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Compelling comments and ulterior motives

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It’s gratifying when I publish a blog post and you leave comments. What I talk about doesn’t always call for a response, but when it does, and you reply, it’s very encouraging. But is an interest in discussion the only reason you leave your thoughts?

The ulterior motive is gathering pace.

In his blog post, Do You Comment Enough To Be Authority, Alex Sysoef advises you do the following.

  1. Locate as many blogs relevant to your niche as possible with CommentLuv enabled
  2. Make it a point that EACH time you publish a new post to comment on at least 10 blogs to get 10 links to your posts

For the unfamiliar, CommentLuv is a WordPress plugin that alters the comments other people leave on your blog. It automatically extracts the commentator’s latest blog post headline, adding it as a link at the end of their comment.

Alex claims his method is proven to boost your search rankings for individual posts, but my standpoint is that chasing backlinks from blogs is time better spent elsewhere, writing your own cornerstone content for example. That’s not to say I advise against commenting on blogs within your niche. Quite the opposite. If you leave a genuine comment relevant to the discussion (regardless of what plugins a blog has installed) you’ll gain a lot more than if you set out with ulterior motives.

The real value from blog comments is when we learn something (a quote, a tip, a different perspective), and I’ve definitely learned a lot from your discussions here.

A couple of years back, Andy Beard published a somewhat related blog post, 32 Forms of Linking Payola, talking about what motivates us to link to other websites. There’s one point in particular that stands out for me:

your audience isn’t stupid, and if you haven’t attempted to disclose as much as possible, that can have a huge influence on how much they trust your opinions…

In a way, that works within comment sections too.

Do you know what I mean? It can be obvious when comments aren’t genuine, left for a purpose other than to join in the discussion — driving traffic for instance. And moderation can be troublesome enough already.

The thought of leaving comments with an ulterior motive isn’t for me, but I’m interested in what you think. Do you target higher search rankings or traffic when leaving a comment? Do you mind others doing that on your blog? Alternatively, if the comment is relevant does it actually matter?

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54 comments about “Compelling comments and ulterior motives”

  1. Hello David,

    I know when i started blogging i tried all the usual stuff, building back links on dofollow comment blogs like you mentioned. In retrospect i see it was such a waste of time.

    I noticed the quality of comments on dofollow blogs is always fairly terrible. 75% of all comments are just “great post” or “thanks for writing”.

    Very few people leave an actual opinion or experience, just the least possible effort to get a quick link.

  2. I love the idea of comment love, but selectively

    Blogs can build a core group of community members, and they tend to be the most frequent people linking, at least in the blogging niche, possibly the design niche as well.

    I will soon be switching back from Disqus, and enabling a modified version of Lucia’s Linky Love, but it would be good to see if I can hack it further to enable Comment Love only for people who are core community members.
    I might also make the links only visible to core community members as well – no search value.

    I am a heavy moderator, most of the comments that are purely for backlinks get deleted, 70-90%, but I am also exploring the best way to monetize those commenters.

  3. I’d like to think that commenting is a way of supporting the person who wrote the article and that the comment will possibly add to a discussion. But I’m sure some people have ulterior motives for making their own blogs popular.

    If a site offers it, I’ll use it. I don’t think plugins like CommentLuv are horrible, but it can be abused. For instance, when someone posts a comment like, “great,” on several sites on the same day they just happened to post a new article on their blog, it can be fairly obvious what their intentions are.

  4. While I do try to get myself to comment more often in general, I have to admit I’ve always subscribed to the blog-comment adage that if you can’t contribute to the conversation, don’t say anything at all. That way, I not only get backlinks, but I don’t look like the sort of person who only comments for the link love.

    I’d rather be known as someone who says a few smart things once in a while, than be known as that guy who says “great post!” a lot — and kind of looks like spam. ;)

  5. I follow about six quality blogs (of which yours is one) – you get a lot of comments on your blog, but for the others that don’t get as many comments, I’ll sometimes leave one just so they know somebody is out there! I also try to leave a comment on the blog of a person that has left one on mine, particularly if it’s a new reader. I moderate my blogs and don’t publish the self-promoting comments. I’m not a graphic artist, so I don’t figure I have much to contribute to your blog via comment, but I’ve learned a lot from your blog and refer other folks to it frequently, especially after the tough barbed wire illustration and the customers who don’t budget for graphics video. Great stuff! marge

  6. Andy Beard,

    I can’t remember the name of it I’m afraid, but there is a wordpress plugin that adds do follow tags to your readers comments after they’ve had 5 approved comments ( or however many, i assume you can change it ).

