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Traffic Driving Tip #2

Drive TrafficIf you’ve been writing some good content and following along with the other tips, you should have seen some traffic trickling in and perhaps even been able to convert a few of those visitors into regular readers.  If not, don’t worry.  Persistence will pay off and they will come.  Now it’s time to help even more people find your blog.

To be successful in the blogosphere, it is imperative that you get out and socialize with other bloggers.  It’s been said a million times, but it cannot be said enough in my opinion.  Too many bloggers, me included when I first started, refuse to comment on their own blogs, let alone other blogs.   I learned over time that posts are a means to the comments in many ways, and that often the most important information in a post is in the comment section.  Some bloggers enjoy upwards of 50 comments on every post, and the information learned there and from exploring the links left by commenter’s usually paints a fuller picture than the post had itself.

Why You Should Answer The Comments On Your Blog

Answering the comments on your blog shows your readers that you appreciate their time and effort.  All bloggers are busy people, whether it’s due to a job or family responsibilities or just marketing their blog, and the fact they took time out of their day to leave a comment on your blog tells you a few things.

First, it is a good sign that your content is resonating with someone.  Building traffic isn’t easy, but the feeling you get when people start commenting on your blog will certainly help you get over the feeling that it’s futile.   These little acts of goodwill have helped more than a handful of bloggers keep going through the early days.

Second, answering comments on your blog helps the discussion move forward.  Blogs are a dialogue, and the only way for them to progress is by the author joining in.  Lastly, joining your readers in your comment area shows your readers that you are not just the moderator, but an actual participant in your community.  It’s a lot more fun when the people you talk to interact back.

Why You Should Comment On Other Blogs

Commenting on other blogs is just as important.  There isn’t an A-lister out there that hasn’t put the time in to participate on other blogs and spread their name organically.  I’ve personally seen some pretty cool relationships built through the comment areas of blogs, oftentimes an A-lister joining forces with a newcomer to create some synergy that leaves the A-lister looking like a good Samaritan and the newcomer with a flood of new traffic.

Leaving comments often has the added benefit of crediting your blog with a backlink, as well.  A large portion of the blogosphere is active in supporting the “Do Follow” movement, a belief that all links, trackbacks and comments should give credit to the bloggers who left them.  Though there can be some SEO leakage from doing so, I believe the karma gained from allowing “Do Follow” far outweighs any loss of so-called Google Juice.

Commenting also allows you to extend your social footprint.  The more places you can get your name and company in front of potential prospects, the better, especially when they are alongside insightful and informative comments.  Your comments are also a good way to extend your personality and create a human face to your small business.

Where You Should Leave Comments

The first place you should leave comments are on the blogs you chose for your blogroll.  The people who read these blogs are either other small business owners like yourself, or people who are interested in the products or services that blog offers.  In either case, they are the kind of people you want to get your name in front of.  It’s also a good way to put yourself on your competition’s radar.  Be sure you have positioned your business and blog in some way to differentiate from them, or your efforts will go wasted.  Best practices are to only leave a link in your comment if it leads to information that will further your point or the discussion.

You should also leave comments on forums and messageboards that pertain to your niche.  For my parenting website, I spend a lot of time around the forums at Minti and About and get good traffic from both sources.  Social media sites like Digg and StumbleUpon are more great places to leave comments.  Search for articles that relate to your industry in some way and comment with some helpful advice about how your company can solve a certain problem.  Feel free to leave a link to a specific page or post on your blog that will further prove the point.

Yet another place to leave comments are on blogs that may offer joint venture or referral opportunities.  If you have a hiking tour company, you may want to spend some time on hiking equipment, travel agency, photography or bed and breakfast blogs.  Depending on your business, there are probably dozens of vertical opportunities to network your blog in the blogosphere.  Keep your mind open to the opportunities and they will appear.