You’re a smart business owner. You’ve listened to us preach about how blogging can increase web leads for your services and products, and you’ve hired us to start blogging for you with the vigor of a middle school girl after the homecoming dance (yes, your daughter is a blogger… don’t worry, we’ll refrain from using emoticons on your site. Don’t know what an emoticon is? Consider yourself lucky). The trouble is, nobody comments on your blog, and it gives you the sads. You take the time to offer your expert opinion in a well-articulated, easy-to-read format—complete with fanny pack analogies and an assortment of clever puns—and staring back at you is a
Blogging has greatly evolved over the years–the definition of what a blog is has changed and therefore so has the point of having one. While blogs can arguably serve many purposes, the main goal of blogging used to be to offer your opinion and get others to join the conversation. Plenty of these types of blogs still exist, but most small business owners today are using their blogs for one way communication; their primary goal is not to strike up a conversation, but to attract qualified visitors and convert them into leads. While I’m sure we’d all like to have a double or triple digit number of blog comments on our posts reinforcing our views—or even challenging them!—I’m happy to tell you that blog comments don’t matter for your business if you’re the latter type of blogger. Ultimately, if you are blogging as part of an ongoing content marketing strategy, you can still be successful without ever getting a single blog comment.
A Lack of Blog Comments Doesn’t Indicate a Lack of Readership
I read plenty of blogs that get something like 80 comments on every post—which I find impressive because I’m used to the big 0 (that’s ZERO – not to be confused with the big O). But an amazing thing happens when one of these bloggers offers a giveaway: 800 comments. Boom. The point here is that a blog getting 80 comments per post has a LOT more than 80 readers, and things like giveaway brings those readers out of the woodwork. So if you think a blog with zero comments has zero readers, think again.
This makes the number of blog comments you receive a poor metric for determining blog success. A better way to determine whether or not your blogging efforts are successful is through:
Organic rankings: What keywords and phrases are your blog posts ranking for. My blog, for example, ranks first for “I iron my sweatpants.” Great. But is that useful? Are these keywords and phrases that your target customers are likely searching for? Target those keywords and phrases to get those people on your website.
Site entrances using non-branded keywords through your blog pages: Looking at the “Content” > “Site Content” > “All Pages” data on Analytics will break down your traffic by page—allowing you to know how many pageviews each of your blog posts gets, and also understand the average time users spend on the page in addition to the bounce rate. You can also load a secondary dimension on Analytics for your blog post to see what keywords (filtering out your branded keywords) people are searching for when they come across your blog post. That’s a lot more valuable to me than a blog comment that says, “Totes agree with you one hundred percentaaaa on dis! Lexie Bond for prez! Also, where’d you get those shoez?!”
Leads that come from those site entrances: Once you track site entrances using non-branded keywords from your blog posts, you can track the leads and conversions that you get from those entrances. And once again, those leads and conversions are way more valuable for most business owners than a blog comment.
Ultimately, the number of blog comments you get is a poor metric to determine readership and blog success. Blue Corona’s top blog posts have thousands of pageviews (and numerous conversions $$$!) but zero comments. Actually, now that I look, we don’t even have commenting on our blog posts. So yeah.
One of the reasons some businesses choose to turn off blog comments is obvious—spam. Monitoring your comments every day is time consuming—especially when blog comments aren’t that valuable for your website anyway. Another reason? From an SEO standpoint, it’s actually beneficial for other people to comment on your blog. Backlinks, baby. Backlinks. And if the commenter is in your industry, that’s not just a backlink. That’s a RELEVANT backlink. Some businesses go as far as to use automated software to leave blog comments for them.
Do Blog Comments Help Search Engine Rankings?
Blog comments CAN help search engine rankings, but it’s not a numbers game. Google doesn’t look at a blog, see it has 50 comments, and rank it better it better than a blog post that has two comments. Rather, if your readers happen to use certain keywords in their comments, this can help you rank for those keywords. Ultimately, a blog post that is most relevant to what the user is searching for will rank better than one with a lot of comments.
While I don’t think you should focus on getting comments to help your search engine rankings and boost traffic, I do think it’s important to have an easy sharing system in place. Social sharing of your content will not only help you get more traffic, but also seems to play an increasingly important role in rankings. If you haven’t already, consider installing a social sharing plugin on your blog to easily allow your readers to tweet, like, and +1 your content.
But Damnit, I STILL Want More Blog Comments
Depending on what your goals are for your blog, you might still be interested in getting more blog comments (but realistically, if you’re trying to increase Web leads for your services or products, I think you’d rather have your customer call or fill out a contact form rather than leave a blog comment). But if you genuinely want more blog comments, make it easy for your readers to comment. For example, there are plugins available that allow readers to comment from social media accounts. Additionally, and this may surprise you, but turn off the spam filter. You know, the one where you have to translate an impossible-to-read series of letters and numbers to show you’re not a robot? Because if you really want people to comment, you shouldn’t make them jump through blurry-worded hoops to do it. Also allow commenters to be notified of followup comments via email; this encourages discussion.
And finally, make sure to write content that is worth commenting on. Tell your readers something they haven’t heard before. Piss them off even. My guess is that they’ll be more likely to comment if they disagree with you. And as always, if you need help with content marketing for your business, Blue Corona can help you. Hire us today and we’ll handle your blogging for you. And if you mention this blog post, I’ll write one for you for free (this originally said I’ll give you a free blog job, but I changed it because it sounded to close to…umm…nevermind). So contact us today or leave a comment below. Just kidding. You can’t leave a comment below.
About The Author: Lexie serves as Blue Corona's Content Marketing Manager. She's also the author of our soon-to-be famous, and someday to be written white paper, "Horse Hat SEO: Giddy-Up Your Google Rankings."
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