Consider Carefully What Name You Use to Comment

Lorell VanFossen has a great post up over at the Blog Herald asking the question What Do You Put in the Name of a Comment Form?

It is something to consider carefully.

As Lorelle points out you have three basic choices of what to enter in that field when you leave a comment. You can type in your name, your blog title, or some key words.

Your Name

Personally I’m a fan of the first choice. After all the field normally has the label “Name” beside it! In my mind it just makes sense to use my name.

Blogging, even business blogging, is first and foremost about people. And unless you happen to be in some weird Tibetan Monk movie we all have been given a name.

Since you are the person leaving the comment, then it makes sense that you would identify yourself with your name.

Now I can understand there are cases where folks may have good reasons to use a pseudonym. Writing is a huge part of blogging and writers have been using pen names for centuries.

It is probably a good idea to be consistent.

You have reasons to use different personas? That’s fine by me.

Just keep in mind that if you don’t speak with a consistent voice with whatever persona you are using at the time you will likely confuse folks and come across as a bit of a flake.

Blog Title

To me this looks like the second best way to go. I can see this choice for folks who write multiple blogs and want different blogs pointing to different places.

For example say you blog in two very different niches. One could be a tech blog and the other about politics. You might not want to distract folks on you tech blog with your potentially controversial political views.

In a case like that it would probably be just fine to use your blog title for your commenting name when referring to one or the other of those blogs. That way you are still building consistency of your very different brands throughout the blogosphere.

In her post Lorelle talks about several blogs that have built strong brands over time and have very recognizable names. Yet I find it interesting that all of the examples she uses the authors normally comment in their own names and not their blog names.

I think there’s a lesson there.

A Hybrid Name

One other option might be to use a combination of the two.

Over at Lorell’s post on the Blog Herald I saw a great example of that from Mohsin | Blogging Bits.

I completely respect that approach of using your first name followed by your blog title. Talk about nailing down exactly who you are when you leave a comment.

That way you could still be you and yet differentiate which “you” you are as it relates to different blogs.

Using Keywords

The least desirable option in my mind is entering in key words in the name field. Let me explain.

I get a lot of spam here at SuccessCREEations just like every other blog out there. My ratios vary but comments here run about 95% spam. Sometimes it’s even higher.

And then since I announced I was turning off NoFollow here I’ve been singled out by some SEO blogs as a blog with decent page rank with NoFollow off.

So now some folks come here to leave marginal comments obviously looking more for link juice than to add to the conversation.

I understand what they are doing. And I truly don’t mind if folks see SuccessCREEations as a good place to comment.

After all that was part of my intention in turning off NoFollow in the first place.

However I feel comments that use key words in the “Name” box must meet a much higher standard to avoid getting tagged as spam. If they aren’t adding to the conversation, or if I can’t see what they are getting at right away I’ll mark them as spam rather than just delete them.

I mean a spam comment is left for the sole purpose of producing a link back to the another site. I see no difference in spam left by automated machine and spam left behind by a person.

I see keywords instead of a name it better be a powerful comment or it won’t make the cut.

Which Choice is Best?

It’s a question to be considered very carefully.

Before you run out blindly listening to all those SEO folks to tell you to use keywords in the comment Name field to get better page rankings understand that for many of us blogging is about people.

We take a dim view of those who would completely flush the people out of the equation. And the vast majority of bloggers who’ve been doing this a while and have decent page rankings are downright hostile towards spammers.

Don’t let yourself become labeled as one simply to take a short cut to your own higher page rank.

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  1. Personally Chris, I don’t mind regular readers using whatever anchor text they like. However, if a first-time commenter uses something like ‘make money online’ or ‘seo blog’, and writes less than two sentences, I’m heading for the delete button.

  2. Sounds like a good way to do it, David.

    I don’t really want to turn on first time comment moderation to figure out which are from first timers. It feels a little too much like I’d be punishing the legitimate commenters to protect against the rest.

    And I’m not saying that someone with a keyword “Name” can’t leave a comment here. Just that they will have to pass a higher standard of comment quality to make it.

  3. It’s certainly a fine line between punishing legitimate comments and cracking down on spammers.

    The level I’ve been getting these days, however, means I can’t spend too long dwelling on whether it’s right or wrong. If it’s to be deleted I just have to get on with it, then apologise if anyone wonders where their comment went (I haven’t had any queries yet).

