Thursday, July 7, 2011

4 Ways to Gain Readers Using Comments: Part 1 of How to Attract Readers to Your Blog


4 Ways to Gain Readers Using Comments


Part 1 of the series 
How to Attract Readers to Your Blog



What You Will Learn

You spent days (or weeks! Months!) setting up your blog, perfecting your design, and writing quality content…but you have no readers! Before you can even begin to worry about developing a following, you first need to let the world know your blog exists. But how do you get your name out there?

I've been asked by a number of people how I network my blog to attract readers. To answer that question, I’ve written a series of Blogging Tips and Tricks posts. In each post in the series I will outline a few methods for attracting new readers to your blog.

Let's Do This!

Method 1: Comment on similar blogs

Meaningful Comments

Why it works:
  • Instant audience: Commenting on similar blogs gets your name out there and in a venue where readers already like the subject you’re blogging about
  • Instant advertising: Every comment you leave includes a link to your blog, your name, and your picture
  • Instant attraction: You can show off your winning personality through quality comments
  • Instant recognition: The more people see you, the more they remember you

Meaningful comments can serve as extremely effective advertising. I first found Nic from Irresistible Reads through her prolific and awesome comments on other people’s blogs. She was everywhere! I thought she sounded like a really nice person and so I clicked on one of her comments to check out her blog (which very quickly became one of my “Read every day” blogs).


Make your links hot

Why it works:
  • You're making it easy for people to find your blog
  • In a list of comments, your direct link is more likely to be clicked on
I’m pretty busy, so the easier bloggers make it for me to visit their blog, the more likely I am to visit them. Sure your name is a link to your blog, but that’s a two step process that, when multiplied by about 20 different commenters, it takes a lot of time. Make things easier by making your links hot, especially on meme/hopping days.

Copy and paste this code to make your links hot:
    <a href="http://smallreview.blogspot.com/">Small Review</a>

Replace my URL with the URL you want the link to lead to (probably your blog). Replace the name of my blog with the name of your own blog, or whatever words you want to use as your anchor text.

Possible Cons:
  • Some people think this is spammy

As long as you're posting a quality comment, I don't consider it spammy to include your link. So when you're here at Small Review, feel free to "sign" your comments with a link to your blog.


Tie your commenting name to your blog

Commenting is about making friends, but it’s also about advertising your blog. If you want your comments to serve this double duty, then make sure your commenting name ties back to your blog in some way.

In a world of Jane Does, don't be another Jane:

If your commenting name is only your first name, then that can be very confusing. I can think of three bloggers who all have the same name (and I’m sure there are more), and their commenting name is not tied to their blog name. As a result, when I see their comments I only know which blogger they are by looking at their avatar, and not every blog shows avatars.

How to do it right:

Alex from A Girl, Books, and Other Things has her commenting name set up optimally. When she leaves a comment, her user name is displayed like this:

Alex (A Girl, Books, OtherThings)

This is perfect because I know her name, but I’m also reminded every time she comments of the name of her blog. This combination of her name and her blog helps solidify the association between her (her personality shining through her comments) and her blog name. If I didn’t know her and I started seeing her comments crop up on a bunch of the same blogs I read, then this association between her name and her blog really helps me remember who she is and lets her blog stand out in my mind.

Identity Theft!!

If another Alex pops up in the blogging world, I won’t mix up their comments with Alex from A Girl, Books, and Other Things. It may seem at first like having a bunch of different Alex-authored comments all over might actually help her by spreading her name around, but what if the new Alex is a spammer or otherwise irritating? You certainly don’t want your good name mixed up with a spammer!


Tie your commenting picture to your blog

The avatar that appears next to your comments is another way for you to remind people of your blog. For me, I use the same picture that’s in my header and my button. Repetition is the key. The more people see your images and name around, the more likely to are to remember you.

Of course if you’ve been commenting with a particular image for years then you may not want to change it up. It all depends, but what's most important to remember here is consistency. Pick a picture and stick with it. Frequently changing your avatar picture leads to confusion and you won't capitalize on the "I see X everywhere and so I remember it" phenomenon.


Stay tuned for the next post in this series where I’ll go over a few more tips on how you can attract readers to your blog!




The form is anonymous, so please don't feel shy at all!

I'm certainly not an expert, but I'll try my hardest to explain what I do know and research what I don't know.

Click here to read previous How To Posts 

42 comments:

  1. Great tips. I know I learned early on when starting my blog that if I wanted to get comments on my blog (and boy, do I ever love to receive comments) then I've got to return the favour and leave meaningful comments on reviews on other people's blogs (especially because I imagine they've put a lot of effort into writing them!).

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  2. Very helpful post. Thanks bunches for sharing :)

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  3. Excellent post! I agree I find a lot of great blogs through comments. :-)

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  4. *hugs* Thanks for the shout out.

