We just passed the Tennessee River. I am blogging from the car today. Fun Times!
Recently a lot of business blogs are telling people to get out there and comment on other blogs to encourage others to visit your own blog or site. Some people do this well and some people do it in a hurried "drive by" fashion. I tend to comment in a variety of ways, and in reality my goal in leaving a comment is never just a desire to get traffic. When I am visiting a new blog for the first time I try to leave a comment that refers back to something about the artwork or subject within the post. When I visit one of my regular artist pals that I see a few times a week, I admit I will occasionally leave a quick little: "great art", " "good job", or " well done". In these cases I really just want to say hi, and let my friends know I am reading them this week. So a comment can function in a variety of ways. It can be an introduction, a hello, and yes it can even be constructive criticism. A comment should never be an advertisement. Most people know this instinctively and I have to say that very few artists have ever left a comment on my blog saying "hey I do pet portraits too, go check them out at www.mygreatsite.com". When I do get a spammy comment it is generally from a non-art site that is pet related.
So just how do you get traffic by leaving a comment without actually saying "please go to: www.mygreatsite.com". Well for those of you that have never left a blog comment, what you need to know is that most blog writers set their commenting preferences to allow commenters to include a web link. I personally think that the appropriate web link to use in that field is a web link to the commenter's own blog and not a web link to a website that offers goods or services. If the commenter does not have a blog then a link to a portfolio or business site is perfectly acceptable. When you type in that web link it usually will read as the name you type in the "name field" (see image below). Your name will show up blue and be clickable and it will take readers to your blog. I usually just type in my first name "Rebecca" in the name field. I am going to change that starting today. The other day I was reading a blog post about Lauren Nassef's stolen artwork and I saw a comment by someone I know a little via the web, Claudine Hellmuth. I don't know her real well but I know her work and I know her name very well. When I saw her full name I got a visual image of her terrific work and I knew she was not Claudine Smith. If you see the screen shot below you will see 3 comments left by 3 different artists. Diane does mixed media art, Melissa is another doggy artist and Manon does a lot of art journaling. Oh, and Emmitt is a cute teenage Puggie. Melissa & Manon are both giving me more than just a first name, they would not need to ... I know them well. By giving more than just a first name they are also giving all my readers a little more info as to who they are. They are making their profile link more interesting, and therefor more clickable.
So to sum it up I will post some Dos and Don'ts on commenting. This is not law, and opinions will vary widely on "commenting with style". In fact please leave a comment and add your own favorite dos and don'ts.
Do try to leave a thoughtful comment when visiting a new blog for the first time.
Do leave a link to your own blog in the link field on the submission form.
Do use your full name (if you are comfortable with that).
Do remember that in addition to possible blog traffic you may also be building reciprocal relationships that will benefit you in many ways.
Don't leave an http://weblink within the actual "body of your comment" . That is not necessary and could be seen as spammy. The blogger will give you the chance to add a link in a special field if they choose to. This rule can often be broken among friends when sharing additional resources and info that is on topic.
Don't paste the same 4 word sentence into half a dozen posts on the same blog.
Don't just be a "drive by" commenter, find some blogs you really enjoy and visit them often ... comment a lot and comment well!
Later I will talk about how to find those cool art blogs you are going to love and want to comment on.