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Inquiring minds want to know, as does a fellow blogger.

In a recent comment, Shilpan asked me a question. This post is written in hopes of getting him an answer.

Today’s Lesson

In my post titled “The Biggest Mistake I Made In Blogging”, I mentioned that my biggest mistake was not commenting on other blogs sooner (than I did).

To elaborate, commenting helped to make my blog and its community grow, but more than that, blogging became more enjoyable for me when I got involved in commenting on other blogs. It was in that interaction with other bloggers that I found my “joy of blogging”.

When Shilpan commented he worte:

Your points are valid. However, Tina Su is a big success in blogging. She has over 5000 subscribers in just 6 months of blogging. She seldom comments on any blogs. I’ve seen her commenting few times on Zenhabits. She is big on social media. So, my question is (pointer for your next blog topic) Is social media more effective than leaving comments on other blogs? I’d love to know what others think.

Based on Shilpan’s research, Tina Su’s blog grew extremely fast. Although quick growth is not the norm, whatever she did got her recognized in blogosphere, and she made a name for herself.

As bloggers, we do need to ask ourselves, “Are we looking for fast growth?’ or “Are we looking to build a community of like minded people?”.

Some of us may answer, “I want both”.

With both comes responsibility. With both comes a time issue.

In order to participate in our blog’s community, time must be devoted to answering our comments. Time must also be devoted to visiting other blogs, reading, commenting and becoming a part of fellow bloggers communities.

If we frequent social media/networking sites, that is a time consuming process, as well.

My thought on this is, it depends what we want as a blogger.

Today’s Assignment

Do you want to participate in a community of like minded bloggers, or do you want quick fame (and possibly fortune)?

Do you want your blog to be a “go to” place for a niche topic(s), and let your comment section take on a life of it’s own while you’re networking elsewhere?

Do you want to be a blogger who is only active on social media/networking sites?

Where is your time best spent? What gets better results? Commenting, or participating in social media sites?

Or, do you think you can have it all? Do it all?


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Look Who's Talking
  1. Social media sites are important. So is commenting.

    Thing is, you do what helps your blog. Commenting is part of the equation. If you’re a rarity like Tina Su is, in how rapidly her blog grew – then commenting isn’t as vital for your success. But, most (vast majority) of bloggers can really benefit from it.

    Commenting also gives you the right kind of traffic. You can get zillions of hits from social media and ultimately not even score one subscriber. But, you can leave a few comments over time on another blog, and who knows, score a couple. Commenting on other blogs is a quality over quantity kind of thing.

    So, if your blog is exploding in popularity, then you could make an argument that commenting is not necessary for its growth. But for most – it is very helpful and beneficial to the life of your blog.

    Finally, I don’t comment on blogs I don’t enjoy; I don’t care what the benefit are. I will not invest time reading a blog, unless I find it gives me value of some sort.

    Bamboo Forests last blog post..β€œWocka Wocka Wocka”

  2. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Bamboo,

    I do agree blogs are so varied that what helps one may not help the next.

    And yes, comments do bring in quality traffic (traffic that subscribes and stay), whereas social media hits are often only that – traffic spikes.

    I take that as a compliment, knowing you only comment on blogs you enjoy. It’s always great to see you here. πŸ™‚

  3. Linda AbbitNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    As a new blogger, I already have reaped the rewards of selectively commenting on blogs such as yours. Connections with other bloggers, greater knowledge and encouragement to name just a few pluses.

    I haven’t had a chance yet to comment within my niche, but plan to do so. I think it will definitely be worthwhile.

    I’ve enjoyed Facebook for personal use but haven’t used it in my niche and not sure that I will yet.

    Twitter has been a great way to reach people I normally wouldn’t have even dreamed of contacting (i.e. Problogger’s Darren Rowse and Jonathan Fields of Awake at the Wheel) with quick questions re blogging, design, tools, etc. They have always taken the time to answer me via Twitter! Simply amazing! I think Twitter is here to stay. btw, you can follow me on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/LindaAbbit

    Stumble Upon has also been recommended as a social networking site and I’m just starting to explore that one again.

    From my short experience in the blogosphere, my instinct is that commenting will be the best road for me to take personally. I enjoy doing it, and overall think the connections made are more personal and genuine.

