How to Be an Awesome Blog Commenter

Posted on January 10th 2011

How to Be an Awesome Blog Commenter

awesomeOnline tools like blogs, Twitter and Facebook have made it easier for people to share with one another, but they don’t necessarily make the Web social. In fact, one could argue that these tools make it easier for people to be less social. In a space where spam and irrelevant messages spread faster than ever, being social requires one to be remarkable. On platforms battling spam and narcissistic one-sided dialogues, the true social value lies with businesses and individuals that communicate in meaningful ways.

This post will discuss how to be a thoughtful and engaged commenter, whether you are active in the blogosphere or on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and message boards.

Keep Your Signs Off Other People’s Yards

Would you take a sign for your business and put it in the front yard of someone you don’t know? No, a credible business wouldn’t do that. But leaving blog comments that are nothing more than a link or multiple links back to your website is the online equivalent of that behavior. It is also the fastest way to get your comment deleted and to have future comments marketed as spam.

If you have a post addressing a specific question at hand, then it is ok to include that link into a comment, along with a summary of the information provided on your site. That way if people are looking for only a brief answer, they don’t have to click through to your site.

Another way to include a link back to your website in blog comments is to use a well-optimized signature.

For example:
Name
Company
Website
Twitter Username

This signature helps provide some context to the person reading the comment. If your comment is thoughtful and adds value to the discussion, it is likely that readers will visit your website and follow you on Twitter.

Understand Comments and the “nofollow” Tag

So, why do you constantly see people including links in their comments? It isn’t really to get traffic back to their sites. Instead, it is mainly for search engine optimization purposes. Those who constantly include links in their comments hope to generate more inbound links in an effort to rank higher in search engines for specific keywords. However, most of these commenters are wasting their time.

Most blogs, including this one, use something called a “nofollow” tag for all links in the comments of a blog post. The “nofollow” tag tells a search engine’s web crawler to not follow the link, thus not passing any search engine optimization credit. In other words, links with “nofollow” tags do not count as inbound links for a website.

How to Determine If a Blog Uses “nofollow”

Go to a blog post that has at least one comment and copy the name of the person who left the comment. Then, in your web browser click the view menu and select the option that says “Page Source” or “View Source.”  Use the find function on your computer (Ctrl+F) to search the source code for the name that you copied from the blog post. Does the link left by the commenter have the “nofollow” tag next to it? If it does, you know that the blog you are looking at does not pass SEO credit through comment links. Most blog owners use the “nofollow” tag as a way to reduce the number of spam comments on their blog.

nofollow tag

How to Always Leave an Interesting Blog Comment

How many of the blog comments you have read do you actually remember? If you are like me, your answer would be very few. That is because the vast majority of them are not thoughtful or interesting enough. In some cases I read comments and think to myself, “Did this person even read the article?” So, how do you make sure that the author of the blog remembers you? (More on why this is important later.) It is best to have a framework, a way of organizing your response so that it makes an impact.

For blog commenting it works best if you start out with a piece of positive feedback about the article. Follow up with more in-depth explanation or disagreement on one specific part of the article. Using this framework, a comment for this article could look something like this:

“Interesting article, I have never thought about commenting on blogs in this much detail before. I will use this information to improve the comments I leave for my business in the future. However, I do have to disagree with you about the reasoning for including links in comments. Being that many people sign up to receive email updates for new comments to a post they have previously commented on, I have found that including links in you comments can send a decent amount of quality traffic to your website and impact lead generation if you are commenting on relevant sites.”

This sample comment follows the methodology mentioned above. Notice that it isn’t too long. It is long enough to show thoughtfulness and to make a point, but not so long that others won’t take the time to read it.

Build Relationships Through Blog Commenting

The most valuable aspect of blog commenting often goes ignored. Most spam commenters are looking for a quick way to drive relevant traffic to their sites. Yet blog commenting isn’t good for quick traffic. Its true value lies in the opportunity to build long-term relationships. Leaving thoughtful blog comments can be one of the best ways to start a relationship with an influential blogger in your industry. After leaving several insightful comments and following him or her on Twitter, it is likely they will recognize your name and follow you back. Once they follow you on Twitter, you can continue to build your relationship with them through their blog and Twitter. After a while, you can approach them about the possibility of doing a guest post for their blog, or maybe ask them to tweet a major blog post that you have recently completed.

