This article is from the series of The Ultimate Guide On How To Get Free Traffic To Your Website
You probably often hear that content is the most important part of your website. However, you can create the best content in the world, but if no one sees it, no one will link to it or share it. So, one of your first and main objectives should be finding visitors that would like to share your content. You can hope to get lots of traffic from SEO, but it might take months or even years until you climb up in search engines enough to get the needed amount of visitors. And still, you might not like what you’ll get. Luckily, there are many other strategies to drive traffic to your website without even spending a cent. And, one of those strategies is blog commenting.
Usually, blog commenting is one of the most overlooked strategies for generating traffic, because many people are unable to write quality, insightful comments which could develop into longer conversations. You cannot just jump in and drop some links to your website or write those short meaningless “great post” or “thank you” messages. Most of them will not even get approved and the remaining part will not contribute to the community by any means and you can quickly earn yourself a label as a spammer.
My main goal in this article is to walk you through the process of blog commenting and provide useful tips on how it should be done correctly. After reading this post, you should be comfortable enough to use this strategy in your own marketing campaign.
But Why Blog Commenting?
There are many reasons behind blog commenting, but these are the 3 fundamental benefits:
- Links – every time you write a comment there is a field to leave your website address. If you fill it, then your comment will have a link to your website. Usually, this is very important to SEO, even though, most of the blogs tag those links as no-follow.
- Building relationship – the more insightful comments you leave, the more noticeable you will be by blog owners and other commentators. Providing solutions, asking questions and engaging with other fellow reader could lead to further relationships and even business opportunities. If you do not believe me, you should read this article.
- Direct traffic – like I mentioned before, making your comments stand out from the crowd will get you noticed. If people start engaging with you then there is a great opportunity they will be interested to visit your website as well which will lead to traffic increase.
Before you dive into blog commenting, you should know what kind of audience you can expect there. We can divide comment readers into 3 groups:
- Passive readers – people who just scan over the comments, but do not engage or write their own comments
- Active readers – visitors that not only read comments, but leave their own insights. They like to respond to other comments, ask interesting questions and develop commenting into conversations.
- Website owners – people that are working on the website. It includes the author of the article, administrators, moderators and redactors.
Your main goal should be to concentrate on engaging with active readers. If you are expecting to receive any traffic from blog commenting then this group of people has the biggest potential.
Finding Blogs For Your Strategy
1. Preparation. Before starting the blog commenting strategy, you first need to do some preparation. It will preserve you a lot of time and everything will run much smoother. The first thing you should do, is decide how many hours or minutes a day you can spend commenting. Depending on that, you will be able to decide how many blogs you need to effectively use this strategy. Usually, it takes up to 10-20 minutes to read and comment one article (it might take even more time at the beginning) and also up to 5-10 minutes to reply to old comment. For example, I spend 1-2 hours a day leaving 1-5 new comments and some replies to older messages. My advice would be to start with 5-10 blogs and when you get more confident slowly grow the list.
Another important task is to decide where you are going to keep the list of blogs. You can create a sheet in Excel and put all links there. However, it might be inconvenient every time to walk through that list and open each link to check if there are any new articles. My advice would be to use one of RSS news feed readers like Feedly. That way you will be able to organize your blog list however you want (by topic, by importance..) and every time you open the platform you will see all new articles in one place without visiting them separately.
And, the last thing you should do is create another table sheet in Excel for tracking your comments. Even though, it is not required, but I advise you to do it at least for the first few months. When tracking your comments, you will be able to see which ones are attracting visitors to your website and analyze what kind of comments are the most effective. Additionally, you will have an opportunity to track blogs which are useless and do not provide any benefits to you. That way you will be able to remove these blogs from the list and replace with new ones.
2. Identifying the niche. Before jumping into building a list of blogs, you need to choose the niche you will be commenting on. My recommendation would be to focus on blogs that cover topics you are interested in and where you are considered an expert on. Also, you should not forget that the niche you are choosing should be the same or close to your blog. Otherwise, you will not get the effect you anticipate. Once you define your niche, you should make a list of keywords that describe it. For example, if you are into cooking, your keyword list should look something like this:
The bigger the list, the more blogs you will be able to find.
