We are after good content as well as good comments. Who isn’t, right? This post is primarily for readers of blog posts who want to write a great comment. Most blogs (including this one) welcome comments and the comments can add as much value, if not more, as the blog posting itself. So what makes a good comment? Here’s my list of the top seven tips that I think can help you write a good comment on a blog post. They are listed in order of priority (kind of).

1) Stay On Topic

It goes without saying (although I am saying it) that a good comment must be relevant, either to the blog post or to some comment that comes before the comment. Staying on topic and focused will win over tangential issues. People come to the blog to read what the author has to say about the topic. They read the comments to see if anyone has added to that author's views. That is the role of the comments and why people would want to read your comment.

2) Give Examples

People tend to be visual, so give them examples that they can visualize what you are saying. Try to use example people encounter or can understand. Sometimes the best example requires imaginary people. Using actual names, even if they have been changed, can be tricky. Stick with an order such as “A,” “B,” and “C.” This way, people can visualize what you are saying without focusing on a name.

Sometimes you may want to provide an example without creating two separate sentences, this can be achieved with an “e.g.,” which are for examples and not for saying the same thing, but in a different way (see 4).

3) Avoid Pronouns to Add Clarity

Another thing that makes good comments, and good writing in general, is the minimal use of pronouns. Especially the pronoun "it" is overused. In fact, if you replace all pronouns in your writing, that would be the best. Even if your writing ends up sounds a bit funny, or unnatural, you are better off without the pronouns for the sake of clarity. How does avoiding pronouns add to clarity? Pronouns take the place of a specific person or phrase (among other things), and when you have multiple subjects in a sentence, exactly who or what the pronoun refers to can be unclear. Most of us are not mind readers and a pronoun may not refer to the same thing to everyone. Writing in prose is important and so is writing clearly.

4) Say It Again, But Differently

I know some people do not favor saying the same thing twice (or more). For the most part that is good practice, but when you are dealing with a complex issue, or you think your position can be bolstered by saying the same thing but in a different way, saying the same thing over can be helpful. However, saying the same thing over is only beneficial when something new is added. Repeating for the sake of repeating does not work. Make it different, but the same.

Just as “e.g.,” are for examples, “i.e.,” are to say the same thing in a different way. Adding an “i.e.,” instead of creating two separate sentences helps to keep the thought together.

Note: “etc.” is distinguished as etc. is like saying “and so on and so forth.” All three of these are different.

5) Make a List

Lists can not only help you to formulate what you want to say, but a list can help highlight the volume of points you are making. Sometimes a good argument has a number of small arguments that by themselves are weak, but the number of arguments can help to sway opinion your way. Making a list can help others pick out the points that they agree or don’t agree with.

There are several ways to create a list. One way is to create the list with bullet points. This can be helpful, but there are alternatives to consider.

When you want to talk about an order or sequence that needs to occur, you would be better served with using numbers or saying "first," and "next." This can signal to people that what comes next is an order.

When you want to talk about "and" or an "or" you may want to use "A," and "B."

6) Back It Up

If you make a strong statement, try to back it up. A “because I said so” argument is not helpful. In fact, it will probably have the opposite effect. What would be more helpful would be, “I think….because….and….and….and.” You don’t necessarily need to bring in outside authority so long as the “I think” part has reason and makes sense. Run on sentences can be overlooked, sometimes.

7) Grammar and Spelling Matter

Ok, we are not all English majors. I know I am not. There is something to be said about the use of proper grammar and spelling. (That something said is good, of course.) Minor errors are not a deal breaker, but the consistent use of poor grammar or spelling can stop a reader in their tracks. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot. Get it together. This is farther down the list because the bar is not that high. If you write the way you speak, then you are probably fine. So, you have a dangling participle or switched tenses between sentences. It’s not that big of a deal. With that being said, “lol,” and the occasional emoticon are part of most people’s vernacular. That is why grammar and spelling are last on the list.

Ok, so that is my list. Thanks for reading.



This blog entry was written by Sanket Mistry.

Sanket Mistry, J.D., M.I.A.      Sanket Mistry is the founder and CEO of Peerless Legal and blogs regularly. He has written numerous books including, "25 Estate Planning Forms," "8 Living Trust Forms," "Simple Will Creator," "Give Through a Will & Living Trust," and "Guidance On Creating Your Own Will & Power of Attorney," and the bestselling books in the Legal Self-Help Guide series, "Will, Trust, & Power of Attorney Creator and Estate Records Organizer" and "Estate Planning in Plain-English." He earned his JD from the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University and is a member of the New York State Bar. He has worked, and volunteered, at a number of nonprofits, government agencies, and for-profit corporations. He also holds a BA in philosophy from Emory University and a MIA from Columbia University. He is an avid traveler and tennis player.