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Two tips I always advise when someone asks about starting a blog

  • Read lots of blogs
  • Comment often and well

Before even considering setting up a blog I think you should do those things, and when you have started blogging you should do them even more.

I imagine most of you already do read blogs. Perhaps more than you can cope with. Feeds are usually not a problem.

You see, I don’t think bloggers comment enough.

Please try this. For the next week make an effort to comment on more blogs. Each day post more comments than the last, on more blogs. Comment well, not just “ditto”. Add something of value, your own thoughts.

After a week see if you can tell the difference.

You might be surprised.

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Comments

  1. I assume there may be two reasons why I don’t post on more blogs a. I think I may run out of the limited creative reasorces in my head or b. I just don’t want to work as hard as one has to to assemble the best resource in my industry.

    Blogging is new for me. So is writing really. It is just like any goal though, if you work hard and smart the rewards are endless. When starting something new that hard and smart tends to be a lot more difficult than the efforts of the past.

    I tell my self “I will not get comfortable and I will continue trudging the road to my enchanted goal.”

  2. Well, I do follow your advice and post a comment right here and now… πŸ™‚
    Since I am new to the blogging world, what is the main purpose of commenting on other peoples blogs?
    I’ll guess that it will generate backlinks?
    /Magnus

  3. Try it for 7 days, see what happens πŸ™‚

  4. Since I started blogging, I’ve tried to think of it as writing in two phases. Writing posts, and writing comments. I’ve picked up a number of readers who have emailed me to say they found me via comments on another blog.

    One thing I’ve found helpful is to be a lurker at first, to determine the “flavor” of comments on certain blogs. I do the same thing at a party, before jumping into a conversation.

    That way I learn how I can best contribute to the conversation.

  5. I use the same analogy Tony, especially when discussing blogging in person. In fact one of these days I really should post the whole thing…

  6. That is perhaps the greatest advice that any blogger will recieve. When I started blogging I was mostly a lurker, meaning I would read post’s but wouldn’t leave a comment. I have noticed a huge increase in traffic because of the comments that I have been leaving.

    Like Chris said, make sure you are leaving valuable comments, not just a “good job” or “great post” comment. These don’t do anything for the conversation.

    Great advice Chris:)

  7. I believe there are other benefits but I don’t want to spoil the surprise πŸ™‚

  8. Good advice

    Another tip might be: make sure your post only covers a single topic and doesn’t wander around all over the place.

    I have real problems with that one. I think it is probably a planning thing. I start off wanting to talk about one thing and then end talking about something else.

    Your advice shouldn’t be restricted just to blogs. Participating in online forums is also a good idea if it is on topic. Conversations aren’t just happening on blogs πŸ™‚

  9. You make a good point. My thought on commenting on blogs in particular will become clear when I do a follow up post in a week but yes definitely also participate in forums. Through forum questions I have found many post ideas as well as the other benefits.

  10. I’m going to do this. As a new blogger, its important for me to get some publicity and I want to be an active part in the blogosphere. Today I’m going to find 5 new blogs and comment on them, then the next day 10, etc.

    Thanks for the tips Chris. πŸ™‚

  11. I comment often, not lately but I usually do. My problem is blogging. I don’t blog often enough. Since the blog is about my life I am still sorting things out. I have trouble writing in my blog, not sure what to write about. Maybe i’ll have to try a little bit harder on thinking of things to write about.

  12. @vozzon good for you! Do it!

    @lnahinu easy! Instead of just commenting, leave your comment then write a full post expanding on your comment!

  13. I couldn’t agree more with this advice. I’ve never actually made an effort to reach an audience beyond my circle of friends who run blogs, yet the simple act of commenting on some of my favorite blogs has led to several instances of “link love” just for speaking my mind about the conversation at hand. Of course, commenting with the intention of finding “link love” should be avoided – it’s a blog Karma thing.

    In regards to James’ comment about being a lurker, one thing I’ve found is if you do indeed find yourself being a lurker yet really enjoy someone’s blog – don’t hesitate to send an email to the blogger just to let them know that you enjoy the blog. At the least, the blogger knows you’re out there.

    πŸ™‚

  14. Also, one of the keys to effective commenting is to do it on blogs that have similar content to you own blog. If you are looking to find additional readers, this will make sure that the ones you are targeting are the ones that already read about what you are writing about.

  15. I do comment but not often enough. Thanks for the nudge. I will try your experiment and hope for a surprise. πŸ™‚

  16. Thanks Tomas for the advice about emailing the blogger, it has occured to me in the past to do that lol, I always figured they get 100’s of emails. But your right:)

    Vozzon, I’m going to do it as well. I’m going go to find 5 blogs I like a day and show them some support by commenting:)

  17. For some reason, I have noticed many bloggers stop commenting on other sites, or on most non-famous or 20k+-visitors-a-day sites once they themselves get a lot of traffic. Some bloggers and site owners simply disable commenting once their site becomes popular enough.

    This is a good advice. However, I wonder if most bloggers are commenting to participate, or are they commenting simply to get traffic, even if their comments are of great quality and length?

    I already comment a lot. Though for one week, I am going to try and comment on more sites than the day before. I will report either here or in a post of my own and let you know of any results. πŸ™‚ Thanks.

  18. This is foundational. Commenting opens so many doors. Most importantly to me, meaningful comments lead to potential relationships with other bloggers and their readers.

  19. If I leave all these comments everywhere how do I track the conversations? I’ve tried co.mments.com but it felt very clunky and more trouble than it is worth.

    If I leave a comment on somebody’s blog i feel obligated to return and see if the author responds. However this gets to be a headache if you comment too much.

    “most blogs don’t have the “Notify me of followup comments via e-mail”” like your does. So how do you track the conversations?

