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Why You MUST Set Limits On Blog Commenting & Building Relationships

Over the past two months, I've entered into what I can only describe as an enforced experiment with blog commenting.

Although I wanted to try and drop blog commenting for a while as part of an experiment at the start of the year, I never did, but entering into May I found myself entering passively into the experiment due to four reasons:

  • I've been working on a new project (plugin development).
  • I've been working on my niche sites.
  • I've been left frustrated marketing to marketers.
  • I've not seen the growth I had hoped for via blog commenting.

So over the last two months, I've left just a handful of blog comments.​ I'm talking under 10 comments left over the past 2 months. Compare that to the two months previous to that, where I left in excess of 200 comments, and it's a notable difference.

So what sort of results did this experiment throw up? What's changed? 

TIME STATISTICS: BLOG COMMENTING

Before I share the results of the experiment, I want to share some information I collected regarding the time I personally spend on blog commenting. If you've ever read one of my income reports, you'll know that I tend to time a lot of things I do online. For instance, in every income report​, I tell you the exact amount of time I've spent in the month creating blog content.

roi

Every time I start​ a new post, or continue editing one I have already started, I start my timer. When I finish, I note it down, and when I come to publish an income report I add all the time up and tell you how long I've spent creating content.

(The image to the left, for example, is how long I have spent on this post up to now).

What I've never done however, is totalled the amount of time I spend off the blog, promoting my own content and commenting on other people's blogs.​ 

But in February, I did do a small piece of data collection to see just how much time I was spending reading content on other blogs and then responding with a comment.

I appreciate this won't be the same for everyone, and I appreciate that I did it with a very small number, but based on reading and commenting on 10 blog posts, it took me an average of 8 minutes and 45 seconds.

8:45 to read and then comment on a single blog post.

And by the way, that is without clicking on any links that may have been in that article, that is without reading any other comments other people left on the article, and that was without sharing the article on social media.

In March, I know I read and commented on 102 articles. So going on this average, I spent approximately 14.5 hours reading content and commenting in March.

And that's when I realized I had to cut back on it. Because I was seeing no tangible return on investment.

And when I say tangible return, I mean earnings directly related to the efforts of the blog.

Not how many comments I got. Not how many shares I got. Not how many new fans I got on Google+.

Earnings.

I can tell you now, the earnings from the blog over the last 2 months where I've not been commenting are pretty much exactly the same compared to the months I'd spent countless hours commenting.

So what's it all about then?

THE PURPOSE OF COMMENTING

Let's cut in and remind ourselves why we go out and comment in the first place.

We comment on other blogs:

  • To build relationships with other bloggers.
  • To help establish authority and credibility within our niche.
  • For links back to our own site.
  • To add insight and value to a post in order to get noticed by other commenters.

While these reasons sound good on paper, in reality, they are probably not as good as you would imagine. Let's take a look at them one by one.

I can't argue with the first point. Relationships are important. I have no issue with building relationships at all. Rather, my issue is with the amount of relationships you build, as you'll read further down the page.

To an extent, point 2 is also ​a good reason we comment on other blogs. When you leave a comment, your image and name is usually visible at the beginning of your comment. However, there have been times when the blogger hasn't even bothered to reply to my comment. Leaving me with the uneasy thought of 'Has anyone actually seen my comment at all?'. So if nobody has read or even seen my comment, then how am I establishing authority or credibility?

QUESTION: When you see a huge number of comments on an article you have just read, do you read all of those comments, or do you do what I do and leave your own comment and bounce?

Point 3, links back to our sites. The majority of comment systems label any links as 'no-follow'. Meaning it has absolutely impact on how Google ranks your site and pages. The point of these links though is more to do with referral traffic. But if your comment is somewhere within 100 other comments, all with links back to the individual commenters site, is your link going to be even seen, let alone clicked? ​

And point 4 - getting noticed by other commenters. ​Same as above really. If you are the 50th person to comment on a post, how likely is it that anyone will read your comment, let alone notice you in that sea of comment loveliness?

RELATIONSHIPS: ROBIN DUNBAR

A question that I've always asked myself is this: Just how many meaningful relationships can one realistically build and then maintain online? ​

Robin Dunbar

And the only answer I could logically come up with is: Not many.​

When I delved further into this, I discovered something called Dunbar's Number. In the 90's, Robin Dunbar did some research and evaluation, and proposed that humans can only comfortably maintain 150 meaningful relationships.

It's bad news for us bloggers in my opinion, because our 'offline' lives have already naturally filled this quota. In fact, if I look at my Facebook friends, I have 123 people recorded as friends. Adding on the sensible friends who refuse to join Facebook, then the number of friends and relationships I have in my life is startlingly close to Dunbar's suggested figure of 150.

His theory also suggests that when the number of relationships we build start to exceed that figure, older relationships we have built with other people decline and eventually drop off.

That point alone is absolutely crucial. And it highlights one very important message I'm trying to put across in this post. ​

When we are on the threshold of the maximum amount of relationships we can cohesively maintain (taking into account our cognitive limitations and other logical constraints such as time)​, building a new relationship essentially means an old one will inevitably drop off and go from a meaningful relationship to a dispersed relationship.

In short then; you're chasing your own tail when you are trying to build relationship after relationship after relationship. There MUST be a limit.

And if you think about it logically, it's right. 

While it's not impossible to build a large number of relationships with other bloggers, it's certainly impossible to maintain them over time to any degree of success.

And looking at the relationships I have built over the past two and a half years, I can say that many relationships have fizzled out, due to the constraints mentioned above. ​

QUESTION: How many relationships have you built up in the past that have inadvertently fizzled out simply because you didn't have the time to maintain the relationship?

REVISITING GOALS​

To make sense of all this, I do think you need to go back and revisit the reasons why you have a blog in the first place, and remind yourself of your goals. Because I believe a lot of people are too hung up about building relationships and blog commenting, and have lost sight of their primary goals.

If your goal is to receive 100's of comments and 100's of shares for every article you write, then I guess cooking out on building relationships and going on commenting benders will help you reach such goals.

