How to Get More Business by Commenting on Blogs

commenting on blogs to build more business
Commenting on blogs is often an effective strategy for promoting a small business. It can boost your credibility, bring in more sales, and increase your revenue. A well-placed, well-written comment gets readers interested in you, and they’ll follow you back to your blog, website or profile page to find out more about you.

Blog commenting attracts attention. And attention is good.

Your commenting helps convey that you’re real, with ideas, thoughts, and personality. That’s appealing, because it creates relationships with other people. And that’s what business is about these days: relationships, not just dollars and cents.

Each person that sees your comment is a potential customer. The more people that become familiar with you and your business, the more likely they are to take that next step and buy from you.

Targeting Your Market

The best blog commenting strategy starts with – you got it – research. You need to target specific blogs that offer the best return on your time investment.

Choose blogs that target the same people that you’re targeting or that have an audience that needs what you offer. For example, if you sell personalized cat collars, find blogs for cat-lover communities. If you offer virtual assistance services, find blogs for online entrepreneurs.

The one good tool for finding and researching blogs is Technorati. Technorati gives you the ability to search through blogs, see recent articles, look at relevant tags, and gauge the overall popularity of a blog.

Tapping the Activity Potential

Make sure that the blogs you target have good-sized readerships – but not huge ones. Many comments on a post may seem attractive, but the reality is that your comment becomes lost in the sea of other people. Likewise, blogs that have very few comments may not attract enough attention to be worth your time.

An established blog with good participation can be just the right size. Something in the middle between no readers and too many readers – say, a volume of 10 to 20 comments - can be just the right size of blog to target.

Time Is On Your Side

Many people think that blog commenting takes a phenomenal amount of time to be effective. It can take time, yes, especially if you’re not a fast reader or writer. If that’s the case, focus on two to three very targeted blogs and invest a half hour a day at the most in your strategy. Or less. Or more.

Your efforts directly determine your returns. Do more and you’ll get more attention and clients. Do less and you’ll be forgotten quickly. On the Internet, out of sight is out of mind, and fast.

The Nitty Gritting of Commenting

Want some fast tips on effective blog commenting? Here you go:

  • Never leave one-liner sentences that don’t add value. “Great post!” is a fast way to make sure people gloss over your comment.
  • Keep your comments on the short side. Long novels tend to become boring and people skip past these monologues to the next comment.
  • Sound positive. People like happiness and inspiring comments. Show your optimism each time you write.
  • Be friendly. Address other commentators directly. Instigate conversation. Ask questions about their work or a comment they left.
  • Disagree – politely and gently. Sometimes, taking the opposite stance with some friendly debate can be a good thing. Avoid disagreeing all the time, though.
  • Don’t push a sale. Focus on building a reputation and a relationship. No one wants a sale shoved in his or her face.
  • Don’t link drop. You have a field for your URL – use that instead of peppering comments with links.
  • Use your name. Some people hide behind cute or witty nicknames or only use their business name to identify themselves. It’s a bad idea and detracts from your business credibility.

Already Have a Blog?

If you have a blog, and you’re ready to commit to its success, then it’s time to become part of the blog community.

Your goal is to establish a firm presence to be easily recognized by others. It doesn’t take long before people remember you and treat you as one of the gang. They may discuss directly and address you personally. You might even strike up a conversation or move on to emailing, which is a step closer to a sale.

You may be missed when you’re not around. People ask, “Hey, where’s Randy today? I haven’t seen him yet.” Or they might say, “I wish Derek were here. I bet he’d know the answer to this.”

People might even start promoting your business in your absence, on other blogs or with network contacts. “Why don’t you ask Jenny of Great Beautiful? I’ve seen her around often… I bet she could help.”

It’s word-of-mouth marketing, the best kind.

How Fast Does it Work?

A common question about blog commenting is how quickly you can make results happen. The answer is immediately—if you do it right. It only takes the right person noticing your comment to click through and contact you based on his or her need and your potential solution.

Of course, commenting doesn’t mean instant sales (thought that could in fact happen). What’s more important is that sales often come once relationships between buyers and sellers have been established.

That’s important to remember: Sales come from relationships. And relationships are what blog commenting is all about. So think smart, comment well, and enjoy the benefits of free marketing for your business.


Reader Comments

May. 6. 2008 6:50 PM

James, you devious little monkey. I was just about to tell an anecdote about how commenting on other people’s blogs made me want to hire THEM, instead of the other way round, but you know all about that already. You were there.

::grumble, grumble:: anecdote thief.

Although my blog is evidently the PERFECT size for people to come around and try to drum up business on, and that is pretty cool.

Bob Younce at the Writing Journey
May. 6. 2008 7:17 PM

Well-said, James. It’s great to hear it coming from the comment king himself, too.

I’ll add this: word-of-mouth relationship marketing is not only particularly apropos for the blogosphere, it is also the best way to build long-term clients.  One lifetime client is worth a dozen one-shot clients.