  20. I rather enjoy leaving comments, and yes, I frequently get ideas for posts after reading the insightful (or not) comments of others. As a matter of fact I am working on a review of Flagship content right now, and I’ll use this “Comment” seeding in the review. So much inspiration, so little time.

    I have been an email subscriber for a short while now, and I have found your blog to be an invaluable resource. I would like to incorporate your feed into my lens at Squidoo. (don’t want to be a link whore, you know)Send me an email if you would like to participate.

    Thanks,
    S

    PS: what do you use for “Notify of follow-up comments”?

  21. I have a message for vozzon, the guy who commented earlier on this post.

    Man, I think you should trust people a little more. You will not get many comments on your blog, simply because you make it so that it’s not worth the effort to leave a message on your blog.

    I think that if you want more people to be interested in your site, you should make it as easy as possible for them to interact with you – the writer. You are also a little paranoid about your identity. Just some thoughts.

    I would have more to say about what you write, but I feel like I am abusing Chris’ site already:).

  22. This sentence is in the lore of Successful-Blog, “Half the show is in the comments.” These days that’s a low guess.

    In the comments is where the life is. It’s where the people are. I get to talk to you, with you, and really listen to what you have to say. And if I’m lucky, you talk back and listen too.

    That’s when ideas grow and change. Energy happens. Walls fall down. πŸ™‚

    Chris, I’ve been wondering . . . about those bread crumbs. . . . Can’t wait to see where they’re leading.

  23. So true; thanks, Chris. Good comments, valuable comments, funny comments, all are awesome self-promotion. Provided you understand that giving, not receiving is the key.

  24. A must-read advice for *every* blogger. Though I don’t have enough free time to leave comments on even 20 blogs/day, I’ve noticed a huge increase in my site traffic since February 2007 and it’s all because I left about 40 comments in January 2007.

    I’m also agree with Dawud Miracle. While useful/wise comments will lead to potential relationships with other bloggers and their readers, a comment full of self-promotion tricks will make you look bad.

  25. I commented on blogs a lot when I first started blogging, but once I got into the feed reader game it dropped off. Sharply.

    Not only did my lack of external commenting hurt my own blogging, but comments on my own blog(s) dropped off as well. Commenting is an integral part of blogging, and I’ve been trying to become a more active commenter as of late.

    Good advice.

  26. Comments are good for the blogger. It gives them some feedback. There’s nothing worse than getting a lot of hits on a post and no comments. Did people like it? Hate it? What do they think? I DON’T KNOW!

    I’m seeing my feed subscriber stats steadily going upwards but next to no comments are being left.

    How to get more people to comment? Ask them directly – ask them questions at the bottom of the post. What did they think about it? What’s their take on the post’s viewpoint. Another idea might be to add the first couple of comments yourself (under different names) – this is a bit lame but it might get the conversation started. People may be more inclined to leave a comment if there are some already there.

  27. best way to get comments on a post – write about comments πŸ™‚

  28. I use del.icio.us to track my comments, though it is far from a perfect system as I have to keep going back through the same list for a day or two to see what’s new. I tried co.mments but it didn’t work very well for me. I’d love to see someone come up with a better system…

  29. I created a fitness blog for my company. We blog more than enough about us going to the gym and our diets. The problem is that we don’t comment on other people’s blogs. I am doing that now by writing on here but the other people don’t comment enough on it. I guess I have to get them to do that more. The problem is finding relevant blogs to fitness and going to the gym, they aren’t that many that are out there. I guess I’ll have to try harder and comment on the blogs that I enjoy.

  30. Really? There are a ton of blogs on health and fitness, it’s a new craze!
    http://technorati.com/tag/fatblogging

  31. Thanks Chris, I needed that, now I can blog and have people read my comments on exercising while playing ddr.

  32. I have never been too concerned about traffic, but it did just hit me as I viewed my stats the other day that most of my regular traffic comes from comments on other blogs. The most consistent referrer I have is a blog I posted on two years ago that sends about 70 hits a month. Not a ton of traffic on its own, but if you multiply that by 20 or 30 high quality sites that could be pretty decent. I think this approach makes great sense and goes along well with what I’ve seen in my own data.

  33. I think you are right Bryan, far too many people get caught up worrying about Google and forget the far better traffic that comes from related blog posts.

  34. Chris, how do you get the comment box to go on the post itself? On my blog you’ve got to sign up and jump through a few hoops. If commenting is going to work it has to be easy.

  35. @Bryan, traffic is just one of the benefits πŸ˜‰

    @Jack, I don’t see that on your blog – I just commented ok without jumping through hoops?

  36. wow! I’m amazed to see that leaving useful comments on more than 10 blogs/day is pretty hard. There is nothing like I’ve lack of patience or I go out of ideas, it’s just not happening!

    But I’m not gonna give up! Since past 2 days, I’ve been leaving 5 or 6 comments/day. I’ll try to reach the minimum 10 comments/day target. πŸ™‚

  37. I don’t think about traffic when I leave comments. i’m too busy talking. πŸ™‚

  38. @Avinash, it is hard but worth it πŸ™‚

    @Liz, as with anything, we should always treat others as we would have them treat us. If we go with a take-take attitude it ain’t going to help anybody πŸ™‚ On the other hand if we comment to help, advise, add value the knock-on results can be surprising.

  39. Chris, I’m with on the need to add to the discussion. In fact, I wish all blogs had an edit comments function. On that last I really wanted to change “busy talking” to being part of the conversation. Care with comments, as was said earlier, is important.

  40. Good advice and definitely the best way to get traffic to your blog πŸ™‚

  41. Liz is right. Bloggers need to grab a plugin that provides people to edit their comments (a function that you see on Digg after posting a comment).

    OR,

    A comment preview plugin will do the job. People can always preview their comments before clicking the submit button.