But if one of your blogging goals is to make money, then you are one of the people who seriously need to think about some of the points I'm making here today.

Because I've been pondering over this question for quite a while now: Is there a correlation between building relationships, blog commenting and making money?

Personally, I don't think the correlation is steep enough to make it worthwhile for me to be spending 14.5 hours a month blog commenting. Using my biggest source of affiliate income on the blog as an example (Optimizepress review), and using the affiliate dashboard which provides names of people who have purchased through my affiliate link, I went through 12 months worth of names to see if I recognized anyone on those lists whom I have a relationship with or where I have commented on their blog.

There was just one person I recognized. Just ONE.

​And it lends weight to my argument that the people I build relationships with, and the blogs I frequently comment on, are not my target audience.

Looking at the emails I've received about my OptimizePress review, the majority of them are not marketers per se. Signature links in these emails have pointed to financial services, churches and ministries and websites that are out of the marketing scope. 

These people have come from Google. Not through any relationship I have built, and not through blog commenting. ​

To explore this argument further, I went into my analytics dashboard to see where most of my traffic had come from over the last few months for my OptimizePress review.​

google analytics blog commenting

And I found the bulk of my traffic and potential affiliate commissions arrive from search engine queries, backing up my claim above.

Some may point to the referral traffic, but referral traffic takes many different shapes and forms. So to look further into this, I looked back through some of my older comments where I had commented on a blog which was CommentLuv enabled.

The stat below is from a comment I left on a blog​, where my CommentLuv link was a link back to my review.

commentluv blog comments

From that comment, I got absolutely ZERO exposure. I got no backlink juice, because it was a no-follow link as so many of these comments are - so in other words, it was like putting a sign up for my review in the middle of a jungle.

In other words: A complete waste of time.

MANAGING & EVALUATING ROI

The points I'm trying to make with this blog post is that there has to be a limit on the time and energy you put into blog commenting and building relationships.

I see a lot of bloggers these days simply push the idea of building relationships and blog commenting without any thought to limitations or an end goal.

'Build relationships, build relationships, build more relationships' I hear them say.

'Blog comment, blog comment, do more blog commenting' I hear them say.  

Yet, there has to be a cut off point. There HAS to be.​ We can't just keep on building relationships infinitely. We can't just keep blindly commenting on endless amounts of blogs if there is no end result. 

And I strongly believe that you simply MUST have some sort of idea on the return you are getting with building relationships and blog commenting.​ Otherwise you are just doing it blindly without any sort of purpose or direction. Stuck doing the same thing day in, day out, without any sort of end result apart from the odd guest post invitation and mention in a post.

If you do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got

Henry Ford
Ford Motor Company (1863-1947)

A while back, and I can't remember where or who it was, I read an article defending blog commenting and building relationships.

The person was either a freelance writer or had some sort of consultancy business, and they said that blog commenting brought in a lot of business. They went on to say that they were spending ​4-6 hours a DAY posting blog comments. I started writing a comment but ended up deleting it for fear of upsetting them.

I wanted to say that clearly this strategy was not working if they had a spare 4-6 hours a day to leave blog comments. Seriously, if it was working so well, they certainly wouldn't have this sort of time to be commenting - they would be too busy consulting, surely?

And it swings back to that ROI thing again​. If it takes you 100 comments to get a customer who is perhaps paying you $100 for a one off consultation, are you really following the best strategy for acquiring customers, and are you really making the most of your time?

RESULTS FROM 60 DAYS OF REDUCED COMMENTING

Here's the results from the enforced experiment then.​

Simple table below, March and April were months where I left in excess of 200 comments in total. May and June were the months where I hardly did any commenting.​

Month

Visitors

Blog Income

March 2015

2,413

$499.03

April 2015

2,640

$440.68

May 2015

2,318

$470.68

June 2015

2390

$490.37

Clearly then, dropping the whole commenting thing had very little impact on any of the figures, and the drop in visitors I suggest, is down to the reciprocity decreasing. I didn't comment on their posts, so they didn't comment on mine sort of thing.

HOW I USED MY 14.5 HOURS

Very little commenting done in May and June then. So what did I do with the 29 hours I saved over these 2 months?

I went out and did one thing that directly made me money (worked on building up my Amazon Affiliate Sites)​, and one thing that will hopefully make me money in the near future (creating a wordpress plugin).

Below you can see my work over the last 2 month directly impacting my income on my Amazon affiliate sites:

Amazon Income May 2015:

amazon affiliate income may 2015

Amazon Income June 2015:

june amazon income

If I had continued doing what I always did, and spent those 29 hours commenting on other blogs, would I have seen the growth I've seen in my other online businesses?

I don't think I would. Added to that, the fact that income from the blog hasn't been affected, then I wonder why I have spent many a month leaving endless amounts of comments.​

MY CONCLUSION...AND GROWING OLD

Don't get me wrong here. I'm not for one minute saying that you should ditch blog commenting, or stop building or maintaining relationships.

Absolutely not.​

I'm simply saying that you need​ to seriously evaluate your Return On Investment when spending time commenting and building relationships and set some sort of limit, because if you're not achieving your goals using these strategies, then what exactly is the point of putting in time and effort on something that doesn't yield the results that are directly related to your goals?

​When I started getting serious about building relationships and blog commenting just over a year ago now, I did see an increase in visitors, shares and comments. Which was all well and good. And all very 'nice'.

But it did not lead to an increase in earnings.

Which is the first reason I'm moving forward with a reduced emphasis on blog commenting and relationship building.

And the second reason? 

Well, in four months, I turn 33. And I refuse to waste my life away sat behind a computer spending endless amounts of time blog commenting and building relationships for no return on the goals I have set.

Moving forwards, I'm going to concentrate on maintaining the relationships I already have, spending no more than a couple of hours per month ​doing so and commenting on other blogs. I'm also going to spend some of this time I've saved going back and participating on signature link enabled forums, where there's a much higher chance of your comment getting read and noticed.

And I'm going to use the rest of the time I've saved to increase my earnings within other parts of my internet business, and do more of the things I enjoy in life in general.

