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Efficient Blog Commenting: Save Your Time and Energy

This guest post is by Jane Sheeba of Find All Answers.

Commenting on other blogs is an integrated part of blogging, and it’s vital. You need people for successful blogging and blog commenting is one of the coolest ways to build loyal relationships.

This post is based on Joe’s guest post here at ProBlogger, where he wisely gave a strategy for commenting on other blogs. I want to add more to it, to make the strategy energy- and time-efficient.

Effective blog commenting

Commenting on other blogs can be overwhelming if you try to combine it with your regular blogging activities. Let me tell you my regular blogging activities: writing blog posts, moderating comments on my blog, replying to those comments, reading other blogs in my niche, writing guest posts, dealing with guest post submissions, dealing with paid projects, commenting on other blogs, participating in social media … you get the idea.

So even though I know the importance of commenting on other blogs, I just cannot devote a whole day to it. It’s part of my strategy, though, so I need to be efficient in my commenting. “Effificent” means working smart (rather than hard), getting more done in less in less time, and making things easy to handle.

I recently wrote about an effective blog commenting strategy at my blog, so I won’t rehash the details here. Instead, we’ll focus on making your blog commenting strategy more efficient.

Using RSS feeds and organizing them

RSS feeds are not dead! Many people use them—in fact, I prefer to subscribe to a blog via the feed before going for an email subscription. There are two reasons for this:

  1. Reading a blog through feeds is less distracting, even if I have email notifiers turned on.
  2. I don’t want to submit my email address to a blog without analyzing the content first. Reading a blog’s content via feeds help me examine the quality of the content and makes me decide if I will submit my email or not.

In fact, RSS feeds are not just for reading your favorite blogs—they will help you greatly with blog commenting. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to practice a regular blog commenting schedule via your Google reader.

I find this method to be very organized. I allocate 30 minutes every day to visit my Google reader and comment on unread posts.

There is one more benefit to it: if the feeds are full (that is, not partial feeds), you can save yourself a click. I read the post in my RSS reader, and click through to the article online only if I want to leave a comment. That saves me loads of time!

I also have added an extension to my Chrome browser that displays the number of unread items in my feeds (this is not notification, and hence no interruption to my day). For Firefox, there are a handful of extensions available to help you monitor your feed list.

Use social media, especially Twitter

I use Twitter to engage with others and promote my content. Again, commenting is about relationships first—then promotion.

I follow a tight number of people, so there is little chance that I’ll be distracted. At the time of writing this post, I have 870 followers and I’m following 60 people. Call me crazy, but I really don’t want noise on my timeline—and that’s one of the reasons I’m not being followed by masses of people. They follow me, wait for me to follow them, then unfollow me if I don’t.

I use Twitter as a tool to find good blogs to comment on. One of its advantages is that, unlike the RSS reader, where I see only the blogs I visit, Twitter helps me find new blogs.

And, if I’m impressed by the content of a blog, I can add it to my RSS subscription list and become a loyal reader and commenter. This approach has brought me some good traffic.

Use Paper.li

If you are a regular user of Twitter, you should have encountered Tweets like these:

You can create a newspaper, or “daily,” out of your participation at Twitter and Facebook. Don’t worry about creating content for your daily—it’s all automated. You don’t even have to create an account: you can use your Twitter or Facebook accounts to log in to the service.

Once you’re logged in, you can create some specifications and hastags that form the focus of your daily. A typical paper will look like this:

I skim my own daily and collect a handful of new blogs that I rapidly check out to see if they’re worth commenting on, and adding to my Google Reader. I also skim others’ papers to see if they’re following any blogs I should investigate.

How do you find these papers?

Your daily can be set to be automatically tweeted once it’s created, as the image above shows. So if you’re following your timeline, you should be easily able to capture two or three dailies that the people you’re following have created. This will introduce you to a good number of new blogs.

Use Google Alerts

Setting up Google Alerts is an efficient way to find highly targeted blogs in your niche. You could set up an alert for a particular keyword, and ask Google to notify you of only blogs that talk about that topic.

I normally set a weekly frequency for these email notifications, as daily is a bit too much for me. You can find more details about setting up Alerts here.

