How to Build Relationships and Grow Your Blog with Comments

This is a guest post by Tune Seidelin.

Are you getting more traffic, than the server on your cheap hosting account can handle?

Are you getting tons of links from other blogs?

And do you have core group of loyal readers, doing everything they can to help spread the word about your latest content?

If not, then you’ve probably been pondering questions like “what am I doing wrong?” and “what are successful bloggers doing, that I’m not?”.

The problem isn’t your blogs design – you’ve probably spent countless hours (and dollars?) on it already.

And it isn’t the quality of your content either, that’s keeping success at bay.

No, there is one thing all popular bloggers have, that you don’t. But the good news is, you can get it too.

Nobody Knows About Your Blog

You might be wondering how I can be so sure, that it isn’t your content or design that’s the problem. And maybe your content does suck and maybe your design is horrible, but it won’t do much damage when nobody sees it.

The real problem is lack of people being exposed to your blog.

When people don’t know your blog, they won’t link to you. And without links you won’t get much traffic. And without traffic you will have a very hard time, establishing a tribe around your blog.

You’ve Been Lied to

But don’t beat yourself up about your lack of success.

It’s not because you don’t deserve success or because you aren’t working hard enough. It’s just because you’ve been doing the wrong things. And the reason you’ve been doing the wrong things, is because your assumptions about what it takes to succeed as a blogger are flawed.

And those assumptions didn’t come out of nowhere. They are most likely based on what you’ve been told by successful bloggers.

But you’ve been lied to…

OK, maybe you haven’t been lied to directly, but you’ve been working under the assumption, that if you build it, they will come. And that’s simply not the case, in today’s blogosphere.

You’ve heard all the big bloggers say that content is king and while good content is important, it doesn’t do you much good either, if no one read it.

No, there is another thing that comes before good content, that all popular bloggers have. But it’s not necessarily obvious to the outside observer and it’s not discussed in the open too often.

No Blog is an Island

The key to success as a blogger, is relationships (and hard work) – just like with anything else. But not all relationships are equally valuable.

Your mom is probably an avid reader of your blog and you have a better relationship with her, than you ever will with most of your other readers (I hope). But unless your mom already is a highly successful blogger (which is very unlikely for the record). Then she wont be able to do much, to promote your work.

The relationships that really matter, are the ones with influential people. And if you are a blogger, who want traffic. Then other bloggers, are the people you want to connect with.

You see, that’s the thing all popular bloggers have that you don’t – relationships with other bloggers.

Relationships alone obviously wont lead to overnight success, but they can result in guest posting opportunities, getting links to your good content and help promoting your products or services.

So how do you build relationships with fellow bloggers?

Give Fellow Bloggers a Hand

I’ll let you in on a little secret. Bloggers obsess over traffic and comments.

OK, maybe that isn’t exactly a secret, but you can still use the information to your advantage. Because the best way to get someones (positive) attention, is to do something nice for them, that they’ll notice.

But since you don’t have a lot of traffic on your blog yet, you can’t really send traffic to the bloggers, that you want to make a good impression on. But you can help them get the conversation on their blog going, by leaving good comments.

Not only will you be talking to fellow bloggers, but you’ll also help them generate social proof for their blog. And that’s a great foundation for a relationship.

Just make sure your comments don’t come across as spam. You’re trying to make a good impression after all, so take the time to do it right.

The secret to good comments, is to add value to the conversation. Here’s how you can go about it:

  1. Read the post first (this might seem obvious, but many commenters don’t take the time to read the article and it often shows in their comments).
  2. Think about how you can add to the conversation by referencing your own experience on the subject, asking followup questions or adding a new point or perspective.
  3. Write a good comment that adds value.
  4. Subscribe to the comments or check back regularly for responses to your comment, so you can follow up if needed.

And for the best results start by targeting small blogs in your niche – then build from there (as your network grows you can leverage it to connect with more popular bloggers).

Over to You

That’s my take, but what do you think makes a good comment?

If you like this strategy and want to implement it on the blogs in your niche. Then you’re most welcome to practice your commenting skills here, before you take on the world.

Just give it your best shot and I’ll respond to every single comment with feedback – if you’re lucky you could even get feedback from Kristi Hines.

And to make things a little more interesting, I’ll be giving away a free blog strategy audit (by yours truly) to the best comment*, left within the first 48 hours of the post going live.