And it's here where I would usually ask you to share your thoughts in the comments section below. But this time, I'm not.

Because I'd rather you use that time to reflect on some of these points I've made, including evaluating your ROI on commenting and building relationships, and specifically, that very last point I have made.

It's a short life my friends.

  • July 6, 2015
Richard Martin
 

I'm just a normal guy, earning money online, hoping to help you do the same.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 59 comments
Tony.B - July 6, 2015

He Richard,

Great post and I must say that I totally agree with all your comments here.
I realised that peeps we should build relationships with are are clients ..Not really other bloggers persay

There’s rarely any value, usually just peeps blowing smoke up my a*se when commenting!
Tony.B recently posted…What To Post On Your Social ProfilesMy Profile

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    Richard Martin - July 6, 2015

    Agree Tony. I’ve often said that I want people to disagree with a post or something I have written – like you say a lot is smoke blowing.

    Reply
Adeel Sami - July 6, 2015

Hello Richard,

So, that’s the reason I see you less on blogs. And if you don’t know me, I know you because I have seen you on many blogs in past months. 🙂

I am actually all about blog commenting. I am new in blogging and hence require to get myself acquainted in the blogosphere and its working well for me. – Being introduced to many great bloggers and their audiences.

Maybe the later plan but I may cut off my blog commenting numbers to half when I reach to the point to extend the relationship level with whom I already know and have good relationships with.

I see you more! 🙂

To your success!

~ Adeel
Adeel Sami recently posted…My Reasons of Zero to Less ActivityMy Profile

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    Richard Martin - July 6, 2015

    Hi Adeel.

    Interesting. Have you actually checked things like analytics etc to see where you are getting your traffic from? Are they coming as a direct result of blog commenting?

    Reply
Monna Ellithorpe - July 6, 2015

Hi Richard,

Great post. I have often thought of this same thing but I wasn’t earning enough through my blog yet to really test it out like you have done and showed us here.

You do give us a lot to think about in terms of productivity versus commenting.

Thanks for sharing your experiment and results with us.
Monna Ellithorpe recently posted…Join A Community That Is Your One-Stop PlaceMy Profile

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    Richard Martin - July 7, 2015

    Hi Monna.

    Hope I’ve not given you too much to think about, but one thingis for sure; it’s definitely worth looking at the time you spend commenting and seeing if that time would be better spent elsewhere. Not saying blog commenting is a bad thing, no way, but sometimes we can carry on doing the same thing time after time, and only get the same results.

    Thanks for your comments.

    Reply
Don Purdum - July 6, 2015

Hi Richard,

Very interesting article you’ve have here. I would say your conclusions are very normal in my experience, but my experience has been just opposite. The time I’ve invested in blog commenting has been some of the most productive and helpful to my business.

You may have read enough of my philosophy by now to know that I’m very intentional through data.

I do exactly what I ask my clients to do:

1. Learn the tangible values people experience through your business.
2. Discover the problems you solve through each tangible value.
3. Learn who are solving the problems for

This is not easy to do by any stretch and it’s been fun helping my clients make a lot of unknown discoveries about their business!

By putting this all together it has helped me know exactly who to market to, attract and what to write in blog comments that gives value and offers a reason for people to visit my site.

The truth is Richard I’ve earned hundred tens of thousands of dollars that I can trace directly to the relationships I’ve established through blog commenting. In no other space could I have achieved what I’ve done to this point.

It opened doors to blog in some great places that opened even more doors for me that led to massive social validation and therefore sales opportunities.

Every business owner has to decide where to spend their time and where it’s most profitable. No question I’ve had a very different experience than you thus far in blog commenting.

I get your point, but is it possible that you are not targeting the right blogs? Marketers may not be the right niche for you to be talking to or you may not be presenting the problems / needs in a way that is inspiring or compelling to them or their audience?

I don’t know that to be true it’s just a question.

I appreciate your openness Richard and your blunt honesty. It serves you really well. We all ultimately do what we decide is in our best interest and what works for us.

I hope you have an awesome week and thanks again for an interesting perspective!

~ Don Purdum
Don Purdum recently posted…How to Personalize Marketing and Attract New Customers for FreeMy Profile

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    Richard Martin - July 7, 2015

    Thanks for a truly great comment Don, which has made me think particularly about my audience and the blogs I do comment on.

    Yet saying that Don, we both have very different goals. I guess most of your income comes from coaching and consulting (I can’t check as your site appears offline at the time of writing), but I’m sure this is the case. Whereas, this site is monetized 99% through product reviews and affiliate commissions.

    Would it be fair to say then, in terms of monetization and taking into account our different business models, that blog commenting may work out better for you because you are showcasing your talents through blog commenting (and the advice and experience you give for free within those comments), whereas I can’t do the same through my blog commenting?

    Reply
Sherman Smith - July 6, 2015

Hey Richard,

This was a nice write up and I was thinking the same thing a while back. Is there a cut off point when it comes to blogging and building relationships?

I’ve been on both roads of doing the paid and organic marketing aspect and just building relationships, and what I have concluded is that both are great, but marketing is the most important if you want to receive great returns.

With that said you want to have a mixture of both. With that said you want to be able to build customer loyalty while you’re promoting your products.

The thing that really held me back was that I either was spending the majority of my time on paid advertising, or I spent it on just commenting and building relationship.

Although I haven’t made 1000’s of dollars, my goal is to figure out how not only to make 1000’s of dollars but also at the same time keep the same customer base as well as get referrals from them.

Thanks for the share Richard! Have a great rest of the week!
Sherman Smith recently posted… Empower your blog with these 5 must have wordpress pluginsMy Profile

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    Richard Martin - July 7, 2015

    Hi Sherman.

    Thanks a lot. Have you determined if there is a cut off point then? I think there is, I think there has to be. But like I say, I’m not giving up on this altogether, just reducing and retargeting my efforts.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Reply
Mitch Mitchell - July 6, 2015

The interesting thing to begin with is that if you hadn’t commented on Adrienne’s post on blog commenting I’d have never known who you were and thus never visited your blog. So, there’s that.