    And this was a very helpful post - I wish I had read it when I started blogging, because I was very shy and sort of reluctant to comment.

    But now I agree with all the points you made about why commenting is good. I always say it's the easiest networking you'll ever do.

    And I love what you said about the picture, I've had the same one for ages and I have it on my blog too, so I don't think I'll change it - it's also my gravatar so, that's also part of the why. But there are instances like yours of Aylee (with that potter themed avi) that just by looking at them I know who's talking.

    I think I might start using the hot link for my signature when I comment, I never did it because I was on the 'this is spammy' camp, but then you're right that you have to make it easy for people to find it your site, particularly when it's a site/blogger you're just starting to build a relationship with.

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  5. Excellent advice! Commenting is definitely key for getting yourself out there and is something I'm trying to improve and find the time for. I know I will visit a commenter's blog if they've taken the time to write a meaningful comment on my blog. I might try the linked name when doing memes :)

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  6. Ah-ha! So that is how your put your link in the comments! I have been wondering about how to do that.

    And thanks for the shout out! You are too kind and too awesome :)

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  7. Thanks for such a helpful post!! I do think commenting around helps get you and your blog out there. And OMG thank you so much for telling me how to add links in comments. Always so stumped when others do that lol

    Steph: Short & Sweet
    haha yay!

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  8. Some of the biggest blogs I know get very little comments on their posts, which has always struck me as strange, but, since I've been blogging, I've learned that the only way to get a good number of comments on your blog is to comment on other blogs. I sometimes wonder if people are actually interested in what I post, or if they just want a comment back. lol! Not everyone, but I do wonder.

    As for the signature link in every post - especially if someone pops along all the time just to say 'Great Post' and leave their link. This happens a lot! Grrrr...

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  9. ^ Oh, I meant to say the signature link is annoying, especially when people always stop by just to leave a comment saying 'Great Post!'

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  10. Thanks for the tips! I try to comment on any posts that I read, and I've noticed that some bloggers actually reciprocate comments (I comment on three of their posts, they'll comment on three of mine).

    My name's actually inverted from your suggestion; my blog name comes before my real name. I'm not sure I like putting a link to my blog in every comment, though.

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  12. Thanks for this post. I like the idea of commenting on blogs that have similar interests as you. I find that I hop around to many blogs that read books that I just DO NOT read, so my comments always say something like "I've never read that genre, I don't think I'd like this book, but I'm glad you did" or something ridiculous like that.

    Then I wonder why no one comments on my blog haha!! I'm still actively looking for bloggers who enjoy mystery/suspense but review it in a lighthearted way like me!

    xo,
    Lah @ LazyGirl Reads

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  13. Awesome post!

    I've been following your How-to series for a while now and this will definitely be my favourite instructional feature. I love reading the "quality" comments of my readers and seeing where the blog and hope they do the same for me. It's a win-win!

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  14. Smalls, you're a genius.

    I think it is really hard to find a balance with commenting and real life. Sure, I'd love to leaving meaningful comments on every blog I follow, but it takes a lot of time and effort, and when you work full time or go to school or just have obligations outside of blogging it is rather difficult.

    Like everyone, I love getting comments, but I realize the only way to do that is if I get out there and comment. Some days, I have more time to commit to it than others, but I do try to get out to the blogosphere daily.

    I've considering editing my commenting name to include my blog name, but I guess I've been too lazy to do it. LOL

    Thanks for all the tips. :)

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  15. I'm pretty sure that's how I found Nic too :)

    I always wondered how people added links so thanks for sharing that tip. I agree that leaving links makes it easier to get onto your blog but sometimes it does tend to verge on the spammy side. If I've seen the blogger around and they've left a nice comment, then I have no problems with people leaving links either.

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  16. What a great post! I think I'm going to switch my Google Account so that it says Alison Can Read instead of Alison. I should switch my avatar to my button photo, but I'm just too fond of my Twilight photo to make the switch. :-)

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  17. Ooo! How do you make your blog name as part of your user name? Would love to do that since there are so many Julie's!

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  18. These are all excellent tips. I wholeheartedly agree. One of the reasons I got so enamored with you was the fact that you comment so frequently on so many blogs and so meaningfully. I don't know how you do it, but I love you for it!

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  19. Thank you for the helpful tips. I hope I can use the with my blog. I am always looking for ways to gain more active followers. :)

    Beckie

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  20. What a very useful post. I'm going to try and do some of this stuff, thanks for the tips!

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  21. I agree--if the link is paired with a thoughtful comment, I appreciate it. When it's not...I tend to ignore them.
    And, since I know this is a safe space, I'm going to try the linky thing.
    Ruby @Ruby's Reads

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  22. Small! Help me! It doesn't work! What did I do WRONG?!