*The winner will be chosen by me alone, based completely on my subjective opinion. And the winner will be announced after the 48 hours are up.

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Comments

  1. says

    Absolutely!

    This is what works for me too Tune! I’ve learnt to build my share of relationships through the wonderful blogging community at my blog, and I remain ever so grateful to each one of them for being a part of the blog too. :)

    Nothing works better than commenting from your heart – the true feelings is what really matters, and those are the ones we should pour out when we leave comments at other blogs too – isn’t it?

    Thanks for sharing. :)
    Harleena Singh just posted Understanding Depression in Elderly People

    • says

      That’s an interesting point Harleena.

      I never thought of it that way, but I can clearly sense the feelings behind your comment.

      My approach is usually to focus more on practical matters. And I’m not sure it would work for me to pour my heart out in comments :)

      I think the take away here is to use your strengths when writing comments (as in anything else). And that will be different for everyone, since everyone is unique.

      Great comment, made me think and initiated a conversation and perhaps even an emotional connection :)
      Tune just posted Namecheap Coupon November 2012

      • says

        Thanks Tune. :)

        What I meant by commenting from the heart was really commenting about how you feel, which happens only when you are totally involved in what you have read and then leave your comment. Yes, the emotional connection has to be there.

        I mentioned this because I’ve often seen people leave a comment that consists of a few words or one odd line, either to leave their blog links, or because they really haven’t got anything much to say even though they’ve read the whole post, which is again amazing.

        Either ways, I am all for commenting from what your heart tells you, though the mind accompanies it of course. :)

        Thanks once again. :)
        Harleena Singh just posted Am I Beautiful

        • says

          Think I get it now Harleena :) And I agree completely.

          People have a funny tendency to get all confused about comments, when all you have to do is have a conversation with other people. Share a bit about your self and how you feel and listen to the other party, ask questions – make the other person better off, from having interacted with you.
          Tune just posted Namecheap Coupon November 2012

    • says

      Hey Larry,

      Thanks for the comment and sounds like we are on the same page when it comes to comments :)

      If you want your comments to stand out more, try to use concrete examples of what you’ve gotten out of it instead of just saying that you share the belief and it’s been good to you.

      But it’s not a bad comment. Everyone likes it when other people confirm what they say :)
      Tune just posted Namecheap Coupon November 2012

  2. says

    I TOTALLY agree with this post. I started commented on one of the best Computer Tips sites and I got asked to write several guest posts pv that site. it was such an honor and I received some needed backlinks and traffic. it was not just the ability to write guest post but more about good relationships.

    Thank you very much for sharing! Have a super day!!!

    Scott
    Scott just posted How about a Facebook plugin for Microsoft Outlook 2010?

  3. says

    Tune:
    You hit the nail on the head with the idea of the comment has to add value to the conversation. In my opinion, time is a significant factor, in that when you read a good post you don’t necessarily want to take the time to stop and make a comment because it takes time to compose it. How do you motivate the reader to take the time to comment. (without giving them a free blog strategy audit — “SMILE”)
    Jim Smith just posted 6 Tough Questions a Small Business Should Ask Itself

    • says

      Hey Jim,

      Writing quality comments takes time, but people who do often find it worthwhile. There’s no free lunch you know :)

      The short answer to your question about how to get other people to leave comments on your site is to make it worth their while.

      What that looks like in reality depends on your readers. But if people feel they get more out of leaving thoughtful comments than the effort it takes to write them, they’ll do it. Perhaps their desire to voice their opinion can be enough or you can add value by answering their questions or connect with them and become their friends. Or you could just do like I do and bribe them (with a blog strategy audit ;) ).

      Great comment. You forced me to think about your question and gave me an opportunity to look good by answering.
      Tune just posted Namecheap Coupon November 2012

    • says

      Amen Elena :)

      Yet so many people just focus on writing good stuff for their own blog and don’t understand no-one shows up to read it…

      Good idea to include a quote from the post and elaborate on it. Shows you’ve read and thought about it.
      Tune just posted Namecheap Coupon November 2012

  4. says

    Tune,

    great encouragement for new bloggers. Unless they provide valuable content and spread the word (like real life – it matters who knows you and how influential they are), no one will read and find your blog. Blogging is like a puzzle – many things to be put and fit together.

