When Do You Stop Commenting on Other Blogs?

Daniel

questions and answersThis post is part of the weekly Q&A section. Just use the contact form if you want to submit a question.

Mike asks:

Do you still comment on other blogs or do you mostly focus on maintaining the community around your blog?

Interesting question.

First of all let me clarify that I will answer the question as if it was referring to using blog comments as a promotional technique. Obviously there is also a social factor there (i.e. blogs are conversations, and people like to interact with other people), but I will not take it into consideration here.

The short answer would be no. I don’t comment on other blogs as I used to back in the day (which is around two years ago). These days I don’t have a lot time available to work on the blogs, so my main focus is on the content.

I still write a comment once in a while, but those are mostly on blog posts that mentioned me directly, or that raised a very interesting question where I want to share my opinion.

So why and when did I stop commenting on other blogs as a promotional technique?

I would say that you make that switch when the opportunity cost of leaving blog comments becomes too high. Opportunity cost is term used in economics to describe “the value of the next best alternative foregone as the result of making a decision” (quote from Wikipedia).

Let me use a simple example with numbers to illustrate that point.

Suppose you have a guy that started a new blog. At that point in time he has zero readers. He also has two hours to work on his blog every day. Writing content for the blog is a priority, so one hour is going to be spent on that. With the second hour, however, he can choose how to spend it. One of the possible uses for that second hour is to write blog comments. If we assume that each blog comment will take two minutes, he will be able to write 30 comments per day.

Let’s also assume that each blog comment will bring five visitors on the first day, three on the second day, one on the third day and nothing after that. So each blog comment, on average, will bring nine visitors. One hour of blog comment promotion, therefore, should bring 270 visitors after three days.

Since the blog is brand new, 270 visitors for one hour of work is a good rate. Should the blogger use that one hour to just write another post, there is a possibility that he would get zero visitors and no one knows the blog yet.

Once the blog starts growing, however, the picture changes. Once the blog has 500 RSS subscribers, for example, using that extra hour to write another post could bring 300 visitors to the blog, which is already more efficient than spending one hour writing blog comments.

It is therefore a matter having of limited time and evaluating what actions will yield the biggest results.

That is at least my opinion. What about you, do you still actively comment on other blogs? Do you think you will ever stop? If you already stopped, why was that?

Update: The fact that you need to post comments that will add value to the discussion is a given. In no where I am preaching that you should just spam comments around to promote your own blog.

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57 Responses to “When Do You Stop Commenting on Other Blogs?”

  • George

    > If you already stopped, why was that?

    That’s a bit of trick question, eh?

    In general I have seen very few people stop commenting altogether. However cutting down on commenting is fairly natural for those who are building a high quality blog (like yours).

    I don’t think I will ever stop commenting. However I don’t comment nearly as much as I used to.

  • eBusinessCorporate

    Blogging is a good excuse to write. Promotion is a good excuse to write comments. I will share my experiences with blog commenting.

    Blog commenting for the sake of commenting has brought me no good. When i started off with my single blog, I just commented just for a back link. Over time I realized my mistakes and changed my attitude. I began reading the articles and writing on the topic as you have read now.

    Even after my careful scrutiny of the blog posts, I see very little traffic. Even if I spend hours commenting, all I see is just 2 or 3 visitors totally. So I really do not expect others to visit my blog.

    SO why am I commenting now?

    1. To get the attention of the webmaster (Blog owner) so that he may read my blog articles and will link to my blog articles if he likes them (HINT!!!)

    2. To get a back link if the blog is do follow

    3. To establish a brand. I just use my blog name everywhere I comment. I dont use keywords or any such stuff

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Pink Ink, thanks for including DBT on the list of blogs that you comment regardless of reciprocation ๐Ÿ™‚ .

  • Pink Ink

    Well, I wasn’t going to comment…ha ha…but here I am. I comment when I have something to say. Usually to reciprocate if someone visits my blog. But there are some blogs (like yours) where, regardless of whether or not I get comments from you, I still comment.

    I don’t know why…I’m a masochist? LOL

    I think I am more tolerant of bloggers who have a lot of traffic not reciprocating. But bloggers with small traffic, I usually lose interest after a while. It makes me feel like I am carrying on a one-sided conversation, and that gets pretty old fast. I don’t comment just to bait for comments, but I do it to connect with other people.

  • Corinne Edwards

    I still comment, especially on blogs that pique my interest. Like this one.

    But what I find is more important to support a good post is to stumble of Digg it.

    It bring them more traffic than any I could generate. And I feel it supports community.

    They appreciate it and support me.

  • Daniel Scocco

    The fact that you need to post comments that will add value to the discussion is a given. In no where I am preaching that you should just spam comments around.

