I think it’s pretty much well established at this point that commenting is an essential part of blogging success. So I will not bore you with a post about how you should start commenting on other people’s blogs and responding to comments on your own. Because you already know you should.
However, how much thought do you put into the actual process of commenting?
This is something rarely talked about. And this may not be a read for seasoned veteran bloggers who have established systems for themselves to do…well…basically everything.
But for those who do not have an established method to commenting, I will share the one I came up with.
Admittedly, until recently I used to bounce around link to link, blog to blog, and drop a line or two (or 15). Sure there were the regulars I would visit consistently, but I could count those on one hand (maybe a hand and a half).
This doesn’t really help anyone. A good blog commenting strategy requires two things: a time commitment and consistency. I think the method I’ve recently established for myself does a really good job of establishing rhyme and reason to the whole process, and best of all its very simple.
You need to put in the time.
You should set aside a time slot to browse around the blogosphere and leave your footprints. This means leaving good, quality comments.
Not “thanks for this post”. But again, you already knew that.
How much time should you set aside? Recently Christian Hollingsworth asked several bloggers about how much time they spend on blog commenting. As you can see the answers vary and you should decide for yourself what time frame is right for you.
But assuming you have set a time limit for yourself in terms of how long you will spend commenting on blogs, wouldn’t you rather jam pack that time with as much communication as possible?
You need to re-visit the same blogs on a consistent basis.
Why? To establish connections (and hopefully eventually relationships) with bloggers.
You will see claims all over the internet that you should comment on other blogs to increase your own blog’s traffic. Is this true? Sure…it works to some degree.
But the true gift of blog commenting is making connections with people. The people that are behind the other blogs. And that is why you need to be consistent.
Chelsea Thomas recently talked about building relationships beyond a social media connection. And she drove home the point that in order to build relationships, you need to exercise consistency.
And this only makes sense. Do you ever meet someone in the real world…just once…and consider them to be a good friend?
If you do, and this is your first time at this blog, can I borrow $60 for gas?
But more than likely it takes you several times of seeing someone and interacting with them to get a true feel for the type of person that they are. To build up trust. To know that you can actually be friends with this person. To have a connection beyond just “Oh I know that guy”.
If it is true in the “real world” it is ten fold online (inaccurately rough estimate).
When you interact online you interact through a computer screen not face to face. It take more effort to get used to the other individual and to build up trust.
Hence, consistency is even more important in the internet world.
In order to optimize my commenting time and to be more consistent with my comments to each blog I decided to set up a system for myself. A very simple system using Google Reader and RSS feeds.
Each time I come across a blog that I find interesting and would like to re-visit, and possibly make a connection with that blogger, I add it to my Google Reader.
Once the blog is in my Reader I rename it to the following format: “Blogger Name – Blog Name.”
I put the blogger name first because that is the most important part!
You need to start caring about the people behind the blog. Learn about them and get to know them because that is who you will be trying to make a connection with. As the number of blogs in your Reader increases and you visit more blogs, this will make it easier to associate each blog with the individual responsible for it.
An that is it! Not much of a system right?
Build up your Google Reader with blogs you will want to comment on in the future. This will keep a log of everywhere you want to revisit and save you the time of going to each blog to check if anything new is up. Plus it’ll keep you consistently commenting on the same blogs.
In only a couple of days I built up my list to over 100 blogs.
The first problem I encountered was with the actual RSS feeds and Google Chrome. For some reason some of the feeds just didn’t want to get along with that browser so I had to add those feeds through Firefox.
Why? Who knows? Ask someone at Google.
The other, bigger, caveat is your Reader will feel like a never ending to-do list. Especially as you add more and more blogs, fresh posts will keep popping up throughout the day.
Set a time limit for yourself. The first day I tried this approach I spent more than half the day going through all of the unread posts in my reader. I am not a read the first sentence, the last sentence and fill in the blanks kind of guy. I go through the whole damn thing. So start writing shorter posts please!!!
Your Two Cents:
- Do you have a commenting method and/or system?
- If you do, what is it?
- Do you set aside a time slot for commenting in your schedule or do you just do it on the fly?
- Do you comment on the same blogs consistently?
- Has commenting helped you build any relationships beyond simple internet connections?
- Do you find it incredibly hypocritical that I asked you to write shorter posts in a post that’s over 1,000 words long?