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Blog Posts, Comments, Business, Rankings…

Posted by on Oct 29, 2011
Listen with webreader

I found this quite intriguing, enough for me to decide to write on the topic. I got inspiration for this post from not one, but two blog posts. The first one was from Marcus Sheridan on a post titled 10,862 Comments Later, I Realize Blog Comments are NOT a Business Model. This post led me to the second post by John Falchetto, titledThe Right Traffic And What The 4hour Workweek Post Taught Me About Blogging.

John started with the premise that out of all the blog posts he’d been writing, he was getting lots of comments but none of it turned into business. At the same time, he felt that people reading some of his posts were missing some of the points he was trying to make, and of course that took away from the effectiveness of them, in his mind, and thus the possibility of getting the kind of traffic he was hoping for.

Marcus took this a bit further, and added a conversation he got to have with John. First, he owned up to how many comments his blog has gotten in a very short period of time; puts me to shame. Second, he owned up to the fact that he hasn’t sold a single product geared to his main business from this blog, even with all those comments. Third, after his conversation with John, he started to wonder if maybe there were things he could do with his blog that John was starting to do, that being to make sure to write a post a day, sometimes more than one, and increase the prominence of the blog, at the possible exclusion of comments, to potentially generate more income. Of course I’ve kind of simplified the thoughts of both posts, so it’d be a good idea to go read each one of them.

I commented on Marcus’ post, but not on John’s, mainly because John asked a question I wasn’t sure I could answer in a short comment: ‘Which lessons has your blog taught you?‘.

Good question, eh? Well, let’s take a look at it if I may, based on not only the question, but their two posts and the title of this post as well. Numbers please!

1. I used to have a pretty tight blogging schedule for this blog; I still do, but not necessarily by design. I had a yearly goal of 300 posts a year, plain and simple. That meant 25 posts a month on average, and I was able to do it. At some point, though, I decided that it shouldn’t only be about the numbers of posts; I wanted more comments.

So I slowed down the number of posts somewhat, and I started getting more comments. I still don’t come close to the number Marcus or many other people get, but it did increase.

Yet, do you know when the biggest period of growth this blog ever had was? That week last November when I had two blog posts a day, the first one being a regular post and the evening one advertising one of my products. The overall traffic for this blog shot up drastically, even if comments dropped significantly. Both my Alexa rank and Google Analytics said my numbers increased. And do you know when I had the most traffic to my business site? The week after when I did the same thing on my business blog that I did on this blog. Very few comments but a drastic rise in visits.

This does seem to prove one thing; the more posts one has, the more traffic one gets. I know someone is going to say “I don’t write that many posts and look at my numbers.” I’ll just point to my latest business blog as an example; I added it to my SEO site in August and without many comments traffic has risen 65% in less than 90 days; wow!

2. With traffic comes higher rankings… of sorts. My Alexa ranking for my SEO site has gone from 2.78 million the day I started the blog on that site to 483,000 and change on Thursday. That’s not bad for less than 90 days, and that’s just with a post every 3 days. And without all that many comments; it does say something for having more activity. It doesn’t address where the blog would be if I were posting daily, but for now the traffic stats are undeniable.

3. Well, we do have to come down to business, don’t we? Comments don’t equal business; both Marcus and John are correct on that. We all still want comments, but John’s now increasing the number of posts regardless of the number of comments, and Marcus is thinking about it.

Me… I’m not sure. Well, I am sure, but I’m not sure what I can do about it. I’ve always said I didn’t expect this blog to make me a lot of money, but I did hope that it, in combination with other things I was doing, would at least generate more business interest than it has. However, my SEO blog has yet to generate any business interest either, but I figure it’s still kind of early.

I might be able to get a boost after a live presentation I’m a part of next week at a conference called the BizBuzz Social Media Conference here in the Syracuse area, where I’m talking about business blogging; at least it’s part of the overall strategy. But a stat I will report based on a little case study is that out of 36 keyword phrases I came up with before starting the blog I’ve increased in the number I’m found by from 13 to 23, and the rankings are higher as well for all but 2 of them. So, the potential for business there has increased, even if it hasn’t happened yet.