Dave Navarro
May. 6. 2008 7:23 PM

The comment secrets revealed!  Just kidding - I’ve been using James’ strategy on my blog and my last few posts have double-digit comments.  Come by and see! :-) 

Twittering helps too (one more thing I learned from James ...)

Mason Hipp
May. 6. 2008 8:48 PM

I definitely feel privileged to have James (er…the comment king) here on SmallFuel :-) He’s been an invaluable addition to the blog team.

Dave - I pestered him to reveal his true commenting secrets, but he refused. Something about “taking them to his grave.”

Kyle Claypool / OnYourBusiness
May. 7. 2008 2:07 AM

Hi James,

There’s a lot of really great advice here. One of the best tips I’ve encountered when it comes to targeting your market is creating a “blog radar.” You can use Google’s blog search to find relevant blogs, and subscribe to feeds made up of specific searches like this:

That’s how I came across this blog and several others that I now follow regularly.

Thanks again for the great ideas.

Kyle Claypool / OnYourBusiness

May. 7. 2008 4:47 AM

Very well done.  THANKS!  I am going to make note of this one to use for reference.  I will say one of my challenges it to keep up with so many blogs, and I am learning to allow myself to miss a few postings without guilt.  :-)  My other learning curve has been to know when to say something that gently opposes the author’s view.  I appreciate your comments on it.

James Chartrand - Men with Pens
May. 7. 2008 12:04 PM

Hmm… I knew I should’ve kept this post for my own blog ;)

@ Harmony - Keeping up with other blogs is easy. Use a feed reader like Google Reader, and then CUT EVERYONE OUT that isn’t giving you a good ROI for your time.  Even if you have only 5 blogs in there to read.  Trying to stay up with too many blogs can often be damaging in many ways.

@ Dave - It’s been pretty cool to see many people around the net suddenly start to apply our techniques. And they get results :)

@ Bob - Word of mouth is the best way to go. I agree.

@ Tei - I read minds. :)

How Not to Write
May. 7. 2008 12:14 PM

I just had someone ask me via email why I don’t use my real name on my website (or in comments).  Maybe I’ll out myself this week in some big dramatic post that three people will read.

Thanks, James!

James Chartrand - Men with Pens
May. 7. 2008 12:22 PM

@ How not to Write - You will. Stay tuned at Copyblogger :)

(You should use both your name and your business name.)

Carolyn Bahm
May. 7. 2008 12:59 PM

“Great post!”

I’m a longtime lurker on so many sites. I started trying to comment more when Chris Brogan recently proclaimed Read and Comment Day. I’ve gotten closer to some of my blog buddies now that I’m not just smiling and closing the window after reading their posts. And they’re toodling on over to my blog more too.

But I also need to trim my reading list—275+ blogs in my Bloglines subscription is about 75 too many, even for a fast reader like me. I only comment on 5-10 blogs a day from the list.

Carolyn Bahm
May. 7. 2008 1:00 PM

P.S. What is the “Send us a trackback” link below supposed to do? I got an error message when clicking on it out of curiosity.

Hunter Nuttall
May. 7. 2008 1:07 PM

What do you do when a post already has a lot of thoughtful comments by the time you get there? Do you comment anyway, knowing that most people won’t get to your comment, and even if they do it won’t stand out? Or do you look for easier prey?

James Chartrand - Men with Pens
May. 7. 2008 1:15 PM

@ Hunter - Do you feel that what you have to comment may not be as thoughtful or inspiring as what others wrote? Everyone has something unique to say and offer… find your voice and use it.

Also, watch how the community interacts. If they interact within themselves as a group independent of the blog owner, I’d say you have a good chance. If the community doesn’t seem to be commenting and discussion with each other and always directing their comments to the blog owner or generally, I’d say move on.

Mason Hipp
May. 7. 2008 1:15 PM

@carolyn — I’m glad to hear that commenting as been working well for you, and boy is that a huge reading list : -)

The trackback link is for wordpress or other blog software. It’s actually supposed to be picked up automatically, and is currently not working correctly on this blog.

@Hunter — I generally avoid old and filled up comment threads, if it looks like no one is reading, then it pays to move on. If the conversation is still progressing, however, or if it is something you feel very strongly about, then it might be worth commenting anyhow.

Jamie Grove - How Not to Write
May. 8. 2008 2:25 AM

@James Ok, you win.  I’ve outted myself.

btw, the copyblogger post was doozie too.  Found myself wandering back there to read it again and again all day… though strangely I rarely made it past the fold.

James Chartrand - Men with Pens
May. 8. 2008 10:44 AM

@ Jamie - Nothing like a good outing, I say. Up with coming out!

I know what you mean about Copyblogger. My scroll stopped working and I couldn’t even navigate away for some time. Strange.

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Commenting on blogs and forums is the oldest marketing strategy to drive traffic and publishing your business

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