Focus on quality

Always focus on quality in your writing, whether it’s a blog post or a comment. I personally put the same amount of effort into writing comments as I do my blog posts.

The content is content—and it is your idea. With comments, you are providing opinion, tips, and suggestions in the same way you do in blog posts. I don’t see a real difference between them, other than length and the location of the finished content.

Your comment brands you and your business. It speaks for you. If you leave shabby, spammy, useless comments, you’ll ruin your reputation and your blog’s identity. For this reason, I don’t find it compelling or mandatory to leave a comment on every post I read. Not even on those blogs at which I am a regular reader, including ProBlogger.

Sometimes, we just don’t feel like we need to say something. In such situations, reading the post and leaving without commenting is far far better than pushing yourself to make a comment.

Do you use any of these tips already? How have you made your blog commenting strategy as efficient as possible?

Jane writes about Blogging Tips, Relationships and Self Improvement at her blog Find All Answers. You can grab your copies of “Problogging for Newbies” and “Your guide to Better Time Management” upon subscribing to her blog. She has a working strategy for successful guest posting.

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Comments

  1. Kevin Kimes says:

    I saved time and energy by skimming the post first before leaving this comment.

    I got what may be the first post here because I use RSSOwl to notify me as soon as possible of new posts on a bunch of on-topic blogs.

    I still make an effort in all my comments to be relevant and useful for other readers and the host blog as well.

    I find twitter hard to use because there’s just an endless stream of tweets, most of which aren’t relevant.

    • Kevin,

      You are a smart cookie with that suggestion of the RSS Owl – that is quite brilliant!

      Thanks my friend for sharing!

      Krizia
      Women Entrepreneurs HQ Show

    • Great tip on RSS Owl. I’m using Google Reader now. How is Owl better/different?

      For me, I organize my RSS subs in reader into a few categories. For example, blogs that I am dedicated to reading are in one folder and newer blogs that I’m still forming an opinion on are in another folder. That way, I can be sure to comment on the ones I’m dedicated to first.

  2. Tim says:

    This is awesome advice. It turns blogs that you enjoy reading into an easy to check off to do list.

    I’d like to add one more tip: try not to comment on your phone (like I always) do. I say this because while it may be convenient, I always find that I typo after commenting from my phone.

    • That’s a great information for me.The paper.li concept is great in one words i would say.Jane have you any little space for me to write some guest post for my little blog?

    • @Tim
      I think it depends on how you do it. If you are in a hurry to leave a comment from your phone and go do something else, there are likely to be typos. I do most of my commenting from phone, like I am now, and it works well for me. It’s time saving and effective as I’m not all that in my work mode doing it. I might be anyway, waiting, travelling, on my bed etc.
      Just adding some points to that..

      • Hi Tim and Ikenna,

        What Tim says is correct, but we have to be a bit extra careful and skim our comments before pressing the submit button. As Ikenna says, I wouldn’t waste the time; I especially find it excellent to read and comment, when I am on bed.

        Cheers,
        Jane.

  3. Gera says:

    Hi Jane,

    Solid tips and commenting on other blogs is vital!
    Quality comments -after reading the post- is key and not “great post” and move on.

    You can use also Feedly to manage your Google reader (my RSS reader too), this application is very useful to show in magazine-style your subscriptions.

    Other tool to avoid noise while using Twitter is Hootsuite and add to lists your important followers – less noise, plus a better way to deal with them :)

    For me commenting is the same word like relationships, blogging is like that, right?

    Cheers,

    Gera

  4. Damien says:

    The tips about Rss feeds are useful thanks. I will go ahead and read the strategies for good blog commenting later.

  5. Chiara says:

    I don’t leave links back to my website unless it’s directly related to a specific article I’ve written. I’m noticing that the more genuine my responses are to other blog posts, the more people click to find out more about me. Not only that, but it opens the doors to some really valuable content!

  6. I use Google Reader and have the blogs sorted by general topic. It by breaking down the number of new posts into smaller groups, so I don’t get so overwhelmed if get interrupted a lot for a time, a real concern since I have three kids to deal with.

