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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