There was a day, not too long ago, that blog comment for traffic just disappeared as a strategy.
Aside from the occasional spam comment selling Viagra or knock-off Jimmy Choo’s, there were no real quality blog comments knocking around any more.
It seems that bloggers, because of one Guru or another, has decided they were no longer a good strategy.
The main reason they went through, is because they were no longer a way to spam your blog to Google Success.
In fact, this was one of the main reasons that Google created nofollow links in the first place.
But that was over 11 years ago, so there has to be another reason.
Maybe it was laziness.
Blog comments take: time, effort and attention to detail.
Maybe it was selfishness: you have to give away value, for free, on someone else’s blog.
Or, perhaps it was because of the rise of Guest Blogging.
Whichever it was – you probably had your own reasons too – you gave up a wonderful, beautiful way of growing your blog, creating a brand and driving traffic.
Let’s delve further into why that is and how you, too, can use blog comments to supercharge your site.
What You’ll Learn
- Why Blog Comments Are Key To Getting Traffic
- The Benefits Of Blog Comments You’d Never Even Considered
- How To Write A Blog Comment That Get’s Attention
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Why You Need To Start Using Them
Darren Rowse of ProBlogger reckons there are seven real benefits to using Blog Comments, but I think the only benefits you need to focus on are these four:
- Networking: Building relationships with other bloggers and their audience
- Branding: You can build a brand, and offer value, to so many other people that builds your personal (or blog’s) brand identity.
- Information: By reading other blogs you stay up-to-date in your niche, and as a result, generate better content ideas and stronger discussions in your content.
- Traffic: As a result of all of the above you can drive a serious amount of traffic from them.
I’ve been using them for my own niche site One Day Guides – you can see more on that in this post here – and even as a brand new site, I’ve been able to create some micro, but noticeable, gains.
Okay, it’s not earth shattering, but the bounce rates are low and they’re highly curious about my site.
It’s also a great foundation for landing guest blog spots and endorsements, which will be helpful in the future. (If you're a member of the Nichehack's Members Site you'll see this comes up a lot).
Let’s break each one of these sections down and see how you can leverage all of them, shall we?
How Blog Comments Help You Network
Want to know the harsh truth about bloggers?
They don’t give a shit about you.
You know why?
Because, usually, you don’t give a shit about them. You only ever write to them when you want something.
Or, worse, when you desperately need something from them. You’re all about what you can take from them.
So, as Neil Patel writes here, when you send an outreach email to asking claiming to be a big fan of their site, you leave the blogger with thoughts like this:
“The only problem is that I don’t recognize your name from comments (on Quick Sprout posts) or from social media.Surely, a “huge fan” would at least be subscribed to my email list. Surprisingly, a fairly large percentage of these emailers are not.Right away, I feel lied to and usually delete the email.”
By showing up on their blog, every few weeks or every few posts, you’re able to ingrain your name into their mind.
They can remember your name, no matter how generic, because you’ve popped up over and over again.
You can even prove that you’re a big fan.
It also puts you directly in front of the blogger you want to talk to.
You have a free space to ask questions, start discussions and create a relationship.
All by sharing your opinion on what they’re just written.
You’re adding value to them because it creates more rich content on top of what they’ve written.
And, gives them the opportunity to show they’re an attentive blogger who cares to the rest of their audience.
It's a complete win for the blogger themselves.
And adding that value can give you leverage.
Because when you do write to ask them for something, you’ve already provided 51% of the value to that relationship.
"What I noticed is that if I wrote a comment within the first hour of the post being published and my comment was higher on the page, it drove more traffic."
– Neil PatelClick Here To Tweet This!
How Blog Comments Help You Brand
When you comment on another blog you have the opportunity to brand yourself as an authority, too.
Let me give you an example.
Nomadic Matt posted about Why Travel Boycotts Are A Bad Idea and, as it’s a topic I have an opinion on, I decided to add my own comment:
Now the comment has added to the discussion and, because I write with confidence, I’m able to write a post that adds some value (even if it is an opinion) and create my own stance.
