Drive By Commenting is for Manipulators

Part of the Kenno's Blog series.
By Ken Brown
Editor, You Can Learn Series
Updated:
December 22, 2007
I recently was wandering around the web and I found this article about driving traffic to your website by dropping comments on other blogs. Now, if you are an active reader on this website you might say, "hey, haven't you already written about this activity?" Well, yes I have but this is something new.

I am a little older and wiser now, so my take and perspective on this activity is a little different than it has been in the past.

Anyway the article was quick to point out that you can drive traffic to your website by commenting on blogs. This is in the belief that the blogger sees the comment. She say's "Oh, who made this comment?" She then clicks on the hyperlink and is taken to the commentor's website. Of course, the original blogger will sign up for the rssfeed and begin commenting on the commentor's blog or article pages. Ah the perfect world.

Except When It Is a Very Bad Idea.

I have been reading these types of articles a lot lately. I think it is a very good idea. Except when it is a very bad idea. This specific article then had a couple of comments left by others. The original blogger then made a comment that concerned me.

It seems that this blogger doesn't really want to become part of a community. He just wants to manipulate you. Here are his comments,

So if you really want to generate traffic then it's worth it. And I find that often you can read just the first paragraph and know enough about the article to write a comment. One technique that I find very useful is to ask them a question. If you ask them a question then they won't think you're spamming. Ask them something related to their blog, like if they have a picture up ask them where they took it, something like that. Then make sure you subscribe to that post so that you can know when they reply. Then you write one more answer to thank them for answering their question and then you don't have to worry about going back again. And that way you've generated two back links, this person thinks you're interested in your blog. And it didn't take alot of time."

The Blogger Doesn't Care About Community

What bothers me is this blogger doesn't care about you, your blog or your community. He is just using you. He wants the quick back links and then off he goes to manipulate some other blog. I am concerned about his desire to use it as only a traffic driving ploy as opposed to becoming a real member of the community. Don't you think it would be better to become an active member within that community? Let me explain.

I think users should try to build an excellent reputation within the blogging community. You shouldn't have to try to manipulate people. When you add relevant comments to the blog articles then you are considered a resource within the community. People begin to respect your judgment and wisdom. Now, other members within that blogging community will go to your website to learn more about you, your thoughts and your blog content. You develop a following.

A Short Sighted Strategy

The strategy appears a little shortsighted. Because the only person that will go to the commentor's site is the blogger themselves. This means you only get one click on your website and that is from the original blogger. I say you need to think bigger. What you want from another blogger's website are his readers. You want to capture or share the readers that want to read the blog everyday. We already know that blogger has a large following of regular readers that subscribe to his RSSFeed. You want those people to come to your site.

Imagine if that blogger has a feed reader base of over 1000 readers. These are people that have shown a propensity to return on a regular basis. Now some of those readers may become YOUR readers. Regular returning readers who leave relevant comments and your site becomes a corner marketplace with excellent discussions.

Years ago when I was in direct mail we talked about recency and frequency of customers. Our best customers were the ones that came back often and purchased often. We helped those people buy more of our product.

You may want the blogger himself, but you mostly want committed long term readers and ideally qualified buyers of whatever product you sell. If you take the short sighted approach you will miss out on the rest of the potential traffic. You end up just doing a "drive by" comment. You get one visit from that comment and then nothing.

What Is The Purpose Of Your Blog Comments

Imagine that your purpose is to get long term traffic to your site. People subscribing to your RSSfeeds. People visiting your site everyday. Well, if you comment many times on a website then the people who subscribe to that web site's feeds, will be more likely to visit your site. If your blog has relevant content these same people will subscribe to your feed.

If you say it takes too much time to write good relevant comments on blogs so you are just going to do drive by comments, this is what you will receive. One lonely blogger after another coming to your site and never coming back. Then tomorrow you have to comment on another 5 blogs to get another 5 people to visit your site. And the next day, what do you have to do? What happened to the 5 people from the day before? Gone. Unless you stand out in the over crowded blogosphere, you aren't going to be driving the traffic you think you will.

You will drive onesy and twosies visits to your blog. You will in effect be wasting your time. But, say you target 10 blogs that appear to really contain the readership you crave. You become a part of at least one and as many as ten of those blogs. You visit everyday. You read. You interact with the blogger, you agree, you disagree, you challenge and you get to know the other commentors. Now you have made friends. Friends that care about you. Friends that want to know what is happening on your website and blog.

Committed Subscribers To Your Blog

It is my honest opinion that you will have more traffic and more committed traffic to your blog in 3 months this way than by haphazard drive by commenting. Traffic that will comment on your articles. Traffic that will subscribe to your rssfeed. Traffic that will come back day after day. Traffic that will become your best supporters when you win and will help lift you up when you have setbacks.

I just finished reading a book recently, called Grapevine. It talks about a company called BzzAgent. It is an advertising firm that used people to people to promote their customer's products. They found that people loved being in the community. These people would become the best sales people for these products because they were part of the community. It really is an amazing story. That is the kind of blog traffic you want. Not just users and manipulators. Not someone looking to get a single unpaid text link ad.

You want to build community. The kind of community that will sustain you in your good times and especially in your bad times.


I Ran Out Of Blog Ideas What Should I Write About - Blog Article Idea Starters - Do you ever reach that point where you don't know what to blog about next? As long as it isn't fatal, meaning you are so sick of blogging you never want to see your blog ever again, then these tips may prove useful for you.

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