Why Comments on Blogs Are Important

A blog lives and dies by the traffic it attracts.

You can use various techniques to get traffic, but the best way is to get it through search engines. This traffic is free, and they are already interested in what you have to say. Search engine traffic is largely driven by your content.

And your content includes the comments other people leave on your blog. Comments can cause your blog to get traffic you never expected, and attract readers from new audiences. As an example, Online Opportunity recently had a visitor who was searching Google looking for ways a 14 year-old could make money online. They ended up at my post about how to make money blogging.

That visitor wasn’t due to the content I put into the post, but due to a comment left by Carl Ocab. In the comment Carl shared that he was 14 and made money blogging.

These trickles of traffic add up over time to a steady stream. Comments give you content that is different from what you normally write, and help you to attract visitors you might not otherwise have attracted.

Also note that comments on old blog posts make it seem to search engines that the page’s content has been updated. Search engines like pages that update their content regularly.

In the early days of a blog, it can be tough to get people to comment. Later, when a blog has a thousand visitors a day, every post will get some comments. New blogs need to be a bit more creative, though.

One creative approach is being taken by Mr. P over at Cash for Comments. You can find the full details here, but the short of it is that in exchange for 5 comments on his blog and a review, he’ll return the favor and give you a review and five comments on your blog. The scheme seems to be working out well for him.

Other approaches to increasing comments include closing posts with questions, or holding contests for comments. An example of a contest for comments is over at Pure Blogging’s $200 contest. Basically, $100 is awarded to whoever submits the 1,000th comment on the blog. So go comment on Pure Blogging, and maybe you can make an easy $100!

Pure Blogging is also giving $100 to a random blogger who helps spread the word about this contest. This post doesn’t count, since it isn’t in a post of its own. So if you want to enter that portion of the contest for a chance at $100, click the link above and check out the contest rules.

However you do it, increasing the number of comments on your blog is a great way to increase the amount of traffic you’re getting. What are your favorite ways of getting visitors to comment?

22 Replies to “Why Comments on Blogs Are Important”

  1. I like the idea of having someone to return the favor of commenting on my blog when I do the same for them. This is a wonderful way of getting traffic. I also read and did an article on sneaking past people to get more traffic to your blog by commenting on your own blog. I read about this on one of the blogs that i read and I tried it on an old blog of mine and found that it works wonders.

  2. I’ve seen some people comment on their own blogs under different names to capitalize on the social effect (“Hey, someone else is commenting, this must be a great blog”). You can use the same effect by printing feed statistics (if you have enough subscribers), Technorati rank (if it’s high enough), etc.

  3. That is definitely a really great post! I have to say one thing, you really put thought into your writing and you really deserve more attention. I also wanted to add that, comments are also helpful to a blogger in keeping up morale and gives a blogger a sense of motivation.

  4. Keeping up morale is a big reason comments are important, thanks for the reminder! It is far easier to keep writing if you feel like people are reading and appreciating the posts.

  5. Thank you for this. I never realized the search engines included the comments as the content of the post.

    I don’t remember ever getting search results due to a searchtext string in the comment, but maybe I just never realized/noticed it.

    I guess it’s good that people can’t spell. That means that the search engines will find misspellings from comments when people misspel in the search text. I’ll be grateful, rather than judgemental, from now on when people use ‘creative’ spelling in their comments.

    How high should the technorati or feedsubscriber rating be, before it is worth showing? If my technorati ‘authority’ is less than 100, and I only have a few dozen subscribers, is it better to keep them hidden? When I started my blog two months ago, I had all sorts of metrics visible, mostly for my own benefit. Within a couple of weeks I removed them, both because they were embarassingly small, and because they didn’t offer anything to the reader.

  6. P.S. I used to be embarassed when I hit ‘submit’ too soon and allowed a typo/spelling error to slip by into an uneditable comment. Now I guess I’ll think of those as a gift to the blog author, allowing the search spiders to find the post more easily.

