Ah, ‘the best laid plans of mice and men go oft awry’! Robbie Burns *nailed* it. I had great plans for today. Mr PB was to take the pixies away for an entire day of entertainment. Leaving me in sweet solitude. Completely on my lonesome. Imagine my feverish anticipation! But then, Hobart’s fickle summer weather being what it is, it started pouring and they all returned home soon after. Certain pixies’ behaviour left ‘a lot to be desired’(she adds euphemistically), as cabin fever set in. The result? My grand plan to tackle my severe case of bloggus overwhelmus came to naught. I had hoped to do some proper blog planning, you know, the kind of thing others do in December. The planning which renders those inchoate and evanescent* thoughts into ideas of clarity and beauty, things I can act upon and improve this blog for us all. Anyway, tomorrow being another day, I’ll try again.
Anyway, one pleasant thing which occurred today was a little email exchange I had with the gorgeous Anna from Lona de Anna about her post here. She had just realised that email replies she *thought* she had sent to people commenting on her posts, never actually arrived at their destination, instead just disappearing into the ether. Never to be seen again. Poor Anna.
Blogger can be a real bugger at times! I offered to do a little tutorial to help her out and I’ve added a few extra bits about comments in general. It might look a little scary but I’ve broken it down step-by-step. So here goes!
I’ll answer Anna’s dilemma at the bottom but there are a few other things to look at while you’re on the same page.
Language and formatting
- Go to your blog home page and up to 'Design' in the top right hand corner.
- Click on ‘Settings’ and then ‘Post and comments’.
- Under 'Comment location', I have chosen to have the comment form ‘Embedded’ rather than a separate pop-up box which can be annoying. That’s a matter of personal choice – do what suits you.
Who can comment?
- Under 'Who can comment?' I have chosen ‘Registered user’. That way ‘Anonymous’ can’t comment. Sometimes ‘Anonymous’ can be okay, other times not so okay. Troublesome, even.
- If you want to be even more restrictive as to who can leave comments, you could choose one of the other two options.
- My favourite blogs allow me to leave my comment which then appears immediately, without the need for moderation by the blogger. I find that infinitely more satisfying than seeing a message advising that my comment ‘is awaiting approval’ by the blogger. Once again, it’s up to you as to what you prefer.
Show word verification
- ‘Show word verification?’ is another personal choice issue. I have chosen ‘No’. The theory behind it is to cut down on spam comments. That’s a fair enough idea. And that’s why so many bloggers use it.
- However, I, like many other bloggers, don’t like having to go through the hoops of word verification on blogs. You have to follow so many extra steps like checking you’ve spelt the word properly or that it’s all worked.
- Think of all those times you *thought* you posted your comment, only to find that it didn’t work as you misspelled the word verification or forgot to do it at all. It can be a pain, can’t it? Then you have to retype your comment and go through the same old hoops. Yes, it’s grumble time!
- When you follow hundreds of blogs as I do, word verification can be a real turn-off.
- I would rather risk the odd spam comment which I can delete manually than having my lovely Planetarians irritated every time they try to post a comment. I want to make commenting as easy, painless and pleasurable as possible.
- Blogger is also very good at discerning spam comments and quarantining them.
- If you go to your dashboard, you'll see this on the left-hand side:
- Any spam comments will be listed under ‘Spam’ where you can delete them. If any rogue spam comments do slip through Blogger’s filter, you can just manually delete them by clicking on the rubbish can at the end of the comment. Now all of that said, of course, I follow many of you who use word verification. I don’t intend to offend – I still love following you ☺.
- I have chosen to ‘hide’ backlinks. That avoids people spamming you with completely unrelated links to their blogs. You see that all the time, don’t you? Yes, I can see a few heads nodding out there! It’s fine if they’re your friend and the post link is relevant but so often it’s just spammers at work. Not nice. Once again, it’s up to you – click on ‘Show’ if you want them.
Comment form message
- The ‘Comment form message’ allows you to personalise what appears immediately about the comment box below your post as I have. I really think it makes people feel much more welcome.
- If you click on the 'Language and formatting' option on your dashboard, you'll see the ‘Comments timestamp format’. This gives you a number of options as to what timestamp you want to attach to any comments.
Linking your email address to your Blogger profile
- Now, there’s one more very important step left. To link your email address to your Blogger profile, click on your blog's home page, 'Design' and then click on the little dropdown menu arrow under your profile photo up in the top left-hand corner. This is what it looks like on mine.
- Click on ‘Blogger profile’ under your profile photo and then 'Edit profile'. This is what opens up.
- Check the box ‘Show my email address’ and then click on the orange ‘Save profile’ at the bottom of the page.
- If you then click on ‘View updated profile’, this is what you’ll see - here's mine.
- See the critical ‘email’ link? Bravo – you’ve just made life a lot easier for yourself.
Linking up your email address to have comments emailed to you
- Finally – the answer to Anna’s question! Return to your blog home page, click on 'Design', ‘Settings’ and then ‘Mobile and email’.
- In the ‘Comment Notification Email’ box, add your email address you use for your blog. And most importantly, hit ‘Save settings’.
- From now on, every time someone comments on your blog, you’ll receive a notification email which contains the comment. Woo hoo!
Contacting people who have left comments on your blog
- So maybe you want to email them personally as well as replying to their comment on your blog. There are two scenarios.
- Firstly, if the person has elected to link their email address in their Blogger profile as I just showed, you will receive the email from their personal email address. You can then hit ‘reply’ (oh, and add them to your list of email contacts if you’d like) and email them as normal. That way, you can have lovely ‘off-line’ chats with your readers.
- Secondly, if the person hasn’t linked their email address to their Blogger profile, the comment notification email comes from a Blogger person ('no-reply Blogger') and not the commenter themself. This can be annoying when you want to send a private email to the commenter.
- There are four options here:
- Just simply reply to their comment on your post on your blog. Sometimes the commenter has elected to have follow-up comments e-mailed to them.
- If that doesn’t work and they have a blog, go to their blog and check if their email address is listed. If it is, then email them at that address or at least copy the address and paste it into the reply address for the notification email you’ve received from Blogger.
- If they have a blog but haven’t listed their email address, then comment on their latest post and thank them for commenting on your blog. You could also invite them to email you. Often that elicits a reply from the blogger.
- If they don’t have a blog, still reply to their comment on your actual post and see if they respond. Sometimes people just leave random comments with no contact e-mail address and that’s the last you hear of them. There’s nothing more you can do.
So, lovely Planetarians, I hope that’s helpful. Once you’ve sorted out these little details, you’ll find your commenting experience to be much more enjoyable, I promise. And I hope that’s solved your dilemma, Anna! Let me know if anything’s unclear and I’ll do my best to help. And now I should get to bed early as part of my bloggy rehab…
* Playing along with sweet Felicity’s Word of the Week at Gifts of Serendipity.
* [Edited on 28 July 2012] Since I wrote this post, Blogger has updated its word verification system to make it a two-stage process (you need to identify a number and a word and then type them both in correctly) which is even more annoying! Please consider turning this option off - I can assure you that your readers will thank you for it!
I also have switched from using the Blogger commenting system to Intense Debate's CommentLuv. However, these comments on the Blogger system are still current.