The Comment Challenge


Retro Phone Booths by Dominique B

Commenting is a building block of blogging. One way to gauge the success of our posts by the number of comments it receives (along with whether it's been stumbled or tweeted); comments are easily one of the best ways to network and promote your own blog.  They're an incredibly powerful and useful part of the blogging process, and they are one that becomes all too easy to overlook, skip over, or ignore.

 

In late October, Amy at Wolf Whistle tweeted about her own personal comment challenge– to leave 500 blog comments during the month.  I was instantly intrigued by this– what kind of comments does she leave? How difficult is it?

 

Amy told us about the experience:

Several people have asked me why I'm doing this. I hoped to bring more conversation to the blog community, gain new visitors to my own blog and hopefully make a few people smile in the process!

In a way, it definitely IS self-promotion: I'm not denying that in any way. I do think, however, that it is self-promotion in quite a quiet and subtle way and that I'm giving something back to the people who spend a great deal of time on their blogs.

I have not been writing massive comments on every single blog post – unless, of course, I feel like I have a lot to say. I promised myself when I started this that I wouldn't leave comments such as  ‘Nice blog!!!' as I generally feel that these type of comments are a bit of a let down. Being on the receiving end of a comment like that does not make you feel special at all!

After talking with Amy, I decided to take up the challenge for November.  My own goal was to leave 250 meaningful, thoughtful, useful comments.  While some of my comments may have been complimentary or lighthearted, I tried to make them substantial nonetheless. Amy’s quest made me realize that it’s important that I get out there and start leaving comments more.

 

What I've Learned:

  • To actually read, not skim, my RSS feed.  It’s amazing how easy it is to skim through posts, ignore the content that is really there and feel uninspired.  When you slow down to pay attention to what people are saying, instead of just looking at images, headlines, and bullet points, you’ll find there is a lot more to respond to.

     

  • Diversify my reading list.  It’s HARD to reach a target goal of 250 comments without falling into a pattern of leaving meaningless comments.  So I reached out for new content sources– reading the Links a la Mode threads weekly & commenting on submissions, seeking out new sites through others comments, commenting on re-Tweets from Twitter and more.

    Amy's Tip: If you have Bloglovin' or Google Reader, open five of your favourite blogs and comment on them all. Then follow a link from each blog and repeat forever… forever… forever.

  • Don't fret over failure; each comment is a success. This month, my goal was 250 comments. As of this posting, I'm at approximately 180 comments.  It's unlikely that I'll reach my goal, but holy crap! I posted 180 comments this month!  That's awesome.

  • If you find a new site that has great content, subscribe to it or bookmark it. Otherwise, you'll want to return to it later and will have NO idea where its at. Alternately, use some kind of tool to help you track where your comments are. For next month, I'd be likely to use something like coComment, a Google Spreadsheet, or a list in a program like Notepad to help me keep track of the comments I've left.

Challenge Yourself

  • For the month of December, challenge yourself to leave more comments.  Comments are, afterall, the building blogs of community, blog growth, outreach, and relationships.
  • Pick a number appropriate for you: it may be based on factors such as the site of your site, how many blogs you read, what your schedule is like.  Pick 50 comments if you're a new blogger wanting to reach out.  Pick 250 if you're moderately sized, but finding yourself slacking behind.  If you're super ambitious, set a goal for 500 like Amy has.
  • But what about the holidays? Amy had a great tip on that for herself:
    500 is a big amount and with my work commitments and holidays coming up, I doubt I'll reach the same goal in December. I am still going to set myself a smaller target though: I want to make daily commenting – on both my favourite blogs and blogs that are new to me – part of my internet life because all of those amazing blogs out there deserve some recognition!

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90 Responses

  1. L of AvidAccents

    This is an interesting posts. but oh goodness how do you keep count of the comments?
    I think i will do this challenge. it’s fun visiting new blogs and leaving love!