  4. Scott McIntyreNo Gravatar says:

    I’m a reader of blogs who, as yet, doesn’t have a blog of my own. I am also starting to use social media simply by having learned of it through blogs.

    I speak, therefore, with that somewhat unusual perspective.

    Like Bamboo Forest, I participate in the community of blogs I enjoy. Incidentally, these also happen to be blogs I have become aware of through social media.

    Personally, I like commenting as it makes me feel part of the community. I do appreciate it when the blogger responds to the comment I make.

    However, when I comment, it does not have any impact whatsoever on my blog (side-effects of traffic, comments)- because I don’t have one.

    Maki, in DoshDosh, wrote a very insightful post on the role of commenting which is, I think, relevant to this debate:

    http://www.doshdosh.com/rethinking-blog-comments/

    I also, equally, like to come across interesting blogs while using social media and love the way I can access fantastic ones through my network within these channels.

    Sometimes, I’ll go in to the comment section to leave my own response when I believe others might be interested in what I have to say.

    At other times, I’d prefer to rate and recommend a blog that I think others will find useful- and on which they will comment.

    Some might reply: “What does he know? He doesn’t blog!”.

    I respect this view but I would challenge it. Non-blogging readers should also be seen as valuable contributors and important blog community members too.

    I guess the bottom line is that you do what works for your own blog. Only the individual blogger truly knows the aims of their own blog and any actions taken designed to achieve this are acceptable.

    I don’t think that any one of the methods is better than the other- commenting or social media.

    The great skill would be to balance each of them but, with time constraints, there will always have to be compromise.

  5. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Linda Abbit,

    As you know, it was through the comment you left on my blog, that I found you. Had that not happened, I doubt I would have found you or your blog via a search engine as elder care is not a topic/niche I would be searching for.

    However, with that being said, what you blog about does tug at my heart strings as I love our older generation and feel they are often forgotten. For that reason, I enjoy your writings and the value you bring to that niche.

    Re: StumbleUpon, I’ve been active on that, but due to time constraints, it’s more hit and miss these days. Although I know Twitter is very powerful, that too is something that must wait.

    Hi Scott,

    Welcome to the BWAB community.

    It’s great to get a viewpoint from someone who isn’t a blogger (yet), someone who reads and comments on blogs they find via social media sources.

    I do believe you’re a rare breed. In my 15 months of blogging, you’re only the second non blogger (that I know) who is/was active in blogging communities (via commenting). Hunter is the first one I met (he’ll probably be showing up here later), and he went on to create a very successful blog of his own.

    In many aspects being active in social media sites can work to your advantage when, and if, the day comes you decide to create your own blog. Via name recognition, you probably already have a large following.

    You’re right about balance. Based on what’s important to each blogger will determine where they spend most of their time.

    I hope to see more of you here at BWAB. If the day comes when you start your own blog, please let me know so I can come and visit you (something tells me you have a lot to contribute to blogosphere, so hopefully we won’t have to wait too long). πŸ™‚

    Thank you for sharing the link to DoshDosh’s post. It sounds like it will be an interesting read.

  6. NaturalNo Gravatar says:

    i guess a little bit of both, but i probably prefer the ‘small’ community. i read tina’s blog and have commented on her blog but i wouldn’t be able to handle her traffic – i could not handle 5000 subscribers, like you said – greater responsibility. i guess you can do a little sampling at first and then see which one works for you.

  7. RobinNo Gravatar says:

    Commenting is King for me – though maybe I don’t know how to use the social media very well!

    The other relevant point for me (and my topic) is that I don’t actually want to grow my audience too fast – it would be too nerve-wracking. It’s important for me to grow the blog at a rate I feel comfortable withβ€”I intend for my blog to be around for some time and I can afford to nurture it and watch it grow organically. My subscriber count goes up and down (maybe I’ll understand feedburner one day), but it has been up as high as 25, which I think is AMAZING!

    Robins last blog post..Gratitude and Miracles

  8. Dr.CasonNo Gravatar says:

    I feel very rushed and not good at all when I spend all my time in the social networking sites. I don’t feel authentic and connected. I much prefer to comment and build a community slowly. It does take effort but I figure that I’m in for the long haul.

    I inherently like to write and find that blogging holds me accountable. I have a place to go to write, post photos and interact. I’m still very grateful and surprised when people come visit me! Whenever I wonder why I’m doing it I know that I am creating a legacy. Something that I will look back and and think wow- that’s my life. It’s why I strive to only ever post what I feel speaks to me. I’m not filling space just to fill it.

