As I wrote in the previous post, blog commenting is very effective tactic to build your personal brand, get some back links and drive traffic back to your blog while at it.
Technorati's State of the Blogosphere 2009 study showed, bloggers use approximately 3 hours a week commenting on blogs, which is quite substantial. As you are blog commenting "anyway", it is worth it to make the most out of those 3 hours, right? Or if you like, use the strategies to spend less time on commenting and achieve the same or better results.
With this article, you'll be able to take your blog commenting to the next level and make the most out of your blog comments. I'll show you a blog commenting strategy, techniques you can use and a couple of services you can utilize to leverage your blog comments even further.
Blog Commenting Strategy
When I say blog commenting strategy, like any strategy, it's about forming a plan to reach your targets. And the forming a plan requires that you define actions that you can take.
First, define the purpose of blog commenting to you. These can be derived from the 3 reasons presented in the previous blog commenting -post.
- Personal Branding
In my mind "branding" is the most important one. Just like any of your blog posts, forum posts, videos or podcasts, your blog commenting will be the showcase of YOU. Always have that in mind, and think what does this comment say about me and does it reflect the image I want it to show. Don't over-think it too much thou, as you might be paralyzed and end up not leaving a comment at all.
Which ever you go about this, the best advice I can give is "be yourself". Like with blog posts, there's no need to pretend something you're not. Honesty goes a long way in blog comments too.
With that said, keep your personal branding in mind, but the primary use of "heavy-duty" blog commenting strategy is traffic. To get real results, you can follow the advice below.
In short, there are three factors that affect the results you get from blog commenting. This is especially true for getting traffic and branding yourself, the link is kinda automatic, but that link will of course be "more valuable" if you follow these principles:
- Make quality comments
- Leave early comments (be one of the first ones to comment)
- Leave comments on high-traffic, new posts
The quality of the comment is given; if you provide additional value to the post or the discussion on-going in the comments, the effectiveness of your comments goes up.
Also, as most blogs display the comments in chronological order (the first comment on top, the latest comment on the bottom), early comments are more valuable than the latter ones. Because even people who don't read the comment are very likely to see (and possibly read) the first one or two comments just after the post, you will reach wider audience with early comments.
Some blogs have their comments turned around and the most recent comment is shown at the top. With these blogs, commenting early doesn't have similar effect. I wouldn't go as far as being a late commenter on these blogs, but if you want, test that strategy out vs commenting "normally" on that blog.
Older blog posts don't get many comments, thus comments on those blogs are not read that often. Thus, it is more beneficiary to contribute to the comments of new posts. There is nothing wrong in commenting on older posts, and I encourage you to do that if you do have something to add, but if you gonna leave one comment on a blog, leave it at the most recent post.
When you combine quality comments with commenting to new posts early, you'll see better results.
If you want to fine-tune your blog commenting strategy even further, I recommend that you read Caroline Middlebrook's AMAZING Do You Have A Blog Commenting Strategy? -post, written back in 2007 (still very much valid info).
Blog Commenting Action List
- Make a list of blogs you want to concentrate your comments on
- Choose popular blogs in your niche and related topics
- Choose blogs with great content and possibly active comment discussions
- Add the blogs you choose to your RSS reader, put them in a ACTION folder in Google Reader for example, and
- Use the list as "hit-list" for early comments
- When a new post is posted to a blog on your hit-list, go and read it, and leave a superb comment
- Prioritize your list based on
- Popularity of the blog
- The traffic send from your comments on the blog (click here to get started with Google Analytics, and use that to check incoming traffic sources)
- In your reader, mark the blogs that have "Top Commenter" list/plugin in use
- By leaving regular comments on these blogs, you might get additional benefit from being in the top commenter list
- Reaching this kind of list is only secondary target, so don't compromise the quality of your comments just to make the list
- You can also prioritize blogs that have
- Do-follow links
- CommentLuv in use
- Permit keywords in the "name" (e.g. KeywordLuv)
To make this work, make blog commenting a regular activity and utilize your list of blogs and analyze the results, tweak your strategy and continue again. Add new blogs for testing and lower the priority for blogs that don't seem to send you any traffic.
There you go, quick introduction to blog comment strategy you can utilize to drive traffic to your blog. This is perfect for new bloggers as the streams of traffic from your blog comments can give your blog a great kick-start, in addition to getting exposure in the eyes of other bloggers and blog readers.
However, blog commenting is not the most effective traffic building method as it requires constant work, so don't kill yourself with all the work it requires and look into other methods as well, like guest blogging and article marketing.
Before you head out and start testing if blog commenting could work for you as a traffic builder, I'd like to emphasize again that blog comments are for discussion, building relationships and collaboration.
