Welcome to the 3rd lesson in the “Get More Blog Traffic Blueprint” series. Here we cover different tactics you can use to skyrocket the traffic to your blog. If you are new to this series you can check out the previous posts on setting a baseline (also the introduction) and importance of content.
Talking about blog commenting may be nearly as tired as saying “Content is King” when talking about getting more blog traffic. Both of these topics have one important factor in common; they are constantly brought up –and often overused- due to the fact they are really that important.
Like many of the topics I discuss, these methods take work and dedication. Put on your game face, roll up your sleeves and get ready to work to do it the right way and get a real positive effect there is work to be done.
If the ONLY method you follow from the whole Blog Traffic Blueprint series is blog commenting, I guarantee you will see a significant increase in blog traffic. I even offer a money back guarantee (on my free advice) to back that up.
Doing the Work
Before we break into the how’s and why’s of blog commenting, let’s talk effort. Proper blog commenting is a lot more than going to your favorite five blogs and leaving daily comments. Proper blog commenting is about expanding your reach.
How much commenting do you need to do? The amount I recommend is at least 20 solid comments each day. This is a lot. I will delve into quality of comments later, but these need to be a lot more than “great post”.
Figure on a few minutes to read each article and at least 5 minutes to leave a quality comment. As you can see a little over an hour a day is the least you need to reserve for this.
There are some sites you will comment on more than one time a week, but again the desire is to spread it out as much as possible, if you haven’t comment on more than 80 blogs, you are not finding enough.
What sites do you visit?
Interesting posts: A big part of this philosophy is to find new and interesting sites to comment on, but before branching out you should always remember be your base. Before doing everything else I try to make sure I go to the sites of people who have commented on MY posts first. Just because you want to grow do not lose what you have.
New sites do not have to be in your niche but you do desire a decent percentage to be within your niche. The important thing is that you like what someone has to say. I never left a comment on peoples sites unless I liked what they had to say. You may disagree with parts, that can make commenting itself more enjoyable, but you need to think their blog is good.
If you think someone is a gaseous windbag too full of him or herself you should just avoid commenting.
Amount of comments: There is a sweet spot for comments. If a site gets too few comments it is not going to be seen by many people and may not be worth your time. On the flipside your comment will never be noticed on a site with 175 comments. Generally sites that get 5-50 comments for most articles are the ones to aim for. These sites should have the best mix of volume of visitors and few enough comments that your site won’t be lost in the mix.
Of course if you love the post on a site with lower traffic, there is nothing “wrong” with commenting anyway, just realize you are mainly commenting because you like the site and traffic effects from it will be minimal. This is not a bad thing, though.
Like many of the techniques I discuss, these methods take work and dedication. Put on your game face, roll up your sleeves and get ready to work. To do it the “right” way and get a real positive effect, you need to give consistent effort.
Commentluv and Keywordluv are two popular wordpress plugins. You shouldn’t make having these the “only” reason you choose to comment –or not comment- but it can certainly be a consideration.
Commentluv is a plugin that allows you to pick between the last 10 posts on your blog for one you would like linked to. You could do this as a way to get extra links to a specific piece you want to gain backlinks for or because it is apropos to the topic on the blog. For instance, if I were commenting on a post ABOUT blogging, this article would be an obvious one to link to, but if the article were about SEO, I might find another.
Many blogs link to your name so if I wrote “Steve” as my name the anchortext would read “Steve. “ Having an anchor text like this doesn’t help you to rank for anything meaningful. Sites that use keywordluv help you rank for whatever keywords you type in after your name, so if I were to log in with (as I usually do) steve@lifestyle design The anchor text for my link becomes “Lifestyle Design.” This makes the anchor text better because you have the ability to make it relevant.
The Blog Comments
The comment itself is very important. A simple comment of “great post” is almost an insult. It is likely to be viewed as a spam comment that will get you tossed in the spam bin. At a minimum you should review/rephrase some of what they said to show that you did in fact read the article. These is the weakest type of comment and is obvious you are fishing for a link, but it is wholly acceptable.
Funny: If you can come in with a quick witty comment that pertains to the post or the blogger it can be one of the best comments. It is both quick and it is memorable.
