How to Generate Traffic with Blog Commenting

How to Generate Traffic with Blog Commenting

how to generate traffic with blog commentingIf you read any of the update posts from the second case study – the Community Marketing Challenge – you probably already know that I’m a big fan of blog commenting as a way to build your initial readership quickly. So today, I want to go a little more in depth on this topic to show you why I love it so much and how you can implement this technique effectively into your own affiliate marketing business.

First things first, for those of you who are new to the industry, blog commenting means visiting related blogs in your niche and leaving comments on posts with a link back to your site. The idea is that leaving helpful, insightful comments on someone else’s work will encourage readers to come back to your site through the link to your site. At the same time, you’re building backlinks to your website from relevant websites that will help your off-page SEO.

Now, a couple of cautions right off the bat. Blog commenting isn’t a “quick and easy” way to get visitors to your websites. Although there are programs you can use that will auto-submit blog comments for you, it’s best to do them yourself, by hand, from an ethical standpoint. But doing them yourself involves searching out related, authority blogs, reading and digesting the content, writing and leaving the comment, and then following up to be sure it was approved (if you’re commenting on a moderated blog).

Yes, you can speed some of this up – maybe you only look for blogs that auto-approve comments, or maybe you identify a set of blogs that you always comment on so that you’re not spending time searching for new places to post. But at the end of the day, it’s still one of the most time-consuming, labor-intensive promotional methods out there.

So why bother? Well, in my opinion, blog commenting is one of the best ways to get your site in front of actual eyeballs for as little financial investment as possible. Think about it – if your primary traffic generation strategy is to build up backlinks in order to get your site ranked high in the SERPs, there’s likely going to be a delay until you can get your site to the top spot. If you rely on this strategy exclusively, it could be a long time until visitors actually start showing up on your site.

When you post a comment on a popular blog, people will see the link to your site right away. And if you leave a good comment, you’ve created even more of an incentive for these readers to click away and come to your site. In a single day, you can grab the same number of readers that you could pull in after several weeks of working on improving your rankings.

Two other great things about blog commenting – it’s completely free to do and it results in the backlinks that will help your site get noticed in the long term.

Personally, when I’m first starting out with a website, I’m wary of pouring a ton of money into it until I know that it’s going to convert. I don’t want to buy backlinks (or pay a VA to create them for me) or invest in traffic generating tools until I’m sure I’m going to be able to get that money back out of the site. So I love that blog commenting is a free way to start building an audience before I invest financially in the site.

And finally, I love blog commenting because it’s like killing two birds with one stone. Not only are you gaining early visitors from your comments, you’re also building the backlinks we discussed earlier that’ll help you to improve your SERP rankings and generate even more traffic in the long run. It’s a win-win :)

So, if you want to take advantage of this strategy, follow the general process I described above:

* Find relevant blogs. You can use tools like Alexa.com to be sure you’re targeting authority sites in your niche that receive good traffic every day to get the most out of your comments.

* Read their content. I find it’s easiest to add the commenting sites to my RSS reader so that I can be one of the first to comment whenever they post new material.

* Leave comments. If you only take one piece of advice from this article, please let it be the importance of leaving valuable comments. Take the time to think through the author’s content and leave a comment that expands on the topic in some way. It doesn’t have to be long, but at least make it clear that you’ve read the post and thought about it. Your comments will be more likely to get approved, and the other people reading the site will see you as more of an authority figure (making you more likely to get clicks through to your site).

* Follow up to be sure the comment was approved (if you want). If you leave good comments, chances are they’ll get approved, so you might not want to spend time worrying about this. However, it can be nice to know which blogs will approve your comments in order to focus your efforts on the sites where you’re most likely to be approved. For this reason, it might be worth following up on the first comment you leave on any site to if/when you’ve been approved.

That’s really it. The beauty of blog commenting is that you can just go out and do it. You don’t need to do a ton of research or buy special tools – chances are you already know of at least one website in your niche where you can leave comments. So go do it, and then come back and let me know how it’s going for you :)

Image: HubSpot

PS – Have you had a chance to check out the new Common Sense Marketing Youtube channel?  Go there now and be sure to subscribe so that you get updates as soon as new videos are posted!

62 Responses to How to Generate Traffic with Blog Commenting

  1. Infonote says:

    If one is really interested in the topic he/she is writing about, it is a given that they will have a list of RSS feeds in Google Reader on that topic.

    All one needs to do is to add value to the post, by adding a reasonable comment.

  2. Sarah says:

    Infonote – That’s exactly it :)

    The key is to add value with comments, and if it’s a subject you’re even remotely interested in, it shouldn’t be hard to come up with something to say on any given post.

