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.
Peter – I’ll give you a quick answer as to ‘why’.
I just clicked your name to find out who left the comment that you left.
the longer answer was This post where Caroline showed that she’d had 700 visitors to her blog through commenting on other blogs – in a month. Might not be massive traffic when compared to other methods but to a new blog it’s huge growth and a great way to get a foothold in your niche – particularly when many of those visitors are bloggers themselves.
I’m not going to comment here because my comment is so low already.
Be civil and concise with your comments. But always be civil no matter how steamed you might be.
Actually, being this low on the comment list isn’t always a bad thing. If you’re the last commenter in a long list, you just might get noticed. Especially if the person reading the post plans on leaving a comment (that’s how I noticed your post in the first place!), they will probably see your comment before they start writing.
The point? always write informative comments, because you never know when someone else might be reading, and want to visit your site because of what you said.
I’d add another one: pick a couple of sites and try to become a “regular”. That doesn’t mean you comment on everything to fill up space, but get to know a blog and its community, and eventually people will recognize your name and give your comments a bit more credibility.
I’ll also second Chris M., though; no offense to successful bloggers like you Darren, but I’ve been adding more and more of the little guys to my RSS feeds. It’s easier to build community and get noticed with the up-and-comers.
Thanks for the great tips. As someone who is trying to get their gaming blog noticed I truly appreciate all of your comments on getting new traffic to your site. My wife turned me onto your site and I have this site open everyday to see what new piece of advice I can take with me to help improve my own blog.
@Chris and Dr. Pete, you couldn’t be more right. Sorry Darren. I’ve found some incredible “unknown” blogs to subscribe to through comments left and stumbling.
With the bigger blogs, such as yours Darren, I can’t help sometimes but to feel that there is a “clique” atmosphere, And if you’re relatively new to the blog and begin commenting there, you may be perceived as someone commenting only to get traffic.
Darren, I read nearly every one of your posts, but I don’t comment often. Some of your topics are things I’m trying to learn, so it would make no sense for me to comment when it’s a topic I haven’t mastered yet.
And, I’m busy building relationships with other bloggers who aren’t quite so well known, and those who haven’t built up a clique-type posse. :)
Late but worth it. I’m always low man on the totem. *winks* I’ll leave off the w00t!
Interesting and highly useful advice here. Thanks.
Looking these over…
short and sweet (with a link) worked best for me…
I completely and entirely DISAGREE with you Darren. I think the best way to comment is to just leave quick little one line notes.
of course, if I really believed that, than I would be a joke and couldn’t consider myself a real blogger — ever.
To comment or not to comment, that is the question. I read the post, read the comments and of course i have to throw in my two cents, it probably isn’t worth two cents but oh well…
Most comments I tend to see on other blogs seem to be people wanting attention to themself. That is great! The problem comes when you comment on a popular blog site. The more comments the less you get noticed. So saying something in your comment is important. If all you are saying it, “WOOT Great blog” or ” Preach it brother!” then you need a slap on the hand and should go back into your corner and try it again.
If you want a comment noticed you have several ways, this post lists a few. I tend to ignore short brainless comments and go for ones that have a bit of thought. Reading the same comment written 5203 different ways just doesn’t do it for me.
When you post your next comment, give it a second and actually use the grey matter between your ears and give a thoughtful comment, not one that shows your mental age.
Ok, that was my two cents.
Who gives a CRAP? Is this information so RARE and unobvious that it has to be treated like a huge revelation? All it does is turn an otherwise BORING group of COMMENT WHORES into a bunch of maniacs who **** up otherwise perfectly good comment sections.
LOOK MA! NO LINK!
Excellent article, Darren. I would also like to figure out how to get more commenters on my blogs. :)
I think it would be interesting if there were other options besides text comments. The option to leave audio comments would be interesting and an even better way to stand out from the crowd. Or… take it a step further and allow YouTube video embedded comments.
Perhaps you could test this out Darren? Could be interesting…no?
Yeah I usually find disagreeing is the best seeing EVERYONE always agrees.
Darren do you leave comments on people’s blogs in order to drive traffic?
