Note: This is a video post so if you’re seeing this in your email or feed reader be sure to stop by the site and watch this short video clip.

I’ve noticed a dangerous trend among new bloggers. Inexperienced, novice bloggers are willing to do anything for a little boost in traffic. They scurry from one “How to get traffic” tip to another swallowing up everything they can think of to build links and pump their stats.

Too often, however, bloggers end up on a wild stat chase and they end up destroying their online reputation by coming across as needy or unprofessional.

  1. Instead of leaving comments to communicate and build conversations, they leave short comments for the purpose of building links and they come across as a spammers. Does this sound like you?
  2. Intead of using a real name or a picture of themselves, they use keywords and get their comments deleted as spam. Does this sound like you?
  3. Instead of building relationships, they chase prospects to build their lists and to pump their traffic. Does this sound like you?

It might sounds like it goes against all logic, but when you stop focusing on chasing stats and start focusing on learning how to write better, how to communicate more effectively, and how to engage as a real person with real people then your stats will begin to grow.

You’re welcome to tell me I’m wrong, but I’m absolutely convinced that bloggers are focusing on the wrong things. Set your eyes on writing compelling content, wrap it in a design that makes it easy and fun to consume, and engage people intelligently and appropriately. These are the keys to building a successful online presence.

Nicholas Cardot

About Nicholas Cardot

It's my personal quest to enable every person that I can to unlock that dormant potential concerning their online influence. Also, I'm a geek.

42 Comments

  • Joe Boyle says:

    For the whole commenting thing, using your real name is great for branding, too. Let’s say you own a website design site and go around leaving comments, but your name is left as “Web Design Tips”. When people think of web design tips, are they then going to instantly know who you are and what site your run? No.

    Great post, Nick.

    • Thanks, Joe. You really nailed it right on the head. People do that thinking that they’re building backlinks and brand recognition but they’re not. Google is smarter than that and the people who see those comments are simply going to interpret them as spammers and it’s actually going to hurt their reputation.

      Engage as a real person to real people and you’ll go much farther than your competition. Thanks again, Joe for the great example.

      • Joe Boyle says:

        I’m beginning to mark any comment that is from someone with a name that is keywords as spam. If you wanted to leave a comment on my blog and get some traffic from it, you must leave a comment worth getting that traffic with a name that I can refer back to.

        It also makes replying to comments more difficult. I always reply to every comment, so if your name is left as “Online Shopping Tips”, how can I professionally respond to you?

        Once more, great post, Nick.

        • Joe, I do the same thing. My comment section is for one thing and one thing only…conversation. The purpose of this blog is to education, excite, and entertain. My conversation section is here to assist in helping people learn the best practices for building a strong blog. It’s here to help you promote your blog’s search engine optimization but not in the way that you would think. My comments don’t exist so that people can link spam their keywords and boost their Google ranking. They exist so that people can ask questions and further assist in embedding the information necessary to create content that really excites people.

          I remember when I was in college. If I had a financial issue I would always call my dad. He would never give me a dime and I would never ask him for one. I didn’t want a free handout. I wanted his experience and wisdom. Every time I had a financial crisis, he and I would brainstorm together and create a solution. Today I’m excellent with my finances as a result.

          Too many bloggers are looking for free handouts in the comment sections instead of diving in looking to gain further wisdom from the community and to share what they already know with others who might find it helpful.

          If my dad had just handed me cash, I would have been made stronger for a few days, but now I’m stronger for a lifetime and I’m able to successfully support and provide for my family. Bloggers need to get this mindset. Stop looking for free handouts and start looking for the knowledge and the wisdom that it takes to really make it big.

          What do you think?

    • Nope, their gonna say, wow what excellent kw’s, pop them into Google and come up with someone other them you. lol

  • Tushar says:

    i have always believed in making relations and interacting with fellow bloggers all around the world….

  • Victor says:

    that sounds strange but there´s some truth in it. And btw. i thought i have to do this way to push my blog, but later when i got the first comments, with the websites and keywords, i changed my mind.

    So one question may i translate this in german on my blog?

    thanks Victor

  • Mary E. Ulrich says:

    Well written Nick. Real communication has to be authentic rather than just a ploy to get better numbers.

    • Exactly. And yet too many people are out there following every “get traffic” tip that they can find trying to give their traffic stats a little boost not realizing that ultimately they are hurting themselves in the long run.

      Thanks for always being such a great part of the conversations here, Mary. I appreciate you.

