History in the Making

History in the Making

What I Look For In Blogs + How to Leave Effective Comments

I’m not sure why this happens but I’m pretty sure it happens to all of us- I am currently in a spurt of receiving a constant string of “Please check out my blog” comments. On principle I usually don’t check out these blogs, but occasionally I do and… I am left confused. Why did you think that I was going to be interested in your blog about car maintenance? I know the answer, people mass drop links everywhere possible to try and build followers but quite frankly, it is sloppy and alienating. Today I’m sharing what it is that *I* look for in blogs, and a few tips on how to leave effective comments!
How to Comment Effectively

What I Am Looking For in a Blog 

Every single blog reader is different, but I’m going to quickly explain for what it is that I’m looking for in a blog! It doesn’t mean that if you don’t fall into one of these categories, I will never read your blog, but this is a pretty good explanation.

1. There Has to Be a Takeaway 

I primarily read blogs to learn something, so I prefer blogs where there is a takeaway! A review of something, a suggestion, a recounting of a trip, a recipe, an outfit, SOMETHING. I tend to not read simply chatty posts because at the end of the day, I don’t know you- I wouldn’t expect people who don’t know me to want to know the minutia of my life, and vice versa. (This doesn’t mean that blogs I follow can’t have chat-style posts, but I usually don’t go for blogs that are solely chat-style.)
How to Identify & Fill Wardrobe Holes

2. There Has to Be Images

I am a voracious reader, but I along with everyone hates to stare at an unrelenting wall of text. Even if you have broken it into paragraphs, you need images to give my eyes and brain a small break. They don’t have to be award winning photographs from war torn countries, but just a relevant picture to emphasise whatever you are writing about. There are sites of images that you can use for free (Pixabay for example), so there isn’t really an excuse not to have them.
london-red-bus

3. There Has to Be a Person Behind It All 

As I’m working on my own site more and more, I’m honing what it is that I like to see in a blog and what I will be doing on An Historian 2.0, and the biggest thing that I’ve recognised is that I want to see an identifiable person behind it all. I don’t need your Social Insurance Number, Date of Birth, and Mother’s Maiden Name, but I like a name (even an anonymous one), what you do (student? professional? stay at home mom) even if you don’t think it’s relevant, and a general location. These things give me context on how I’m going to read your blog, and if they aren’t there, I lose interest because I don’t have any way to identify with you.
Dancer statue portrait.jpg

How to Leave an Effective Comment

Leaving an effective and useful comment on a blog is actually a skill, and it takes a lot of us a long time to learn how to do it. A good comment will help you build or maintain your connection with that blogger (and possibly other readers), and help you do a tiny sell of your own blog at the same time. Note: I didn’t say, “help you shove your blog in their face”.

1. Read More Than One Post 

Before you leave a comment, read more than one post from that blog- I’m not saying you have to read their entire catalogue but show that you have actually read more than just the one post. Make sure that your comment makes sense within their blog as a whole! I find that a lot of people leave throwaway comments that half make sense within the context of the post but make absolutely no sense when you read my entire blog. (For example: on a history book post where I said I was looking for more books to read, and someone said that I should take some history classes to get some background…) Get to know the blogger for a minute or two!

Related Posts
There are usually related posts that you can easily find at the end of a post!

2. Don’t Comment to Simply Comment

This is one of my pet peeves- do not leave a comment simply to leave a comment. This is really common to see on larger blog; the same 3 people will leave a say-nothing comment every single day within an hour of the post going up. From what I’ve seen, most bigger bloggers don’t respond to them, and a lot of people (myself included) won’t actually visit your site because you are clearly using it solely market yourself.

20180706_142711-018305639943342996574.jpegAgnes wants to know why you do this.

3. Truly Engage With the Post

Whatever the post is, actually read it and engage meaningfully with it! As someone who receives comments, “this looks great!”, “Fantastic advice”, “wow, I love this recipe!” truly makes me feel like you didn’t bother to read the post, so I’m not sure why you left a comment. This includes comment threads from blogging groups- either actually leave a worthwhile comment or don’t take part in the thread. Ask questions about a recipe, comment on an outfit, or share a travel memory that you thought of when you read it- whatever it is, make it worthwhile.

Readers, what are you looking for in a blog?
Until tomorrow,
The Historian!
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20 thoughts on “What I Look For In Blogs + How to Leave Effective Comments”

  • Yes—most importantly, there has to be take away. We only have so much time so the blog must be helpful or educational. My readers say they (like you)—-love pictures! So I am listening to my readers!!! Although we all have imaginations, I think most people are quite visual. Pictures enhance our stories and please our readers. If we want to bring joy to others, we listen. As for the spamming bloggers, it makes no sense. If I have an authentic following—I have one. If I don’t, I don’t. I don’t understand the point leaving meaningless comments in hopes of inflating numbers to get others to visit one’s blog. I am writing to a specific audience that I care about. When you have good motives, good things happen.

    • I used to be anti-pictures for the longest time with my blog, but then I realised that when I was yearbook editor, we specifically learned about how the eye needs visual landmarks to take in information properly, and that I don’t truly love reading blog posts that are walls of text myself haha. Sometimes it can be difficult to find relevant pictures though, depending on what you write about!
      I still don’t actually understand the meaningless comment stuff- are people actually responding well to those mass, copy-and-paste comments? Probably not haha!