Now, am I going to immediately buy anything? Probably not, mainly because I don’t know you and I’m not someone who tends to up and buy from folks I’ve never met before unless what they’re marketing is so compelling I’d have to slap myself in the face; luckily, that rarely happens. lol

I’ll have to give you a caveat here; I’ve never measured traffic in terms of the amount of income I may or may not generate. I don’t think I’ve ever made a single dollar by commenting on someone else’s blog, though I have made money because someone came to my blog and liked something they saw. Did they come because of a comment, web search or happenstance? No idea.

What I have done is measured traffic based on the amount of blog commenting I do elsewhere and have found that it works better than guest posting, being interviewed, doing interviews or anything else. That is, as long as those blogs have CommentLuv; for some great reason that seems to work pretty well for me, and has for years.

Maybe some things have changed over the years; I’ve been blogging for 10 years now. It did used to be all about relationships, but back then we weren’t all concerned about making money online. Maybe we missed the bus, or maybe there’s still time for us dinosaurs. Yeah, we can all use extra time on other things… for me, blog commenting is probably the closest thing I have to a hobby, which is pretty sad in one respect but pretty cool in another because of the online relationships I’ve made. Frankly, I’d rather never to give those up.

Yeah, I’m done now. lol
Mitch Mitchell recently posted…Online Marketing, Blogging, Social Media… It’s All About TrafficMy Profile

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    Richard Martin - July 7, 2015

    Hi Mitch.

    Great point you make in the opening, but here’s the other side to it; if Adrienne’s email hadn’t popped up at the time she sent it, and I didn’t go over to hers, read and comment, my comment would have appeared much further down the list. And it’s a point I make in the post, so here is my question to you – do you always read every comment on a post? I certainly don’t, so maybe there is a strategic element to blog commenting that to get more exposure, we need to be in the first handful of people to leave a comment. Just thinking out loud.

    Interesting you say that you feel blog commenting is better than guest posting, interviews etc. I actually found guest posting far more valuable than blog commenting, because it puts one directly in front of another’s audience; rather than needing to be found in a bunch of comments that not everyone reads.

    You mention that blog commenting is a hobby to you, and that’s totally fine – it goes back to our goals then doesn’t it, where each of us has a slightly different goal.

    Thanks for your insights Mitch.

    That’s awesome to hear Mitch. Blogging for over 10 years is some achievement.

    Reply
Andrew M. Warner - July 6, 2015

Hey Richard,

Really good post. I completely get what you’re saying … and although I think commenting is a good way to build relationships, I don’t think it’s right to be spending 4 – 6 hours daily commenting. Something is wrong there.

However, I have to say that through commenting, I managed to build relationships with 3 popular bloggers in the last 3 months through commenting on their site. That being said, I rather spend more time promoting my content than anything else. I do comment on blogs, but I reserve very little time to do so.

Like you said, unless there’s a end goal in mind, it could be very pointless or show no return or promise …and that’s the last thing you want.

Great post, Richard.

– Andrew
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    Richard Martin - July 7, 2015

    Hi Andrew, good to hear from you.

    You got it my friend – END GOALS. If you ask a lot of bloggers why they are commenting and building relationships, they have no idea what the ultimate goal is for them. I’ve had many conversations with blogging friends over the past few weeks, and they are somewhat confused about their end goal.

    One said they wanted more traffic, but when I asked WHY they wanted more traffic, they said it was because they wanted to earn money from their blog. Yet, their blog wasn’t monetized in any way shape or form.

    Thanks for your input.

    Reply
Mary Collings - July 7, 2015

Hi Richard,

Hmmm. A very thought provoking post. Everything that I’ve read lately has advised building relationships which obviously includes commenting.

I must confess that I’m one of those strange people who enjoy commenting. The Interwebz can be a solitary place to work, so I like the contact and the feeling of community.

To be honest, I think I would rather spend the 14 hours commenting, reaching out and just having fun.

I think that you need to be in a comment thread with Jaime Buckley from Wanted Hero dot com. Then you’d get why commenting can be such fun 🙂
Mary Collings recently posted…How Authentic is Your Authenticity?My Profile

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    Richard Martin - July 7, 2015

    Hi Mary.

    I admit, I enjoy commenting in certain situations. The enjoyment stops when things edge towards the whole reciprocity thingy though, which I see a lot of people do. My new direction is to only comment on articles that I’m truly interested in; and not, as I used to (and many people do), just because the blogger commented on my latest post.

    I think it boils down to our goals then, doesn’t it Mary? If that’s your thing, then rock on and have fun, but personally I have become more driven to earn more money online over the past 6 months which I have achieved (even if it hasn’t been on this blog).

    Thanks for your comments.

    Reply
Andrea Hewett - July 7, 2015

Richard,

I think you made some great points in this article about setting limitations to the number and quality of comments you post…it’s akin to tasks in the office; you wouldn’t focus on the menial tasks if you had an important presentation to prepare for. However, I do agree with Don as to the importance of targeting those relationships.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t comment on an article or build a relationship with a person simply because they aren’t in our target niche. I’m simply stating that if you have commented on someone’s blog and they don’t respond, you shouldn’t continue to waste your time trying to build a relationship with them (at least not through blog commenting) as they obviously aren’t looking to build relationships that way…focus on the quality relationships and the websites of your target markets instead.

And where you’ve got the figures to prove that reducing your commenting barely affected your traffic/income, do you think that maybe you have been commenting mostly on the same blogs you typically do and that many of the followers to those blogs have already become a part your traffic prior to these past few months via email list, social media following, etc?

I, for one, see an immediate boost to my numbers (visitors, opt-ins, etc.) when I have taken the time to comment, as opposed to when I just promote my posts on social media. Do I comment 14 hours per month? No. I certainly don’t have the time for that. I would actually love to comment more than I do if I could find the time. I definitely post to blogs that have bloggers that I feel I could build a relationship with because their stuff rocks and they have great personalities (just in case you were wondering I’ve commented on one of your posts before!)