  4. Great points, Chris. I’m slowly starting to see more of the “hybrid” name|blog forms in comments, but this is still rare.

    You make the point brilliantly that this is about the “personal” part of blogging. You want to know your commenters just as much as you want to share yourself with them. Using names, or at least names that sound like names, is part of the trust-building.

  5. Hey Chris, thanks for the mention!

    Yep, this is the best format in my opinion. We are nothing without our blog identity. A Chris would be just another Chris without, and a Mohsin would be just another Mohsin without Blogging Bits 🙂

    After all we represent our blog on another blog and we ought to make it clear where we ave come from.

  6. I think the most important thing is just consistency. You want your name to be recognisable to other readers and around the blogoshpere. I like Mohshin’s way of adding in a bit of branding as well.

    I agree that on my blog I am not really a fan of those who just use their name or the comments for shameless advertising, especially when their comment adds little value.

  7. I’ve always used my name, although until recently it was just my first name. I guess it’s because my blog has been a personal one so yeah, it’s all about me :).

    More recently, depending on where I’m commenting I’ll link to my newer business blog, as I have here. In this case I love the format of name | blog name and am hereby adopting it!

  8. I’m glad I didn’t see Lorelle’s post until you linked to it, Chris. Spurred by Darren Rowse’s post, I talked about the same thing. To me, first name – last name is best, but at least a name of some kind. If you have a blog, you put it in the website field. This way, if people want to find out more about you as a result of your comment, they just click on your name and it takes them to your site.

    Just using a site name or keywords turns me off because we are people talking to people, not businesses talking to businesses.

  9. Glad to link to you Mohsin. You brought something of value to the table just by being you.

    Everywhere else but here at home I go by Chris Cree. It works for me because there are only about 4 of us with any kind of web presence and so far I’m the only one of the four Chris Cree’s who blogs.

    I’m with you MDB. I’m not so sure it matters what label you apply to yourself so much as it does being genuine behind that label.

    Annie, It does make sense for branding purposes, doesn’t it? Especially where business bloggers are concerned. I almost think with the blog name attached we can get away with just our first names. Unless there are a bunch of other Annies blogging at Pixel Currents, that is. 😉

    Rick, That’s the format I normally use too. But then I started out as a hobby blogger. If I had started out blogging for business purposes from the get-go I might have choosen differently. I don’t know.

  10. I’ve used both the name and the name+website name in comments, but I prefer the former. It’s an extra way of branding your blog and making it known. Chris is right about this one.

  11. I agree with MDB that as long as you are consistent with the name you are posting, then it is fine. I only blog as a hobby like Chris. Don’t know if I would feel different if I were a business blogger. Good post. 🙂

  12. Alexandru, I guess the choice depends somewhat on the circumstances. Either one would work in my book.

    Chessnoid, As long as that consistency contributes to the conversation, like you did here, then we’ll be OK. If we stay consistent but leave comments that don’t add value then we are still at risk.

  13. Hey Lorelle!

    I am so sorry your comment disappeared for a bit. I’m beta testing the new Defensio spam filter and its only had 1 false positive so far. And it was you!

    How embarrassing! Sheesh!

    And you are right. I try to respond to most comments personally here. When the comment is left by “Make More Money Online” or some such the conversation becomes awkward for me.

    I don’t like feeling awkward in my own home, so to speak.

  14. Sounds like a sensible approach, RT. But again your are a real person behind the name engaging the blogs you comment on. And that makes all the difference.

  15. Call me a purist, but if you’re going to put your name down, put your name down. Sure, yeah you have a website, but if your comment isn’t enough to draw someone’s interest further into what you have to say, then don’t push further. You’re just taking advantage of someone’s good nature.

  16. Makes sense, J.D. Ultimately it’s all about the conversation, isn’t it?

  17. I go with consistency, Chris. I’ve used my own name and I was a little nervous about that when I first began to blog. But, here I am a little over a year later!

  18. I use my name. Using the name of my site makes it look like I have an agenda other than commenting.

  19. I am personally tagging you for The Personal Development List. (See my site for details). I started this list with 5 people, (you will be the sixth person I have added myself) it has now grown to over 300 and still growing.

    Anyway, I would love for you to join in!

  20. Chris

    I always use my name 😉
    To that end, you’ve been tagged for the “Does Most Leadership Suck Challenge”. Check the link for details.

