Blogging would be nothing without comments. It’s what makes it unique. What keeps people coming back. What makes it interchanging and fascinating.
It also leads to lots of good traffic, good content and overall good blogging karma.
I’m not great at commenting; I need to do a better job. But I have noticed quite a few benefits of it since starting Brett’s Blog in January, so here they are:
- Comments inspire your own content.
If you have a blog, you’re gonna go through times of inspirational drought. Comments can pull you out. Surf through a few of your favorite blogs, read through the comments and become a part of the conversation. Either your own reaction to the post or someone else’s will inspire a great post for you to write.
- Comments drive traffic like nothing else.
If you want traffic, then commenting is the foundational thing to do to make it grow. When you comment, you leave your blog’s address. Readers click on it, and see if you’re worth their time. They are obviously interested in at least one thing you are, so chances are pretty good that you can get a steady reader out of it. The key is to have posts that are relevant to much of what you comment on.
- Make commenting a part of the posting process.
If you want to get systematic about it, write a post, then do a Technorati search or a Google Blog search on the same topic. Find out who’s writing about what you just wrote about, read ’em, and comment. And leave the link to your specific post that relates. It’s a great way to gain additional perspective on what you’ve written, and drive traffic at the same time.
- Respond to comments as quickly as possible.
If someone takes the time to comment on your blog, respond to them. Soon. It shows appreciation, and it increases the chances of keeping the thread going.
- Ask for comments.
I’m not great at writing in a style that begs for comments. Brian Heys is awesome at it, and because of that, he gets good comments. I’ve noticed that he often ends his posts with a question for the reader to answer. That’s brilliant, simple and leaves a great call to action for your readers. Remember, this is the web, so make it as dynamic as possible.
- Add a personal touch.
One of the best techniques I’ve seen is writing a quick email to someone when they comment on your blog for the first time. Ron at Marketing ROI did this with me a few months ago, and I haven’t forgotten it. It’s great “customer service,” and it’s kept me coming back to his blog religiously. And it only takes 30 seconds. Just be sure you require an email address in order for someone to post a comment.
- Comment first for the conversation.
Ever been around someone who blurts out something irrelevant in the middle of an otherwise good conversation? If you start leaving random comments that don’t really have much to do with the post you’re commenting on, you will become the blog equivalent of this person. Traffic is important, but relevance is more important. Don’t stoop into the gray area between healthy commenting and spam to boost your site traffic.
That’s about it. The benefits of commenting are pretty straightforward, but it takes time and a little thought to do it right. That’s why so few people do it. If you want your blog to really soar, it’s a must.
Here are the top commenters so far on Brett’s Blog – thanks to all!
- CWD – no blog, but a lifelong friend. Very entertaining comments.
- Moth1 – TheHapps (aka the Jack Bauer of Search Engine Optimization)
- Harris – 1Lord.org
- Few4th – Frank’s Blog
- Bruce Clarke – Write On!
So what advice do you have on commenting?