    I really hope to build a community. I’m not as interested in chasing after Diggs- Though I’d love it if I was dug or Stumbled. If that makes sense.

    Dr.Casons last blog post..A Smattering of 4th of July Photos

  9. Al at 7PNo Gravatar says:

    I think when it comes to commenting, I’m the stereotypical wallflower. I can really enjoy reading the article as well as the lively discussion in the comment section, but I feel it’s not useful for me to just add a comment like “I agree.” I’m a little hypocritical though, because if someone left a one-liner like that on my site, I do enjoy it.

    I can’t imagine using comments to grow a blog on the scale of Tina Su’s since commenting on 5000 blogs is not feasible. Seems like commenting is simply a great way to enhance one’s time in the blogosphere, which ultimately is at least one of the goal for most people.

    Al at 7Ps last blog post..If Life Was Predictable, It Would Be Boring

  10. Also new to blogging, so haven’t explored all the different options yet (The Urbane Lion is the more technical one in the family and is doing all that kind of research). I do want my blog audience to grow, but I have what I think are realistic 1 year, 5 year and 10 year plans for it. Since my posts are humourous antecdotal stories, I want to generate conversation, which I am definitely going to respond to. As well, I stop visiting a site if I enjoyed it enough to write a comment but the site owner consistently does not comment back.

    Urban Panthers last blog post..Over Exposure

  11. Barbara ~ Thanks for posting my question for a meaningful debate as I consider you better than Larry King when it comes to asking questions. πŸ™‚

    I feel that balance is needed. I personally am a big supporter of comments as comments represent a live interaction. Only problem is that once you get to certain level, it becomes increasingly difficult to comment on every blog. Many a times, I have felt guilty for not having time or energy to comment on the blogs I like simply for the fact that I leave a thoughtful comment. I don’t want to insult the writer with comment such as – Great post. I enjoyed it etc…

    Social media is good but treacherous mountain to climb. I’ve had some very popular posts on digg/SU lately. Traffic has been amazing but as you’ve mentioned, I’m not sure about the benefits in terms of the subscription growth.

    Shilpan

    Shilpan | successsoul.coms last blog post..Bruce Lee’s 6 Ways to Develop a Kick-Ass Attitude

  12. MarelisaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara: I did start commenting on other blogs as a way to get people to come over and comment on mine, but now I feel like I know the people whose blogs I comment on regularly, so I feel more like I comment to interact with them instead of as a way to get traffic. As for social media, almost everything in life is a numbers game; the more eyeballs that land on your page, the more likely you are to get people who’ll subscribe and stick around. Honestly, I want as many subscribers as possible!

    Marelisas last blog post..Creating Closet Bliss

  13. Hello Barbara. Interesting questions. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer for anyone. The way to answer these kinds of questions should be based on what you enjoy doing. What’s fun for you?

    If it’s something you enjoy and you put a little time into, you’ll do well at it.

    With that said, let me see if I can answer the questions asked in my personal way:

    Do you want to participate in a community of like minded bloggers, or do you want quick fame (and possibly fortune)?

    Community, yes. Fame, no. Fortune – not necessarily fortune as much as the benefits fortune can give me (i.e. travel, nice home, live anywhere, not worry about gas prices, etc.)

    Do you want your blog to be a β€œgo to” place for a niche topic(s), and let your comment section take on a life of it’s own while you’re networking elsewhere?

    Hmmm….I suppose. I’d like a community.

    Do you want to be a blogger who is only active on social media/networking sites?

    Only? – no. I like reading and commenting on blogs. I really do feel bad though when someone might comment on my blog but I don’t necessarily read or comment on theirs. But like others said, you got to read and comment on blogs you actually enjoy the topics of.

    Where is your time best spent? What gets better results? Commenting, or participating in social media sites?

    Traffic-wise, social media. Commentators-wise, commenting on other blogs. Which is better? I don’t think there’s a better choice, just gotta do what you enjoy and that is the key to your success.

    Or, do you think you can have it all? Do it all?

    Nope. Not even. I wish, but no.

