Judged by the Quality of Your Comments

comments on blogs and the quality of conversations

Leaving comments and feedback on blogs is a great way to build exposure to a new audience and ultimately build traffic to your own site. Because this piece of wisdom has been passed around so much that blogs are filled with useless comments and feedback. Abusers seem to fall into two categories. The first being outright abusers, the comment spammers. These guys aren’t even human – at least that’s what I’m assuming. They’re automation programs which search for blogs and just spam the comment fields with useless Viagra and porn links. These folks are relatively easy to contend with – a comment spam filter like Akismet and you’ve solved 95% of your problem.

The second category of commenters can be further classified into those who are ignorant about what they’re doing or those who know what they’re doing but do it anyways. Based on the type of comments I receive from these folks, I assume they desire to become active participants in the blogosphere, and are absorbing information on how to become a better blogger and build traffic. Naturally, with some degree of research they stumbleupon the wise saying “leave comments and they shall come”. So, taking this to heart they set aside some time to search for relevant blogs and leave comments. And when they do so, they often times put quantity ahead of quality and end up not having the impact they are desiring to have.

The best video I’ve seen demonstrating the value of leaving comments was done by ProBlogger. But if you watch the video carefully you will see that he makes a distinction between comments which attract traffic and ones which do not. He points out that relevant comments which add to the original post or to the evolving discussion are the ones that are most likely to get the most click throughs. So, just leaving a comment saying “thanks, great post, will share this link with my friends” will not get you very far. However, if you leave a three paragraph analysis of what you just read and why you disagreed or agreed with the original post – that is most likely to get you the results you’re seeking.

Which brings up the question of what constitutes good comments. Here are the four characteristics of good comments that will likely help you achieve your goals:

  1. High quality content: Does your comment add anything valuable to the post and conversation? This builds credibility and subsequent readers will ultimately click on your link to learn more about you.
  2. Brief and to the point: As a blogger it sometimes puts me in a hard spot when I receive a comment that is much longer than the original blog post.
  3. No blatant outbound links: I know many bloggers don’t like outbound links in comments. But I allow it if the link is relevant to the discussion and provides value to the reader. I will often delete comments which include promotional links.
  4. High quality grammar/spelling: This should go without saying, but I can’t tell you how many times I have to correct spelling and grammar in some of the comments I receive. I know not all comment boxes have spell checks so type it in Word first or use Firefox (which includes spell check for boxes).

Leaving comments is an essential part of the social media conversation. Doing so will help you promote your blog and your brand. Like any good conversation, people will see through it if you’re only doing it for your own private selfish goals. So, just set aside the benefits you’ll receive and concentrate on adding to the conversation and you’ll be surprised.

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