Anyway, those are the lessons blogging has taught me regarding these things. Now, I have my own questions. Do you believe writing more blog posts would help your blog improve its rankings? Do you believe you’d be capable of increasing the number of blog posts you write, even if it were just as an experiment? And finally, what do you want from your blog, or blogs?

Man, I love when people make me think! :-)
 

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27 Comments »

Great thoughts here. I’ve been doing some similar experiments, and have certainly found that traffic increases rapidly with more blog posts.

It just gives people more content to share, get excited about, comment on, as well as pages for the search engines to index.

Comment averages per post certainly decrease, but that’s all part of the trade off. Right now I’m focusing on more content while I can, and see where it takes me. When I don’t want to produce as much content, I’ll just taper back a bit.
Christian Hollingsworth recently posted…A moment with Freelance Writer Harleena SinghMy Profile

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

It’s all about experimentation Christian, and of course the kind of dedication one can give towards writing a bunch of posts. I know that part isn’t always easy, but it does seem that there are some benefits to doing it.

October 29th, 2011 | 12:12 PM

I’ve got a feeling I’ll write about this subject 3 or 4 more times before it’s all said and done Mitch ;-)

Interesting topic indeed…

Have a great weekend,

Marcus
Marcus Sheridan-The Sales Lion recently posted…A Tale of Two Bloggers: Our Individual Journey to Online SuccessMy Profile

October 29th, 2011 | 12:25 PM
Holly Jahangiri:

I don’t think comments OR rankings really amount to a hill of beans. They can be symptomatic of success, but trying to get the trappings of success, without the underpinnings of it, is a little silly. No offense to all the bloggers out there – while it’s true that advertising on a site that gets lots of “eyeballs” is potentially of more value, if it doesn’t translate to buying behavior, forget it. I think a blog can enhance a business, brand, or image – but it’s a BLOG. The information and the interaction have to have VALUE to visitors for them to keep coming back. Posts and comments, in and of themselves, have no intrinsic value – it’s the people behind them, the ideas expressed in them, the things that can be learned from them that give them value. And if those things all lead to more traffic from people who turn around and buy a product, then you have a business model.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Dag Holly, I had to read this 3 times to understand it; so deep! lol

You bring up an interesting point that maybe I missed or not; I’m not sure. Traffic and rankings also don’t equate necessarily to business success. I would have to say that out of my 5 blogs only one seems to have equated to success, that being my finance blog. So many want to write for it and I do have people that want to advertise on it. Doesn’t depress me one bit as far as that’s concerned.

But again, my business site is ranked fairly well because of my blog on that site, but I can’t say it’s driven lots of business my way; some might say that the return on my writing investment hasn’t been earned back, and I couldn’t disagree with that either.

Still, there is something to be said for rankings, as least SERPS. If you can push your website up higher on search engines so you at least have a chance to compete with others for what you do, then it’s a good thing and something that’s probably worth pursuing. It’s usually assumed that if someone’s looking for you through a search engine, they’re looking to do business with you. So, at least being focused on a goal, the right goal, will never be a bad thing.

October 29th, 2011 | 12:16 PM

Here’s my experience… Just getting consistent (or mostly so) on posting and commenting on other blogs took my site from getting 30 to 60 visitors a month to getting that same amount in a day in about a month and a half, roughly speaking. I’ve missed a few days that I intended, especially early on, which is probably why it’s not quite up to 1000 a month yet (though I’m getting closer to that goal).

Now, much of that so far has been other bloggers, so I haven’t quite seen the conversions much yet, but as I start adding one more cog to the wheel (guest posting), and I start pushing that monthly count up around 3000, I expect I should start to see more conversions. That, and I need to tweak just a couple of things.

My brother brought up a point to me, though, and that was that one of the things I was writing about didn’t have something I was promoting. So what did I do? I went out and found something to promote on that topic. The point here is make sure that you’re writing content that would attract the people you want to buy. You can’t keep write content on how to knit a sweater (not that you do this, Mitch… Just an example here) and expect to find people interested in losing weight to find your site and buy.

Thanks for the great post!
Grady Pruitt recently posted…Could We Suffer The Same Fate As Greece?My Profile

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Great stuff Grady. Activity breeds activity, if not sales and business. Not being focused can drive traffic, but that also won’t generate sales. But you’re working the community and in my eyes that’s never a bad thing.