    John Hoff – eVentureBizs last blog post..Adding The “Cool Factor” To Your Website

  14. Hi Barbara, sorry I’m late to the party today. πŸ™‚

    I think commenting is extremely effective at getting the attention of the person whose blog you’re commenting on. When I think about the people who regularly comment on my blog, most of them are people whose blog I commented on first, and I usually continue to be a regular commenter.

    But commenting to get the attention of the other people reading that blog, well, that’s a slow process. And if you have enough traffic that you get tons of Diggs and stumbles on every post, then commenting is probably not an effective use of your time for building traffic (though it might be very fun to do anyway).

    Tina says she doesn’t read many blogs, let alone comment on them, but I’m not sure if that was always the case. She does respond to every email though, and is good at building community. I think when people stumble onto her site, maybe they pick up on that and become likely to subscribe.

    As for me, I’m currently commenting a lot while trying to get social media traffic as well. At this point, I don’t see a need to do just one or the other.

    Hunter Nuttalls last blog post..2007/2008 Human Development Index Rankings

  15. LindaNo Gravatar says:

    My two cents is that you need to do both… commenting and building traffic. If you do not comment, then you fame will be fleeting. I believe you should take the time to read as many blogs as possible cause you will learn a tremendous amount of information that is not in the media. Blogosphere has a tremendous amount of talent, advice and a whole lot of caring.
    Take the time to stop, comment and learn.

  16. chrisNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara,

    While I get a lot of visitors when someone “stumbles” or “diggs” my posts, it’s the commenting that really grew my readership. Based on my traffic, I get regular visitors from blogs that I’m a regular commentor. Plus, commenting on other blogs is more satisfying and rewarding.

    I do have to acknowledge that in order for your blog to really explode you need social newtworking as well.

    The bottom line however is that if you don’t have excellent posts, people will not comment and they will certainly not “digg” or “stumble” your article.

    chriss last blog post..What Would You Sacrifice?

  17. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Being relatively new to the blogosphere, I have not checked out the social networking sites yet. My interest in blogging is to share with like-minded people, to develope a niche, and to enjoy writing, period.

    I have noticed an increase in traffic to my blog after making comments on other blogs. However, I am only commenting on blogs that are of interest to me, not to increase traffic to my site. Although I have to admit, I’ve become addicted to checking those stats lately!

    I would like to generate a source of income down the road, but still only believe I would be motivated to connect with like-minded people.

    I appreciate the community you have developed here Barbara; lots of great contributors. Hello everyone! πŸ™‚

    Davinas last blog post..Magic Happens

  18. SarahNo Gravatar says:

    I’ve tried them all.

    Commenting works best for me.

    Next, participation in forums.

    Funny enough, I have hundreds of Facebook friends, at least 80% of whom know me in real life. But I don’t get very much traffic from there even when I try.

    But for some reason, Twitter gets me lots of traffic even though I don’t know most of the ppl following me.

    So I have an additional question – how do you decide which blogs to explore/start commenting on, and how often do you comment once you find a new blog? There are lots of writers I love reading but I tend to get overwhelmed keeping up with that many people.

    Sarahs last blog post..The Ironies of the Whole Foods Diet.

  19. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Natural,

    Yes, smaller communities feel more intimate, whereas blogs that have a lot of subscribers and commenters lose that. A meaningful comment can easily get “lost” amongst dozens or hundreds of others.

    Hi Robin,

    Like you, I don’t know all there is to social media. As with blogging, it appears that too takes time to learn.

    I hear you when you say you want to grow your blog at a pace you’re comfortable with. I’m the same way. Being a part time blogger, I have days when work/life takes me elsewhere. If I opened my blog one day and found hundreds of comments and knew I couldn’t respond to them all, I would feel like I was letting my readers down.

    Hi Dr. Cason,

    Yes, getting Dugg or Stumbled is always good for the ego (and stats). It’s nice to know someone felt our content was worth a review.

    And yes, blogging does hold us accountable to our writing goals as well as to our readers.

    Hi Al,

    Welcome to the BWAB community!

    Although Tina Su has 5000 subscribers, her comment count doesn’t reflect that, but that’s typical of anyone who has a lot of subscribers, e.g. Darren at Problogger; he has over 40,000, but on a normal post he has less than 100 comments.

    Seems like I read that when Tina Su started her blog, she set very high goals for blog. By doing so, she probably knew social media was the way to go.

    Like you said, there’s no way a person could grow a blog that fast by commenting alone.

