How comments are important for interaction


One of the aspects of a blog is that it is interactive. This means readers are able to contribute to your blog if they have something to say. Blogging programmes automatically add an area after posts where readers can add their point of view. The ability to comment is also part of the phenomenon Web2.0, which is about interaction on the web.

So, what is special about blogs and commenting? Ordinary websites don’t have areas to put your point across, unless it’s a form to leave your details or send an email. Therefore what you have written is not automatically showed to you afterward for others to read, something that naturally occurs on a blog (unless the blog’s administrator wants to moderate your comment first, to make sure it isn’t spam).

But why should you comment on blogs? Apart from sharing your opinions, your comment may increase the value of the blog post, making it more interest to other readers. The author may also be inclined to respond, and starting a conversation – all adding to the entertainment factor.

Another thing to note, comments are viewed by the search engine spiders as new material, so the more interaction, the more the blog post goes up the search engines.

Comments can vary in content, as their authors can agree or disagree with the topic of the post. As long as you continue to be polite and forthcoming, and your contribution is relevant and resourceful, any comment is good. Sometimes comments lead onto other blog posts, especially if backed up by links. As spiders thrive on links, there are opportunities for comment authors to leave their details.

How do you induce a comment? Simply ask for one, as sometimes it won’t occur to the reader to leave one otherwise. Positioning a question at the bottom of your post may also encourage a response, as well as controversial subject matter. Those who comment are usually used to interaction on the net, and are likely to be avid social networkers, but anything that stimulates a reader to take action is advantageous.

Why is it good to comment? If you want to find your way in your chosen field, visit as many relevant blogs and leave a comment where you can. Then you will begin to get noticed by other bloggers and blog readers, and commenting will also enable you to link back to your blog or website, thus increasing your visitor rate. If you get a name for yourself by leaving good quality comments, visitors are more likely to visit to read your articles, subscribe to your blog and even leave comments themselves.


How links benefit blogs


Blogs thrive on links. In fact, blogs are full of links, contained mostly in the content of the sidebars, both internal (navigation around the blog) and external (destination exits or entry from referral sites). You can tell which are links on this blog because they are underlined and your cursor changes when you mouse over them.

Think of links as doors or portals for gaining access to elsewhere. You can see this is how search engine spiders travel through, to and from blogs and websites, and humans can too. Because links are interactive, they both allow access and attract activity to and within the blog. The power of links are such that connections with the right kind of high-ranking website or blog can boost your rankings in the search engines, tags (keywords) interact with what is up-to-date within the search engines, categories aid archiving as well as search engine optimisation, and each post’s permalink is used with subscriptions to search engine readers, and RSS feeds to social networking sites, blogs and other resources.

A blog’s links come in many guises: the blog’s domain name, the post’s headline which becomes a permalink, contextual links (keyphrases linked to relevant destinations) within posts, the tags (keywords) and categories (topics) after the post, comments (links to the commenters), the blogroll or list of links to recommended websites, and RSS feeding your new material to a subscribed audience.

  • Your blog’s URL, domain name or web address is a link. People are divided whether keywords should be part of your URL or whether it should just reflect your branding, be rememberable and easy to spell. This is the main form of access to your blog.
  • Each post’s headline automatically becomes a permalink, leading to the post’s individual page and URL. This is where keywords become important for search engine optimisation, as well as using marketing psychology to make the reader click on it and read the post.
  • When using links within your post, creating them as ‘contextual’ is much more effective. Contextual links are when a phrase within the post is highlighted to become a link, and the relevance of the destination is paramount to increase success.
  • After you’ve completed writing your post, carefully select relevant tags (keywords) and categories (topics) to boost your search engine optimisation. If you have a .org blog with the All-in-one-SEO plugin, don’t forget to fill in the extra SEO fields to aid promotion of your post.
  • You should encourage comments to your blog, as they are also considered new material by the search engines as well as the links they generate. And you could increase traffic to your blog by commenting sympathetically and appropriately on other blogs within your niche.
  • The blogroll is a list of links to important, relevant and recommended websites and other resources. If you can arrange a reciprocal link, then that will not only boost your search engine rankings, but increase your audience too.
  • And of course, RSS, or Really Simple Syndication, works totally on links. RSS creates a subscription service to deliver new posts to email in-boxes and search engine readers as soon as they’re published. It also feeds your posts as a permalink to social networking sites, each with the post’s title and link back to your blog.

Keywords and keyphrases: what, why and how?


I accompanied Chantal to the Build a Better Business event organised by The Late Breakfast yesterday, where Chantal was giving a talk about how to incorporate a marketing strategy into a business plan. I decided to visit the other seminars, and was intrigued by one which was called ‘PPC, SEO and the Long Tail’. Usually acronym-ed jargon like this would suggest something high-flying and technical, but actually it consisted mostly of common sense taken from a different point of view.

Keywords and phrases are words which trigger a response from the search engine spiders (mathematical robots that crawl the web looking for new content to index). They are effective if they are tuned into what people type into the search engines at this moment in time, and you can find this out through the Google Adwords Keyword Tool.

Most small keywords or phrases have a very high response, which mean although there may be several thousands of people searching for it, there are also many thousands of websites containing those keywords. To narrow down the competition, you lengthen your keyphrases to include more elements that are relevant to your visitor’s ‘wants’. For example, ‘holiday cottages’ could be increased to ‘holiday cottages near Bath that accept dogs’, and ‘horse riding’ could lengthen to ‘horse riding stables that offer lessons for beginners near Swindon’.

These keyphrases containing many keywords combined together are more likely to trigger a match in search engine requests. It narrows down the field so you’ll find that there are less websites that offer these complete keyphrases. Do people type so much into the search engine status fields? Yes, they probably do, hoping that at least something will bring up a website that will help them.

But what do you do with these keyphrases? Each should be allocated their own webpage, which acts as its specific landing page. These webpages should be carefully optimised for their keyphrase, by including them in the page title, the metatags behind the scenes, the page’s title and within the words on the page. There are also clever ways to use keyphrases effectively and yet still make the page read well; after all, it’s meant to be for humans to understand and appreciate, not just search engine spiders.

These special keyphrase-induced landing pages should be marketed for full acknowledgement from the visitor, provide plenty of relevant information about the keyphrase’s subject, offer incentivised call to actions to encourage a response, and link up to other like-minded pages for further perusal of your website. In other words, there should be a series of pages that won’t be accessible from your homepage, but act as fly-papers to attract the spiders and therefore the searching visitors craving what you have to offer. Make sure you don’t disappoint them…