  • Rüdiger says:

    Hi Nicholas, thanks for your great Blog and Discussion topics. I get some comments on our articles from time to time, but most of it is just SPAM, links to absurd topics or websites wrapped in nice comments to our aticles. But the links have nothing to do with our topics. We are a sharepoint consulting company. And of course will we not accept comments leading to porn-sites or other not business related stuff to our topics.
    So, as you clearly worked out, we mark all this stuff as SPAM and it just leads to useless work for both parties.
    People out there: Read smart BLOGS like SITESKETCH101 and follow there tipps and think about there thoughts.
    The build relations and are relinked, because they create valuable and NON-offensive content.

    • You’ve got it exactly right. Creating valuable, non-offensive content is truly the key to getting noticed online. You’ve got to give people a reason to take notice and you’re only going to do that by engaging in a real way.

      • Rüdiger says:

        Thanks for your reply. Engaging with real interest in people on the other end of line or on the customer side is the key success factor for our business. People expect us to have the detailed technical and business knowledge. The difference to competitors comes from personal care about there issues and problems and creative common thinking about sensible solutions. If one does not care about the other end, the other end will not care about you if it comes to decision.

        • You bring up a good point. In nearly any industry, people are going to expect you to make intelligent decisions on their behalf. You mentioned that people require you to care about their issues and problems and to employ creative thinking to create sensible solutions.

          But let’s be honest. Who is going to hire someone for a job like that who presents themselves as a link spammer? Most people aren’t. They want someone who interacts online in such a way as to inspire confidence in their abilities by presenting themselves as intelligent and engaging.

          Take you for example. You didn’t just drop a link and disappear. You actually came back to carry on a fuller conversation, to read what another person responded, and to respond with a second comment. That will do more for you than any comment that just says, “Great post” or something simple like that.

          What is it that fuels and inspires you to leave comments, Rudiger?

          • Rüdiger says:

            Hi Nicolas, you and I seem to work on the same wavelength 🙂
            I usually leave a comment, if I admire or appreciate someones work, like yours. Or if I have the impression, that my perspective can tease new thoughts and viewing ancles, that might be helpful to others. I do not comment simply to comment or to “create links” to our Site.
            In our Website, we try to serve sensible content, too, clearly based on our practical experience to share Lessons Learned, interesting findings or to inform people about corporate or product news.

            Keep on posting, I’ ll follow your stories.
            Thanks for yoru great work.

  • Melvin says:

    This is exactly what I was telling people Nicolas. I wrote a post on some blogs about the fact that blogging is all about building relationships and noobs get it wrong on that aspect.

    Im sure its entirely not their fault, probably the fault of the bigger bloggers who usually say that commenting on as much blogs as possible is the best thing and whatnot.

    What they don’t really realize is that it tarnishes their reputation even before they can get attention. It’s crucial because for me personally when someone sucks for me, I usually have that impression for that certain person forever and bad rep spreads faster than anything else.

    I hope many bloggers who are doing it wrong can read this straight forward post.

    • First impressionas are lasting impressions. When those bloggers jump in and start link-bombing as many comments sections as possible then it stands out in our minds…but not in a good way.

      Then later after they’ve improved their content, their methods and their website we won’t click through their links because we remember the spammy methods that they used to use. We have their former reputation embedded in our minds and it takes a lot to remove it.

      I don’t think that leaving comments to get noticed is necessarily a bad thing if you can create legitimate comments and not just those short “Great post” comments. If you can actually connect with people, ask real questions, and bring real ideas to the discussion then people will take notice of you as an intelligent person.

      This is also the main reason that I spend time trying to make sure that my comments are generally free from grammatical errors so that I can come across as an intelligent writer to those who might read it. There might be some mistakes in my comments, but I don’t write them in shorthand.

      I noticed that you comment seems to be the same way. Is that something that you’ve decided to practice as well?

      • Melvin says:

        what do you mean with your last question?

        well grammar-wise im not really like the best guy. First is Im not a Native English guy and second is that I seemed to inherit the American’s way of just typing out fast, leaving a lot of crappy errors. I don’t know but I rarely proofread my comments. Maybe im different with you in that part but I guess its just something that I got used to.

        or maybe something I can improve in the future. who knows? heheh. 🙂

        • Actually, I was pointing out the opposite. Your comment seemed to not have very many errors and it looked to me like you had intentional focused on writing a thorough and generally error free comment. I guess you did it without even thinking about it which is great.

          As someone who speaks English as a second language, you do a terrific job at communicating effectively. Stay with it and keep communicating the way that you are here and you have nothing to worry about as you build your online presence.

          Does that make better sense?

  • Jean Sarauer says:

    I love when people treat a comment section like a coffee shop or pub and just get in there and mix things up. That way, whether or not people agree or disagree with a post, there are good stories shared, new questions posed, and a growing sense of camaraderie.