    Hi Urban Panther,

    You bring up a good point. On larger blogs often the author does not show up, or if they do, it’s only to answer a specific question. If we start feeling our comments aren’t being acknowledged, often we do stop reading.

    Hi Shilpan,

    Better than Larry King? Oh, you’re good for the ego. πŸ™‚

    From reading the comments, in answer to your original question, the consensus here is that the BWAB readers prefer commenting over social media.

    It may mean our blogs grow slower, but quality wins over quantity.

    And yes, balance is a key.

    Hi Marelisa,

    Unfortunately, blogging is often about “numbers”, however most of the small blogs that I frequent (with low numbers) are a more enjoyable read than the big ones.

    Hi John,

    Thanks for taking the time to answer all of the questions and sharing your viewpoint.

    I do agree, we can’t do it all, although some try.

    And with regard to commenting on some blog topics. Like you, I often don’t have an opinion on the subject, so even if I tried to leave a comment, it would probably sound silly.

    Hi Hunter,

    The party here at BWAB never ends. πŸ˜†

    I think with Tina’s blog, it’s the subject matter and her writing style that attracts so many readers. We all want to simplify our lives and have more time for fun, and her tips are great. With her responding to all of her emails, she’s building community behind the scenes (and on social media sites), and that’s what’s working for her.

    Steve Pavlina is the same way, although I don’t think he’s even using social media. He built his blog, got a following, closed his comment section, and uses his forums to show his readers he’s listening.

    Hi Linda,

    Isn’t that the truth. Blogosphere has SO much information, and often it’s news breaking. With standard media (TV, radio and newsprint) often having time and space issues, they can’t possibly address all of the issues/subjects. Blogs are a fabulous way to expand our knowledge base, and make cyber friends.

    Hi Chris,

    You have hit the nail on the head. People will not read, comment, Stumble or Digg if your content is not worthy of it.

    It’s all about our content, isn’t it?

    Hi Davina,

    When you do check out the social networking sites, know it will be time consuming, and often addicting, just as stat checking can be.

    Building a community of like minded people is very rewarding. For me, I am truly grateful for each and every reader and commenter of BWAB. It didn’t happen overnight and for others who want growth, I think they will find it takes determination, perseverance and patience.

  20. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Sara with an “h”,

    Funny you should mention that about your Facebook friends not frequenting your blog. Like you, it’s rare a “real life” friend will show up on my blogs, and if they do, it’s on my other one.

    For me, I follow all of my “New Blog of The Week” (NBOTW) blogs. With them being newer bloggers, I want to continue to provide them encouragement. I also follow most of my commenters blogs, except for the ones who write on subjects I don’t understand (like techy stuff or if their blogs are making money types with little relevant content).

    Some blogs I will comment each time they post something new, but if it’s a subject I don’t feel I can add value to, I won’t.

    Although I follow a few big name blogs, I rarely comment on those. I scan the topics and decide if I want to read the post or not.

    Having the blogs I read organized in my Google reader helps with that overwhelmed feeling. See: Free -N-Easy Friday Finds

  21. I must confess to feeling uninspired and out of the loop when it comes to social media. I don’t really “get” twitter and I feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of options!

    But I was a late-comer to the blog scene, so maybe I just take time to warm up to new things.

    As for commenting, it has become automatic for me to read and comment on certain blogs, and I think that’s how I’ve found almost all of my readers.

    I have noticed that some of the better-known bloggers never respond to the comments on their blogs, even if there are just a handful. What do you make of that?

    Ann at One Bag Nations last blog post..Is Decluttering the Same as Simplifying?

  22. Cath LawsonNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – The only social media I’ve ever participated in is Stumbleupon. It’s a pretty good way to get to meet people but a lot of the visitors you get through it don’t hang round for long. Some of them do subscribe, but you can’t guarantee that subscribers are going to be regular readers.

    I find the traffic from StumbleUpon to be a fit false. Apparently, your blog is supposed to show up on StumbleUpon if you were the first, or one of the first to discover a really popular post. And what I did notice was that a popular blogger could write the biggest load of crap but it would get heaps of votes. I’m guessing that some of the voters were hoping that if they voted a post which became popular, their own blog would show up on StumbleUpon more.

    As for commenting – commenting on blogs like this one is more rewarding because you get to know others who have the same interests.

