Hey You – Why Are You Commenting On Other Websites?

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Point
image by a2gemma

Commenting on someone’s website or blog is the same as introducing yourself and then talking in person. Without the handshake or the eye contact. But you can definitely tell how sincere someone is when you first meet them. Are they even noticing you? Are they really trying to get to know you? If you want to learn HOW to interact (and a lot of how NOT to), then let’s explore how commenting and interacting on websites and blogs is done.

Bot commenting

I’ve received spam/bot comments on my website before. It will usually say something like this, “I really like your website and at first your writing wasn’t good, but now it’s getting better and better.” or “Nice post, I will visit your blog more often.” Whoever programs these bot comments should be ashamed. Don’t insult people with real blogs with automated spam. Further proof of a spammer is a link back to some pay day loan/insurance/drug or other fishy website. How long would you listen to someone in person talk like that? A second if that?

The manufacturing plant approach

If you are online and trying to get traffic, then you know incoming links are highly valued. If this leads you to comment on other’s websites and blogs as if you are running a manufacturing plant, then you are probably just a hair better off than a bot commenter. The idea of a manufacturing plant is to produce as many widgets (or whatever it is creating) in as short a time as possible that function.

This approach to commenting on other’s websites is simply this: Find as many websites and blogs as possible that allow comments. Then spend NO MORE than 10 seconds reading articles/posts on that website. Capture 1 KEYWORD from the article. Share a short blub in a manner similar to this, “Nice, that helped, [insert keyword from article here] is very important.” Really, imagine someone going up to person after person saying, “Hi, you are nice, buy my book.” Sure they thought of something, but it’s very forgettable.

But hey, you’re in a time crunch, I get it. We’ve all been there haven’t we? We want some links back to our site, so we become scanomaniacs and submit comments with no thought that what we’re saying might have already been covered in the article we scanned, or that another commenter may have addressed what we are saying.

I’m working hard on NOT passing websites and blogs through my scanning assembly line and really trying to understand and add value to them.

The template approach

I’m surprised that more people don’t use this approach actually. It’s pretty simple – create a few paragraphs of commenting text that can apply to most articles – it’s really easy to do if you are a first or second time commenter since you can add to the template that you are new. Make sure to have a lot of generalized text and places to fill in specific keywords. Something like this:

Hey, it’s [insert your name] – I am new to your blog but like what I am seeing. You make some very good points about [key point 1] and [key point 2]. This gives me something to really think about.

Even though I am new on your site, I like where you are taking it and would love to hear more about [key point 1] and [key point 2]. You’ve really done a nice job with your design and layout. I look forward to reading more posts from you in the future.

Sound familiar? :) The template approach at least shows you are reading SOME of what the article says. If you want to create similar volume as the manufacturing approach, but at least add some value, then template commenting is the way to go! Just use your favorite text editor, do a find and replace with [key point1] and [key point 2] and put in the keywords you want to target. You can even get creative and create many templates to handle more situations, such as a supportive template, an argumentative template, or a template that links to Wikipedia for a keyword.

This method of communicating reminds me of the first “Back To The Future” movie with Michael J. Fox. In it, he sees his father when he is young in a diner walking up to his future mom. He pulls out an index card with some writing on it and says, “You are my density… I mean my destiny.” As he’s holding the card too, funny stuff – and it was starting to work until ol’ Biffy waltzed in. :)

The obligation/guilt approach

Someone complimented you somewhere or is linking to you or commented on your website. What do you do? Do you just leave their good deed unanswered? If you’re a large and successful website/blog, then the answer is probably yes. But most people get that ‘tug’ at their gut that says, “Hey, stop by this site. This person contributed to you, it’s only fair you do something in return.” And if you don’t, then you are defying reciprocity and guilt will take over. Do you ever comment out of guilt or obligation?

Because the site is popular!

This is the number one reason for commenting. Tell me I’m wrong, I dare you :) There is a direct correlation between the Alexa ranking of a website and the number of comments it receives. I’m not saying this is good or bad. I am saying that if someone thinks they will get a lot of click backs, their motivation to comment on your website will increase substantially. Your Alexa rank being top notch will really add to this. This is only different if someone really writes a killer, unique, and thought provoking post. Then traffic ranking does not matter because interest has been sparked.

In case you are wondering, Alexa rank is just one way to measure how popular a website is (i.e. how many people are visiting it).

This reminds me of the popular guy or girl in high school. You know the guy built like a truck, or the girl who looks like a Victoria’s Secret model who everyone wants to be like. Not only do people try and imitate them, but they’ll try their darndest to impress them and get on their good side. And who can blame them?