    Commenting is a good way to develop relationships. Small bloggers are more inclined to return the favor and leave comments themselves. Again, way to go!
    Margarita just posted Writing a Post – Content Creation Tips

    • says

      Hey Margarita,

      Yep, the rules are the same online as offline. Add value or you’ll have to fight hard for everything you’ll get.

      I must admit I like when people agree with me, but if you want to take your comment to the next level, you’ll have to bring something new to the table ;)
      Tune just posted Namecheap Coupon November 2012

  5. says

    Hi Tune

    You can tell when someone adds a comment without reading the post. 9/10 it has no relevance what so ever or they ask a question that is already covered in the post.

    2 extra points I’d like to make:

    1. Getting comments is great. For you own blog, getting your visitors to reply to other visitors comments is the next step.

    2. When commenting on other blogs…don’t just add a comment…reply to others as well.

    Andrew

    P.S. great name – had to see where you’re from…Denmark.
    Andrew just posted 7 Steps To Getting More Blog Traffic And Comments On Your Blog

  6. says

    Excuse me Tune, but I don’t see how subscribing to the comments help building relationships? :)) I’d rather check from time to time my comments (which is what I do) than getting emails every time someone replies to my comments or to the article.
    Cristian Stan just posted Yamaha Generators For Sale

    • says

      Good point Cristian,

      I don’t believe I said it would :) That’s just the way I go about it and to make it easier to implement I broke my own process into a step by step process.

      Great with suggestions for how the implementation can be improved, but I’d be careful that it doesn’t come across as an attack (don’t worry I’m not the sensitive type :) ).

      If you said something along the lines of “that’s a great idea, but if you don’t want your inbox filled by emails about new comments. Then you can just check back from time to time. That’s what I do and it works great” – that way the focus is on the process and not made personal ;)
      Tune just posted Namecheap Coupon November 2012

  7. says

    Funny you featured this story, i just spent the weekend lost in blogs, I am so hooked on some really great blogs that i found, it is changing the way i start my day, not sure if that is a good or bad thing but love it. may have to save reading til end of my work day so i am not too distracted….I work at home.
    Kay Wilson just posted Herbalife fit tips: Are you sitting comfortably?

  8. says

    When I started out commenting, I tried to make as many comments as I could. I found out through checking my own traffic that referrals were coming through on the comments that I made where I was honest and actually added to the conversation or had a different point of view. All of my comments like “great post, I agree with point x” are a waste of time.

    Don’t feel that you have to comment on every blog every day. Pick a small niche of blogs that you like and comment on them regularly. If you find you have nothing to add one day, then don’t. (I do sometimes find inspiration in others comments and will reply to them.)
    Jon just posted More on Tipping

    • says

      Hey Jon,

      Thanks for sharing your findings. It makes a lot of sense. I don’t know about you, but I have never clicked through to the authors blog on a “great post” comment.

      And great advice. Finding a niche and going deep instead of scattering yourself to thin applies to everything ;)

      All in all a great comment.
      Tune just posted Namecheap Coupon November 2012

  9. says

    Commenting is a great way to put more exposure on your blog and drive more traffic and market your niche. A couple of questions I have:

    1. Should we look for doFollow blogs that allow commenting ? Or is that a bad move since possibility of spammers hurting your link strategies?
    2. Should we look for CommentLuv sites ?

    Thanks for all the great information.

    • says

      Hey Roger,

      It really depends on your goals and your strategy.

      But if I had to give you an answer of the top of my head, I’d say both things are good, but not necessary. If you really want to promote your blog you can’t do all the work yourself. So in most cases it’s much more valuable to get a relationship with other bloggers than the single link you get from the comment.

      Great to ask questions in the comment. One of the easiest ways to get a conversation going.
      Tune just posted Namecheap Coupon November 2012

  10. says

    Good post Tune! A good analogy would be being a great guitar player but only playing in your bedroom all day, every day, you may think you’re the best around but only when you join a band and start meeting people you realise how much you can learn and how much others can learn from you. I know, i’ve done it! :)
    Jimi Ellis just posted Modern man

  11. says

    Agreed Here!

    Yes, you’re right! No one knows you until you don’t make a move in the market, and the comments are the best way to gain attention of bloggers, and most importantly the same niche big sharks.

    In the last few days, I have been involved in commenting on my fellow bloggers websites, and now today! I can say that how the commenting process has improved my blog reputation in the niche.

