In my post Statistics After 90 Days of Blogging I mentioned that I currently have 160 posts, and over 400 comments on my blog. One comment I received mentioned commenting. I have a relatively new blog, but I am fortunate that a good community, is building, that comments on my blog.
Blogs are about conversations. You want to start conversing with people and start earning some name recognition. I say earn, because writing a single comment on one blog does not authority create. People will read your comments over time and see that you have information to add to the conversation. The idea is to entice people to your blog by reading your comments.
Here are 10 tips for how I started encouraging comments on my blog. This process may take a couple of weeks. Don’t get discouraged if you aren’t seeing results in the first day or two. Keep with it. After a couple of months, these are tips I am still trying to follow.
- Comment on 15+ blogs a day. I find blogs, using Technorati, and WordPress, writing on the same topics or topics I am interested in, and then comment on these posts. Other bloggers also use tools such as StumbleUpon or Digg.
- Try to write thoughtful comments. Actually read the post before you write a comment, and after reading the whole post. People reading your comments will start visiting your blog if it seems like you know what you are talking about. Don’t just read the first sentence and then write a comment. Also don’t read one sentence from the middle of the post and comment. Posts are like conversations and can meander. Where a post begins, isn’t necessarily where it ends. Read the whole post, and then comment.
- Don’t be afraid to write comments. Your comments don’t have to sound like pearls of wisdom from Buddha. Creating good comments is a skill that may take a while to build. Some may be funny or some serious. Let your personality show through, although keep in mind tip #5 and 6. If you are initially hesitant, keep your comments short – “I like your post and here is why” or even ask a question – “you mention blah, how would that work in this situation?”
- Include pertinent links in your comments to posts on your blog if you have them. The key word here is pertinent. Don’t just start randomly adding links to your posts, this practice is commonly referred to as spam, and quite a few bloggers will delete these comments, and then possibly block you from commenting. Some blogs don’t allow links in the comments, you will have to check this out on a blog by blog basis. If you don’t have an appropriate link, don’t add one. To create a link in a comment, use the following format:
[<a href=”http://Link_to_post” mce_href=”http://Link_to_post”> Text to be displayed that can be clicked</a>]
- Don’t leave the same comment on a whole bunch of blogs. Other readers are locating blogs and topics using the same tools you are. They will read your same comment on more than one post, and consider you some type of spammer or a dullard. Read each post you want to comment on, and write a thoughtful comment.
- Don’t be adversarial or a dick, unless appropriate. Allow people to have other viewpoints, and don’t attack them. It is ok to disagree, but at least acknowledge their comment. When I see people consistently being a jerk or trolling with their comments that sends up a red flag to me, and those aren’t the type of blogs I visit. Again the idea is about generating conversations, being hostile is not a great way to build communities, unless you are trying to build some type of online fight club. I follow the living room of posting rules – what do you find appropriate in a conversation in your living room?
- Don’t just visit blogs in your niche. There are quite a few facets to blogging such as community, marketing, and writing. Tap into these communities and comment on these blogs also.
- You may receive negative comments on your blog. I posted my living room rules for posting comments. I allow dissenting opinions, but will not allow personal attacks, abuse or hostile comments.
Don’tTry not to take these personally, there are many posts about how to handle abusive comments.
- Link to others generously . . . when appropriate. Link to others to give credit for an idea, or for additional information. Whenever I receive incoming links, I try to comment on that post as well as start reading the blog. From my experience I have found that other bloggers do the same.
- Follow up on your comments. This is a multiple step process:
- If you comment on a blog, follow that post. Your comment may generate a conversation that you may want to continue to be a part. If you find a comment on a blog that you think is interesting, comment on that commenter’s blog also
- Acknowledge comments on your blog. I always reply to comments on my blog, people like to know they are being heard. Sometimes people will correct your mistakes, which is part of the conversational process. Don’t take corrections personally, this just means people are actually reading your content, this is good.
- After people comment on your blog, check if they have a blog and comment back. I have meet some great friends this way, and this helps to build the community and generate additional conversations.
Extra Bonus Tips
- Have fun. Remember these conversations are what blogging are all about. It can be hard work, but enjoy the new virtual friends you will make.
- If I notice a topic I have written on starting to get hot, search on blogs and comment. Include a link to your post and mention how it adds value.
- Don’t just comment on the popular, high profile blogs. You don’t know who is going to be the next popular blogger. Building a relationship with them now helps build community.
Remember the idea is to build name recognition and network.
When you were a kid, you didn’t immediately get to sit at the adults table during holidays, you had to earn you way there. Comments are similar. You need to build your blogger ‘street cred’ unless your name is already known in your niche. As you become more recognized, you will find that people are seeking you out to comment on your blog.
Photo credit – Stephanie Hendrick who blogs at The Sum of My Parts