  • I also have found some bloggers that I LOVE because they left funny/insightful comments on other blogs that I follow. When someone leaves good, interesting comments, it makes me want to hear what they have to say on their own blog. <3
    I have a wide range of interests so I follow quite a lot of different blogs, it doesn't have to be in the same niche…but I am waaaay more likely to follow people that leave interesting comments.
    I also find that I am less and less likely to keep going back to a blog if I've spent ages interacting on their blog or sharing their posts, when they *never* comment or share back. It takes me months and months to notice that people don't reciprocate, but once I've noticed, even if I like their work, I'm less keen to get involved. 🙁

    • I have been noticing that in blogging and on social media- I take the time to leave thoughtful comments that are usually answering their question/call to action, and I get literally nothing in return. (It makes you wonder if they don’t see your comments but then they respond to someone else and there goes that…) I don’t understand people who never respond to anything.
      When I am looking for new blogs to follow, I actually go to the comments section on my favourite blogs to find people- if you are funny or clever or thoughtful, I can guarantee I will at least be checking your blog out!
      Blogging karma is real!

  • This is so helpful for people who are wanting to get their blog out there but are not sure how to go about it! As always, I love your blog and your content and my favorite part about this is that you provide examples with your other posts that people can refer to in order to learn! Also, Agnes is freaking adorable. Great post!

    • Aww, thank you SO MUCH, it means so much to me to know that my posts are useful for you!! I find a lot of blogging advice is hidden behind a paywall- I might not be the most successful blogger in the world, but I don’t mind sharing what I’ve experienced 🙂

  • I mostly ignore the ‘please check out my blog’ comments but I don’t get too many of those. Otherwise I like the small talk and the thoughtful comments from other bloggers. I’m more worried about the tons of spammy feedback I get from the contact form!

  • Fantastic advice! Ha ha, JK 🙂 But it *was* good advice, especially the bit about “how to comment.” I do sometimes find I have the same challenges in blog commenting that I do in actual live conversation, and that is that I can get a little tongue-tied and at a loss for words, even when I’ve enjoyed the post and want to be a part of the conversation. So yes, sometimes I will leave a one or two word comment to show the blogger that I read and enjoyed the post and thought it deserved more than just a “like.” Sometimes I really want to leave a comment, because the post touched me in some way, but I can’t think of anything original that someone else has not already said, so I say nothing.
    Ha, even on social I’m the quiet girl standing away from the group, not really saying anything!
    Bettye
    https://fashionschlub.com

    • I usually will leave something like, “I completely agree with you on X, it is such an interesting show/annoying trend/whatever” to put a little more into it! I also run into the problem of feeling like I don’t have anything original to say- some blog posts get tons of comments from the moment it goes up, so by the time I see it, they’ve got 40+ comments and I really feel like I can’t add anything new 🙁 I do appreciate likes, though- for me, that is a great way to show you enjoyed my post!

  • When I started blogging I only wanted to follow history themed blogs. I would only ‘like’ history posts etc., I quickly learned that it is a miserable existance to search for another niche blog when there are lifestyle and travel blogs aplenty. I found that I did like some chatty postings – usually from women the same age as me and even though my children are in their 20s, I like parenting posts! Who’d have thought it? I was a young mum, so have enjoyed a lot of freedom in my 40s ?
    I also ignore the ‘please check out my blog’ links – I am slow to re-follow sometimes, but you shouldn’t have to follow people because they follow you. I miss the Community Pool as I would engage with a lot of people on there – slowly realising that I should follow said blogger as I was reading posts on a weekly basis on CP!

    • There are a lot of people who only want to read in their genre, which is fair! I would get bored though haha. The only time that frustrates me is when it is a comment thread in a blogging group and everyone else is being open and commenting across all genres and then there is one parenting blogger who will ONLY comment/look at parenting posts (as an example). If you only want to help bloggers in your niche, then join a niche bloggers group!
      If someone leaves several long and well thought out comments, I usually do go look at their blog after they leave a comment because they are clearly trying to connect. I am seeing it more on Instagram than blogging but these things happen in blogging- there are a whole lot of people who never respond to a comment, or leave their own profile, and I think it’s a selfish way to work!

  • I agree with all of your points but unlike you, I absolutely love chat posts lol.
    I’d also like to add that some of the posts (sensitive topics like depression, or blog reviews) are a bit hard to comment on. I really afraid that I’d end up unintentionally offend people with my comment.
    x Rasya

    • It is very personal in what everyone wants to see, for sure! I’m okay with a chatty post here and there but a blog that is only musings on your life doesn’t do much for me. (There are a few exceptions whom I love dearly but they have built a rapport with me as the reader.)
      I often simply “like” those difficult posts because as you said, sometimes it is difficult to know what to say! I would like to add, I don’t comment on a lot of posts I read- a lot of the time I don’t have anything substantial to add. I just don’t understand continual say-nothing comments, they don’t add value- if you are going to comment, comment well!

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