How to gain blog traffic without spending a dime!

In this case, traffic translates to comments.

So, I’m part of this blogging community called Better Blogger Network, and I feel like every time I go to the forums some new blogger is asking how to gain traffic, readers, etc. If you want it to all just come to you, this post isn’t for you. It’s not easy to get returning visitors who comment your blog, and it’s also not easy to keep up with them.

  • Blog hop: No, not blog hop via blog swaps, but blog hop. Hop, hop!1 It requires your time, effort and attention: go to a person’s blog, read their latest post, leave a relevant comment (MAKE SURE YOU READ THE GUIDELINES2). Then, go to their blogroll and do the same with those who are on it. Note: Not everyone will comment back, however.
  • Return comments: The thing with Blogspot blogs is that it allows you to reply directly to their comment via email. For some odd reason, that gives the impression that replies stating, “Thank you so much for visiting my blog!” and/or, “I hope you come back!” are actually something that is needed, thus taking away the original blogging experience that I grew up with, which consisted of commenting people back. Go back to their blog and return the favor. If you don’t have something to say, come back later; if you aren’t interested, then so be it. Personally, those “thank you” emails just come across as junk mail to me since almost every Blogspot blog I comment on has a blogger who sends those. I receive over 10 a month.

There. I’m not gonna suggest you buy advertising if you’re just starting out. I won’t, because I really believe that a lot of these newer bloggers should really know and learn that blogging isn’t just about them — it’s about building a community, connections, circles, relationships, a family.

If you do it right and you continue it long enough, you’ll earn yourself a little support group of people you can count on. I’ve made some amazing friends through these two methods.

…and I owe a ton of comments, but that isn’t the point.

  1. That was really lame. Let’s pretend it never happened.
  2. It’s really annoying when people leave me comments with “Jane of Blog Name Here” with their URL in the proper field AND THEIR URL AT THE END OF THEIR COMMENT. Make sure you read the guidelines. It’s obvious when you don’t.

Sorry, but comments are closed on this post.

Comments on this post

Tanja’s gravatar

Have you noticed how there’s a blog hop for everything now? There’s probably a blog hop just for blog hoppers. (is that what they’re called?) Join if you love blog hopping! Yay! Most of them don’t contribute anything to the blogging community and sometimes I feel like bloggers are only publishing posts for the sake of publishing posts. For the blog hop. Plus, followers you get this way are pretty much useless, since they will never come back or read any of your posts.

And something about comments: I have a Blogspot blog and I recently installed Disqus comments. I don’t know about other bloggers, but I love it! It’s so much easier to interact with people who commented on my blog, or with owners of blogs I commented on. So much better than the built-in comments…

Liz’s gravatar

@Tanja, I’ve noticed that people don’t like having Disqus (some even complain about having to comment on them) because they think it requires them to have to log in. But it doesn’t. 😡 I think it’s a bit more convenient than the Blogger comments, because you don’t have to log in like you do in/on Blogger. 😡

Agent Q’s gravatar

I definitely agree with your two points. One last thing I’d like to add is patience [even though you already implied it at the very beginning]. However, I cannot stress that enough. :/ I’m still new [or just returned to the blogging world] here, but I can already see the positive effects.

Also, thank you for the link to BBN. I found it very convincing and will join later when I have time.

Amy’s gravatar

I have had tonnes of comments before where people completely ignore what I’ve written and just ask me to visit their website. It’s ridiculous. Go on Twitter and Tweet a link to your blog, don’t go round just asking people. Why would someone want to look at your blog if you ignore what they’ve written when it’s directly in front of you. Unless their blog is utterly magical and they send you free gifts just for viewing, it’s probably not going to happen. Some people are so annoying.

I added a ‘like’ button to my blog entries so if people have literally nothing to say they can just click that instead (if they actually liked the post, haha). I read really good blog entries sometimes but have nothing to comment on, and it’s so awful trying to come up with something to say sometimes. ‘Great blog entry’ just feels like I’m being lazy.

I think some people are really quick to buy advertising. Which is fair enough, but I tend to prefer looking at blogs of people who seem human – if you never comment anyone ever I think it puts a distance between you and your readers. It just feels like a company blogging for money or something. I don’t know.

Sorry, I think I’m rambling!


Stephanie’s gravatar

I’m not sure how well this method works, or how it applies, for non-personal blogs, but for a personal blog, I second everything here! I now have more visitors than I can keep up with just from doing these exact things.

Man, that sounded like a salesperson…

Liz’s gravatar

@Stephanie, It really did.

Coryl o'Reilly’s gravatar

I’m one of those people who sucks at returning comments. I feel kind of bad for it… Oops. I remember back in the day, about two years ago, when I had a relatively large blogging group. I kind of miss it. These days, commenting and bloghopping is essential for me since I’m trying to build up my author platform. Gotta find other writers and comment on their blogs. -gulp-

Thanks for the reminder that this is all about networking!

Liz’s gravatar

@Coryl o’Reilly, I used to know some, but they changed their URLs (and also weren’t too nice, either), but Sarah does this “network of nice” thing that allows you to send in requests and find certain peoples… It may be helpful?

Alice’s gravatar

Yay to all of this! Honestly the best way to put yourself out there is to find people who already are and let them you know exist 🙂 Which is precisely what bloghopping does. As for returning comments, I personally find that to be just common courtesy; and like you said, “Go back to their blog and return the favor. If you don’t have something to say, come back later; if you aren’t interested, then so be it.”

It’s a little funny to observe that once you’ve scoured and read enough blogs, a lot of URLs and names become familiar like people around a high school, or something. I’d like to think that this little blogging community is pretty friendly and welcoming 😀