10,862 Comments Later, I Realize Blog Comments are NOT a Business Model

by Marcus Sheridan

blog comments

I had a very interesting conversation with my close friend and blogger John Falchetto last week that centered around blog comments. In our discussion, John posed to me a very simple question:

“Marcus, of all the comments on your blog, how many of the people turned out to be actual customers?”

“Hmmm,” I thought “I really don’t think anyone that has commented on TSL has ever turned into a paying customer. Some customers have turned into commenters after being a client, but not the other way around.”

“Exactly,” said John, “Me neither.”

Think about that for a second: Over 10,000 comments and not a single customer.

A Clear Understanding of Goals

You see, what started this conversation with John was my inquiry into his blogging schedule, and the fact that he is now writing a post just about every day, more than double his previous posting schedule. In a nutshell, here are the results:

1. Less comments per post (about half of what he used to get, sometimes less)

2. More traffic

3. More paying clients

In fact, John came right out and said what I’ve been feeling for the past few months:

“I really don’t care about the number of comments on my posts anymore. I’m trying to reach my goals. That’s my focus. And comments don’t fall under my goals. If they come, then great, if not, that’s OK.”

Powerful stuff, wouldn’t you agree?

Living and Dying By the Comments of Others

When I first started writing here on TSL in November of 2009, I lived and died by comments. I almost passed out with the first one I ever got. Then, the first time I got 10 on a post I almost cried. Next, when I reached 50 comments for the first time I thought my life was complete. When I passed 100 comments on a post the first time I felt a sense of joy that was unbelievable. And finally, when I passed 400 comments on a post, I thought I had died and gone to blogger’s heaven. (I know, sounds pretty shallow, but that’s where I was at the time, and I think many other people, if they’re being honest with themselves, would relate.)

But then something happened. Time went by. The weeks rolled on. The comments just kept on mounting with each and every post.

And oddly, as the comments grew, my sense of joy that came with each declined.

Blogging ‘Maturity’

Now don’t get me wrong here friends. This isn’t one of those, “Please stop commenting on my blog” posts. To this day, I invite comments on every post. I appreciate every one I get from readers. I take them seriously and know the relationships formed through them can clearly lead to tremendous opportunities. I also find them inspiring, enjoyable, and well worth the hours and hours I have spent in responding to each.

But I’ve also reached a point in my ‘blogging maturity’ (I guess that’s what we’ll call it) where I don’t feel validated anymore purely based on comment numbers. In fact, this is now how I judge the success of a blog post:

1. How many personal emails do I get after someone has read the article?

2. What were others moved to do (actions taken) from reading the article?

3. How many speaking/consulting inquiries do I get from an article?

Do you see the difference?

Take last Thursday’s post for example. It wasn’t about ‘blogging’, or even so much about business, but more about ‘personal development’, a topic I love but don’t discuss a ton here on TSL.

Looking at that article, you’ll see that it only got around 60 or so comments, a low number based on TSL averages. But at the same time, within 30 minutes after that post had went out to email subscribers, I’d received 5 personal emails from readers saying how much they appreciated the post. And of these 5 people, all rarely if ever comment on the blog here.

In other words, that post induced enough emotion for the ‘lurkers’ (those that don’t typically comment on a blog but actually make up about 95% or more of the audience) to take action and send an email. For me, that defines success in a major way, because I want my writings to induce not just thought, but action.

Is Your Need for Comments Hindering Your Business Growth?

I wonder how many folks out there are actually hurting their bottom line because they are too focused on blog comments and not focused enough on effective business principles. Or look at it in this way: Are you writing for the 1% that leave comments or the 99% that are silent in the background?

For example, it would have been easy for John Falchetto, if he were so wrapped up in number of comments per post, to shy away from increasing frequency, as he knew comment averages would obviously go down.

But because he now has a clearer vision of what we wants, and the best way to get there, he was able to not allow such a questionable metric to affect him.

I’ve heard many ‘A-list’ bloggers state a similar point: Posting everyday, although it may not lead to more comments, leads to more subscribers, profits, etc.

Am I saying with this that you should post every day?

No, of course not. Personally, I can’t imagine myself posting every day, it honestly, at least at this point, doesn’t interest me at all.

Looking Elsewhere for Validation

But what I am saying is that our need for ‘comment validation’ and our search for ‘big numbers’ should never get in the way of our ability to meet the other goals we’ve set as bloggers.

For some of you, those goals may be many, with financial gain being a center component.

For others, commenting and discussion may be your only goals. That’s great too.

But know thy self. Know thy goals.

And then do whatever it takes to make those goals and dreams a reality.

Your Turn

OK, I’m going to ask a tough question here because it’s one of those ‘introspective’ types, but I’d love to know your thoughts: As of today, what is more important: Writing to get comments or your other blogging goals? Also, do you feel you need higher comments on your blog to validate you as a writer, thinker, etc? Finally, have your thoughts on comments changed over the time you’ve been a blogger?

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{ 152 comments… read them below or add one }

paul wolfe October 20, 2011 at 10:23 am


Good stuff here – let me give you another story that’s illustrative of another metric that people measure.

On my bass guitar Youtube channel I’m up to about 1.7 million views of my videos. Now YouTube has a really cool set of inbuilt analytics – you can see what territories those viewers are coming from, and what percentage are in what demographic range.

What’s REALLY interesting is that approximately 50% of my views on YouTube are made up of people in the age range 18 to 24. You know how many clients of my main products fall into that age range? (And these products aren’t particularly expensive – we’re talking $127, $187 or a 7 month course at around $67 per month).


So how I try and get YouTube to work is like this:

People find the videos on the Toob via search….then are directed to my website to sign up for some freebies…then I can email them and send them more goodies…and obviously I can then promote my courses when they go live.

And that sequence is working pretty well. Only NOT A SINGLE PERSON in teh 18 to 24 age range is converting into a buyer.

Let me finish by reinforcing your message: it’s absolutely crucial you are clear on your goals and focus on the metrics that matter. If your blog is a part of your business then focus on business goals – AND NOT BLOGGING GOALS!

Incredibly important lesson!



john Falchetto October 20, 2011 at 10:57 am


You did get a mention by Seth though :)


Marcus Sheridan October 20, 2011 at 10:59 am

Really, really interesting stat Paul. In fact, that is kinda crazy to get so many visits in that demographic yet not see fruit. Maybe they’re just scared of an old bugger like you, ehh?

But I think more importantly—business goals vs blogging goals.

It’s easy to get the two all whacky. They should coincide.

It’s a line we all walk, that’s for sure.

Good stuff Paul. Thanks mate,



Cheryl Pickett October 20, 2011 at 10:27 am

First, you mean people aren’t going to come to comment/participate and then knock down the doors to do business with me??? Much to the dismay of some new bloggers, you’re right on with that. I don’t know that everyone will get zero, but expectations do need to be realistic.

I teach that a blog is more often a tool for building credibility which is part of the lead process, but not necessarily does it go: blog visit-lead-sale. It might go: blog, blog, in person visit/phone call, blog, in person, sale. Clearly, the blog was a necessary step.

You are also right in that no matter what marketing tool someone uses, there needs to be a goal set for it. What do you expect it to do within the lead generation or sales process? Is that realistic? How does the tool need to be utilized in order to make that happen?

In my opinion, comments are fun to get (other than maybe the snarky ones) because it’s fun to interact with your community. That is a big part of blogging, at least for me. But are they the be all end all number to measure? Probably not for most people.


Marcus Sheridan October 20, 2011 at 11:03 am

Hey Cheryl, love the way you’re talking here.

I believe a blog is a huge part of lead generation, and the more content a potential client reads, the more likely they’ll make that all-important contact. Does the number of comments act as a social proof? Yes, it does somewhat, but I wonder just how much, ya know? It never seems to be the first thing a lead mentions to me when we talk about how they made the decision to make the contact.