    Thanks for the comment!

  3. Dev says:

    Great tips Sarah.

    Blog commenting isn’t all about links & traffic. It is more about building relationship with author of a blog.

    One should also focus on writing quality comments instead of just saying “great post” or “nice work”.

    Keep up the good work, Sarah.

    ~Dev

    • Sarah says:

      Dev – I can’t believe I didn’t mention the relationship-building aspect of blogging!

      You’re right, as long as you’re leaving good, substantive comments, it’s a great way to reach out and connect with people.

      Thanks for commenting!

  4. Wong Jia Jun says:

    Thanks Sarah for the sharing.
    Allow me to add a little of my opinion about blog comment.
    It’s a token of appreciation and support to the blog owner too, like me myself.
    When they’re people commenting on my blog and creating discussion regarding to the topic, it motivates me a lot, to keep writing more contents, and involve in the discussion with readers who leave comment.

    It also shows that our blog is not “dead”, and comments make a blog post alive.

    While building up traffic for blogs, it could help us to build a relationship with the blog owner too. :D

    • Sarah says:

      Thanks for sharing!

      I think in a lot of cases, the discussions that go on in the comments are even more valuable than what’s shared in the original posts.

      Good for you for taking the time to leave more comments and help nurture those discussions!

  5. Blog commenting is an excellent way to build traffic, backlinks and genuine long term relationships. It is an inevitable and integral part of blogging.

    Thanks for the nice post.

    Jane.

  6. Unfortunately, most blog comment links are “nofollow” links, meaning that (supposedly) Google does not count these as backlinks to your site and they won’t improve your search engine rankings. This is the default setting in any WordPress blog, I believe. Here’s a post about that: http://www.squidoo.com/SEO-Linking-Tips

    I think blog commenting is great for building relationships. I’ve definitely been noticed as a repeat commenter on other blogs.

    • Sarah says:

      Jeffrey – I’ve seen more and more blogs using ‘dofollow’ links lately, and I’ve also seen some evidence that Google rewards the total number of links coming to your site, even if they aren’t all passing on link juice from the original site.

      But who really knows when it comes to Google… :) If nothing else, you’re right – blog commenting is great for building relationships!

  7. Catarina says:

    Sarah, commenting on other blogs is a great and essential way of getting more traffic to your blog by building relationships.

    All the best
    Catarina

  8. Marcus Baker says:

    Hi Sarah,

    I agree with Jeffrey that a lot of authority blogs are “nofollow” in nature but there arr still quite a lot that do offer a link back.

    I love commenting for all the reasons you describe Sarah and I think it’s a very worthy way of building relationships and driving more traffic to our blogs.

    ~Marcus

    • Sarah says:

      Marcus – Like I said to Jeffrey, I think more and more blogs are starting to offer dofollow links, which makes them more valuable from an SEO standpoint.

      But if nothing else, the relationship building and traffic are still great benefits as well.

      Thanks for commenting!

  9. Hi Sarah,

    blog commenting is awesome. It takes time and it is work, absolutely. It’s part of net-working, that’s why it’s fun. I fully agree with Jane that blog commenting is great to build relationships.

    Thanks for sharing your insights.

    Take care

    Oliver

    • Sarah says:

      Oliver – You’re right that it takes time and effort, but I agree that it’s still totally worth the investment.

      Thanks for posting!

  10. Stacy says:

    Hi Sarah,

    There are many different benefits to blog commenting. Relationships, Backlinks, Exposure, Learning from others, etc.

    It’s certainly something to work at but it really does pay off!

    Stacy

    • Sarah says:

      Stacy – Couldn’t agree more! Blog commenting can be time consuming, but it definitely pays off :)

      Thanks for stopping by!

  11. Tisha says:

    Hi Sarah,

    Yes! You said ‘valuable comments’. The next best thing to great content. Now that bloggers on the blogosphere are understanding how important commenting is, but there are a few spam happy bloggers out there who have not taken leaving ‘valuable comments’ seriously.

    I hope that the great point you made here will help anyone who reads this post to stand, great content + valuable comments=faithful followers that would result in a boost in their business.

    Tisha

    • Sarah says:

      Tisha – There are always going to be people who try to scam this sytem – in this case, by leaving crappy, scammy comments.

      But in my opinion, that only makes it easier for those of us who want to leave valuable, substantive comments to stand out :)

      Thanks for stopping by!

