One of the comments on this week’s post – The Power of Commenting on Blogs – was from The Great Seducer who asked:
“Do you have any suggestions for commenting in a way that will draw interest to you? Obviously an insightful comment is the best plan…. but when there are 100+ comments sometimes they get over looked.”
In this post I’m going to suggest 11 tips for leaving tips on blogs that not only get noticed but that help build your profile and generate traffic.
1. Be the Early Bird
One of the best ways to stand out from the crowd is to be get in early. I know numerous bloggers who are great at leaving the first comment on a post and generating some good traffic as a result. Of course being first won’t help you if you don’t have anything worthwhile to say – so read on….. (warning: being first all of the time can be quite annoying both for the blogger whose blog you’re commenting on as well as other readers. I know of a few people who’ve actually hurt their reputation by being too eager to comment on every post without actually adding value to conversations.
2. Share an Example
A great way to add value to a post that someone else has written is to give an example that illustrates their main point. Quite often bloggers writing ‘how to’ or ‘instructional’ posts cover the theory of a topic really well but fail to give practical examples of how it works itself out in reality. I find that readers really love to see examples – so if you can give them in comments they’ll often be grateful and will check out who is behind them. The examples could be to your own work – or that of others.
3. Add a Point
Did the blogger miss a point on their post? Extending the post by adding another argument or point can improve the conversation and show yourself off to be someone who knows what they’re talking about. Some bloggers will even highlight your comment in an update to the post.
One way to stand out from the crowd is to disagree with the post and/or what others are writing in comments. This isn’t something you will want to do on every comment that you leave (and it could be something that gets you into trouble) but it can be quite refreshing to see someone who dares to put forward a different idea to everyone else. Of course you don’t need to do it in an argumentative or attacking way – but respectfully and politely disagree (where you actually do) and you can actually create a real impressions on others.
5. Write with conviction, passion and personality
Sometimes when I read the comments left on blogs I wonder if there is anyone with personality behind them or whether they’re written by some sort of zombie like half human half robotic bloggers. Inject some feeling, passion, conviction and emotion into your posts. This doesn’t mean you need to write everything in CAPS or use lots of EXPLANATION MARKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! – but when a post excites you, let that feeling enter your comments, when you are happy, let your comment be cheery, when a post evokes anger – don’t be afraid to comment with a little edge.
6. Use Humor
As a blogger who has a blog with posts that can get hundreds of comments I know just how mind numbing it can be to read through them all. One type of comment that snaps me out of this state when I’m in moderation mode is a comment that makes me laugh. Of course humor can also be misinterpreted and cause offense – so be a little careful :-)
7. Ask a Question
I notice here on ProBlogger that it is often comments that ask questions that get the most responses from other commenters. I guess it makes sense – asking a question calls for a response – we’re all wired to answer them – so they do stop people in their tracks a little and cause them to at least stop and think about how they’d answer it (whether they do or not).
8. Formatting Comments
I want to say right up front that this one should be done with caution (and could make you look like a try hard spammer) – but a subtle and clever use of formatting in comments can actually draw the eye to your comment. Scan through the comments left on a highly commented upon post and see what you notice. In most cases it’s only broken up by the names of commenters. Many blogs will allow you to use html in comments – allowing you to bold words, use italics and more (for example here at ProBlogger using ‘blockquotes’ in comments will change the formatting. Do this too much and you can actually find yourself in trouble – but bolding the occasional word for emphasis, using a little white space, using a symbol etc can give those viewing the page a subtle visual cue to look at your comment. Like I say – this should be done with caution.
An example of this is to bullet your comments with different symbols. A number of readers of ProBlogger do this using symbols like ‘**’ or ‘–>’
9. Helpful Links
We’ve debated whether leaving links in posts is good practice previously – but my opinion is that when a link is helpful to those reading and when it adds value to the conversation in some way that it’s OK. I personally don’t like signature links in comments – but links as examples not only will potentially send people to your blog – they actually act as a visual cue (web users are wired to be on the look out for them).
10. Comment Length
Are all the comments on a post long? Leave a short one – it’ll stand out. Are all the other comments short? Leave a long one – again, it’ll stand out.
11. Lists/Break it down
A big turn off with comments can be when someone leaves a long detailed comment that has massive blocks of text. This can often be made to look worse than it is when the comments area is actually narrower than the area given to posts (as in here at ProBlogger). One way to break up the amount of text is to break your comment down into a list of short posts.
Keep in mind that while leaving comments on other people’s blogs can be a great way to draw traffic to your blog – that it can also hurt your reputation/brand. Read more on this in my post – 10 Ways to Hurt Your Blog’s Brand by Commenting on Other Blogs.