    Reply
  2. Katy

    I am trying to do a similar thing during the 30 for 30 challenge after seeing so many silly ‘nice look’ comments. I’ve been trying to leave more comments and always make them sincere and well-thought out. Never thought about counting the number of comments and challenging myself to reach a certain number – but I like the idea. – Katy

    Reply
  3. Kasey

    I’m not sure if I’ll be able to leave comments in the hundreds, but I will make more effort to leave comments. The reason I don’t comment often is I typically leave long comments, and I also find it offensive when people leave the “nice blog” comment. Another issue I have with comments is people leaving their actually blog address in the body of the comment, I’m all for promoting other bloggers, but it’s a better way of doing it.

    Reply
  4. Christina of Profresh Style

    This is such a great post Ashe! All the recommendations for setting yourself a commenting goal is really wise. I started my Reader Appreciation Monday in hopes to encourage more commenting and it has. It also encourages commenters from leaving comments like, “nice dress” or “great post”. I, myself, love to comment on other blogs with a thoughtout response. There’s nothing more insulting to have someone comment on a post, saying “you look pretty!” when it’s not even you. Comments shouldn’t be so much for self-promotion but for the connection to your reader. Thanks for posting this again<3.

    xx

    Reply
    • Cate

      so this is one of those annoying pointless comments, but i giggled a little at “There’s nothing more insulting to have someone comment on a post, saying “you look pretty!” when it’s not even you.” 😀

      Reply
  5. Grace

    This is an awesome idea! I’ve been trying to leave more comments and to search out new content, but I haven’t made any numerical goals. I think I’m going to take the challenge too. I have always thought the fashion blogging community was an awesome one and this is a way to give back. Comments are like currency. They help encourage the blogger and they encourage a dialogue between the blogger and the reader – which is very fulfilling for the blogger. It makes us feel like people are actually paying attention to what we put out there. If I enjoy getting comments so much, I’m sure everyone else does too.

    Goal for December commenting: 300 comments. I think I can do it. 🙂

    Reply
  6. WendyB

    Ha! I should try counting the number of comments I leave. But in addition to actually leaving the comments, that would be a whole separate workload so…I’ll pass! But I’ve always been in favor of saying something in appreciation of the effort the blogger has made. If I have time to look at it for a few minutes, I figure I can spare another minute to leave a note.

    Reply
  7. Eli

    I do this every time and leave meaningful comments 90% of the time!! But it’s honestly getting much harder and harder to because when I do, for like every 10 comments I leave I maybe get one back. It’s starting to make me feel like I’ve subscribed to a bunch of diva blogs! no one comments back! it was funny because today just as I read this, someone in the rss feed right before had posted this

    “Oh…
    I have a confession to make…
    I got a comment couple days go saying that I don’t return the courtesy nor visit and leave a comment just as courtesy to show my gratitude. That’s why the support for my blog has been dwindling. And I should do what I want others done to me.
    I have to agree and apologize to you guys!!! I know and I agree with what she/he said. I’ve heard this from my boy many times that I should & NEED to return the courtesy and visit back as my gratitude!!! I knew I have to do that to show you guys I care, but I don’t know why I did NOT do it in return.?!?!?! What am I thinking?!?!?! I’d like to thank her/he for point this out and shows me that you guys care and expect sth from me. I’ll start to do my best to return the courtesy. I really appreciate this! Thank you so much for this!!! Xoxo
    Sorry guys!!! I’ll do my best to improve!!!”

    I’m kind of glad she got called out, everyone should! And I think this post is the right push to make people more courteous and less snobby. sorry if I’m taking this on a whole other tangent.

    Reply
  8. Eli

    In fact, as the comment above me. Wendy is probably the only blogger that I can think of who consistently leaves comments each and every single time, or when I’m leaving a comment I see she’s already left one – thank you. If she can find time, everyone else seriously has absolutely no excuse.

