(I’m made some significant progress toward my business goal for 2012 and this is one of the techniques that I’ve found helpful.)
There’s a lot written online about how to increase your website traffic. Most of these techniques focus only on increasing the number of visitors. But the truth is that not all website traffic is created equal.
What you really want is traffic that is engaged with your material, traffic that stays on your site and consumes what you have written: you want targeted traffic.
You want people who visit multiple pages and spend an average of 10, 15, or 20 minutes on your site:
I didn’t pay for that traffic. It didn’t come from a search engine or social media.
The majority of my referral traffic (22%) and nearly all of my targeted traffic comes to my site by way of the comments that I’ve left on other blogs.
I know you’ve read a blog (you’re reading one now :-). You may even have left a comment, especially if you know that blog commenting can do great things for your SEO.
However, there’s a difference between just leaving a comment and leaving one that will drive traffic to your site.
How do you turn a regular comment into a source of traffic?
You turn a “regular” comment into a source of traffic by sharing something interesting enough that it inspires people to click and visit your site to see what else you have to say.
This might sound complicated, but it isn’t. There are really only 2 steps:
The first step is to become aware of your audience.
When you leave a comment, it can be easy to think only of the blog post author as your audience. Your audience actually encompasses everyone who will read the article after you comment. If that article gets lots of traffic, that could amount to a large number of people over many days, months, or even years.
Start by asking yourself: “who is the audience for this article?”
It’s not important that you know for sure who the audience is, but that you have a sense of who they are and why they would be reading this article. If there are already comments, read them. They’ll give you some clue as to the nature of the audience being attracted to this article.
The second step is to figure out how to contribute to the discussion and add value.
With the audience in mind, ask yourself, “how can I contribute to the discussion and add value?”
You want to go beyond, “Hey, great article, I learned something” and actually add something to the discussion. It can be as simple as sharing a resource or a story. It doesn’t need to be long or complicated.
In general, comments that inspire clicks do one or more of the following:
- Provide further clarification, or supporting evidence, for a point made in the article.
- Answer questions a reader might have that are not addressed directly in the article.
- Provide additional resources to help other readers.
- Share a story that illustrates the point being made by the author, or
- Disagree with the author, in whole or in part.
Most of the people who read a particular blog post won’t leave a comment: many simply don’t have anything to say, but many more are reluctant to share publicly. When you speak for these other readers, by asking the questions they are asking, or speaking for them in any way, you create a feeling of camaraderie with them that may inspire them to seek out more of what you have to say. After all, you think like they do.
Writing interesting comments might seem complicated, but it is really nothing more than giving yourself permission to share yourself online, without worrying about how others will perceive you: Take a stand, even if it is opposite of the blog author. Say what you feel, even if others might not like it. Share your expertise, even if you “outshine” the author. Above all, be yourself.
You are already spending time online reading what others have to say. Spend just a few more minutes crafting interesting comments and you can turn that time into free targeted traffic.