7 Time Management Tips for Commenters

You know, I used to be one of those guys didn’t care much about commenting.

Sure, I did comment on blogs.

But, only on blogs that I guest posted on (fortunately, I did guest post a lot, so I had no problem with generating traffic to my blog).

Now that I look back, I regret not investing more time into commenting.

Commenting makes things so much easier. Heck, commenting could be considered as an opportunity to write mini-guest posts (Just check the length and quality of comments left by bloggers such as Harleena and Adrienne).

I am no commenting expert, but over the years, I have picked up a few commenting tricks (all thanks to my love for experiments).

My main goal was to reduce the amount of time I spend for commenting, while maintaining the quality of comments I leave.

Who wouldn’t like an extra hour of free time? (Which you could spend with your family, or maybe for entertainment, or perhaps for finishing up blogging tasks. Okay, that last one seems kind of redundant).

Time Management

I could go ahead and talk about the importance of time management, but I am not going to do that, instead I am asking you a question:

What is time management?

(Don’t tell me it is about managing time…).

What is time management to you?

  • Is it getting things done and having free time?
  • Or is it getting things done according to a schedule?
  • Or is it something else.

To manage time effectively, you need to define time management. You need to define what it means to you. What do you want to accomplish?

Time management (to me) means getting things done and having enough free time to cultivate my interest in learning new things and habits.

And to accomplish that I had to formulate a strategy (or in my case, a set of strategies). My plan was to find what worked [best] for me, and tweak it to make it even better.

And, I did.

With time blocks (dedicating a certain amount of time to a particular activity).

The Commenting Time Block

How would you measure your productivity with commenting?

The amount of articles you commented?

Average amount of time you took to comment on an article?

The length of your comments?

Can you guess what I did?

I decided to go with all of these options. I tracked the amount of articles I can comment within a certain amount of time (if I am focused, I can read and comment on about 10 articles during 1.5 hours. More, depending upon the actual length and “thickness” of the article).

Right now, I have two commenting blocks (a 1.5 hour block and one hour block – so, total of 2.5 hours daily devoted to commenting).

My tip:

Step 1: How many hours do you spend (daily) on commenting? (Do you already know? If not, try to keep track of it for a week).

Step 2: During this week, record the amount of articles you read (vs. the amount of articles you read and comment vs. the amount of articles you skip).

Step 3:
Once you acquire the rough sample data, you can start digging deeper. How much time do you spend on each article (you need to record at least 2-3 weeks of data to get an actual representation because every article is different. Some articles are short and easy to read, some are long and hard, some are lengthy videos/podcasts).

I spent about 10-12 minutes per article for reading and commenting. Most of my time is spent on commenting itself – formulating and commenting and typing it.

Step 4: Once you acquire all this data, start analyzing. What do you want to improve? How’s your typing speed? (I am working on developing the proper typing technique. Right now, I only use 6 fingers for all my typing).

Identify your goals. I don’t care if you are Batman, your plan will only work if you have clear goals in mind (then again, Batman will usually have his goals in mind).

The Social Media Time Block

Yeah, I have a social media block, but before I go into that, let me ask you:

When do you share? When do you like to share?

Am I asking too many questions?

I like asking questions (don’t you?). Because I believe questions are the first step to finding answers (and those answers will help you to achieve your goals).

I used to dislike the idea of automation. I felt that it is not real networking.

But, I am different now. I am still against complete automation (like sharing every article written by an author), but I do support semi-automation (picking out articles and scheduling your updates using a tool like Bufferapp).

I get it. People do write good quality content. But, no one, I mean no one writes good content all the time (I suppose the definition of good content is subjective. To me, good quality content is something that isn’t too old, something that has a different spin to in, and something that is relevant to me and my audience).

So, I pick out articles and I share them.

At first, (I mean, just after I got from the one year blog vacation) I decided to share my articles (or buffer in my case) only after reading them. This gave me an opportunity to add my own thoughts to my shares (personally, I find this an effective technique, but I don’t have any hard evidence to prove that to you).

It worked at first. But, then I noticed the amount of time it required me to do all this. So, I decided to form a social media block (30 mins dedicated to just social media).

