Why You Should Leave Blog Comments

This was originally just going to be a list post of reasons to leave comments on other people’s blogs (and still will be), yet a couple of incidents has made it more timely. Recently I had a very interesting discussion about internet marketing over at my post about the Third Tribe.

[Sidenote: I encourage you to read that post if you have time, as I received a couple of comments (via email not in the Comments) about how I was unfairly dismissing the Third Tribe and how I should be more understanding. Perhaps I didn’t explain myself clearly or they hadn’t read my article fully. While there have been a lot of posts slamming the Third Tribe, mine was not one of them. I applaud the idea behind it, I just think the communication behind it and the implementation could have been much better – though no doubt that will improve in time and probably already has. The fact I’m mentioning it in the second post in a week proves that is has good traction, and at over 2,000 members at $27 per month (now at $47 per month) I’m sure members will receive plenty of great stuff for their money.]

What was also interesting besides the discussion itself was the issue around the comment system on my blog. I have DISQUS installed and it just so happened that they had issues on the morning of the post. This caused one commentator to get an approved message while I was fast asleep only to come to the site to see it missing and then think it was deleted. And then complain about it.

Engadget

It was all sorted out in the end, but then I saw Engadget, probably the biggest gadget blog on the web, has turned off comments for a while. Some large sites like YouTube and Digg can attract the most atrocious comments you’ve ever seen, the veil of anonymity (or illusion of it) seems to take some people to places I’d rather not go.

However after a long break from regular blog commenting I’ve returned to be a daily commentator and I’m loving it. There are plenty of posts out there to encourage more blog comments, how to use blog commenting for your own benefit, and lots of “rules” about what you should and should not do when leaving comments, but I wanted to look at the reasons for leaving comments on other sites.

  1. It’s fun! Honest, I think I had forgotten just how fun it is to leave a comment and start or join a discussion.
  2. Get to know people. I don’t just mean big bloggers in your niche (though that can happen), but everyone, new and established. In your niche and other niches
  3. Sharing your opinion helps you think through what your opinion is. I’ve often been halfway through a comment and realised I’m no longer actually sure I think that. Putting something down “on paper” has had a cognitive effect that I don’t think would have occurred otherwise.
  4. Get inspiration. Often a discussion brings inspiration for writing posts yourself. Also the fact you’re reading more widely in order to comment more means you’re exposed to more places to get ideas.
  5. Get links back to your site. If you need a straight business reason in addition to the above you can get links back to your site. Most sites have a NoFollow policy for the URLs you leave as your site on comments, this reduced the amount of spam comments out there (though not by much I don’t think), but there are plenty of DoFollow sites out there. Also, even if you don’t get a “backlink”, people who read your comment may come and visit your site anyway, I know I do.

Stop thinking of blog commenting as a chore

I don’t know where the myth came from that the best reason for commenting is to drive traffic to your site, but it’s not for me. #1 and #2 should be enough for people to leave comments, it’s not a painful task that is just another chore that is to be completed each day. At least it shouldn’t be.

Are there any more reasons for people to comment? Why should people take the time out of their day to go and make a comment on your site about something you’ve said? What are the reasons that you go to someone else’s site and make a comment? If it’s just for traffic then I think you’re missing out .

The Third Tribe? Is it Me Or Is This Thing Weird?

I’m in complete mixed minds over the “Third Tribe“. I keep hearing the phrase everywhere and nice, soft-sell links to it, but what actually is it and does it apply to me?

The Third Tribe was born out of a conversation or two with Brian Clark of Copyblogger and Seth Godin, and in turn Copyblogger Senior Editor Sonia Simone posted about two tribes. Taking some info from their website now:

Over the last several years, online marketing has been split into two opposing teams.

Two tribes, if you will.

One tribe is called the Internet Marketers. They use aggressive hype and obnoxious tactics to fool people into believing there really is a “get rich quick” magic bullet.

The other tribe is the Social Media Cool Kids. They reject hype and aggressive sales tactics in favor of relationships, community, and value . . . and yet seem to have taken a vow of poverty along the way.

The Internet Marketers make tons of cash, often by taking advantage of fools. Most Cool Kids make little to no money and don’t seem to understand how business works at all, which might lead some to consider them fools as well.

Obviously, that’s oversimplifying things. Here’s the real point.

The black and white division of online marketing into two tribes is not real. There’s a big (and growing) middle tribe, one that avoids spammy IM approaches while having no problem asking for the sale and making money.

This is the Third Tribe.

I agree with that on principle. I try to have no hype on my sales pages and pose realistic expectations to my clients. I even let them leave sales pages without a “STOP NOW!” last-minute discount and annoying pop-up. How very kind of me. I often refer clients to other people who know more about certain things than I do for no monetary gain.

I despise 80% of internet marketing out there as it aims to trick and deceive people into buying worthless products and services. OK, I made the 80% up, it’s probably 99%. I like the no-hype, actually useful stuff some people produce like Blog Traffic Fisher from Michael Martine, an awesome course for free to solve the traffic problems for your blog; a ridiculously cheap ebook on Guest Posting from Chris Garrett; and random acts of swearing from Johnny B Truant.

So it sounds like I could be Third Tribe as I genuinely believe that is the correct way to do things as it’s defined here. But….

…. I hate labels. I call myself Blog Tech Guy but I do more than that, I do blog consulting, some design work, mastermind training with my blogging guide, and all sorts of none blog tech things.

I’m also not sure about Third Tribe as it’s $27 per month to join.

Wait, that’s right, you have to pay a fee to be a member! I guess that sounds like Third Tribe, offering value but no problem asking for the money, but I don’t really get it. They try to explain on the Join page why it isn’t free – if you have to explain that to me, I kind of think you don’t really believe you should be charging yourself. I can tell you too that $27 isn’t “ridiculously low”, $2.70 is ridiculously low. $27 per month is a lot of money to a lot of my clients (and I would guess bloggers as a whole), and the benefit seems to be an “exclusive” club where you can call yourself a member and speak to other like minded folk.

Of course you’re paying for access to people like Darren Rowse, Brian Clark and Chris Brogan (and many others apparently). You also get live Q&A’s, an interactive forum (nothing worse than a non-interactive forum!), some ebook (I guess) guides and special deals.

Perhaps I’m missing something. Perhaps I’m one of those cool kids who don’t make any money but actually really do. Perhaps I’m the Fourth Tribe. Or Fifth. For $27 per month I’ll let you know, but if you have any thoughts, please help me understand in the comments below.