Are Blog Comments a Source of Referral Traffic?

Filed as Editorial, Features, Guides on July 18, 2008 7:01 pm

Here’s a question. If blog comments are mini-resumes, which comments are bringing the most traffic to your blog?

When you leave a comment on a blog, there are three things at work.

  1. Your desire to participate in the blog conversation and topic.
  2. Your desire to increase your link credits through blog comments.
  3. Your desire to encourage traffic from your comment to your blog.

A lot of pro bloggers cover the first two, but I want to explore the last one. If you really want to drive traffic to your blog through comments on other blogs, is it working for you?

Have you been paying attention to your blog referrals and incoming traffic to see where your traffic is coming from in relationship to your blog comments? It’s a very good question because we blog and comment on the premise that blog interaction helps drive traffic.

Why else would people want to sign their comments with their blog links? Why else would people fuss over nofollow and dofollow in their blog’s comments? If comments are that important, then how important are they? Are they really driving traffic to your blog?

Tracking Blog Comment Traffic

To find out if comments you leave on other blogs are bringing in traffic to your blog, check your blog statistics for referral traffic. Go down the list and look for URLs that match blogs which you’ve commented on recently.

Depending upon how your blog analytics program tracks numbers, you might have to do some searches and dig deeper for blogs you’ve commented on, especially those you interact with on a regular basis. Any direct traffic from those?

While you are at it, check out the referral traffic from other “conversational” referrers such as Twitter and FriendFeed. Are you still playing with MyBlogLog, FaceBook, and MySpace? What are the referral traffic rates from those social sources?

The key is to turn your focus away from the major referral traffic sources, the blog posts praising your blog, and taking a look at the traffic that comes from comments and online conversations and microblogging efforts. You put a lot of effort into recruiting traffic through your comments and social networking. Are they paying off for you?

Making Comments Turn Into Traffic

Many bloggers are reporting huge boosts in traffic from social microblogging sources like Twitter and FriendFeed, but this is to be expected as these are hot services right now. We used to thrive on the Digg-effect for traffic, and now we are thriving on the percieved boost from Twitter and other peer-driven referrers.

However the traffic arrives from these referral sources, it still boils down to providing the incentive through our comment content. What we say and how we say it is what motivates people to click through and check out who we are and what our blog is about. We work so hard to make sure our blogs are ready for traffic with customized landing pages and content and navigation to convert every visitor we can into a return reader, right? Are our comments working for us?

“Great work. This is really helpful information.” Is this enough incentive for someone reading a blog post to click through to your blog and check you out?

Of course not. Nor is a lengthy rambling comment. That might even encourge people to NEVER visit your site. Somewhere in the middle is the happy medium that tells the readers on that blog that you have something worthwhile to say and that they will benefit by clicking through to your blog.

Are you getting comment referral traffic? How much? A lot? A little?

If you aren’t getting traffic from the comments you spread across the web, then what are you doing wrong? Are your comments mini-resumes? Do they really prove your worth and value while contributing to the conversation? Are they too “begging-for-traffic” in their presentation, a frequent turn-off for savvy web users? Do you say enough, too much, or too little? How can you improve your comments to turn them into referral traffic?

What motivates you to click through a commenter’s name and blog link to read their blog? Is it their wit? The information and expertise they brought to the topic under discussion? The clarity of their writing? Their pretty or interesting gravatar/avatar? What inspires you to move your mouse to check out that commenter?

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  1. By David Hobson posted on July 18, 2008 at 7:23 pm
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    Excellent post i really enjoyed that one.

    Blog commenting can if done correctly can and will bring you some traffic.

    I receive on average between 20-30 hits a day from blog comments.

    Reply

  2. By Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach posted on July 19, 2008 at 3:26 am
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    I’m inspired to click on commentors when they provide insights that make me go “Ah hah, I never thought of that!”.

    I’m inspired to check out bloggers who are obviously spamming my blog so I can determine if I should blackout their address.

    And finally, I’m inspired to check out commentors whose last blog posts (I use CommentLuv) spark my curiosity.

    Reply

  3. By Luís Silva posted on July 19, 2008 at 3:51 am
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    I´m looking for those who are motivated to click through a commenter’s name and blog link to read their blog…

    Great post!