    Reply
  9. WendyB

    Eli, I definitely stop leaving comments for those diva blogs! Or, you know, maybe they don’t have a bad attitude but they have a million readers or they’re really busy (I’m always scared that some day I won’t have as much time to devote to the blogs I read but I timed it recently and I can get through my blog roll in an hour or 90 minutes, which is a pretty minimal amount of time). Whatever the reason for their lack of interaction — and it could be a good reason — I’d rather leave the comments for people who are happy to chit chat with me! I figure someone who never responds won’t miss me. 🙂

    Reply
  10. Cate

    I like the idea behind this. It’s simple, but it challenges you to really pay attention. I read a LOT of blogs, but i very rarely comment, even on the ones i read everyday. and at the heart of it, it really is the simplest, most subtle and effective method of self promotion. i’m still not at the point where i’m getting tons of comments, and i definitely check out the blogs of everyone who takes the time to give me some feedback. i think this is something i really wan to try for December. i think i’ll stick to 50 as my goal though. does this count as my first one? 🙂

    Reply
  11. Kim

    I think I leave about 10 comments a day on blogs now.. It used to be more, but like some of you said, the response you get is limited and I started slacking because of it. Maybe I should just find some other blogs where there’s some better connection 🙂 I do have a few loyal commenters and I always try to comment back as much as I can!

    Reply
  12. Alexis

    500! That is impressive. when i first started my blog i never received comments and it was a little discouraging. A month or so in i realized that if i went and left comments on other blogs then some of them would come and view my blog and leave comments too. I tried to set small goals for myself like 10 before i went to bed and i would do this a couple times a week. it definetly helped with promoting my blog and i discovered tons of amazing blogs.
    For December i am going to try and make more of an effort to comment on blogs i am follower more and not just look at the posts.

    Reply
  13. The Well-Appointed Catwalk

    Commenting truly is the best form of self-promotion. When I first started blogging, I was blown away by how effective it was. Plus, I know I’m making someone smile at the same time. I agree with all on the importance of sincere comments. There’s one blogger in particular who has some sort of “follow me here” sentence tacked onto every single comment, and it drives me crazy. I’m following already, now leave me alone!

    Reply
  14. Stel

    This is such a good idea. I comment a little but not half as much as I should. I always leave thoughtful ents though 🙂
    thankyou for setting down a challenge.

    Reply
  15. lisa

    500 comments! Wow. I don’t know how many comments I’d be able to leave in a month, but probably not quite so many lol. A sincere comment where you show that you’re engaging with another blogger’s content and are interested in what they have to say is probably the best form of subtle self-promotion. No more copy/paste “Great blog! Follow me please *link*” comments, please!

    Reply
  16. Hexotica

    This is a great idea, but I think I might wait a month to start doing it just in case commenting all over the blogosphere goes haywire and everybody becomes suspicious, like I’ll be if my comment section suddenly becomes really active after this post, haha! 🙂

    Reply
  17. Farmgirl Fashionista

    Thank you for sharing! This is a fabulous idea as I’m a new blogger and still learning the tricks-of-the-trade! I only leave honest, sincere comments and I know I’ve not left some for fear that it would come across as total self-promotion even if I just thoroughly enjoy certain blogs and want them to feel the love!! Thanks again! IFB is a fantastic forum!!

    http://thefarmgirlfashionista.blogspot.com/

    Reply
  18. Gemma

    I think I will take up this challenge and set myself the target of 5 comments a day that’s about 150 a month. I want to write something that has some meaning and makes the blogger feel valued. I think it will help me get to know other bloggers whilst promoting my blog in the least annoying and intrusive way

    Reply
  19. Penny Dreadful Vintage

    I comment quite a lot, but I don’t have time to say something on every blog I read. I also try to check out the blogs of people who comment on my own blog, but again, sometimes I accidentally miss people out. But you know, if someone comments very regularly I will definitely always read their blog too.

    I still comment on blogs that don’t leave comments on my own, because I know that people can be really busy and ultimately I don’t comment for a ‘reward’ – I comment because I like the post and I want to let the person know. If my blog isn’t their kind of thing, it is a bit silly to get upset about it – I read lots of blogs and they won’t all necessarily like my writing or my style, and that’s ok!

    Reply
    • Claire

      I agree with you about “comments for rewards”. If something in someone’s post doesn’t move me then I won’t comment and vice versa. But I’m going to give myself a personal challenge to comment more often because there are some bloggers who I find very inspiring and I’ve never commented. I don’t know why, but sometimes when I see that a post has 50+ comments already I feel like my comment will only add to the “noise”.