Nowadays, I just look at the title and skim over the post (The truth is I planned to do it. But, I didn’t actually follow it. So, I don’t actually add my thoughts anymore, at least not to twitter updates) I still do look over the title (and the blog/post writer) and I buffer up the articles. The real advantage here? I can get it all done in less than 30 mins (when I did sharing along with commenting, commenting block got longer. I had to skip many of my daily activities to get things done).

So, what do you do?

Sharing while commenting? Or sharing before commenting? And do you add your own thoughts to you shares?

Skipping Posts

My least favorite task in commenting. But, the truth is that you have to skip. No one has the time to read and comment on every blog in their reading list (unless your reading list is less than 50 blogs. In that case, I really recommend you to work on expanding it).

I will get right to the chase, here is what I do:

Step 1: Identify the blog/blog owner (and ask yourself: did I comment on the last blog post? When was that? The best way to build a relationship through commenting is make your presence known. If the particular blog publishes two times a week, commenting once a week is more than enough to build a strong relationship with the blog owner). Note: This also depends upon the quality of the comments you leave.

Step 2: Blog post topic. Skim over the content (I mean, just look at the headings, bullet points etc). Is it the same old content? Even if it is, does the blog owner write in a different perspective? Does it have any new tips?

Step 3: Read.

Step 4: If you have any thoughts to add, just comment (You don’t need to do this every time. I understand that not all readers are familiar with all topics. So, your comment – even if it is just talking about the same thing – may help someone else. But, your time is more important than anything else. So, try to balance it out).

My strategy: Skip every other article

I do make exceptions every time, depending upon my relationship with the blog owner, the publishing schedule and the quality of content.

Replying back to your replies

Not a lot of people actually bother to reply back to their comment replies (even if you don’t have much to add, just reply). It really helps to build the relationship (shows that you actually care).

Keeping track of replies

The most important part of replying back is keeping track of reply notification emails, I have tried three different methods for keeping track of all the comment replies I get:

Separate emails

Try creating a dedicated email for your comments (like comment@yourblog.com or maybe yourname@yourblog.com). You can then use a email app such as Mozilla Thunderbird or Microsoft

Outlook to manage your emails (Frankly, I hate managing my emails with the default email apps. Apps such as Thunderbird and Outlook offer way more features). Then again, it is not necessary if you are okay with using the default email app.

Forwarding emails to primary email ID

If you want to manage everything within one email, you can send forward your emails to your primary email ID (I know, you are asking why we should bother creating a separate email address if you are going to forward the emails?

1) Organization – It is easier to organize forwarded emails (easy to create email filters. All you need to do is create a filter with your separate email address).

2) BrandingWhy do you create email IDs with your hosting provider? I have read that using your brand name based email IDs makes you look for professional. I don’t particularly see the difference, but hey, that’s what I have heard πŸ˜‰

Alright, the last thing I want to talk about is my strategy with Feedly (if you don’t use Feedly, see if there’s a way to use a similar strategy employing categories with whatever you use).

Using Categories (My Feedly Strategy)

I use Feedly to keep up with my favorite blogs. To learn more about feedly, check out their website: feedly.com

If you do not use Feedly categories, I recommend that you start immediately. Categories make your life easier, let me explain:

I have three different categories:

  • Friends
  • Popular Blogs
  • New Blogs

the friends category is for my blogging buddies πŸ˜‰ I trust these guys to produce awesome content. I usually comment more on these blogs (except when I find newer blogs to comment). I have already built a solid relationship with my “friends”, which means I can also skip more often (although that is not recommended).

Popular blogs – I don’t visit these blogs for commenting. Just information (most of the popular blogs are filled with guest posts, which are useful to new bloggers, but not experienced ones). The real gold is when the blog author themselves publish something.

New Blogs – In terms of commenting, these guys are high priority. I haven’t built a relationship with these folks, at least not yet. So, I need to comment more often. I can’t afford to skip the articles on blogs, at least not yet.

I recommend that you experiment with a similar system. See how it goes, if it works for you, stick with it πŸ˜‰

The next thing I want to talk about is something fairly simple…

Opening Up Everything vs. Dividing It Up

How do you comment? Do you like opening all of your unread articles (and “storing” them using apps like Tabs Outliner and One Tab; those are great apps, by the way) or do you like dividing them up?