This type of relationship building through blog commenting can help drive long-tail traffic over time from links to your blog or website being included in the influencers blog posts and tweets.

How often do you comment on blog posts?

MikeVolpe

Mike Volpe

Mike Volpe joined HubSpot in early 2007 as the company's fifth employee and currently serves as chief marketing officer. He heads HubSpot's lead generation and branding strategy through inbound marketing, including blogging, search engine optimization, video marketing, and social media. Since Mike joined HubSpot, the company has grown from 10 to 10,000 customers, expanded from 5 to over 650 employees, and increased revenue from $0 to $77 million. Under Mike's leadership, HubSpot's marketing attracted a following larger than nearly any SaaS company including a blog with 1.5m monthly visits, 642,000 Facebook fans, 365,000 Twitter followers, over 100,000 LinkedIn group members, and an annual INBOUND conference with over 5,000 registered attendees. Mike appears as a marketing speaker at industry conferences and has guest lectured at Harvard Business School, Babson College, Carnegie Mellon, TCU, Boston University, and MIT Sloan School of Management.

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Comments

Posted this on the Social Media Today Facebook page Facebook

Hi Mike,

This is a great article. I have always found that leaving a proper comment, with proper grammar and some actual engagement has worked best to encourage interaction with my fellow bloggers.

When I first began blogging I was blown away at the spam comments. Thank goodness wordpress has askimet to get rid of those. 

In my article on SMT I talk about how social media is going to save the world because spammers are getting squeezed out more and more in favour of actual human beings who engage with other human beings. (what a concept :)

I hope people take up your advice and we see more and more conversations rather than random comment posting. 

Some very sound information... thank you.

Commenting on blogs is something I have been looking into but was concerned about getting it right.

I've had this on my mind (and mouth) recently so thank you for this well-timed post! I think the art of the comment is so important and not tough to get right if you're mindful and honest. Comments can get a bad rap because they can turn ugly/useless quickly but I have been saved many times by a helpful comment to an already helpful post. 

 

Awesome commenters of the world unite!

Mike, what an wesome post!  It could also be names how not to be an awesome commenter.  The post made me laugh out loud especially the line about "Did the person even read the article?"  The humor mixed in with your solid comments made the post stand out.  Thanks for sharing.  Greatly appreciate it.  Happy New Year!

Thanks for the great information.  Most blog books talk about following & commenting, but not necessarily how to do it effectively.  I appreciate the info.

Mike, 

You are one of the most "easy to read writers" on the web and yet you provide some of the most valuable content. This goes to show how good writing feeds the auidence without giving them indigestion. 

This is exceptional write/right and does answer quite a few questions on the value in posting comments. Beyond expressing ones' opinion, it is good to see that additional validations are a bonus.

Thanks

Some great takeaways from your blog, particularly in the section about leaving an interesting comment.  Hope mine is worthy...  

With respect to the "nofollow" tags, I currently don't have a site that I would link to in comments I leave.  However, I notice that when I Googled my own name the other day (no, no, I'm not a narcisist, really) one of my blog comments on a popular social media site had pretty high organic search placement.  It seems we should be more concerned about our signatures than links in the comments when looking to improve SEO, no?

Hi Mike,

It seemed clear that the most obvious way to show my appreciation for this excellent article was to post a comment!

Seriously though I found this content useful as after years of steering an SME with a team of 20 odd people, I am now running personal consulting-style businesses which rely on me spreading awareness and building up my own client base.  So I've just launched my websites and my facebook and twitter sites etc and I'm looking for good strategies for their use.  I always read a lot of blogs and I've been re-tweeting the ones I find the most interesting - however you've reminded me of the extra power I can gain by commenting as well.  Given the time, I already put in reading the articles I love, it doesn't cost me much extra time - it makes total sense - and it compliments the other work I am doing to build up awareness and relations via the social networks and other avenues.

