The Ugliness of Comment “No Follow”

Thursday, June 14th, 2012 at 9:50 AM | Category: Blogging, Meryl's Notes Blog 7 comments

Image from user iprole

Most blogs allow readers to add a link to their own websites. This gives the blog’s owner and other readers a way to connect with that reader. However, most content management systems (CMS)  and blog apps like WordPress add “no follow” in the code. This prevents search engines from rewarding commenters’ link back to their websites with search engine optimization juice. What happens is these apps add “no follow” in the code preventing search engines from following those links.

I used to have a plug-in that linked to readers’ latest blog entries. That went away because of problems. Because I appreciate every single person who stops by to read this blog and leave a comment, I investigated the possibility of removing the “no follow.”  In a perfect world, it’s a great way to reward people who take the time to read a post and share thoughts.

I looked at some blogs that follow reader links. What I found was ugly. Lots of nonsensical or hollow comments along the lines of “I agree” and “This is a great post!” A comment of value rarely showed up. Most of these “do follow” blogs have subpar quality.

Few — I mean very few — “do follow” blogs had posts worth sharing that could evoke great discussions. Not a single one of these better quality blogs managed reader (fake readers, really) comments that were laden with comment spam. All that comment spam ruined the experience, which hurt the quality of those blogs. Furthermore, it wasn’t clear how Google and other search engines view blogs that don’t have “no follow” on comments.

It was those few good quality blogs that compelled me to leave the “no follow” in place. Even if I control every comment that is or isn’t published, I don’t want to attract the bad element.

Obviously, there’s no benefit in removing “no follow” from comments. So how can bloggers reward the readers who care enough to join the discussion? I visit their blogs to leave a comment or I tweet their latest blog entry.

What if all apps turned off “no follow” in comments? How can bloggers reward readers who post valuable comments?

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8-year-old Blog Birthday Celebration

Monday, May 19th, 2008 at 9:30 AM | Category: Blogging, Meryl's Notes Blog 4 comments

Hey, guys. I’m gonna be eight on June 1! Seriously. I’m too embarrassed to show you what Meryl posted in her first entry on June 1, 2000. But she and I have grown a lot since the early days of blogging.

So I tell Meryl that she oughta take a vacation from blogging as a way to celebrate. But she says she can’t do that — the blog needs to stay regularly updated as she won’t take me for granted.

Then an idea comes to me. A contest! Prizes! Well, maybe I cheated a little as her friend John over a PoeWar is doing this. Here’s the deal:

  • Prize donations: In exchange, you’ll get a link with a short write up of the link. Also, readers will be encouraged to link to sponsors in exchange for entries.
  • Guest bloggers: Anyone who writes a guest blog entry will be entered into a contest for guest bloggers only.

Once we get these figured out, we’ll flesh out the details. In summary, the contest has two parts: Readers, prize sponsors, and authors.

  1. Readers get entries for a chance to win prizes by simply leaving valuable comments and linking to this blog and its sponsors from their own blog.
  2. Prize sponsors: Automatically get 10 entries for donating a prize and links to their sites. Readers gain entries for linking to sponsors, which means more linkage!
  3. Authors get entries into author-only prizes for their contributions. Articles can cover any of the following:
    1. Writing
    2. Freelancing
    3. Marketing
    4. Web site design, usability, etc.
    5. Technology

Do two or three to increase your chances of winning. Sound cool? Spread the word so you get a chance to win cool prizes.

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Blogging Lessons from a Match up

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008 at 8:13 AM | Category: Blogging, Business, Meryl's Notes Blog, Tech, Writing 6 comments

I survived my first Writing Blog March Madness match up. However, it was no easy win so advancing rounds will be nail-biters. As if the first one wasn’t.

Community: The weakest spot in this blog is the lack of community. John‘s right about that and it has puzzled me. For a while, I tried posing open-ended questions to invite comments. That didn’t work. I stopped because the blog entries looked pitiful having a question with no comments.

Gaming: I was relieved that John realized the gaming section was separated out. I worried he’d think I had something irrelevant mashed in with writing and business. I broke out gaming as much as I could from a technical standpoint (if you go through posts by clicking “next” and “previous,” you’ll see the games entries.). I was going to set up a different site for gaming, but as Mark of TheDiamondGames pointed out … is established. Why start from scratch (in terms of SEO and ranks)? I thought he had a good point and took the route that I did.