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  23. Great tips. I have to say that I already do most of them, apart from leaving my link in the comments, which I'm about to try out right now ...
    The Slowest Bookworm

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  24. I must have done something wrong as my link doesn't work. Oh dear :(

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  25. Aylee, Very true. Commenting is very much a give and get sort of thing. I’m really awful with reciprocating as much as I should.

    Alexis, You’re welcome!

    Belle, Glad you liked it!

    Alex, You’re welcome :) You make a great point about when to use the signature link when you’re just starting to build a relationship. Once I have a blog in my reader, then I don’t need them to sign their comments because I’ve probably already visited (or plan on visiting) their blog. But when someone is new then it’s super helpful.

    Stephanie, Thanks! Glad you found it helpful. Finding time to comment is an ongoing thing for me. I’m so impressed by the bloggers who are really prolific commenters.

    Nic, You’re so welcome :)

    Steph, Yay!! :D

    Leanna, Haha, aw, I’ve wondered that sometimes , too. I know I don’t often comment on the really big blogs because I feel intimidated. I’m really shy. I almost feel like I’m bothering them, which is very silly but it does keep me from commenting. Oh I don’t think I’d do a signature in every post (obviously I don’t do it!) but mostly just for if you’re going to a new blog who doesn’t know you yet or on a meme day. Totally agree with you on the Here’s my link! Comments that don’t say anything else. Those are completely spammy.

    Susie, You’re welcome! I wouldn’t worry about putting your link in every comment. That would probably get really annoying for you to have to type it up all the time :P I’d just do it on meme days or when you’re introducing yourself to someone new. Otherwise odds are I have that person in my Google Reader anyway.

    Lah, You’re welcome! I try to keep an eye out for mystery/suspense blogs for you, but I don’t stumble across them too often.

    Laura, Thanks! I’m so glad you’re enjoying this feature. It is a win-win :)

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  26. Missie, I hear you! I'm so busy and I don't really have a particularly demanding job. I am in awe of so many bloggers. I don't know how they find the time to post great content, comment all over, and still have a life! I'm so behind on all my commenting :(

    A Canadian Girl, She's awesome :) I agree, as long as they leave a nice comment then I'm ok with the link. The other kind like, "Nice books, come check out my blog!" just get ignored by me.

    Alison, Thanks! Noooooo! You are a perfect example of one of the bloggers I was referring to when I said you might want to keep your avatar as is if it's already solidly tied to you. Whenever I see that Twilight picture I automatically think of you. :)

    Julie, You go to your profile and where it says "Display Name" write in whatever name you want to show up when you comment. I'm pretty sure that will change it.

    Logan, Thanks! Really?? I always feel like I'm so far behind with commenting all the time.

    Chi Kittie, You're welcome! I hope they help :)

    Gina, You're welcome! This series is in part a response to your suggestion (a long while ago) about "pimping" your blog. Hope it helps!

    Rubita and The Slowest Bookworm, Erm, YOU didn't do anything wrong. I did! I had put my url link as WWW.smallreview.blogspot.com but that's wrong. If you use the WWW and without the http:// it breaks it. Instead you should do it like this: http://smallreview.blogspot.com

    But for your blog, of course. I've edited the post to reflect this now. I'm sorry!! :)

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  27. I'm totally the same way, Small. I don't often comment on the biggies because of shyness. Now I'm going to try the linking again.

    Ruby

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  28. Great advise! I've been linking my name and blog on most of my comments hoping that I'm not being spammy. But to be honest, I prefer that people do that when commenting on my blog posts because, many times clicking their nametakes me to a profile page with no blogs listed or with multiple blogs listed and I'm not sure which one to comment back on. Thanks for the tips!

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  29. Great advice! Thanks so much!
    (I'm going to try that anchor text... let's hope it works! :)

    The Page Sage

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  30. You're welcome! Let me know if you need any help :)

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  31. You do so much to help your fellow bloggers, Small Review. Thank you so much for taking the time to outline your tips and tricks so clearly, and for being not onl a great resource but an all-around nice person as well!

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    1. Aw, thank you, Wendy! You are so kind :)

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  32. But my name's too long! What would I do? Thanks, great post (:

    I think this is better now? But it's not my full blog name. Is that still okay?

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  34. Thanks for the tips (:
    Might as well get started here with a link to my newly-created blog.

    Awesome Book Assessment

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  36. Hey! I have a question, when your talking about making your "link" hot so people can just go and click the link after you have left your comment. How do I do that?

    For example, If I am commenting on someone's teaser tuesday and I want to add my blog name after I am done so they can come and visit me, instead of putting this (http://theultimatebookworm23.blogspot.ca/) How do I have it so it will show "The Ultimate Bookworms" instead?!!? I look forward to seeing your response <3

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  37. You just need to copy and paste the code under the "make your links hot" section. Then just replace my link (the blue text in the example) with your link and my blog name (the orange text in the example) with yours. :) Does that make sense?

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