Does this work for you?
Did not have time to read the 65 comments above. So dont know if some one already said this.
We comment on the speed linking post of problogger. That get us about 100+ hits on that days. Thats like gold for a very small blog like ours
When you leave comments on a blog, try to add something useful to the conversation. Help out the other commenters. Engage the other commenters. Better yet, engage the blog’s author!! Ask substantive questions that enhance the conversation. Read the other comments before leaving one yourself. Take time to READ and THINK about the article that you’re commenting on.
That’s my two cents’ worth.
This one’s kind of hard to control… but being last can work.
As Emmet mentioned above, people are more likely to look at comments at the beginning and the end (it’s like any piece of writing that we scan – we’re paying more attention at the start and finish)
It’s particularly good for people who come late to the party!
But if you’re going to stand out because of your position whether early bird or latecomer – you’ve got to make sure you’re adding something of value to the conversation.
Otherwise why bother?
O.K. I don’t usually read that many comments but I decided to come back to this post for a reason. Now what was that reason thinking thinking thinking oh yea it actually was mentioned a post on how to do a good call to action so as to get comments on your blog. I find that most of my feedback is via IM due to my contact page.
I’m the greatest!
my blog is much more better than yours!
get attentions? :-P
Some excellent ideas. I wish there were ways to embed photos in comments. I am a really visual person and so this speaks to me – do you know of anything?
PS Lots of luck in the 2007 Annual Weblog Awards. You have and will continue to have my votes. My blog, My Marrakesh, is a finalist, too, in the category Best Middle East or Africa blog.
Another way to write an unusual comment that might get noticed is to comment on the same thread and basically repeat oneself as anyone who read one’s earlier comment might getting a feeling of resonance.
So, please vote for Sciencebase in the science category of the 2007 weblog awards. There’s some stiff competition, but I’d hope to finish at least not tenth…
Yeah I am a believer in using you real name, or at least have your real name + site.
If you are going to disagree on a post at least come up with a reasonable argument for your decision and not blatantly insult the Blogger. I know being deliberately abusive will get more attention but is it the right kind of attention? If you disagree make sure the site/blog you link to from you name is up to a decent standard or that’s just tempting people to be negative on your own site.
this is a sample short comment. lol :-D
CoMMenting RocKS!, I recently won a premium theme & an iPOD Nano in commenting competitions. Wooo Hooo!
75 comments in less than 24 hours, there are obviously many people who follow your blog religiously.
I happened to see this post and it was the title, of course, that caught my eye. I think that we should be spending more time blogging and less time looking for traffic by commenting and hoping that someone will click our link only to find there is little content worth reading at the other end.
All the best,
Oh I’m late to the party once again! Well maybe I can try some of these out anyway…
What do gay horses eat?
I hate ProBlogger! I think he’s an idiot!!!!!
Hey, check this news site that’s filled with current events: http://www.cnn.com
Ok, I’m done. Let’s see what happens.
Nice tips mate, will be sure to remember them when I’m shamelessly self promoting my own,
Guess no one will visit mine as I’m waayyy down the list, but better luck next time I guess :D
Nice going on the facial hair! I may be growing a beard myself pretty soon!
Keep up the great posts Darren!
Well I had used some of the above suggestions that you have suggested. Thankx for the other tips that you have provided.
What about shamelessly saying I’ve got next to no readers at all, and everyone should visit my boring blog right now?
It’s not even a joke… I really do have next to no readers, and I’m quite sure if I was someone else, I’d find my blog boring as hell.
So everyone… if you want to see some boring stuff, you know where to look eh?
Lol, so many humor on this post comment. What about posting a link? Anyway, I’m running a contest on my blog, 500$ cash..^^ Bloggers-Journey.com
I am with missy on this one. On more than occasion I have had my comments censored and they were almost always critical or held an alternative viewpoint.
Kenneth… that was just a lame attempt at getting traffic. I won’t and know others that wouldn’t even view your website because of your comment. YOu need to let others view your site on their own.
