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Why Your Comments Aren’t Driving Traffic

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Back when I first started blogging, I remember that people were comment-crazy. I got my start writing for someone else’s blog network, and one of the things they drilled into our heads in the writers’ forum, employee training, etc. was that if you want to grow your blog readership, you need to leave comments on other blogs in your niche.

Not exactly the traffic you were expecting?

Comments are awesome. I love getting comments. When I feel passionate about a topic, I love leaving comments. But the truth? Comments don’t drive traffic.

Several years ago, I started my first blog, called the Millionaire Blogger, where I tracked my efforts to make a million dollars as a blogger (total, not per month or anything). One of the most popular posts I did there was a case study I did. For one week, I went out and commented everywhere. My goal was to leave 100 high-quality, helpful comments on blogs in my niche, and by the end of the week, I had exceeded that number. I tracked my stats very carefully. The results? I saw a very, very, very minor bump in traffic. The traffic wasn’t sticky at all. I didn’t receive more comments on my own posts than usual.

So why aren’t your comments driving traffic? It likely has very little to do with what you’re actually saying. Someone who leaves crap comments that are filled with backlinks will likely piss off the blogger and the community where you’re leaving those comments, but someone who leaves a helpful comment isn’t going to see much better results in terms of traffic back to their own website. It’s not about your content.

It’s about community.

If you wander around your niche and leave comments randomly, people may read your comment and enjoy it, even respond, but they don’t know you. They’re on that blog because they’re part of that blog’s community. They are looking for a new community. They care about your in the context of that blog’s community, but they have no push to get to know what you’re doing outside of that community.

The only way to change that, to make them care about who you are outside of that community is if you become part of it. If you’re there every day giving awesome tips and adding to the conversation, if you’re part of the forum, if you’re active on Twitter within the community, if you start showing up on the blogs of other commenters…then, people will start taking notice. Naturally, they’ll become curious about you and check out your site, and maybe even become part of your community.

In my opinion, though, commenting is not a good traffic-driving strategy. Don’t comment on others’ blogs because you’re hoping to see traffic back to your site. It’s a highly inefficient use of your time. Comment on others’ blogs because you actually have something to say and want to be a part of their community.

Allison Boyer freelance writer and content marketing consultant. She also runs the food blog The PinterTest Kitchen with her mom and sister. You can follow her shenanigans on Twitter (@allison_boyer) or contact her at allisonmboyer@gmail.com.


Feedback

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  • Deb Dorchak

    Do you think that other forms of social media have taken away from the need to post comments on blogs? I’ve noticed I get more conversations going on the Facebook link to a post than on the actual post on the site itself.

    • Alli

      That’s a good question, Deb. I definitely have that problem sometimes – people leave comments on FB/Twitter, not on the post itself. But even leaving comments on social media sites…unless you’re a part of the community, I’m not sure they drive much traffic back to your own profile/site.

      • Deb Dorchak

        We’ve been watching our Analytic stats and there’s plenty of traffic with people going to read and our numbers are up steadily from the FB reports we get. I know for myself, posting comments on FB or Twitter is just so much easier for some reason, with FB being my place of choice over Twitter. Many of the people who are/were part of the blogs’ community changed over to commenting on the FB page rather than the site itself over time.

        You and I cut our teeth on the old comments were everything line of thinking. There were times on “the former blog” were it wasn’t unusual to have well over 100 comments in a day and it was hell to keep up with. Maybe comments are a thing of the past and we’re evolving into another way of communicating. Who knows what’s going to come along next and replace the social media?

  • Robert

    Interesting article, thanks. Have you heard of anyone who did a test similar to yours that did generated more traffic to their site?

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