comment and how to get readers to comment on your blog, your challenge is to complete as many of the below tasks as you can.

1. Comment on blogs that you have not visited before. Tell us how many you commented on and give a shout out to some of the new bloggers you met and enjoyed.  Better yet let us know something cool you learned about a fellow blogger from your comment discussions.
2. Activate CommentLuv on your WordPress blog.
3. Activate Comment Reply Notification on your WordPress or Blogger blog.
4.  Sign up to be a commenting cheerleader next time the opportunity arises.  You’ll be amazed at the people you’ll “meet” and might not find otherwise. Two I had signed up for were Dewey’s 24 hour readathon in April and October and Armchair BEA at end of May/beginning of June.
5. Sign up for the next Book Blogger Love-a-thon during February, a blog-a-thon dedicated to spreading comment love and discovering new blogs.

I do not have any prizes to offer this time. The prize in itself is making new bloggy friends and getting to know others in our amazing blogging community.  Ready, set, mingle! Comment and show the love to your fellow bloggers and help grow your network, you’ll be glad you did!

How do you ensure you have enough time to visit blogs and leave comments? Do you dedicate time to visit other blogs or comment on the spur of the moment? How do you feel about Captcha word verification?

Who did you meet during the mini-challenge?  How many comments did you leave and blogs did you visit? Thanks for participating and hope you enjoyed spreading comment love and growing your network! 

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53 Comments

  1. I agree- I like leaving comments. I’m wondering how to get more people to chat on our blog….. I normally end the post with a question to encourage conversation.

  2. Great post and one I totally agree with. I love visiting other blogs and rarely leave without commenting, especially when the post engaged me or gave me food for thought. It helps built a bloggy relationship, only takes an extra few mins and don’t we all love feedback.

  3. Great tips, and I totally agree. I love leaving and getting comments, it’s the best part of blogging, meeting all these great people all over the world.

    I think these plugins are only for wordpress.org blogs and I haven’t figured out how to move mine from .com yet… I’ll make a note!

  4. Thank you so much for the visit to my Bloggiesta post and for the Meme suggestions I will definitely check those out! Commenting is definitely something I need to work on, I do try, but then I feel self conscious about it. I do have experience on both sides of the fence, as I’ve done Dewey’s as just a reader, and then also as a cheerleader, so I know how appreciated those comments are. Also how it’s sort of a let down if you can tell that comment is just a quick copy paste rather than saying something specific to let you know they did read your post, but oh the warm fuzzies when they do! It really boosts the ego and makes you feel like maybe you’re not just blogging to the void!

    I’ve really enjoyed my first Bloggiesta and I’ll definitely do more of them!

    1. I Love warm fuzzies, that’s exactly how I feel too when someone leaves a thoughtful comment. Glad you enjoyed your first Bloggiesta, I was hooked too after my first one. If you like Bloggiesta, there’s also a Biannual Blogathon Bash which is for all types of bloggers but incredibly helpful as well! They just had the summer one in June but sometimes there are small, surprise ones. The next big blogathon bash is in January. I make sure to signup for both Bloggiesta and the Blogathon bashes and their monthly twitter chats! I can use all the help I can get to improve my blog 🙂

  5. Thank you for this post. It really made me think about how I comment and I how I can be better about it! I haven’t gone to visit other blogs yet, but one of the ways I remember to leave comments is by doing it as soon as I finish the post. 🙂
    And now I’m very interested in the read-a-thon coming up in October. I’ve seen lots of other people do it, but I’ve never participated before.

    1. Hi Kathy, oh yes, commenting right away is the only way I’ll remember also! Sometimes I’m tempted to leave right after I read a post, but I always have SOMETHING to say and figure it’s worth a couple minutes to leave a comment to let them know I read it and thought about it. Dewey’s was fun serving as a cheerleader. I was surprised at how busy I was! And well, since I didn’t just copy/paste the same response on everyone’s, it took a lot of time but I started following a lot of great blogs and got many return visits as well, which is always nice 🙂

  6. I know a lot of your readers have already agreed, but Captcha does stop me from adding comments, too. I think some bloggers don’t realize why they never get comments, but it’s because their potential commenters give up after spending three minutes trying to decide the letter is an “h” or an “n.”

