Creating a blog comment strategy that benefits a Website requires research, a well-thought-out plan, and a desire to meet your goals. With a little bit of time and discipline any Website can reap the rewards that blog commenting can bring.
Jumping right in….
Which Blogs To Focus On And Which Blogs To Ignore
The Blogs we will be focusing on use the built-in WordPress commenting system. Ignore all blogs that use Facebook, Disqus, IntenseDebate and other non-built-in commenting systems. As well, skip the few Websites that do not allow a link back to your Website.
Depending on your market, finding blogs that meet the above requirements could be simple or a rather daunting task. Self-help-tutorial sites often use WordPress to manage Comments, while most Political sites use Disquis. It could take months to build a significant political list, while it would only take a few minutes in the self-help niches.
Researching Blogs In Your Market
Before you start, you will need to research some of the top Blogs in your niche markets. Your goal should be to find as many popular blogs as possible.
- Use Google to find blogs in your market.
- Focus on Blogs that already get comments.
- Focus on Blogs that rank under 20,000 on Alexa.
- Focus on Blogs that allow you to add a link to your Website.
- Only use Blogs that use the built-in WordPress commenting system.
Your research starts with a Spreadsheet: Create a new Spreadsheet document on your Computer or use Google Docs. I have provided an example spreadsheet or view in Google Docs, which looks like the screen shot below.
Blog Research Steps
The research steps below work in any niche market, simply adjust the terms used to match to your needs.
- Open a browser to Google.com
- Use whatever niche words that relate to your blogs market. Examples: political blog or political
news blog, politics blog, republican blog, democrat blog, conservative blog, liberal blog.
- One of the best ways to find blogs is to search for the long-tail phrases people in your market would actually search for. Examples: Golf Industry: how to improve your putting. Cooking/Recipes: baked beans on the grill.
- Use Google Blog Search to expand your research.
- Need more blogs? Try searching for, related:blog-name.com some blogs will return results, others will not.
- Open each possible result in a new tab.
- Ignore major media / major market sites. For politics this would be a site like cnn.com, for the golf niche it would be sites like golf.com, some markets do not have Websites like this, others do.
- Verify the Website is a blog and has comments. Sometimes you can see the comment count near each posts title, with other websites you will have to click on several posts to verify they have comments.
- If the blog has comments, verify that they have hosted comments and not an external comment system like Facecook Comments, Disqus, or IntenseDebate.
- Once you have found a possible blog to use, copy/paste the url into your spreadsheet.
- Repeat the above and gather roughly 20-50 blogs.
Rank Your Research List And Gather RSS Feed URL’s
For the next step you will be adding three columns to your spreadsheet, they are: updates, rank and feed url. We are ranking the blogs to make sure that our time is spent on Blogs that deserve our attention. While most blogs that get comments also get traffic, our focus is to find the 5-10 very popular blogs that also update regularly.
- Open each blog again, scan over the ‘blog updates’ and guess about how often they update. We are looking for blogs that update a few times daily to at least once a week. Most popular blogs update a few times a day to at least 2-3 times a week.
- With the blog still open: Grab the RSS Feed URL. Most blogs have a link to the Feed URL in the sidebar of the Website. Copy/Paste the URL into our speadsheet.
- Open Alexa.com enter the domain-name.com in the search bar, then click search. We are looking for sites that have an Alexa Traffic Rank below 20,000. If your niche does not have that many popular blogs, increase the rank to 50k and below. Log the number in the Spreadsheet.
Once you go through your list, save it, and keep it…. do not delete the Websites that do not rank high enough, they may be used later. Once you get a grasp of blog commenting you may want to start commenting on more blogs. My political list of Blogs has just over 1,000 Websites, I monitor via a Feed Reader roughly 250 of them.
Use a RSS Feed Reader To Track Website Updates
- Open Google Reader and start adding the RSS Feed URL’s to the reader.
- Once you add a feed, move the feed into a folder to help keep your niched feeds organized.
- To add a feed to a folder: Select the feed, click the arrow to the right of the feed, and select New Folder, then enter a name for the folder and press enter. If you already have folders, simply drag the feed subscription into the folder.
Use folders to highly organize your niched Websites: I have a folder named “comment on” which are my top targeted feeds to monitor. Within the Web Development niche, my folder names look like the example to the left.
I have 13 different “Tips” related folders that split up and organize 100’s of niche related Websites.
To add a feed to a folder within Google Reader, first subscribe to the feed, then hover over the feed in the Subscriptions list to expose the little arrow to the right. Select either “New Folder” or the Folder Name you would like to move the feed into.
