Thursday, August 17, 2006

Commenting - A Great Way to Get Traffic to Your Site

Free, Friendly, Polite and Easy

There are many, many ways to entice people to come along to check out your blog. Some will even cost you money. Of all the ways possible, the best way to get people to check out your blog is by visiting and leaving sincere comments on other their blogs. After all, isn’t that what you want people to do at yours?

As proof of this, for every comment that has been left on my blogs, I have clicked on the commenter’s name and gone along to check out their blogs - without fail. I believe that if someone has taken the time to read my blog and leave a comment, the least I can do is to return the favour.

Comment Spamming

By leaving comments, I don’t mean leaving a comment on every blog you visit just to promote your blog. This is called spamming. If someone writes a comment on one of my posts that has no reference or relevance to the post, my blog or me, I will delete it. So will most other bloggers, I imagine.

If the blog you are visiting does not interest you and you can not think of anything polite or constructive to add, then don’t. There are literally millions of other blogs out the in the Bloggersphere, just hit the 'next blog' button.

Commenting Etiquette

What I mean by constructive commenting is to read their blog, and then relate to it in the comment you write. If you can work it in, use the 'href' tool to link directly back to your blog. If not, that is fine too, because if the blogger or readers want to check out who is behind the comment, they will click on your name (if you have logged in) to comment.

In the comments section of 10 Reasons Why I Don’t Like Your Blog, BlogBloke discusses the issue of commenting, and raises some interesting points. In particular, he notes that you want to make it as easy as possible for people to comment on your blog. This means allowing anyone to comment, and by not using comment moderation. After all, if you don’t like a comment someone has left, you have the option to delete it. Using word verification is better because it only takes a moment, and can filter out computer generated spamming programs.

I don’t agree however, with BlogBloke’s thoughts in his 10 Reasons... comments section about anonymous commenting. I think if you have taken the time to visit someone’s blog, it should not be too much more effort to log in and claim ownership for your comment. Do you want to remain anonymous because you are not proud of the comment you are leaving? If so, perhaps you should just hit the ‘next blog’ button instead. To give an analogy, someone leaves a note in your letterbox saying they do not agree with the way you drive your car. They don’t sign it though, because they wish to remain anonymous. What are you going to do with this note? Most probably ignore it and throw it away. Or in the case of blog comments, probably just ignore it.

Be brave enough to log in when you leave a comment. By leaving a comment and claiming ownership to that comment, you are also leaving a link back to your blog, which is of course promoting traffic back to your blog. This becomes a sort of temptation to treat for the owner and readers of the post.

Another important etiquette lesson I did learn by reading 10 Reasons... is that it is polite to reply to comments left on your blog. Until I read this, I have to admit that I was guilty of not doing it. If we say something, we all like the person we are talking to, to at least acknowledge our existence. There is nothing worse than taking the time to compose an intelligent comment and then being ignored.

By commenting, you are also acknowledging the blogger’s writing. Commenting is like clapping at a concert when the band finishes playing their song. There would be nothing worse than the crowd standing there staring silently at them showing no emotion.

I welcome your comments…


Blogger Lizza said...

Great post, Rhys.

I love reading blog comments (sometimes as much as I like writing blog entries). I've been lucky when it comes to people who leave comments on my blog; they're all nice. :-)

Acknowledging comments is a good thing to do, too; but not everybody has the time to do it (especially if they already have hundreds of readers who always leave comments). But it does feel good when you find that the blog owner responds to something you wrote about their post(s).

8/17/2006 9:34 PM  
Blogger Robelen said...

Hey, thanks for the tip. Really helpful. I've only been blogging in the last couple of months. I know my friends read it because they leave comments but it's great when people you don't know read your blog too.

8/17/2006 10:10 PM  
Blogger Reeholio said...

Lizza, you are the perfect example of what my post is about. So many blogs I visit, you have also been there just before me and 'left your mark' in the comments section. I too enjoy reading the comments. They can be so spontaneous sometimes. Thanks for your thoughts again.

Lifeinhighheels. See I told you it works. I like your blog!

8/17/2006 10:46 PM  
Blogger Penrick said...

I must admit, I am bad at responding to comments. I don't know if folks come back to read them or if they just read my next blog. I like that I get all the comments in my e-mail and it often makes me want to respond, so I go to their blog and work it in after I comment on their blog.

