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11 Tips for Getting Your Comments Noticed on a Popular Blog

Comments

One of the comments on this week’s post – The Power of Commenting on Blogs - was from The Great Seducer who asked:

“Do you have any suggestions for commenting in a way that will draw interest to you? Obviously an insightful comment is the best plan…. but when there are 100+ comments sometimes they get over looked.”

In this post I’m going to suggest 11 tips for leaving tips on blogs that not only get noticed but that help build your profile and generate traffic.

1. Be the Early Bird

One of the best ways to stand out from the crowd is to be get in early. I know numerous bloggers who are great at leaving the first comment on a post and generating some good traffic as a result. Of course being first won’t help you if you don’t have anything worthwhile to say – so read on….. (warning: being first all of the time can be quite annoying both for the blogger whose blog you’re commenting on as well as other readers. I know of a few people who’ve actually hurt their reputation by being too eager to comment on every post without actually adding value to conversations.

2. Share an Example

A great way to add value to a post that someone else has written is to give an example that illustrates their main point. Quite often bloggers writing ‘how to’ or ‘instructional’ posts cover the theory of a topic really well but fail to give practical examples of how it works itself out in reality. I find that readers really love to see examples – so if you can give them in comments they’ll often be grateful and will check out who is behind them. The examples could be to your own work – or that of others.

3. Add a Point

Did the blogger miss a point on their post? Extending the post by adding another argument or point can improve the conversation and show yourself off to be someone who knows what they’re talking about. Some bloggers will even highlight your comment in an update to the post.

4. Disagree

One way to stand out from the crowd is to disagree with the post and/or what others are writing in comments. This isn’t something you will want to do on every comment that you leave (and it could be something that gets you into trouble) but it can be quite refreshing to see someone who dares to put forward a different idea to everyone else. Of course you don’t need to do it in an argumentative or attacking way – but respectfully and politely disagree (where you actually do) and you can actually create a real impressions on others.

5. Write with conviction, passion and personality

Sometimes when I read the comments left on blogs I wonder if there is anyone with personality behind them or whether they’re written by some sort of zombie like half human half robotic bloggers. Inject some feeling, passion, conviction and emotion into your posts. This doesn’t mean you need to write everything in CAPS or use lots of EXPLANATION MARKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! – but when a post excites you, let that feeling enter your comments, when you are happy, let your comment be cheery, when a post evokes anger – don’t be afraid to comment with a little edge.

6. Use Humor

As a blogger who has a blog with posts that can get hundreds of comments I know just how mind numbing it can be to read through them all. One type of comment that snaps me out of this state when I’m in moderation mode is a comment that makes me laugh. Of course humor can also be misinterpreted and cause offense – so be a little careful :-)

7. Ask a Question

I notice here on ProBlogger that it is often comments that ask questions that get the most responses from other commenters. I guess it makes sense – asking a question calls for a response – we’re all wired to answer them – so they do stop people in their tracks a little and cause them to at least stop and think about how they’d answer it (whether they do or not).

8. Formatting Comments

I want to say right up front that this one should be done with caution (and could make you look like a try hard spammer) – but a subtle and clever use of formatting in comments can actually draw the eye to your comment. Scan through the comments left on a highly commented upon post and see what you notice. In most cases it’s only broken up by the names of commenters. Many blogs will allow you to use html in comments – allowing you to bold words, use italics and more (for example here at ProBlogger using ‘blockquotes’ in comments will change the formatting. Do this too much and you can actually find yourself in trouble – but bolding the occasional word for emphasis, using a little white space, using a symbol etc can give those viewing the page a subtle visual cue to look at your comment. Like I say – this should be done with caution.

An example of this is to bullet your comments with different symbols. A number of readers of ProBlogger do this using symbols like ‘**’ or ‘–>’

9. Helpful Links

We’ve debated whether leaving links in posts is good practice previously – but my opinion is that when a link is helpful to those reading and when it adds value to the conversation in some way that it’s OK. I personally don’t like signature links in comments – but links as examples not only will potentially send people to your blog – they actually act as a visual cue (web users are wired to be on the look out for them).

10. Comment Length

Are all the comments on a post long? Leave a short one – it’ll stand out. Are all the other comments short? Leave a long one – again, it’ll stand out.

11. Lists/Break it down

A big turn off with comments can be when someone leaves a long detailed comment that has massive blocks of text. This can often be made to look worse than it is when the comments area is actually narrower than the area given to posts (as in here at ProBlogger). One way to break up the amount of text is to break your comment down into a list of short posts.

