Donna made an interesting point in a comment on my post How To Participate in the Blogging Community. I’ve wondered a lot about this myself. While I have occasionally included a link to one of my posts in a comment, this is something that bloggers should be very careful with.
In the spirit of Problogger’s Group Writing Contest, I think including a link to your own post entered in the same contest is fine. We’re all proud of the articles we’ve written and we want others to read them. There’s nothing wrong with this at all.
My entry to this last contest is about participating in the blogging community. It’s about community, a group of people interacting together, sharing information and ideas and giving honest feedback. It’s a great thing to see in action and I’ve benefited immensely through the experience.
In being a good member of this blogging community, it’s important also that we follow certain rules of etiquette. This is our way of being polite so as not to offend others or spoil the ongoing dialogue. One of these rules is that of leaving comments without excessive or irrelevant linking.
I know Akismet, which I and many other WordPress bloggers use for controlling spam, will catch comments with more than two links included. This is the default behavior, but it can be adjusted to suit your own preference. I think this is a pretty good rule of thumb and it seems to work well in catching comment spam here at this blog. Be aware that most blogs put a “no follow” tag in the link so it won’t count as a link to your site as far as search engines are concerned.
The bottom line is that you should always feel free to comment on a blog post. Bloggers wouldn’t leave comments open to everyone if they didn’t want to hear your opinions. There are rules to be followed, though, and here is my take on them:
1. Do leave comments. Don’t be afraid to comment. If you have something to add, do. I know I’m repeating this point again and again, but it’s important: Comments are welcomed and appreciated and can be very useful to bloggers.
2. Don’t spam. If you’re including a link, make sure it’s pertinent to the conversation. Don’t just put a link in there that goes back to your own blog. Usually that’s already there if a reader clicks on your name.
3. Do add to the conversation. If a link is something that provides more information on the topic or another viewpoint, it’s probably okay to include it.
4. Do ask the blogger if you’re not sure. It’s okay to ask. Really. Some bloggers, just like some people anywhere in life, might be grouchy or rude about it, but most will answer honestly and tell you if they’re cool with you posting a link.
These are my own opinions on the matter. What do you think?