    And really, if a person wants attention for their site, why do they think keyword names and links are going to bring a rush of traffic? I don’t move towards obnoxious people offline or online.

    Now, someone who contributes to a conversation, makes me laugh, or challenges my way of thinking – that is someone I want to know better.

    • In terms of your analogy, I think people who drop keywords for names and leave half-hearted obviously backlink-driven comments are like the drunk guys that the bouncer has to escort to the door. Sure people are noticing him, but he’s certainly not branding himself in a way that’s going to attract people toward him in a positive way.

      Why is it that people view our online interactions so differently than we view our offline interactions? Don’t people realize that the basic principles that can fuel our success at connecting with people offline are the same principles that will fuel our success in connecting with people online? Where did you pick up this concept? Is it something you read somewhere or just something you observed and started practicing?

      • Jean Sarauer says:

        We should all have an official ‘bouncer’ on our blogs to show those bad boys (and girls) to the door 🙂

        It took me awhile to get comfortable with online conversations because they seemed remote and stiff without the eye contact, facial expressions, voice inflections, etc. of offline conversations.

        Eventually, I wised up and realized the only thing that was remote and stiff was my attitude. Now I just stuff as much of my personality into my words as possible, and I automatically connect with others who do the same.

        It’s instinct now more than anything. Show up. Listen. Be me. Have fun. That’s quite a promotion plan, eh? 🙂

        • I have an official bouncer at my blog called Akismet. Honestly, Akismet knocks out most of the spam that I get at Site Sketch 101. Sometimes they even nail a few false positives that I then go back and manually approve.

          That feeling you have about wanting to experience conversations with voice inflections, eye contact, and facial expressions is why I’m so adamant about encouraging people to be as real as possible. That’s why I encourage using a picture of yourself as your avatar. That’s why I encourage using your real name. That’s why I discourage the use of shorthand or slang.

          We can’t experience that face to face conversation on a blog, but we can work to bring our conversations as close to that experience as possible and we should be doing exactly that. You’re not alone in feeling that way and your attitude wasn’t necessarily stiff for desiring it. It’s part of who we are and as we recognize it I think we should simply focus on bringing our online communication as close to that experience as we can.

          Your promotion plan sounds perfect by the way.

          Show up. Listen. Be me. Have fun.

          Do you use a spam filter on your blog like Akismet or do you moderate all of your comments? What do you find works the best for you?

          • Jean Sarauer says:

            I use Akismet too, which has been 100% great at catching spam.

            I don’t moderate comments overall, but I do have my comment system set to kick anything with a link into moderation.

            That’s proving to be unnecessary though because I’ve only had a handful of people leave links, and the links have added value to their comment.

            • I have mine set to grab comments with 2 or more links in them and to hold them for me to moderate but lately I’ve been finding the same results as you. They are either spam and akismet catches them or the link adds to the quality of the discussion. I wonder what it takes to get everyone on board with leaving real, legitemate, conversational comments. I guess we just have to keep putting the word out there and we have to keep demonstrating to the world that this is the way to communicate online.

  • Mark Johnson says:

    Hi Nick.

    This is a great post, It is really pertinent to me at the moment because I am just starting to get a few more comments on my blog, but it still amazes me how I get some comments which don’t make any attempt at all to add anything to the discussion.

    I love it though when I get people discussing the topics I talk about, it is a great feeling to actually interact with people. We do it all the time in real life, I sometimes wonder why some people seem to forget how to do it as soon as they press the on button of their PC.

    At the risk of this comment turning into a rant, you see it in some blogs too. There is a lot of advice about chasing keywords, for the sakes of SEO, and some people seem to let that over-ride writing for the user.

    Personally, I do target a few keywords occassionally, but I always keep a simple rule: The target keyword is for inspiring a topic for that post, it is not a blue print. I always try really hard to make sure that I write something I would actually enjoy reading. When you see a “keyworded” article it stands out like a sore thumb, and personally, that doesn’t encourage me to stick around on that blog…

    Ok, rant over. 🙂

    • Good rant, Mark. I completely agree with you. Although I’m a firm believe in the idea that we can have both SEO and content written that is engaging and compelling to our readers. I don’t think that it has to be a compromise and I don’t think that we need to practice keyword stuffing in order to accomplish it. I think that too often we underestimate the intelligence of the people who are programming Google’s algorithms. They know that some people are going to practice keyword stuffing and they also know that some people are writing content that attracts huge crowds and I think that they have enough safeties in place that they are able to tell the difference (generally speaking, of course).