Keep in mind that while leaving comments on other people’s blogs can be a great way to draw traffic to your blog – that it can also hurt your reputation/brand. Read more on this in my post – 10 Ways to Hurt Your Blog’s Brand by Commenting on Other Blogs.

PS: I just noticed that Caroline just posted on a similar topic and outlined some suggestions for a blog commenting strategy.

Top 100 Blogger Releases eBook on Getting Things Done

Regular readers of ProBlogger will be familiar with Leo Babauta who has written several guest posts for me on this blog. In fact Leo is a serial guest poster and has consistently produced great content on numerous blogs for some time now – as well as on his own blog Zen Habits – a blog about many things including productivity and organization, simplicity, happiness and health.

Leo has managed to build his blog to be very successful in many ways. He’s got over 21,000 subscribers, is currently 61 on Technorati’s Top 100 and has an Alexa ranking of around 12,000 already (pretty good considering it’s age of around 6 months).

Anyway – onto the reason for my post.

ZtdLeo has released an ebook

Leo has just emailed me to let me know that he’s taken the monetization of his blog in a new direction – he’s released an ebook called Zen to Done (the ultimate simple productivity system).

Leo describes his ebook as follows:

“Zen To Done takes some of the best aspects of a few popular productivity systems (GTD, Stephen Covey and others) and combines them with the mandate of simplicity. It makes things as simple as possible, and no more.”

I am excited about this ebook for a couple of reasons.

Firstly – it’s a great read and right on topic for me as not only a ‘Pro’ Blogger but a very ‘Disorganized’ Blogger. I’ve started reading it already and on what I’ve already read have set aside some time tomorrow to read the rest – I think I need this book!

Secondly – I’m fascinated to see how the release of this ebook goes for Leo. At $9.50 USD it’s very affordable and with a readership (and influence) as wide as Leo’s I think he’s got the potential with the release of Zen to Done to rake up significant sales.

The key will be to see whether he’s able to convert those 20,000+ subscribers into paying customers. Definitely one to watch! I’ll attempt to get an interview with Leo in the coming days to see if we can get a little more info on how it’s gone for him.

This post contains affiliate links.

Grip Your Readers With These 7 Knock-out Opening Sentences

Keeping you posted, by Skellie.

In this post regular contributer Skellie from Skelliewag.org explains how a great opening sentence can draw readers into your blog posts.

You might not want to hear this, but a killer headline simply isn’t enough.

To be effective, every great headline — like the punch of any legendary boxer — needs follow-through.

In this post, I want to suggest seven tried-and-tested methods to craft a gripping opening sentence.

This could mean the difference between someone reading your post from start to finish or skipping to the next item in their feed reader (or browsing to another blog).

These seven methods should also be a source of inspiration when you’re unsure how to start your next post. In that sense, they have the potential to benefit both you and your blog.

#1 — The tempting offer

A simple and effective way to grip readers in your first sentence is to tell them what you’re going to tell them.

Huh?

This is why news broadcasts always begin with a preview of the stories to come. It’s why the commercial for a TV show will, as a rule, highlight the best bits. People are always more likely to stick with you if they know what they stand to gain.

A fictional example:

If you’ve ever wanted to get fit, save money and work less… this post is for you.

When using this method it can be useful to think of your first sentence as an advertisement for what’s to follow. What could you say that would entice readers to keep reading? How could you make reading the post seem as attractive as possible?

#2 — The irresistible question

Questions are powerful because they coax the reader into giving an internal answer. Another effective way to start a blog post is to ask a question you’re confident most readers will answer yes to. An example:

Want to convince your readers to do something or agree with your point of view? [Source]

After answering “yes, I do want that,” the next logical step is to continue reading.

#3 — The curious connection

This model appeals to the reader’s sense of curiosity. It links two seemingly unconnected ideas together and invites the reader to stick with the post and see how the connection was made. An example:

What do Thom Yorke, Tim Ferriss and successful new media publishers have in common? [Source]

By linking together a famous author and a famous musician the reader’s curiosity is piqued. She or he will want to know what these two very different figures have in common, and will (hopefully) keep reading in order to find out.

Two boxers in the ring.

Photography by neurmadic aesthetic

#4 — The controversial claim

Confronting or strong statements engage readers because they’re curious to see how the author will justify their claim. An example:

Chances are I’m not reading your blog. [Source]

Strong statements work, but they need to be carefully justified and qualified within a few paragraphs. You don’t want to risk putting any readers offside by not explaining yourself properly.

