Back when I first started blogging, I was obsessed with blog comments, and the comment counts on each post. I remember being excited every time I received a notification of a new comment. It felt like progress. It felt like I was doing something that mattered.
And of course I got into that mind set. How could I not. Every big, successful blog about blogging was talking about the importance of blog comments. I knew I had to do everything I could to start attracting comments to my blog.
Comments eventually began rolling in every time I created a post. But was I really getting anywhere?
In short…no. No I wasn’t.
I’m not knocking blog comments. In fact, I think the commenting system is on of the core components of the whole blogging platform. It creates a an open forum for communication and discussion of ideas. But if you are blogging, and creating content for business, do comments help you cause?
I already discussed 4 blog commenting myths in a guest post on Think Traffic, so I don’t want to get into it too much right now. But I do want to discuss the things I used to do, that I don’t any more, in order to attract comments:
Back when I thought comments were the end-all, be-all of blogging success, I provided incentives to spur discussion on each blog post. I created as many incentives as I could.
Keyword Luv Plugin. This is a plugin that allows visitors to leave a backlink to their own blog and use keywords rather than just their name. This is essentially trading keyword-rich backlinks for a comment.
This also has the benefit of looking less SPAMMY. Instead of using keywords for a name, the commenter can use a real human name, and still get keyword rich backlinks.
Comment Luv Plugin. On top of the Keyword Luv which allowed individuals to get keyword-rich backlinks to their blog, I had Comment Luv installed. This plugin creates a backlink to individual blog posts by using the RSS feed of the blog URL.
So commenters were getting two backlinks per comment. Not bad right?
Do-Follow. On top of these two plugins that created a fairly large incentive to comment, I made these backlinks Do-Follow.
Given that my blog eventually reached a fairly high PR, two Do-Follow backlinks per comment was a pretty nice treat if I do say so myself.
But wait! There’s more….
Most Recent Comments. In the sidebar of the blog, I displayed a list of the most recent commenters on the blog.
Another Do-Follow backlink? You got it.
Top Commenters. And if that wasn’t enough, I also had a list displaying the top commenters of each month. The top 10 most-frequent comments on the blog each month received yet another Do-Follow backlink.
To be honest, I didn’t realize just how much incentive I was creating for blog comments until I just wrote all of that out. And here I thought people really liked what I had to say .
Getting Onto Lists
When you add so much incentive, something interesting happens. You make it to certain lists. And you start getting even more comments.
The problem is, these lists are for backlink-harvesting software and the comments are automatically-generated SPAM comments solely created for the purpose of getting a backlink.
It got so bad that I had to turn off the auto-approve for new comments on the blog.
But at least you’re getting more comments, right?
To be fair, these incentives weren’t the only reason that I received many more comments on the old blog.
I also used to do a lot more commenting myself. I would probably spend 10 hours a week reading through blog posts and leaving a comment.
10 hours per week!
When you’re a one-man show, that is a lot of time to be investing. And for what return?
A New Mindset
I still read blogs. Just not nearly as many as I used to.
And I don’t necessarily always leave a comment once I read a post either. If I’m reading actionable advice I now go and start formulating a plan of how I may be able to implement to get real business results.
More Traffic. You would think that getting more traffic to your blogs means you should be getting more comments on your posts. This is not the case at all.
Within 2 weeks of launching CSH, I was getting more daily visitors here than at the old blog (where I am still getting far more comments).
More Subscribers. Within the first month of launching CSH, I had more subscribers than I had in over a year at the old blog.
More Leads. More subscribers usually translates into more business leads. But business leads also came through direct contact through emails, as well as purchases of my new product. I would rather have a direct email than a blog comment any day.
More Time. I spend less time cleaning out SPAM comments. I also spend less time commenting. This gives more time to produce – to create things that matter (like my blog and content marketing strategy guide).
That Being Said…
I still think that blog comments are important. This is why I keep the commenting system open on this blog. I like to hear feedback. And not having the incentives for commenting makes me feel more at ease that people are leaving comments for discussion, not for backlinks.
And this means that the comment form may not get used. And I am OK with that – something I couldn’t say when I first started blogging.
The bottom line is that comments don’t necessarily translate into business results.
What do you think?