      I target some keywords also although probably not as much as I should. Like you, I would rather err on the side of creating compelling content rather than on the side of creating search engine optimized copy.

      The one thing I’m absolutely convinced of, however, is that people who focus their SEO efforts on leaving comments with keywords will always be outperformed by those who create amazing content on their blogs and engage with real people.

      I often hear people talk about how they ranked for a term by doing nothing other than linking their comments using a certain keywords and then I look up their keyword and it’s no surprise that it’s only searched for 25 times per month. Congratulations. I’m going after some terms that are searched over 400,000 times per month and I’m currently ranked #3 for that term and I plan on making it to number 1 eventually and I don’t comment on other blogs nearly as much as I should. I’m convinced it’s about content, not about building comment links.

      Okay…my rant is over. Now it’s your turn again.

      • Mark Johnson says:

        Thanks for the quick reply nick. I agree, SEO and good content can co-exist. In fact I think good SEO can’t exist without good content. Google (et al) are getting very good at using how real people react to websites…

        Essentially, if you’re users aren’t impressed by your content then the search engines will pick up on that, and all the keywords and link spamming in the world won’t save you from that.

        To me though, commenting is about more than just the links. It is really great to throw ideas around. This whole topic has really got my imagination going, and that leads to great content.

        It also makes blogging more fun. If you want to blog for a living (that’s the dream right?) and you don’t go out and talk to people it’s going to be hard slog.

        • Sorry that this reply took a little bit longer than the last one. You’re idea about the search engines picking up on whether or not your users are getting into your content is exactly the concept that I believe in. I think that the developers at Google are working around the clock trying to figure out how to deliver the search results that people are really getting into…and they’re getting better at it all the time.

          Commenting to me is a place for conversation. It’s a place to expand on the lessons or concepts explored in the article. It’s a place to interact and further our education and our connections. It’s not just a place to build backlinks but it’s a place to ask questions about how to build backlinks.

  • my entire bring is geared towards personability. My DSWM blog proved that in spades, and my entire blog network will as ell…i hope to see everyone interacting soon! 🙂

  • Nice article, biggest mistake new blogger do is to go for unfair means for increasing the traffic to their blog

    • I agree. People would do thousands of times better if they just focused on improving themselves as writers and spent their time creating content that people actually want to read and share.

  • Really great and absolutely true post Nick!

    You are so right here, the most common thing many bloggers do is use keywords as name in their comments, little did they know they are destroying their reputation.
    There is a particular blogger who do spam my blog, I wrote a guest post on another blog and saw him comment, I almost told him he was a spammer and I can’t believe he can make real comments but I had to control myself…I can never respect that blogger in my life because he is simply IRRESPONSIBLE.

    Thanks a lot for the great post,
    -Onibalusi

  • […] größer wird. Doch darf man dabei nicht sein Ziel aus den Augen verlieren. Auf einem anderen Blog habe ich dazu einen schönen Artikel gelesen, ich versuche mal die Punkte hier […]

  • Nicholas, great post. It’s one of those duh, why didn’t I think of that moments. I’m totally driven by face-to-face communication and often after I meet someone it inspires me more. Now that the craze is social media,texting and other more impersonal ways of communication I’ve had some difficulty. I’ve been learning about blogging and recently launched my own, but have been kind of disappointed with the traffic and this helps. Thank you!

    Brandon

  • Debby Bruck says:

    Forty comments and still chugging along. You must have hit a chord for everyone to be carrying on this conversation with so many thoughtful replies.

    I don’t remember every visiting your blog before, but what strikes me hour your dedication authenticity and honesty shine through. Plus, gosh! You are so young to have all this wisdom.

    What you have encouraged people to do is common etiquette, but it seems that the learning curve is slow for all the newbie bloggers. They don’t realize the impact of talking about themselves….is it still the “me” generation?

    Can you believe I read every comment and there were lots of things that came to mind.

    I liked Jean Sarauer’s bouncer idea that sounds like something every website administrator could use. The automated akismet does well in certain circumstances but not in every one. I run a NING network and I don’t think it would work there.

    Your video was absolutely awesome the natural presentation and clarity of information.

    One request. May I use this quote of yours? “I’m Nicholas Z. Cardot. I firmly believe that every person contains within themselves the potential to become great leaders and it has become my personal quest to enable every person that I can to unlock that dormant potential.”

    I do a 5-day a week radio show and start off with inspirational quotes, usually ‘tweets.’ It would be nice to encourage and support the folks in my community. That’s what I try to do every day.

    (HUGS) Debby
    I found you through a twitter link
    http://twitter.com/DebbyBruck

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