Yes, comments are fun. I really enjoy conversation and healthy debate. But like you, they’re not the end all, especially if the blogger can’t pay his/her bills.

Thanks again for your support Cheryl,



Cris@Flugangst November 14, 2011 at 4:45 am

Marcus, excellent mind. I believe it all goes back to what are your purpose in writing. If the purpose is defeated, expect to get headache. I may look like a hypocrite to some but blogging has been a very good way to impress and convince my client. I can even say that my only tickets to success are my blogs and my honest response to every comments. -Cris

ps. Marcus, congratulations for another beautiful post. Keep it up brother!


Jackie October 20, 2011 at 10:27 am

I totally agree with you. In the beginning, those comments meant everything. But now, while I still love to get comments, I find the emails and actions taken from being inspired by a post are what I look for over the total number of comments.

I absolutely agree with your “blogging maturity” statement… your view of blogging and what’s most important about it definitely changes over time.


Marcus Sheridan October 21, 2011 at 1:28 am

Hey Jackie! So great of you to stop by.

I’m glad you understand what I’m saying here, as some folks have misunderstood this post (which confuses me but alas ;-) ).

Just because we reach a point (maturity) of not being validated by comments doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate the support and interaction. They are two very different things.

But continued success with growing your blog Jackie!!



Eugene @ Content Strategy October 20, 2011 at 10:29 am

You stole my thunder! Although I’ll probably still end up writing something :)

I dawned on me that comments usually come from other bloggers/business people using the commenting platform either for backlinks or to try to expose their own sites to new audiences.

People that become paying customers are often newbies that don’t necessarily like to comment or even know that they should.

Commenting has become a bit of an incestuous process in the blogosphere. That is unless you write something politically divisive, like I did on Dino’s blog last weekend, and get people riled up. But that’s a whole different story.


Eugene @ Content Strategy October 20, 2011 at 10:40 am

And just to throw in another point…

I’m hoping to match the number of subscribers to my new blog and my old blog within 3 weeks of existence of the new one. The new one will also probably get more traffic than the old one within the first month of existence.

There are very few comments and I don’t care.

A lot of this success is due in part to people like yourself and Paul who took the time to participate in my interview series, of course…so thank you.

Some people do take a look at the number of comments on a blog as a signal of social proof. But that’s why I took the comment count off of the front page of the blog (plus those people are usually other bloggers).

That just set of a lightbulb…

How do you think getting rid of comments altogether would fare? Possibly just stick a contact form at the bottom of each post? Hmmm…


paul wolfe October 20, 2011 at 10:46 am


Personally I’d leave the comments on for several reasons:

1) It allows you to create relationships – even with other bloggers! (and you’re spot on there about who the commenters are I think!).
2) The comment sections allows other people to give you instant feedback on your ideas – so it’s a valuable source of information.
3) I often get post ideas from comment threads either on my blog, or on other blogs (often here actually! Had at least 4 posts that sprang from comments I left here).

But that’s my two cents. It would be an interesting experiment – so if you do it, make sure you record the results!



Marcus Sheridan October 20, 2011 at 11:10 am

I have found all 3 of those to be VERY true Paul, good points.


Marcus Sheridan October 20, 2011 at 11:09 am

Some major bloggers have done just that Eugene, and it seems to have worked out for them. Godin doesn’t do comments. In his mind, he doesn’t want the distraction and prefers personal emails. Corbett Barr made waves when he turned off comments as well.

As for me, I think comments can have a strong indirect value. They help build relationships, especially with fellow bloggers, and those relationships can lead to other wonderful opportunities. I’ve experienced that quite a few times.

Good question though Eugene, and I’d continue to look at that if I were you, if you feel it may help you reach your goals.


Eugene @ Content Strategy October 20, 2011 at 11:18 am

Yeah, I can’t argue with any of the points here. I’m just thinking purely experimentally, I wonder what the effect would be.

I’m by no means at Seth Godin’s level…he can afford to do whatever he wants. I can’t…yet. :)

I’ve stopped commenting as much all around because I just don’t think there’s as much value in it as I thought originally (and don’t have the time). So I don’t expect others to do something I don’t do myself.

Of course I always stop by here, and Paul’s blog, because you guys actually make me think and every time I read your stuff I get an idea…like this getting rid of comments for instance.


Marcus Sheridan October 20, 2011 at 11:06 am

People that become paying customers are often newbies that don’t necessarily like to comment or even know that they should.

Unless you’re blogging about blogging (not business blogging mind you), that’s exactly what I have found as well Eugene.

Commenting has become a bit of an incestuous process in the blogosphere.…Dang bro, now that’s a strong statement, sounds like you may need to write an article about it my friend. ;-)


Al Smith October 20, 2011 at 10:36 am

Thanks Marcus. This is so true. I think we (me) get caught up in the numbers sometime (ego). Bottom line is figure out your goals and whats important to you. Focus on what you are doing (not others) and take the appropriate action to make that happen. Ok, I guess i should heed that advice myself. ha !

Thanks again brother.



Marcus Sheridan October 20, 2011 at 11:11 am

We get caught up in the numbers Al??? No way man!!!! ;-)

It’s tough not to, ya know? But I think if we can separate ourselves from the ego side of this, and embrace our main goals, we’ll end up much, much better for it.

Good stuff man, and great seeing you.



Danny Brown October 20, 2011 at 10:52 am

Like Al Smith mentions in his comment, the numbers that matter to you are the ones you make matter.

In the last 18 months, I’ve received 27 leads and 15 clients from comments on the blog. This may be from replying to a contrary viewpoint, and that’s led to new thinking and goals for a reader, who turns out to be a company CEO and needs a service relating to that new goal.

It makes sense that you receive less comments when you blog more, since you don’t allow time in-between posts for readers to catch up. Or, you can grow stale, and not have a post that encourages comments (this isn’t a given, just an observation).

Like any blog post, the content defines the reaction, whether that’s a comment, social share, lead, follow-up email or something different.

So, yes, value in all aspects of blogging, and you define how that value shows itself.


Marcus Sheridan October 20, 2011 at 11:13 am

Hmm, those stats are very, very interesting Danny. Tell me, what did you do in terms of leads the previous 18 months? Why do you think there was such a difference (if there was one)? I’d love to chat more about how you’re doing this, because are fields are somewhat similar.


Eugene @ Content Strategy October 20, 2011 at 11:22 am

Leave it to Danny to flip everything on its head. Now what do I do?!? :)


Danny Brown October 20, 2011 at 11:25 am

Hi mate,

The big difference was two-fold:

1. Cutting out the generic from my posts, and not writing about the same things many other bloggers in my niche were writing about (you kindly wrote about that yourself on here earlier this year, mate, cheers!). Potential clients could see what they would be “letting themselves in for”, and that they wouldn’t be sugar-coated; and that approach gives them comfort that results will come, and strategies changed if something’s not working.

2. Opening For Bloggers By Bloggers – we’ve received blog education projects; corporate blog projects; blogger outreach projects; etc, because of the resources we put on there on a daily basis. Sharing what we’ve done and how others can do the same has led to some great leads.

These two additions / approaches have played a big part in the leads. Hopefully there’s more to come, as For Bloggers By Bloggers get ready to launch our first premium service. :)


pea October 20, 2011 at 10:57 am

I like comments because it is just another way to connect for me. I’m not sure if I feel validated by them. Long term bloggers know (on the whole) that other bloggers comment for a number of reasons and it’s not always because you are the most wonderful writer. The other thing is that multiple comments act as social proof for those that need it for business purposes.

But darn it I’m going to have to agree with you again as it really is for the blogger to know what his or her goals are and stay on top of that original purpose. This post is very good because it highlights something that I witnessed some time back on a very busy site(s), that comments do not necessarily equal profit, (neither does high subscription numbers), particularly if your audience are mainly other bloggers. One’s goals, marketing, methods and business savvy has to be better refined than merely collecting people. So I think I would add to your ‘know thyself’, know thy audience and know thy income sources.
All very biblical sounding! :)


Marcus Sheridan October 20, 2011 at 11:23 am

Pea, wow, what a great comment here…

One’s goals, marketing, methods and business savvy has to be better refined than merely collecting people.

