Tips for Using BlogRush to Generate Traffic for Your Blog

blog-rush-tipsAs I’ve been pondering the new BlogRush traffic building service (which I did a first impression review of earlier) over the last few hours I am increasingly thinking that it has potential to help bloggers find new traffic.

The bones are there for it to work – but how can you leverage it to increase your chances of converting for you and squeeze out some extra traffic for your blog. A few ideas (all untested at this stage) come to mind:

1. Optimize Your Titles – there are a number of things that will increase the chances of getting someone to click on a link appearing in someone else’s blog – but the title of your post will be most important. You have around 40 characters only to play with (before the widget cuts off your title) so think carefully about what you’re communicating about your post – particular in the first few words.

2. Choose the Right Category for Your Blog – when you sign up you’re given a list of categories to assign your blog to. My hope is that BlogRush will add more (as the more focused they become the more relevant ads will be). If your blog spans a couple of categories run with one for a few days and then swap to the other. I suspect that some categories will out perform others significantly due to the type of readers that they have and their tech savvyness.

3. Promote it Early on – this system is one that will be most beneficial to early adopters. While some are already spamming their referral links out to other bloggers via mass emails – one way to promote it and possibly pick up a few extra referrals is simply to place it in a reasonably prominent position on your blog and even to draw attention to it in a post. If some of your readers have blogs they’re likely to check it out too – which will exponentially increase the benefits for you. Just be aware that if you get spammy with your promotion of this (or any) service you could actually do more harm than good to your blog.

I’m sure there will be more tips – but my suspicion is that titles will be particularly key in the success or failure of BlogRush for many.

Find New Readers for Your Blog – BlogRush First Impression Review

Logo-2Every time I survey bloggers to find out what they’d like help with most the answer always comes back as ‘finding traffic’.

Bloggers like to know that people are reading their blog and so any method that they can find to promote their blog is worth exploring.

In the last 12 hours a new service has been launched to help bloggers find readers. It’s called Blog Rush. If you read many blogs about blogging you’ve probably seen it talked about (they’ve done well at launching with a real buzz). I’ve held off on writing about it because I wanted to check it out for myself before writing).

My initial impressions of the system is that it’s worth exploring.

While I’m not a fan of traffic exchange programs – this one is a little different because it attempts to promote your blog on relevant blogs.

What is BlogRush

There’s a great little video on the front page of Blog Rush that explains the system better than I could on a post – however in short this is a little widget that you put on your sidebar which displays posts that others have written on their blogs (related to your blog’s content).

Here’s how the widget looks (RSS readers might need to click through to see it):

Each time the widget displays you earn a ‘credit’ which means that a recent headline from your own blog will be displayed on someone else’s blog. If your blog gets 100 page views a day your headline will be displayed 100 times on other people’s blogs.

Not only that – they have a referral system so that if another blogger signs up to Blog Rush after clicking through to it from your widget you’ll get credits each time that the referral blog shows the widget. The referral system goes 10 tiers deep – so you can potentially get ALOT of credits.

OK – so this sounds like a bit of a pyramid scheme in some ways and I guess it has elements of that in it – however there’s no money changing hands (it’s free to participate in and you can opt out at any point) and there are a few features in the system that I quite like the look of including:

  • Attempt at Relevancy – they show headlines on your blog that are relevant to your content (I suspect this will get better as more join up – but at present I’ve seen some somewhat irrelevant links showing up)
  • Filters – you can filter out any keyword that you want and any URL that you don’t want to display on your blog
  • Multiple Blogs – you can split the spread of your credits among multiple blogs (ie if you have two blogs you can enroll with both)

Will it bring a lot of traffic to your blog?

The jury is still out on this (despite the hype that many bloggers are using to promote it). The theory is good – although it will depend a lot on where people place the widget on their blog (and there’s not rules on this in BlogRush’s conditions as far as I can see).

I’ve not found that people click through on widgets like this in great numbers in my own previous testing of other things – however even at a small click through rate you could see some nice traffic if you refer a lot of people (and they refer a lot etc).