    I thought this was a good way to reward your regular readers while excluding the spammers. If I can find the name of the plugin again I’ll let you know.

  7. Completely agree David. Getting comments on a blog is definitely very nice. Especially if it leads to some form of dialogue or conversation, or perhaps even correcting or adding to the original post.

    I pretty much consider those other types of comments that you’re talking about as Spam. Though, I don’t moderate as much as it’s a hassle like you said.

    The problem I have with comments though, is that once it’s left, it’s a bit troublesome to track back down to see if the blog author has responded to the comment left. Even if the “Notify me of followup comments via e-mail” is checked, I sometimes forget where I left a comment that I needed to follow up on. Thankfully BackType and Disqus is helping me with that a bit.

    I do hope there aren’t too many out there that leave comments strictly to boost their pages. Strictly since I believe that good content will always win out.

  8. This post hit a point I’ve been wishing would be made long ago. I’ve noticed more and more, pointless, dribble comments on a whole list of blogs. Things like, “Great post. I’ll keep this in mind. Keep up the great writing.” And you read this knowing is BS. I’ve felt for the longest time SEO was killing the web and I still feel this way. Well structured and written content is one thing but gimmicks and tricks to get higher ranking … come on. But I think it’s also important that blog owners filter their comments, and only approve those from people with something genuine to say (and of course your mom).

  9. I comment on blogs much more now than I used to. I always appreciated the information I got from blogs, but I didn’t realize how much the comments added to the experience of building a community. I was also unaware of how much comments can mean to the blogger.

    Two things really changed that for me. First, I started blogging myself. I’m amazed at how much those comments (the good ones that add to the conversation) mean to me, and I want to give that back to other bloggers.

    The other big shift for me was Twitter. Working at home, the people on Twitter have become my office-mates. I know them as real people. There are faces behind the blogs I’ve admired for so long. It’s a whole different dynamic. Now, I’m talking with people. I even recognize many of the other commenters. It’s more meaningful. I think that is why you get so many thoughtful comments, David. Yes, your posts are thought-provoking and great conversation-starters, but also because it is very obvious that you are a real person. That there is a human behind your posts. That is why your blog was one of the first that I ever followed.

    All in all, though, it just comes down to this: if the post was good — if it changed my thinking, inspired me, or taught me something — I think the least I can do is thank the blogger by leaving a comment.

  10. Ewww I find it repulsive when people seek out comments. Yep its nice if someone is interested enough to say something on your blog, but there are stat counters to tell you if anyone actually reads your blog. I only comment if I have something I want to say.

  11. I leave comments on blog posts I find interesting and engaging (like this one) or if the blog has some great resources for download – I make sure to say thank you.

    Chasing down comments seems a bit low-quality in my opinion. Writing good content that people link to seems much more valuable for your time spent.

    Really good article.

  12. @AndrewKeir,

    Lucia’s Linky Love, as mentioned in my comment is one such plugin, but a link in a name isn’t a “call to action” that encourages a click.
    For regular readers I would like to help them gain a little more traffic.

    At the same time Lucia’s, like default WordPress uses nofollow, which due to recent events I want to avoid, so I will start off using a new hacked version from Hobo Web, and then either hack it more or exert extreme pressure on Shaun to customize it more.
    http://www.hobo-web.co.uk/seo-blog/index.php/hobo-custom-link-love-for-wordpress/

  13. Fantastic article David, I think another good point for all designers on these topics are at this link:
    http://www.icommented.com/as-a-smartass/

    Kidding. I don’t think it’s all that professional to be trying to plug your work in comments just for the sake of increasing traffic. If it’s relevant to the discussion then by all means, but if not, keep the link to yourself for now.

    If your good at what you do you shouldn’t need to be tricking people into visiting your website from other blogs who are maintained by people who value the hard work of writing better content.

    Less time making fake comments – more time joining discussion as a valued individual with the same niche.

  14. This reminds me of what Steve Pavlina (www.stevepavlina.com) said in one of his posts teaching bloggers how to get more people to read your blog. “Write [articles] directed at people, not search engines.”

