Beau wrote me an email asking the following: “Some time ago, you wrote a post called “40 Dead Simple Ways to Get More Comments on Your Blog.” This is a great post, and #27 in particular intrigues me: “Leave comments on other blogs.” You state: “The best way to grow your blog is to leave it.”
Could you share with me briefly just how this works? How is it that commenting on other blogs brings traffic back to one’s own blog? I suppose I could always leave my blog URL in a comment on someone else’s blog, but at a certain point this seems like spamming to me. My sense is that “URL-dropping” is not exactly what you had in mind here.”
Beau thanks for the question, and here is Beau’s blog.
Let me give you an example of this idea from 2005 when I started blogging. I was completely new to blogging, and I was writing on a group advertising blog Beyond Madison Avenue. Personally, I was hoping the blog could be a tool I could use to help me land a job. So I had a very vested interest in seeing it succeed.
Now I had no idea what blogging was about, but I knew I need a lot of visitors and a lot of comments. And BMA had neither. So I started reading all the supposed ‘best’ blogs, with the thinking being that I could learn from these other bloggers what the ‘secret’ to blogging success was, and then copy it for BMA. So for the next few weeks, I started reading and studying the top blogs religiously. At the same time, I was writing every day for BMA, sometimes as many as 4 posts a day. Nothing was happening. No traffic, no comments, virtual tumbleweeds were rolling by and taunting me.
And I really wasn’t learning anything from the blogs I was reading, either. But as I was reading I was discovering new blogs that were interesting, and once in a while I’d even leave a comment on a post if I thought it was interesting. Over the next couple of weeks, I discovered more blogs, and left more comments on blog posts.
Then suddenly one day, BMA started getting comments. At first it was only a couple, then every new post we wrote would start getting comments within an hour or two. In a week we’d gone from a blog with zero comments from readers, to one where every new post was getting 5-10 comments!
Which was amazing, but I still had no idea what had prompted the change. Then one day a reader left a comment and said that they were thanking me for the comment I had left on their blog, and wanted to come leave a comment on my blog. That’s when it hit me: All these comments were coming from bloggers who wrote blogs that I had already commented on! They had followed the link back in my comment to come check out my blog!
Beau thats when I learned one of the most fundamental truths of building engagement via social media: The more you participate, the more participation you get. The more comments I left on other blogs, the more comments I got back on my blog. And it doesn’t work just for blogs, the more active I am on Twitter, the more tweets I get as well as followers. And I don’t mean simply ‘name-dropping’ but actually participating in conversations and trying to build the discussion.
When you participate via social media, it raises your awareness. It’s a way of getting your name out there, and getting people to notice you.
Now for increasing comments on your blog by leaving it, here would be my tips:
1 – Watch your referral traffic. If you don’t have a way to track your blog’s stats, there are many free options available. I use both SiteMeter and Google Analytics here. But tracking your referral traffic will show you who is linking to your blog. If you see from your referral traffic that another blogger has linked to your blog, go back to their blog and thank them. Or even write them an email thanking them. That simply encourages them to link to your blog again, plus comment on your blog.
2 – Leave comments on the blogs of readers that comment on your blog. Same as above, this simply encourages them to leave more comments on your blog, because you are doing the same for them. It’s all about rewarding the type of behavior that you want to encourage. This is one that I honestly don’t do as much as I should.
3 – Leave comments on blogs that are influential to your readers. Think about where your readers are going now to get their information and connect with each other, and go there. By connecting with them there, leaving comments on posts, etc, you will get on their radars. By participating in their space, that will encourage them to come check you out on your blog.
So those are some ideas on growing interaction on your blog, by leaving it. Again, the key to building interaction via social media is to participate. Great content will only help you if people know it exists, and that’s where interacting with others in THEIR space helps you build your own awareness.