    Take care…


  21. I almost always use my name, or some part of it. However, when I comment on blogs that have a something directly to do with my business, I use the handle I always use in that genre (nicu101) because that’s how people know me in those circles.

    I’m apt to delete comments more quickly when people use key words, especially if their posts are some of those iffy ones that kinda sound legit, but also come off with a spammy air.

  22. I like the whole first name, no last name option.

    After Priscilla Palmer’s self development list Jenny and I have decided to try to help build the self development community. So we are holding a little contest. I would like to invite you, and anyone else interested, to find out more details at Win a $25 Gift Certificate.

  23. I would have to agree with some of your commenters that if it my blog aplies to the subject that it should be mentioned, and if it doesn’t.. my name David will do..
    Neither of my blogs are for everybody: hearthfires is my daily rambles on the absurd quirks of daily life, and inkshadow a blog of my poetry both are on wordpress but they are always approprate for the comments that I leave for some blogs.
    David your friend in Savannah GA.

  24. They are not aly approprate to leave on some blogging sites.. Gee Comments would be so much easier if they too had the edit fuction of the post on wordpress..

    Sigh the difficultles of keyboard


  25. I don’t comment on a lot of blogs because I don’t usually have a lot to say. But on this topic, I sincerely appreciate the debate because I’ve struggled with the fine line between what is perceived as comment spam. I choose to use the approach of using my name and adding my site’s name since my site is really a good portion of my identity since I’ve put so many years of hard work into the truck as well as the website. In addition, I hope that the unique title will entice at least a few people to click on the link and see what I’m about. Anyway, thanks for the opportunity to get some valuable clarification on this subject.


  26. David, an edit button after the comment has been submitted presents some challenges. I appreciate the challenge of typos when submitting blog comments. That’s why I added the Live Comment Preview feature below the comment box a while back.

    When folks comment here they can see what their comment will look like before they hit the “Submit Comment” button. It is a great place to proofread before you submit.

    Michael, as long as you keep adding to the conversation I don’t think you’ll be in any danger of being perceived as a spammer.

  27. I believe that by just being a part of “Priscilla’ Palmer’s Personal Development list obligates each of us to also post this list. You like me (Killeris at “Attitude, the Ultimate Power”) are on this list. If you have already posted it, THANK YOU. If you have not posted it, I am officially putting out a challenge that you add additional sites that fit the theme and post it. This list can be found at:

  28. there are blogs where I prefer using my real name but most of the time I only use this name and that. No more, no less.

  29. I’ve always used my name, though after a bit of blog hopping the last few weeks seeing other commentators putting all sorts of things in there – I thought it might be more useful to put my site address or site keywords…

    Your post resettled me on the honest name version.

    Just curious does putting in keyword rich text do anything special – that a name wouldn’t do. I mean in terms of SEO not people.

  30. I would add that if you are using your real name on your blog it probably makes sense from an SEO point of view to use your real name in your comments as well.

    So it’s good in more than one way.

  31. I’ve never really given it that much thought before.

    I did toy with the idea of using keywords as a way to get the most out of whatever you’re doing – if you’re leaving a comment and there’s going to be a link back to your site, then why not make it into a keyword link (I’ve never actually done this, I normally just go with my name or site name depending on what mood I’m in – I’m fickle that way 😉

    After reading this article though, I think I’ll switch to the “{name] from {site}” format. That way you’re covering all your bases – being clear about who you are / where you’re from and getting a link using your site name – does that make me a bit mercenary? the way I see it, I’m just optimising use of my effort?!

    And while I’m on the subject of optimising effort and we’re talking about making comments on web forms, I just found a nifty little Firefox extension the other day that makes filling in comment forms (and other forms) a dawdle – its called ‘Inform Enter’ (it doesn’t write comments for you, (unfortunately, lol) it just makes filling in the name,email,website bit dead easy)

  32. I never really thought about this too much … just started using my full name whenever I comment. That being said, I think I’m still building “brand awareness” . If you’re doing things right, isn’t your name a brand?

  33. Yeah, nothing worthwhile in life comes easy. You need to work for it…only that some are easier than others.

  34. Since when do you wear contacts?

  35. Great points to remember ,suggestions were appreciated,I will be back to this post to read a similar posts.

  36. Great Article

Comment Policy: Your words are your own, so be nice and helpful if you can. Please, only use your real name and limit the number of links submitted in your comment. If in doubt, please take a moment to review our full Comment Policy before you click "Post Comment" so we don't mark your comment as spam.

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