One key to how well this will work will be how relevant they can make links to content. In a similar way to AdSense increasing CTR when the ads relate strongly to the content – we’ll see the same thing come into play here.

I’m going to give it a go and see what the results are. I’m not sure I’ll put the widget on this actual blog simply because I have space issues in my sidebar – however I’ll be adding it to a few of my others to see how it converts for them.

Sign up for Blog Rush.

PS: one thing I’d like to see added is the ability to customize the design of the widget. While it isn’t ugly – it won’t ‘fit’ with the color scheme of every blog.

Another problem for many ProBlogger readers is that it’s available only to blogs written in English.

Note: links in this post are referral links

Building Blog Readership by Monitoring What Other Bloggers are Writing

Monitor-BloggersToday I want to share a technique that I used when I started my first money making blog to find new readers. It’s one of those tips that probably won’t bring you thousands of new visitors to your blog all at once – but it definitely did help me to grow traffic levels in the early days.

Before I share the tip – let me start with a short illustrative tangent

Regular readers will know that we recently put our house on the market (and sold it). One week after we first began the marketing campaign to sell our house (we advertised in newspapers and online) we began to find that our mail box was filled with letters from a variety of companies including moving services, mortgage brokers and house cleaning services.

Obviously these companies were watching who was advertising in different real estate websites and newspapers and gathering the addresses of advertised properties to send their own marketing material to. In this way they were targeting prospects who were more than likely to be in need of those types of services.

While I found these letters somewhat annoying – they actually did work. We booked a window cleaner through one of them and my wife’s collected all of the removalist companies for when we move home in December.

What does this have to do with promoting a blog?

While checking our mail box this morning and finding another moving company letter I was reminded of something that I used to do when I was starting up one of my early blogs.

The blog was on digital cameras and photography and as most new bloggers do – I was struggling to find readers for it.

One day when I was pondering my lack of readership I went to Technorati and typed the words ‘digital camera’ into the search field there. I was actually looking to see if there were any new cameras being released – but what I found instead were 15 or so blog posts written mainly by personal bloggers talking about different aspects of their use of cameras.

One was complaining about his camera being a piece of junk, another was boasting about her new camera, another was asking for advice on which camera they should buy, another wanted to know how to use their camera better…. etc

I spent half an hour that day leaving helpful and relevant comments on each of those blogs – making suggestions for new cameras, giving tips on how to use them etc. In each case I left the URL of my camera blog in the URL field so that they could find my blog – and in a couple of the posts I even left links in the comments pointing to useful pages on my blog to help the blogger find more information.

What I found was that around half of those that I left these comments for responded to me either with follow up comments or emails. In each case they said they’d check out my blog. Not only did they do this – but I found that many that I helped with comments actually linked up to my blog in days and weeks following me making contact.

As a blogger with just a handful of regular readers I decided that this technique could be quite powerful and I began to monitor a variety of keywords on Technorati with the goal of interacting with other bloggers when they brought up a topic that I was writing about.

Tools for Monitoring Keywords that Bloggers Use

These days there are a variety of tools that you can use to help you to monitor keywords that other bloggers are using in their posts. these include:

  • Technorati Watchlists – you can use these to monitor keywords and/or URLs. You can set them up to report any blog that uses those words.
  • Google Blog Search Blog Alerts – in the same way Google’s Blog Search allows you to track keywords and have them emailed to you either as it happens, daily or weekly.

There are other tools available for this type of monitoring – but I find between these two that you are pretty comprehensive. Feel free to suggest any of your favorite monitoring tools that you use.

Be Useful and Generous

The key with this technique is to not only find when people are talking about topics that relate to your blogs – but to respond to what they’re saying in a genuine and helpful way. Don’t spam their comments with your links but answer questions, make suggestions, share your experience etc. The more useful and generous your comment is the more likely you are to have someone check out who you are and what else you might have to say that is useful.

Building Your Blog One Reader at a Time

I’ve shared this technique with a number of people and around 50% of the time that I have done so I’ve had people write it off as all too hard and not worthwhile. Some bloggers are only interested in building traffic to their blog quickly and any technique that doesn’t have the potential to bring in hundreds and thousands of new readers is ignored.