For me, opening up everything means I know how much I need to cover; I have the specific goal in mind (I would also have an approximate on the amount of time needed to finish commenting). But, a lot of unread articles may overwhelm you. It has happened to me many times (I take entertainments breaks to avoid the problem).

Lot of tabs also affects browser performance (amount of time it takes to submit a comment increases). I use apps such as Tabs Outliner to store some of the tabs (give it a try and see how it goes).

Dividing it up is also an excellent strategy. Why do we divide things? To reduce the work load. Or at least make it seem like you have reduced the work load.

Personally, I have found it much more rewarding to comment on 5 articles and then open up another 5 to comment πŸ˜‰

But, at the end of the day, it’s all up to you. Experiment and figure out what works best for you πŸ˜‰

Commenting on the Shortest/Easiest Blogs First

Short, in terms of length.

Easy, in terms of design and wordiness. Some blog posts are relatively easier to understand and grasp because of the formatting (bullet points, bold text and lots of white spaces) while others are hard to understand because of wordiness (I might not be the best example for wordiness. I do tend use a lot of words, more than necessary to explain the things I need to explain).

I tend to comment on the easiest/shortest blog posts first. Get them out of the way and then go for the big ones. Just think about it: When you were in school, did you prefer to study the short questions/answers or the long, difficult ones first?

Let’s Conclude….

Before I can conclude, I want to thank Alan for giving me an opportunity to guest blog for him. Thank you Alan πŸ™‚

So, let’s go over everything we have covered so far:

β€’ Commenting Block for focused commenting

β€’ Social media Block for all your sharing needs

β€’ Skipping Posts to save time

β€’ Replying back to comment replies (and keeping track of email notifications)

β€’ Feedly Categories to categorize based on your goals and your relationship with the blog owner

β€’ Opening all unread items vs. dividing them up

β€’ Reading easiest (and shortest) blog posts first

Okay, that’s seven. So, I suppose I could go with the title β€œ7 time management tips for commentators” πŸ˜‰

Let’s see how it works out.

Anyways, let me know of your thoughts – share your commenting experiences. How do you comment? Do you keep track of your commenting time?

If you have any tips, don’t forget to share them. Thank you!


Comments

7 Time Management Tips for Commenters — 13 Comments

  1. Hi Jeevan,

    thanks so much for writing this. Some great advice here!

    I’d never heard of tab outliner but I will check it out – though I normally use Firefox – do you know if there’s a similar add-on for Firefox (otherwise I’ll do my research and find out)…

    very best wishes,
    Alan

  2. Hi Jeevan,

    What a wonderful article, my friend. Alan, thanks for having Jeevan over!

    I’ve never read a post on commenting stategies before, and have to admit l don’t have a proper commenting approach. I’m sure I could make my commenting more efficient. I’m going to check out the Bufferapp tool you mentioned.

    When I do comment, I usually read the post first and then share.

    Thank you.

    • Thank you, Hiten πŸ™‚

      Well, good luck πŸ˜‰ Having a routine can definitely help to save time (which you could use for planning ahead and writing more blog posts, or perhaps more marketing :D).

      Oh, okay πŸ™‚ Thank you for stopping by, Hiten! Appreciate it.

  3. Hi Jeevan,

    That was surely an informative post about time management tips for commenting, and thanks so much for the mention too.

    Good to be over at your blog as well Alan πŸ™‚

    Well, honestly speaking, even though I have Feedly set up according to the priority of blogs and my visits to them, I don’t keep collecting very many in my list and take them as they come during the way – when I am taking a little break, that’s when I read blogs, which happens twice a day, besides the evening time when I devote time just for comments.

    Like you, most of my time goes into commenting, whether it’s comments on my blogs or other blogs and return visits. I am perhaps a little different, as I believe in replying to our own blog comments for the first day, but because of my detailed comments, I do take time in each reply, so prefer to visit other blogs (besides feedly regulars) that visit my blog, the next day for sure, and then if I get time, come back to my own comments. I feel I owe them that much for their time to visit mine.

    With time I’ve noticed that the visits of new bloggers has increased, besides the regulars, and as you mentioned, you still need to build relationship with them, and they are yet not the kinds you would like to add on Feedly, so I just take them as and when they come.

