This is a guest post by Eugene Farber of Content Strategy Hub.
The Million Dollar Blog Project is all about creating a blog that produces consistent income for you over time. In other words, it is about building a business.
If you’ve been around the blogosphere for a little while, you’ve probably seen how much emphasis is put on blog comments. Commenting on other people’s blogs is important. Receiving comments on your own blog is important.
Or is it?
While there are definitely benefits to commenting, there is one fundamental flaw with this generalization…
How important, really, are comments to your business goals?
Assuming your blog isn’t just a hobby, but rather you blog for business purposes, blog comments may not be important at all!
You have to identify your goals first.
Let’s clear up a few myths…
1. Lots of Commenting is a Good SEO Tactic
Before talking about the importance of receiving comments from others, lets talk about the act of leaving comments.
I can’t even count how many articles I’ve read pushing the idea of leaving comments to obtain backlinks for an SEO benefit.
Of course, I can’t argue that there is a benefit to this method. But the caveat is that leaving well thought-out responses takes time. And those are really the only kind you should be leaving. Spamming will get you nowhere, and it will get you there fast.
If your blog isn’t just a hobby, but a business, then you probably don’t have time to leave comments just for backlinks. You have a business to run.
2. Lots of Comments Display Social Proof
Some people will argue that a pile of comments on each post displays social proof.
However, most individuals that look at comment count upon arriving to your blog are other bloggers looking to see how many comments you are getting compared to themselves.
Unless you are in the “blogging about blogging” niche that isn’t something you necessarily have to worry about. And if you take a look at the Million Dollar Blog Project participants, there is way more out there than just blogging about blogging.
Just under a year ago Think Traffic posed the question of whether or not comments should even be on blogs.
Plus, look at the likes of Seth Godin, who doesn’t even have comments on his blog. Would you question his social proof?
3. Lots of Comments Display Quality
If you are creating quality content, it only stands to reason that it should be getting heaps of comments. Right?
This isn’t always the case. In fact, a lot of comments isn’t even what you should be aiming for. Social sharing is.
I recently launched my new blog with a 3-part interview series about content strategy. Corbett Barr was even among the participants.
The series didn’t receive too many comments. But if you look at the content, it would be pretty difficult to say there’s no quality there.
What the series did get, however, is hundreds of social shares for each post.
With Google’s new social emphasis, this is exactly what you should be shooting for.
This helped my newly launched site reach PR4 in a little over a month. And this will help in terms of SEO far more than spending hours upon hours on finding blogs to comment on.
4. Lots of Comments Means Lots of Business
Marcus Sheridan recently wrote a post stating that blog comments are not a business model. He hits the nail on the head with this one.
Take a look at your client list if you have one. How many of those clients started off as commenters on your blog?
As always, the “blogging about blogging” blog (talk about alliteration) will always get more comments than other niches. But how many businesses revolve around blogging? Very little.
Sure, your business blog may not always create content that is “comment worthy.” But do you really care if it is driving traffic and conversions?
Posting more often can increase traffic. And if your posts are any good, this should theoretically increase your leads and conversions as well.
But posting more often also often leads to decreased comments on each post because you are quickly moving on to the next one.
So which do you prefer in this case? More traffic and leads, or more comments?
The True Benefit of Comments
I would be lying if I said that blog comments didn’t have a benefit.
But let’s be clear: the biggest business benefit of having the ability to comment on a blog is the opportunity to connect with the author.
That means that the true benefit of blog commenting comes from commenting externally, not drawing comments into your own.
This also means that taking the time to think and connect is more effective than dropping a “that was a great post” line just for the backlink. These connections can slowly build up to be relationships – be it online friendships or business partnerships.
But even then, you can always connect with people on social media or email. Comments are foiled again.
Metrics that Matter
Forget comments. Before putting the first words on the page you need to come up with a good strategy. And the first part of a good strategy is defining your goals.
What is the purpose of the content you are going to create? What are you trying to accomplish?
Are you trying to get more traffic? Are you trying to get more subscribers?
Maybe you really are trying to get more comments. But how are you going to monetize those comments or turn them into potential customers?
Define your goals, write your content, and measure the things that matter. And remember that not drawing in many comments is OK if you’re achieving those goals (even though others may tell you otherwise).