That is exactly it. Are we sometimes just ‘collecting people’? If that’s the case, and we’re falling short on our other goals (like keeping the lights on), then what the heck have we done other than add stress to our lives?

Like you, I love the connections to be made on the blogosphere, I really do. I think the key, like anything else, is finding that right balance.




john Falchetto October 20, 2011 at 11:12 am

You said the word Marcus. It’s all about goals.

Comments are important because they help you build a community and that’s great. But comment’s aren’t social proof, especially not in business. Go ask Seth Godin. I have clients who have zero comments on their blogs and guess what? They are turned close to a million dollar in revenue last year.

Most of the people who comment on blogs are other bloggers, which also happen to be your peers. So in fact you are speaking to your peers more than your customers.

As we discussed clients don’t have
1- the time to come and comment
2- the familiarity with commenting (especially when systems like Livefyre are in place)
3- don’t see the value in commenting

Great post, comments don’t pay the bills :)


Marcus Sheridan October 20, 2011 at 11:15 am

So in fact you are speaking to your peers more than your customers.

Now that is a profound point John. And a good article as well:

Are you writing for your clients or your peers?

In fact, that probably should have been the title to this post. Dang it! ;-)


Mark Peditto October 23, 2011 at 11:59 am

John, I think you hit it right on the nose. I use my blog as a library for future clients to learn more about my company and the products I sell. I do believe commenting on posts do help validate particular subject matters but it shouldn’t be the main focus. My goal has always been to get customers to my website whether it be paid google adwords or through natural organic means. In 2006 and in 2007 I had no organic search results at all. I paid to play. I paid Google 100,000 a year and grossed 2.9 million in sales from it. That’s a huge return on investment. I now only spend maybe 5 k a year in sponsored search due to my blog showing up organically all over the place. To answer your question my GOAL is to get my future customers reading my blog. Once they have educated themselves I want them to pick up the darn phone and call me for an appointment because they read enough to know they want Artistic Pools in their house. My customers tell me all the time that they read my blog posts but honestly less than 1 percent ever comment on my blog. My goal is to get paid not get comments. I do believe the majority of time spent commenting will surely never turn into dollars. Great points. Marcus start doing some sort of Tony robins videos. I would buy anything from you if you would just ask.


Marcus Sheridan October 24, 2011 at 9:03 am

My goal is to get paid not get comments.

One of the best statements about true ‘blogging for business’ on here Mark. Awesome man.

I think the moment we start writing *just* so we get comments, we’re in trouble. Is it nice when they come and add to the conversation? Heck yeah, but like you, with my pool blog, I never, ever sweat it…and that site gets a decent amount of leads. ;-)

Oh, and thanks for the super kind words to bud,

Chat soon,



Lara Kulpa - Community Manager, Blog World Expo October 20, 2011 at 11:14 am

Great post, Marcus! I discovered long ago (as I’ve been at this blogging jag for quite some time) that while comments are great validation that people are reading you, maybe even that they’re “getting” what you have to say, that a blog itself is worth far more to your business than comments. As is the case with the number of comments are the number of facebook friends or twitter followers you have. People don’t buy popularity these days – they buy YOU. Sure, being popular can help get YOU out in front of more people, thereby making more sales, but if those commenting aren’t telling everyone how smart they think you are, then they’re just telling YOU. :)


Marcus Sheridan October 21, 2011 at 1:33 am

People don’t buy popularity these days – they buy YOU. Sure, being popular can help get YOU out in front of more people, thereby making more sales, but if those commenting aren’t telling everyone how smart they think you are, then they’re just telling YOU.

That, Lara, is one heck of a statement and perspective, and I agree 100%. Yes, indirect sales can happen through the relationships we form online, but unless our posts, as you say, induce action, then we’ve got little to show.

Thrilled you stopped by Lara and hope we’ll chat again in LA :-)



john mirraz October 20, 2011 at 11:15 am

For me blog is a huge part of lead generation, and the more content a potential client reads, the more likely they will make that all-important contact. Does the number of comments act as a social proof? Yes, it does somewhat, but I wonder just how much, ya know? It never seems to be the first thing a lead mentions to me when we talk about how they made the decision to make the contact.


Marcus Sheridan October 20, 2011 at 11:18 am

That’s exactly it John, great point. My swimming pool blog drives about 4 million in business a year, but it gets almost no comments (compared to the traffic it gets).

Of all the pools I’ve ever sold, none has told me it was due to comment sections being full or empty. The same applies to The Sales Lion and any speaking or coaching projects I’ve had.

I think we’re in the same boat man. Is it a social proof? Yes, But just how much, well that is another question.

Thanks for dropping by John! Have a great week,



Farnoosh October 20, 2011 at 11:24 am

How do you read my mind, Marcus? I LOVE getting blog comments and was, like you, obsessed for a while… And I plan to continue replying to all comments – but when you start to run a business, that is just not the biggest priority. And that’s what has happened to us. We are not blogging for hobby anymore – and I am at complete peace with that…. I must say I have had clients come through from guest posts but as to your question, no. I am at almost 9000 comments, so trailing right behind you and validating your data. Great, brazen post as usual!


Marcus Sheridan October 21, 2011 at 1:37 am

It’s uncanny how you and I think so very much alike Farnoosh, and have really followed a very similar career timeframe.

Priorities do change with blogging over time. That’s that ‘maturity’ thing I was referring and I really think if these priorities don’t change, then we’re likely not developing as we should be, ya know?

I see you, pushing to create and produce, and that inspires me.

I’m doing the same. Stumbling around a bit but in the process catching a wave here and there.

This, to me, is being true to our success intuition and not personal ego that can be such a hindrance.

Thanks again Farnoosh for adding your thoughts.



Jack@Web Design Southampton October 20, 2011 at 11:37 am

I agree, comments themselves aren’t really useful in making sales, but that said they’re great way of building social proof. People build trust in things that they know other people are spending time with, which must help convert some non commenters into customers?


Marcus Sheridan October 21, 2011 at 1:40 am

I don’t disagree with regards to the fact they do build social proof Jack, but ‘to whom?’ I think is the question. In other words, folks in the blogosphere come here and see all the comments I get and yes, that’s a social proof. But many of the small to medium businesses out there that read this have no idea, nor even care, that I get the number I do, as their only goal is getting help/value from the posts. Ya know what I mean?

Thanks a bunch for coming by Jack,



John Garrett October 20, 2011 at 11:42 am

You just made me rethink a few things here, Marcus.

Even when I started out and I was desperate for comments, it seemed like people always wanted to email me instead of comment. Truthfully, this really annoyed me.

At one point I even had a message over my contact form that said something like “I appreciate emails but if you want faster response please comment on the article” or something.

It didn’t work. The emails kept coming in. I always responded and helped those people but inside I thought “why won’t you comment and make me look like THE MAN!?!”

But yeah, now that I look at it, every single paying gig or other opportunity came from someone emailing me who didn’t feel the need or desire to comment.

The comments are still fun for me and I want people to comment, but I’m certainly not going to judge my success by them anymore.


Marcus Sheridan October 21, 2011 at 1:43 am

Hey John!

That’s a really, really interesting story man. But as you can see from the article, I can relate. It’s so easy to obsess over comments, but why?

I think if someone can make a clear correlation to achieving their goals in conjunction with number of comments, then by all means go for it. But if one’s goals are rendering services, selling products, etc…then it’s likely a different story.

Are comments fun? Yes, but as I said above, what’s REALLY fun is setting blogging goals in terms of results and meeting those results.

Thanks for dropping by bud,



Deb Ng October 20, 2011 at 11:42 am

I think it depends on the business, Marcus. You sell pools but:

A. I already have a pool.
B. I live in New Jersey which is out of your jurisdiction. ( I don’t know if that’s the case, I’m just assuming.)

