Guest post from: Patrick O’Keefe
One of the most common tips you will hear, when it comes to growing traffic for your blog, is to comment on other blogs that are similar in topic.
Provided you add something useful within the comments and don’t inject links to your site, this is a good piece of advice. By contributing to that existing community, you are establishing yourself within the community of the blog and of the larger subject arena.
Establishing yourself as someone who knows what they are talking about is a valuable thing and, in the form of traffic from blog comments, it comes when people click your name or however that particular blog has chosen to display what you enter into the link or URL field when you leave a comment. (If the blog doesn’t have a link or URL field, it is not a blog you will be generating traffic from).
But, what a lot of people don’t tell you is that you do not get a signature when posting a blog comment. If you don’t know what a signature is, imagine that I came to your blog and ended every comment with this:
Not too cool, right? And even if it is cool with you and on your particular site, it probably isn’t on other sites and you should never assume so.
I’m always surprised by the people who do this and it includes people I thought would be much more savvy. Let’s break it down like this: if the site doesn’t give you a signature, you don’t get one.
If their comment guidelines don’t say you can have one, if it is not encouraged near their comment box, if there is not a text field for it, if the blog author or owner has not said it is OK – you do not get one.
If you do that on my site, I’ll delete it. A lot of bloggers won’t do that, for fear of ruffling feathers. But, you can bet that they’ll think of you in a spammy way, even if they allowed the comment to remain on their site.
If the site allows signatures and encourages them, knock yourself out. If they have some guidelines for them or there is a general community norm of how they are used (for example, they probably can’t be 50 lines long), follow it completely.
If the blog post you are replying to is about your company – for example, a complaint – you should identify yourself. But, do so in a low key manner. You don’t need a long signature or links to your website (unless they are directly related) because you are the CEO of the company that is being discussed.
You get what the site gives you. Most blogs give you a URL or link field. Use it! Follow any and all guidelines they post! And appreciate that they allow you that!
If you push it, you push the limits of your own credibility.
Patrick O’Keefeis the owner of the iFroggy Network. He has been managing online communities for 10 years and is the author of the book “Managing Online Forums” and the blog ManagingCommunities.com. On Twitter, he’s @iFroggy