Design: When I worked with Blue Flavor on this site’s design, we tried to make the site feel professional yet personal. With this design, I could stand to look at my own site… for the first time ever.

Usability & Navigation: The reason I provide a summary is based on my experience. I became frustrated with scrolling through some bloggers’ long entries and thought scanning ‘n clicking would be better than scrolling. But I could be wrong. What say you? I’m willing to change this and consider any other annoyances.

Purpose: I’ve always admitted that my blog has never been niche-based. It’s evolved over the years. I don’t think I can do better here unless I pick a niche.

Personality: I don’t want this blog to be about me, me, me. In promoting the business side of things, I try to show what’s in it for the prospect. In writing blog entries, I try to provide information you can use and not make it about my opinions. Personality matters as it gives the blog life, so I try to do that without crossing the line or getting too personal. Some things shouldn’t be out there for the world to see.

Content: Whew. John captured it, “She has a nice habit of giving tips and then illuminating them with examples from her own experience.” I’ve learned well from others’ examples plus examples help show instead of tell.

What can I do better so you leave this blog glad that you spent a little time reading it? How about enticing you to leave comments. What compels you to leave comments on a blog? That’s the missing link here.

The biggest reason I’m afraid to give presentations is fear of not being able to interact with the audience. My lipreading skills are imperfect and I don’t want to frustrate the audience by repeatedly asking, “What?” when they ask questions. A blog doesn’t have that problem and I respond to almost all comments — some are in private. But the interaction isn’t happening.

You’d think after eight years of blogging that I’d know the answer?

I admire John for taking the time for doing in-depth reviews of 32 blogs and including mine. Thank you, John.

Lest you think this is a brownnosing post — it will most likely not even be covered in the next round as I should have at least five posts by then. I want to understand how to improve on the weak areas. Who better to ask than you?

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Why Do Bloggers Edit or Delete Comments?

Thursday, December 6th, 2007 at 8:58 AM | Category: Blogging, Business, Marketing, Meryl's Notes Blog, Writing 1 comment

Smart marketers and bloggers watch for articles and blog entries that use their keywords so they can read the content and leave comments. It’s a great way to connect and network in the blogosphere/Internetsphere.

But they also make a mistake. No question — participating the blogosphere helps people and their businesses… when done right. If you see a blog post for a topic on which you’re an expert, what do you do?

Many often write something along the lines of “Check my article on this topic at … link,””Sign up for a free course on this topic at … link” and so on.  Most — if not all — blogs have a URL in their comment forms. Put your URL there and provide a comment on the entry instead rather than making it about you or your business unless the entry insulted or commented on your business.

The blogosphere prefers subtle to blatant. Entering your URL to your article, tutorial, blog, web site is enough. Let your comment do the showing. Readers/bloggers will click on your URL if they like what you had to say. When someone simply points out their article or site — bloggers are less likely to click on it because it’s blatant self-promotion.

Most of you know how bloggers feel about self-promotion. Some company blogs got in trouble for writing a marketing-style blog instead of an informative one. This is just one of those unwritten rules.

I ran into a similar incident at Remarkablogger where I left a comment that made no sense. I don’t know what I was thinking when I wrote it. Essentially, I was trying to explain that I answered the question in a months old post, but thought adding trackback to the post would be “wrong” because my entry came long before the this entry. This is how I explained it:

I usually don’t like to link to my stuff in comments because I feel that it’s “wrong.” I usually rely on trackback… but since this post is from May — I don’t think it’d be right to add a trackback.

Remarkablogger’s Michael wrote a nice response:

Thanks for clearing that up, Meryl. Makes perfect sense, now. If you are adding value to the discussion, I don’t mind if you link to your own posts in comments. I applaud your higher-than-average ethics on the matter, but you are welcome to link out.

I forgot to add the trackback until now. Anyway, this is an extreme case and if given the opportunity, I would respond differently as I cringe in re-reading my old comment. Blogs succeed because they’re about providing people with honest and real content — not phony or self-promotion.

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