  • Rob O.

    By virtue of the fact that I’m posting a comment here, does that help answer your question? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I still comment frequently, but more for the sake of community-building than promotional efforts. I visit – and try to find something to comment on – each of my commenters’ blogs.

    More than anything else, comments are the very best means of validating what a blogger does. I realize that blogging should be reward enough on its own, but everyone crazes a little affirmation from time to time. Sure, you can pour over Google Analytics data all day long and never cease to find interesting stuff, but that doesn’t paint the whole picture. Traffic stats tell you if visitors are landing on your site, but comments tell you if readers are getting anything out of your content.

    So, I do still comment frequently, but only when I feel that I can contribute in some small way to the conversation at hand. I never, ever post “Good post!” kind of fluff just for the sake of adding a comment to the blog entry’s count.

    By the way, thank you for introducing the new (to many of us, anyway) phrase “opportunity cost.รขโ‚ฌย Kinda makes me want to explore economics more to see what else I’ve been missing.

  • Ben

    I am with most of the above as well, I don’t comment if I haven’t read the article, and I don’t comment if I don’t have anything of perceived value to add. Since I value my comment, I don’t comment or follow “bad” blogs, so finding 20-30 good posts a day on relevant subject matter is quite difficult.

    I also try and read the previous comments as well, so due to my slow reading skills, I am closer to maybe reading 3 – 5 posts an hour and maybe creating a “good” comment in about 10 minutes. I am still at the point where if 1 hour spent reading & commenting yields 1 new reader, it is a good utilization of my time.

    I like that you did the math though, even if it was a hypothetical, many “professional journalists” don’t do simple calculations. And you explained the opportunity cost quite well.

  • Ruchir Chawdhry

    I stopped commenting a while ago. IMO, it’s a waste of time. Commenting is too time intensive and the gains are dismal at best. I’ve only got about 100-200 visitors at max per month from commenting when I used to do it every day. There are better ways to drive traffic and connect with bloggers.

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Rahul, the short answer is yes, it is against Google’s policy.

    I will try to answer that on a single post.

  • Rahul Jadhav

    Hi Daniel, i want to ask a question.

    I have seen that many blogs do paid blog reviews. Naturally the blog post will contain a link back to the people who have paid for the post. Isnt that against Google’s rules that the blogs which accept paid links will get a PR penalty?

    Thanks. Waiting for your reply

  • Gerard

    I have a blog and never really commented on other people’s blogs to gain readers. So here I am testing away at your theory… waste of time or holy crap I need to do this more!

  • George

    I like the math, and especially the fact that you used it. It’s nice to see someone quantifying in this way.

    However, there’s one “soft” factor to keep in mind when deciding how productive chunks of time are — the real marketing value of comments is that they can attract new visitors, people who like what you say and click through to learn more.

    RSS and email lists are great but they’re “preaching to the choir” — these people already like what you offer or they wouldn’t have signed up.

    “Existing” and “new” are probably equally important to the success of a site, so it’s important to factor both when evaluating the time you spend.

  • heartburn solutions

    stoping comment on other blog…..I can not imagine

  • Seth

    Daniel,

    It is apparent you studied Econ. I always forget that until you put in just a few words to stir my memory! Opportunity Cost, what a term and I remember all of the class work associated with Economics!

    Regarding comments, I notice some blogs bring better results with comments then others. So when I do comment I do so on blogs with interesting articles that will promote my blog well.

    Also, a well written post will do the same. Thanks for the information!

  • Avirto

    I started a blog myself and frankly speaking I comment on the others blog only for special occasions: Christmas, Easter to send best wishes to someone who makes blog. This comment is something that I don’t do:] – the comment without occasion. Will it make some more visitors to my blog? I don’t know but I know that this is a great blog and it is worth leaving a comment:]

  • Alvaris Falcon

    Since the community is growing, it’s hard for the webmaster to give comment other than his/her reader.

    But I’m enjoying reading others articles, and often leave the comment as an appreciation, thanks for the sharing. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Marcus Friedman ( ellipsys… )

    Hi Daniel, I just wanted to thank you for sharing that answer with your readers. I find your mathematical approach to the problem specially interesting, since it gives general principles that each blogger can apply to his or her specific situation.

    On the other hand, I agree with Dave in that leaving a meaningful comment takes more time. You have to read the article, read the comments that have been already posted and then write your own comment.

    Anyway, like I said, as you have provided a general formula, anyone can apply it, replacing the values that you mentioned with their own.