Should I stop reading your blog because I don’t want to buy a pool? In a way, you’re saying my comment isn’t so valuable.

For you comments won’t drive sales, and I’m not here to buy. However, they still offer something of value because of all the sharing that is going on. Do you know that I recommend your blog to aspiring community managers to show the right way to respond to comments and grow community?

So the comments do drive sales, but let’s explore what they’ll do:

1. They bring together a wonderful community – many of whom will keep you in mind for the day they will be in a place where they can buy a pool from you…even if it’s not an immediate sale. I believe everyone is a potential client.
2. They are people who come to see your public speaking engagements and through their interaction with you here they know they’re getting value and advice from someone they trust.
3. They are people who can refer you to paying customers.
4. They are friends.

For me it’s kind of different. I’ll say it’s more through my former blog – the one I sold – than my current blog, so let’s use the former blog as the example. I grew that blog into a blog network which became the number one online community for freelance writers. My business wasn’t a location based business like yours, it was a web based business and therein lies the difference.

Through those comments I :

1. Grew my blog from a “blog” into a community.
2. Interacted with what I like to call “potential clients”.
3. Landed paying clients.
4. Met other freelance writers who I ended up collaborating and sharing tips with.
5. Landed a blogging gig, which led to my current full time job.
6. Landed a book deal.

See, everyone has a blog for a different reason. We all enjoy comments and interacting with our communities, but just because one blog’s comments leads to sales, and another blog doesn’t doesn’t mean all comments don’t have value. So your not selling swimming pools but your comments can lead you to a book deal or a very lucrative speaking opportunity. It can lead to a television spot, or some other truly awesome thing. All comments have value, even if it’s not so obvious yet.

We all need comments and it’s not to feel validated. It’s to learn more about our community, and from that knowledge we can work out how we can help each other.

The more the merrier, as far as I’m concerned.


John Falchetto October 20, 2011 at 1:46 pm

Everyone has a blog for a different reason

This Deb is the crux of this whole post. You are right I don’t feel many bloggers would continue to post day in/day out with 0 comments. We all need some validation as bloggers, otherwise we wouldn’t post it online, we would just keep it in a file on our computer.

As a blogger I wouldn’t have progressed as much had I not met other amazing bloggers like Marcus. Commenting on this blog and him coming over to mine built that relationship.

But in themselves commenters aren’t customers. We need to go further, build relationships, meet IRL (I met Marcus at BWENY) and grow a viable business model which extends beyond the blog.

The hidden value of comments sounds like an interesting post to me ;)


Deb Ng October 20, 2011 at 5:01 pm

Here’s what I’m thinking when I’m reading Marcus’ post and your comment, John – though I know it’s not true, this is how it reads to me:

“Your comment isn’t valuable because you’re not buying something from me.”

Why do I want to comment now? Moreover, why do I even want to visit your blog. I come by to participate in a conversation with other like-minded people, but now that I know that you only really want me for the sale, why bother visiting the blog at all.

Now. I know you don’t mean this at all and I know you understand the value in building relationships. However, there are people who you don’t meet in real life who are part of this community and want to feel they have value as well.

The value of the comment isn’t hidden. It’s right there in the open. I guess it just depends on how you interpret your community’s participation.


john Falchetto October 20, 2011 at 5:37 pm

Deb, that’s what I meant by the value of the comment.

It doesn’t have a direct material value, like say a client who hires you for x or buys a product for y, but it definitely has a value which probably harder to pinpoint.

I never said comments aren’t valuable, as you know I see comments as relationship builders but not direct income makers.
Everyone who comes to comment brings value, even trolls (as long as they are not abusive, trolls force me to look at my post differently).

I was just making a simple observation regarding what seems to be comment race we often see on blogs and the business model which is actually behind.
Great to discuss this with you and since you are writing on one of my favorite topics (fear) I am off to your blog :)


Marcus Sheridan October 21, 2011 at 2:03 am

This was a great and well thought out comment Deb, and I love how you laid out the steps to your success.

Do we all need comments(as you say)? I don’t know about that Deb. Godin says no. He forms and learns about his community through email and other means.

Corbitt Barr says no because it allows him to write without trying to please his community and what they do or do not want to hear.

Those are just two examples. Are they right? Yes, they are, for them.

Are they right for you and me? No, they’re not.

Hence the need to customize. What you explained above was a business model that worked for you and your brand. I’ve followed the exact same model, which has lead to similar things, like speaking opportunities that I would not have had without the relationships I formed with my community.

But that wasn’t the point of this article.

Not to be redundant, but the final paragraph states my point:

But what I am saying is that our need for ‘comment validation’ and our search for ‘big numbers’ should never get in the way of our ability to meet the other goals we’ve set as bloggers.

For some of you, those goals may be many, with financial gain being a center component.

For others, commenting and discussion may be your only goals. That’s great too.

But know thy self. Know thy goals.

Here are some absolute facts of the blogosphere:

1. Many bloggers get extremely depressed because they don’t get enough comments.
2. Many bloggers, once they start getting comments, find they are writing more for the commenters and less for themselves and “the other 99%”
3. Many bloggers start a blog to make money as their core goal, but end up getting completely focused in on the commenting community, which then (at times) distracts from said goal because they’re busy ‘talking’ but not creating or doing. (Again, it goes back to goals)
4. Many bloggers base their feeling of self-worth on comments.
5. Many bloggers comment for hours on other blogs just because they’re trying so hard to have reciprocity, which (at times) hinders their ability to write/produce/learn/etc.

Do the 5 things above make comments bad? No way, but I wrote this article to get people refocused on their blogging goals.

I haven’t told them what their goals should be, I’m just asking them to *remember* them and not get distracted.

If you look at some of the other comments here, I think you’ll find there are many people relieved with the fact that I’m saying, “Hey, if comments don’t fit your blog’s goal and business model as a moral imperative, it’s OK.”

I hope I’m making sense here Deb. I’m spending extra time on this because it concerns me you think I don’t like or want or value comments. As I mentioned in the post, I clearly do.

Thanks again….we should debate this more in LA ;-)



Deb Ng October 21, 2011 at 7:20 am

First things first Marcus, I don’t think you don’t like or value comments. Nope. Don’t think that at all. What I do think is that someone who isn’t part of this community or hasn’t sat down and had a beer with you as I have, will read this and think you don’t care for comments or the thoughts and views of the people leaving them. Online perception is everything when you’re building your brand.

I do agree with you in that comments mean different things to different people but I don’t know if I agree that they don’t drive business or sales. See to me, everyone is a potential customer. They don’t have to buy this second, but the potential is there. For example, I’m not in the market for a pool right now but I might be in a couple of years. I’m a member of this community. Who will I choose? Someone who I don’t know and have no experience with or someone who has taken time to build a relationship with me via the comments on his blog? Through your comments you’ve driven a sale and there is a business model there, even though it’s not immediate.

Now, on the subject of other bloggers. Yes, we do worry a lot about our comments. I can tell you that nothing sucks more than spending hours creating a great blog post but receiving the sound of virtual crickets in returns. For many bloggers comments tell them people are listening and responding and give them a sense of worth.

I don’t believe comments are a distraction from the sale, any more than it was back in the day when community gathered at the general store or barber shop. Yeah, there were days we just came by to chat, but we knew where to buy as well and we went with who we trusted.

Also – how do you know none of your comments led to sales? Maybe someone who lurks was impressed by your community here and was moved to contact your business for a pool.

Can’t wait to see you in L.A!


Chris Johnson October 20, 2011 at 11:50 am

Listen: we get almost zero comments on Simplifilm.

We’ve done six figures – this year – based on people that clicky tracks from the blog to the contact-success page.

So, we blog. I won’t ever care bout that as long as my money is tall.


Robert Dempsey October 20, 2011 at 12:22 pm

Here here Chris! It can totally go both ways, and people don’t always comment due to one fear or another.