    Thank you for the mini-challenge suggestions and great tips. I’m going to go figure out Comment Luv right now.

  7. I focused on this challenge exclusively this weekend.

    I commented on 75+ blogs. I followed lots of folks via bloglovin’.

    I am going to give my hands a rest and work on activating CommentLuv on my WordPress blog.

    Thanks for hosting

    1. That is sooo great that you commented on 75+ blogs. Hope you met some great bloggers along the way and found some cool books to add to your TBR. Commentluv is fantastic, glad the challenge was useful to you.

  8. I enjoyed reading your post. I never commented on blogs when I first started out and I didn’t even know I was supposed to reply to them if I got them. I’m a pretty frequent commenter now that I’ve been around longer, but this is great advice! Sometimes I’m stumped to come up with a thoughtful comment or there are a million comments already ahead of me, but I usually try to say SOMETHING semi-meaningful!

  9. I’m really bad about even having time these days to getting around to read blogs, let alone comment. Totally sucks!! But I like to think I’m pretty decent about coming up with the content – I just can’t seem to stop talking. My comments run on and on and on. I need to become more “pithy” and come up with shorter comments so I can visit and go 🙂

    Great challenge – Thanks!!!

  10. Nice post, Tanya! I love your term “comment vomit”. Haha! I think I’m guilty of that also! Maybe not “copy and paste”, but I can definitely leave a lame comment! 😉 Sometimes, I just want to let the author of the post know I was there – that I read their post, and I agree with them. Sometimes, I’m just not that quick with a reply! (words elude me)

  11. Thanks so much for hosting the mini-challenge. I used to read and comment on blogs regularly, but lost the habit somewhere along the way. Your mini-challenge is a nice nudge to get back to that!

    The Daily Post at WordPress.com happened to post an article on how to write more interesting comments this week. It also had some useful tips and prompts: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/07/18/making-conversation-how-to-think-up-good-comments/

    As for Blogger’s Captcha – I hate it. It has repeatedly prevented me from commenting on blogs where I really wanted to engage in a conversation with the author. I have it turned off on my Blogger blog and comment moderation seems to be enough. Spam is redirected to my spam folder where I can skim it for anything amusing before deleting it all in bulk.

  12. I guess I am starting here with commenting. This was actually something I was thinking about yesterday as I thought about what I want to get done for Bloggiesta and one of those things was to visit blogs and leave some comments throughout the weekend. Great tips and I will have to put those events on my calendar. I was a cheerleader for the last Dewey Readathon and loved it, although it consumed quite a bit of time, but was still fun!

  13. I admit I dont always leave comments on the blogs I read – more often than not I neither hate nor love a post, and think that not leaving a comment is nicer than leaving one going “ah, you’re ok really, bye!”. However, I will take on some of your suggestions as to leaving comments more frequently on blogs

    I like the commentluv suggestion and will see if I can add it in

  14. I wish blogger had a way of having something like comment luv. Really it shouldn’t be that hard! I also always wonder if anyone ever comes back and looks at comments. I have been discussing on my blog which is a blogger blog if I should switch to disqus or not… just can’t decide!!!

    1. Personally I love Disqus so I hope you take the plunge. I like that I can comment from Google+ which I believe helps SEO anytime I leave a comment (or at least how often my blog’s name appears on the internet since I signed up for Google authorship). Then Disqus emails me a summary of all the comments I posted and the responses I got. As I mentioned in the post, I try to comment a lot so unless it’s something I really want to know and asked the blogger, I won’t go back to a Blogger blog to check if my comment has a response. I just don’t have the attention span to remember who all I visited! As it is my time blogging is limited. I wish Blogger had comment luv too, maybe in the blurb above the comment section, you can encourage commenters to leave a link to their recent post so you can return the visit. Hopefully they do.

  15. This is a great mini challenge! Commenting is so important, and something I think bloggers often wish they could do more of.

    I tend to comment on the spur of the moment, depending on my reaction to a post. Usually I try to say something more engaging than “I haven’t read this book, so I really have no comment.” However, I might leave a comment to that effect on a blog that I visit regularly but haven’t commented on in awhile, just so the blogger knows that I’m still reading.