You can do this more effectively if you have a niche that you understand and can talk about in depth, which Stuart helps you find in his Find Your Perfect Niche product.
This is a mini-branding effect to whoever reads it.
But what adds a lot of branding – and extra weight to my argument – is when Matt comments back to me:
Not only has the added to what we spoke about in the last step, but it subconsciously validates and brands my point of view and name to other readers.
Another great example is my buddy (from Blog Commenting I might add) Ryan Biddulph, who has built a huge brand from commenting on blogs all over the internet.
Which has lead to even stronger branding opportunities, like writing for Virgin.
How Blog Comments Give You Information
Let’s be really honest right now:
You probably don’t read too many other blogs in your niche.
Unless, that is, you have a problem you need to fix (exactly why you’re here, right?).
It’s okay, we all do it from time to time.
But by actively seeking to add blog comments you’re forced to read more content and have more discussions about your topic.
You find what you think is right, what you think is wrong, and what you can be doing better or differently in your niche.
For example, Darren Rowse found this surprising benefit to writing blog comments:
By staying on top of these current trends – and using a tool like Evernote – you can keep track of hot topics, what you agree or disagree with, and constantly generate blog topics.
The fact that blog posts should be longer and more in depth to stand out (more on that in a minute) you get chance to write a mini-blog post as a comment to test if content is worth writing, too.
Giving you a practice sessions before you invest in a blog post too.
" I decided that blog commenting was the smartest, most effective way to build friendships, expand brand awareness and grow my online empire."
– Ryan BiddulphClick Here To Tweet This!
How Blog Comments Drive You Traffic
Aside from the fact that you have a visible link on a big blog that thousands of people read?
Well, for this one, I’m going to hand you over to this awesome case study from Sujan Patel.
For just over 20 hours work commenting on blogs he was able to:
- 2492 visits (that’s 124.6 visits per hour of work)
- 513 leads for his tool
That’s a 14% conversion rate, which is absolutely nothing to be sniffed at.
This isn’t a story in isolation either.
Flaunt My Design were also able to generate over 2000 pageviews in an 8 month period from just 26 blog comments (that’s just over 3 comments per month).
And, the traffic continued to come long after they’d finished their experiment too, generating 185 visits in the final month.
The results here speak for themselves, and as you saw earlier, my preliminary attempts at commenting have already brought me high-quality page views.
Okay so that’s all the data about why you should comment, and the results you can get from them.
Now let’s look at how to leave a perfect blog comment, shall we?
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How To Write The Perfect Blog Comment
Writing the perfect blog comment comes down to a few factors.
And, you’re going to watch over my shoulder (and do it with me) so we can get to the perfect comment together.
Here’s what makes up a great blog comment:
- Having The Basics Set Up: Creating a profile, or choosing the right links, for your comment.
- The Right Site: By commenting on quality, well trafficked sites, you give your comment prime real estate in order to generate traffic and attention.
- The Right Time: By commenting earlier, rather than later, you give yourself better opportunities to be seen and heard.
- The Right Length: By commenting longer, higher quality comments, you attract more attention.
- Asking The Right Questions: By continuing the discussion you increase engagement with your comment.
- Creating A Discussion: Don’t be a kiss ass. Express your opinion confidently and with conviction.
- Mix and Match Comment Ideas: Other tips you can use to make your blog comment stand out.
Getting The Basics Set Up
It pays to have a Gravatar profile set up before you comment on any posts.
Make sure it has all of the correct links, social media profiles and information set up on it.
You can also run the same process with other comment leaving platforms like Disqus, too.
Finding The Right Site
When I first started blog commenting I thought it was better to blog on any site possible.
And, while that is one strategy, it’s not the best. It’s more important to be specific and particular with the site you post on.
The returns are better, you can spend less time and you can focus your efforts on building relationships with bloggers that will be better in the long term.
You can also create better returns by focusing on posts that are specific to a particular post or topic you want to generate hype about too.