    Reply

  4. By Slevi posted on July 19, 2008 at 7:46 am
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    Great post. I definitely do receive incoming hits through comments myself, roughly 50 or so visitors a day coming through comments spread out across the web. It might not sound like much, but still that’s roughly 18k unique visitors a year extra.

    If they’re anything like me they come simply by randomly clicking commenters names, I really don’t have much of a routine for that. It’s just a bit of the joy of going through the blogosphere for me, click a name and never know what you’re going to get.

    Reply

  5. By Phil posted on July 20, 2008 at 1:35 pm
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    Great post, ironically we were just thinking about how we don’t comment enough on other blogs and then I came across this!

    I’ve found I tend to visit the blogs of commentors who post funny/witty comments, not necessarily the ones with the best advice.

    Reply

  6. By Leicester Web posted on July 21, 2008 at 8:23 am
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    traffic definitely i have always noticed comes from quality comments as only sophisticated reader browse through the comments and they only tolerate quality comments and then to actually click it, means they are impressed/engaged etc…

    Reply

  7. By buat posted on July 21, 2008 at 11:03 pm
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    Hi,
    From my point of view, if you do number 1 which is “Your desire to participate in the blog conversation and topic” you will get the number 2 and 3 also.
    Thank You

    From
    Joseph Adams

    Reply

  8. By Tom Clarke posted on July 25, 2008 at 6:01 am
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    I agree. Visit my blog!


    Just kidding: it obviously depends on the quality and style of your comment. In terms of getting people to know about your blog, I think commenting elsewhere is ESSENTIAL. But if you’re doing it just for reason 3, forget it. Joseph Adams/Buat expresses it well.

    Reply

  9. By Tomás Mendes posted on August 12, 2008 at 5:48 pm
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    When I first started blogging, I only commented on other blogs because I had the “desire to participate in the blog conversation and topic”.

    When I became a more active blogger, I started reading blogs about blogging and I read about the importance of the “link credits”. So, I started commenting more than I was used to.

    I didn’t get much traffic directly from them. So I don’t think that comment “to encourage traffic from your comment to your blog” is a good deal. However, when I registered on SponsoredReviews.com, my blog got 3 points out of 5 on “link popularity”. I’m sure that the cause of it is my comments. My “link popularity” lead my overall ranking to 2 out of 5 (I don’t have lots of traffic). It was really a good thing because my BidVertiser revenues are low because of my traffic. So, I now use SponsoredReviews as my main source of income for my blog. I am going to explore it more because I found that for me it has a lot of potential.

    Best regards,
    Tomás Mendes

    Reply

  10. By app posted on August 23, 2008 at 4:27 am
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    There is another reason to make comments: to let the writer know he’s not just talking to himself.

    If you are a blogger, you certainly know what I am referring to…that feeling you get that nobody is reading or relating to what you are writing, especially in the beginning when you blog is still fairly new.

    Whether you get that feeling or not, kind of depends on the amount and quality of the comments you receive.

    The more comments you get and the better the quality, the less you will feel that way and the more encouraged you will be to keep writing.

    I try to comment on at least 25% of the blogs I read, just for that reason.

    There are blogs I comment on just to give the blogger an encouraging nudge and ask for more content. You’ll know I have been there and looking for new posts from you when you get one of those “yoohoo…where are you? come back! I miss you!” comments from me on your last post, and you haven’t posted in awhile.

    Reply

  11. By George posted on September 22, 2008 at 7:21 am
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    Yes comments can attract search engine traffics. Sometimes comments will become an extension of the post and help to delivery more traffic.

    Reply

  12. By joseph cotroneo posted on October 19, 2008 at 6:14 am
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    This is a very professional blog that i have unfortunately overlooked in the past. It covers many of the same subjects I cover at my blog about Internet Based Marketing. Not only did I learn more about commenting from your article, but I also learned a great deal about commenting from the comments themselves

    Reply

  13. By Joe Mescher posted on November 1, 2008 at 10:15 pm
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    Depends on the forum you choose to post in – and I’ve learned the hard way to be respectful of content providers who are sensitive to self-promotion.

    I’ve been experimenting with posts about Sarah Palin and Barack Obama on sites like the Huffington Post, The Washington Post, and a popular ‘directory of wonderful things’ called Boing Boing.

    Each comment is designed to entice readers to pop over to my blogs, however the Boing Boing crew popped me for linking every post to my sites.