My own experience is that techniques like this one that build your blog’s readership one reader at a time can be very worthwhile. One new reader who comes back on a daily basis over a number of years because they’ve been genuinely helped by you can have a significant impact upon your blog not only in terms of their own visits and comments – but when they’re a blogger the potential for them to bring their readership with them can be significant.

Image based on one by practicalowl

Driving Traffic to Your New Blog

TrafficGreg Hickman dropped a question in my question box that I think represents the question that many people ask me about finding readers for a blog.

While there are no easy answers for finding readers I think it’s a topic well worth coming back to again and again.

Greg writes:

“I’ve recently started a blog (August) and I’m trying to figure out the best way to drive quality traffic to my site. I’ve been writing at least a post a day if not every other day. I began commenting on 9rules and a few other sites that I enjoy visiting. I was wondering if you could provide some insight for a beginning blogger on getting that initial readers base. Do I just continue commenting on sites I read or digg articles, what can I do to get this jump started.”

OK – there are many answers to this question and I’ve written many posts on the topic of finding readers for a blog (I’ll share a link with loads of resources at the bottom of this post). However let me put forward a few thoughts that come to mind:

1. You’ve Made a Good Start – you’ve already stumbled on one key factor in promoting your blog – interacting on other people’s turf. Keep leaving those comments, getting to know other bloggers and contributing to what others are doing on their blogs. This does have an impact. It may not bring thousands of readers in – it’s more of a ‘one reader at a time’ type strategy – however you never know when that ‘one reader’ will be someone influential.

2. Take it Up a Notch – so you’ve discovered the principle of interacting on other people’s turf – so how about taking it up a notch and doing something more than leaving comments? How about attempting to get a few guest posting spots on key blogs in the niche that you’re trying to make a mark in? I’ve seen a number of bloggers who’ve really built a name for themselves by doing this. Of course your guest posts need to be of a high standard – but if they are you can really make an impression on a blogger and their readers.

3. Communicate What Your Blog Is About – I hope you don’t mind – but I’ve taken a look at your blog Greg (toonice4TV). A few questions that I asked myself when I first arrived at your blog (questions that most readers of a new blog would ask when they first arrive) ‘what’s it about?’, ‘what’s in it for me on this blog?’ In the same way that you’d be unlikely to pick up and buy a magazine that you didn’t know the topic of – readers are not likely to stick around on a blog for long that doesn’t communicate strongly what it is about and how people will benefit from it. There are lots of techniques for getting people to a blog – but the key is to have something that communicates strongly to them when they get there.

4. What Makes You Different? – Another key question that potential readers will ask is ‘what’s different about this blog?’. What’s your blog’s unique selling proposition to a prospective reader? What sets it apart from the other millions of blogs out there (many of which are writing on a similar topic). You need to communicate this clearly – in the design, branding and content. New blogs need to work hard on this.

5. Make it Easy to Connect – another quick observation having taken a quick look at your blog – perhaps make subscribing to your blog via RSS a little easier. While I can see your feed in the URL field in Firefox using auto discovery – it might be worth promoting your feed a little more prominently on the blog in some way. You might use an RSS button or icon of some kind – or even just an ‘RSS’ Text Link. I find that the more prominently you do this the more people will use it and the more likely you are to convert a one off visitor into a loyal one.

6. Content – ultimately it is the content that you write that will be key in growing your readership – unique content that engages with and enhances the lives of people over the long term.

Further Reading

A lot more could be said on the topic of building readership on a blog let me point you to some links instead of regurgitating it all here.

You can find them on my How to Find Readers for Your Blog page which compiles some of my most popular posts on how to build readership and how to leverage it once you’ve got it.

How to Position Yourself for Seasonal Search Engine Traffic and Not Put Your Readers Offside

Leon followed up my recent video post where I talked about anticipating what people will be searching for as a technique for growing your blog’s readership with a question:

“How do you anticipate searches without sacrificing the quality of your posts?”

Good question Leon – I’ve seen a number of bloggers recently who I think this could be relevant for.