3. Finding blogs. Once you made all the preparation, you can start building your blog list. There are many ways to find blogs, but I will point to 3 of my favourite channels.
One of the most popular way is to search through Google. Almost everyone is using this search engine on a daily basis. So, you have your keyword list and what you need to do now is just put each keyword in the search engine and analyze results. In order to get more concrete results, I would advise to use more specific search phrases. Normally, I use 2 strategies:
1. The first one is to look for the list of best blogs. For example, if we return to the topic about cooking blogs, we can try to look for “best cooking blogs”, “top food blogs”, “list of food recipe blogs” and etc.
As you can see you get lots of articles with top blogs lists. You can go through all those lists and pick the ones that are useful to you.
2. Another way is to look directly for blogs that allow commenting. You should try using search queries like these:
[Your keyword] “Add a comment”
[Your keyword] “Leave a comment”
[Your keyword] “Add new comment”
For example, if you are looking for food blogs, you should enter a keyword like this: food blog “add new comment”. That way you will get a list of blogs that accept commenting. Notice that “add new comment” has quotation marks. It is important to use them so that Google would provide you results with exact phrase.
Public content aggregators are another great place to search for blogs. Websites like Alltop.com are a place where news from hundreds of blogs are shown in one place. All you need to do is just choose the category you are interested in and you will receive a large list of blogs about that topic.
Most bloggers are using Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+ and other social networks. Use keywords form the list you made earlier and search for bloggers on every social media channel you are using. If you did not find those blogs on Google, you will definitely find them there. Also, look for top influencers of your niche and follow them. Usually, they share posts from other popular blogs related to them.
4. Choosing best blogs. If you have done all 3 steps I mentioned above, you should probably have a long list of blogs. However, this list should be cleaned and left only with blogs that are best suited to your strategy. If you went through all my steps, then you probably have the list of blogs that definitely allows commenting. If not, remove them from the list.
Next thing you should do is to leave only those blogs that have a large community. You should go through every blog and check how active readers are on every blog. If there are only few comments after each article, then it will probably be a waste of time with these blogs and you should remove them from the list. Also, check their social media channels to see if they have a large audience there and whether followers are active or not.
Also, you should give a priority to blogs that allow direct commenting with possibility to leave links to your website. That way every time you leave a comment, your name will be linked with your personal website.
However, you shouldn’t also forget about blogs that are using third-party tools like Disqus. You should create an attractive profile there and use this tool to comment on couple of blogs from time to time. If you manage to build strong connections on any blog community, many people will be investigating your profile and visiting your website through this third-party platform.
How To Comment?
- Set up a Gravatar. If you haven’t done it already, then sign up to Gravatar. Use your regular email and upload your best personal photo. Don’t use any fancy images or logos. Just pick the best looking picture with your face and put it on Gravatar. It is better to use the same picture you are using in other social networks. That way you will be easily recognized through all channels. And, don’t forget to smile because the more approachable you avatar, the more recognized you will be.
- Know the rules. Every blog has different rules. Some are very strictly controlled and some are not. But you should always play by the owners’ rules. If you cannot find the rules, you can always contact the owner and ask.
- Read the article first. This should be your rule number one! Always read the article before leaving a comment. If you are busy at that moment and don’t have time to read the article, don’t comment at all. It’s very important that your comments are related to the topic. Your message should be an addition to the article.
- Use your real name. Always use your real name when commenting on blogs because readers always want to know the person they are communicating with. If you are using false name, it means you are hiding something. And, you don’t want to provoke any doubts.
- Don’t forget to say, “Hello”. When you meet new people in the real life, what is the first thing you always do? Probably you start off with something like “Hello”, “Good evening” or just simple “Hey”. An ordinary habit that is used in almost every society. So, why should it be different in blogging community? Just simple “Hello” at the beginning will make your comment much much warmer. And, that’s exactly what you want when building relationships with fellow readers.