PS: I just noticed that Caroline just posted on a similar topic and outlined some suggestions for a blog commenting strategy.
Just kidding. :)
Good list of tips, Darren. I came by way of Bob Walsh’s 47Hats.
I agree with BillinDetroit; I think one point that was left out is to make an honest attempt to provide valuable feedback.
saying “nice job”, “good post”, etc don’t provide any value to the blog, and don’t establish yourself as an authority.
Just my .02
Great post Darren, as always.
In my opinion commenting is supposed to be a multiple-sided thing. It is no solely intended for one person only. Some people leave comments on blogs ONLY to get traffic and that’s it. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with trying to get traffic from comments, actually it’s a great tactic. But some people go about it all wrong and are impolite and provide nothing to the conversation.
I think successful commenting is a skill that needs to be mastered over time, but the amount of time it takes differs with the person. Some people never catch on.
wow! whole loads of information out here. Thanks
Nick has a very good question, do trackbacks are as noticed as comments?
I think it depends on how catchy is the headline for the post making the trackback and how many words of it are included.
I’ve seen many trackbacks in a lot list of comments with text like this: … and they really have a good point…, so cryptic that who reads it doesn’t pay too much attention to it.
Anyway, Darren, this was a really good idea for a post and I was wondering if the comments count on it was above average when compared to others in Problogger.net.
I think instead of reading such kind of tips and commenting in thus an ‘artificial” way, commenting should be done in a more natural way.. it depends on the commentator..either he gives sincere comments or he just does not comment at all..
I don’t know how many of you will agree with my point..
– Wakish –
That was very interesting. Thanks :)
I think i missed the article about putting links in comments (I hope ill find it somewhere)
Thanks for the great post. I’ve been more active at commenting on other blogs but not much has come of it. I appreciate your ideas.
Good point by Sam Smith. Why not comment if you are taking the time to read the post?
I like suggestion #6 regarding adding humor to blog comments. I find that too often people are afraid to offend others and make boring comments that could be *spiced* up a bit to generate more interest.
This is a great article. Thanks for sharing these tips. I am actually leaving this comment during a live HubSpot webinar showing hundreds of people an example of how to leave a blog comment. I thought it was appropriate to use this post as an example because it is right on topic.
Most blog authors want their readers to participate by commenting, so having people post comments on your articles is generally a very good thing. I for one love it when people leave constructive comments here. Nearly everybody participates in a civilized manner, but unfortunately there are exceptions. Your guidelines are really very useful. Thanks
This is something that I am doing for weeks now, leaving insightful comments on other people’s blogs and it works wonders for me. =) I am hopeful this will continue to bring visitors to my blog. Thank you so much for giving us very helpful tips here.=)
Comment posting is a great way to expressing our thoughts about any post, news or article. By this way you are able to express that you like or dislike the post. Posting comments on site makes you a judge that judges the post and make to realize the author of post to make better post to the previous one. Thanks for your suggestion also.
Brilliant, Thank you for upgrading my social skills!
Brilliant, Thank you for upgrading my social skills!
By this way you are able to express that you like or dislike the post. Posting comments on site makes you a judge that judges the post and make to realize the author of post to make better post to the previous one. Comment posting is a great way to expressing our thoughts about any post, news or article. Thanks
THANK you. Your post cleared the glaze from my eyes after a great deal of research. I had found your post earlier I could have been on my 4th beer by now. Kidding. But thanks again, I’ll be subscribing and recommending this blog for sure!
Maybe it could be a good 12th or 13th tip first to think about what you appreciate the most on receiving comments, then commenting accordingly.
What I love on receiving comments is the fact that they can be an inspiration for another article. They are a valuable help for the blogger and for the readers.
I guess that every blogger agrees with that, so the second thought before leaving a comment is: How to give the blogger and the readers what they like?
The answer is quite simple: be inspiring and give a certain value. Never write your comment just to write a comment.
I don’t know if this comment is inspiring, but that where my 2 cents.
Have a nice day!
It all seems so fake.To visit a site and comment for the sole purpose of increasing traffic. I think when you’re being “real” in a comment, it shows. People know BS when they see it. I’m a new blogger and have just discovered how many cool people and groups there are out there. I’m just visiting and commenting where I’m having fun, and feeling moved to be part of the community.
Don’t know if it will work for me, but I’m having fun. Now I’m off to visit your photography blog. I’ve seen some amazing pics lately and I want to learn how to do that, too!
Thanks for all of your great info!
There is one area of this post that I think you left out. I see alot of bloggers turn their comments “off”. Some leave a message that comment spammers have ruined the party for everyone.
To that I think the blogger is cutting his own throat. If you are going to blog you will have put up with the bad comments with the good.
When people visit blogs they often want to comment, not just read your ranting or your one sided opinion.
