For any new website, what’s the most important activity that you need to do to get it established? It’s not SEO (per se) and it’s not link building. It’s generating traffic! The reason is that, while links and SEO matter, nothing matters more than getting eyeballs on your content…
But it has to be the right eyeballs!
I’m going to assume that part of your internet marketing strategy will involve content marketing. It should because content marketing CAN work really well if you do it right. The problem with content marketing for brand new websites is the marketing part.
You can create the best content in the world, but if no-one sees it, no-one will link to it or share it. And that’s what you need, you need people to share your content and specifically you need the right people to find it and link to it from there own websites.
Getting The Attention Of Creators
There is a concept known as the 90:9:1 rule (read more about it here) which basically says that for every hundred people on the internet:
- 90 Do little other than consume content
- 9 React to it and interact with it
- 1 Person creates that content
Now there are many a discussion over whether this is still true, because thanks to Facebook and Twitter many more people are creating content than ever before. But the fact remains that we want to get links, and the people who provide links are true creators – they own websites or blogs and are certainly in the minority.
Gaining Traffic Vs Gaining Links
There are plenty of posts about using blog commenting to drive traffic. It works and it is worth doing for the traffic alone. But the real value isn’t in the traffic you generate, it is in the potential to build links. Here’s why:
There are 3 groups of people who read the comments section of blogs:
- Consumers – to an extent will scan over the comments
- Interactors – will read and even respond to comments
- Bloggers – particularly the blogger who owns that particular blog
So there you have it, the people who pay most attention to your blog comments will be the people who interact with content and may in fact be people who have blogs of their own. And if nothing else, you can guarantee that the owner / editor of the blog you have commented on will see your comment.
“There are few better ways to get the attention of a blogger than by commenting (usefully) on his blog…”
So let’s imagine that a few of the right people see your comment, if your comment is good, helpful, thoughtful, funny whatever, there is a reasonable chance that the blogger, or at least some blogger will click on the link to your website. This won’t happen every time, but if you comment regularly it will happen enough.
There may be ways to get more traffic, but blog commenting will bring you a much higher proportion of the sorts of people who have the ability and inclination to link to you, and that’s how you start a snowball effect.
Ok, so Moz.com is one of the biggest (if not the biggest) blog in the online marketing world, and Rand (the owner) is one of the biggest influencers in the industry. So in a recent Whiteboard Friday about the value of links, Rand actually references a post on Wordstream and specifically mentions a comment left on that blog by a guy called Russ Jones.
This is awesome for Russ, because just for writing a comment on a blog he has gained a mention from some of the most influential people in SEO. It also shows that Rand reads that particular blog and even the comments.
How To Actually Earn Links
To earn links, it’s not enough to just leave a few comments and wait for the traffic to come in. Your blog commenting strategy needs to be carefully crafted to earn those links and mentions that you need. Here’s how to maximize the effectiveness of your blog comments:
Set Up A Gravatar
This is a simple step, so do it right now if you haven’t already. Sign up to Gravatar with your regular email address and upload an avatar of YOUR FACE. Remember that this process is all about connecting and getting noticed.
Humans are wired to automatically recognise faces – a picture of your face will always get more immediate attention that any other image you could use, so take a good quality photo of yourself looking your best – a smile goes a long way! The more approachable your avatar looks, the more people will click your link.
Use Your Real Name
Again, it’s all about branding. Plus, you want the blogger in question to like you. Some blogs allow you to use a name such as “Joe Blogs @yourbusiness”, which is fine. But whatever you do, include your full name. This is all about building your own reputation.
Make Your Comments Awesome
This should go without saying of course, but I’m going to say it anyway. Your comments need to be noteworthy in order to get the attention of the blogger. Think of your comment as an opportunity to show off your own expertise and credibility. Needless to say, simple one liners won’t do (“nice post, thanks!), but just because your comment is long, that doesn’t automatically mean it is good.
Here’s what makes a good comment:
- Suggest additional tips not mentioned in the actual post
- Disagree with the blogger, suggest a different perspective
- Be funny, irreverent or even cheeky (but not rude)
- Show how the post relates to your own experience
There’s an old marketing wisdom which says that most people need to be exposed to something 7 times before they actually remember it, pay attention to it or act on it. The exact number isn’t important, but the lesson is that you need to be consistent in frequenting the same blogs and making sure that you get your name and your face in front of those bloggers and their audiences repeatedly.
Write Great Content
Remember that the main reason for blog commenting is to EARN links by attracting the attention of other bloggers. But no matter how much attention you win, if your blog content isn’t good enough, they won’t link to you. So your first mission, before you start commenting, is to ensure that your content is good enough.
When you comment on blogs, you can put your blog URL in the URL field instead of just your homepage. That way, people who read your content can click through straight to your awesome content, rather than your home page (which may be more sales focused).
You should also ensure that you are commenting on the right types of blogs. Ask yourself whether the blog you are commenting on would be likely to link to a blog like yours.
Have The First Word
Finally, one of the best ways to maximize your traffic is to get the first comment in. On most blogs, comments are shown in order of when they were left, so if you are quick your comment will be at the top. On blogs with a lot of comments this is an important way to to gain the most exposure.
In order to ensure that you always get to the punch first, you should consider setting up a Feedly account and using IFTTT – which I covered in detail in our recent post de-scaling your link building: guest posting without getting penalised.
Don’t Rely On One Method
As powerful as commenting can be for driving traffic (and influencers) to your website, don’t rely on it in isolation – overusing one strategy is a good way to find yourself on a slippery slope to corner cutting. Instead, make sure that you use commenting as part of a wider strategy focused on generating a good mix of different types of traffic.