This is a guest post by David Murton.
Blog posts are rapidly becoming more like forum threads, in which an original poster offers an idea or a question and interested readers respond. As a blog or website owner, you can take advantage of this paradigm shift by actively commenting on blogs within your niche. As more individuals obtain broadband connections, the audience for blogs (and their potential traffic levels) increases. A successful blog commenting campaign can increase traffic levels for your site and cause other site owners to view your site as an authoritative source.
Why Should You Do It?
Blog commenting, when done correctly, establishes you as an expert in your field. By posting interesting, valuable comments on blog posts related to your niche, both the owners and readers of the external blog will take notice. When other blog owners begin to view you as a reputable expert, new business relationships open and external inbound links are created that direct traffic to your site. In addition, you can cleverly place inbound links to your sites in the comments you post, driving additional traffic to your blog.
On a more general scale, blog commenting is about building a knowledgeable, focused and sharing community around your niche and improving the overall, Internet-wide quality of the content related to it.
How to Find Blogs Relevant to Your Niche
Before you start a blog commenting campaign, it’s crucial to find the best blogs already devoting content to your niche. The alternative, which is to blanket the Internet with comments on any blog you can find, results in wasted resources and the possibility that your commenting campaign will be viewed as spam.
One of the best resources for finding blogs in your niche is Technorati, a specialized search engine that, by 2008, had indexed nearly 113 million individual blogs and well over 250 million pieces of social media content. Technorati allows you to search for either posts or blogs according to keyword, or you can browse by category. The site also maintains a list of Top 100 blogs that receive the highest traffic levels, which make ideal targets for blog commenting campaigns.
Once you find a few blogs related to your niche via Technorati or another search engine, view the latest posts and peruse the comments. You’re likely to find other blog owners who are also engaging in blog commenting campaigns, and following the links they post will often reveal additional blogs worth commenting on.
Tips for Writing Helpful and Valuable Comments
Poorly written, uninformative or redundant blog comments can do more harm than good to your blog’s reputation and traffic levels. By following a few tips, you can write comments that impress the readers and owners of other blog sites:
- Read the comment posting rules. Vulgar language and personal attacks are rarely tolerated by reputable blogs, even if rules regarding them aren’t explicitly listed. The blog may also prohibit the posting of affiliate links.
- Strive to answer questions posted by other commenters or by the original article writer.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions of your own, so long as the information can’t be easily gained elsewhere. For example, you might ask for the original poster’s opinion on a controversial topic related to the subject matter.
- Post your opposing viewpoint, but do it respectfully and back up your opinion with facts.
- Take your time. Quality rules over quantity when it comes to blog commenting, and hastily writing posts only so that you can pack in a few more per day is a waste of resources.
- Format your comment properly. If the comment exceeds more than four or five lines, break it up into paragraphs.
- Pay careful attention to grammar and spelling.
You should put the same level of care into your blog comments as you put into your own original posts on your blog. Many readers assume (often correctly) that the quality of your comments will reflect the quality of everything else you post on the Internet.
Make Sure Your Comments Get Noticed
You’ve found the best blogs for your niche and you’re ready to comment. However, commenting on every post would be impractical. Follow these tips to only post on the blog articles that will maximize your traffic and build your reputation:
- It’s best to post as early in the conversation as possible. The most popular blog posts receive hundreds of comments, and most of the comments that fall below the first page are largely ignored except by the most interested readers. By being the first to comment, your post will practically appear as a footnote to the original article, increasing your visibility to both readers and the original poster.
- Don’t bother commenting on posts that have been inactive for a week or longer. If a post hasn’t generated some conversation within a few days of its posting, odds are good that it will stay that way.
- Prioritize posts that are being actively re-tweeted on Twitter and shared on Facebook. When social media sites start linking to blog posts, it greatly increases their exposure, subsequently increasing the exposure to your comments.
Things to Avoid
Certain things should never make it into the blog comments you post:
- Blatant self promotion. There’s no need to directly promote your blog or site in comments, as most readers find it tacky and detrimental to your credibility. The quality of the content you post should be good enough to convince readers to check out your site.
- Extremely brief and meaningless comments. This includes such comments as “good post,” “bad post” and “I agree!”
- Links to your own articles in every comment you post. This is only acceptable when the link is truly relevant, such as to an article on your blog that directly relates to the subject matter discussed. In all other cases, the only link in your comment should be attached to your username, which you can enter as you’re completing the comment form.
Is it Important to Comment on Your Own Blog?
Absolutely, and the ways in which you respond to your commenters is just as important as the act of responding. If your readers are seeing that their comments are continually ignored, they won’t bother to post again. Answer the questions posed by your commenters thoroughly and as quickly as you notice them. Enforce posting guidelines of your own, and delete any posts that don’t adhere to them.
Don’t be afraid to say so when you don’t know the answer to one of your reader’s questions. Post links to additional resources. Although this causes traffic to initially leave your site, that same traffic (and more) will return as you establish yourself as an involved, authoritative source on your niche.
About the author: David Murton has been helping companies build and maintain their online relationships with customers since 2006. He is also a professional writer and blogger, with a particular interest in the open source Drupal platform. On a more personal note, David is an avid piano and accordion player, drawn especially to music of the classical and romantic periods.