As part of the Web Wealth Challenge, you were asked to add comments onto fellow Challenge members’ sites, and in return they would comment back on ours. As you get going, this is a source of free traffic and gets you some social activity on your site.
However, it takes a lot of effort to do, with a lot of frustrations along the way, so it’s only natural to ask ‘is it worth it?’
Here’s my thoughts.
The list of Challenge members blogs had 359 blog domain names on them so we could visit each one to comment.
- 138 of those blogs did not allow any comment posting at all.
- 29 of those blogs only allowed a comment if you were logged into their site. Clearly they hadn’t set up the ability to add comments correctly. Many had no idea how to set up WordPress to accept comments, and the default install settings are different depending on host, so this is not their fault.
- Only 192 of the blogs actually allowed for a comment to be added. That is just over 50%
It takes the same amount of time to visit site and try to identify if you can post comments or not, regardless of whether they have comments on or off. This means that almost 50% of our time was wasted visiting sites that we could not comment on.
So I put a nice, relevant comment, onto 192 blogs, over a period of 6 days, taking about 1 hour per day. How many of those bloggers returned the favour and put one on mine? 48. That’s a 25% return on sites that could take comments (13% of all sites visited).
Am I surprised? Not really, and here’s why. All the blogs in the initial list were people who wanted to take part in the Challenge, and had very little barrier to entry. They simply needed to set up a WordPress site and create a single post. Many of them had done just that, and had not done any more a week later.
Many of the comments I added to sites are still ‘awaiting moderation’, which implies that either the blogger doesn’t know what to do, or more likely, they have given up and not visited their blog in a week.
But 48 did comment back on my site, and commented on a range of pages, with relevant and informed comments. I thank each of you for that. I also made the effort to reply to all comments where a reply would be useful, which I know has increased my returning visitors total.
There were 2 comments made that were just pathetic and pointless, but I just deleted these. Remember that you don’t have to accept and show all comments made – that’s why they await your moderation.
So was it worth doing?
Yes and No. The list of blogs to visit was unique in that it was full of startup sites. You would normally only add comments to established sites, which would all have comments turned on. Likewise the current returning comment is from the owner of the site. With the more established sites the comment back would be from one of their visitors, and unlikely to be the blog owner themselves (although they would be likely to reply to us in their comments)
We have built some backlinks by commenting, although this will be hard to quantify until all the sites are indexed and hopefully all the comments are approved and do not sit awaiting moderation. Google Backlink tools will show us how we are doing on this, but it really takes time to come through.
The work did generate some comments back, which will in future develop a display of social engagement and community on your site. However as you might expect, these early comments are all from other, competing blogs, and not from regular visitors that you would want to convert to subscribers.
The discipline of visiting blogs and commenting is one to maintain. Don’t underestimate the power of developing good habits.
It is unlikely that we will do this again in this format. Obviously we will continue to add comments to those sites we added comment to before (I hope you kept a list) and ignore those that have not developed further. But we will also now start targeting other blogs in our marketplace or niche that are more established. Start adding them to your list of sites worth commenting on and then visit them about once a month so they don’t think you are spamming them in any way.
Next year, turning on comments will be part of my Challenge.
Of the 192 that allowed comment posting, only 28 had Comment Luv installed. Comment Luv allows the comment to include a link back to a post of your choice on your site, by default the most recent one. It is not actually needed to make a comment, and although it is nice to have, it really isn’t the norm. If anything it is more likely to encourage other competing blogs to add comments to your site rather than normal visitors that you want to convert into subscribers. I don’t have it on my site and no one has said its missing.
AntiSpam with Akismet
Installing the Akismet plugin block any spam comments and made moderation easy by filtering out the crap. It’s an essential time saver. And it’s free.
Many blogs had Captcha codes on them, that required you to enter a text code from an image or maths sum. These I think just hinder real people from leaving comments, whilst adding little safety from spammers that have tools to defeat them when they comment. If you use Akismet then drop the Captcha codes and make it easier for your visitor.
So in summary, don’t be too disillusioned by the return on your time for the small amount of comments traffic. It is not typical of what you can expect, and has set you up to understand how to make good comments, and how to make it easy for your visitor to add a comment to your site.