    {grin}

  7. That’s a good way of looking at it! Most bloggers don’t want to target misspelled words themselves, so it’s up to commentors to do it for them. 😉

    [quote post=”240″]How high should the technorati or feedsubscriber rating be, before it is worth showing? If my technorati ‘authority’ is less than 100, and I only have a few dozen subscribers, is it better to keep them hidden? [/quote]

    Generally the figure suggested is 50 subscribers. And probably your technorati rank will be good to show at about that same time. The main idea is to not give new visitors the idea that the blog isn’t popular. Some “as featured on” badges work well for this, like my Ezine Articles one.

  8. Thank you! I’m not at 50 yet, but the recent merging between Google and Feedburner bumped my numbers closer!

    My commenting problem is on my own site: I’m having trouble keeping up with the discussions. It’s not that I have so much traffic or so many visitors, but I’d like to respond to every comment, or at least every visitor.

    I have seen this done beautifully (like Liz at SOB) and not so well (elsewhere, not naming names!). Liz makes each visitor feel special; each comment gets its own reply, like a love note.

    I’m having trouble both with keeping up (comments get spread around, as people post them to the older stuff) and in not feeling fake or spammy when replying.

    I write blog posts when I have something to say. I write comments on other peoples blogs whenever I’m motivated (either have something to say, or {ahem} by a great contest).

    Responding to comments well is much less under my own control. It means I have to respond on someone else’s schedule, when I may not have anything new to contribute.

    It doesn’t feel natural to me to say “Thank you for your comment” all the time.

  9. Don’t be afraid to let comments sit for a while before you reply. You may find a suitable reply comes to you after a while, and leaving a bit of dead space in between is a good way to get discussion between visitors. At least that’s my theory, and it helps keep me from responding when I truly don’t have anything to say.

  10. You are great at responding in a timely and natural fashion.

    I’ll have to let go of the guilt of not responding quickly or effusively enough. Unanswered comments make me feel like I haven’t done my homework. Someone (forget which meta-blogger) called it blogging debt.

    My other problem is keeping track of the comments as they spread out to different branches of the discussion. This includes link-backs, that carry the discussion to and from the other blogs.

    How do you do this? Do you check through your blog posts on a regular basis, making sure there are no orphaned visitor comments? Do you only use the e-mail notification? Is there some software or system for keeping track of the discussions as they grow?

  11. [quote comment=”431″]I also wanted to add that, comments are also helpful to a blogger in keeping up morale and gives a blogger a sense of motivation.[/quote]

    Definitely. Blogging is like walking downtown talking to myself. Every once in a while, someone in the crowd responds, making me feel less crazy-looking.

    It can be very lonely writing for silent, anonymous visitors. Every comment makes it that much less so.

  12. [quote post=”240″]My other problem is keeping track of the comments as they spread out to different branches of the discussion. This includes link-backs, that carry the discussion to and from the other blogs.[/quote]

    I use the email notifications from WordPress. There are some web based tools that will track comments, but they’re more for comments you want to track on other blogs, not your own. The email notifications give me a nice way of keeping track of comments, whether on old or new posts.

    Now and then I also make sure to check Akismet’s spam folder for legitimate comments that get stuck in there. It doesn’t happen very often, but it does happen.

  13. [quote post=”240″]Yeah, my one month experiment of my Free ReviewMe boasted over 400 comments.[/quote]

    That would be too much to keep up with personally. I’ll look forward to having that problem!

  14. CASH for COMMENTS,

    Did you find that the 400 comments resulted in regular readers? Did the contest-motivated commenters stick around? Did they turn off the regular commenters that you had before running the contest? 400 is a huge number. Was it worth it to have them all to respond to, or did this take away from content writing?

  15. I’ve had a big increase in comments over the last month. I don’t know why really but I think visiting forums and other social sites had a lot to do with it. I try to make sure I respond to every single one of them. I had a contest going and it did ok. I had 22 entries. I didn’t think that was too bad at all since I’m still very much a newbie. I’m trying to think of one to do right now…..something to get my rss subscribers up. Anyhoo, you always reply back and I think that’s a great thing. Definately makes me feel important as a reader.

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