Blog Comments, A Powerful Tool
An often under utilized tool that most new bloggers simply overlook is the power of comments and trackbacks. Comments in regards to bother on your site and on other blogs help build traffic, your reputation, and a site community.
Before I go more in-depth I’ll share a few tips on how to find the right sites to leave comments on, and how to foster comments on your blog.
Comments on Other Blogs
When looking for sites, usually the best place to start is on Technorati.com. Search for blogs in your niche using the tag search, and sort by authority. Blogs with a higher authority are generally well respected and highly read. Add a few of these blogs to your RSS Feeder, and if you’re using Google Reader, make a folder called “Read to Comment”.
Once you’ve done that, you’ll want to check if the blogs display trackbacks or pingbacks. Make a note of these blogs. (A trackback is a ‘comment’ informing the blog owner than you linked to their post. Sometimes a trackback can lead to a link from that blogger, or at least some traffic.)
Now that you have a list of blogs to comment on, and blog posts you might want to respond to, you’re ready to join the conversation. It’s important to remember to treat every comment like you would a blog post. Check for grammatical errors and make sure it’s insightful. Don’t comment on every post and become a spammer, instead only on those that you truly have something to say.
Build Comments on Your Site
Once you’re commenting on other blogs, you’ll want to start focusing on your own blog. Getting readers to leave a comment is a great way to build a lively blog, and start discussions.
The single best way to encourage comments, is by simply adding this phrase at the end of your posts, “If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment”.
For WordPress users there are plugins that make the comment system user friendly and also create incentives for your readers to leave a comment. I highly suggest installing these three plugins onto your blog.
Why Comments are Powerful
So you’ve installed the plugins, are reading RSS Feeds, and are commenting daily, but what exactly are you getting out of it?
By commenting on other blogs you’re doing three important services. You build a reputation, gain traffic, and build your personal brand. As more people see your name on good comments, they’ll start to remember it, building your brand and reputation. They also might be interested in reading more of what you write, leading to traffic.
In regards to your own site, having comments lets you get feedback from your readers, and creates a connection with them. Also, having a higher comment count not only encourages others to leave comments, but also builds your reputation as an expert. The comment count is a public proof.