Questioning Links In Comments

Just over a week ago I wrote a post where I asked about editing comments and whether anyone else does it. There was a lot of discussion, some pro, some con, but all handled with courtesy, and I thank everyone for that. A couple of comments centered about the thought about what makes a good or bad link that someone will use whenever they leave a comment and how people handled that, which I saw as a different issue at the time.

DMU Comment Study (with)
Chris Martino via Compfight

But it’s a good time to talk about it now. This is an appropriate discussion to have because we all know that our blogs are judged by search engines, most particularly Google, on the types of links we end up having because of those who comment on our blogs.

Those of us who have been blogging for a long time aren’t naive. We know that probably half the comments we get aren’t coming from blog owners, or anyone who has anything to do with the site links that appear next to the comment. We know that a lot of the comments we get are coming from people who could care less about our blog; they’re only looking for the backlink.

Over the last week I’ve been taking a look at some of the links from people who are either brand new or relatively new commenters on this blog. I’ve seen some interesting sites that have left me somewhat confused as to what to do about them. The comments haven’t been bad, but the links… questionable.

What am I seeing? Links going to sites that are going to sales pages, not businesses. Sites with blogs that are on topics that make you wonder “how the heck did that person come up with that as an idea?” Sites with blog posts that are over a year old. Sites to blogs that aren’t really blogs, but are presented as niche blogs that don’t even allow comments. Links to sites in another language, not blogs, where I can’t figure out what they’re about.

Part of this puts me in an interesting position. After all, this isn’t a niche blog per se, but it’s a blog that talks mainly about blogging and blogs. So, I’ve always dealt more with the arts of writing a blog and commenting on blogs than looking at links from those who comment. And yet, one can’t dispute the reality that my buddy Adrienne helped hammer through that bad links can take you down, and what Brian Hawkins said in our Google Hangout video that he’ll remove dodgy links or links he doesn’t fully trust in a heartbeat.

And of course we had that debate about editing comments, but I think we all have to view this one differently. Back in December I talked about my blog traffic and how it was falling drastically and how I hoped it would start to come back in the new year. Well, it’s recovering, but barely, and it may or may not be related to a lot of bad links. But since I can’t trust Broken Link Checker on this blog anymore I guess it’s just on me. Actually, maintaining our blogs to the best of our ability is on all of us, but I’m the one writing about it today.

So, I will be removing links here and there, even if I don’t remove the comment. If that bothers you I’m sorry. I’m going to be fair by looking at links, but I’m not going to entertain a discussion on why I removed your link; you probably already know why.

Here’s the deal, so we’re clear. If your site looks like a sales site instead of a real business site or a blog, it’s gone. I don’t care what niche the link is in if it’s a legitimate business.

If it’s a blog that looks kind of dodgy, it’s gone. If the blog doesn’t accept comments, it’s gone. Blogging is supposed to be about conversations; I’ve said that here often. So, blogs where comments are closed; gone.

If the email address given doesn’t have the same name as the person writing the comment, gone. If the email address doesn’t have a person’s name in it, gone. This part is because I’ve been getting a lot of email bounces lately and I’ve noticed that most are either from “info@” or names where it’s one sex but the email begins with another sex. I’m not going to deal with that part at all. On this one, it now means that if I’m going to have such a policy that I need to create an email address for my finance blog with my name on it to be consistent; can’t expect others to follow a policy I won’t follow for myself, although I almost never comment via that venue. But I do from time to time and don’t want to be a hypocrite.

There it is, out in the open. What’s going to happen is some aren’t going to read this, since they don’t read the comment policy anyway, and a very tiny few aren’t going to like it, or will be wondering what’s going on. That will just prove that people aren’t reading the articles; shame on you. Let’s see what happens; thanks Adrienne! 🙂
 

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The State Of Blogging

Is blogging dying? It is if you read some posts by those people who consider themselves pundits. They say that people have so many other options these days that many people are dropping the concept of blogging in favor of all these other ways of connecting with their potential clients.

That’s convoluted thinking for two reasons.

One, even though a study from last year indicated that major companies have cut back on their blogging by around 45%, small and independent business blogging has actually grown 72% since 2004. And just how many more businesses do you believe there are that are small or individual businesses as compared to large businesses? There’s no valid figure but it’s estimated that for every large business with at least 500 employees there are 5,000 smaller businesses; at least a 10 to 1 ratio.

Two, if you’ve ever been on Twitter or Google+ or LinkedIn, what do you see being shared more often than anything else? Blog posts, that’s what, and usually not the blog posts of that person, which is a strange conundrum if you ask me. I do share links to other blog posts that I like, but I also make sure I’m putting my own links out there for people to see. I’d be an idiot if I didn’t take advantage of a little bit of self promotion here and there. Still, those who don’t blog, or even those who do, are sharing a lot of blog posts, moreso than news posts. Only on Facebook do you see sharing of a different sort as the norm.

My belief is that blogging is changing for some entities, which is where the belief that it’s dying is coming from. As more companies try to get into social media, where they feel they can present their marketing message better, the largest companies believe that blogging in their own space doesn’t help them as much. I don’t believe that’s true, but that part has certainly happened. It’s too bad since studies have shown that companies large and small that have the CEO or a top company representative with a regular blog are trusted by more customers and thus have a positive impact on the minds of those consumers.

Blogging is the best way to get your message out the way you want it to be. And if you have any kind of audience that respects what you have to say, that audience is probably sharing your message with someone. Blogging dying; in your dreams!
 

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