My blog represents little more than a way for me to expand my horizons and touch on only a small part of the world that is available to all of us online. Most of my freelance writing involves solidifying and manifesting specific subject matter for others which really isn’t personally satisfying. My blog however allows me to run with my own thoughts from time to time and perhaps share some of what I learn as I continue to progress and develop my own creative focus. If I get a job inquiry then great, but really I just want the enjoyment. This doesn’t mean however that I don’t care if no one ever notices my blog.
One of the most challenging aspects of blogging is creating content that inspires action. While some of us may be concerned with prodding visitors into visiting sponsors and affiliates or buying something, and others could care less, just about every blogger wants comments. No matter who you are, if no one ever comments, it isn’t too long before you find yourself wondering if the effort is worth it.
If you look at the majority of opinions on the subject of blog comments and how to generate them, you’ll notice that there are a pretty standard set of suggestions floating around. Most will tell you to try working with controversial subjects or to make sure you respond when people leave a comment and little more. That’s generally ok and common sense advice, but the truth is that it is pretty generic and rarely very effective.
What you are trying to do is sell something. That something is your content. The currency is notice. And like any other sales, the best way to make a sale is to put your merchandise in front of people who are interested in buying it.
One of the most effective and proven methods for sending traffic to your blog is to comment on other blogs, which is also one of the usual recommendations given by the knowledgeable. However, just commenting and having a poster profile with a link to your blog is not enough. In order to really generate traffic and encourage comments you have to spend some time first putting together a cohesive plan of attack.
Be On Top of Your Content
First and foremost, have your content nailed down. Make sure it is well written and easily digested. Avoid fluff and make sure that you know something about your subject and have a defensible position you can build on. That will come in handy later if you are working with controversial subjects. Don’t just post something because you think it’ll incite someone to action, post about something that incites YOU to action and give it some detail.
Choose Your Targets
Next, pick and choose carefully where you comment. You’re looking to generate comments on your blog here and the best places to find them are other blogs that get a lot of comments themselves. You’re not just looking for volume though.
Comments Come From Everywhere
Don’t confine your comments to blogs. Most newspapers and magazines allow comments on their articles and stories. Several consistently generate hundreds upon hundreds of comments and are fertile ground for comment hunters. More than one blogger has found themselves with some unexpected success after a few comments to an online magazine or news outlet. While you may be thinking this is obvious, you’d be surprised how many bloggers never think to frequent newspaper forums and magazines and fill out a profile.
Keep Them Interested
Don’t be afraid to ask more of your visitors. Chances are, if they are interested enough to comment, they are willing to expand on what they’ve added. When replying to comments on your blog ask questions, look for ways to elicit more information, prod them into support of their own positions. When you simply say thanks and leave your reply at that, you are in essence saying your subject has nothing else to offer.
Never EVER Spam
One of the best ways to keep traffic and comments from flowing in is to spam other blogs. Never post short little “Love your site” comments. Put the same care and consideration into your comments as you would on your own blog posts. Add to the discussion and give other visitors something to chew on that’ll make them want to know more about you. Don’t bother with commenting to 20 different blogs. Commenting on 3 quality blogs with quality comments will negate the need to engage in quantity commenting and generate far more traffic than comments to 20 obscure blogs. Plus, it will keep you from appearing desperate even if you are.
Those are some of my own humble suggestions that I’ve learned the hard way. Of course there is no guarantee of instant success, but I can tell you with complete confidence that these tactics work and work very well. Spend a week trying them. Take note of your site statistics and after a week of commenting to other blogs and outlets in this manner compare your more recent stats with the old ones. Pay special attention to your bounce rate and traffic sources and you’ll see some pretty significant improvements. Even if you’re comment rate doesn’t go through the roof, the improvements in traffic and comment quality alone are worth the relatively small effort it takes to implement a cohesive comment strategy. Like anything else, if you want to experience any success then you have to plan for it and put those plans into action. If you don’t, then you are leaving your chances up to blind luck, and luck has never been a very reliable path to success.
Image credit: caught!
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