I usually visit and read blogs on topics that are interest to me. But if I am unable to voice my opinion (comment) the blog often has little use to me.
I’m guilty of the signature links. Its good to hear your take. I’m new to the world of blogging (which is why I am here), so I will take your advice and nix the sig links. Thanks!
** How do you drive readers to your own blog if you don’t use a signature link?? On the advice of this blog, I’ve joined other website forums to drive traffic to my site. But, how exactly is that happening if there’s nothing for them to click on?!
The name links to the site of the person who left the command. There is no signature link needed. Nearly everybody knows that, so when they want to know more about the person they click on their name.
@ phoenix: I just consider dealing with spam to be part of the package in blogging. One of the things I considered when evaluating which blogging platform to use was how it handled spam.
I’ve found that the Akismet and Simple Track Back Validation plugins work very well for my WordPress blogs. I follow up their automated handling by reviewing comments that they have flagged as spam and either deleting them immediately or surfing to the originating web site to scope it out and pass judgement.
So far, I think I’ve approved exactly one “spam” because the ‘spam’ designation was ‘iffy’. I gave the guy, an aggregator, the benefit of the doubt since he also had some of his own comment interspersed with the scrapings and had actually hand-crafted an on-topic comment.
Other than that, a quick glance is all it usually takes to confirm the ‘spaminess’ of a comment and delete it outright.
Yes, I want comments on my blog. But only if they are on-topic / non-spammy. I review all initial comment posts, but open the door after that until a person shows themselves ‘unseemly’. The investment in time is minimal. The investment in quality will eventually pay off.
Great write-up. I’ve been realizing more and more that good comments result in good traffic. If you express an opinion in a well-formulated, well thought-out response, generally, people become interested in what else you may have to say and will click-through to your site. Excellent suggestions.
Leaving Comments is as personal as sending email or writing a letter.
People use different styles, write different amounts and even have different goals. For example: Some people only write for self promotion while others write for both self promotion and because they want to let the blog author know that they wrote a smash job of a post!
I think everyone does a little of self promotion though…
This is a great article with a shed load of additional info through people’s comments.
It ALMOST makes me feel guilty just for writing in to say how useful this will be when I don’t have anything to add. But then you might appeciate comments to let you know what a great job you do on this blog and others.
Can you beieve I subscribe to two of your Blogs?
They are totally unrelated and I wasn’t even hunting you down for the power of your link backs – although every little helps :o)
I just got to your site because I was visiting webitect and reading a post over there that linked to your site and I thought it was worth the time to come by and check your site. And it was worth it!
Your posts are really helpful and I will for sure come back to read more of your posts! I am currently thinking about making some changes to my site and was looking for helpful tips and tricks and after reading only this post I am sure I will find a lot of them here.
How do people manage to leave the first blog. How is it possible to know that the post has been published and comment on it so quickly?
Retro Watch Blog
It should be illegal to say “first!” on a blog — or anywhere on the web for that matter : -)
Truthfully, I don’t know that it’s important to try to stand out in the blog comments. Sure, you hope people will read, but that doesn’t mean that resorting to certain “tactics” is necessary. Personally, I’d rather add something of value and say what I need to say regardless of length or style.
Still, these are excellent points about how to get your comment noticed…just as long as those who use blog commenting keep quality and value in mind before contributing.
*************** Is this a comment that people would notice? Or is it just annoying to the blog owner and the readers?
I’m not sure how far I would go with crazy formatting….
Well, got the idea but i think its really really hard to be the first to comment on POPULAR blogs b/c many other emarketers just wait for it, like you!
Thank you for this article. Really outstanding website about blogging, every topic is covered. The 1st point works and is invaluable.
Those would be exCLmation marks, but I like your word better, LOL!
Does anyone know why some forums administrators might be willing to close a topic and stop receiving comments after a while? It looks like some sort of censure and a way to drive traffic away. Is it not?
@Bo Bloggers will close comments for several reasons:
1 – A mass influx of comment spammers
2 – The conversation/discussion just gets too out of hand
3 – They just don’t realize that they are turning off potential participants
4 – They don’t care about #3. These guys are so big and powerful (Seth Godin) that it doesn’t really matter.
No matter the reason (except #3 in some occasions), they are doing their site a disservice, as many people will simply stop following their site.
I think it is because the there is not much more to discuss on the topic.
If the thread is left open in such cases, there will be spammer leaving links to their threads or websites or attacking fellow forum members.. Believe me, it happens like that in forums :)
I had never thought of formatting or listing points.. I was wondering why the comments are looking larger than normal even for lesser number of words.
Hmmm…another thing is watch out for your typos and grammatical errors. If you’re trying to promote your own brand, this won’t help you. It will only hinder you.