  15. Leaving a comment is definitely one of the main ways to draw people into your blog. I think if you’re writing about a single topic, (e.g Design or Typography) you’re guaranteed to attract people who are more interested in the subject, therefore will WANT to leave more related comments. I think its just an integral part of blogging, and as long you don’t get any “spam” its ok.

    Also, if somebody writes something uncompelling, or boring people are less likely to click on their link and go to their blog surely…?

  16. Andrew,

    I used to have that plugin installed (Lucia’s Linky Love — that removes the “nofollow” tag after a set number of comments). My mistake was telling everyone about it, because I started receiving five spam comments from the same people in a very short space of time, then they’d disappear never to return. Andy makes a good point about there being no “call to action”, whereas a blog post title can help (as with CommentLuv).

    Andy,

    Some good CommentLuv suggestions there. I’ll keep a look-out for changes from Shaun (or you). I’m also pretty strict when moderating, and reckon I delete / “mark as spam” a similar percentage.

    Toby,

    I agree. CommentLuv is a great idea, and once I heard about it, I installed it here. It was only after I was getting some error code added to the script on every page when I removed it, and following a recent post by Matt Cutts I don’t think it’s a bad thing either.

    Amy,

    Yours is another point I agree with, and if I leave a comment I’m sure to give an opinion, or offer a different take on things. I don’t let those “great post” comments through the moderation panel.

    Marge,

    That’s great to know, and it should go without saying that I greatly value readers who don’t go on to comment. People taking a little time to read what I’m writing is reward enough for me (although I’ve built some strong bonds with a fair few commenters over the past few years).

    John,

    You’re not the first to mention BackType to me, but I’ve yet to try either it or Disqus. Would you recommend them for those who leave comments elsewhere? Is one better than the other?

    Nate,

    You know what I find ridiculous? The “first” comments a lot of idiots leave, like it’s a competition to see who can get their name “top of the list”. Reminds me of this: If Internet Commenters Had a Magazine.

    Manda,

    Looks like you’re doing great things with your own blog, and I’m glad I found it recently. Like you, I work from home, and Twitter does make it seem a little less like you’re sat on your own. Couldn’t agree more, and thanks a lot for the compliment!

    Julie,

    It’s not every blog post that needs a response, absolutely. Some of mine I use to simply direct attention back to my readers, like the “focus on reader comments” series (another one is overdue). Stat counters are useful, but there’s no substitute for asking people what they want to read.

    Thanks, Mike, Dwight. I’ll visit Steve Pavlina’s blog and see what he’s saying.

    Justin,

    Links are more than welcome, where relevant. It doesn’t stop me getting a lot of inappropriate link-drops, but unfortunately it goes with the territory.

    Oli,

    That’s a valid point. No-one will follow you back to your blog if all you can say is, “Good”. I delete a few of those each day, though I suspect they’re left because my name is on the vast majority of “DoFollow” lists that circulate on blogs.

  17. This is another topic I’ve been thinking about recently. Like a few of the other commenters, I only read a small number of blogs (less than 20 that I read regularily) and it’s only about half of them that I would ever comment (and only if I had something to say, something bothered me etc).

    For me, I genuinely enjoy engaging in the comments on these sites, but I do get a tiny bit of traffic back to my site in return. It’s not a lot, but I hope it’s because those people thought I had something interesting to say in the posting, and were curious to learn more about me. Hell, I know I do the same when someone writes something inflammatory, intelligent, passionate etc. I want to know more about them!

    I think that is the best part of reading the comments (and of course I’ll skip over the “great article” and “very useful” comments in search of the people that are actually contributing), and it also makes the web so much more useful.

    You’re never going to stop people gaming the system, because if people could get something WITHOUT hard work and using their brain, then they will. Hopefully google has it in their algorithm somewhere to ignore the mundane and gamers.

  18. Thanks for mentioning my post David,

    A few things that need to be clarified – I have always made statement on my blog to make quality comments on other people blogs, be it for links or not. I stand by my claim that commenting on blogs with CommentLuv works wonders and results will be disclosed on my blog in near future but I can tell you that even with brand new blog people were able to gain page 1 in Google SERP’s for very competitive keywords. If that is not something you are interested in – obviously advise can be easily ignored.

    Also as I have mentioned in my reply – I don’t only comment for links, I frequently comment on blogs I read (the core group of blogs for me) for the sake of commenting and sharing my opinion. CommentLuv commenting method is just ONE OF THE MANY ways to build internal links that I share with my readers.