Great suggestions...are you still in that relationship? Kidding.

8/18/2006 2:13 AM  
Blogger Justin said...

Three cheers for codifying the tenets of blogging.

I also agree that Lizza represents the pinnacle of blogging respect. Lizza, you are everywhere!

I feel that sometimes there are moments justified by anonymous blogging besides at the request of the post author. The original point of anonymous blogging is to be able to contribute without attributing personal preference to a voice. It removes the context of a person with particular biases to present a dialogue without context to the contribution of greater discussion. If anonymous commenting is tasteful and expounds on discussion in a way that assigning the context of an author cannot (e.g. to make a statement not appear retaliatory), it can be appropriate.

That, however, is the only exception that comes to mind.

8/18/2006 2:16 PM  
Blogger Reeholio said...

Hi Justin, thanks for your comment. I guess in that case, anonymous commenting would be fair enough, but as you say 'it is an exception'. Regards, Rhys

8/18/2006 3:26 PM  
Blogger Blog Bloke said...

Rhys, you are probably my best student. You have taken everything that I've said to heart and acted on it, and living proof that it works. Well done!

But I need to address what I think is a misunderstanding on your part with respect to anonymous comments. I don't recall actually saying I that I agree or disagree with anonymous commentors. That is up to each individual blogger.

Admittedly, there have been times when I've been flamed by trolls (last night for example when my post was Dugg and some anonymous troll had to drop by and make a stupid comment ) and I've reconsidered not allowing anonymous commentors.

But it always comes down to my core belief that everyone has the right to blog anonymously, so I've left it wide open. Who knows, if the trolls increase I might reconsider that some day. But for now I'm content to allow it.

Again, that is something that each blogger can make their own decision. But as for the rest of the post I say - RIGHT ON!

8/18/2006 6:28 PM  
Blogger terra shield said...

A very insightful entry... (sighs in relief as I've been doing the right thing most of the time)

Truth be told, I really like to know what the author of the blog has to say in response, and reading comments is as much fun as reading the blog itself :)

8/18/2006 10:32 PM  
Blogger Dina Vangrieken said...

I am a new blogger and checking out how it really works. started of with a story about travelling with kids, then something about cooking and now the real one about choices in life. I must say it's not easy for me to write in english, so reading other blogs make me realise people will not like my poor english. So any comment on my writing would be more then welcome dina and

8/19/2006 12:03 AM  
Blogger Tara said...

I too like to respond to comments on my blog. If I don't know that person then I make sure I go visit their site, even if it's just to say thanks for their comment.

I surfed in here via BlogExplosion.

8/19/2006 10:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi again, Rhys. I visited your blog after reading your profile. I was struck with how you seem to be two people--the detail oriented guy who enjoys sedentary intellectual stuff and extreme adventure guy whose next stop is the x-games. I also like the gentleness of your blogging persona, kind of like a warm bath with Epsom salts. I have found it easier to comment on comments left on my blog if I have blogger send me an email message that someone left a comment. And I'll take you at your word and start leaving more comments at the blogs I visit.



8/20/2006 12:39 AM  
Blogger Reeholio said...

Sorry for my slow reply, but I have been away for the weekend.

BlogBloke, thanks again for commenting – or replying – to my post. Since I wrote this post on Thursday, I’ve umm’d and arr’d about the anonymous commenting, as well read the feedback from Justin and yourself. I now have to admit that I agree with both your arguments. My initial view was formed by some bad use of anonymous commenting that I have seen. These ‘trolls’, as you call them, abuse the use of anonymous commenting because they are not brave enough to own up to their actions. Disappointing that there are people in our world like that.

Anusha, Dina, Dawn, thanks for your comments. I agree, it can be just as fun to read the comments section to a post. I’ll be over soon to check out your blogs.

Gale, thanks for your assessment of my personality, bipolar as it appears to be. Instead, I like to refer to it as balanced. I’ve just come back from reading your two blogs and I particularly enjoyed your latest post at l'esprit de l'escalier about blog-a-nomics. where you write about your left brain vs right brain traits. During a recent course I did with work, I filled out a ‘learning styles’ questionnaire, where I was surprised to learn (pun) that I am neither left nor right brain dominant, and that I don’t have a favourite learning medium. I am lucky enough to learn equally well by visual, audio and cognitive mediums. I guess this may explain why I enjoy such vastly diverse pursuits such as windsurfing to reading to skydiving to photography. I have also picked up a great quote from one of your earlier posts that has inspired me to write about another subject. I am going to save that one for a future post of my own. Sorry, but I’m not going to give the plot away, you will have to come back and read it later ;-)


8/20/2006 10:00 PM  
Blogger LeperColony said...