I thought that I would mention … by way of an attention getter … that I will be donating the gross proceeds from advertising appearing on http://nmwoodworks.com/tech to the OLPC organization. Full details on the blog, but it is a 100% pass-through deal with no ‘catch’.
Seemed like a good use for a tech blog.
PS … it’s a ‘fresh’ blog so there are only a couple of articles posted so far. Additional posts are planned on a twice-weekly basis for all of my blogs. So far, I’m exceeding that goal with a couple posts ‘in the bank’.
Really good post, I never really thought about utilizing comments before. I have bookmarked your blog.
@Ryan Paul, woops.. Sorry Ryan. Just pass by and was thinking to invite readers. Anyway, I’ll keep it down.. Thanks for the advice
Kenneth – in retrospect I think I was out of line. I apologise. Using money to lure people to a website seems not right to me, but go ahead and do what you need. Sorry for being harsh.
Here’s an idea: how about actually reading the post be for submitting a comment? So many times I’ve seen people comment where they obviously only skimmed the first paragraph. Repeate comments are ok I think, because I for sure didn’t read all 100 comments on this post.
Hi Darren it me Deborah way down here at #87.
This is a great list and I try to make sure I use all of these techniques, although it is hard to be first on your blog.
I have been first on John Chow’s quite a few times and have derived a bit of traffic from him.
Well Does commenting on popular blog can drive static traffic ?
I think it’s great if you comment on a popular blog, and can get a few sporadic referrals/visits.
However, commenting on newer (less popular) blogs is a more apt to get you loyal readers who frequent your blog often.
My regular commenters have become my cyberspace friends. We visit each others blogs often, to give each other encouragement and kudos. We all agree that one comment spawns more, so even if we do comment on a lot of each other’s posts, it seems to encourage others to “join in”.
Comments tell us that we are being “heard”.
So instead of worrying if your comment is being read on a “big name” blog, take the time to visit smaller blogs, where you know your comments will not only be read, but you will likely get a personal response from the author.
“Pay it forward”.
I think the best way to approach comments is to actually have something to say and try to have a discussion rather than just go after links. As in blog posts, content is king.
The same problem afflicts my industry, which is advertising and marketing. Most ads simply don’t say anything. The ads that do are the ones that work.
The same rules apply everywhere. Show up and contribute.
Funny – on blogs with a lot of comments, I tend to read the first three or four and the last one (Barbara, I really like your point about commenting on smaller blogs. It really helps to develop relationships) – so yes, get in first, because chances are that being the last commenter won’t last very long…
I gotta say Darren, this is one of your better posts about blogging.
Hmm..you mentioned that people may use HTML for the comments, but does it actually work? Do we just type the html in the comment box and it’ll automatically show up? Thanks!
I think commenting makes you part of the community. Although what you’ve said are all good and valid, and I’ll remember your tips, I still think that comments need to be authentic. I think the power of blogging and the Web 2.0 world is the human aspect and the authenticity aspect.
I think if we always keep in focus the true meaning of sharing and consideration, we’ll go a long way. This, to me, is the foundation of the success of Wikipedia.
Comments is part of a conversation. When you have a conversation with friends (in real life :)), you expect their feedback and comments to be authentic, not strategic. I think this is the focus we need to maintain, and in this, I think, lies the power of Web 2.0.
The comments on this post looks more like an experiment lab, a quick test after reading the tips suggested.
You should also never write in all caps obviously. Oh and unless your on a computer hacker blog please for the love of god do not speak L33t speak :)
Want to get noticed? Write well and with insight. You’ll stick out as being exceptional almost anywhere. Only 2-3 posters can have the coveted “first post” spots near the top, but we all get the same chance to impress at the tail-end of the list.
You guys are probably not my customers. Still, I want to write well for you because I -never- want to develop the habit of writing poorly.
This comment, like each of my blogs, is “product” and I never want to put a shabby product out where others can see it.
That’s like advertising a “Business Riting Servus”.
Well, it’s getting late. I would normally grab another cup of coffee right about now and keep writing through the night, but I’ve published about 12,000 words of original content in the past few days and I’m going to reward myself with a full nights sleep.
Later — Bill