  7. Tony says:

    I also leave comments on other blogs, but not the ones who use a black background. To me the persons blog looks bland, don’t get me wrong some do look ok but a black background(yuck). Now about google reader I use it yes however it doesn’t to justice for me. I get more spam readers than normal readers, since my reader numbers change daily. Also it could just be my blog lol.

    Tony

  8. Jeffrey Kang says:

    I thought the entire point of commenting was to “steal” readers from one site and bring them to yours. Then when they land on your site, they do a number of things like subscribe to your list?

    Often times, I feel like the larger sites read my content and then reorganize it into their own post. It’s really annoying and I wish it would stop, but so long as people go searching the web for places to comment and get an easy back link, I guess I have to ignore it.

  9. Hi Jane,
    I have used some of the strategies that you use for commenting. I also bookmark blogs on my browser that I read and comment on regularly.

    As far as commenting goes when I feel inspired to comment I will. In the beginning of my blog adventure I would comment on anything that I could get my hands on. I am more refined in my approach now a days.

    I still enjoy using twitter even though my following is modest at the moment.

  10. Kathy says:

    Blog commenting does really have a big effect on your blogging activity. Look at mine, I just started up blogging a few weeks ago (or a month), and I comment on other blogs as well. Look at my blog now, it has a couple of comments too. This made me happy and made me inspired more to blog.

  11. Tom Mannis says:

    Good advice, Jane! I know fellow bloggers who spend all day posting comments on other sites, and as a result they have little time left to actually post on their own blog! Seems counter-productive. As for Twitter, I get dozens of hits daily from Twitter, Facebook, and other outlets such as Feedjit. More, far more, than I think I could get by commenting all day! Thanks for the great post. Cheers.

  12. Tom says:

    I’m going to check out Google alert.

    You made a good point RSS. Review their site before committing your email. I’ve had to cancel my subscription to a few blogs since I lost interest.

  13. kumo says:

    I do agreed that quality is better than quantity when it comes to commenting. When we try to push for quantity, chances of clarified as spam increases if we are not careful.

  14. I really like the Google Alerts idea, will look into it shortly!

  15. Mark Osborne says:

    I find commenting the easy part. I use RSS in outlook (where I spend most of my day) for the top sites I want to comment on. I use google reader to follow other sites that I am tracking.

    The more difficult thing for me has been finding great sites to comment on in my niche. To get a good click though rate I ideally want a big site with blogger friendly commenting policies. I find facebook and disqus comments don’t generate the same click through rates. And if my name links to a site profile then I put my url in the comment (if permitted).

    I’ve tried looking at Technorati and Alexa to find top blogs in my niche.

    Does anyone have good ideas on how else to identify top blogs in a niche?

  16. Sean Supplee says:

    Valid points just make sure its quality you are delivering one bad write up can end up doing more damage then anything else.

    If your going to be commenting on others blogs its a good idea to spread it out and leave a valid comment that adds value. What you should really be after is the ability to comment on a few of the bigger niche blogs but get your comment near the top of the post and for it to still be of high quality. I used to use comment sniper for this which is no longer supported wondering if there are any alternatives.

  17. I highly encourage Facebook activity. I may post something on my blog, but whenever I wander back to Facebook and talk about what I posted, the response is always very high if not higher there. It’s a very easy carefree and natural way to communicate. And so much easier for a blog host! One comment will reach thousands and the same can’t be said for answering blog comments.

    I vote to grow your Facebook for some awesome conversation.

    Donna
    http://funkyjunkinteriors.blogspot.com/

  18. Maaike Quinn says:

    “If you leave shabby, spammy, useless comments, you’ll ruin your reputation and your blog’s identity.”

    I love this. I see so many useless + generic comments, especially on this site and on DailyBlogTips. Most of them come from sites about making money online. I can’t believe how many are out there! All trying to replicate what others are doing. And while doing so, they ruin the conversation here :S

  19. Marie Noelle says:

    Great post!

    I’m just kidding… not about the fact that your post is or isnt’ great… you all know what I mean…

    I’m tired of “great post” comments… I get them often on my blog… if the only thing to say about a post is “great”, it’s either because a person did not read it or because the post wasn’t so great! And seriously, someone who write “great post” everywhere make me think that he’s not a really good writer, doesn’t have content and ideas…

    • Hi Marie,

      “Great post” is not always bad :) If it is accompanied by value, it is one of the coolest ways to get author’s attention.