The Argument/debate: You do not have to agree with every word said. It may be my contrary nature, but I enjoy commenting more when I disagree than any other type of comment. It does not mean you need to disagree with every word they said, or that they are completely wrong. Some topics can have two correct approaches learning alternate idea can just deepen someone readings appreciation.
Presenting a contrary viewpoint is fine; just make sure you are respectful. If you STRONGLY disagree, it might be better to find another site to comment on. Flame wars and trolling won’t do any good for a blogger. As your mother always says, “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
Furthering the conversation: Some topics are very broad. For the blogger to fully express their idea would take A LOT of space. They may not have touched on every aspect. There is nothing wrong with adding additional information. This could possibly deepen the topic for discussion. Remember the difference between a blog and a post on a static website is all about these interactions.
Answering a question: Many bloggers end their posts with a question; this is done for one reason: to make it easy for you to comment. If no other idea inspires your comment, give a nice, complete and full answer to their question
Input your opinion: Your opinion matters. Remember that. Do not be to shy to state your opinion.
Ask questions: They say there is no such thing as a dumb question. I am not sure that is always true. I have heard a few dumb questions in real life.
All kidding aside though, if there are any questions about what’s presented by the blogger: ask away. If you have a question you can rest assured a lot of other people share the same question. Often a blogger will LOVE to answer a good question. So many posts are canned phrases saying the same thing as the previous four comments. You can stand out as much with an intelligent question as you can with an intelligent comment.
What comments need to be: Regardless of which one of these methods are used it’s important that certain commenting requirements are met. The main thing a commenter should be looking to do is to engage readers. The desire is for the comment to be witty, perceptive, informative, enlightening or big enough to draw the attention of people visiting the blog and get them to in turn visit your site. It is all about engaging the blog owner and thereby the blog owners audience.
Why Do You Spend a Lot of Time on Blog Commenting?
There are many great reasons for blog commenting. Here are ten great reasons:
1. Making a name for yourself. Commenting on sites in your niche continuously you will slowly begin to build a name for yourself. When people think about the niche and the people in it your name will slowly be thrown into the mix.
2. Indirect Visitors. People visiting the site of the blog may follow out your link if they find what you say interesting.
3. Direct Visitors. Most blog owners will go to your site to at least see what you are about after you leave a comment.
4. Finding Ideas. I am not saying to take an idea from anyone, but it is often the questions that are not said that just as important as anything else. If you see a big gap in information or something that’s NOT well explained it can give a lot of ideas for your own posts.
5. Learning. Reading a lot of blogs means that your chance of finding tiny pieces of knowledge to add to your knowledge database greatly increases. I feel like a pretty knowledgeable guy, but I am constantly find out little things I haven’t thought of. The true path to wisdom really is knowing how little you really know.
6. Building Relationships. Relationships are the whole purpose behind blogging, Tweeting, Facebook and the like. You do not develop a relationship and trust with someone overnight. It is something that is built layer upon layer. You never know what someone may be able to do for you or you for them, until you get to know and trust each other. One of the great ways to build and start a relationship is with communication through blog commenting. It doesn’t STOP there, but that is where it can start.
7. Gaining Authority. When you have the knowledge to comment with depth and authority that knowledge can be conveyed to your “brand” over time.
8. Paying it forward. We all have people that helped us out when we started, if you can help out someone who is starting you are paying it forward. Not only are you gaining someone who will be loyal to you because you went above and beyond to help them, but cosmically you are evening the balance. Because most of us have had someone who went out of their way to help us.
9. Backlinks. When you leave comments on most blogs you at least get a backlink. As long as the blog is not a “nofollow” blog you will get a link to your site that will help to rank your site higher in Google search results
10. Commentluv/Keywordluv Link: With commentluv or keywordluv links you get a link that is far more targeted than the average link. Either by being targeted to a specific keyword or giving you a choice of your previous posts to link to or both.
Things to Avoid When Blog Commenting
* Do not be negative. Disagreeing is fine, but be cordial and polite or say nothing at all.
* Say something constructive. A simple “Great Post” and leave is an insult. Take the time to at least let the blogger know you took the time to read the post since they took the time to write it. It is best if you can really engage and say something that furthers the conversation.