    I use LuciaLinkyLove on my blog and have been for well over year, I also have very strict comment policy that you can see right above comment form and my comments are 100% moderated. I share DoFollow with those people willing to contribute quality comments and turn off “nofollow” after 3 approved comments and I will stand by this policy! I love my commenters and willing to share the link love but spammers don’t get through!

    As for quality of comments – I get 99% of the comments that are quality and yes, some do get through that are on border of flattery for link love but since they comment once and never come back – they get little in return! I still think comments on my blog average better than on many blogs that allow keyword stuffing instead of name and that includes some very big and visible blogs.

    So to summarize: participating in blogging community is great and I don’t advise against it! I simply recommend to ALSO think about building incoming links on regular bases to help people benefit from their blogs! I believe bloggers deserve to get paid if they choose to do so and gaining authority status helps them to achieve it faster!

    Thanks again David! This comment is slightly longer but I hope it helps clarify my position.

    Alex Sysoef

  19. If I really enjoy a design or marketing-related blog post, I will occasionally go write a follow-up post in my company’s blog, then write a comment to the original post with a summary of my opinion and a link to my follow-up post. I’ve never really thought of that as having ulterior motives, and I always make sure to give credit for the original post back to the original author…I hope this doesn’t make me a shady blogger! :)

    When I read blogs, I appreciate finding new ones with similar perspectives (this is probably why I have over 100 blogs in my Reader), and this is what I’m trying to accomplish when I comment on other blogs…just helping other people to widen their “network,” so to speak, if they happen to agree with my perspective.

    Usually my readers will click on the link back to the original post, so I’ve always considered it a mutually beneficial situation.

  20. Kat,

    Judging by the previous comments you’ve left here, it’s no surprise you receive site visits. I make a point of clicking through the link of all commenters, and it’s a more inquisitive click when the comment offers individual thoughts.

    Alex,

    You’re more than welcome, and thanks for joining in the chat. I hope I didn’t give the impression that you only comment for links. I know what it takes to build a community around your blog, and you’ve certainly been successful, so good on you. Keyword stuffing is a valid point you mention, and I’ve been known to edit commenter names before approval. Determining motivation is significantly blurred when an insightful, relevant comment is submitted by “make money online with (insert product name here)”.

    Jenni,

    I think that’s good practice (giving thoughts on your own blog, then referring back to the source). It’s what I’ve done here, following a brief chat with Alex in his comment section.

    The way I see it is if you want to type more than a couple of paragraphs, it makes sense to involve your own blog readers, because it’s obviously something you feel strongly about, or have thought about already. I don’t think that makes you shady at all, and I hope some readers visit Alex’s blog via this post. With 10,000+ blog subscribers he’s clearly offering content people want to read.

  21. Determining motivation is significantly blurred when an insightful, relevant comment is submitted by “make money online with (insert product name here)”.

    My point exactly and I struggle with it sometimes as well. I have communicated with several people directly and finally approved them with names AS IS after that communication and I even have couple consistent commenters who I actually permit keywords in name.

    I think it is important to acknowledge and reward people willing to be active part of your community even if you have to make an exceptions to your own rules. Hey, my blog – my rules :-)

  22. Hi David,

    Really love your message here. People are leaving comments just for the sake of a back link, lacking any authentic attempt at interaction. Just “good post, thanks.”

    I’ve noticed when I leave those kind of comments I get no referrals in return. But if I leave a genuine relevant comment then I get referrals.

  23. There are only a handful of blogs where I enjoy reading comments as much as the actual posts, and yours, David, is one of them.

    In the beginning, I too tried different ways to promote my blog, linking to relevant articles in the comments, etc. But I quickly outgrew it. Now I usually comment only on blogs where authors do take time to respond to their readers and engage in conversations (and only if I have anything to add to the ongoing conversation), or leave comments on educational posts that helped me with something, or on posts that I absolutely loved reading.

    I once had a contest on my blog (in my early days of blogging) where I was giving away a gift certificate to the Top Commenter. All of sudden I had one girl commenting like crazy on a couple of dozens of my posts. I have to admit that she was actually taking time and reading the posts and leaving relevant comments but, wow… she did end up winning the contest (I actually changed the rules slightly and split that one gift certificate into two, so one of the loyal reader also got a chance to win), and as it was expected she vanished into a thin air right after the contest ended, taking the gift certificate and never coming back. I did learn my lesson though and no longer awarded Top Commentators on my blog, finding other ways to reward my loyal readers.