October 29th, 2011 | 2:20 PM

Great insights and questions in your post Mitch. I spent the better part of the last five months focusing solely on commenting on other blogs and in return getting comments on my blog but this has not really increased my earnings as much as I would like it to.

I was also thinking about doing an experiment for writing posts. Perhaps posting everyday for a month and see what kind of results that I get. I was even thinking about during that month not responding to comments on my blog unless they are a new visitor.

Responding to comments “thoughtfully” takes time so I may skip it during my one month test.

I did a twitter test a few months ago. Every blog that I commented on I re-tweeted their post, as a result re-tweets on my posts increased. Then I didn’t re-tweet any posts on blogs that I commented on and as a result re-tweets on my blog decreased.

Go figure! :)
Justin recently posted…Getting Beyond the Time Loop and the MatrixMy Profile

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Justin, I like part of your experiment. The problem with not responding to comments is that you never know which of those folks might have been a loyal commenter that brought others to your site because they find you engaging. Whereas not all comments will bring business, they do tend to bring visitors, which could end up being business relationships. I’m betting you’d be doing yourself a better justice by responding to at least more comments than you were planning on doing.

Justin | Mazzastick Reply:

You are probably right Mitch. I don’t think I have the heart to ignore my regular commenters even if it is only for a month.
Justin recently posted…Halloween the Harvest FestivalMy Profile

October 29th, 2011 | 11:45 PM

Since my blog is not monetised, it makes no difference to me. I write for my pleasure and my readers know my quirks and idiosyncrasies. I am quite comfortable with the number of comments that I receive, though I must confess that I like to see new commentators pop in every now and then.
Rummuser recently posted…Gratitude List – October 29, 2011.My Profile

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Rummuser, your blog took off when you started writing more as well. I remember your early days that sometimes it seemed like it was just you and me and maybe a couple other people; now look at your popularity. Sales or not, the act of you writing more often got more people to come and participate.

October 30th, 2011 | 3:39 AM

Hi Mitchell,

Well I believe that everyone has their own principles as to how they move their own business online. It is still good to try and balance the system in online marketing world.
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October 30th, 2011 | 4:49 AM
Carl:

This is pretty complicated matter, Mitch. It have to be looked from different angles. Nothing wrong with number of comments and blog posts, but it depends much more on content keywords which are important. Many SEO practitioners classify keywords in 2 major types – key phrases (1-2 words) and long tails (more than 3). Well this classification is ok, but technically it is irrelevant, as keywords are better to be classified as transitional, informational and selling keywords. As well need a look on the traffic sources, bounce rate, location, etc. Definitely there are good points in this 2 articles, but again both are looking over things in very wide range and generally how things work.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Carl, I think in a blog post one can only speak generally most of the time; heck, look at how long some of my posts get. lol I think they’re both inherently right, but you’re right in saying that there are other factors that could fit into the mix such as keywords, the type of content, whose eyes are bluer… hey, who threw that in? lol But you know what I’m saying; I agree with all of the assessments.

Carl Reply:

I am sure that I’ve mention it on previous comment probably about 2 month ago where your post cover similar topic. Title of post is pretty important and it doesn’t really depend on the niche. Biggest success writing an article have been for small website, this hit 6000 unique visitors in about a week, topic was related to event and actually there was a lot of competition, surprise was that keyword was not related to even, but to address of event. I wish Google Trends and Insight were showing live data for searches in the last 48 hours, this for sure will guarantee very high traffic, but again this doesn’t guarantee high conversion.
Carl recently posted…SEO Reseller ProgramMy Profile

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

The thing is, Carl, that when it comes to traffic in general even the title doesn’t mean anything. Search engines love the new content, and even though the title should at least pertain to what the post is all about, I’m betting if one could write 3 posts a day that the search engines wouldn’t care about titles at all, concentrating more on the content and relevance to what they think the site is all about. Commenters might be another thing altogether.

October 30th, 2011 | 8:08 AM

Posting more contents on a blog per day will certainly increases the traffic rate of such website. I’ve experienced it also on my blog when I started writing more than 4-5 blog posts per day. The two posts you shared with us makes me me understand better about the concept of writing more and forgetting whether people come in tone to comment or not because content is king (business) and not comments. Thanks for sharing :)
Olawale Daniel recently posted…Facebook vs Wikileaks – Zuckerberg and Assange – see the bestMy Profile

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

No problem Olawale. Content is definitely a driver of traffic, especially consistently new content, but what one does after that will probably impact business more than anything else.