    When visiting new bloggers, I think it’s important to comment on several posts, rather than a single one so they know that you’re interested in looking around their blog and somewhat invested in pursuing a relationship, instead of just passing through. I’ve also found that leaving several comments means the blogger is more likely to visit and comment on my blog in return.

    Every so often I think I should add “discussion questions” of sorts to my reviews. I’ve yet to put the idea consistently into practice, however! I’ll also have to think about how to format them. I really like that you put your questions in bold at the bottom of the post.

    Is commentluv something I can use on a WordPress.com site?

  16. The “comment vomit” post is great!! LOL Love that term.

    I hate captcha if I’m on my phone OR if the captcha is annoyingly hard to read (like Blogger’s tend to be). Otherwise, I don’t mind it so much. I installed Disqus after Shannon/River City Reading put it on hers, and that’s been amazing. SO much more interaction comment-wise, and no spam issues so far.

    I hadn’t heard of the Book Blogger Love-a-thon, thanks for mentioning it!

  17. I started book blogging about a year ago but was simply using my blog as a transfer from my Twitter. Now I’m really trying to learn about connecting with other book bloggers via their blogs. I’m kinda figuring it out as I go and have recently started using my Google+ account. Thank you for your insight. I hope to be in contact frequently in the future. BTW: dog = super creepy & I HATE captcha because I can never unjumble the letter/ number combo correctly. If I have to type in my guess multiple times then I just give up and don’t comment.

    1. Hi Rhiannon, glad you are starting to reach out to other book bloggers. It’s really a supportive community, I know I love to get comments and it’s just as fun for me to give them too. I never seem to get Captcha right either and I’ll give up as well. I hope Blogger users find a better alternative.

      Sorry, not sure what you meant by dog=super creepy. What dog are you referring to? 🙂

      1. Oops. I think I got two posts jumbled in my brain. There was a pic of a crazy looking dog at the top of a blog I must have read right before this one. That’s probably a good point for the commenting lesson: Get your blogs straight!

        I compare getting comments to passing notes in school. Didn’t you just love getting a note from your friend in the hallway?

  18. Great pointers! I actually didn’t know commentluv so that’s added now, just in time for the mini-event! I ask questions at the end of my post, though often it doesn’t work. Friends talk to me about it IRL and I’ve noticed that people (outside Bloggiesta/Readathons) often comment on social media if you shared it there. So I’m more selective on what I share on Facebook, twitterpeeps are more likely to comment. (Must be the character limit 😉 )

    I leave comments when there was something in the post that grabbed my attention. If it was touching, I learned something, recognized a thing or something like that. I don’t always reply immediately for various reasons (thinking about what to post, busy at the moment, installing that plugin first, etc) so I put it in my pocket. Sometimes that leads to forgetting about it. (Blame it on my A.D.D., baby!)

    I do moderate comments, but turn it off during events. Hasn’t been a problem so far. If it were I could always turn it back on, seems like my spam plugin catches them most of the time anyway.

    I’ve pocketed the Book Blogger Love-a-Thon 2013 for later ( 😉 ) but I’ve added the mini-challenge! Somehow these events always feel more like networking/connecting than the event anyway, I like to talk to people! 😀

    Waiting for the readathon-sign ups. Still wondering if you can cheer and participate? I think you can, but not sure if that’s the intention. We’ll see! 😀 Have a fabulous weekend, DFTBA ^_^

    p.s. Seems like your URL-box for replies actually says URI! Just thought I’d let you now in case you didn’t notice yet 🙂

    1. Hi Samantha, first thanks for letting me know about the URL box! The theme had “URI” for the box and I NEVER noticed that it was wrong! I am glad that the commentluv plugin helped you. I love that feature both for leaving my comments on other blogs and it’s easy to pay readers a visit back when they leave their latest post link. I get little interaction from Twitter so I’m glad that works for you.