  12. kidgas says:

    I have recently started two new blogs and found that blog commenting is a good way to get started getting some traffic to your site. Plus, you get to interact with some wonderful other bloggers who understand what it is like to just get started. Finally, I have found that eventually someone may actually give you a link on their blog as part of their blog roll. I think it is an effective method of getting your name out there.

    • Sarah says:

      Kidgas – Definitely! Blog commenting is a great way to start reaching out to people when your sites are new – at least, compared to things like SEO that take time to see a pay-off.

      Thanks for your comment :)

  13. Paris says:

    You’re absolutely right about taking the time to write meaningful comments. One of the things I notice on some of my sites is that people will only write a few words that don’t make any sense at all.
    Gradually, the time you take to write a comment will become shorter.

    • Sarah says:

      Paris – Definitely! Just like anything else, the more you do it, the better you get – and blog commenting is no different. Figuring out how to synthesize blog post information and come up with a thoughtful response gets easier with time.

  14. Hi Sarah,

    I don’t think I’ve visited your blog before, but I really like it.

    I do a lot of commenting, but finding blogs in my peculiar niche is difficult. I find the social aspect of commenting enjoyable, and since my affilate products are fairly universally used, I feel I’m on the right track.

    Thanks for sharing from your own experience.

    Lou Barba

    • Sarah says:

      Lou – Thanks for stopping by, and glad to hear you’re enjoying the site!

      I agree that blog commenting is definitely easier in niches like internet marketing where there are plenty of blogs to choose from. But the blogs you comment on don’t necessarily need to be perfectly related.

      For example, think about your ideal customer. If you’re promoting card and gift products (or even reaching out to fiction readers), think about what else they might be interested in and where else they might hang out online. Parenting blogs, fiction writer forums or even general women’s blogs could all be a good fit.

      Thanks for your comment!

  15. Hey Sarah,

    How goes every little thing. I have been just getting started doing a little (spammy to you) blog commenting. I have a couple of comments (non-spammy) for this one.

    You are correct, even with a list of sites and just skimming the material so as not to be a total hack, it is an incredibly time consuming task.

    I just picked up a firefox add-on that highlights whether comments are do follow or not. It’s a cool tool, depending on how you feel about spending your time on no-follow links. At the least it’s nice to know just what you are doing.

    Last but not least, I have decided that your blog is going to be my test RSS feed blog, since yours is really the only one I read regularly. You caught me at just the right time. Now could you recommend a reader for me? ;’)

    Dan

    • Sarah says:

      Dan – So good to hear from you again!!! Hope things are moving forward with your websites :)

      If you don’t mind, what’s the name of the Firefox plugin you’re using?

      And as for RSS reader, I use the Google reader on my computer, as it ties in with iGoogle which I use as a home page. On my iPhone, I use the Mobile RSS reader, which I don’t totally love, but which works for now.

      Keep me posted on how things are going for you!

      • Dan says:

        Sarah,
        I am planning to update you on the site I used for the challenge once the darn thing stops dancing. I did have one Amazon sale, so in August some time I will be $23.61 richer (which shows one reason to target higher ticket items on Amazon, but I consider that sale somewhat of a fluke.

        The plugin I am using to highlight the links is called NoDoFollow. It highlights both types of link and is kind of handy. NoDoFollow

        Dan

  16. ps: While playing on your blog I just learned that people can follow no-follow links. I did not know this.

    pps: I am also guessing that as I grow as a marketer (I know you did your best, but I am a slow learner) I will begin to do actual relationship blog commenting.

    Dan

    • Sarah says:

      The thing about no-follow links is that they don’t pass any of the originating site’s PageRank, so there isn’t as much of a benefit from an SEO standpoint.

      However, people can still click through the links and there’s at least some indication that even if your site doesn’t receive PageRank, Google still provides some benefit based on the number of backlinks pointing to your site.

      (And no worries about learning at your own pace. There are plenty of days that I think I should be more advanced for as long as I’ve been working in marketing! :) )

  17. [...] week, I shared with you why I love blog commenting as a beginning method for generating free traffic to new affiliate niche sites. However, the one [...]

  18. Ian Belanger says:

    Hi Sarah,

    Blog commenting has really taken my blog to another level. Right now, besides On-page SEO, blog commenting is how I get my backlinks and is how I have made new relationships with other bloggers in my niche.

    I think that the ability to speak directly to the author of the blog, through the comments, is a great way to build relationships.

    I have actually gotten quite a bit of work for my graphic design business, just through the relationships I have made commenting on blogs.

    I personally would never hire a VA to do my commenting, just for the simple fact that I only want my words to be associated with me, not someone I hired.