For example, if you’re a blog about social media you can focus on all relevant topics around social media:
- Content Creation
Or whichever topics you’re creating about right now.
If it’ll catch the hearts and imagination (and is relevant to) whoever clicks through, you’re on to a winner.
To do this I find that using Feedly is the best weapon.
Even on the free version you can add endless amounts of RSS Feeds from the big blogs in your niche. It will even offer suggestions for the blogs you should follow, too:
You can create a list and get updated when new blogs share posts, or just check in every morning to see what’s new in the world of your niche.
So, by using this process, I’ve found this post from Matt Karsten over at Expert Vagabond:
It’s got a lot of interaction, but it’s fresh and only has three comments (more on that next).
Plus, Cuba is a place that excites me, so it’s right on the money for me.
Before I start writing, let’s look at why the number of comments is so important…
Commenting At The Right Time
It’s been a long standing theory that commenting sooner, rather than later, gives a better return on investment.
And now, there’s some data to back that up, because in Neil Patel’s experiment he found the sooner he commented the more traffic he got from each comment.
So, with just three comments before me, it’s a great time to get in there.
And the comments are only short, too, which means my long blog comment will stand out more:
When you’re going through this yourself, try and find a post that’s got less than five comments before you.
While commenting later is still beneficial, you’ll see diminishing returns. Save your time and be on the ball for the next one.
"Commenting on blogs will almost certainly get you at least a brief once-over from the writer, and consistent contributions are a proven way to build relationships with bloggers."
– Rand Fishkin
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Writing A Comment That’s The Right Length
Neil’s study also found that shorter comments (under 4 paragraphs) saw less returns than the longer comments.
But, what counts as a ‘paragraph’ is up for much debate on the internet, so as long as it’s long enough to add value, you’re on to a winner.
For example, this comment is only three paragraphs, but they’re longer and add value, so I’m happy with this for length:
If you’re really in doubt, try to make sure your comment matches or exceeds the longest comment on some of their other posts.
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Asking The Right Questions
In order to do this take a portion of the article they’ve written and ask a question that continues the discussion by going deeper into what they’ve spoken about.
As Chelsea pointed out in her 6 Lessons I Learned The Hard Way From Niche Guest Blogging In The Past 6 Months she points out that everything you do on someone else's blog must add value. And, that still applies to Blog Commenting.
For example Matt has written about two topics…
- The Cuban Time Warp
- Tobacco Farming
So I’ve made sure to mention them in my comment. In fact, I’ve asked questions directly about them right here:
When you’re thinking about your questions think about these two concepts:
- Does It Add Depth: Does it take the topic they’ve written about and go further?
- Does It Answer A Reader Questions: If someone was reading that article would they have a question that needs answering? (Like, the export question above).
If it doesn’t, write one that does.
Creating A Discussion
I’ve tried to create a discussion by asking about the economy in Cuba (a big topic around the country in the niche) that other people can weigh in on, as well as Matt himself.
Take a portion of what they’ve written about and try and expand on it.
If you can’t add value yourself, as for an opinion or open the forum for people to weigh in on the subject themselves.
Other Best Practices
Okay, this final stage can be considered a group of bonus content ideas to make your blog comments all singing, all dancing and get more responses (and traffic).
- Be Personal: Aiming your comment at the author goes a long way.
- Be Funny: Try and use humor – like you would in a real conversation – to create a connection and get attention.
- Take A Genuine Interest: Show you care about the subject and ask real questions you want an answer to.
- Focus On The Author: This isn’t where you flaunt your own links. You’re here to talk, not to sell.
Much Ado About Blog Comments
It’s your job as a blogger to go where the attention is.
And, there is a lot of attention on the big blogs in your niche.
And while your competitors are sat there wasting their time complaining about how guest blogs aren’t working for them, or that blog comments are hard and stupid, you can cash in and get big gains from putting yourself in front of someone else’s audience for little work.
So, where are you going to start commenting? Answers below…