I think it’s easy to feel that you get no ROI from blog commenting because it is time consuming and generally people need 7-10 touches before they buy from you (so they could have found you via commenting but checked you out for awhile before they bought.) But I also wouldn’t discount it for the simple fact that the more people you get to your site, the higher your search engine ranking is. The higher the ranking, the more people that come to your site organically and see your offers. So, while blogging may not DIRECTLY get you money, it definitely helps you get the traffic that does.

While I think it’s so easy to overlook the value of commenting, I plan to share this post because it is well written and there are people who need to consider what and where they should comment. Thank you for sharing, I hope you have an awesome week!

Sincerely,

Andrea

P.S.: While I also feel that 4-6 hours of commenting per day may be excessive, if that person actually makes $1500 to $2500 per month like many consultants I know; it’s definitely worth the time to get that one client (1 x 30 x $1500 = wow!)
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    Richard Martin - July 7, 2015

    Hello Andrea.

    Yes Don made some great points, which I agree with wholeheartedly.

    I’ve commented on many blogs in the past where the blogger doesn’t even respond to the comment on their own site. It’s a major kick in the teeth for me, because I’m not one of those people who leave a one liner. I like to think my comments are well thought out and add to the conversation, so when something like that happens, I guess it’s natural to think that it’s a waste of time.

    You make some great points about traffic etc. And I must say, ROI is extremely hard to measure the effect of blog commenting, and the only metric I have used really is the visitors and income. I agree, that doesn’t give the whole story.

    Of course, like I say in the post, I’m not itching blog commenting altogether, simply reducing it to levels that I’m comfortable with, and possibly look at targetting my comments more effectively as Don has pointed out.

    Thanks for your terrific comment, and I hope you have a great week too.

    Reply
Jane Sheeba - July 7, 2015

Hey Richard,

That’s an awesome post. I can totally relate to what you are saying here.

For one, blog commenting has given my business the initial push it needed – the initial (crucial) relationships I built with people and the exposure I got through commenting on other blogs is something I can never forget.

Without that moment, my business would not have taken off the ground!

At the same time I too realize and find it difficult to keep commenting on new blogs all the time and to keep building relationships. Time is the only constraint. I personally like to appreciate bloggers for their work, share my opinion and well, say hello.

But with the limited amount of time and with the precise business goals I have at hand, I find it nearly impossible to be commenting for more than an hour per day.

At the same time I don’t want to stop commenting altogether. I really want the discussions to be happening and I want my voice to be heard as well.

So I do it at my own preferred pace. I don’t really rush to make the very first comment. And I take my time (about a week) to respond to comments on my own blog posts. This is the best I can do between not having the time to comment and having the desire + strategy to do blog commenting.

It works for me! So yes everything needs to have a limit.

A wonderful post I must say 🙂 Have a great week!

Cheers,
Jane.
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    Richard Martin - July 7, 2015

    Hello Jane.

    When I first started, I didn’t do any commenting or any outreach whatsoever. I quickly learned that I needed to reach out and build relationships, and like you found, it did give that initial push. However, over the last few months, I have been finding that things have stagnated, I have begun to get tired of commenting and the time I have put into it hasn’t yielded results that I wanted.

    I’m not stopping commenting altogether, but I am reducing it. An hour per week, max, and see how that goes, because I did get into a bad mindset where I would sort of panic if I hadn’t done any blog commenting. And that then turned blogging into something I didn’t enjoy so much because I would do a bunch of blog commenting, but then find that time had run out and I had no time to create my own content.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    Reply
Mi Muba - July 7, 2015

Hi Richard

The most impressive point in your whole post is that you proved your every argument with facts, figures and case studies. So it is so difficult to contend with it but it all work in short term when the basic objective is to maintain the monthly income.

If one has to really establish a blog as high earner then all the things that count a lot in offline business equally work in online. Yes, you are right, give more than usual time to any activity of business would obviously affect the other equally important activities.

Thanks a lot for sharing such an analytical report on blog comment with relation to money making.
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    Richard Martin - July 7, 2015

    Hi Mi.

    Thanks. And yes, of course, whenever we direct our efforts at one thing, we always see an increase. And that is where I am focussing my attention more and more these days, I want to make more money online from my website portfolio, and certainly, certain tasks do have a bigger ROI.

    Thanks Mi.

    Reply
Lisa Sicard - July 7, 2015

Hi Richard, I loved this post. Excellent points made. It does make sense that we cannot make over 150 relationships work for us 24/7. I’ve been taking more time offline as I went back to my day job after my snowmobile accident. I found that I have new commenters on my blog vs. the same ones that used to always comment. I believe they found me organically like you found with yours.
One thing – I do try to read all the comments before I write one even though it does take an extra few minutes. It helps me think more about the post,etc.
I need to focus more on generating content and that is hard to do if I am to spend 14 hours commenting away 🙂 I do try to at least share on social media if I don’t have time to comment on posts I really enjoy.
Thanks for sharing your results with us Richard – they are very interesting! Have a great rest of the week.
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    Richard Martin - July 7, 2015

    Hi Lisa.

    Sorry to hear about your accident. Agreed, it’s definitely hard to generate content when going on big commenting sprees. I always find that it is sort of a never ending game, because sometimes I’ll even click links in an article, then i’ll start reading something else and before you know it, I’ve spent 2 hours and only left a couple of comments.

    Thanks for sharing how you do things, have a great week.

    Reply
Mohanraj - July 7, 2015

Really you have made good analysis and now sad for wasting my time on commenting on other blogs. I usually do comments to build relationship with fellow bloggers 🙂
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ikechi - July 7, 2015

Hi Richard

Your post is interesting and you reveal so much to ponder over.

You are right and your fact show this too. However, I think blog commenting has a lot of angles, depends on how you look at it.

I have made comments in blogs where I had no reciprocation but till today I still make comment

I hear people on Social Media say that they have read my blog even when i don’t see their comments.

I think that commenting for the purpose of reciprocation should be reviewed as it puts a lot of pressure on a lot of bloggers.

Commenting should be like Network marketing. Not everyone will accept you immediately but in time some people will follow you as long as you keep in touch.