      If I don’t comment right away, I will certainly forget, I think I have ADD sometimes too and am just way too scatterbrained to remember to revisit a site. I love blogging events really for the twitter chats and challenges that help me get to know other bloggers, I’m like you I love to talk to people. There is a comfort to online conversations. IRL I am quite introverted and shy with people I don’t know, but online I can find people who want to discuss books and have a great time commenting and discussing, I think that’s why blogging is perfect for me!

      Good question, you can both be a reader and a cheerleader. And during Dewey’s 24 hour readathon, I intended to do both. But I think I had family come in town or something so since I committed to being a cheerleader, any of my free time was really spent commenting because there were 60+ people on my list to visit everyday (I wanna say there were over 300 participants total). Since I don’t like to leave “comment vomit”, it took me some time to visit everyone. Next time, I am going to have to block the Dewey’s day on the calendar and hope the hubby can take the kids out of the house for a good chunk of time so I can really dedicate more time to reading. During Armchair BEA, I participated and was a cheerleader and won prizes in both my roles to sweeten the deal even further!

      I don’t know what “DFBTA” means but hope you have a fun and productive weekend. Thanks for taking the time to complete the challenge and great discussion!

      1. The distance in online communication did help me, though I no longer experience that distance. I’m very open which often leads to people being open too. There’s still a risk in that but then again, if they don’t like me for me… And I often find that if I find common ground with someone IRL this works the same way, though I still stumble with spoken words. (No backspace!!!)

        Which reminds me of a quote from C.S. Lewis: “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one!”

        I think this applies to online too, I’ve met a lot of folks via events like readathons or bloggiesta because of this. I often tweet some weird stuff I’m doing with the hashtag for the event. And a year ago I used #catladiesofreadathon, the last event it was actually used (on twitter and instagram). Fun to see! Lots of cats getting in the way of reading 😛

        And I see the box is fixed! Yay! It’s quite weird it uses URI, I wonder what their motivation was =’)

        I like looking at other people’s blogs, the way it’s styled can say a lot about them 🙂
        I’ll definitely keep an eye on Bout of books/Dewey’s Readathon for some cheerleading or something similar. I do it anyway, might as well team up! Awesome you won prizes! I didn’t even know that was a part of it 😆 . Guess we’ll cross paths again for Dewey’s at least!

        DFTBA is “Don’t forget to be awesome”, it’s for ‘nerdfighters’ (People who instead of being made up of cells and organs and stuff are actually made out of awesome. We like to decrease world suck) and was coined by John Green (author) and Hank Green: The Vlogbrothers.

  19. Ha ha ha to comment vomit. I never heard that phrase.

    I don’t like word verification, but the thing I don’t like the most are where you’re limited to how you comment. I think it’s only with blogger blogs, but the ones that limit it to using a google account or aim, wordpress, livejournal, and open id. First of all… do people still actively use aim and livejournal? Second, myblog is self-hosted through wordpress, not an option. And I don’t want to get an open ID account. So, if anyone’s reading this that limits their blog by that method, I think you’re losing out on a lot of comments.

    1. Hi Ann, Melissa at Momcomm is a hoot, “comment vomit” is a very descriptive and memorable way to describe those comments 🙂

      I agree with you, I don’t like that blogger blogs limit how you respond. I used to be on free Blogger before I moved to self-hosted WP so I had a google account and just use that when I reply on a Blogger blog. It might be worth setting up a Blogger ID if you have a google gmail account anyway. It’s true that the Blogger blogger is missing out on some comments, but hopefully you aren’t missing a connection by not commenting 🙂 What drives me nuts when I make a comment in Blogger is that the apostrophe in my blog title is replaced by 3 gibberish character so Mom’s become something like “Mom#&$s”…ugh.

      I am glad you stopped by Ann and look forward to following your travels and sharing mine with you from across the ocean.

  20. Excellent tips Tanya! I love reading blogs and commenting, especially since I’m not active very much on social media. To find the time – which I don’t always do – I subscribe to a ton of blogs in my reader. I usually scroll through the headlines and save the posts I want to comment on later if I don’t have time. Then, I try to get to them by the end of the day.

    1. That’s a great idea Tanya to save the posts and comment later in the day. I have lots of blogs in my bloglovin reader too and it’s hard to get to everyone. I try to alternate between posting/promoting my blog post one day and visiting and commenting the next day. I appreciate you sharing my post on G+ too! I could use some of that Friendly’s ice cream right about now!