Recap – In my video post I spoke about how I discovered the power of anticipating what people are searching for by accident one day when I wrote a post titled ‘Australian Idol Winner?’ on a personal blog that I was writing at the time. Of course in the days before Australian Idol announced it’s winner this post attracted quite a bit of search traffic.

Stay Relevant to Your Blog’s Niche

The key with this type of strategy is really to keep things as relevant to your blog and as useful to your reader as possible.

The technique worked well for me in the example above because I was writing a personal blog that covered a lot of different topics. My original post ‘Australian Idol Winner?’ was a post asking readers who they thought would win and sharing some of my own predictions. It was a topic I’d written about before and something that my readers responded to.

The post worked for me on that blog both in connecting with readers and positioning itself for search engine traffic – however if I were to write the same post on my other blogs (for example ProBlogger or one of my Photography blogs) it would fall flat on it’s face and probably cause a reader backlash.

Perhaps in my video post I should have qualified my comments on this technique by encouraging readers to stick within their niche if they’re trying this topic.

So instead of just thinking in general terms about what the wider population will be searching for in a few weeks – think about the question in terms of your niche. This of course makes things harder for some blogs than others.

Don’t Compromise on Content Quality

The other thing that is worth considering on this topic is the quality of posts. I’ve seen a few bloggers take this idea and write posts that are stuffed with relevant keywords for a topic but which are of no use to their regular readers at all. The key is to create a post that is both well optimized for SEO but which more importantly is useful to readers by providing them with content that means something.

If you sacrifice on quality you’ll not only frustrate your current readers – but you’ll hurt your potential relationship with new ones when they search for information and then arrive at your blog post only to find rubbish. Provide them with great information and they’ll stick around and become loyal readers!

Want some examples?

Let me share a few of my own posts which will hopefully illustrate the point. These photography related posts all provide readers with something of worth – but are also reasonably well optimized for the keywords that search engine users search for at different times of the year. Together these four posts have brought in hundreds of thousands of search engine visitors over the past couple of years.

The key is to anticipate search traffic – but not to compromise on your reader experience.

The ‘Best’ Example of Linkbait (This Week)

Leo has created a great example of linkbait in his post NxE’s Fifty Most Influential Bloggers.

While the validity of the list itself will create debate (and already has in comments) these sorts of lists tend to work well for a number of reasons.

  1. They appeal to the egos of those included – I’ve already seen a number of those in the list linking up
  2. They create controversy – even if this were a 100 person list there would be some who would be left out – at least in the minds of many. The result is an increase in comments and linkups
  3. Lists have Link Appeal – the list is a powerful way to generate traffic – particularly through social media sites (which is where I saw this list (Digg and Delicious).

Creating your own top 50 influential bloggers list is not likely to get the traction that Leo’s gained from his (at least not for a few months until people forget this one) but there’s nothing to stop bloggers creating their own that relate to their own niches.

The 20 Most Influential Pet Blogs – The Definitive list of Top Financial Bloggers…. etc

A word of warning – creating any sort of definitive list that claims to present the ‘most’, ‘best’ or ‘greatest’ of anything will cause debate and often some sort of backlash. This controversy is part of what makes these lists go viral – however it can take a toll on your as a blogger also.

Get 20 More Linkbaiting Techniques

Designing Banner Ads that Get Clicked!

The following guest post was submitted by Shrihari from GotChance – a Geek’s Blog.

Advertising campaigns are undoubtedly one of the best sources of traffics from other high traffic website. Especially on huge blogs like TechCrunch, EnGadget etc.. and even on other big blogs like ProBlogger, John Chow etc.. There are primarily two factors that affect the click through rate of your banners :

  1. Position of the banners
  2. The Look and Feel of the banners

The second factor is what we will be discussing about in this post. So, how to design your banners and how not to design your banners ?

Informative Ads

The ultimate aim of every advertising banner is to tell the readers as much information as possible and get them to visit your website. This works for most banners, but sometimes turn negative. Especially when there is too much information, it maybe a turn off for the users. Consider these two banner :


The first one is stuffed with information. It looks attractive and people might be interested in clicking it. But, the second one, though it provides more information than the first, looks less attractive. With such a look, i might consider it as a SPAMmy ad.