John Falchetto October 20, 2011 at 12:44 pm

Chris, you just proved my point, exactly. Comments aren’t a currency.


Brankica October 20, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Not to mention there are people reading our blogs religiously that you never know about. And you get an email saying “I Have been reading your blog for a few months and wanted to ask you something…” – that person never left a comment. So comments alone can’t be a measure of success (which is about what we all agree on, just saying, LOL)


john Falchetto October 20, 2011 at 1:54 pm

I agree 100% with this.
Clients are the ‘lurkers’ not the commenters.
They always email before they leave a comment.


Marcus Sheridan October 21, 2011 at 2:08 am

Well put Chris. In both by companies, the blog is the driving force behind 90% of the leads. Without it, I’d be dead in the water.

So we blog, and let the comments come as they may ;-)

Great stuff man, and great to see you here too.



Debra Ellis October 20, 2011 at 11:54 am

Hi Marcus,

Many of the A-list bloggers promote comments as THE metric to determine the success of a blog. They say it is a measure of your engagement. This may be true for non-business blogs. In my world, people taking the next step to send an email, make a call, or visit the website is a better measurement of engagement.

The blog posts I write that get comments don’t get clients. As in zero, zip, nada, none. Most of the ones that don’t get comments do get emails, calls, and/or clicks (also known as leads.) When I’ve made that point to other bloggers, I’ve been told that I don’t “get” blogging. I can live with that as long as I do get clients. : )

Kudos to you Marcus for being open to listening to John and sharing your experience. And John? Well, you rock. Thank you for sharing your insight.


John Falchetto October 20, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Thank you Debra, one thing comments are useful for is to build relationships with other bloggers who help us understand this online world.
Marcus is a perfect example of someone who has been leading this movement online by sharing his insights with awesome generosity!


Marcus Sheridan October 21, 2011 at 2:11 am

Debra, wow, this was a really, really interesting comment you made. In fact, I think in many ways it’s reflective of the majority (not all, but most) business blogs.

And it really seems like you have a firm grasp on your goals, your intentions, and you allow those things to be your ‘blogging compass’.

Again, great stuff lady!



Robert Dempsey October 20, 2011 at 12:20 pm

There are two groups of people we need to nuture around our businesses:

1. Our ideal customers
2. The people that point to us as an authority, tell others we’re an authority, and share our content as well as engage. These folks will never be our customer but they are very important

So while the commenters might not be our customers I wonder how many speaking gigs and customers you’ve gotten because someone comes to this blog and says “holy monkey nuggets look at how many comments this sales lion guy gets?! We need him for our conference.”

I bet it helps.


Danny Brown October 20, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Point 2 – perfectly stated. :)


John Falchetto October 20, 2011 at 1:24 pm

I think the powerful testimonials on your site say a lot more about your ‘authority’ than the comments from people who are almost all your peers.
Just because a blogger has tons of RT or comments doesn’t mean jack regarding his business skills.
Good point regarding the speaking gigs, do we differentiate selling a personal brand as opposed to selling an online product?


Robert Dempsey October 20, 2011 at 1:28 pm

If someone is going the personal branding route then they have become their product. Either way they have to be marketed :)


Marcus Sheridan October 21, 2011 at 2:14 am

#2 is very, very important Robert. Indirectly, I’ve gotten business because of the relationships I’ve formed during this time. For example, Gini Dietrich got me a speaking gig. From that gig, I will get more customers. So clearly there is a correlation. But I don’t really owe this to Gini commenting on my site, ya know? We are good friends because we support and look out for each other, and want the other to succeed. This could happen without here commenting on TSL.

But great comment man, glad you jumped in this bud.



Danny Brown October 21, 2011 at 5:14 pm

How did you and Gini meet? Was it originally through a blog comment left on either of your blogs, or someone else’s? Or was it different altogether?

If it was through a blog comment, then it could be argued that comment spurred any stuff that’s happened between you, including speaking, etc.

Just a thought.


Marcus Sheridan October 22, 2011 at 12:59 am

It’s a very valid thought Danny, and one to consider.

There is no question this blog, and the relationships I’ve formed from this blog, have blessed me in many ways. When it comes to comments, and how they often lead to stronger community, there is an ‘indirect sales’ portion of all of this that’s pretty difficult to quantify, something I should have done a better job of explaining in this article.

My biggest theme here, which I hope people will remember, is to understand that comments don’t necessarily define success. That each blog is different, which is why me MUST understand our goals. And if we’re losing sleep and stressing over comments….or allowing our desire to please the commenting community to dictate our traffic, then we’re out of tune in my opinion.

Hope this makes sense and appreciate your added thoughts to this conversation my friend.


Danny Brown October 24, 2011 at 10:28 am

Hi mate,

Definitely makes sense, and cheers for the in-depth thoughts. :)


Brankica October 20, 2011 at 12:46 pm

I realized the comment thing a few months ago and stopped sweating about them. Comments aren’t subscribers or clients (generally speaking). In fact, a lot of comments are just link building tools. I had bloggers stop commenting on my blog after I removed my comment luv plugin and that just tells me that one or two comments they left per post were never going to turn them into clients.

I am not chasing subscribers or clients, but I am not chasing comments any more either and it feels better :)

Just snoop around some of the bigger tech blogs that get like 5 comments per post but are full of ads. Guess what – people do click on ads and they do make money.

Of course, my blog like yours isn’t the aimed at making money per se, but it is something to think about when you wonder why didn’t you get 100 comments on a post :)

And if it wasn’t clear from my comment, I don’t think comments or even blogs are the best business model :)


Robert Dempsey October 20, 2011 at 12:52 pm

I’d agree that a blog in and of itself isn’t much of a business model however I think (and have experienced) a blog to be a big piece of a business model. But it’s harder than hell for a blog to be the entire business.


Brankica October 20, 2011 at 12:59 pm

That is the thing – so many people try to make their one and only blog a whole business for themselves!


Robert Dempsey October 20, 2011 at 1:04 pm

Yep. They’ve been sold a faulty bill of goods on that one. Sounds like “information marketing internet marketers” to me Brankica. We all run into them when we start blogging. I think eventually those voices will be drown out by people like you, Ana, Marcus, Danny, Gini, and a ton more people. Hopefully I can help some too.


Marcus Sheridan October 20, 2011 at 3:17 pm

I love your perspective Bran, and I think it’s cool that you and I have gotten to a similar point, with similar conclusions. But that’s what growth is all about, ya know? We’re in the process of developing our business models and they’re clearer now than they’ve ever been, and they’ll continue to get more clear in the future.

Thanks for being such a support bud.



Eric Pratum October 20, 2011 at 1:17 pm

I might not be a customer, but I totally rep for you ;)


Marcus Sheridan October 20, 2011 at 3:14 pm

And one of the best reps ever my man. Seriously appreciate you Eric.



Ameena Falchetto October 20, 2011 at 3:33 pm

I’ve been lurking for a long time on this topic and I have to say that I’ve always questioned the power of the comment vs. ROI. The simple equation has been NADA.

Yes, it’s about goals. What are you trying to achieve? Comments are always awesome, don’t get me wrong. But comments bring comments. The time investment is insane. And something I don’t have time to really give. It’s perfect proof that comments don’t bring in the money. All the people who have commented on my blogs have never become customers – they have become friends, tweeps, or fly by night one night stands. Not a single person became a client.

Comments do not show social proof most of the time. They show that you have a community (which is usually a reciprocal investment). They show that you have die hard fans who have the time to come and big you up, disagree with you etc … The ONLY time I have really seen social proof in comments (which is RARE ) is on my own site when I’ve had clients of a person I’ve #FF on my blog come in and add to the conversation. How does that help me? It doesn’t.

Who are you writing for? Your community? Awesome, maybe we should all add a donate button to our sites then!