    But on some of the high traffic blogs that get lots of comments – it is obvious that some of the commenters aren’t really interested and don’t have a lot to say. Many are hoping that others will click through to their site. That is good when they’ve said something interesting, as it’s a good way to find new sites. But it’s not when they’re just saying any old thing for the sake of it, like – “great post”.

  23. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Ann,

    Re: bloggers who don’t answer comments, even though there are only a few. My guess is that they choose not to be involved in their comment section and are utilizing their time elsewhere.

    Also, some bloggers only show up when a commenter has asked a pertinent question.

    Hi Catherine,

    I do agree, subscriber numbers do not equate to people actually reading your blog.

    I also agree that the commenters on big name blogs are often looking for click throughs. When I have been searching for my NBOTWs I have clicked through on some of those blogs and they don’t even have content. They are purely marketing blogs (filled with ads).

  24. SarahNo Gravatar says:

    Funny thing – one of my nicknames in college was Sara with an “H”. πŸ™‚

    Sarahs last blog post..The Ironies of the Whole Foods Diet.

  25. I was on vacation for several weeks without consistent internet access. I posted the same number of articles but just twice a week instead of spaced out. I didn’t have any time for commenting blogs or social networking, what I learned was an important lesson. My page views and statistics all stayed the same. I realized I was spending way too much time socializing and not enough writing. Writing is my passion which is why I turned towards blogging. I am trying to interact with a hipper, younger kind of crowd and thought this would be a better medium for my messages than writing a book or magazine.

    The problem is that I LOVE TO SOCIALIZE! I also love to read. Not having access to socialnetworking was devastating for a few days, but I wrote more articles, and I think better quality articles as a result.

    I think anyone that is writing on the internet needs to stay true to their passion. Most people that blog do it because they love to write. If you aren’t spending time writing then you aren’t doing what you love.

    I have given up on writing for SEO. I am now back to writing about what my heart desires and answering readers questions.

    I think that this is a tough question though. The two basically feed in to each other. Without socialnetorking and sites like Blog Catalog there is no way I would have found a community of like minded people. Now that I have been in this for a few months I am realizing that I don’t need to spend as much time looking for these people, I need to spend more time working with them…promoting each other, guest posting, and what not.

  26. My opinion is that Tina got her success because of the energy that she exudes. As we all know, her record is not quite the norm. She does not have the time to be commenting on every blog or digging for every one of her voters. I’d say that here is one person who has successfully attracted more abundance (in terms of subscribers) into her life, through her intent. There are energy forces at work, even over the web!

  27. Tina SuNo Gravatar says:

    Wow, what a great discussion! Thank you Evelyn for forwarding this to me.

    Seems like I read that when Tina Su started her blog, she set very high goals for blog. By doing so, she probably knew social media was the way to go.

    When I started, I had no idea which way to go. I just had a goal and a vision. My goal wasn’t that high, it was very achievable. My goal was to have 100 subscribers within the next three months. Once that was reached, I continued to set reasonable goals to keep momentum going. I still have goals, last month, the goal was to grow to 6000 subscribers.

    I didn’t have any experience with web promotions or blogging, but I had a clear vision what what I wanted to do. I tried everything and focused obsessively over content quality. I’ve commented on many blogs within my niche, and it wasn’t until month 2 when I discovered StumbleUpon. So, my initial growth were purely from commenting on other blogs, networking with other bloggers, and connecting personally with my readers. I would even email them personally with a reply and a thank you.

    As Hunter pointed out, I don’t follow many blogs. In fact, the only blog I check on a regular bases is zenhabits. I don’t use a RSS reader, nor do I follow news sites. I do however check out links that people email me.

    To Summarize:

    *If you are starting out, comment on as many blogs as possible.
    *Leave meaningful comments. They make a difference and makes people remember you.
    *Avoid leaving many links back to your blog. Makes other readers think you are spamming. If you leave enough meaningful comments, people will automatically remember you and come check out your blog.
    *Focus on content quality and generating value. You can get all the traffic in the world, but they will not stick if your content cannot capture their attention.
    *Link back to other blogs as much as possible. They work like a comment in other blog’s trackback section. Other bloggers will notice you more when you do this, not to mention feel fondness towards you for linking them.
    *Social media and commenting are equally important.
    If I had more time, I’d be commenting and spending more time on social media sites connecting with new people.