Attractive Ads

While it is information that should work, what really works is the look of a banner. The more pleasing it is to the users, the more is the probability that he will click-through.


In the above ad, with the 300 x 250 large space offered, the advertiser could have easily included a lot of information about what they offer and also their domain name. But it simple reads “WordPress Themes for Free”. Also the WP logo looks very nice. So, i bet there would have been a lots of clicks on this one. It is always a good practice to hold back some information from displaying on your banner. The content that you should hold back, however, depends on what product you are advertising.

I found the following ad good-looking as well. It doesn’t say anything about what is being advertised, but can encourage a few clicks (though not as much as the above wordpress ad).


How & How not to color your Ads

A Banner can be made attractive(?) by two ways. One is by making it look good and the other is by making it ugly. An ugly looking ad would get more attention than a good-looking one. But, what the user feels is more important. While coloring ads, it is best to follow the color scheme of your own website (the one that the banner will be linking too). Also using some contrasting colors would be a nice practice. Not as contrasting as this one though :


So, it is always best to keep in mind the above points while designing banners. Also remember that “Success of a Banner = Information + Attraction”.

Have you had experience in designing Banner Ads? – What have you found that works (and doesn’t work)?

Email a Blogger that Linked to You to Say Thanks

Building-A-Better-Blog-2One of the lifelines that keeps a blog healthy and growing is the incoming link. When other blogs and websites link to you blog they inject your blog with ‘juice’ that brings it real life in three main ways:

  • Google Juice – incoming links are gold when it comes to climbing the search engines rankings. Every link is like a vote in Google’s eyes – get enough votes from the right sites and your blog will see increases in search engine traffic over time.
  • Reader Juice – incoming links from even small sites will generally mean that people click the link and visit your site. New potential readers!
  • Branding Juice – sometimes the real benefit of an incoming link can be the general branding and reputation enhancing that it can do. A link can be like an endorsement for your blog and on larger sites it can have profound impact not only by what it does with traffic and SEO but the impression that the link creates in the reader’s mind.

There has been a lot written about how to get links to your blog of late – but one thing that can be just as important is how you cultivate the relationships with those linking to you.

One of the things that I’ve learned in the last year particularly is that when a blog or website links to you once there is every chance that they’ll do it again.

As a result it can be very worthwhile to get to know the person who does the writing on the site and to build a working relationship with them.

This generally starts with an email and/or a comment on the post where they link to you.

Today’s task is to send an email to a blogger or webmaster that linked up to you recently. For some of you there will be plenty to choose from, for others just starting out it could be difficult to find any.

Some places to look for who is linking to you:

  • Technorati – type your URL in and hit search and you’ll find any blogs linking to you
  • Google Blog Search – another good tool for real time link tracking
  • Your Blog’s Metrics – any worthwhile stats package will give you a ‘referrals’ stat that shows incoming links. I use Google Analytics but you could also use Sitemeter, Mint, AW Stats or one of many other metrics tools.
  • Search Engines – type in ‘link:’ at Yahoo or Google and you’ll find incoming links to your blog – note: this isn’t a quick or immediate method of finding recent links.

Once you’ve found another blog or site that’s linked to you – simply drop them an email of thanks. You can do a comment also – but I find an email is a little more personal and often leads into a conversation and perhaps relationship.

Keep the email brief and simple. Don’t pitch the blogger ideas – simply thank them and let them know that you appreciate both the link and their site (if you do). You may also want to make some sort of a comment or ask a simple question that relates to how they linked to you to show you’re engaging with them. If you intend to keep following their blog tell them (eg – let them know if you subscribe to their blog).

If the blogger responds in some way then let the conversation flow. You might find that it leads you to suggest another post that you’ve written, you might find that you can help them in some way or that you can work on something together – however don’t rush this. If nothing more happens than you saying thank you then you’ve lost nothing and made a little impression.

On the other hand you could well find yourself with a new friend and regular incoming links to your blog.