Marcus Sheridan October 21, 2011 at 2:17 am

I’m just glad I wasn’t a one night stand Ameena :-)

Have I ever told you I just love the way you put things? No interpretation needed with Ameena Falchetto speaks my friends…..and boy do I like that!

Your final question is what this is all about for me Ameena: Who are you writing for….the 1% or the 99%?

Thanks again my friend,



Ameena Falchetto October 21, 2011 at 3:58 am

Ha! Thanks Marcus … wonder if I should be more subtle and poetic ….

Who do I write for? Anyone who wants to read it! Simple. I don’t get bogged down at this stage with who and why. I write to gain momentum to write more. The more I write the more I grow. Who knows what’s waiting down the road?


Joanne Cipressi October 20, 2011 at 3:46 pm

Hey Marcus,

I don’t get many comments at all on my actual blog. However, I receive many comments on Twitter and other social media sites about my articles which has led to many encouraging friendships. I recently discovered a few people have been sharing my articles regularly on their Facebook feeds and Google+ streams. My clients refer to articles during our sessions and I have also received quite a few clients because of my blog. So while my blog may not attract people who like to comment, it is very good for my business in several ways. So I will keep at it. :)


Marcus Sheridan October 21, 2011 at 2:19 am

No question the blog is key Joanne, and I don’t want that to get lost in this article. Both my businesses get about 100% of their leads from content marketing. Without blogging, I’d have no business.

So yes, keep blogging, and keep finding customers through it. Because ‘getting customers’ is your goal, that’s all that really matters.



Nic Cartwright October 20, 2011 at 4:21 pm

No comment


Jack @ TheJackB October 20, 2011 at 4:38 pm

The number one complaint I receive about my blog is that I update too frequently and consequently people have a hard time keeping up.

I am good with that. You don’t last at this unless you love it and the writing is something that I love. You can’t always predict which posts are going to be the most successful. I blogged about how to make a hard boiled egg and received a ridiculous number of comments and traffic.

Comments are not good social proof. No one wants to dig through a 100, 200 or 400 comment post to determine how many comments were made by the same people or whether they advanced the conversation.

The lurkers are always there…watching and reading. If you provide value and substance the readers will continue to show up.

I don’t need comments to make me feel good about my posts but I would never turn them off either because they do help to build community. They do help provide ideas and insight and help to humanize you and your readers.


Marcus Sheridan October 21, 2011 at 2:21 am

I think your example of ‘following your own gut and not letting readers dictate content’ is one of the best I’ve ever seen Jack. I’m not just saying that either man, but I’ve seen that about you and it impresses the heck out of me. Come what may, JackB writes for JackB…and then anyone else that wants a ride can get on.

Well done friend,



Michael Schechter October 20, 2011 at 4:44 pm

Makes sense… those commenting are far more likely to be people who look to DIY where those who are reaching out want you to DIFT (Do it for them). That said, I have a feeling that the reaction drives the people to jump into the contact form.

While they may not be the same groups, something tells me that one helps the other (and don’t get me wrong, I also think the content speaks for itself).


Marcus Sheridan October 21, 2011 at 2:25 am

Commenters do help with a blog because often times they are some of the best promoters and such. I do think they are very important in many, many ways. Plus, the conversation is great. But the problem, which is the point of my post, is that if a blogger/business person is writing solely for the purpose of pleasing the commenters or getting more comments, then they’re messing up, which is why this whole conversation comes back to goals, goals, goals.

But alas, ask a blogger their main goals and usually the answer is so vague that you can see why they are so easily swayed from one day to the next.

Thanks for dropping in bud.



Danny @ Firepole Marketing October 20, 2011 at 4:44 pm

Hey Marcus, thank you for publishing this – I’ve been wondering about exactly this for a while now.

The comment counts on Firepole Marketing have dropped significantly, but traffic is up, opt-ins are up, and revenues are way up. But I kept feeling like maybe this is a warning of a coming problem.

I guess not? :)


Danny @ Firepole Marketing October 20, 2011 at 4:45 pm

But actually, a question – does it look bad that comments on more recent posts are way lower than on some older ones? Do you think we should turn comments off altogether?


Marcus Sheridan October 21, 2011 at 2:27 am

Dude, I’m so glad you asked this DAnny. I think the only thing that should matter is that you’re reaching your goals. I know you have them listed, so where does # of comments fall?

Do I think you should turn them off? No, would not. But that just means that if they’re not your ‘end all’, then you don’t allow low numbers to affect your mood, direction, goals etc.


Danny @ Firepole Marketing October 21, 2011 at 9:18 am

That’s the thing – it depends on whose set of goals. If you’re asking Danny Iny the business person, entrepreneur, and marketing strategist who wants to grow a business and help entrepreneurs be better at business, and better as people, then number of comments isn’t particularly important.

But if you ask Danny Iny the guy who wants to be popular and for everyone to like him, then number of comments is pretty important.

I guess I need to decide who’s going to be running the show…


Marcus Sheridan October 21, 2011 at 12:09 pm

Now that is getting to the core of the matter my friend. I’d love to know what you decide bud.



Danny @ Firepole Marketing October 21, 2011 at 12:22 pm

I think I’m going to be disciplined and stay the smart business person. If you see me slipping back to high-school, please give me a kick in the butt! :)


Jake Black October 20, 2011 at 9:55 pm

You know, why don’t we take a positive way to overlook the situation? When those 10,000++ people commented on your blog, didn’t mean they’re your customers, but it also didn’t mean they didn’t talk about your blog to their friends or else. And then those people were actually contacted you later on and became your customers. Well that’s just my opinion. :)


Marcus Sheridan October 21, 2011 at 2:33 am

Jake, you’re not off at all. There is plenty of value , especially indirectly, in comments. Actually, better said, there is value in the relationships that can come from comment interaction.

That being said, my main point here is that bloggers shouldn’t feel this huge need to be validated by comments if they are reaching their goals in other areas, and this also means we, as writers, shouldn’t write for comments, but rather for customers. If the two coincide, then great, if not, then it’s OK if we don’t break the comment bank every time.

Thanks so much for stopping by man, apreciate it!



Kim Davies October 20, 2011 at 11:08 pm

Hi, Marcus.

I really get what you mean about the need to mature and not worry too much about comments, because they don’t exactly bring in the clients. Comments are just there for relationship purposes and we should not be so gung ho about how many we get for a post.

I don’t really get that much comments on my blog (except when Bill came over to guest post), but I don’t mind. I am still trying to find my way around how to make it work for our company. And, the break I took lately (due to health problems) made me realize that I need to rethink the strategy I have been taking for it.

Although we are not lacking for any clients, I know that the blog I am running is not in any way instrumental inn that. In fact, our company’s main website needs a great deal of work as well. So, I really am not worrying about comments now. What I am worrying about is what content I could write that would not show my total ignorance of 3D renderings that could rope in more people who are interested in having 3D renderings done, instead of the sometimes personal stuff that I am dishing out now which are of now consequence to the people we wish to do business with.

Now, that I have that realization out of my noggin, I have to figure out a way to change things up…

Thanks for this article, Marcus. It seemed like you were reading my thoughts this week. :)


Raj October 21, 2011 at 12:32 am

Blog comments are a pain when you have to reply to every single comment or comment back on their blogs. That’s when it takes a lot of time and resources. But when people come and leave comments on your site, it adds to the content. Search Engines do look at the comments as well.


Tom Ewer October 21, 2011 at 5:01 am

Hey Marcus,

I am guilty of dreaming of comment-ridden posts, but I have got to the stage where I recognize that such an event does not actually make my blog successful. Only a very small percentage of readers ever actually comment on blogs, so unless you consider appealing to the 5% of your readers that actually comment a complete success, you’re not doing yourself justice.

There is no doubt that great things can come of comments (healthy debate and mutually beneficial relationships, for instance), but they are far from the be all and end all. And at the end of the day, there are far better ways of measuring the success of your blog.