  21. Tanya! This is a fantastic post, thanks so much! I’m going to share this one all over the place. Great advice girl, kudos!

    Comment Vomit! Ha! That is a great term. I try to avoid leaving lame comments. There’s almost always something thoughtful to say if YOU’VE READ THE POST, lol.

    Thanks again!

    1. Thanks Jennifer for sharing the post! I know you are a great commenter already and can always count on you to have something funny, insightful or supportive to say. I so appreciate it and know the other bloggers you visit do too!

  22. I haven’t decided whether I will be involved in the weekend, but will still be interested. Commenting is an important part of blogging, I endeavour to do as much as I can. The down factor is that the internet time takes away from reading time! However I love a comment on my blog so I do try to comment. I love when my favourite authors reply to a comment I have made on their blog too!

    I will leave a comment on a blog that has captcha, but I hate the thing. I have it disabled and rarely receive spam. I wonder why bloggers use it. Yes, even having a comment be moderated is better, although I don’t use it myself.

    I am off to read the comment reply notification post for Blogger, to see what I can do to enable that on my blog. Thanks for a helpful post.

  23. These are excellent tips! I love the comment vomit bullet. Hehehe! Asking a follow up question in the comment to continue the conversation is a great tip!

  24. I’ve noticed that I get more insightful comments when I post a direct question. The quantity is pretty much the same but the quality is much better. And I try to be original in my comments and relate them to my personal life, or at LEAST be thoughtful enough to reference the blog post so that they person knows that I read it and am not just “getting my name out there.”

    I do tend to skip commenting on things that have the capcha (or whatever it is) on it because I’m lazy and I can’t read them half of the time.

  25. Fantastic tips, Tanya! I leave a comment every single time I visit a blog. I do it because getting comments from people on my blog is my favorite thing. It lets you know you’ve made a connection with someone. I like having that feeling and I like giving that feeling to someone else! I can’t think of a post where I can’t comment on *something* about it. There’s always something that hooks you!! (and if not, that’s probably not the blog for you)
    We’ve been meaning to get BlogLovin FOREVER. My goal will be to see about that before the end of the summer!! Thanks for reminding me!! 😀

    1. Thanks Colleen, it’s definitely easier to not comment or just copy/paste a canned response. But I think it’s worthwhile too to get to know other bloggers better and find those people with whom you really have a connection. I think it’d be so fun to meet some of these bloggers in real life that I’ve talked to over the past year.

    1. You are very welcome, I love getting comments and I think as bloggers, we all do! I’m just trying to encourage people to start a conversation, you never know what will come of it!

  26. I don’t always or even often leave a comment. I don’t like comment vomit either, but i think most of my comments fall into the category. I like it when people have a ‘like’ button you can click. It means I can show my appreciation even if i don’t have something impressive to say.

    1. Hi Tanya, well I feel so special that you did leave a comment for me 🙂 Yea, the little reaction buttons are good, I found people didn’t use it so took it off my blog. I don’t always have something impressive to say but I do like to let the blogger know how it made me feel. I always love getting comments so when I get “crickets” on a post, I usually think readers didn’t really care for it.

      Thanks for leaving a comment, are you participating in the Mini-Bloggiesta this weekend? Hope so!

      1. Unfortunately i will not be participating in the mini-blogiesta. But the good news is that I will be at a cottage without internet. We all have to make sacrifices sometimes.

        And thanks for the book rec. via twitter. Something chilly is exactly what I am after.

        1. Ohhh, a cottage without internet sounds divine. We all need to unplug and recharge sometimes. Enjoy your weekend!

          You’re welcome for the book recommendation. Now that I think about it, I don’t know if I ever wrote a review of Snow Child on the blog but it is one of my favorite books!

  27. All of these are great tips! I totally agree with the “comment vomit”, it’s really frustrating – I’d almost rather have no comment than one I can’t engage with. I feel like comment moderation is a little harder as a Blogger user, but installing Disqus has made my life so much easier (both filtering spam and notifying me of replies).

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