  24. Alex is correct. My sister does web development and SEO for a company and this is a big thing in the world of “social media”. The way Google ranks things is in terms of legitimacy and a site like yours, which has pull in the realm of search and design.

    Some design sites will use their posts to just link to another post. It’s really crazy stuff they are doing/manipulating these days. It’s kinda disheartening and more to a point dishonest, but what can you do? It’s very dog eat dog, and everyone seems to be a cannibal.

    Oh and the twitter ID addition to the postings is brilliant. Keep up the good job Dave.

  25. One more thought on this one guys :-)

    Like it or not – but if you want to win a game, you need to know the rules and play better then competition.

    Once again, I’m never against the commenting on blogs that don’t provide CommentLuv or any form of backlinks, I’m simply FOR using combination of both to get the recognition your content deserves.

    Cheers :-)

  26. I’d like to comment more but alot of posts I read, already have 20 or so comments on them, so I spend a lot of time just reading. Often someone has already given my opinion, so I don’t bother.

    I find it really annoying when there are just a lot of great post comments, nothing thought provoking there. Isn’t that what digg and stumbleupon are for. I wish more people would filter them out as you do.

    Also what do you think about commenting on an old post, say last year’s? Would you still appreciate it? or is it something you have moved on from

  27. I’ll be upfront about this, I only started commenting on blogs once I had one of my own up and running.

    Having said this I only started reading blogs frequently a short while before deciding to start one of my own.

    I never comment unless I feel like I actually have something to say. I figure, that if someone is genuinely interested in what I have to say on another blog they might take a punt and see what my own one is like. I don’t really agree with commenting for the sake of it. I can’t imagine for a second that someone would be encouraged to click my link after seeing a stream of: “great post” or “Thanks, that’s helpful.”

    I’m very new to this whole process and only find myself commenting on very few blogs. I’m actually quite looking forward to having this sort of problem myself in the future, you never know!

  28. Hi David,

    Nice topic – as Brian Cray says, I too often find that people seem to leave comments just for the sake of linking to their own blog/site. Similar to Ken Reynolds, I too am very new to this process; I’ve been following this blog and some others for some time but mostly from a distance, rarely commenting.

    I don’t have my own blog but having recently got my small company up and running, I’m trying to get involved more, but it seems like a lot of the time, a lot of comments are written purely to promote their own link rather than add anything substantial to the discussion, making it feel quite superficial. Similarly, comments like ‘great post’ etc. just don’t seem to add anything, I can’t imagine the point of posting one. If you do have an ‘ulterior motive’, surely you’d at least try to have something relevant and interesting to say!

  29. Being fairly new to webbing, I don’t get many comments on my site. In fact, I’ve only received a few.

    At first it bothered me. Tends to make one feel invisible. And the first reaction is to do whatever you have to in order to get attention.

    That was until out of nowhere I began receiving 5-6 pure spams or comments like, “Nice post” and “I always wondered about that” everyday.

    Of which I delete or “moderate away.”

    With that resolved- comments stopped being important. I don’t chase them and rarely comment on other blogs.

    I’m simply happy doing me, improving as I go along and learning through blogs such as this.

    I visit just about daily and comment periodically because there’s so much current and useful information here. And of course to say thanks.

  30. Vivien,

    It definitely helps when there are people like you offering thoughts. I outgrew such promotion too. I think that when we first start-out with our blogs, it’s good to try things for yourself — testing how various methods work, and if it’s right for you.

    The result of the contest you ran is sadly all too typical. It reminds me of the “top commentator” plugin, the one that lists the top x number of people by the amount of comments they leave. It screams for people to leave those “first” comments on your posts.

    Michael,

    I’ve seen so many of those sites / blogs that have been launched for the purpose of linking to others. It’s very common among those who rank at the top for the term “logo design”, and they’ve been going for so many years that it’s nearly impossible to break the monopoly.

    Glad you appreciate the little Twitter plugin.

    Alex,

    “Like it or not – but if you want to win a game, you need to know the rules and play better then competition.”

    Very true. It’s all about knowing what game you prefer to play.

    Rachel,

    I very much appreciate when someone comments on an old post of mine. For one, you all know more than me, and what I’ve said might be flawed. And for another thing, my opinion might’ve since changed by the time I revisit the post, so I can update and keep the content fresh. Good question.

