There’s debate on whether commenting on blogs can help generate traffic to your own site.
But let me tell you a little something: Gone are the days when you simply start a blog and people come flocking by the millions. People need to be able to find you and no, they aren’t going to come looking.
Commenting probably isn’t going to get you trillions of readers, but it will get your name out there, put you in front of a community AND get you a little traffic as you start building up your site.
So don’t knock it til you try it and don’t even tell me you’ve never commented on a blog before…
Why Commenting HAS to Be Part of Your Blog Strategy
There are a number of ways you can get a new blog some decent traffic within the first few months, including everything from SEO, social media and guest posting. The the easiest, fastest, most fun way to get highly targeted traffic though is to start commenting on similar blogs.
I’ve recently began blogging over at This New Town, a site about travel in New Zealand and starting life in Auckland. Besides building up a new Twitter profile and linking out, I make a point to comment on five blog posts per week. Not a huge chunk of my time, but enough to slowly start seeing a small trickle of traffic from other travel blogs, posts about New Zealand, etc.
For this blog, I comment on anything and everything. Other posts that mention me, design or food blogs I read for fun on a daily basis, AND I comment on posts that are relevant to the topic I’m posting about. So if I write about Twitter hashtags one day, I check out who else is blogging about Twitter hashtags using this brilliant tool called The Google. I do this as part of my research and once I’ve posted, I always leave a comment on the original post sharing my thoughts and commenting on what they wrote about. Doesn’t matter if it’s Joe Sixpack’s Blog or something as big as Problogger. Either way I make sure my name gets around and there’s always a link back to my site.
If you don’t comment, you’re missing out on an opportunity to not only get your name seen and link back to your blog, but you’re losing the chance to be part of a community. One of my greatest motivators is the comments I get here and there’s nothing I love more than seeing the comment numbers rise because people are talking to each other. Without me.
How to Leave a Quality Comment
Okay. You know you need to comment. Hopefully you know how to leave a comment. Now we have to make that comment awesome.
Luckily, my commenters are ridiculously smart and clever and hilarious. I get occasional spam and occasional “Great post!” from someone I’ve never heard of, but 99% of the time I get the same people commenting on post after post with thoughtful responses, questions or experiences of their own. So while every comment is different and every response is unique, here are a few tried and true rules about comment leaving:
Don’t be a troll. You can disagree and shout your opinions from the rooftops but avoid anything nasty, mean or unhelpful.
Try not to correct spelling mistakes. If the blogger has made an error, email them, but don’t act better than everyone else by trying to sound smart. Publicly calling someone out is lame.
Write a few sentences. People (bloggers and readers alike) love discussion and simply writing, “Great job” or “Nice post” doesn’t actually add anything. Be thoughtful, spend a few minutes coming up with a response, and people will actually take the time to read it and subsequently check out who you are.
Skim the other comments. If you have a question, great, go ahead and ask it, but make sure it hasn’t already been addressed. Bloggers hate responding to the same things over and over.
Include an appropriate link. It baffles me why people link to their Facebook page or Twitter profiles when this is a perfect opportunity to get some targeted blog traffic. Why send us on a wild goose chase for your blog when you have a great way to send us directly there?
Get a Gravatar. A Gravatar is a globally recognized avatar. Meaning whenever you comment using your email, your photo pops up (unless you’re using Disqus, but that’s another story). You want to do this because it makes you instantly recognizable, turning you into a person rather than just another name.
Include your email address. Most comment systems require this, but many don’t. You want to include your contact details so the blogger can get in touch with you! No, they’re not going to spam you or illegally add you to their daily mailing list. What they might do is thank you for your comment or email to offer you cake. I was once offered some really lucrative contract work because of a comment I left on my future boss’ blog. That never would have happened had I not included a way for him to contact me. (Note: No one else will see your email unless you include it in the body of the comment. Just type it in where it says “email.”)
Is commenting part of your strategy? What tips do you have to add?
Fun News: If you’re interested in comments, moderating and how to get more, I’m going to be speaking at Medisbistro’s Social Media Bootcamp. So stick that in your pipe and smoke it for a while. More details to come… (but if you do register now, use the code SCHEM50 for a $50 discount)