    Thanks for sharing this Sarah and have a great day!

    PS You really should add CommentLuv to your blog.

    • Sarah says:

      Ian – Glad to hear blog commenting is working so well for you!

      I have to agree, I wouldn’t use a VA to do my blog commenting ( at least not for this site) because it’s important to me for that relationship building to happen in my own voice. Maybe for a niche site, but even then, probably not.

      What works for me is to set aside a certain amount of time each day for it. That way, I still get the benefits, but it doesn’t become overwhelming.

      Thanks for the great comment!

  19. shaikh zafar says:

    Hi sarah,
    Really a great post. as i am going to blog commenting and i think this post might help to get my blog comment to be approve..
    Thanks for share…

  20. [...] paragraph, and with a link to my affiliate program in the final paragraph.” “I build backlinks,” became, “I set up sites on these specific Web 2.0 sites, submit a certain number of [...]

  21. Chas says:

    Sarah,
    I do not have a blog, yet, but, a website that doesn’t allow commenting. How do you feel about someone in this situation commenting on blogs? I only comment on blogs that I have an interest in. Alexa isn’t very accurate and they have always only shown about an 1/8 of the backlinks I actually have, but, they have shown more since I’ve been commenting on various blogs. Some sites allow me to freely comment, while others, such as yours, are up to the discretion of the site owner(nothing wrong with that- it’s your site, but, sometimes the comments are never posted, perhaps due to being inundated with comments).
    Various sites use different means of commenting, whether it be by subscription to the site, Facebook, Twitter, Disqus, LiveFyre, or Gravatar.
    I limit my comments to Gravatar enabled sites that are within my areas of interest.
    What say you?

    • Sarah says:

      Chas – You bring up a lot of interesting points, so let me try to hit all of them here:

      1. I don’t think you need to have a blog that accepts comments in order to comment on other blogs. The intent is to share a useful comment about someone else’s site – not necessarily to provide a place for the site owner to reciprocate.

      2. Alexa’s pretty inaccurate about anything outside of the internet marketing niche, so don’t worry too much about the data it displays. Trust me – commenting on good sites *will* get noticed by the search engines, whether or not those stats are reflected in keyword/website research tools like Alexa.

      3. Most sites have moderated comments, but not all of the programs used to moderate comments are 100% accurate. As a site owner, it sucks because sometimes really great comments wind up in the spam folder where I can’t see them.

      In general, though, the best practice is to leave thoughtful, useful comments on sites within your industry. Not every comment you leave will result in traffic or backlinks, but you’ll up your odds of getting your comments approved by following that guideline.

      Hope this helps!

  22. Gerard says:

    Hello Sarah,
    I was browsing YouTube looking for some one to shed some light on how blog commenting should be done when I came across your video, after watching it I was a lot clear on the subject.

    From there I stopped off at your post on blog commenting, I’ve never done any blog commenting before, this is my first thanks to you I’ve found a another way to generate traffic to my blogs.

    Gerard

    • Sarah says:

      Hey Gerard! I’m sure you’re going to find blog commenting useful in generating traffic to your blogs. Let me know if you have any questions about the technique going forward :)

  23. Sylviane says:

    I agree with you Sarah, why spending money on tools or help to build backlinks to a site that may or may not be worth it yet.

    Even, if it is (worth it), I’ll still do blog commenting. Even though my time is quite limited I do take the time to read other marketers posts and I always learn something I didn’t know:)

    • Sarah says:

      Sylviane – Exactly :) Blog commenting is low investment, and you usually pick up some good tips in the process. It’s time consuming, but it’s also the reason my blog got a PR3 in the last update, so there are definitely payoffs!

  24. m.l.duffy says:

    Found this page via following one of your blog posts, so i guess it does actually work!

    Also, I like the fact that you avoid shameless self-promotion with the typical “hey, check out my website for more of what I mean,” etc. That really annoys me and is totally ineffective…

    • Sarah says:

      Haha – Awesome! Glad to know my hard work is paying off :)

      And you’re right, I’m all about leaving thoughtful comments (at least, most of the time…). I think the karma comes back to you in the end.

  25. Hi Sarah,

    this is really a quality article and you have a great looking blog/site. COngrats also on being top spot on MDBP, you clearly know what you’re doing, write well and give great advice. Just one question talking about win-wins, why don’t you use CommentLuv? I do on my site if you want a free backlink (hint ;-) but am also genuinely interested why you don’t use it – I’m very new to blogging but think this is a great way of making commenting even more powerful – and I agree with and appreciate everything you say above and it’s no surprise to me that your site which promotes ethical marketing has a good following. But why don’t you like commentluv then?