#5 — The engaging anecdote

Anecdotes are miniature stories you tell about your experiences. The best anecdotes, apart from being entertaining, are enlightening for the reader. They don’t just say something about you: they speak to the experiences and struggles of the person listening or reading, too. A fictional example:

Yesterday, after 35 years working in the PR industry, I came within an inch of quitting my job in order to write the novel I’ve always wanted to write.

If used on a blog about writing this anecdotal sentence would appeal to most readers because it speaks to a common concern: how much should we be willing to sacrifice in order to achieve our goals?

Anecdotes help readers get to know you. They appeal to our natural love of stories. They also encourage readers to keep reading and find out how the story ends.

#6 — The problem solver

Everyone has certain things they struggle with, and we’re always willing to lend an ear to anyone who might help us resolve one of those struggles.

When bloggers highlight a problem this is often followed by an attempt at a solution. Readers know this. Here’s an example of this method in action:

We all know that .com domains are the best option, but it is also difficult to find good ones that have not been registered yet. [Source]

That statement will probably draw nods of agreement from many, prompting readers to continue with the post in the hope that a workable solution is offered.

#7 — The tricky question

This one’s a twist on the ‘problem solver’ model above.

Everyone has unanswered questions, and particular niches attract readers with certain types of questions.

ProBlogger readers might come here because they want answers to the following: how can I create a popular blog? How can I generate a full-time income online? Or, an example from another niche:

Should I wait until I’m rich to give back? [Source]

Beginning with a tough question works because, even if you don’t have a complete answer, you’ll probably have some advice or useful thoughts on the matter. Readers are always eager to get help with tough questions they struggle with.

Skellie is a regular writer for ProBlogger. You’ll find more practical blogging advice at her own blog, Skelliewag.org.

Sponsor My Mo and Give Yourself a Chance to Win a New Blog Theme

Mo-Day-5Have you donated in my Movember challenge yet? I’m excited to say that donations are up to $607 and that we’ve had a second premium sponsor join the party (thanks Brian).

Another creative blogger Chris Garrett has already joined in by giving all sponsors a little extra incentive to make a donation.

If you donate even just $1 and let Chris know he’ll put you in the draw to win a Premium Blog Theme for your blog (value $100). So if you’ve already donated or you want a reasonably good chance of winning – you know where to donate!

PS: My Mo is taking shape – I’ll add a slightly larger version of this image which I took today on my Movember page

PS2: and yes – that’s a ProBlogger T-Shirt – anyone interested in buying one?

Update – people have been asking if they can make a donation via PayPal. Movember don’t accept PayPal – but if people want to send donations to me marked ‘Movember’ to my PayPal account. You can do this via the ‘make a donation’ button at the bottom of my right hand sidebar.

Thanks for everyone’s support in this.

Google’s Page Rank Update Increases Profitability of Selling Text Links

Text-Link-SellingThis email comes from a ProBlogger reader who wishes to remain anonymous:

“Dear Darren,

I have watched with interest the Google Page Rank fiasco (is there any other words for it) that happened recently. I am a blogger with numerous blogs who sells text links both privately and through a text link selling service on my blog and who was not penalized in the latest Page Rank update.

Since the update I’ve noticed four things:

1. About 50% of the blogs in my niche that used to sell text links have stopped doing so.
2. I’ve had about a 50% increase in demand for text link purchases in the last week.
3. I have had an increase in the number of private text link sales this week.
4. The amounts advertisers are willing to pay me have gone up.

As you mentioned in your post on the 27th (link) the laws of demand and supply are coming into effect. Less bloggers are selling text links but the demand remains steady. As a result prices are going up, more are going directly to bloggers to cut out the middle man and my profits are going sky high.

I just wanted to feed back to you that while Google might be happy to stop some selling text links that their actions have actually benefited many text link sellers greatly. I estimate that I have made an extra $1500 in the last week from Google’s update.

I for one hope that Google continues to crack down on the practice because it will mean I could retire young!”

Selling Blogs – Factors of Valuation

Auction-1The last couple of weeks have seen some real action in the selling of blogs in the ‘make money online’ part of the blogosphere with the sale of Blogging Fingers ($6000), Ryan Shamus ($2500) and One Man’s Goal currently up for sale and with the bids up to $6000 (update: this auction had to restart). Add to that NorthxEast selling a few weeks back ($8200) and there has definitely been something in the air.

Mark at 45n5 did a little analysis of the sales based upon subscriber numbers and points out that the blogs are selling for between $27.78 and $35.16 per subscriber (not including NorthxEast who sold for around $4 per subscriber).

I’m not sure subscribers numbers are the best way to value a blog – but it would definitely be one factor.