      I may not challenge myself to a fixed number but I will definitely try to comment more often. Especially since I’m getting to know some of the writers of blogs I read through IFB.

      Reply
  20. Tracey

    I totally agree with this. My blog is fairly new and just getting people to comment is frustrating. I know they’re reading it, people will email me or tell me about it, but they just won’t comment!

    Reply
  21. Vivian Stylebizarre

    I think that the Problogger suggestion to leave a comment on 5 new blogs per day is enough for me now , and I can’t reach the goal still!
    I obviously leave comment on blogs I follow because they are interesting to me (otherwise I would not be following them ;D) but finding 5 new interesting things to comment per day is a deal of a challenge! heck!!
    Good for you though, did the 180 comment thing brought you more traffic?

    Reply
  22. Chia

    I always try to leave comments because thats the fun in blogging is being able to share your opinion. However I think that setting a number of how many comments I should be leaving per month is not something I will be following. I only comment on the stories that I find interesting and many of the stories I find boring and skip over. Also there are a lot of bloggers out there that just put up pictures of themselves in clothes. All I do is scroll through and move on to the next blog. The most you can comment there is “wow looks good” or “love that skirt” and thats it. Boooooring!

    chiabags.blogspot.com

    Reply
  23. Allie

    Such a great way to add to the blogging community, everyone loves seeing a meaningful comment on a post. I’ll try to reach 500 comments during December as a little holiday gift to the blogosphere! Good luck to anyone else taking on this challenge.

    Reply
  24. eyeliah

    I’ve never counted but I always leave tons of comments!! I love to read blogs, and comment for support, I think it’s vital to building a blog too. The tough part is when I get busy
    (like right now I’m in an intense 1 month course) and I feel that guilt of not commenting but there is just no extra time!

    Reply
  25. Chic 'n Cheap Living

    An ambitious but intriguing project! I’d like to comment and follow more but my reader is kinda scary and anytime it’s over 300, it scares me (Err which is often).
    This does remind me to get out there and visit new blogs though and keep that conversation going!

    Reply
  26. Melody Lesser

    The post – and the comments – inspired me to make my own goals for the month of December. I shouldn’t, but sometimes feel uncomfortable leaving comments, especially on blogs where there is an obviously strong community of commenters who all seem to know one another. I’ve seen them make outsiders who comment feel like, well, outsiders. Makes me wary to post. But your comments are positive and inspiring – so I’m off to my fave blogs …

    Reply
  27. La Historiadora de Moda

    I just came across this post via Modly Chic’s recent post, and I love the idea of this challenge. I typically read and comment on 20-50 style blogs a day, but I’d like to challenge myself to leave more meaningful comments.

    Reply
  28. Fajr | Stylish Thought

    I love leaving comments just because I know how bloggers feel when we get a comment on a piece we worked hard on. 500 comments is a lot to leave in a month’s time!

    Ah Wendy B, I love you more than any comment could ever expess!

    Reply
  29. Rebecca

    I will definitely be doing this for the month of December. Thanks so much for the great idea — it’s a good way to tell people you actually read what they have to say.

    Reply
  30. thefatandskinny

    I think this is something that I will commit to do during the holidays when I am out of school. Even though I comment on blogs from time to time now, I am going to make it my mission to comment on the old blogs and find some new ones to read as well.

    Reply
  31. Laura Connell

    Ashe, I’ve started making commenting a part of my regimen. It’s how I start my day. I leave about a dozen comments per day and it has really helped establish relationships with other bloggers. What a gift we have in this community. And if there was any doubt that fashion lovers have brains, they just need to visit this site 😛

    Reply
  32. Samantha Tyler

    Interesting experience, but how to be sure you will be visited and commented back ? When I see blogs with 10 or more comments per article, I wonder if mine has got a problem of readability or comments posting !

    Reply
  33. Meghan @ Out of Order

    Well, here’s my first comment after vowing to leave more comments within the month. Post-It and pen at the ready.

    This really is a wonderful idea. Sometimes it seems so hard to find anything really concrete to comment with; even so, the “cute!” or “this is great!” comment seems a little lame but better than nothing.

    Here’s to new friends and more blogs read!