I agree with everything you say except for the part on anontmous commenting. Now, I'm certainly not endorsing the practice, but I've seen several blogs descend into cross-comment flame fests.

If you are posting a contrary position on a blog that seems interesitng but somewhat less than stable, anonymous posting is a way of contributing risk free.

8/20/2006 10:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, Rhys!

A great quote, huh? Now you have piqued my interest. Don't worry. I'll be back.

Have a great day.

By the way, if you give me the option of going caving or doing the New York Times Crossword Puzzle, I say, bring on the pencils.



8/21/2006 9:57 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

The first comment I ever received was from some jerk who posted as anonymous and blasted me for talking about how I liked Nutrisystem. He asked if I was getting paid by NS to talk them up. I was so devistated! It took a lot of guts for me to even start blogging about my weight loss, and then this jerk comes along and tries to rain on my parade! I then turned on comment moderation, in fear that everyone else would be so negative.

Then I realized this was silly, for the same reasons you stated above. I could just delete his comment if I wanted to. So I did. I just didn't want that negative vibe on my site. I made sure to address the issue though, in my next post, to clear people's minds; that in fact, no, I wasn't working for Nutrisystem, I just was on the program and LIKED it, in case anyone else was wondering.

Funny though, that was the 1st and only negative comment I've ever received. Everyone else has been very positive and supportive. In hindsight, I wish I had kept the comment and just commenting back with a witty response, but I was too embarassed to do that at the time. If that happened today, I think I would leave a negative comment up there just to see what happens. I bet a lot of my loyal readers would come to my defense for me. :-) Because they rule!!

8/22/2006 4:44 AM  
Blogger Morgen said...

Very astute post.
I wish you could send this to every new blogger.
Several previous commenters (Lizza & Julie & Justin) have great points that I won't repeat, but I believe that the comments section is a great way for communication in the blogosphere. I've been offended a few times by comments and once my feelings got bruised, but it is empowering to know that I can DELETE any from my site that don't "belong".
Excellent points, both by you and your wonderful readers/commenters.
Just think, if everyone had Blog Ettiquette, then perhaps we wouldn't need the silly "word verification" to post a comment!!!

8/22/2006 5:27 AM  
Blogger lastlifeinmyuniverse said...

well written indeed. i get annoyed as well when people leave unrelated comments. it just makes me feel like, "well what the hell did i write that much for?" lol

excellent post once again !

8/22/2006 8:43 AM  
Blogger Reeholio said...

Julie, I think you did the right thing to delete it. Yes there is freedom of speech blah blah, but for a blog like yours where I could imagine you may have been a bit apprehensive about the whole idea. The last thing you need when starting out is negative comments like that. Good to see you got past it and have continued to 'flip this body'!

Ah, the ideal world Morgen. One that would also have the word "spam" missing from the dictionaries. And possibly hate, anger, revenge and murder to name a few more. Alas no, but the delete button button works a treat sometimes. Thanks for your feedback.

Thanks Debs. Unrelated comments make me think "What planet is this person from"?

8/22/2006 1:00 PM  
Blogger alessia said...

I pretty much (98%) agree with you.... except that the "Anonymous" option does have it's benefits. One of these is that everybody does not have a Blogger account. I have friends who use different blog hosting/blog software.

Also, sometimes I can have a pretty personal question or comment with my own life experiece, (this could happen frequently on blogs like to love, honor and dismay) and don't necessarily want people who know me either in real life or even as a blogger to know I said that. It's not necessarily rude, but a question of privacy.

9/09/2006 12:03 PM  
Blogger Sherry said...

I found you leaving a comment on Blog Bloke, I'm also one of those who enjoys reading comments and have made a point of always answering my comments.
I'm learning alot from Bloke also and it looks to me that you have a very successful blog going. Congrats on the 1000 visitors!

12/06/2006 1:52 PM  

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