Richard, I think if you have your hands full, you should prirotize but one mistake I see bloggers making is trying to measure the success of their blog using blog commenting it is difficult to do

There is no accuarte correlation between how much comment you make and the success of a blog. There are other factors which make a successful blog. I do know it takes little no fans to make a blog popular.

Thanks for sharing. Have a swell week.
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    Richard Martin - July 8, 2015

    Hi Ikechi.

    You make some very strong and very valid points my friend. I agree absolutely 100% with your point that trying to measure ROI from blog commenting is very difficult. I’ve used traffic and income as just 2 metrics, but I know there are other factors in play. And some of these are just invisible, or almost impossible to measure. So yes, I do agree on your very good point there Ikechi.

    Thanks for your thoughts and insights, I appreciate them a lot.

    Reply
Mitch Mitchell - July 7, 2015

Actually Richard, when there are comments ahead of mine I will do a quick scan through all of them (like I did yours lol) and, if CommentLuv is available, see if there’s anything that might interest me. Usually with Adrienne’s blog, I’ll wait a few days until the overwhelming majority has responded before I’ll do so, not only so there will be a lot to see (I mean, if someone else has given my POV why bother right?) but to reduce the number of emails I\’m going to get from folks who comment after me. I get all those emails so I see what others are saying afterwards.

I’ve tracked traffic after every guest post I’ve ever written and never gotten any benefits from it, even though those posts usually get lots of comments on them. And I’ve always responded to all comments no matter where they are. It could be because I don’t use guest posting as a strategy for traffic generation; I’ve only done it when asked by a few people here and there over the years (my guest posts are epic, but that tales for another day lol).

Commenting is a hobby; blogging isn’t across the board (I have 5 after all). Although it’s not my career, I take it serious… all aspects of it. In for a dollar… you know the rest. 🙂
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Adrienne - July 7, 2015

Hey Richard,

I read your post yesterday but didn’t have a chance to comment but I have read through almost all the comments on this one to see what everyone else had to say.

First off I have to say that I think I know who that one person is that you saw that sale from. 😉

Anyway, I do have my own input on this topic as you probably can imagine.

I want to start by the number of relationships one person can “comfortably maintain”. Now I will agree that as many friends and followers that we all acquire through our online efforts, actually having a meaningful relationship with tons of them is close to impossible. But just like a lot of the personal relationships I have in my own life, I haven’t spoken to many of them in years. Does that mean if they needed me I wouldn’t drop everything and be there for them? Absolutely not, I’d do it in a heartbeat because of how much they do mean to me but people get busy, they have families, they don’t have the time for their friends like they use to but that doesn’t mean we don’t care about them or will be there for them if they needed us.

I think the same can go for the people you build relationships with online. Just like you’ve gone on to do things and so have I. If you called me or emailed me and needed something I’d be there for you Richard. Just because we aren’t keeping in touch on a regular basis, that takes nothing away from how I personally feel about you. I think a lot is to be said as well for those we have met online, built a solid relationship with but may not keep in touch with regularly. So that’s just my opinion about that.

As per what Don said of course and from what you said, I do believe that it does have a lot to do with what you actually do and how it can benefit you. In my opinion it can help get your name out in front of people who may not have heard about you before, get people interested in what you do, give you the opportunity to meet people you may not have had the opportunity to meet and of course it can bring you clients or customers. Now if you’re just commenting on any old blog in any old niche and as Don likes to remind us all, we need to be in front of our target audience in order to get the type of results that we all want.

I can only speak from my own personal experience and of course from my students and clients who have reported to me their own positive results but it’s helped me become an influencer in the marketplace which in turn has brought me clients. Yes, I do consulting so that is my main business but it also helped with the launch of my course last year that did really well in its first month.

Does it matter how far down the totem pole you are when you comment? I would hope that if your goal is to be noticed by the author of the post then I would say it doesn’t matter. As you’ve mentioned though, not everyone responds to comments which to me is just wrong. Will it get you noticed by other commenters? Well I don’t read them all myself on other blogs but I have skimmed down the list and read a few here and there in no particular order. I do know a few people who read them all. Who has the time, well not me my friend but if you’re trying to catch other bloggers attention then I would specifically comment on their comment which in turn I would hope get their attention.

The bottom line remains though, we each have to do what’s best for us and what our own end goal is. You’re right, don’t waste time on doing things that are not bringing you results. If it’s part of your overall strategy and getting you the much desired attention you want then go for it. If it’s not then learn to reach out to those people in some other way. Whatever the case may be, we all need to do what works best for us.

Great share Richard and as you know, I think the world of you my friend. 😉

~Adrienne
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    Richard Martin - July 8, 2015

    Hi Adrienne.

    Thanks for such a great comment and offering your perspective on this, which I expected given as you are the Queen of Engagement 🙂

    And I really couldn’t believe the timing of our posts – your Monday email popped up just minutes after I had published this post, and I couldn’t believe that we wrote about the same thing but just from slightly different angles!

    So where do I start with my reply lol?

    OK, yes I definitely get what you say about relationships. Just because we are not in touch, doesn’t mean further down the line we are not still there for them. It’s a valid point.

    Commenting position. When I comment, I usually leave a thoughtful and maybe even helpful comment (I like to believe that anyway). My aim though, is to also capture the attention of other readers. So it’s not just the blog owner I’m trying to capture the attention of, but other readers. I do believe that positioning does have an impact on this aim. If I’m way down there as commenter 100 or whatever, I have less chance of being seen by others than if I was right at the top (no data for that, just using logical reasoning). As you say, not many people have the time to read ALL of the comments as well, and you like me, will probably skim read a few and then leave our own comment.

    So for exposure sake, yes I believe that positioning does play a part in blog commenting strategy.

    I guess it is down to an individual, and specifically their online business model. As I said to Don, it does matter what sort of business you are in. For yourself and Don, it’s more consulting. I don’t do any consulting at all. But I can see that if you or Don submitted a great comment to a blog post that specifically talked about an area that you had an expertise in, eyes would be on you, and further to that, those eyes may well translate to eyes on your blog and consulting services. Yet I believe for me personally, leaving a comment probably won’t get eyes on my affiliate reviews, as I believe this is down more to ranking for those reviews rather than commenting.