    Ken,

    It can be a nice problem to have, because amongst those more “spam-like” comments are some real gems. All the best with your own blog, and thanks for mentioning “A Smile in the Mind”. It’s one I’ve seen recommended elsewhere, but I’ve yet to pick it up.

    Claire,

    I hope all’s well with you and Darren. Stick at it with the Op45 blog. I’d be nowhere near as successful in self-employment if it wasn’t for mine and the great community around it.

    Calandra,

    Daily visits? That’s great! I hope you don’t mind that my posting frequency is sometimes once per week. Responding to comments on old and new posts takes quite a bit of time.

  31. All blogs are able to attract comments such as ‘nice writing’ ‘great blog’ .
    Creating a blog which gets bookmarked, has a certain level of genuine interaction, and brings the longer more genuine comments requires a lot more than many are willing to give. I personally think it is down to the blog content. If you inform and engage you will reap the rewards, I think personality counts too, let people know you. I have only half a dozen feeds I visit on a regular basis, and this is one of them. As a rule, my own blog only attracts good comments when I put the time in, hence I have very few. Hats off to you David, you seem to have everything covered.

  32. Dear me, this appears to be a popular subject.!

    I’ve noticed lately commentors on not just my own, but other design blogs too, with comments from “Dental practice Miami” and the like. Needless to say I now just delete such comments, and I encourage other authors to do the same.

    As for CommentLuv, I have it installed, like many blogger’s do. I like to reward genuine commenters with a link, and If their comment adds to the conversation in a meaningful way is good enough for me, as long s people actually use their real names. As for the intent of a persons comment, well, I’m not a phycologist ;)

  33. David-

    Yep, daily…because there’s so much to read through-past posts, comments, links….

  34. “hey, david nice post…”
    lol kidding ;)
    I was wondering why do you consider link building a wastage of time? I mean I have just started my own new blog, and i think links would be my greatest assets. Though I don’t spam comments just for the sake of building links but I cannot deny that I value the links too.

  35. Andrew Kelsall makes a good point:

    I’ve noticed lately commentors on not just my own, but other design blogs too, with comments from “Dental practice Miami” and the like. Needless to say I now just delete such comments, and I encourage other authors to do the same.

    I’d noticed this happening ages ago on my blog but I was thankful for the comments so I let them stay and looking back now I think that was a mistake. The best blogs out there have quality comments from people who leave their real names. Quality blogs have good PR so if you’re looking for link juice leaving comments on good blogs with your keywords in the name field is a massive waste of time. If the people who did that re-traced their steps they’d see 90% of their comments deleted.

    And, generally, it takes so much time to find out which blogs are DoFollow, have CommentLuv, etc. We must have better things to do with our time! Isn’t it better to do what comes natural? See a good discussion and add to it. End of story!

  36. Hi David, sorry I’m a bit late on commenting.

    I used to comment more frequently on people’s blogs. Especially if I find the author has posted something that I’ve also written about. I’d leave the URL of my own article in my comment. But I quickly realized by doing that, I may come off as spamming, or “stealing the thunder” from the author. So in which case, I’d email the author directly instead of making a public comment.

    I prefer to build up readership more organically, so I don’t actively promote anymore.

    I really do enjoy reading comments, on my or other people’s blog. I read some blogs, because I think the comment section is more entertaining and informative than the original article.

    Thanks.

  37. Thanks, Steve. It’s a pleasure to have you visit.

    Andrew, like you, I also encourage authors to delete those comments. They’re no benefit for the visitors who take time reading the threads.

    Faizan, Rob sums up my sentiments precisely in his comment following yours…

    …So Rob, thanks for that.

    Jin, no worries at all. It seems we have a fairly similar opinion of how to handle the chat.

  38. Hi David,

    What I find is that the internet is full of people looking at making money off a blog, trying to find the right keywords, etc just to get an audience.

    Okay I have nothing wrong with either, especially if its about something someone is passionate about. However there are a lot of people out there who are purely motivated by money, they just have “blogs” because thats the way to make money. They try and scientifically work the system to up their google rankings, etc.

    That is so wanky. It should be about genuine information sharing about items of interest or passion. If you make money, excellent, more power to you, but to see those people do stuff like that for the sake of “click throughs” makes me ill.

    I kind of hate seeing this path of the internet, you know I’d almost give anything for the days of ugly geoshitties websites! Things were freer-er and new, and people were looking less for making money, but about information sharing for the sake of it.