* Do not use foul language. Personally I have no problem with most “R” rated curse words, but when visiting someone else’s site, unless you know THEY are comfortable with it, avoid using foul language. Think of a blog like someone’s home; they invite you in and you should treat it with respect, doing otherwise will simply damage you reputation.
* Do not be too “spammy. “ Unless there is a very specific post that will exactly clarify a very specific problem avoid linking back to yourself. You get enough links with commentluv and keywordluv. Do not get greedy.
* Give respect to the website owner/administrator. As said above, you are on their turf and no one is forcing you to comment. There are a few blogs I choose not to comment on.
What You Need for Blog Commenting:
You own Blog/Website. You DO NOT actually need a blog of your own. “Website” is almost always an optional field. But if you are doing commenting to gain blog traffic and/or links to your website or blog, it certainly helps to have something that can be linked to.
Email address is almost always needed. Most people have one these days, but a simple Hotmail or Gmail address will do fine.
Gravatar image. Not having a Gravatar image won’t “stop” you from being able to comment or post, but it decreases the efficiency of all your efforts. For one thing it hurts “branding” There will be a whole future lesson on branding, so I will not “go there” for now.
For now you should think of it as how serious you seem. With no Gravatar most blog owners will look a little more carefully in deciding if your post is spam or not. Without a Gravatar image most bloggers will never see your comment if you have a good comment that gets sent to spam. It is not “needed” but it is highly recommended.
Traffic Building through Blog Commenting Examples
This blog is gifted to have many examples of great commentators. I am now going to use my gift of prophecy…
Azeroth Gobble D Gook, Shamalama ding-dong
There, I have pierced the veil of time and foreseen that each one of the ones mentions below, as well as many other great people who am getting to know, have left killer comments below.
You didn’t know I could see the future too, didja?
These are just a mix of a few of the great commentators for this site. Some have been commenting for a while, some for a relatively short bit. They have all proven to be consistent and leave quality comments. Thanks: Fran, Ryan, Tristan, Mark, Dia, Matthew, Steve, Adam, Daniel and Jimi. These are just a few also. I have at least a dozen more people that I would say are great commentators. Look below into the comments and you will see some of them too, I am sure.
Three Great Commentator Examples
For the final section of this mammoth post I want to highlight three people who I think epitomize commenting, and each represent a great style.
Murray– Murray doesn’t comment every day. But when he does I know it will highlight something I missed or delve into a deeper aspect of the subject. Sometimes it may be off the wall, but it’s always enjoyable. Murray leaves the type of comments that are fun to reply to, because they are fresh and make me think.
Patricia– If you have a website and it’s in the English language you have probably received a sweet nice comment from Patricia. I talk about doing 20 comments a day, which is a goal I really strive for. Sometimes I reach it, sometimes I do not. It seems that every site I visit, Patricia has been there with a comment first. My guess is she does 40-50 a day. There is absolutely no wonder in my mind at all why her site is inundated with caring visitors. She cares and it shows. People care back.
The Vizier– I was out one evening trying to find strange mysterious sites to comment on. I visited someone’s site, I left a comment and never got one back so I never went back, but while on that site I saw another comment. The comment was nearly twice as long as the post and explained it far better than the original poster. Like a moth to a flame I was drawn to Irving’s (the Vizier) site to read his posts and comment.
When it comes down to it I can think of no better example of what a good comment CAN do.
Great 1000 word comments are not the norm. I don’t expect them daily or even want them daily (for that makes me respond in kind). Yet they are awesome when they come. It can be like extra content chucked to the readers who care.
Please comment on commenting. Do you have more to add? Ideas and perspectives I have missed. Are you one of the 20 or so great commentator’s that I didn’t mention? Please comment below. Remember: at very least you get a nice big fat dofollow backlink.
Once you are done commenting you have your to do your homework assignment for the week. If you don’t already, try to go out and leave quality comments on 20 sites a day. That will be 140 comments by this time next week. Make sure at least 75-80 of those are on distinct individual sites. If you have been doing a lot less than that each week please let me know how much your traffic increased over the week.Take Action. Get Results.