    Feel free to drop me an email should you have more questions.

    Warmly,
    Tina

  28. Al at 7PNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks for the warm welcome Barbara πŸ™‚ .

    As a noobie here, I think it’s pretty awesome that you answer everyone’s comments. I’m sure it’s time consuming but it shows sincerity, especially since your responses have been very insightful. Thanks!

    Al at 7Ps last blog post..If Life Was Predictable, It Would Be Boring

  29. Sunil PathakNo Gravatar says:

    Networking with other blog is more beneficial then social networking or micro blogging

    while social networking/bookmarking can get you high traffic bloggers network get you right traffic e.i like minded people who shares same passion and interest

    @ Barbara “I mentioned that my biggest mistake was not commenting on other blogs sooner (than I did).” I highly disagree on that i never had such super fast response on my blog ever πŸ™‚

    Sunil Pathaks last blog post..5 Tips For Creating An Engaging Community Around Your Blog

  30. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Sara, with an “h”,

    That’s funny. Since BWAB has two of you with the same name, that’s how I differentiate between you girls. πŸ™‚

    Hi Dr. Nicole,

    Ah, so that’s where you were. I missed your regular comments and began to wonder…

    Thank you for sharing the lesson you’ve learned. I do agree, we need to write for our audience and not worry too much about search engines (they’ll eventually find us). πŸ™‚

    It’s a fine line we walk, isn’t it? Should we spend more time writing, or more time socializing? With only 24 hours in a day and other responsibilities, it an individual decision to choose that which works best for us and our blog.

    Hi Evelyn,

    We don’t have to wait any longer to try and figure out how Tina Su did it. She just showed up. πŸ™‚

    Hi Tina Su,

    Welcome to the BWAB community!

    It’s great to see you here, addressing the original question. We no longer have to second guess how you did it. πŸ™‚

    Thank you for sharing all of your wonderful tips with the readers here at BWAB. We’re all open to ideas of how to grow our blogs, and what you’ve revealed will take us far.

    You bring hope to other bloggers who strive for growth, but don’t know where to start.

    Hi Al,

    You’re welcome!

    Tending to my comments is a top priority and although it is time consuming, it’s a part of blogging I truly enjoy.

    I hope to see you around here again soon.

    I’ll be over later to check out your blog, too.

  31. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Sunil,

    Yes, networking with like minded people can get you quality traffic.

    Re: My quote on MY biggest mistake. I wasn’t necessarily looking to get more traffic, I had missed out on being a part of a blogging community, no matter how small it was. THAT is what gives me the most joy.

    As for the community here at BWAB, it started with one or two bloggers showing up on a regular basis and then grew from there.

  32. Evelyn LimNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara, after writing my opinion, I sent an email to Tina to let her know about this post and see if she agreed with me. It is also right that she is aware that we are discussing about her strategy here.

    Although it may appear that blog commenting may not necessarily generate more subscribers (as in Tina’s subsequent experience after month 2), I still would prefer to do this. I very much like the idea of a conversation going on between author and reader.

    Yes…it may seem tiresome or that we have little time to place comments on other people’s blog. But if we want others to also contribute to the conversation on our own blogs, then we need to show that we are active participators on others.

    In the end, it’s all a question about balance. I prioritize what I feel is important at this point in time. I also hope to help others how I would like to be helped. Perhaps, when I become a hot shot blogger, my strategy will change accordingly.

    Evelyn

    Evelyn Lims last blog post..How To Calm Down From Unresolved Anger Quickly

  33. I think that we need to do both to be successful. We must take advantage of every way we can to reach new readers. Some days I like to comment and then I’ll take a day off and be social. Whatever it takes to make new friends and learn valuable information.

    I want to be a great blogger and that means never dismissing an outlet to new people.

    Karl Staib – Your Work Happiness Matterss last blog post..1 Simple Tip on How to be More Productive

  34. Sunil PathakNo Gravatar says:

    @Barbara I m sorry dear i didn’t mean that what i am trying to say is no one ever visit my blog or share their thoughts on my blog after i comment on their blog
    but you not only visit my blog but take trouble to comment on my post

    Sunil Pathaks last blog post..5 Tips For Creating An Engaging Community Around Your Blog

  35. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Evelyn,

    That was a great idea to email Tina Su, and very kind of her to take time out of her busy schedule and drop by and share her techniques. Now we know how she did it. πŸ™‚

    Like you, I love to commenting and building community. As you said, it could become unmanageable at some point in the future, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. Right?