    • Sarah says:

      Hey Alan – To be honest, on the CommentLuv thing, I don’t like a ton of extra features clogging up the comment form section. Personally, I don’t like it when I try to leave a comment on a site, but I’ve got to click six separate check boxes and read five other disclaimers about what I can and can’t do within the comments section before I can submit my comment. I’d rather make it as easy as possible for people to leave comments, although I can definitely appreciate why other site owners might want to use it.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  26. Rafael says:

    Q1: Does make sense to leave comments (for traffic generation)when the post was published a long time ago and has already a lot of comments and mine will be at the bottom, or maybe in page 11..12. or 13 (like comments in youtube).

    • Rafael says:

      hi! I already got the answer reading a recent post!! :)

      This just leave Q2 alive :) thanks in advance

      Greetings from Bogotá, Colombia. Sorry for my english

      • Sarah says:

        No problem – welcome to the site!

        If it’s an old post that still gets traffic, then yes, it’d still be worth posting comments (for example, my “15 Ways to Get Paid to Write” article from August still gets thousands of visits a month from Stumbleupon). If you see lots of current comments and that the author is still responding to them, that’s a good sign that the article is still getting traffic.

        But otherwise, it’s best to focus on new posts to maximize exposure.

  27. Rafael says:

    Q2: Blogs usually show comments ordered from older to newer. When date of the first comment is from a long time ago one may think is an “old out of date post” (even if the content still relevant and is useful). Does make sense to show/order comments from newer to older? If readers can read/see recent comments this would give the impression that this is not an old post, that is a relevant updated content and is worthy to comment and share.

    • Sarah says:

      To be honest, this isn’t something I’ve thought much about. I know blogs that do it both ways, but I’ve always stuck with the default WordPress setting, which is newest comments on the bottom.

      I’ll have to think about this now… :)

  28. Thanks for the nice blog. It was very useful for me. Keep sharing such ideas in the future as well. This was actually what I was looking for and I am glad to come here! Thanks for sharing such a valuable information with us.

    • Rafael says:

      That comment is the way you must not use commenting.
      It was easy to tell it was spam (very generic).
      Look for some phrases of it on google and you’ll see.

      By the way this is the post where I read about this kind of comments
      http://bit.ly/ef9JgL

      • Sarah says:

        Haha – Thanks for sharing, Rafael :) I’ve seen that post before and still think it’s hilarious every time I read it…

  29. DavidMicheal says:

    Hi sarah,
    Am grateful with your post on blog commenting. The step one need to take for my comment to be approved. my question is can i get blog on my niche to leave a comment and how many blogs can i leave comment on every day.

    Thanks

    • Sarah says:

      Hi DavidMichael – There’s no real restriction on the number of comments you can leave each day, although it’s important that you take time to focus on other link building methods as well. Only building up one type of link doesn’t really create a natural looking link profile.

      Hope this helps!

  30. Kalen says:

    Hey Sarah,

    Thanks for the great resource! I was writing up on this myself and this was a good reference.

    Another thing I also do is try to be one of the first to comment. I use Google Alerts and Google Blog Search to find recent posts. I also try to distinguish if the post is evergreen content or more newsworthy. If it is newsworthy, I think it is best to only focus on the most recent pieces. You can set Google Blog Search or whatever other tool to ensure you are only getting recently published content. If it is an evergreen article, you might get traffic over the lifetime of the post (at least as long as the topic isn’t obsolete or still adds value).

    • Sarah says:

      Good call! I use Google Reader to do the same thing – as soon as a new post pops up, I try to be among the first to comment. Usually, shooting for the top means it doesn’t matter if I’m posting to newsworthy or evergreen content – if I get a news piece, I’ll be seen by a quick burst of traffic, and if it’s evergreen, I’m still positioned well for the long run.

  31. I like the Alexa.com idea for finding authority sites. I usually use Google to web search similar blogs and directories related to my niche. This will come in handy though. Thank you ma’am ;)

  32. Mark Morphew says:

    Hi Sarah,

    Blog commenting in the new Google age is a safe and great way to build valuable backlinks – I would however tread carefully commenting on any blog that has an automated approve on the comments as Google will pick up on the fact that there are a load of “spammy” links coming from certain domains and may penalize you in the long run.

    I’ve had a lot of success increasing my PR with blog commenting alone and I always recommend this route to take to anyone who is just starting out into the WWW and/or has a new domain

    Love the post, and I’ve now added you to my Google reader ;-)
    Mark

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