Friday, 17 August 2012

Are Blog Comments a Source of Referral Traffic?

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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