  12. says

    Hi Tune,

    Agreed with your points, Success of any blog depends upon the popularity and your blog can become popular if you can attract targeted audience on your blog.

    Blog commenting is certainly one of the best ways to attract targeted audience from niche blog, however you have to show your quality and value by leaving fruitful comments all the time.
    Aasma just posted Hospital Management System

    • says

      Hi Aasma,

      Not sure if I agree commenting is one of the best ways to attract targeted audience. But it’s a great way to connect to other bloggers and that’ll allow you other and more effective possibilities of getting readers.
      Tune just posted Namecheap Coupon November 2012

  13. says

    Hi Tune excellent post,
    But what I found that a sentence in your article “BUT MANY COMMENTERS DON’T TAKE THE TIME TO READ THE ARTICLE AND IT OFTEN SHOWS IN THEIR COMMENTS” obviously this line push me towards good content or article whatever it is.
    Ultimately if a blogger can stop their readers before scrolling especially in the middle of article, they get a appreciable comments and a relationship as well.
    Thanks..
    Ranjan just posted How to Develop Leadership Qualities

      • says

        Okey…
        I just trying to say, You never expect from your readers that they read your complete post, may be they read but few lines of initial paragraph, after that generally they read few, scroll the page and reach at the comment section. Than what should we do? At the first paragraph you must start with DEEP conversation may be start with few strong question related to your topics and at the middle of your article you must maintain the flow of article with a DEEPER conversation.
        Thanks again for sharing and showing interest.
        Ranjan just posted How to Stop Child Labour in India

  14. says

    When it comes to engagement on blogs and networking comments are the best way possible. I’ve never hard of another way to engage readers on a blog. I believe in creating interactive games and puzzles on blog that are education and entertaining is also great way to engage, once you began engaging your readers you eventually start to talk and build a relationship. Like your write up and highlights on the importance of comments on blogs.
    Eddie Gear just posted 6 Simple Ways to Get More Blog Subscribers

  15. says

    It’s funny that you should write this, I’m just going through a bit of a crisis at my blog because all the comments seem to have dried up lately. At the same time, I’ve been commenting less due to other commitments – so I put it down to that. It seems the more I comment on other blogs the more people comment on mine!
    Simon just posted Cape Reinga: the top of the bottom of the world

  16. says

    A blinding flash of the obvious!! It’s like marketing anything else, isn’t it? If they don’t know about you, how can they read or comment on your blog??! This has given me food for thought since I don’t read as many niche blogs as I probably should….thanks for the heads up! :)

    • says

      My pleasure Kath,

      Yes it is just like marketing anything else. Comments are a great way to start, but the trick is not to get stuck there, but move on to more effective means of marketing, when the connection has been established (like guest posting). Best of luck.
      Tune just posted Namecheap Coupon November 2012

  17. says

    Yes, your writing can be top-notch, but if no one reads it – what’s the point? So good writers now have to become good marketers as well. And the core of powerful marketing is relationships.

    First you develop relationships with fellow bloggers to promote each other’s content and help with SEO.

    Then you develop relationships with your readers. Lately I find that the best way to do it is by email. Email is really personal, and if you send broadcasts on a constant basis – your readers perceive you as their personal friend. So if I’d give one tip to bloggers – capture your readers email address and then follow up consistently (by consistently I mean at least 3 timer per week)! In a year you will have your fan base. :) (if your content is good of course)
    Arina just posted 100 Awesome things Worth Celebrating by Neil Pasricha

    • says

      That’s great advice Arina.

      I believe less than three times a week can do the trick, but getting emails and communicating with people is absolutely essential.

      Thanks for taking the time to add to the conversation – I hope it helps someone out there :)

      I like the fact that you started your comment based on the post and then elaborated it into a related and valuable piece of advice.
      Tune just posted Namecheap Coupon November 2012

  18. says

    Good evening, Tine.

    I think I must be doing something well out of order. It doesn’t matter how much commenting I do, I still don’t seem to be able to get a conversation going with anyone about anything anywhere or at anytime. Help!

    And if I can’t attract bloggers, I’ve got no chance of getting anyone else to visit my blog, let alone make a comment on it :(

    I hate to think I’m the only one in the blogging world who feels afflicted by the invisible man syndrome!

    Kind regards,
    L
    Linda just posted Europe’s Dirtiest Fun Day Out – And It’s In Austria!