Given that this article has been so useful, I'm also going to tweet about it and like it on facebook too :-)

All the best

David

blog: http://internetbusinessexpert.wordpress.com

twitter: http://twitter.com/webshrewd

 

Mike, 

Both the technical and stylistic advice you've provided is likely to guide readers toward contributing well structured, valuable epilogue to blog posts. 

Now, it's unlikely that every comment will be memorable, but understanding the power of clear communication is an excellent tool to employ when building successful relationships. 

You've made it to my bookmarks, thanks for providing this appropriate, useful instruction.

Andrew Syiek
0260pr.com
twitter.com/@0260pr

Enjoyed the article. I wish more of those leaving comments would read this. In particular, I appreciated the section on building long-term relationships as there seems to be so much emphasis by so many on the quick hit with marginal value.

Great and useful post, Mike. I comment a lot and wondered if it was doing much good due to the no-follow tag. Now I know how to see if that tag is being used.

Jeff Ogden, The Fearless Competitor
Find New Customers
www.findnewcustomers.com
@fearlesscomp

Interesting article, I have never thought about commenting on blogs in this much detail before. I will use this information to improve the comments I leave for my business in the future. However, I do have to disagree...

It is a fantastic article.  Thank you.  As a headhunter, it was always so necessary to be stealth and fly under the radar with our marketing.  Our clients normally do not want a good strong successful headhunter discussing those successes in public.  Instead they prefer their competitors have never heard of you.

Now as I try a new venture and want the world to know what I am doing, it is hard to not stomp all over like a bull in a china shop.  Your advice helped me with some appropriate etiquette and I plan to incorporate it daily.


Derek Dostal

Founder

YouStartMonday.com

yes you are right Twitter and  Facebook has solve problem of blog user and who use blogs for  comment post.after reading your article, i am realy impressed how can become good commenter. Thanks for sharing expericence with us.

 

 

 

I agree with you, people are trying to spam blogs just to get a backlink but they dont know that a better comment is more then just anything, a good comment could bring visitor driectly form that blog on which you are commenting and a spam comment may be approved but it doesn't stick for long. Before I used to make a list of comment and then just put it on blogs..I got gr8 result but later I saw my links are being deleted and that is when I found that effective comment not only stick but also it brings visitor...thanks for this artcile for making it clear..

Thanks for the great info. Most blog books talk about following & commenting, although not always the right way to do it efficiently. I appreciate the information.

There is definently an art to commenting and I certainly still have a long way to go before I would consider myself a top commentor. Interest and interaction are'nt they the two fundamentals points when it comes to any discussions on any topics. Read the content, consider there point of view and apply your own thoughts. If only more comments followed these rules we would see better commenting everywhere.

Hi Mike! Thanks for posting this! It was really interesting to read.

Im new to blog commenting so I need all the help I can get great post thanks. I must admit I love reading and taking part in discussions on blogs I just need to learn the right way. Cheers

Great post the only problem is now I know what Im doing wrong and I thought I was doing ok haha:) I need as much help as I can possible get as Im not very good at commenting properly although I do always try and give a clear and honest comment. Cheers

Cool, so if I make different label feeds, will my feed counter show the combined total readers? http://wordpressseotips.net

For once a very informative and helpful article - thanks for sharing your wisdom.

Great post! I've sent the link to a few people who keep trying to spam my own blogs with their 'not so great' comments. Hopefully the point will get through. Although I very much doubt it...

 

Thanks.

The article is worth reading,Thank you very much! I will keep your new articles.

WOW, i though I was a good commenting on blogs, well this gave me a lesson, and helpful tips for now on I will keep in mind. 

Thank you for the information and great blog by the way.

”The most valuable aspect of blog commenting… lies in the opportunity to build long-term relationships.”

Well stated, Mike. The points you make, particularly the one above, are salient. The link I offer isn’t to my blog, but is an article that parallels much of what you say, while providing other considerations on the importance of commenting. Please note that while I am in fact the author, it isn’t a cheesy attempt to promote spam, but rather a desire to expand on the insightful dialogue begun here.

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