My New Year’s resolution is to start commenting on selected blogs and contributing to relevant online forums. Why? To keep learning, to build my network and to increase traffic on SCORE Chicago’s website and blogs.
Commenting gets you involved in conversations, expands contacts in your niche and brings traffic back to your blogs and sites. In Case Study: Power of a Blog Comment, learn how Jesse Heap of Pink Cake Box left a comment on the Small Business Search Marketing blog, which lead to Pink Cake being featured on a magazine cover. Similarly, blogger Marko Saric posted a comment on ZenHabits, a blog with over 79,000 RSS subscribers. This one comment brought him 230+ unique visitors in less than 6 days.
Here’s what I’ve learned from a web search on commenting do’s and don’ts:
Comment on blogs relevant to your niche. When you focus on your niche, readers are more likely to visit your blog or site. (And highly relevant back links have a greater SEO value.) Concentrate on maybe 5 or 10 blogs in your area. See this great ReadWriteWeb post on how to determine the top blogs in any niche.
For maximum impact, choose blogs with good page rank in Google and large numbers of RSS subscribers. (Check the page rank of any blog here.) Popular blogs, with high numbers of RSS subscribers, show up in the blog aggregator Alltop.com. And the free Google Reader lists the number of subscribers to any blog feeds (Subscribe to the blog feed in Google Reader, click the blog name and then click “show details,” upper right, to see the feed count.)
Make the response relevant and substantive. Read the post thoroughly and contribute something meaningful. This might be your own experience, an answer to a question raised, even a further question the post suggests. If you’re tempted to write “great post,” try instead to mention one idea you strongly agree with or something new you learned.
Be careful with negative comments. Saric recommends that you only comment positively: “Only write a comment if you like the post and if you have something relevant and interesting to say.” On the other hand, LeadsExplorer says you can make negative comments: “A comment is just another opinion that can have the opposite opinion from the blog post or the general opinion of the readers of the blog.” Sarah Perez agrees that negative comments are part of intelligent conversation: “Blogger and reader don’t always have to agree with each other, but being able to at least constructively debate the issue brings something to the table that straightforward reporting does not.”
Comment quickly on popular blogs. Saric says, “The earlier you are, more exposure you are going to get.” Set up Google Alerts for your main keywords on your selected blogs. (The blog-specific format is “URL keyword”, i.e. “http://www.scorechicago.org commenting”. Set type to blog, and how often to “as-it-happens.”) If you’re on Twitter or a voting site like Stumbleupon, maybe also reTweet or Stumble the post after you comment, to get maximum visibility from social media activity.
Check back and follow up on later comments, to participate in the conversation. If there’s a box to check to be notified of further comments, check it. Network, learn, interact.
Use a consistent media profile. As Saric suggests, “Brand your comment by using same name, same avatar, same URL and same signature.” Use your full name in the comment field to increase trust and promote branding. For those who don’t know, most blog templates hyperlink your name to the URL you provide, so you don’t have to add your web address to the post.
In essence, do think long-term. Do make comments to build relationships, not to generate short term bursts of traffic.
Don’t cut and paste generic comments. They add nothing and you ruin your reputation for possible short term gain.
Don’t be rude. This networking world is small and you don’t want to burn bridges.
Forum Comments. Online or internet forums are online discussion sites. Some allow you to set up an online profile and others permit you to include a link to your website in your signature. It’s an excellent way to get your name out on the internet and present your knowledge and expertise. Popular social networking sites like Linkedin, Facebook and Myspace, as well as many niche sites, have such forums as a site feature. Be sure to read the forum’s rules and regs.
Big Boards has a list of forums on numerous topics, in both directory and search format. Of course, post in forums related to your blog or site. Choose a couple forums and become known in them rather than spreading yourself too thin. Sometimes you have to be a member for a certain number of days before you start posting.
Since we’re talking comments, please comment on this post. Tell me something you agree or disagree with. Tell me if commenting has worked for you, and how. Or give me your opinion: Is it OK in a comment to add a link to your own posts if it’s really on target?
Smart Blog Commenting A video with 4 reasons to comment and 3 steps to smart comments. 10 minutes long, but worth it.
Rethinking Blog Comments. DoshDosh.com “Think long-term, think relationships and think about getting repeat benefits.” This blogger is my hero. He writes thoughtful and thorough posts on topics I want to learn about.
How to Comment on Blogs: An Introduction. MintBlogger.com “Let’s try to understand and find out the correct way of commenting, that not only give us quality back link but also helps in building our e-brand.”
How One Blog Comment can Bring You 230+ Unique Visitors. HowToMakeMyBlog.com. Marko Saric got 230+ visitors from one comment, and has good recommendations for commenting.
14 Reasons Why Commenting is More Effective Than Blogging. LeadsExlorer.com Reason number 2 “A blog needs to build an audience over time or the blog needs to get subscribers on the RSS feed, which takes time too. A comment on a blog steals the readers of the blog post.”
Blog Comments Still Matter ReadWriteWeb picks up the discussion on negative blog comments.
Blog Commenting Community Strategist blog. “It’s not all about you & your blog! There is a much bigger world out there & you are but one voice, so you need to join the collective.”
Revising My Comment Policy: Keywords Gone. Caroline Middlebrook no longer allows people to put their keywords in the name field to boost their backlink. She also deletes signatures with business names or keywords because the URL is already filled in.
The Art of Blog Commenting. Fast Blog Finder. This author says it’s ok to add relevant links in a comment.
Your Best Customers Participate in Online Forums; So Should You – A Case Study. WebInkNow.com Two examples, one where a company participated in relevant forums and another where they did not.
Increase Traffic and Backlinks from Forum Commenting and Signature. GoArticles. “The more relevant forums you contribute to, the greater your chances of a flood of free traffic. And not only that, at the same time you are constantly building back links to your site, each one of which can bring you traffic at any time.”
How to Build a Social Media Cheat Sheet. One item is how to find popular blogs using Delicious.
Using Commenting as a Key Marketing Component. Winning the Web blog shows you how comments can boost your visibility, reputation and website links/rank. Detailed and practical.
My Related posts:
Hey You There, Reading This. Here’s How It Works, about sharing your opinion on a blog, becoming part of the conversation.
Promoting Politely: What’s Naughty and Nice Business Etiquette on Social Networks. Get your message out one-on-one, and low-key.
See all my Delicious links on Commenting.
See other posts in my Online Marketing Series, which has 20 link-rich posts on 18 online marketing techniques.
Technical Note: Do-Follow and No-Follow Blogs
Some blogs have “nofollow” linking policies for commentors. Wikipedia says “nofollow is a misnomer in this case since it actually tells a search engine ‘Don’t score this link’ rather than ‘Don’t follow this link.”“ Commenters intent on max back links worry about these things, but I say, comment on good blogs to build long term relationships. For those who care, Google has a dofollow blog search. See also this video on Traffic From Blog Commenting, which specifically addresses do-follow blogs.
PS. Turns out blog commenting is a profession. Get good at this and you can earn money.