Tom Ewer October 21, 2011 at 9:01 am

You’ve inspired me to write an article actually…now I know what my Monday post is going to be!


Marcus Sheridan October 21, 2011 at 12:20 pm

Love it when that happens buddy (remember the ‘induce action’ point above,that’s what I’m talking about!)


Daniel M. Wood October 21, 2011 at 7:31 am

Hey Marcus.

As usual, great article.
I do think comments are good, since they show your visitors that others are paying attention. They become social proof.

But the difference between 100-400 comments per post are probably not very noticable. 100 comments is impressive enough.

I love getting emails from customers about how I have helped them improve and reach their goals.

But not even them have been very valuable customers, they just use my free information.
The best customers have been the silent ones, the ones who read every article and wait for the next but don’t give me feedback.


Marcus Sheridan October 21, 2011 at 12:29 pm

Hey Daniel, it is an interesting phenomena, isn’t it?

Yes, comments are nice. We can all agree on that. But even nicer is reaching our goals…whatever they may be.

Keep rockin bro,



Erica Allison October 21, 2011 at 8:04 am

Completely agree with you and John, here Marcus. I shifted my content about a month ago. My comments went down, but my business went up. Part of that had to do with who comments (Folks that are living in this world every day) and who I do business with (Folks not living this online world everyday, but looking for insight as they fly through). Because I was writing for that second group and they typically don’t comment on blogs, I saw a dip in commenting, but an increase in leads. Because the content was more mundane to my usual suspects and friends, they didn’t comment. That’s ok. Same goes for my falling Klout score. :)

Spot on, Marcus. Got to focus on what’s important and drives business, WHILE balancing our community engagement and relationships. Even though you have tremendous insight into who visits your blog and where they come from, we often times do not know what the tipping point is for the lurkers, visitors and others who never comment but refer business to us. Keep up the good work, Marcus!


Marcus Sheridan October 21, 2011 at 12:21 pm

This is what I so love about your comment Erica—you really GET what I’m trying to say.

I’m not saying here that comments are bad. I’m not saying community isn’t important.

What I’m saying is we need to know our goals, understand them clearly, and then write our content in line with said goals.

You seem to have now found that balance and the fruit speaks for itself.

Thanks so much for leaving this comment Erica, I appreciate you!!



Matt Mansfield October 21, 2011 at 9:08 am


Great post and right on the mark when talking about online business goals. I speak about this a lot in my upcoming book, with the key point being, “If an online tactic does not move you closer to achieving a business goal, it’s not worth spending either time or money on it.”

Thanks for illustrating this in such a clear manner!



Marcus Sheridan October 21, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Hey Matt! I think that’s a tremendous point you’re making in your book.

When all is said and done, all of this can be answered by a single question:

Does it help you reach your goals?

Thanks for pointing this out brother,



Mark October 21, 2011 at 9:18 am

I don’t really thing of blog comments as a lead generation technique.

That’s what squeeze pages and landing pages are for.

Blog comments play an entirely different role for a blog or article directory and those are:

1) Valuable User Generated Content (UGC) added to your blog by informed contributors…provided it’s keyword-rich.
2) Increased pinging keeping your posts fresh in search engine results. Great SEO value there.
3) The appearance of a healthy community. People like to come to a blog that looks like a bustling metropolis as opposed to a “ghost town”

…but, as a lead generation technique…never thought of it as that, personally, being that it almost always consists of other marketers looking to network/brand/market their own operations.

Mark :)


Jason Diller October 21, 2011 at 9:44 am



Marcus Sheridan October 21, 2011 at 12:13 pm

Mark, wow man, those are 3 really great benefits that I likely should have mentioned in the article. So glad you brought them up sir. :)

Thanks for stopping by bud and hope your weekend is a great one,



Kaarina Dillabough October 21, 2011 at 9:19 am

“When the student is ready, the teacher appears.”
There are no coincidences in life.
How is it that the exact information you need, appears when you need it?

Marcus, this post is so timely, as I am reconsidering and reconfiguring my online presence.

My goals for the first 6 months were very clear. Simply to write, to silence the self-editor in me. Mission accomplished.

Now, I need to appeal to my customers, not just my associates and friends. Do I love comments on my blog? Absolutely. Do I want them to continue? Yes, yes, yes! But my goals have shifted, and so too my strategy.

Thanks for this most timely post. I guess the student was ready:) Cheers! Kaarina


Marcus Sheridan October 21, 2011 at 12:08 pm

Boy do I love that phrase Kaarina—’To silence that dead editor in me’. —that’s one of the best I’ve heard in a long time.

I’m so very glad this post helped you some. It was hard to explain my feelings on this in a way that folks understood my position. Many have taken this like ‘Marcus doesn’t want comments’. I never said that. I just said that I don’t validate success anymore by comments, and that bloggers need to understand their goals and priorities so that they don’t fall in the potential ‘comment trap’.

Will that be taken from this post? I’m not sure, but at least I know a few people have clearly benefited, which makes me quite happy Kaarina.

Thank you!



Adam Sokoloff October 21, 2011 at 9:23 am

Hey Buddy, I love it! There certainly has been some great healthy discussions on the topic lately and I think you’ve nailed it!

Before I started my personal branding blog, I wrote an article for another blog regarding why I don’t care if my B2B blog ever gets a comment again. It was directed at my own business and the great success we’ve enjoyed, even with getting hardly a comment. I’m figuring it’s the same for you over at River, and you’ve had awesome success with your inbound efforts there!

It is nice to have the some comments. It may be self serving to an extent, but it gives us satisfaction that someone is listening and engaging. We should be fully satisfied with the traffic and leads and $$$, but the comments become permanent affirmation of a job well done.

Nicely done! -Adam


Marcus Sheridan October 21, 2011 at 11:56 am

I don’t care if my B2B blog ever gets a comment again.…..Oooooo, love that man, bet it got a reaction.

I know you can appreciate what I’ve said here Adam. River gets huge traffic on the blog without a ton of comments. That doesn’t mean the community isn’t strong nor does it mean people aren’t converting..

And that’s my point: Success through blogging comes in many, many different forms. I just hope everyone remembers that.

Thanks again bud,



Marcia Hoeck October 21, 2011 at 9:45 am

Wow, Marcus, really interesting thread you’ve got going here. And a brave post, for sure. Enough to make even me, a confirmed lurker, comment.

I gave up trying to get comments on my blog a long time ago, when I realized that going for comments was a job in itself. My clients are business clients and I know they’re lurkers too. When I started hearing from their mouths & emails that they’d been reading my blog for a year or 6 months and were inspired by it and I knew they had not once commented, I figured, what’s the point? I just got myself out of the “social proof” conversation and consoled myself with the fact that people WERE reading it, and my proof was in the dollars.

That’s not to say I don’t enjoy the occasional comment I do get, but I also love also knowing the lurkers are out there, who, like me, are soaking up the good stuff. And the magic of knowing that my blog is silently influencing them — and when they finally do contact me to work with me, it’s all the more rewarding. Kinda feels like I have secret admirers when one of them reveals themselves. So I keep writing.

Anyway, that’s my take on it. And Marcus, I love how open you are about your revelations and what you learn as you grow in your business. This one is sort of a hot potato and you met it head on. I like that about you.


Marcus Sheridan October 21, 2011 at 11:53 am

I gave up trying to get comments on my blog a long time ago, when I realized that going for comments was a job in itself. My clients are business clients and I know they’re lurkers too. When I started hearing from their mouths & emails that they’d been reading my blog for a year or 6 months and were inspired by it and I knew they had not once commented, I figured, what’s the point? I just got myself out of the “social proof” conversation and consoled myself with the fact that people WERE reading it, and my proof was in the dollars.

Marcia, there have been a lot of comments on this post. Most people frankly didn’t understand my point to this article. Some did. YOU not only understood it, but you’ve lived it.

Social proof has a million different forms. Yours is in results and dollars. That’s wonderful and I’m glad you’ve made peace with that fact.

