5 Reasons Why Commenting Only On Blogs In Your Niche Might Not Work

If you’ve seen anything I write on blogging you already know that I’m big on commenting on blogs as a strategy for driving traffic back to your blog. I’m also a fan of commenting on blogs just for the sake of doing it; it’s probably my biggest pastime in life (so I have no other life; don’t judge me lol).

What Good Commenters Do
Kathy Cassidy via Compfight

There are lots of bloggers out there who will tell you that if you want to grow your blog or get noticed that you should concentrate on commenting on blogs within your niche. There are also a lot of bloggers who will tell you to never leave comments on blogs outside of your niche, and to remove all links someone leaves on your blog that don’t have to do with your niche.

My word on that… bunk! Sure, there are some websites you might not want to be associated with that promote things you disagree with. That’s fair, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about someone who might want to know what your topic is but maybe works in an industry like windows and doors or life insurance. Those folks are interested in lots of different things, and maybe you have something to offer that they like.

At the same time, I doubt there’s anyone I know who’s only interested in one thing. Even people writing all the time about making money online have to have other interests; if not, then why do they need the money in the first place?

Want to know something else? Commenting only on blogs in your niche doesn’t always work. Truthfully, it rarely works for most niches. How do I know?

First, the disclaimer; I can’t find the blog post where I did a test and talked about it. So you’ll just have to take my word on this one.

About 3 years or so I wanted to see what would happen if I commented on 10 blogs about leadership. That’s what my business blog is mainly about, and I’m listed on the Alltop leadership page also. I’m putting that out in case you didn’t know that or haven’t seen any of my recent posts about my latest book Leadership Is/Isn’t Easy.

Anyway, what I did was comment on 10 blogs listed on that page that had what I call traditional WordPress comment areas. Since it’s a topic I know pretty well I thought it would be interesting to see what happened.

Out of the 10 blogs I commented on, only one responded. Not only that but half of them put my comment into moderation and never released it. Overall 8 blogs put my comment into moderation but at least the other 3 posted it… eventually.

That’s not a good rate at all is it?

Not 365: 13 - Point (and shoot)
Hilde Skjølberg via Compfight

Still, 3 years later all the other blog authorities are telling bloggers this bit of information and I have a feeling their only test for it happens to be in their niche. Heck, if I didn’t have other niches I might think the same thing. After all, writing about blogging and social media gets lots of traffic and comments because we understand we’re a community.

But in niches that aren’t traditional blogging circles… what would most bloggers know about that?

That’s where I come in. Since that other test was about 3 years ago, I decided to run another leadership blog test a couple of weeks ago. This time I decided to comment on 20 blogs, but I didn’t limit it to WordPress.org blogs. I added WordPress.com and Blogspot blogs to the mix. I still don’t like any of those other commenting systems so I wasn’t going out of my way to play with those folks.

My working theory was that nothing was going to have changed from the previous time I tried it. Was I wrong or right? Let’s look at this in the context of 5 reasons niche commenting might not work:

1. Out of the 20 blogs I commented on, I got a response on only one. That one comment… “Thank you Mitch.” Does that really count as a response? Come on bloggers, y’all know that if that was a comment on your blog you’d probably delete it unless you knew the person.

2. If I include the blog above, my comment showed up officially on 4 blogs. All the others are still showing me that they’re in moderation, which means I might not know if they ever get approved or not because I’m not going to continue chasing them down.

One of the gripes I always have about bloggers who moderate comments is that sometimes they take a long time before going back and even looking at comments, let alone approving them. Trust me, it’s worse in niches that aren’t what I’d call “blogger friendly”.

3. Out of all the blogs I commented on, only 2 of them had the writer of the blog respond to any comments at all. On one of the blogs there were 7 comments before mine but the owner only responded to one comment… and it wasn’t the first one, in case that came to your mind. Why that one comment? No idea, but I thought I’d point it out. Truthfully, most of the blogs had no comments on them before mine… if mine ever shows… unless we’re all in moderation.

Victoria (3)
Creative Commons License Robert Bejil via Compfight

People who really aren’t skilled on the concept of blogging don’t know that they should be responding to all comments, especially comments where the person put some thought behind it. That’s why I write about it all the time.

