A few weeks ago I opened a single blog post to comments. I wanted to see if I get the usual comment spam tsunami.
Weirdly, I’ve only had four spam comments. Which was a real surprise compared to last time I gave it a go.
Why no comment spam?
Is it because the post itself didn’t attract spammers’ attention? Or does only having one post open for comments put spambots off because they’re less likely to fly under the user radar? Maybe I didn’t meet spambot criteria for some other reason. There’s only one way to tell.
Comment spam experiment stage 2
On a mission for useful clues, stage two of my little experiment involves throwing open the doors to find out:
- if I attract more comment spam
- whether some of my posts get spammed more than others
- if so, which posts attract the most attention – it might mean something and it might not, but it’ll be interesting to find out
I’d like to open more posts to comments. But I don’t want to spend hours every week checking thousands of crappy comments just in case something genuine has slipped through my spam catcher. It’s a value decision based on the cost of my time versus the marketing benefit of the occasional good quality comment.
In an ideal world my posts should attract enough meaningful feedback from real people to make all the rubbish worthwhile. In the real world, with spam being what it is, the numbers don’t always stack up. We’ll see. Here goes – I’ll report back.
Update Sept 2014: It took a few months but the trickle eventually grew into a flood. Perhaps it took spambots that long to find my site? Luckily the WP Akismet plugin means comment spam isn’t an issue, I just delete it all in one click. Plus, it’s interesting to see what people are spamming about…
The New York Times reported a while ago that most blogs are set up in a flurry of enthusiasm… then abandoned.
So says Technorati. Apparently a massive 95% of the blogs they surveyed hadn’t been updated in 120 days.
Which is understandable. Once the novelty wears off, a lot of businesses give up blogging because they’re simply too busy. It’s hard to keep a blog going if nobody at your place likes writing, or writes well enough. And people run out of ideas.
The thing is, a healthy blog is still one of the best ways to keep a website fresh, updated and exciting for search engines and visitors. And it is an extremely cost effective marketing / SEO medium.
Like many things, the more you put in the more you get out. One blog post a week will work harder than one a month. Three quality posts a week should soon win you some serious attention from search engines. Consistency is important, regularity is vital.
If you leave your blog unattended for 120 days, like most businesses, it won’t do a thing for you. If you make regular, frequent updates something you do as a matter of course it’ll soon bear fruit. And you’ll be several steps ahead of the 95% that languish in the doldrums.
Listen to your webstats
Got a business-related blog? Then listen to your webstats and experience blog power in action.
I’m always banging on about monitoring webstats. But you can’t plan marketing effectively unless you know what works and what nosedives. You need to know returns on investment, especially if you’re paying for search engine marketing.
Webstats are easy to understand and there’s plenty of online advice about interpreting them. As far as my business is concerned, blogging seems to be doing what everyone says it does: as long as I provide useful, relevant content it brings in visitors, goodwill and work. Here’s the evidence:
MONTHLY BLOG VISITORS
September 2007 (launch) – 375
October: – 547
November: – 716
December: – 770
January 2008 – 992
A steady growth in visitors. Not bad for a young blog.
The effect is immediate. When I write a particularly useful article I see a corresponding spike in visitor numbers, which is useful for planning future articles: Because you know what people want, you can consciously provide more of it.
PS. This post was originally written in late January ’08. Today, 11th November ’09, this blog averages more than 4000 unique visitors a month.
PPS. It’s 2014 and blogging is more powerful than ever.