  19. says

    Well, if that ain’t great timing… :)

    I spent the last few days doing exactly this, commenting on blogs, engaging in communities and flexing my (still rather bleak) networking muscles.

    I have to say, the more I do this, the more I start enjoying it. I originally thought of it as an SEO exercice only, but now I start getting that fuzzy warm feeling whenever I can engage in a real discussion with like-minded people. I am now actively trying to enhance my own blog so that I can best leverage this community-building side of blogging.

    Small Bonus Tip to all the commenters: When commenting on CommentLuv blogs like this one here, make sure your links don’t point to feedburner’s proxy, lest you waste your Google juice… ;)

    Cheers,
    Al
    Alain Schlesser just posted I Luv your Comments!

    • says

      That fuzzy warm feeling… …mmm :)

      You know you are on to something, when you get positive emotional feedback from your efforts. And it makes the “work” so much easier compared to just going through the motions for SEO ;)

      Good comment, sharing your personal experience and adding a nice little related tip :)
      Tune just posted Namecheap Coupon November 2012

  20. says

    Hi Tune,

    One of the most important things you’ve mentioned in the post is that “No Blog is an Island”… This is absolutely true. Its relationships and building them through engagement that matters the most – not self-promoting yourself on a one way channel.

  21. says

    Tune, Your post hits home for me because I had a blogger blog for 5 years with almost no comments nor engagement. I was doing it all wrong with the wrong platform. I was also concerned about narrowing my niche too much by appealing to my ideal client. Once I made the commitment to speak only to my favorite clients AND added a blog to my domain, then, and ONLY then did things change for me. It’s a limiting belief to think that narrowing your niche will hurt your business. What it did for me was to zoom me into the next stratosphere.
    Suzanne just posted 39 Financial Advisor Marketing Ideas That Rock

    • says

      Hey Suzanne,

      I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone say their blog/website didn’t take off until they narrowed down their niche. It’s so counter intuitive, but the results are extremely one sided.

      Thanks for your input. I like your personal sharing of useful information.
      Tune just posted Namecheap Coupon November 2012

  22. says

    I’ve yet to make that plunge and enable comments in my website’s blog. I’m concerned with not looking good if there are not many comments, and about time required for moderation if there are a lot of comments :-) I participate in commenting in other blogs, but not sure about mine yet. This post made me think, thanks.
    Roman just posted Responsive Web Design integration

  23. says

    Blog commenting shouldn’t just be done for link building. The real purpose of blog commenting is to become a part of a community and to get noticed by other like minded people. If you share good comments people will be more likely to check out your site/blog. It’s an indirect way of advertising what you have to offer.

  24. says

    I didn’t know it until tonight, but basically, no one is seeing my blog/website. I have one of the top 5 blogs in my niche, but no one can find it if they search for “pizza blogs.” I don’t come up in 84 pages of search results. If I add the word “spotz” (my blog is pizzaspotz.com), I rank #1. So my blog is indexed.

    I rank on page #38 for “pizza blog.”

    This is unacceptable. And yes, I think it has to do with not cultivating relationships, not getting links from fellow bloggers in my niche. But really, there aren’t many that would give me a link and not many that are very worthy sites to have links from.

    Most every link I have, comes from blogs like this one and other similar blogs. This is where I learn, this is where I find out what I’m doing right or wrong with my websites and blogs.

    I obsess over how my blog needs to improve in appearance, but really, what difference does it make if I don’t drastically move up in the search results. This is something I will begin working on immediately via relationships, commenting, and trying to add value to every conversation I take part in.

    Thanks for your inspiration,
    Brian
    Brian just posted Top Ten Travel Destinations – Emiel’s Pizza Box List

  25. says

    Hi Tune,

    Since recently I rely very much on blog commenting for getting exposure to my own blog and I can tell you it is a great way to promote your blog and also build connections.

    I have a couple of blogs where I leave regular comments and every time I see some comments on my posts from that blog’s owner. For me as a newbie blogger it feels great to see that an experienced blogger takes the time to comment on my blog.

    Also the backlinks you get to your posts are another cool benefit from commenting. I’m planning to start guest posting in the near future but first I have to create more content for my own blog.

    Great article Tune, I really enjoyed reading it, enjoy your weekend.

    ~Philip
    Philip A. just posted How to drive traffic to your blog without Google?