Blog Mastery Weekend Assignment #9 – Commenting Mistakes That Make You Look Like a Schmuck

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Cool picture of a schmuck

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #990000;”] H [/dropcap]ow are you using comments to attract readers to your blog?

If you aren’t commenting, then create a plan this weekend to get started.  Comments, by far, are the easiest and cheapest way to build a reputation and attract readers to your blog.

But, there are a few things you should know before you start.  You see, comments are a two way street.  You basically are hanging out at another blogger’s house party.  If you behave, you’ll get invited to stay, even help MC the next party.  If you act like a jackass, you will be booted and ignored.

After reviewing over 4,800 comments on Pushing Social, I’ve developed a pretty sensitive ear for bullsh*t artists and attention moochers.  On the other end, there are some excellent bloggers who make little mistakes that kill their reputation and test the “host’s” patience.

Although I hate sounding like the social media etiquette police, there are several faux pas to watch out for:

1. Stealth Advertising:  It’s bad taste to use someone’s comment section to advertise your own products.  Sure you can do it but you might suddenly find your comments not getting posted.  The best way to promote your expertise is by leaving a thoughtful and substantive comment.

2. “Labeling” Your Host:  When I first started, I thought it was clever to constantly say “Your advice is a great first step but…” From there, I would talk about how “advanced” my point of view was.  One day, the blogger emailed me and told me to quit being a schmuck.  If I had something to add, then write the comment, but don’t “label or belittle” the blogger.  Good advice.

3. Extend don’t Echo:  Pushing Social commenters rock because they often add a new angle or perspective to my posts.  These folks recognize that if I made a point, then they don’t have to “echo” it by restating the same point.  It’s just a waste of everyone’s time.  When you comment, look for ways to add value to the blogger’s post.  You will quickly attract readers who want to read  more of what you have to say.

4.  Sucking Up:  Let me be clear here.  I love people who religiously shout my praises from the mountaintops.  However, other readers will think you’re a suck up.  So, although you make me feel great, you’re killing your reputation in the process.  With that being said, feel free to suck up to me via email :)

5.  Drive-By Comments:  Some folks have got it in their heads that they can boost their Google rankings by dropping one-sentence comments on as many blogs as they can find.  Two points here, first I always whisper “schmuck” under my breath as I disregard these comments and second I’m pretty sure that Google does too.

6. Using a Spammy Alias:  If you’re name is ‘best india SEO’ then I your parent’s should be jailed for abuse.  Google hates this comment spam and so do reputable bloggers.  Use your real name and quit being a SEO tool.  I and fellow readers want relationships with people who put genuine dialogue before SEO shenanigans.

7.  No Photo:  This isn’t an egregious offense.  I understand if you are camera shy but swallow your pride and make sure a photo is loaded in Gravatar.  Your photo makes your comments stand out and help readers get to know you.

Ok, talk to you in the comments. {wink}
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Quick Tip:

I love WordPress but it’s pretty hard to do anything special with your blog post layout.  If you use your blog for sales and leads then I’m sure you’ve pulled your hair out trying to customize landing pages and blog templates.

So, you are going to love me for this tip.  Kristi Hines did an awesome review for Elegant Themes.  They are a premium theme designer that is a worthy competitor to my beloved Studiopress.

Anyway, Elegant Themes have a plugin called Elegant Page Builder.  Folks, this plugin is amazing.  It adds a new section to your blog admin panel that allows you to drag and drop columns, colored boxes, text boxes, image sliders, and other cool stuff.  It’s easy to use and makes gorgeous pages using your current theme.  I used it to make that snazzy drop cap up top and the colored box.  Normally this would take me 30 minutes of fiddling with CSS and PHP.

The bad news is that you have to join Elegant Themes for $89 to get your hands on the plugin.  I thought long and hard about this and ultimately decided that it was worth it.  Take a look and see if it makes sense for you too.

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About Stan

Stan Smith is the Managing Director of Pushing Social a content marketing consultancy for aggressive, results-focused organizations.

12 thoughts on “Blog Mastery Weekend Assignment #9 – Commenting Mistakes That Make You Look Like a Schmuck

  1. Kelly

    @Kelvin You are not alone in your anxiety! I definitely feel a bit like that too at times… like now. But this is a great post because despite feeling that way, it gives a set of guidelines for acceptable “party” behavior.

    Stanford – Thank you for the schooling. Going forward, I’ll do my best to avoid Schmuckery!

  2. claire axelrad

    Your posts always have such great, common-sense info Stan. And I love that cinemagraph. Never saw one before. These are all great tips. The type of comment that most annoys me, I confess, is the “drive by”. There’s also a variation of this, which I call the “clueless” or the “WTF”. Seriously, sometimes I can’t tell what folks are talking about. It appears they never read the post, and are just commenting off of the title. And sometimes I can barely even relate their comment to the title! Please folks: Don’t comment if you aren’t going to bother to read. Really, what’s the point?

  3. Val G

    This post actually inspired me to start commenting on blogs (and to try and do it properly!) I read so many things from my Google Reader that I end up missing out on the comments all together. Hopefully I can avoid being a schmuck. :)

  4. Trent Dyrsmid

    For me, I only comment on posts that I really like and have learned something valuable. It could be a tip that I already know and use but believe that new bloggers will learn a lot from it. I say it in my comments.

    I also love to read comments. I usually find add-ons in the comments from other bloggers. You’ll pick some tips or two from them too.

  5. Alice Ackerman, MD, (@CloseToHomeMD)

    Stanford: Thanks for these tips. I had no idea HOW people were getting their avatars to show up on their comments. Hopefully I have accomplished this task. It’s amazing how a person can go on doing things (wrong?) until someone else shows them the light.

  6. Stanford Post author

    No worries from you Lou. You are a consistent contributor to the PS Tribe. Rock on my friend.

  7. Kelvin

    I think I’m safe when it comes to avoiding schmuck-status, but I’ll admit to usually feeling a little anxiety when I’m commenting on someone’s blog.

    Maybe that’s alright though – a little anxiety goes a long way when you’re publishing your thoughts in a public forum. Yeah?


  8. Lou Rodriguez

    Whew! After reading that list, I feel safe that I’m not being a Schmuck as it pertains to posting comments here. I definitely do not post enough at other blogs though; and the blogs I do “hang out” at are ones where I enjoy the writing and that help me build my fledgling blog.

    Pushing Social happens to be that one blog (not a suck-up statement :))

    P.S. That picture is “rocking”! (also not a suck-up statement)

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