  39. Strange that this of all posts would prompt me to finally install the comment luv plugin. Gave it a go, sent out a tweet, and in an hour or so had a dozen spam comments.

    So much for striking up some genuine conversation, ha.

  40. Hi David;

    This subject made me think of that verse from Talking Heads’ ‘Psycho Killer':

    You start a conversation you cant even finish it.
    You’re talking a lot, but youre not saying anything.
    When I have nothing to say, my lips are sealed.
    Say something once, why say it again?

    I agree with the comments left by the majority of people here; only leave a comment because you want to contribute to a conversation. If I’m at a party (well, I’ve got kids now, but I remember going to parties once upon a time) I don’t barge into a conversation people are having simply to say “Hi, great chat you’re having here” and then force my business card on everyone. Why? Because that would be obnoxious.

    I enjoy reading a variety of blogs; I’m not very organised about it and often neglect even my favourites for weeks on end, but I’ll comment only if I have an opinion on the subject. Sometimes this means a chance to voice a long-standing view; other times the blog post makes me re-evaluate or clarify what I think (that’s always good). Sometimes I realise that I never even had an opinion on a subject before reading the blog post, and that’s also very welcome. But if I have nothing to say on the subject, as Mr Byrne sang, then my (virtual) lips are sealed.

    If I do post a comment then I include my URL as normal so my name will link to my site. That’s provided for in the comment set-up so I feel it’s acceptable, perhaps even expected. Also, if I do have a post on my own blog about the same subject then I feel that it’s acceptable to post that URL in the comment for others to find. I understand Jin’s point about not wanting to steal thunder from the original blog post, but I don’t entirely agree with it. If my own blog post is genuinely about the same topic (or offers a different spin on the same) then my view is that it’s related information from which readers of the original post might derive benefit and, after all, and that’s what the web is about. Emailing the blog author with my own URL is all well and good, but unless that author chooses to repost the URL his/her readership will not have access to it. (Just to reiterate, I’m talking about genuinely topic-related posts here, not me posting a URL for viagra sales).

    One thing I will work on though; making my comment shorter. Sorry about that.

  41. I used to try to have a personal goal of commenting on 10 blogs a day… I even wrote my own blog post about doing it. The exercise helped me to get used to commenting on other blogs and get my name out there a bit.

    But since then, I’ve learned that it’s more about quality than quantity. If I don’ t have something valuable to add, then I don’t comment.

  42. I believe that if you leave a comment on another blog, it should be because you learned something and have something to add to the conversation, not because you’re just trying to promote yourself. Like Andy’s quote implies, people will see through the phoniness of your comment and move on to the next one that has some relevance. And if you’re leaving a link to something, it better be relevant to the article you’re commenting in, or else it’s just spam.

  43. Rick:

    Great analogy with the party. It is a perfect description of what happens with these people who do the one-liner comments with link-whoring.

    Nolé Marin has a great quote: “It’s alluring, not whoring”. It ties into what David said about the time spent slathering the web with links to your site(whoring) versus taking that time to write content (the alluring part). Necro-posts just make it even worse.

  44. Just have to mention that I’m learning a hell of a lot just reading the comments that follow your posts. You’ve been bringing up a lot of things I’ve never even knew were concerns or topics when dealing with blogs and links.

    I’m still in the process of trying to figure out the whole wordpress thing and getting things rollin. As I mentioned in the last post, I really love the community that your topics create. And I want to be able to cultivate that same sense of “community” and conversation in my own when its up and running.

    I can’t stand when people just feel compelled to leave their name somewhere without paying attention to why. Its like graffiti and tagging (not the street art kind. The annoying, “I’m gonna write my name on your car” ones) That’s what it feels like. They want their name on something that gets looked at because they’re not attracting much attention themselves. That bugs me.

    So I’m here to learn. I comment because I’m compelled to when it feels like someone’s talking directly to me.

    I’ll have my site up one of these days. Your site as well as Logo/Design/Love definitely inspires me to stay motivated. I’ll keep you posted.

  45. “just me”,

    I know what you mean about the “make money online” blogs that have been set-up by people just hoping to make money i.e. without actual experience. There are far too many.

    Andrew,

    That’s not surprising, but good to get your story. Today my site was listed on yet another “DoFollow” list, and they attract a lot of spammers. I can see the same thing happening with “CommentLuv enabled” lists, circulating again and again.