    Best regards,
    Marcus

  • Matej

    I also forgot to say that I comment on here because of a bad habit .. and because that’s my first ” make money / blog tips ” blog lol ๐Ÿ˜›

  • Tom | Easy Googler

    I think your comments here will under-represent those that don’t actively comment, since they won’t comment ๐Ÿ™‚

    I ‘m with Guillermo and David on this. If I don’t have anything to say, then I probably won’t comment. I think that a comment exposes your writing style to the world, and if you leave a boring comment, you may come across as a boring writer.

    I do agree that bloggers comment way to much just for the sake of traffic, and plugins like commentluv only make this problem worse. Oh well, it’s a good way to get traffic, and both the commenter and the blogger receiving the comment are happy with it, so I’m sure pointless comments will keep piling up in the blogosphere.

  • Lightening

    Well I either comment on the wrong blogs or my comments suck because I rarely see 9 visitors as a result of a blog comment.

    It’s good to have a way of figuring it out though.

    I doubt I’ll ever stop commenting on blogs though – simply because I like engaging in conversation. I hate reading blogs that don’t allow me to comment. Perhaps I’m too opinionated?

  • David

    Bloggers comment too much. (Oh, the irony!) Exposure brings traffic. And I think it’s fair to mention that as a benefit when encouraging people to leave comments. But a person should only leave a comment when they have something truly heartfelt to say, or when they can contribute to the converstation. Platitudes, drivel, and the automatic “great post” are just annoying.

    So, deciding if you’re too busy to read blogs, that I understand. But please don’t treat commenting primarily as a marketing activity.

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Do You Dave Ramsey, I still try to answer all the comments that pose a question to me here.

    It gets harder and harder when your blog grow a lot, though.

    For guys with 50,000 RSS subscribers or more I would say it becomes virtually impossible to read and answer to all the comments.

  • Do You Dave Ramsey?

    Interesting article… I’m a new blogger and I’ve enjoyed watching my comments on other sites generate traffic.

    However, I do wonder about the numbers you offered. In no way can I crank out 30 comments in an hour. I have to read the article and then be moved enough to comment. Likewise, my comment must provide sufficient value to generate enough interest for someone to click over.

    For this reason, I find my “returns” wildly varied. I’ll comment and get zero traffic and then I’ve had some generate 20-30 visits.

    Ok, I do have a question to accompany my commentary… similar to this topic of commenting – at what point do the ‘big guys’ stop reading and responding to the comments?

    I’ve read where commenting and responding to comments are the best ways to build traffic. Ok, I do both and my traffic is not where I want. But I also notice that some sites never seem to acknowlegde comments at all.

    That is not aimed at this site because I think this is my first comment.

    Also, I’m not trying to sound bitter – nothing is farther from the case. I simply want a better understanding of the inflection points.

    Thanks!
    Dave

  • Jeffro

    I certainly don’t comment as much as I used to but when someone mentions the podcast I produce or links to an article on my site, I’ll usually stop by and converse with them on their opinions of what I wrote and also give them a nice thank you. I’m also active within the WordPress community so the more I comment, the more it shows I’m OUT THERE. Nothing like people saying “Sheesh, you’re everywhere” lol.

    Overall though, I think your analysis behind your reasoning for less comments is sound.

  • Jeremy

    I would agree that it has to make sense for your goals as Daniel outlines. I would think that it would always benefit you to be involved though. This only increases your profile, your visibility, and also your online persona. If you are really passionate about the blogs you go to you will probably continue posting remarks.

    I’ll tell you what when 1000 to 2000 of you come to my blog everyday, I will report back on my view at that point!!

    Jeremy @ RefocusingTechnology.com

  • Ally

    No doubt, it is a sensible question

    Wow, what a calculation about blog commenting and visitors.

    I truly agree with you that one should know to balance and to distribute time for blog commenting and creating fresh content. And yes, niche relevancy is the most important factor.

    Thanks for your vision.

  • SATISH — Technotip.org

    Best answer Daniel..

    I have also lowered the rate of comments, not because I have lot of readers, but because of the shortage of time. My college requires much of my time these days.

    I will never forget the word “Opportunity cost” and its meaning from now. Really good comparison.

  • Matej

    I only comment on blogs related to my niche, not because of traffic but because of other blogger.

    They notice you, sometimes reply if your comment is smart enough.

    You show that you care what they are writing about and when you will need a favor from them ( like backlink … ) chances are much higher thay will do the favor.

    Twitter also comes handy these days so sometimes I reply to a blog post via twitter ( depends on type of post ) ….

  • Guillermo

    I just cannot comment everywhere just for the only sake of commenting. If a post does not bring anything to my mind I want to say, I just prefer to pass. Many times I’m asked by many bloggers in my niche why I do not comment in their blogs and the answer is always the same “I just have nothing to say!”

    Have a great day.

Comments are closed.