Does Leaving Quality Comments Increase Traffic

Written On Day: 195
Kid about to go into the Dryer

Making comments on blogs is claimed to be a great way to increase traffic to your site. Here is how it is suppose to work:

  1. You write a quality comment on a blog post.
  2. Other visitors reading the post notice your comment. They find your comment interesting and click on your URL to find out more about you and your site.

What is a Quality Comment

Writing comments to increase traffic to your website only works if people click on your URL. People will only click on your URL if they are interested in what you have written. I always thought this point obvious. But reading some of the comments on blogs it seams that some people do not understand this fundamental point.

For example, this is a comment left by someone on a blog I frequently visit:

You hit the nail on the head on every point. All of those points are just as important as each other.

This person has no idea what commenting is for. Why did he take the time to leave this comment? Besides the obvious ambiguity of the comment (are the points important or not?), this comment does not provide any value. Who cares that the commentor likes the post. Who cares that commentor thinks all the points are equally (not)important. The only reason anybody might click on the commentor’s URL is to find out if their site is as pointless as the comment.

The commentor read somewhere that to increase traffic to your site you should leave comments on blogs. And like a 4 year kid who climbs into the drying machine because his big brother tells him to, the commentor goes and writes comments on blogs without thinking about why. A commenting zombie with only one thought running round and round his head, “Must make comments, must make comments, must make comments”

What this commentor has failed to understand is that for the comment to have any effect on his blog’s traffic the comment must entice people to click on the URL. It is the whole point of commenting. A comment is a sales pitch. You are selling yourself. You are saying, “Look how smart, interesting, funny I am. Visit my blog for more of the same.”

A quality comment is one in which you make the reader interested enough that they click on your URL. So before clicking the submit comment button ask yourself – why am I climbing into the drying machine.

Longer Comments are Higher Quality Comments

By making a single simple assumption we can test whether quality comments increase traffic to a site. The assumption is that longer comments are higher quality then short comments. Assumptions are usually a bad thing but in this case I think it is a safe assumption because the more text a comment has the better chance there is value in it. Short comments consist mostly of the “Great post, will do on my site.” type – no quality comments. Longer comments have something to say so they tend to be more interesting – quality comments.

Do Commentors of Successful Sites Leave Longer Comments

To determine whether quality comments lead to more traffic to a site I did the following:

  1. Going back 1 years on Problogger’s archived posts, I took the URL’s of the commentors for the month of July 2008.
  2. The retrieved URL’s were run through the website webtraffic24 which estimated the amount of traffic that the URL currently receives.
  3. For each URL the average amount of characters per comment was calculated.

By doing the above I can determine whether there is any correlation between a commentor’s comment size and the success of their site 1 year later. What I expected to find is that successful sites have a higher average comment size then failing sites. In other words, currently successful sites should have on average larger comments (quality comments) then failing sites.

The results:

  Comment Length
Total Average Comment Size: 384
Average Comment Size of Dead Blogs (Less then 200 visitors a day): 363 (table)
Average Comment Size of Successful Blogs (More then 2000 visitors a day): 412 (table)

Commentors of currently successful site had only 13% larger comments then commentors on currently failing sites.

I was a little surprised by the small difference in comment size. I expected the comments of the successful sites to be at least 50% bigger then the failed sites. I really do not know how to explain it. There are two conclusion one can make from the result:

  1. Larger comments are not higher quality comments
  2. Making quality comments does not have any real effect on the success of your site.

My hunch is that number 2 is the real case. I have never had good results by leaving comments. Even when my comment is one of the top 5 comments on a high traffic blog like Problogger, the number of visitors I receive is around 10 – and of course my comments are high quality. 10 visitors does not make a site a success. I guess if you made a comment every single day on 20 high volume site then the numbers become significant. But if you are making that many comments you will be left with little time to work on your own site.

The lesson: If you need to tell the world that you think that a post is great and that you will apply it to your site then go ahead. Nobody cares – but if you feel the need to say it then say it. On the other hand if you spend 45 minutes making a high quality comment that makes people laugh, cry and nod their head in agreement then write it – but do not expect it to make your website a success.

A suggestion for a comment on this post: what percent of your traffic comes from leaving comments?

  1. July 16th, 2009 at 12:56 | #1

    Thought provoking as always Roman. I hadn’t analysed this before, but your post prompted me to do so. So far in July just .36% of my blog traffic came from comments, and in June it was .80%. Going back to March commenting drive just over 8% of my traffic!

    So I think my conclusion is that it remains a valuable tool for new start blogs, but one which diminishes over time.

    Two added factors which your research don’t take into account and the simple SEO benefit of having a link on another site, and the “PR” benefit of being seen on lots of other blogs – I see it as a sort of subliminal advertising.

  2. July 16th, 2009 at 23:13 | #2

    My personal experience (i.e. based upon my personal blog reading habits) is that I only click very rarely at websites by blog commenters (@Mike: your link is an exception from this rule and I have to say that your blog looks quite interesting and I am sure that I will do some return visits).

    The reason may be that usually the content of a blog is so rich that I prefer to browse through the blog posts itself.

  3. July 17th, 2009 at 09:14 | #3

    A perfect example of a long quality comment and the desired effect.
    Mike writes a quality comment forcing Randy to click on URL.

  4. Jake
    February 5th, 2010 at 05:15 | #4

    You hit the nail on the head on every point. All of those points are just as important as each other.

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