4. Only one of the blogs I commented on was ranked higher than my business blog. That’s saying something because my business blog isn’t ranked as high as it used to be. Where I think these folks are failing is that they haven’t done anything to try to drive traffic to their sites.

This means no articles anywhere else, no guest posting, no commenting on other blogs… just content that’s sitting there waiting for someone to come by. Actually, I wondered how these other folks ended up on Alltop to begin with. I know how I got there; I asked Guy Kawasaki directly and he did it (well, I AM listed in one of his books for helping to edit it after all lol).

5. Here’s the crux of the matter. If all but one of the blogs I commented on, in my niche, were ranked lower than my blog… then what benefit was I going to get by commenting only on blogs in my niche? I mean, they possibly benefit from my leaving a comment because I’m the higher ranked site, which means I’m lending them some authority points.

Bets are easy that none of those folks are ever going to follow me back to my business blog. Not only that but I didn’t mention that not one of those blogs had CommentLuv on them, so they probably wouldn’t even know that I’d left my blog link, rather than a business website link, in the first place.

Did I make my point? I’m not trying to talk anyone out of taking a shot at commenting on blogs within their niche. What I’m saying is that sometimes (more often than not) it’s a losing proposition because the assumption is those folks, just because they have a blog, have some kind of idea what they’re doing in the first place.

Maybe by leaving a comment on certain blogs you’ll get noticed by the blog owner, and if it’s an influential person that can’t hurt. However, if you ask me, you have a better shot at talking to a supermodel on Twitter (which I have lol).
 

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Commenting On Similarly Themed And Niched Blogs

A recommendation I see all the time by people who proclaim to teach you how to increase traffic to your blog and to get juice for your blog is through commenting; that part is actually correct. The second half of that recommendation is to only comment on blogs that talk about the same thing your blog talks about, with the expectation that people will see that who are already interested in your topic and they’ll pop over.

That sounds great in theory but I’m here to tell you that it’s kind of a fallacy in more ways than one. Yes, I’ve done an experiment and I’m here to give you some shocking results. It’s been awhile since I’ve done a research project, but at least I got paid for this one.

Let me explain. I was paid by someone to go out and visit blogs in a certain niche and then write comments under his name. This is a client for whom I’ve done work for 3 years and he’s a good guy, and of course I got paid well for it. Y’all know I’m not one of those types that will only write one line either. Since I knew his topic really well I knew that I could write comments that made sense and were on point with the niche, which is real estate.

The experiment was to write 50 comments on real estate related blogs. I could deviate as long as the topic was real estate in some fashion, which included legal and finance blogs. It took me 3 days to get this done, mainly because many sites weren’t really blogs, and some blogs didn’t accept comments. Some were only highlights of property as well; nothing to say there. I used the “blog” search feature of Google to find these blogs.

What happened? Out of 50 comments, my comment showed up 29 times; that’s it. Out of those 21 times the comment didn’t show up, 16 times no comments showed up at all, which either means no one else commented or the writer didn’t approve anyone’s comments.

Out of the 29 times that the comment I left showed up, it got a response only twice; yup, that’s it. On only 4 blogs total was there use of CommentLuv. And on one of the blogs that my comment got a comment, the guy asked a question, which I responded to and that guy responded to that comment as well.

So, what do we assume? Are these people typical bloggers, in that they don’t know what some of us consider as the rules of blogging in responding to comments? Do these people only write and not really monitor the blogs, and thus never approve any of the comments? Do these people not want someone from the same industry in their space, taking away from what they’re trying to do? Are they, in essence, blog sculpting, or just making sure their advertising is the only one, blog or not?

In the past I’ve been the lone voice that’s said commenting only on blogs whose niche or topic is the same as yours doesn’t always work. I tried in the past commenting only on leadership blogs using my business blog link and found that many of those blogs never approved my comments either, and some didn’t approve any comments. Isn’t that a strange thing to discover when it’s a business blog, and you’d think that those people would have been taught that engagement is what they’re shooting for if their blog says it’s accepting comments, unlike what Seth Godin does, which is to not accept comments at all? At least when I comment on SEO blogs and use that business blog’s account those people always respond; that’s an industry that knows better, right?