Be a giver, not taker.
Adding Links To the Comment Text
In addition to the blog commenting strategy presented above, this tip is very important if you really want to get an additional boost to the traffic you get from your blog comments, but whatever you do, do not abuse direct linking in comments or you'll be labeled as spammer. And if a blog does not allow links, don't link, it's as simple as that.
But if a blog accepts links to be added in the comments, you should do it when appropriate, but don't do it too often on one blog.
Anyway, the fact is that more people click if your comment has a link in it for more information. Far less readers just click on your name, so here's some thoughts about adding links to the comment text.
General rule: If you're honestly linking because you want to help others with that link, then the link is most likely OK.
Also, forget linking to a promotion or product of your own, or using affiliate link to promote a product. Or at least be super-careful about this, as you're very likely to end up in the SPAM-queue which might hurt/stop your blog commenting right there and then. Keyword linking is often considered spam (using the post title is most likely OK, but to be secure, just use the URL), so be mindful of that as well.
Never link by just adding a comment, "here's a link for more information: <link>" or even worse "buy my stuff! <affiliate link>. You will end up in the spam folder and with many bloggers running AKismet, you'll soon end in spam folder of all blogs. Not good.
But if you write a great comment, perhaps answering a question from a fellow commenter or adding information to the post, it's OK to add a link there back to your site.
You should only do this, if you're a regular commenter on that blog already and even then link sparingly to your own posts. If you're member in online forums, many of them have the same policies --first, you must prove yourself, and no-one likes shameless self-promoter there either, it's the same with blog comments.
Making the Most Out of Blog Commenting
To make the most out of commenting on other blogs, you must:
- get a gravatar (Globally Recognized Avatar)
- gravatars are those photos you see on blog comments (if the blog has them enabled)
- when you leave a comment, you use email address and gravatar service will fetch a profile picture based on that address
- in http://www.gravatar.com/ you can register and save a profile picture for yourself
- get a good, real photo of yourself, preferably the same you have Twitter profile pic too
- leave meaningful comments and add value to the original post or discussion going on in the comments
- avoid "nice post" comments, those bring little value to the post and to you
- be aware of the blog comment rules in the blog you're leaving a comment at
- In general, you should use your real name or nickname
- Using keywords comes off as spam, so don't do it (unless specifically allowed in that blog)
- never spam
- seriously, just do not spam
- I mean if you spam, you look stupid, and no-one likes to hang out with you and you don't want that, do you?
With these quick tips you should do well. But before I wrap this up, I'll show you couple of services you can use to track your own comments or even share them with others via social media or any way you want.
Utilize the Blog Comment Profiles
As you leave comments on other blogs, it doesn't mean they just stay there.
There are couple of services you should register to "claim" your comments and link your blog comments to your other social media profiles.
To connect your blog commenting to your social media profiles and really make the most out of your blog comments:
- register and update your profile at Disqus
- Disqus is a commenting system that is growing more and more popular among the bloggers
- By registering you get better control of your comments on blog that run their comments with Disqus
- You can use your Gravatar or Twitter picture, or upload a new one
- You can see my Disqus profile here: http://disqus.com/Zemalf/
- register and claim your comments on BackType
- BackType tracks all your comments
- You can set alerts, similarly to Google Alerts, that monitor keywords, like your name and URL in blog comments and notify you if a comment is left with those keywords in it
You can leverage your BackType profile page or RSS feed(sadly, Backtype no longer has profiles, it just tracks your comments and you can set alerts.) You can subscribe/follow comments of others Your comments can be followed by others As an example, my BackType profile is was here: http://www.backtype.com/Zemalf As you can see, it can be customized, just like Twitter profile for example
- connect the
above servicesDisqus profile to your FriendFeed
- This way your friends know when you've left a comment
Both BackType andDisqus areis in the FriendFeed services when you check the add/edit there
- connect your Disqus or BackType accounts to Twitter, Facebook and your other social media profiles
BothDisqus commenting system and BackTypesupport automatic connection to Twitter
- When you make a comment, depending on your settings, notice about you leaving a comment can be sent to Twitter automatically
- Use automatic Tweets and similar services sparingly if you are active commenter
OK, this post might have been a lot to chew on, but I wanted to write this as there's a whole lot of potential in blog commenting that is just waiting for you to unleash.
Think about each and every blog comment as a word sample or a business card you're leaving behind. It will stay there for a long time and what you wrote will have a great impact on what people think of you. Leave great comments and people will think greatly of you.
And great things happen to great people.
Many small streams make a big river in the end.
Do you have some additional blog commenting tips or experiences?
Go ahead and share them with others by leaving a comment!