      Yup, a commenter who cannot type a couple of extra valuable lines (other than great post) cannot be a good writer!

      Cheers,
      Jane.

  20. Good information. I’ve been seeing more “dailys” and wondered how those worked.

    My biggest peave is people who write comments and obviously haven’t read the article.

    Thanks.

  21. Rasika says:

    Hi..

    Thanks for the great information.from here now on i will improve my Focus on quality…

    • Jane,

      Thanks for this refresher on commenting.

      I actually have forgotten about Google Alerts and realize now that I should have this in place as part of my marketing strategy to promote my new video interview show!

      Thanks again,

      Krizia
      Women Entrepreneurs HQ Show

  22. gudka says:

    Yeah, you are right that Blogging is good for personality as well because it puts impacts on you when start reading blogs what you like and provide you the latest and best solutions for whatever you are searching.

    Thanks.

  23. Yana says:

    This post is resourceful, and I agreed with you. I love the point of “Focus on Quality”. While anyway when I found somebody give “spam” comments, Which there’s not related with the topic of an article post, I do hate it.

    Thank you

    - Yana

  24. LASIK Blog says:

    Hi Darren

    I was reading your article and really took my attention the section than you mention (focus on quality), I mean I’m agree with the fact that we should deliver quality to our readers not only with the articles but also with our comments. Having said that, what would you do when you have so many thankful comments which in my opinion does not contribute any “quality to the post” Would you post them anyways?
    Best Regards

  25. I think the biggest mistake that people make when they go for commenting on other blogs is that go for quantity and spray them all over the place rather than taking time to add value to other blogs. You can always smell a comment that somebody has left after reading the first couple of lines of the post without actually getting involved properly. If people do leave proper comments I nearly always click through to their blog and see what they are about and possibly subscribe.

  26. Jane,

    Lots of great suggestions.

    I particularly like the Paper.li suggestion. It’s an excellent way to find topics and posts!

    I was just using mine to provide information for others.

    Thank you for the idea!
    Theresa

  27. Sinea says:

    I have way over-subscribed to email alerts from blogs. Time to revisit, subscribe to their RSS feed and unsubscribe to their alerts. The inbox is getting messy!

  28. Wasim Ismail says:

    I use Google reader to manage all my blog that i am subscribed to so i can easily read and leave a comment, its simple as i can access it from anywhere, work, home, office, phone, you name it.

  29. AstroGremlin says:

    Jane, you say, ““Effificent” means working smart (rather than hard).” I have been wondering what “effificent” meant! :) You also mention creating “hastags.”

    Enjoyed your article, by the way, especially your observation that “If you leave shabby, spammy, useless comments, you’ll ruin your reputation and your blog’s identity.” Perhaps this comment will be useful. As someone who makes blog typos all the time, another set of eyes on my copy would be welcome!

  30. Great tips & advice, thanks man.

  31. Amanda says:

    I try to comment on other blogs within my area, but find it easy to get distracted, thus wasting time. I’ve tried to understand the whole RSS thingy, because I think it might be useful, but haven’t managed to get my head round it yet.
    However, I have found that making pertinent, insightful comments on other blogs goes a long way towards helping me establish genuine relationships with other bloggers and contributes to a growth in a sense of community on my own.

    • Hey Amanda,

      I agree that it is time consuming to unearth all those interesting and relevant blogs to comment on. That is why I use Google reader. When I find new blogs relevant to me, I just add it to my reader and then after I forget about it all together. I allocate specific time everyday to visit my reader.

      And I also use the blog commenting strategy I have explained in one of the links to my blog’s post in this post.

      Cheers,
      Jane.

  32. As rightly mentioned by few others above, reading the article well and commenting in a righteous manner is more important, than just giving a “Nice Stuff ” or “Good article” post comment. Commenting on related niche blogs is a good practice and I keep that as a priority task in my daily routine blogging.
    And yes, RSS is still around to stay for a while.

  33. “Great post, very informative!” Just kidding. I agree that spammy (generally positive) blog comments are deader than disco. Like this post says, you actually need to READ the post to comment on it (what a concept!).