    Yes, sometimes with good friend’s you can afford to miss a post or two, though we shouldn’t take them for granted or they might just stop coming! No, but they understand and so do we if they don’t visit our blog too often, isn’t it? That’s what friend’s are for….and then visiting out of your usual schedule, like this is a new blog that I came to because you mentioned it, so this adds up and in the same way there are some bloggers who need a contest to be won, or a comment on their guest post, or just because they mentioned us, so we visit such new blogs, which is not in the schedule, and all of this does take time.

    I guess we aren’t really the kind of bloggers to wrap it all in a few sentences…at least I can’t – need to learn that art πŸ˜‰

    Thanks once again for your tips, which are all wonderful, though each one to his or her own I would say. We all need to find time and learn to manage our own things the best possible way, isn’t it? Have a nice weekend, both of you πŸ™‚

    • Hey Harleena,

      Glad that you think so πŸ™‚

      That sounds like a great strategy.

      Yeah, I wanted to try that, but found it too time consuming (Especially, with college). So, right now, I am focusing on the blogs I have on feedly (of course, over time, as I improve our ‘commenting speed’ I will add even more blogs, from my comments. Hopefully, those guys will keep visiting – or perhaps I could just add another category called ‘Later’ :D).

      Yes, indeed πŸ™‚ We can sacrifice a few things, but don’t take people for granted. I think the best way is to manage our time efficiently (plus, if we are able to find socializing – social media and commenting – as fun activities, we could perhaps do a lot more of them in a shorter time span).

      Yes, indeed. Experiment and see what works for you πŸ™‚

      Thank you for stopping by and adding your thoughts, Harleena! Appreciate it!

  4. Hey Jeevan – Lots of detail in this post! Where to begin?!

    I guess I take the lazy, and somewhat unstructured, approach to blog commenting. First off, I love it. I really enjoy thinking about the post, and writing something thoughtful. Plus, commenting, as well as referrals, is how I’d gained new clients so far – so the effort is paying dividends for sure.

    I sign up to the email list of the site I want to read updates from, and I read the post and write a comment after I’ve received the email. It’s very rare that I log onto the site on a random day, or at a set time, to see what’s new.

    This could mean it gets overwhelming to keep responding to emails with updates on blogs. But I only check email twice a day – only more if I’m anticipating responses that require urgent attention.

    Your method of dedicating some time daily is a great one and one that I will adopt. It will mean that I need to find more websites to read/learn from. There’s always enough time for that, right?!

    Great article, Jeevan. Hope to see you here again soon!

    – Razwana

    • Hey Razwana,

      Glad you love commenting; makes it easier to comment more in less time πŸ˜€

      Oh, okay πŸ˜€ I try to keep everything in my feed readers (I feel better when those emails are not mixed with my regular ones).

      Yes, indeed πŸ™‚

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Razwana! Appreciate it πŸ™‚

  5. This is a very thorough post, Jeevan. I love reading about how others maximize their time (there’s only that much of it we have, right?) and your post definitely gave me a few insights on how I could speed up a few things in my business.

    Can’t help but agree with your advice to reply to a comment reply – so few people actually do it that it makes it easy to stand out.

    • Nice to see you here, Ana πŸ™‚

      I hope the remodeling project is going well πŸ˜€

      Thank you πŸ™‚ Yes, indeed.

      Yes, indeed. I think it also helps to make comments more social (comments are supposed to be conversational, right? Some comments don’t appear to..instead, they are just so formal).

      Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

  6. Jeevan,

    What a thorough job you did here. I bet all you had to do was write down what your commenting strategy was without any research because you do it so often and so well. And you do, you are 1 of 2 people I remember as a commenting maniac, lol. Ok, not maniac, maybe pro? Who is the other? Adrienne Smith. πŸ™‚

    You do have quite the system here and I bet it works well because I know you through your commenting on my blog. You are very consistent and I believe that is the key to getting people to remember you.

    ~Allie

    • Thank you, Allie πŸ™‚

      Hahaha πŸ˜‰ Well, I am not as good as Adrienne (I learned from her…and I am glad that I chose to do it; it is giving me great results).

      Thank you, Allie πŸ™‚ Appreciate your feedback!

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