    Ouch! I made ammends by cutting that out. Still, I’ve seen over 1,000 referrals this week alone. I love social experiments like this! Thanks for your insightful writing.

    Reply

  14. By Petes2cents posted on December 22, 2008 at 5:43 pm
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    The only real raw and organic traffic I have ever received from the web, without paying for it, has been through comments on blogs and twitter. Plain and simple.

    Reply

  15. By Mike Dailey posted on January 18, 2009 at 10:21 am
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    I am definately seeing some traffic from the comments I’ve posted on other blogs, but I haven’t been commenting merely to drive traffic to my blog. I’m hoping that people will find what I have to say as interesting, and if they click through to my blog to see what else I have to say that is great.

    Ultimately I agree with the above posted. I try to comment so the author knows I read their work. I wish more folks who do visit my blog would comment for the same reason, simply so I know that they took the time to read a few pieces. Some blogs try to drive traffic to earn money. I have no interest in earning an income from my blog; I simply enjoy writing about what I know and hope people will find those views interesting.

    Thanks,

    Mike D
    http://www.daileymuse.com

    Reply

  16. By Mark posted on February 5, 2009 at 8:21 pm
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    Great thoughts, this topic definitely comes up in my line of business. Comments are almost useless unless the person making them is adding something to the discussion. Why not take a few extra minutes and put something of value into your effort?

    Reply

  17. By Sebastyne posted on February 10, 2009 at 7:59 pm
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    I definitely don’t get much traffic through comments. Twitter, yes, comments, nah. That’s probably because I don’t comment enough on other blogs to be honest. The reason why I don’t comment enough is that I don’t read enough, because I almost certainly leave a comment if I read something half decent.

    What sparks my interest: 1. Wit. 2. Sense of humour. 3. Clarity 4. Avatar. Unfortunately I’m somewhat hard to please, so all of those 4 have to be there.

    Commenting on my blog is a lot more efficient of course, couple of nice things to say and I’m like “Oh, who is this lovely person?!” (Flattering works on me, totally. :D)

    Reply

  18. By robert santos posted on February 28, 2009 at 1:02 am
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    Thank you, that is very informative. So I am right to say that social networking is more of gathering a group of individuals with the same interests to form a community.
    :D

    Reply

  19. By Neetu Sharma posted on June 18, 2009 at 6:30 pm
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    Nice topic to discuss
    Yes it is like same it enhance traffice day by day people discuss with you and know you.. yes it really works

    Reply

  20. By E-Learning posted on September 29, 2009 at 5:32 pm
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    Yes!! a very wonderful topic to discuss……and yes i totally agree with this topic that if blog commenting is done properly then it can bring you traffic..its really nice post.. :)

    Reply

  21. By seochampion posted on October 28, 2009 at 10:31 am
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    Excellent site, It was pleasant to me.

    Reply

  22. By Tim posted on December 14, 2009 at 8:03 pm
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    great post! we drive most of our traffic through Twitter, however I believe in order to truly get involved with the blogging community you must be actively engaged with your fellow niche bloggers. Simply writing posts all day and never conversing with other opinions is similar to just posting links on Twitter and never @ conversing.

    Reply

  23. By Need more visitors posted on June 8, 2010 at 4:47 am
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    Wow, really great blog!! I got this news and impressed from this. Really its a odd thing and can you explain me with much more details? We also need some other way to increase our blogs!!! Thanks for the post!!!!!!

    Reply

  24. By call center services posted on September 3, 2010 at 4:48 am
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    This is a big help. You have given us what you must have spent hours and hours of work. Thanks.

    Reply

  25. By Munaz posted on September 27, 2010 at 6:57 am
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    I do believe that blog comments do drive traffic and holds its own significance despite the fact of no follow tag. When someone posts comments, he or she has two objectives in mind. First, to convey his/her impression or thoughts on a particular topic and second, to drive traffic towards his/her profile or website.

    Today, many sites accept comments via social profiles. We still need to think of a new strategy – ‘Comment Follow Up’ to meet our dual objectives!!

    Reply

  26. By everything free posted on December 24, 2010 at 5:21 am
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    I just started blogging and I think your post was really helpful. I never knew blog commenting could be used for traffic. Poor me! Thank you again and I hope you could post some more tips more newbies like me.

    Reply

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