*Blogging And Comment Etiquette*
**By Rick Grant**
***Now that you’ve got your own platform to speak from in the shape of a blog, don’t think that means you can totally ignore what other bloggers are saying. If anything, this is the time to up your game when it comes to commenting on other blogs. But of course, like everything else, there’s a right way and a wrong way to handle this.
****Some people may tell you that for however many posts or comments you read, you should be writing a certain number of comments. This approach makes no sense to me. You’re not going to know in advance how many of the posts you read each day are going to strike a chord with you. Don’t be driven by numbers. It’s never a good idea to be constantly visible, especially if it comes at the expense of value. Focus instead on making comments only when and where you will be adding value to the conversation.
****In order to ensure that you are adding that value, you first need to be sure that you’re commenting on the right blog. Does the blog you’re reading share the same audience you’re trying to reach? If not, you may be barking up the wrong tree. There are plenty of blog search tools out there to help you find the right one. The first engine that comes to my mind is http://blogsearch.google.com, where you can do a simple keyword search or define specific parameters for what you’re seeking.
****You can also set up Google Alerts on blogs to see who’s talking about the things that concern you. And there are many good feed readers out there that will pull all your feeds into one place for you to read and consider.
****I like Google Reader, where you can see your Google Alerts and any RSS feeds all on one page. From there it’s one click to get to the actual post where you can make your comments.
****Once you find the blogs you should be reading, see which blogs those bloggers read—this is just another flavor of networking. More often than not, you will find the blogs read by the bloggers you read just as valuable.
****It’s okay to put links in your comments, but never link back to your own blog more than once in a comment. Usually the comments section of a blog will have a place for you to identify yourself and link back to your blog anyway. There’s no need to go overboard in your self-promotion, especially when you run the risk of being labeled a spammer. Make significant comments often enough and the blogger and other readers will come to know your name and your own blog easily enough.
****Remember that your primary focus in commenting on other blogs is adding value to the conversation, not driving traffic to your own blog. If you are truly adding value to the conversation, traffic to your blog will come naturally. And that’s the way you want it.