Of course, me being me, I have a secondary reason for writing this particular post. I know there are a lot of people who monitor their comments for more than just content. There are some folks who delete links from sites whose niche doesn’t correspond with their own. They do that to stay in keeping with what they believe the search engines like and don’t like. I’m not sure how true all that is, and it’s hard to discount that as working or not.

I have to say that it’s rare for me to delete links from legitimate comments, though I have done it. If there’s a link going back to something I totally disagree with I will remove the link and the “love” if you will. But most of those links come from spammers and thus it’s an easy call; that’s why it’s rare that someone who really cares writes a comment and represents something that might be sleazy or salacious or something that just irks me to no end, like “payday loans”. I don’t care where you’re coming from otherwise; if you have something to share and it’s not stupid, use your link, get your love, and hopefully you’ll come back. Who knows, we might work together in some fashion one day; that would be nice as well.

If you’ve been waiting to comment only on specific types of blogs, stop. If you feel like commenting, whether it’s highly ranked or in your niche, do it. Reciprocity works in many different ways, and you never know when you’ll meet a friend.
 

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Six Figure Blogger Blueprint – A Review

I recently got my hands on a copy of Six Figure Blogger Blueprint by David Risley. I read it, as it’s only around 45 pages or so, and decided to give a review of it in my own fair and unbiased way; y’all know me.

First, I want to get the full disclosure stuff out of the way. I had never heard of David Risley until our friend Sire wrote a post on why he wouldn’t be linking to probloggers anymore. David stopped by and offered some opinions that got folks riled up and pretty much helped catapult Sire under 100,000 as far as Alexa rankings go (and I’m betting Sire didn’t send him a gift or anything for it). That post prompted an interesting response back from David, which, based on comments I read, led me to write this about knowing one’s audience, and then led to Sire writing this post on commenting, which then led to a video post by a guy named Allan (who’s removed the video and the article; I wonder what that’s about), and eventually led our buddy Rose to write this. He is also one of the experts interviewed for the book Beyond Blogging. If you go through all of that, you’ll know that most of what was going on wasn’t all that positive, but at least it’s now been disclosed.

Back to the review. I have to say this; I liked it. I’d be lying if I said there was anything that was Earth shattering in the report, but the truth is I’ve been writing blogs for about five years, so I should know most of what it is that was in his report. There are obviously one or two things I disagree with, but they’re more about personal choice disagreements rather than whether he’s right or wrong. For instance, he talks about the need to have a mailing list. I haven’t talked all that much on this blog about mailing lists, but for me, I only have a mailing list for my newsletters and not for my blogs. My general thought is that if I don’t have anything different to send somebody then why have a mailing list. But this is also something that I tried to have a conversation with Lynn Terry about, and we really didn’t get anywhere on this topic either. My thinking might be a little convoluted, but I can’t figure out why so I’m pretty much going to keep thinking like that.

I think the blueprint is actually laid out very well. He talks about his beginnings into internet marketing and what lead to him eventually get into blogging. He talks about niche blogging, which a lot of people have talked about in the past, and he gives a pretty nice guideline for how that should go. As a matter of fact, while I was reading it I was reminded of something that I think is probably a major failing of my finance blog, that being that just having a niche blog isn’t enough. You have to remember to solve issues that people have at the same time as giving them opinions and thoughts on other things. I have to say that being reminded of that one nugget was probably enough for me to say that I like this thing.

He also does talk about how to market oneself and how to monetize a blog. Like I said, for me a lot of it is pretty old hat stuff, but there are some new things in there that I might have to think about. Near the end he also gives you a way to plan your blog following a step-by-step process. Now, most people probably didn’t do this when they created a blog, and it might be a bit rigid for a lot of people, but at least it’s there and it’s something you can try if you decide to start another blog that’s specific toward trying to make money.

So, if you’re still relatively new to blogging, and my little blogging tips aren’t enough for you, I think you could do yourself some good by going to get this. It doesn’t cost you anything, so you can’t use that as a gripe. And even if you’ve been blogging for a while, you might find a nugget or two here and there that might make you think about something you can use for yourself. It only took me 20 minutes to read this blueprint; then again, y’all know I can speed read. 🙂 Go for it I say; what can you lose?

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