October 30th, 2011 | 9:10 AM

I’ll start backwards. I want more publicity for my blogs. I know my following is growing on two of them, but I want more readers. I don’t think writing more posts will increase my ranking and I wouldn’t write more right now unless I was paid to do it. I have an editorial schedule and I post on all my sites at least once a week.
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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Actually Marcie, writing more has already been proern to improve one’s ranking. You will get more visitors, just probably fewer comments. And if the traffic isn’t targeted then it wouldn’t help, but could help indirectly.

November 1st, 2011 | 12:46 AM
Val:

Posting frequently and regularly will certainly get more comments than not, but I’d rather have people who love my posts than people who just swoop by and dump a comment because my post is ‘there’.

As for whether a high volume of comments equals business success… despite my not being a ‘commercial’ blogger, I recently sold several paintings to one of my readers who actually asked if she could buy some. I call that a successful blog even though I wasn’t even trying to sell anything through it! And the reason that it’s successful is not even that I sold something through it, but that people do keep coming back. My regular readers are precious to me, they get something out of my blog and give me something back in return: their enjoyment of it. I think you get that out of your blog too, don’t you? :)

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

I do out of this one Val, but I have 5 blogs and I really wouldn’t be depressed having more traffic, visitors, and then business from 2 of them. Course, this is my favorite blog because I can just riff, thus it’s also been the test blog for a lot of things. Still, one can’t deny the “science” proven by testing as to how it can all work.

November 2nd, 2011 | 10:48 PM

Blogging for me is all about the enjoyment factor Mitch. I’ll stop blogging only if the enjoyment goes out of it. That is one of the reasons why I don’t bother all that much about SEO, why I don’t care about PR at all and why I only write when the mood strikes me. If I had to hold to a strict regime just so I can boost my traffic and perhaps my income, well that would certainly kill the enjoyment factor and bring an end to my blogging career. Nope, ain’t going to happen.

As for comments, I Know I get a fair bit because I’m dofollow, have all the right plugins and because I have a pretty good PR but that’s cool because it’s those very same comments that help to bring my posts to life.
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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Sire, you’re great proof of what working the blogging community can do for a blog. Your past activity continues to work wonders with the amount of people that come to your blog and leave a comment. I think, however, that one can’t dismiss those folks who see the business proposition behind writing more, which does work, and schedules will work for them. I was asked the other day if I had a publishing schedule for my blog and I answered no, but that I did try to have a certain number of posts showing up on each blog on some kind of regular basis. Good thing I always seen to have stuff to say. :-)

November 3rd, 2011 | 12:51 AM

Hi Mitch,

I found this post and the various comments you received very interesting and informative.

I started writing my blog mainly because I found it therapeutic. I found it relaxing to sit down, listen to some good music and crank out an article. I never really expected to generate money directly from the blog.

Given that blogs are mainly informational, it’s tough to generate income from them, unless, as you said, you have them hooked up to a “money site” where you’re making an offer of some sort. Also, if you generate a ton of traffic, there’s some money to be had from advertising. But if it’s purely about the information, I think most people expect information to be free (or roughly free) these days. They’ll pay for guidance, coaching, systems, etc, but straight information is expected to be free.

At the end of the day though, whether you make any money directly from your blog or not, it should at least position you as an expert in your area of focus. As long as you’re producing good content and able to attract your current clients or others to whom you may market your products/services, it provides you with an opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and capabilities.

Everyone gets into blogging for different reasons, I guess, and once you’re in, a blog can serve a variety of purposes. The number of comments you get is interesting, as is the number of visitors, but in the final analysis, it depends on what your objectives are for your blog.

Paul
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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Great comment Paul. You’re right, those of us that blog do get into it for different reasons. I never even thought about making money off my blog when I first started; actually, it seems like I don’t think about making money off them now. lol But my hope has always been to set myself up by showing expertise, or in being a thought leader if you will. That’s still my quest, although with as many blogs as I have my quest is also probably to just spout my views on a wide variety of things and move on. ;-)

November 17th, 2011 | 12:23 PM