    Hi Karl,

    Doing both is a great idea. My problem is that I run out of time or life happens (as is the case today. I have a crazy day happening and commenting on other blogs will have to wait). πŸ™

    Hi Sunil,

    Thanks for the clarification.

    I always try to visit those who visit me and leave a comment with a thank you.

    In fact, as soon as I have a spare moment, I’ll be back to visit you again. πŸ™‚

  36. LanceNo Gravatar says:

    I originally started out thinking that social networking was the way to grow my blog readership. Quickly I realized that I needed to comment on other blogs as well. What I found out after I started doing this, is that there is great value for me in commenting, receiving comments, and reading other comments from like-minded individuals.

    I now find my greatest satisfaction from comments (given and received). I think social networking has a place, but for me, it’s the comments that make this all worth it.

  37. SaraNo Gravatar says:

    I do both, but with more of an emphasis on commenting. I comment to interact with other bloggers and build community. I pretty much only use social networking as a way of supporting other bloggers–I Stumble my favorite posts and Fave blogs on Technorati. Overall, I prefer most of my written interactions through comments since for me, it feels like those interactions are based on something substantial.

    Saras last blog post..Mistakes and Disappointments Are a Call to Arms for the Soul

  38. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Lance,

    I have to agree with you. Social networking is fun too, but there’s nothing better than interaction on a blog.

    Hi Sara,

    Like you, I don’t hesitate to Stumble a great post, but there’s something to be said for comments. They do rock!

  39. Sunil PathakNo Gravatar says:

    @Barbara you are always welcome at Bloggerslab πŸ™‚

    Sunil Pathaks last blog post..5 Tips For Creating An Engaging Community Around Your Blog

  40. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks Sunil! πŸ™‚

  41. JenniferNo Gravatar says:

    Before I had my blog I was always a lurker on the Internet. I never wrote anything whether on blogs, forums, etc. I new that had to change when I became a blogger. I try to write comments on blogs when I can, but only when I have something relevant to say.

    I also belong to many social networking sites and try to spend some time writing and commenting there. I never really thought about which is more important or which I should spend more time on until I just saw your question. I really don’t have an answer but it is something I should give more thought to.

    Jennifers last blog post..Twilight fans – Must see article in Entertainment Weekly

  42. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Jennifer,

    Welcome to the BWAB community!

    You’re our second Jennifer, so when I saw your name, I got a little confused. I tried visiting your site, but I got a server time out error, or I will try and visit you later.

    It’s a tough call which is better. It really boils down to personal choice, even though most of the previous commenters prefer commenting and building community.

  43. […] in her New Blogger Of The Week section. Barbara has also written some brilliant articles including: Commenting vs Social Media – Is One Better? and It’s Not Your Fault I Can’t […]

  44. JonathanNo Gravatar says:

    I think commenting makes a huge difference in the success of any website, blog or not. It gets your site out to the public and it helps to increase your page rank on search engines.

    Social media is great too. It may be better for static websites than for blogs, but it is a benefit. The only problem with social media is, is that you are usually not in a blog community. What I mean is that most of the people that will see your link, are not there to read blogs and become a part of a blog community. They may visit you website, but then never return.

    In conclusion, both are great avenues, but I believe commenting is the better.

  45. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    HI Jonathan,

    Welcome to the BWAB community!

    Like you said, both comments and social media can help to grow a blog, but I agree, comments seem to work better, especially for community building.

    BTW: I like your site. It’s very clean and professional looking.

  46. […] Swafford is another big proponent of commenting. She said, in a post titled Commenting Vs. Social Media, “commenting helped to make my blog and its community grow, but more than that, blogging […]

  47. Jeremy DayNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks for letting me know about this Barbara! Very insightful. To be honest, I think a combined strategy is best. I comment, I link, I use Stumble Upon, I network, I email, I guest write, I do it all.

    Yet fortune still plays its course…

    I have the patience for it all though. Thanks again for the help. Its much appreciated.

    Cheers,
    Jeremy

    Jeremy DayΒ΄s last blog post..Use It or Lose It

  48. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Jeremy – You’re welcome. I’m guessing doing it all is the best way to grow a blog. My problem is I run out of time.