How to format comments

This entry will show you how to post a comment and add bells and whistles like italics, bold, strikeouts, hyperlinks and underlines if you want to.

Before I get started I should mention your first entry here will be held for moderation, it’s nothing against you personally. If you post more than two links, it will also be held for approval. More than four and you get an annoying error message. Again, it’s nothing personal. It’s a feature of the software to prevent spamming.

Posting a comment is pretty simple.  At the end of each entry, you will see this box (below). The instructions should be self explanatory. Another entry that may be helpful is How to promote your business on blogs.


Nothing below this point is required. You may safely ignore it. This is just a guide if you want to spiff up your comments to do what you see others doing.

Let’s assume you really want to emphasize a point. You can either bold it, underline it or italicize it. The way you do this is through html tags, also called switches. Tags use the less than (<) and more than (>) symbols to form one side of a switch -think of a circuit- which you have to turn on and off. You turn on the italics (or bold etc) at the beginning of where you want it to start and you add the off portion of the switch where you want the italics to end. The off portion of the switch has the / symbol. If your comment is in all italics (unintentionally), you forgot the off switch. If none of it is, you need the on switch.

Cheatsheet Summary:
<b> = bold on; </b> = bold off
<i> = italics on; </i> = italics off
<u> = underline; </u> = underline off
<s> = strikeout; </s> = strikeout off.

  • If you want to emphasize certain words with bold, copy and paste the html like so:
    If you want to <b>emphasize certain words with bold</b>, copy and paste the html like so
  • Italicizing something is just as straightforward; you’d use the “i” html tag which would look like this:
    Italicizing something is just as straightforward;<i>you’d use the “i” html tag</i> which would look like this:

    Now, if in responding to someone else’s comment you wanted to copy their words and add your comment beneath that, you’d put in the <i> at the beginning of where the quote begins and then you’d close it with the off switch </i>. Then you’d add your comment below that.

  • Not to complicate matters but instead of italics, you can also use a tag for block quoting to make the quote stand out as separate, the text is indented on either side. It’s a matter of personal preference whichever you use. The html tag for block quoting is:
    <blockquote>text in blockquote</blockquote>
  • Strikeout is used mostly to be funny or sarcastic. For example, my spouse can never resist a bit of sarcasm (and you wonder where I get it from). He blogged our wedding vows as “I promise to love, honor and obey cherish you”. The html for this is:
    I promise to love, honor and <s>obey</s> cherish you.

Now let’s assume you want to include the location of files, images or websites from your comment as a hyperlink. To do this, you need html code rather than tags but if you notice, this works in the same way.

  • If you want to add a link to another website, the coding is:
    If you want to add a link to <a href=”“>another website</a> , the coding is
  • Now let’s assume you want to include your email address as a hyperlink in your comment. As you know, even if you fill in the email address box (required) on the comment form, it is not published. The coding to hyperlink your email address is:
    The coding to hyperlink your <a href=”“>email address</a> is

    You can put anything in the section that says “hyperlink text” but I strongly discourage you from repeating your email address because spiders crawl sites looking for email addresses to spam. It’s better to write something like “my email address”, “email me” or “contact me”.

This is not intended as a complete list of formatting options that are possible. You can find a list here but again, not all of those will work in comments.

Any other questions about formatting your comments? I’ll update this post as needed. In the meantime, please consider using this entry as a scratch pad. If you like, you can enter test comments using the formatting instructions I’ve given you.

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  1. Kathleen says:

    I’m not sure if this goes in comments, if I should amend the post or do another post entirely. Please advise.

    Tracey sends feedback:

    I don’t know what others think but I would much prefer to have links open in another/new page; I have to press ‘control n’ every time I click a link so that the page I am looking at stays open (keeping your site open if it goes to another site) to also enable me to view the linked page.

    I explained to her that my site was designed for the browser Firefox; most blogs are designed for Firefox. To follow a link, you just right click to open another tab, keeping the first window open. Easy. No viruses, pop-ups, spyware, it’s secure, program is smaller, and pages load faster. It’s tried and true with over 100 million downloads. Because it’s the superior platform, websites are designed around it.