Because a chord was struck (or nerve)

This is the best reason to comment generally because it is genuine. Sometimes someone will write something (or do a video/podcast) that really gets your brain thinking or just flat out ticks you off. Either of these two reasons will probably lead to a comment that is lengthy – many paragraphs usually (that is if you know how to format your writing – otherwise it’s one long text blurb). Comments like this are the best. They spur discussion (even if it gets heated sometimes) and this leads to great value for the article. You, the reader, how often do you comment in this way?

If a chord was indeed struck this is where online communities begin. Someone who has found value from your blog/website and begins commenting regularly will likely share what you have with other people. And some of those other people may like what you are sharing and share it with others, creating a snowball effect. This should be a goal of anyone doing a website – so much value that people come back and tell their friends!

Having read these, what do you think the best approach is? Got any other ideas for how commenting on other websites and blogs is done? Have you commented in any of the above ways? What makes you interested in someone when you first meet them – and what makes you interested in a website when you first visit it?

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11 Comments

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  1. Like many people, I find that the easiest posts to genuinely comment on are those that ask/require you to think an issue out or a post that purposely tries to push people’s buttons (in a good or bad way). Most posts, mine included … I won’t lie here, are more of an informative nature (e.g. “7 ways to be happy”) and not an interacting nature (e.g. “What are the ways to increase your happiness”). So they don’t encourage a lot of comments (or the comments are very generic, like the description of your template method). Ironically, people seem to like the informative posts a lot more, even if they don’t actually comment. I’d say the ratio of comments and the blog’s popularity gets smaller as the Alexa rating drops.

    This post gave me something to think about. My aim is to be more interactive so now I’m thinking of ways to have my posts encourage more of that, regardless of whether it’s popular or not.
    .-= Valerie M´s last blog ..How to revive your creative side (and get out of your decade-long rut) =-.

  2. I would say I’m somewhere down the middle between commenting because a chord was struck and commenting simply because I know the benefit of it. I definitely understand the importance of providing a valuable comment.

    I totally agree with you Jeremy. I think that what would help most, when it comes to providing valuable comments is to think of it like this, it’s not so much just having commented but when people are reading the article many times they keep reading all the way to the bottom of the comments.

    When they find a valuable comment that contributes to the article they may want to click over and find out more about the comment author. A good question to ask ourselves is, how does our comment stand out from the other comments. Does our comment get swallow up by the others present? (especially on a high traffic blog that receives lots of comments.)

    And lastly, it’s good to think of commenting as your version of a mini blog at the end of the post. You won’t want to comment as long as I have above, but try to provide as much value in as few words as possible.

    Great post Jeremy!
    Jarrod
    .-= Jarrod@ Optimistic Journey´s last blog ..Got Validation? =-.

  3. That’s a good point Jarrod, thinking of your comments as a mini blog – hadn’t thought of it like that. And also having comments stand out from the crowd – that’s one that takes some time but is well worth it.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  4. This is going to sound completely shallow, but attractiveness is what I first notice. For some reason, people respond to beauty, it captures us. I spent 15 minutes on a website because of the cute baby pictures. This is significant because I don’t have or want children.

    Until now, your picture was the first thing I saw when I load your webpage. (You’ve rearranged your page) Your attractiveness made me look at your site a little further. Not in a gay way, but a horrible looking troll would have a different effect.

    As far as blog comments, mine aren’t generic….yet. I have to be careful not to hijack a post by taking it to another level or topic :-)
    .-= Scott Barron´s last blog ..ONE campaign =-.

  5. Hey Scott – thanks for the honesty, you made some good points – I hadn’t thought about the picture on the front page being a thing that keeps visitors, but if it works, I’ll change it up so that collapsing the recent lists of articles on the home page is easily apparent (you can click the link for ‘Click Here to See What I’ve Added Recently’ to show/hide what is new – and it keeps it in a cookie for when you come back).

    Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Definitely agree with you there – you do a pretty good job on your site with introducing topics that spur discussion and even a little debate – something I am working on doing more here. Thanks!

  7. Spam comments exist because it works unfortunatly as a link building method. It’s done using a program where you can send out the same comment to 1000′s of blogs all at once… so it is not done one by one, and most are happy if even 10% get posted.

    Spammers are funny because most can’t write. They would have much better success if they wrote something better than “great site, I will be subscribing at once!”. Also, their IP gets blacklisted by akimet. It does not work on real sites that are taken care of but that is not the point. They want the backlink and thats what they get with spam.

    1. Hi Edge of David. I’d be interested to know how people send comments to 1000′s of blogs. Perhaps there is some automated way to do it? I know I’ve seen comments and thought, “This has to be from a bot of some kind.” If it just sounded more real I might actually approve it. But also, they seem to have some dodgy url attached to them, like a free credit report, pay day loan, insurance, or other type of clue.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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