10 Ways to Hurt Your Blog’s Brand by Commenting on Other Blogs

Comments-Blog-1Ask popular bloggers for 10 ways to build traffic to a new blog and I’ll guarantee that almost all of them will mention the importance of commenting on other blogs as part of their answer.

Much has been written about commenting as a strategy to build traffic (because used correctly it is a powerful tool) – but very little has been written on the dangers of it. Over the past few months I’ve noticed some bloggers using comments in increasingly aggressive ways to build their own readership – to the point where I think they are probably doing more harm to their own brand than they are doing good.

I should say that this topic has been one I’ve been a little hesitant to write about – partly because I see some of these tactics used here at ProBlogger. This is not a post written with any particular person (or people) in mind – however I put it out there for your consideration and feedback.

Two notes before I start:

  • I’m not going to include using automated comment spamming techniques – I’m assuming that people will have the brains to work out why this can hurt your brand
  • Some of these techniques will annoy some but not others. Some of them I personally don’t like but some are observations about what I’ve seen annoy others. A lot of this is about the perception that you give off to others. Whether you see them as annoying or not is important – but more important to your brand is what others think of the techniques.

1. Excessive use of Signatures – I ran a poll back in 2005 about whether ProBlogger readers thought that I should allow the practice of leaving a signature in comments (ie a link to your blog at the comment itself in addition to the link that you get as your name). The result at that time was that 56% of readers said the practice should be allowed. As a result I decided to allow them here at ProBlogger. However at the time I also suggested that I didn’t like them as did a significant number of other readers. I still don’t like the practice personally and particularly get turned off when people leave 2-3 (or more) links under their comment (note, I’m not talking about relevant links inside your comment that add to the conversation). While this might not turn off everyone – it’s worth noting that it does get some angry – and even if this is the minority it can hurt your brand.

2. Excessive Self Linking – The practice of leaving links inside posts is not something that bothers me too much – unless it gets excessive. A well placed link back to something you’ve written (or that someone else has written) previously can really add to a conversation – particularly if what you’ve written else where is too long or detailed for the comment thread itself. What does risk annoying others is when you include lots of links to yourself in every comment you make and/or when the links are irrelevant to the topic and/or when you just leave a link without saying anything else. Keep links relevant and in moderation and you’ll find people respond to them well.

3. One or Two word Comments – Some comment leavers seem to be have a ‘quantity over quality’ mentality where they think that the more comments they leave on as many posts as possible the better they’ll be (whether for SEO or direct click visitors). Newsflash – it’s not. One insightful, intriguing and intelligent comment that is relevant and helpful to readers can achieve far more than many two word comments that ultimately mean nothing. All you’ll achieve by leaving loads of useless comments is to annoy bloggers, get yourself listed on comment spam blacklists and to potentially hurt your blog’s reputation as a spammer.

4. Not Reading Posts Before Commenting – I’m sure most of us have been guilty of this from time to time. You see a post title that you want to react to, you read the first line or two and feel strongly moved to comment. You leave the comment without reading the full post and then realize that you’ve made an idiot of yourself by saying something stupid, wrong or poorly thought through. While you might be able to repair the mistake by leaving another comment – it’s hard to get a comment removed on blogs – your words remain for years to come to highlight your opinion. Take a moment before leaving comments to make sure you understand what’s being written about – this means reading the full post first – it can also mean reading what others have written too.

5. Flaming and Personal Attack – While blogging has always been a medium where people don’t mind a little vigorous debate – it’s also got a history of flaring up into personal attack and flaming from time to time. It’s easy to do – you read something that you strongly disagree with and write a comment in the heat of the moment. Your comment is misinterpreted and read by another emotional person who responds – things escalate and suddenly things get personal. No one really wins in these exchanges – in fact more often than not both people come out of it with slightly tattered egos and reputations. Get a reputation for repeated flaming and you can really hurt your credibility.