    And just to make clear Adrienne, I’m absolutely not denouncing the value of blog commenting or building relationships at all, just that people should think more about the time they are putting into it and what they are getting out of it. I still believe in it all, it’s just at this point in my life, I’m reducing it all to a much more manageable (and enjoyable) level, because there were times where it all got too much and I felt overwhelmed and even anxious if I hadn’t been to a certain blog for a while. As well as that, I am a little different in that the blog is not my only online interest. As you know (or maybe don’t), I’ve got an eBook site, a video course site, a course on Udemy, four Amazon affiliate sites, a couple of other sites, a soon to be released plugin and a partridge in a pear tree.

    Probably too much to attend to, but still, my time has to be divided up sensibly and something had to give, and unfortunately that means reduced amounts of allocated time to commenting right now.

    Thanks again Adrienne, you’re a star.

    Reply
Dennis Seymour - July 8, 2015

I LOVE this topic because of all the different input that you will get and sure enough, you got some great ones! 😀

Im beginning to think that you staged this get a conversation like this going haha! Kidding!

Personally, I’d love to be able to have the time to comment more because I want to build the relationships further. I have so little time right now with juggling family time and projects, I couldn’t even find enough time to write, let alone comment so I am just spacing it out in 2 weeks just to be able to catch up with all the content you guys are producing. 🙂

I dont really look at the ROI for commenting (though I should) but it has opened a ton of doors for me that can’t really be put into a spreadsheet. It also opened new connections to people that I wouldn’t really be able to connect with. To top it all off, I get to improve my skills in blogging and communicating because this introvert Asian guy is like the worst communicator in the world… haha.

Again, love the topic man! Love how you broke it down!
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    Richard Martin - July 9, 2015

    Hey Dennis, nice to hear from you.

    Sure it’s a different angle, and maybe it is not right, maybe I’m off the mark in some people’s opinion. But it’s something I have looked at over the last couple of months, and decided to try and reclaim back some of my time – as you say, our lives can get very busy, and it is sometimes hard to juggle things about.

    Worst communicator in the world? Give yourself some credit Dennis, you’re right up there with the best!

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    Reply
David Hartshorne - July 8, 2015

Hi Richard,

I read this post when you published it, but I held off a few days commenting, (1) because you said you didn’t want comments (haha), and (2) because I wanted to see the reaction.

So now I relented, and I’m sparing you a few minutes of my precious time…

I was just thinking back to how I came to find you in the first place…do you know the answer? …do you want to know?
Yes, I saw a comment you had left on another blog – sorry! From there we have gone on to build a meaningful relationship for which I’m truly thankful.

But I do get your point – totally. There has to be a limit on the amount of time commenting. You know how I feel about it because we’ve discussed it previously. I love leaving comments on some posts, especially where I feel I have something more to add to the original post or I have a question I want to ask. That’s what I think a comment system is for. However, I’ve read too many other comments in the past to realise that people are, as you would say, ‘brown nosing’, and that makes me sick.

I’ve been blessed to build some great relationships online over the past year and I guess in some cases its come from commenting in the first place. But its not just via commenting; I’ve connected via social media and email too. Like any business there has to be a place for networking/building relationships, whether its with peers or clients. But it must be proportionate to the rest of the business. You must devote time to building your ‘store’ – its no good inviting people to an empty store is it!? [so said the Smart Income Detective]

So, in conclusion, I have to agree with your case. There are only so many hours in the day and as business owners we must decide where our time is best spent.

Thanks Richard!
– David
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    Richard Martin - July 9, 2015

    I think you hit the nail on the head here David, because some commenters have missed the point I’m making entirely. If they had read the full post, they would know I’m not knocking commenting and relationship building at all; rather, I’m trying to promote a responsible approach to it, plain and simple. Absolutely pointless spending half your time commenting and building relationships if it doesn’t leave you time to create your own content and go out and achieve your own goals.

    I can say the same though, made some great friends, built some great relationships, and I’m truly thankful for them all. But at some point, you just gotta say enough is enough, and sometimes even, you gotta let other people come to you and build relationships with yourself instead of vice versa!

    The word ‘hobby’ has been bandied about down here by quite a few, if commenting is a hobby, if gaining shares is a hobby, then fine, go all out on commenting benders if that’s what makes you happy. But if it’s making money, then I don’t think it’s worth spending countless hours doing such a thing.

    And I could go on, but won’t, because I know we have had countless discussions about this previously.

    Hope day one was of interest to you, and I note our little friend hasn’t got back on his promises either!

    Reply
avinash Patel - July 9, 2015

Hi Richard, People not just visit sites to comment or build relationship they also visit because google suggested them in the search result as one of their interest.

Most of the time posts/articles are helpful and solves their problem, in a return they comment.

Secondly, When i am not busy in office I do visit random sites just to see how others are writing and in return some time i get backlinks 😉

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    Richard Martin - July 9, 2015

    Think you’re missing the point.

    I’m not talking random sites that you visit and drop a comment, I’m taking specific strategy of visiting a site in order to comment to try and gain the attention/build relationship with the blogger and their audience.

    Reply
Avinash Patel - July 9, 2015

Yes, Now I agree with you… as you did not approve my website link, my effort went in vain.. lol 😉

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Avinash Patel - July 9, 2015

Hi Richard,

Just check your plugin it seems second level reply is not working i got below message when i tried to reply you on ourr conversation

“You may have disabled javascript. Please enable javascript before leaving a comment on this site.

Click here to go back

Error Code: nc01”
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Akaahan Terungwa - July 10, 2015

Hi Richard,

Against your wish that I use my time in thinking about what you penned down, instead of leaving a comment, I still insist on commenting especially because I followed you down here from a comment you left on another blog elsewhere 🙂

As you intelligently pointed out, it all bores down to the results you want to see and the one blog commenting is giving or failing to give you – nothing more. Personally, I have received a ton of benefits via this system of promotion that in my own estimation, it’s one not to joke with.