    Reply
  34. Diana

    For tracking comments, I actually open up a folder on my Firefox toolbar titled “Read and Converse.” I bookmark the places I leave comments, so if there’s a discussion to continue, I can. It also lets me see how active I’ve been and forces me to consider if I’m leaving worthwhile comments. I’d rather type nothing than say nothing, so I comment only when I really feel I have something to add. My comment may not be deep or long, but I hope it adds some kind of dimension to a discussion.

    Reply
  35. Ashley

    90% of the time, I return all of the comments I get on each post. Say I average about 30 comments a post, and I post 15 times a month. That’s 450/month, and I know I make a lot of additional comments, too. So I guess I’m kind of doing this already! I’ve been blogging for nearly ten years now, and I’ve always returned my comments…I just feel like it’s a common courtesy!

    Reply
    • Ashe Mischief

      I should have been more specific, but this DOESN’T include comments you’ve left back to people on your own site. Afterall, one blog does not a community make!

      Reply
      • Ashley

        I meant actually clicking on their link, visiting their blog, and leaving a comment on their latest post.

  36. Strummer Dundee

    I’m a very new blogger with a very small blog and I’ve always been a bit shy about leaving comments. Thus, I accept your challenge to make at least 50 useful and substantial comments during the month of December. There must be at least 50-plus blogs in my blog roll, so there should be plenty to choose from! A Google Spreadsheet (which I already tend to abuse for household uses) would be an excellent tool to manage comment-making.

    Thank you for inspiring me to become more active in the blogging community. Though I’m not a fashion blogger, I’ve read and enjoyed enough posts here to become a follower.

    Reply
  37. ArianaP

    I absolutely loved this article. I am a new blogger, not only a fashion blogger but also a photography one since that is also my passion. I have realized that one of the best parts of blogging is not only people liking your style but what you have to say, in my case, the images I have to show. I love finding a random inspiring someone, or who truly and genuinely appreciates my artwork. If I see something that catches my attention I must say something about it, is like giving a compliment to a stranger on a random day. They deserve it, they did not necessarily expected it, and voila! you have just made their day.
    I am writing a little too much, but only because this article truly inspired me.
    Thank you

    Reply
  38. jessica

    Again your blog post here, is so uber helpful. I have been commenting on many blogs, I do make a point of ONLY commenting on blogs where Ive seen something worth commenting on and have something to say aside from nice blog. I know when I started out, I was doing that and now frankly Im a little embarrassed!
    Ive set myself a challenge of leaving 10 useful comments a day (except for Sundays) and so far so good!

    Reply
  39. Eboni Ife'

    This is a splendid idea. I’ll have to check out coComment because I have no idea how I’d keep track of my comments otherwise.

    I find myself reading so many blog during the work day (shhhh!) or from my phone, in which case I don’t leave comments. I really need to be better about it!

    Reply
  40. Mikelle S

    I don’t feel entirely comfortable with this post. I mean it’s one thing to me to say I should comment more on posts but to do it in hopes that people will visit your site is just too much in my opinion.

    I mean I did decide to comment more a few months back and I actually began to do it. I started getting really disenheartened when visiting various blogs from my Reader and going into the commenting section to find hundreds of blogs saying things like
    “Nice Post

    http://www.xxx.blogspot.com

    “cool outfit

    http://www.abcde.wordpress.com

    or even what seems like a heartfelt comment and then their address afterwards. I, along with some other people I know, will never visit your blog that way. If you comment though and say something substantial, and sign in with say disqus or commentlove or if you’re on your blogger/wordpress profile, if I’m intriqued by what you say I have no hesitation in clicking your name… it just seems really self indulging to post your blog address on someone else’s blog.

    It’s sort of like going to a party and saying, “hey everybody this is a great party but I have one at my house!!” and leaving hoping that people will follow. If you really want to be respecting you’ll engage the audience and maybe… just maybe they’ll ask you what you’re doing after you leave the party.

    Reply
    • Katelyn

      I like your party comparison. Great metaphor. I’m heading over to check out your blog now too! Funny how that works.

      Reply
    • Ana

      Agreed.