    Rick,

    Like Jon agrees, your party analogy is a great one. Regarding Jin’s point about not wanting to “steal thunder”, I partly agree with both you you (not meaning to sit on the fence). It’s great when a commenter leaves a link to a relevant blog post, and I don’t mind if it’s on their own site. It’s just that when people start using every comment opportunity to refer back to one of their own posts, for me it’s too much. That’s happened here before.

    Christen,

    I’ve seen blog-building tutorials that tell you to comment on related blogs every day, but you’re right. It’s definitely easier said than done, because who’s to say you’ll find content worth your thoughts?

    Raul,

    Great to know you’re enjoying the comments. Quite often they’ll be much more beneficial than what I have to say in the preceding blog post, so they’re definitely worth a look. Thanks also for the compliment.

  46. I also forgot to mention something i found the other day, you may or may not already know.

    Your comment left on my blog the other week David, went into my spam filter. Apparently people leaving comments who been referred from dofollow listed blogs are marked as spam.

    Another way the spammers are making life hard for us all. *sigh*

  47. Hi David,

    Late congratulations on your engagement, I haven’t been keeping up with my usual blog following lately. What a nice post, I look forward to seeing your design work for the invitations.

    I follow blogs with good content and a good community of commenters who I can learn from. I’m more of a listener than a talker as such, but I will comment when I feel I have something worthwhile to say or if something irks me. I think it’s ok for a commenter to link to a relevant discussion on their website/blog, as it does promote a wider dicussion on the topic, however, inclusion of ‘this is my latest blog post’ links after every comment a poster leaves can only be seen as using, in this case the popularity of your blog David, for their own gains. I know if I had a blog, and I have been considering blogging, I would find it irritating if posters were trying to poach my readers (assuming that I would have readers to be poached!)

  48. Usually I try to add something to discussion if I share the same interest.

    But yes, more it is about marketing and actually regularly checking out what others are doing. I feel like now everybody will shamelesly explain their purposes :)

  49. Hi David and everyone,

    I forgot to add, that commenting on blogs is basically akin to the old days of posting on a messageboard. It seems some people don’t understand the etiquette involved and just love to spam with self promotion for their mindless blogs to gain traffic and ad revenue dollars for click through.

    Web 2.0 (whatever wanky term they liked to call it), makes it even more instant for spammers and people with money in their eyes to continuously annoy the crap out of everyone else who just wants to communicate with like-minded individuals – such as the lovely people who comment on your blog.

    Additionally, could it be a sign of our own standards of general etiquette on the internet?

    We wouldn’t behave this way in real life, constantly hassling strangers to come and see our goods/services, but the internet and the new tools such as blogs, twitter, etc make it easier for this sort of mindless junk. (Okay except for companies who like to give us tonnes of junk mail).

  50. Great article. :)

  51. Its in the human nature they always try to spam something which gives them even a little bit of an advantage. I run a few forums and i had dofollow there before but had to change it to nofollow because of the amount of spam. Most of them are humans and not automated programs. Comments like ( Great Post ) ( Appreciate the contribution ) and ( Wow its amazing ) are posted quite often and at once one can know its spam.

    I would only say if you need a backlink from a comment…you should earn it…at least read the post and comment if you have knowledge on it.

  52. I don’t think you need to worry about this too much, there are 2 reasons i’ve got this site and Logo Design Love in my RSS reader, one is i’m interested in the topic (and the way it is presented) the other reason, is that there is so much value hidden in your comments. I don’t think i’ve ever read a blog where the comments can wield as much useful/interesting information as the post itself. Not until now anyway.

    Plus, i’m not looking for links (in case you hadn’t guessed from the distinct lack of a website to link to)

  53. Thanks for the engagement congrats, Gráinne. We’ve set a date next June, and will have the ceremony in Cyprus. Very much looking forward to it. (Only took me four months to thank you—not bad eh?)

    Chris, that’s great to know (how you find the comments here to hold chat of interest). My readers are superb at offering help and advice. I’ve learned a great deal from the comment area on my blogs, and that’s just one reason why I’m a ‘launch your own blog’ advocate. Cheers for dropping in.

  54. Nothing in the world is permanent, and we’re foolish when we ask anything to last, but surely we’re still more foolish not to take delight in it while we have it. If change is of the essence of existence one would have thought it only sensible to make it the premise of our philosophy.

Anything to add?

Comments may be edited or deleted if I don't like the cut of your jib, but that's quite unlikely.