Other factors would include:

  • Traffic (actually visitor numbers and page impressions)
  • Current Earnings (how much the blog currently earns)
  • Potential Earnings (is there another income stream that could easily be added)
  • Profile of Blog in Niche (is it seen as a leader in it’s field)
  • Dependance upon the Blogger (does the blog revolve around one person, a group of bloggers etc)
  • Domain name (is the domain worth something in and of itself)
  • SEO Considerations (page rank, how it ranks for keywords etc)
  • Technorati Ranking, Alexa Ranking
  • Number of Posts in Archives
  • Ability to Expand Blog (can you add a new service or income stream to the blog – eg a job board, forum etc)
  • Ability to Repurpose Content (could the content be reproduced in a different form – eg ebook, book, course)

What other factors would you include when putting a value on a blog?

Feedburner Subscriber Counters – A Glitch?

A few hours back when the Feedburner RSS counter chicklet that thousands of blogs use to show their subscriber numbers updated bloggers everywhere scratched their heads in wonder.

I’ve had about 10 emails in the last couple of hours from many asking if I’d noticed the difference – a massive slump in numbers.

I suspect it’s just a glitch in Feedburner’s system – or a glitch in one of the major News Aggregators reporting. It’s happened before and I don’t really think that there’s any reason to panic as it looks like it is something that has hit everyone with the chicklet (from what I can see it’s hitting people by between 40-50%).

Thanks to everyone for the heads up – David was first.

Update: looking over Feedburner stats it seems that it’s the ‘Google Feedfetcher’ stats that are not showing up.

Here are yesterday’s breakdown of stats for my Digital Photography School feed:

Feedburner-Stats-1

Here are the stats for today:

Feedburner-Stats

As you can see – it’s the Google Feedfetcher stats that are missing today. From memory this happened once before and was rectified the following day.

The Power of Commenting on Blogs

I just came across a nice post by Caroline Middlebrook who did some analysis of her blog’s stats for the month of October.

Her blog increased it’s traffic from 3,000 readers in September to 11,000 in October – that’s pretty good growth. That’s partly due to some great StumbleUpon traffic (which accounted for 8000+ visitors) – but Caroline also worked a number of other sources over the month.

What struck me about her analysis was a section on traffic from other blogs (including ProBlogger). ProBlogger sent Caroline 94 visitors. When I checked to see when I linked to her I wasn’t able to find a link. The traffic came completely from comments that Caroline left on my posts.

In fact Caroline had just under 700 visitors to her blog this month from leaving comments on other people’s blogs.

The key to her success with this is that Caroline doesn’t spam blogs with meaningless comments – but she contributes to the conversations already happening, stays on topic and adds value to the blogs that she visits (or at least she has here at ProBlogger. Caroline doesn’t leave links in her comments – the traffic comes from people clicking her name to find out who is behind the insightful comments that she leaves.

Of course some will argue that 700 visitors isn’t a lot of traffic per month from the activity of commenting on blogs – however I think it’s actually fairly decent for a blog that is only a few months old – particularly when you consider that she’s managing to convert readers into subscribers. Add 4 or 5 new loyal readers to your blog every day (like Caroline has done by the looks of her RSS feed stats) and you end up with thousands of readers a day over a year.

So while it is perhaps the most overused ‘blog tip’ on finding readers for a blog – I guess commenting on other people’s blogs continues to be an activity that pays off.

found via my Vanity Folder

Need a New Blog Logo? Here’s a Special Offer for You

A couple of weeks ago I received a package in the mail from a company by the name of Logo Design Guru. It contained two gifts – one for me and one for you.

The gift for me – my gift was a book by the name of Get a Price on the Design Matters: Logos 01: An Essential Primer for Today’s Competitive Market. I wasn’t able to really dig into the book for a few days – but spent some time in it today and it’s really great. I’m no logo designer (and never will be) but many of the concepts in this book have some nice cross over into other spheres and I’m learning a lot not only about logos but branding in general.

Logo-5The gift for you – Logo Design Guru are offering ProBlogger readers a 10% discount on custom logo designs. All yo uhave to do is use the following code when placing your order.

Code = Ldgbg1

This is not an affiliate program, a paid review or an advertisement – I’m not getting anything out of this (the book was a no strings attached gift – and a good one) – it’s just a special offer that this company are offering and as I know many of you are looking into redesigns of your blogs at the moment I thought it might be something that some of you find useful.

You can check out some examples of the type of work that Logo Design Guru does in their Gallery and see the type of logo design packages that they offer here (ranging from $99 up).

It’s not something that everyone will want to use – but if you’re in the need of a new logo you might want to check out this service.