True, Google sends me about 55% of my overall traffic. But, right after this is referral traffic (majorly from blog commenting). Now, unlike you, I have also imagined life without Google (companies come and go and it is not always that an algorithm update favors all) and I am comforted in the reality that it wouldn’t be too bad. Have you thought about this?

Then again, comments and general interaction play a significant role in ranking and SERP …since many of my online buddies always find time to reciprocate a comment, it is only natural that Google will also smile my way 🙂

Finally, it is worthy of note that many organic or direct visitors would hardly take your site serious if it is a ghost land with no comments at all…the general reasoning here is that if a blog is saying something worthwhile, someone should notice, by all means – this is basic human psychology.

These are my opinions – and may not hold true for all. I however respect and acknowledge your decision to read, understand and follow the numbers…this is what truly matters afterall!

Do make the day great!

Always,
Akaahan Terungwa
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Nisha Pandey - July 11, 2015

Hi Richard,

The point quoted from Dunbar is something entirely new for me. I am
amazed and fear that it may be entirely true.

But at a different level, I think the kind of relationship web build
online (through blogging) matters and differs based on the kind of
blogging and our goals. Others focusing on other niche are generating
benefits. Besides, building relationships and driving more traffic has its other benefits.

Have a great weekend!
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    Richard Martin - July 12, 2015

    Hi Nisha

    Yes it definitely relates to our goals, unfortunately for me at this stage I just don’t have the time to comment, comment, comment, instead I’ll be doing just a couple of hours worth of networking a month until at least the end of the year.

    Thanks again.

    Reply
Tiffany Griffin - July 23, 2015

Not every technique works for everyone. I really appreciate your post because it shows the other side of the coin. I’m always reading about how important it is to comment on other blogs. I hear it so much, that I wonder if people are just regurgitating what they heard from someone else.

I’ve had my business for around 4 years, but am fairly new to the blogging scene. I think by being a newbie, commenting and building relationships is something I really need to focus on at this point. Looking at my analytics, I’ve actually received sales directly from some of my comments, so I have received some benefits.

I’m trying to find a healthy balance of building good, quality relationships, as well as focusing my efforts on selling my products and services.
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    Richard Martin - July 26, 2015

    Of course tiffany, you are right. Different techniques and different strategies are suited to different people who have different aims. There’s a lot of regurgitated stuff out there, yes, but this is just my opinion and a little experiment that i thought I would share.

    The key is the balance you talk about – hugely important, I know of some people who spend most of their time commenting on other peoples blogs, yet they only have a handful of posts themselves.

    Thanks for your comments and thoughts.

    Reply
amna - July 28, 2015

Hi Dear,

Nice tips. Its working when you have a lot traffic and daily comments in hundreds.. 🙂

Reply
    Richard Martin - July 28, 2015

    Is it converting to cash and income though?

    Having hundreds of comments on your site doesn’t pay the bills, dear. 🙂

    Reply
Rajkumar - August 1, 2015

Hi,

Well I guess when we start commenting we must do it in a sequence or may be excess commenting sometimes and later reducing the same will results in decreasing traffic.

Some people comment on our blogs only when we do the same.
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Amelia Williams - August 3, 2015

Hi Sir,

These are really great tips. This was a good chance for others to share their experiences. Thank you for supporting us and allowing our minds to grow

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Blessed Okorie - August 12, 2015

Great post.I definately agree with you. I recently started limiting the number of comments on each post on my blog when i noticed that some comments were spam or just to get the link.
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Carol Amato - September 15, 2015

Hey, Richard,

You are a breath of fresh air, my friend! Love your posts and especially this one. Love how you post what you experience and what are thinking about…

Not afraid to go against the grain; we definitely have that in common. lol A little controversy is exciting!

Yep, I’m with ya! I like to have hard limits on the time I spend commenting, and I don’t recip on every single person any more – most, but not all.

I’ve benefited greatly, but have certainly seen some of my time frittered away with absolutely nothing to show for it. No relationship either! LOL I’ve figured out the culprit and have curtailed that practice.

You’re a savvy business person – yep! You are looking at it from a logical perspective which is how we should be viewing our activities. I know you’re a huge proponent of building relationships and this does involve commenting online, so we’re on the same age.

Knowing how to gauge the ROI of the time we spend is a bit of a challenge, but definitely doable.

I monetize with various streams, affiliate marketing, product reviews, coaching membership, services, so I do see a lot of engagement and interest especially with regards to new subscribers. I’ll take a new sub over a $1 any day!

Thanks much for the thought-provoking article. Definitely sharing this out…

✨Ciao Ciao,
Carol Amato
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John - September 19, 2015

I agree you should evaluate that what you are spending your time on is working as you hope.

If you are not learning a great deal on the blogs you are reading and commenting on, I don’t see how it can be a wise use of time. But if you add that to the benefits you mentioned then it can be worthwhile. When I am busy I spend very little time on commenting, but when I have a bit more time I go through blogs I have learned from and read and comment if I have something to add.
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Vinay - December 25, 2015

you confused me. I thought, commenting on others post is great way too create backlinks as well as build relationships to get exposure. But you are making me think about that now.

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Erik C. Johnson - May 19, 2016

Hey Richard! I love your experiment details. Infact, I found your site by looking through images on Google within certain keyword-based niches and then seeing if the blog has a good domain authority before commenting. I check blog domain authority using the MOZ extension on my Chrome browser to check DA fast and also Alexa traffic rankings. Your blog authority was a 24, so I stopped to read your articles. I’m very impressed with your writing, your images (most aren’t showing up for some reason, and your honesty.

I think blog commenting is effective if you comment on high authority sites and you do get backlinks from some of them. My website authority went from 16 to 24 in a couple of months I think because of blog commenting. Thanks again for the awesome, detailed post!
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Andrew Fox - June 6, 2016

Well, Blog commenting is indeed a wonderful strategy for building relationships and increasing ROI..But, from past few months, I am failing in getting comments approve or made live..
So, can you share some reasons or other sites from where i can earn links for my articles and posts..
Thanks,
Andrew
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