- Use names. When you write a comment always use the name of a person you are referring to. If you want to add something to the article, then always refer to the author. If you are trying to reply to other comments also use the name of a person you are replying to. That way, there won’t be any misunderstandings to whom you are referring and the person will always feel respected.
- Always sign with your name. When writing a letter to someone, you always sign your name at the end. So, treat comments as a short e-mail letters and sign them with your name after every message you leave. This will allow everyone to know who they are talking to and have a more personal feel. And, always sign with your real name.
- Try to be first. Usually on most blogs, comments are shown from the earliest to the latest. So, the first comment is always at the top and gets the most exposure. Try to be as quick as possible and one of the first reader to leave a comment.
- Be consistent. You need to consistently return to every blog you are commenting and leave new insightful messages. When you repeatedly appear on the same blog, people begin to recognize you. The more recognition you earn the higher possibility that readers will click on your profile link.
- Read previous comments. Don’t show that you came only to leave a message with a link to your website. Your goal should be building a good relationship with other readers. So, read every comment that was published before you. Maybe someone already said exactly the same thought you had. Or maybe someone has asked a question and you have an interesting answer. Do not hesitate and reply to these comments. Convince you are an expert in this topic and many visitors will be motivated to visit your website.
- Add value. Every comment you leave should add some value to the article. Try to find any details mentioned in the article that can be related to something from your own experience. Write an argument to support author’s statement or respectfully introduce an opposing opinion.
- Be original. As I already mentioned before, always read previous comments. If you noticed that someone already wrote the same thoughts you had, then do not repeat. Your main objective should be to point something new that no one has written yet.
- Ask questions. Don’t try to be an expert on every topic you read. Instead, ask some questions. This is a great way to engage with the blog owner. However, do not leave obvious questions that everybody knows the answer just to get an attention from the author. Ask something interesting that could be valuable not only to you but to other readers as well.
- Try to be controversial sometimes. If you have an opinion that is totally different from the author then show it. These kinds of comments often get more attention and provoke discussions. However, you should be very careful at the same time. Choose your words wisely in order not to insult or humiliate the author. It would be bad for your image.
- Be funny. If you see an opportunity, do not be afraid to use some humor. People like reading funny posts. Just be careful and try not make your comments rude.
- Don’t be too long. Remember, you are not writing an article. You are just leaving a comment under the post. So, don’t make your messages very long. 3-6 sentences should be enough with some exceptions when needed. Also, you should analyze every blog individually and decide what is the appropriate length of your message.
- Be careful with links in a comment. Usually, it is advisable not leave links in comments. However, there might be some opportunities when the topic is very closely related to something on you website. That way you can provide a link to your content as an example of something or an addition to the opinion you are leaving. But still, don’t be surprised if your comment will not get approved.
- Accept opposite opinion. Don’t be afraid of negative comments. If someone is opposing you, it means you have an opportunity for discussion. Just defend your opinion with clear arguments and don’t be rude.
- Check your comments consistently. Your communication should not end with one message. When you leave a comment always save the link to check back later. Return to each blog post regularly. There is a chance that someone responded to your comment or left a question for you. That way you might find an opportunity to create a discussion with the blogger and his audience.
- Find your own strategy. You should test different kinds of comments and track them to find which tactics work best for you. Because, what works for one person might totally not work for you. Everyone has a unique style of writing, so you need to adapt it to get the best results.
How not to comment?
- Don’t pretend you know everything
- Don’t insult or humiliate other readers
- Don’t be stubborn with your opinion if someone disagrees with you
- Don’t use any automated commenting software
- Don’t stick to one and only commenting strategy
- Don’t leave those short meaningless comments like: “Great post”, “Thank you for sharing”, “You are amazing” and etc.
- Don’t spam with your links in every comment
- Don’t make any grammar mistakes
- Don’t be a troll
- Don’t be too self promotional
All the steps and recommendations pointed in this article should help improve your blog commenting strategy. It might take some time until you master this strategy, but it is worth your time. Like I already mentioned before, don’t stick to one tactics. Test different kinds of comments, track results and choose the best one.
If you have any questions or opinions, please, feel free to contact me.