6.’Anonymous’ Flaming – From time to time I get ‘anonymous’ comments left on this blog which get a little personal or which critique me or my actions. While I try to take these in good spirit (critique is actually an opportunity to improve) I sometimes wish that the person leaving the comment would reveal who they are – not so that I could attack back but so that we could have a good constructive interaction via email. What I do find interesting however is that many ‘anonymous’ comment leaves don’t seem to realize that when they leave a comment their IP address is also included with the comment in the back end of the blog. If you’ve written a non anonymous comment previously under your real name it is very simple to connect the two together. So your attack, jibe or personal swipe might not be so anonymous after all – and this can only hurt your reputation.

7. Always Being First To Comment – This is one of those tricky ones that doesn’t really annoy me personally and which can actually be a good tactic on some levels – but which can get a little excessive and become annoying for some. I’ve done heatmap tracking on comment sections of posts before and it is true that the earlier that you comment on a post the more chance that people will come to visit your blog. As a result – I’ve seen numerous people compete on popular blogs to be the first to leave a comment. While this can generate some traffic – the problem is that if you do it on every post and if in your rush to be first you write junky, quick and irrelevant comments you will begin to annoy both the bloggers who you are commenting on the posts of as well as their readers. Balance is the key if you want to be first – and quality comments count for a lot.

8. Dominating Comment Threads – A couple of years ago I had a blog which had a particular reader who commented multiple times on every post that I wrote. I’m not sure why they did this but while the comments were on topic, relevant and quite often helpful – they were also overwhelming in their quantity. In any given week this person would comment on my blog 50 to 100 times by responding to everything I wrote and most of the comments that other readers wrote. It got to a point where they were more active on my blog than I was and that other readers began to complain that they felt they were being drowned out. I ended up talking to the comment leaver about it and they scaled things down to a more reasonable level. Lots of comments are great – but when comment threads are dominated by any one person the feeling of community and dialogue can be lost and the person dominating the conversation can be seen in a negative light.

9. Keyword Stuffed Names – This is another one that people will have differing opinions on – but it is annoying for some and therefore could be considered as slightly risky. The reason that people leave comments under names that are not their own name but which are other ‘keywords’ are numerous. For some it is an SEO strategy (although it is worth noting that the majority of blogs these days use no-follow tags which stop Google Juice being passed on), for others it’s about communication what your blog is about, for others its about anonymity and for others it’s probably more of a branding decision. I get all of this and as a result it doesn’t worry me that much – however I do know some bloggers and blog readers who can’t stand it and who consider it to look spammy. While I don’t hold such strong views I would say that by not using your real name you could actually be hurting your own personal brand because there’s something about a real person’s name that is… well…. it’s personal. I would much rather chat to someone who has a name like James, Sara or Rahul than someone called ‘Million Dollar Get Rich Quick’ or ‘Free Debt Advice’.

10. Not adding value to the Comments – This is related to other points in this list but is worth saying. Every comment that you leave has the potential to either add value or take value from that other person’s blog. Add value to the conversations that are happening in the wider blogging community and you’ll build yourself a reputation as a wise, insightful and knowledgeable authority figure. Conversely – every comment that you leave that is obviously self serving, that illustrates that you’ve not read the post or that tears down others says something about who you are also and can give you a different kind of reputation.

OK – so there’s 10 ways that you can potentially hurt your brand by the way that you leave comments on others blogs. As I mentioned above – some of these are more black and white in my mind than others (some, like ‘being first’ or commenting a lot can start out as good but tip over into being bad if you get excessive – however all are worth considering.

You may decide to continue to do all or some of the above for good reason – but do so knowing that there is cost and potential for being misunderstood or perceived as doing something that perhaps you’re not intending to do.

Remember – everything you do or say in a public forum like another person’s blog comments have the ability to positively or negatively impact you and your blog’s brand. Not only that – the things you say and do in these spaces are permanent (at least until a person retires and deletes their blog). As a result commenting on blogs should not only be seen as an opportunity – but also as a practice that can be risky if you do it in the wrong way.

Have Your Say

Now it’s time for you to have your say. By no means am I an expert on any of this – so I’m keen to get your input:

  • What practices would you add to the above list?
  • Which would you remove from it (or modify)?
  • What advice would you give bloggers when it comes to commenting on others blogs?
  • As a blogger – do you police any of these types of things? Do you have a comment policy of any kind?