    Anyway, do you all think I should change the behavior of the links?. It’s always bugged me if clicking on a link automatically loads it another window; if I click on it, I want it to load in *this* window. If I want it in another window, I’ll right click it (only available in Firefox). In other words, should I optimize this site for Internet Explorer? I would really dislike it if the default click automatically opened another window. I’ve never liked that. Like the site owner is forcing me to continue visiting them when I’m ready to leave.

    Should I change the click behavior in order to optimize Internet Explorer? It seems like a step back to me. I mean, it’s only a matter of time until most people are running Firefox so I’m not sure I should move backwards.

  2. Kathleen says:

    I talked to Miracle about the clicking thing and she says I’m being pig-headed. She says she told me to do that long ago. She says that now, because she’s running Firefox, it’s not a problem for her but she remembers when she didn’t have it and it was a problem. We’ve decided I should do a poll.

  3. J C Sprowls says:

    My opinion is to encourage the use of Firefox/Mozilla. Simply because I love tabbed browsing and annoying popups, viruses, etc.

    However, in the development world (which is heavily influenced by Microsoft products), the standard is to open new content (i.e. links) in new windows. The presumption, of course, is that a user will only open as many windows as they can manage.

    Of course, practical experience tells me this assumption is archaic. I’ve never once seen a user only open one or two windows – littering the screen is more like it.

  4. Alissa says:

    I don’t know how they’re planning to manage it, but I hear Windows Vista will have tabbed browsing…so maybe this is a short-term (or even vanishing) issue?

  5. Liana says:

    I vote for new windows for new links. I hate having to go Back to read the rest of your post, and click Open in a New Window, or remember to go back after I finish with your link, and sometimes if the link you gave was something that led to other things, you may be quite a ways back.

    You have often mentioned how backward and tech-unsavvy industry people can be, so why not cater to the unsavvy? You don’t want them to go from your site, never to be able to find it again. I’m sure this happens now and then. Also, even if the new Windows Vista will have tabbed browsing, I doubt that everyone will instantly go out and get it when it comes out. I know quite a few people who are still on OS’s quite a few versions back from the newest. (I also know people who can barely bring themselves to click on any link, as it’s so scary. They would never find the Back button.)

  6. Kathleen says:

    Okay, I just ran Internet Explorer and you *can* right click to open a new window. So I think the best solution is to tell people they need to use their right mouse button to click on links, when the right click menu pops up, they select new window and away they go. F-I stays loaded in a window.

  7. Liana says:

    Yes, we all know you can right click to open a new window, it’s just not as user friendly as if it would automatically do it itself. I learn which sites open new windows for me, and which ones I have to do it myself, and yours is one of the latter. If you don’t want to change, you certainly don’t have to, but I don’t see what you’re gaining. As I said in my earlier comment, it will make no real difference to habitual readers, we know we have to do it ourselves. It’s the newcomer who may possibly be inconvenienced, at least the first time.

  8. Alice says:

    OK, I am a devoted reader of this site and numerous others but I never knew how to format comments. Thank you!! I’ve been using CAPs for emphasis, trying to keep that to 1-2 words because CAPs are obnoxious. Kathleen, Thank you for this tutorial and information on opening links in another window. I can never remember which I’ve done and often click out of the site I am reading inadvertently when closing a linked to window. I hope this makes sense because I’m not sure right now. :)

  9. I’m a bit late to the party, but I would like to point out that firefox and IE can override the target=”_blank” thing by chosing where to open the file with the context menu.

    I prefer the new window thing to preserve continuity and make it easier for less skilled tech folks.

  10. LizPf says:

    Kathleen, I don’t know if you are familiar with Macintoshes, but they have a one-button mouse, and the Mac equivalent of right click is Control-click. So Tracey may be using a Mac.

    In most Mac browsers, Command-click (not control) opens a new tab. This is the behavior I like, and for me, holding a key while I click is automatic.

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