      The ‘nice post [address]!’ kind of comments are pretty much spam to me – they have exactly the same structure and the amount of time that went into them as those ‘hey long time no see I found how to make 875$ a week click here [shady address]’ emails.

      I’m really sad when I see a thoughtful comment doing the same thing 🙁 – I think ‘Oh, they’re better than that, that just cheapens the whole thing. Too bad’.

      Reply
  41. Arash Mazinani

    I’ve found traffic wise the best option is to find 3-5 relatively successful blogs and leave really great comments on there. You need to find one that generally interests you though otherwise it can be difficult.

    When I first started I kept commenting on loads of blogs in a group as the group grew it took up more and more time to the degree I could easily spend 1 hour to 1 hour and half just commenting. I’d comment on any blog even if I was saying something small. I did it at the time to try and get comments back and sometimes it wouldn’t work. So I gave up

    Now I just comment on articles I generally have something to say about. I also always go through the comments I receive on my own blog and post on their websites too. If someone has made the effort to post on my article I’ll always repay the favour.

    Reply
  42. MrsBossa

    What a fabulous idea. Good work!
    Like the tip you give about diversifying your reading and searching for new content – it’s great idea to do this anyway to keep yourself inspired! Seriously though, good for you on managing to engage meaningfully with so many – it’s no mean feat!

    Reply
  43. Reyna

    What a great goal! I think that it is good to leave a comment if you have something to say. Often times I will read a post and have an opinion or thought on it, but forget to leave a comment or not even think to leave one! Here is to remembering to leave them when the thoughts are right! 🙂

    Reply
  44. Vogue & Vintage

    Cocomment seems like a really neat tool. I have to try this out, because I love to ACTUALLY read post and comment but then I sometimes wonders what other people say after me or even if the writter of the blog comment’s on the enterie.

    Reply
  45. Vinda Sonata

    this is great! i really like this.
    brilliant tips, amy. and about this part i’m really agree:

    “I have not been writing massive comments on every single blog post – unless, of course, I feel like I have a lot to say. I promised myself when I started this that I wouldn’t leave comments such as ‘Nice blog!!!’ as I generally feel that these type of comments are a bit of a let down. Being on the receiving end of a comment like that does not make you feel special at all!”

    yeah really. seriously now.
    thanks for such amazing article!!

    Reply
  46. Sarah Jane R.

    I have only been blogging for a little over a year now and I am happy with every comment that I do get. With that being said, I realized I have over 50 followers and barely get comments :/ I think I will definitely try to comment other blogs more as well. I was doing that before and it actually does work 🙂

    Reply
  47. Chandra @ShiftC

    I struggle with leaving comments on blogs! I generally only leave comments when I have something meaningful to say; however, I do love when I get comments on my blog. I’ve decided, however, to take the challenge for January since December is over. I’m going to start out small. I’ll start off with 50 comments for the month of January and then build up each month.

    Chandra

    Reply
  48. Rachel from Love a la Mode

    I love this idea… I make a special effort to comment every time I feel like I have something nice to say about a post… I wish my blog felt like more of an interactive community.
    Bisous,
    Rachel
    lovealamode.wordpress.com

    Reply
  49. urbandon

    I don’t mind the ‘cool post’ type comments… many people don’t comment at all- we all have so much to see, do and comment on.

    Reply
  50. Ana

    This won’t be hard for me – I have actually got into blogs because I was into commenting, especially as a way of thanking the authors for their time and good content shared, and as a way of getting the conversation going on a topic they spent their time on 🙂 .

    Getting the conversation started is one of the main objectives for my new blog – I’m starting it so that we could all share and enjoy the content.

    For that reason, I’m going to answer comments on my posts – as my comment show appreciation for author’s time, the author’s comments show appreciation for their commenters’ time.

    The only “problem” is that I’m commenting on blogs that are not in my niche (art features), but I like to view my commenting as something that’s feels nice in itself, not as something that’s main purpose is to drive traffic here or there.

    Reply
  51. Mallory | Storm in a Teacup

    I realize this post is a year old, but I think this is such a neat idea! I always forget to comment on posts… I feel bad, because people don’t get to know how much I appreciated something in their post! So I might try this out this month…

    Reply