  34. Navin says:

    First of all thank you for sharing this awesome post.

    these all ideas are important for blogger.

  35. minka kelly says:

    I’m so glad to read your article. It’s really a smart idea. How are we commenting effectively and efficiently, did not take the time and energy. Comments blog is like an easy job, but it could take a long time. Your writing gives the right solutions to the problems for bloggers in general.

  36. Kara Kelso says:

    I love the idea of using RSS feeds. In fact, I just wrote a blog post about how some blogs are losing me as a reader due to lack of a simple RSS feed. I prefer to use Outlook for my feeds, and organize them into folders. If I can’t find the feed, I won’t read the blog. I just flat out don’t have the time to constantly check the blog, and I get way too many emails to drop what I’m doing every time they make a post. I do realize some would rather have email notifications, although a blog owner shouldn’t limit themselves to only one type of subscription.

  37. darkduck says:

    I would recommend Slick RSS for Chrome. It also shows number of unread posts.

  38. I definitely have to start using RSS feeds. I bookmark sites I like because, at one time, that was enough. Now my bookmarks are so disorganized I definitely need a better system.

  39. angel says:

    Just wanted to say thank you for this post. I just found FeedDemon Lite, which is making readding the RSS feeds much easier. I also use the Paper Li…and LOVE IT for Twitter. Going to have to look at it for Facebook. Again, thank you for all the tips you give those of us who blog.

  40. I like your idea about being efficient in what you do… as I quote “Efficient means working smart (rather than hard), getting more done in less in less time, and making things easy to handle”. Actually, totally awaken because sometimes with our desire to accomplish things we tend to force ourselves and sacrifice quality or even end up being unproductive.

  41. I often add feeds to my google reader, but I find myself utlizing them very little.

    I need to take you advice and take advantage of it more often for the blogs that have given me the most traffic in the past.

  42. zacharie says:

    My problem is I am having a hard time gaining twitter followers. I also do not have a particular niche since my site is about a top 10 list about various topics.

  43. Karla says:

    I really love using Google Reader and Newsrack on my iPhone. I specially like that even if I have different types of blogs in folders you can view all in sequential order. That way I am able to start with the oldest post and work my way to the newest. I can also decide to ignore and come back to those categories that I don’t have time to view at the moment.

    I was getting really behind on keeping up with my favorite blogs that I had to set up a Google Calendar alert to take a break from the day an allocate 30 minutes a day to look through my Reader and comment on those posts that interest me. I feel more in control of it, instead of feeling overwhelmed with hundreds of posts.

    I’m definitely going to look into Google Alerts. Thanks for all the useful information!

  44. Mr Azeem says:

    Thanks for this great post Darren because it has helped me gain more traffic onto my blog, by using social media.

  45. Denys Yeo says:

    I think Twitter is underutilized as a tool for efficient blogging and commenting on blogs. Thank you for your ideas here.

    upi:dyd-dgyeo

  46. It is very nice post.Thanks for this great post Darren because it has helped me gain more traffic onto my blog by using social media.Thanks for all the useful information!

  47. LizzyBeth says:

    Glad to have found this blog. Although I’m been a huge Tech Geek for decades now, I consider myself still fairly new on the blogging bandwagon & just sponging up all this great information. I just downloaded RSS Owl as I currently use google reader but am always looking for a better way. I really could use something like Paper.li too, so i totally scored today!

    I’m also enjoying reading all the comments, as even the comments have some great tips in them! I’m noticing that I’m finding other great blogs to read just by checking out the comment posters website & using “Read It Later” to check it out at a later time (so that i don’t get distracted with what i’m currently focused on which is so easy to do when perusing the web).

    Thanks!!

  48. Geoffrey says:

    Hello!
    Blog commenting is essential for bringing traffic-that is why we all do it, right? Of course, it is even better when you can build mutual confidence with the blogger. I do not comment just on sites similar to mine, but on all the sites that I find interesting or that have topics that are useful for me to learn about. I always appreciate the feedback to my comment from the blogger, and try to get involved as much as I can. As you said for yourself, commenting on just one type of blog can have its limitations.