Focus on 5-10 Very Large Websites
Go Big or Go Home! The top Websites you monitor should be the monsters of your niche. You want these Websites not only have the ability to link to you but potentially drive some traffic to your Website.
With these Websites you should always try to multi-engage in the topic, meaning make multiple comments on the same article. The idea is not only add to the topic, but to engage with other commenter’s. Typically very large Websites end up having comments spin into multiple sub-topics. Once a topic starts to spin off, your ability to drive traffic from your comments increases greatly.
Add To The Topic, Expand The Topic, Share Knowledge
Be very relevant, be helpful, ask questions, and help others. The only industry I know of that you can break these rules in is politics; It is perfectly acceptable to debate a topic in politics and it is acceptable to comment on Websites outside of your political views. However, do not be an asshole, being an ass will almost always result in all of your comments being deleted, no matter what niche market you are in.
Be The First To Comment or Within The Top 5
The bigger the Website is, the more you should focus on being one of the first people to comment.
Being first means you are monitoring updates as they happen. Make sure you have actually read the article, watched the video and/or listened to the pod cast. If an article just updated with a 20 minute video, your comment should not happen within the first few minutes, at least 20 minutes should pass by before your comment is made. If you comment too early you increase the chances of your comment getting flagged as spam by the Website owner.
When it comes to traffic building in comments, a relevant link works wonders. The keyword here is relevant, something that expands a topic or gives an alternate view of the topic.
The issue with link dropping is many blogs consider them spam, no matter what it links to, while others will instantly moderate your post. Your goal should be to find those blogs that allow link drops, then use them sparingly and only on the most popular articles.
Once you find out if a blog will allow link drops, be sure to log it in your spreadsheet. (explained below)
Use The Same Avatar Everywhere
Your avatar is very important when it comes to brand building. You want people to recognize you across various blogs that you comment on, your own website(s), forums, and social accounts.
Personally, I use a head shot on my avatar, I never use my Website or Corporate logos. The only time I do not use my head shot is when I am posting in politics, that is because I use an alt-character and handle when I post on political sites, my political Websites use this same character, along with related social accounts.
Using Keywords As Your Name Instead of Your Actual Name
Most Websites do not allow this…. your job is to find the ones that do. These Websites typically do not automatically moderate comments.
The tough part of this is knowing when to do this and what to link to. The name used and the linked page, should be very relevant to the article you are posting on.
- Locate as many medium and smaller Websites as you can, that also get comments.
- Look over the comments to see if others have keywords in the names they use.
- Comment on related articles on other Websites that match the topics of articles on your Website.
- Instead of linking to the main page of your Website, link to the related article on your Website.
If you see a few people doing this, then you know you have found a site that allows it. The focus here is not to comment on every topic but rather only the topics that match a topic on your own Websites.
Link Building / Sharing Articles You Comment On
When you comment on an article, be sure to social bookmark the comment and share it on your social profiles. This helps in several ways:
- It ensures search engines see the article and your comment.
- It helps drive in more comments, which means more exposure for your comment.
- It helps you get noticed by the Website owner. This can help open a relationship up with that blogger, they may comment on your articles or share your articles with their readers.
Creating a Blog Comment Strategy That Works
The above information is rather pointless without a strategy built around it that ensures a steady stream of comments are being made along with back link building those comments.
If you find that 2 comments a day is too much, then lower it to 1. If you can handle 10-20 comments a day, then increase your goal. One thing you will notice with commenting is your traffic rankings on Alexa and Compete will improve, even if you do not see a significant traffic increase from commenting.
What Can Blog Commenting Do To Help You?
Several things really….
- It helps get create exposure for your name; The owners of the Website you are commenting on will recognize it quicker along with the loyal readers of the Website.
- It helps bring in more search engine traffic; how much and how quick depends on many factors, like your niche, your competition and if your Website creates sticky articles or not.
- It helps bring in fresh traffic; Commenting is not going to bring in massive traffic, however it can be noticed in your Statistics. Two articles on TechCrunch that I have commented in have brought in 1000’s of unique visitors, but this is not typical. In most cases it takes several hundred of comments across 100’s of Websites to really notice a difference.
- The more comments you make, the higher your Alexa and Compete rankings go. This is a huge advantage when it comes to landing pre-paid advertising deals and qualifying for some affiliate programs.
- It helps build direct relationships: The more you comment, the more people get conformable with you, the more people will contact you directly to ask questions, request interviews, or just to say hello.
Having a commenting strategy that ensures you stay “somewhat” consistent, which helps greatly with the end goal of brand exposure and link / traffic building. Even if you can only comment once a week, it adds up over time and can make a noticeable difference within a few months.