We’re all different. We all have different models. It’s important we don’t forget that, which is exactly why I wrote this post.

You rock Marcia, and I so appreciate this thoughtful comment.



Mark October 21, 2011 at 11:00 am

Hi Marcus…

Firstly; another question you must ask yourself: How many people have become customers or will become customers as a result of reading the comments on your blog…?

Potential clients get a first hand opportunity to see your interactions online and observe your professionalism, expertise, experience, knowledge, approachableness, kindness, thoughtfulness (social footprint) and everything else displayed in the comments, yes?

I’m sure as you grow your social media/ inbound marketing consulting business, your blog (especially those 10,862 comments/conversations), will have a big impact securing new clients and growing your business well into the future.

The work you’ve done and the folks who’ve interacted with you on your blog have contributed significantly to your rise as an authority on social media/ inbound marketing – - and for the most part, they are not your customers.

Do you think people would be sharing your content and promoting your work as much, or at all if they didn’t have the opportunity to get to know like they have on the COMMENT section of this blog? I sincerely doubt it.

This will prove to serve you and be invaluable to your business endeavors online. These are the folks who are basically sharing the crap out of the valuable content you serve up daily that will reach MANY of your new clients searching for someone to help them. I would be happy to wager with you on this statement???

To believe you don’t or won’t get customers from masterful hard ass work you’ve invested in being a diligent commenter is a big miscalculation.

Commenting and displaying who you are to the world would certainly be a key ingredient in any online business model I would suggest to someone if the goal was to be an authority on something… You could have gotten where you’re at eventually without this piece – - but in your case, you would still have needed to climb another 10,862 ft. to conquer the mountain.

Just sayin…


Marcus Sheridan October 21, 2011 at 11:47 am

Mark, I love ya buddy. This was great. And I very much appreciate your words.

To be honest man, and this is where I failed in writing this post, I really didn’t write this post so much for me.

In other words, the only thing I’m doing differently these days is I’m not allowing the number of comments a posts gets to dictate my feeling of success/failure with said post—and instead allowing for the personal emails and actions induced to be the key indicators.

That being said, I wanted the thousands of other bloggers out there that are living and dying by comments to relax a little and refocus in on their core goals.

I know that without this community, my brand will suffer and with it indirect opportunities, like speaking at events and other places like that.

So no wager necessary bro. Community is always a core here at TSL, as it is for many blogs/businesses. But even comments don’t always indicate the strength of a blog nor its community. Is it an indicator? Yes, but there is still much more, which is a message I don’t want folks to forget.

Oh, and lest I forget—I write what’s on my mind. The stuff I’m thinking about. I knew some folks wouldn’t like this piece. Nor would they understand it. Heck, I don’t fully understand it myself, which is why I needed to write about it I guess. ;-)

Cheers bud,



Mark October 21, 2011 at 1:29 pm

Good stuff Marcus… as you know, I do have ADD tendencies – I latch onto a certain thought and go wild with it; maybe off topic in many cases.

I love your work and who and what you stand for – thanks for tolerating me : )

Cheers to Marcus : )


barbara October 21, 2011 at 11:04 am

OY! Since my primary blog is not a business blog I should probably just stay out of this. But, I can’t. I have been mulling over something that Penelope Trunk said, in her interview with Steve that you shared, and trying to make sense of it. She said if you’re a writer you don’t need a community on your blog.

Deb says the opposite and I agree with Deb. I’m not selling anything directly except myself and my words. Every writing blog promotes building a platform for your book. I believe that platform would be your community.

I also believe people like to do business with people they trust. You are building trust here and I, as well as many others who’ve commented on this post, have recommended you and your blog to people I know that can learn from your example. That may lead to more speaking engagements or perhaps a book… not just an eBook, (not that there’s anything wrong with that) but a hard cover best selling book on sales.

Just my 2 cents worth.


Marcus Sheridan October 21, 2011 at 11:33 am

Hey Barb, always great to see ya lady!

The point of my post here was about two things:

1. What are your blogging goals/priorities?
2. Are you allowing your need for comment validation to affect the content you’re producing?

Personally, I think community is a big, big deal, and this article does not question that at all. (Which I obviously didn’t explain very well, so my fault there).

I have made many, many relationships through this blog. I’ve made relationships by commenting on and supporting other blogs as well. These relationships have helped me and made connections that were very, very important. They’ve also helped my brand and ability to do things like you mentioned(speaking, books, etc).

But the fact remains is that many bloggers are very much obsessed with comments, and allow their feeling of self worth to be dictated by said # of comments. This, IMO, is not a good thing.

I wanted to write this to help folks remember their goals. If your blog is community centric, like mine is, then comments will hopefully be a result. But again, they should not be the ‘end all’.

Hopefully that makes a little bit of sense.

Thanks again Barb. :)


Diana October 21, 2011 at 11:37 am

Leave it to Falchetto to reduce it down with such clarity.

I picture you, John, as the guru of us expats. Given, of course, that gurus are actually allowed to have gorgeous, funny hot-mama wives. Are they?

While I’ve never done a statical analysis, I would say that I get a good amount of B&B leads from my blog. Most are not commenters, they are people who write me emails to inquire about availability, saying that they were reading my blog, which led them to my website. If I were to make an offhand guess, I’d say 10% of my B&B inquiries come through the blog.

The whole blogging thing is still a big, nebulous blob out there that I really don’t understand, to be honest.

I started the blog as a platform for getting a book published, and sometimes I get a good amount of commenters. I write things that are atmospheric and thoughtful, or at least I try. There is a certain genre of reader that responds internally to this kind of writing. And it seems to help my B&B leads, so I continue on, knowing I could somehow do better, but being stymied and frustrated about it, at least sometimes. Part of being an expat in the hills is that you think things through too much alone, at least it’s that way for me.

Which brings me to something else. No, Marcus, I’m probably not going to buy a pool from you. I don’t know if there will be a time in the future where we could exchange on a business-service level. That being said, I trust you. While I understand that comments don’t always bring clients, not for every segment that people blog in, it is through commenting that I was able to receive some very clear advice from you. So there’s real value in that for me. Now, if someone were to ask me for advice on inbound marketing or on pools for that matter, I’d send them your way. It’s marketing on a secondary level. Is it worth it for all the time you spend answering comments to develop secondary, indirect marketing channels? Maybe not. I think up to this point with the Sales Lion you have been developing good will.

This might be the point in time when there’s enough good will that the commenting cycle is simply way more work than it’s worth. You’ve done a superb job at it, and I think for you, personally, letting go of it would be a little like letting go of a child’s hand. I can’t imagine you NOT responding to comments (which might be a bit of a problem, your being a nice guy working against you? I dunno).

I am going to go with Mark Harai above and say that the commenters have helped propel you into an opinion maker (deservedly so, imo) The position you have in the blogosphere was cultivated through your commenter community. At that is TRUE value, and was worth every minute of time it took for you to get there. The question is, can you maintain opinion maker status and not dedicate every free moment you have to responding to comments?

hmmmmm. On that note, have a great weekend….


Marcus Sheridan October 21, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Diana, have I ever told you that you were amazing with words?

Uhhm, you’re amazing with words. :-)

I think in some ways I failed to accurately communicate my thoughts with this article. Part of that is because once I go over 1000 words, I get nervous, but this is something I need to improve on.

I really wrote this post for all those folks out there that live and die with each comment and allow this form of validation to hinder their happiness and often times push them to stop writing (which really makes me sad).

I value the community here. I value the comments as well (the two are not one in the same, although they relate). The people here, like you, add major value to the conversation, and you also spread the word to your amazing network of friends and acquaintances. This further builds my community and the opportunities that come with each new face, connection, etc.

So I’ll always try and do my best discussing things with the community here. But I also want myself, and others, to keep constant track of their goals and not allow their need for ‘comments’ to dictate any future content or inspiration.

Hopefully that makes sense Diana, and hopefully you know how much I always so appreciate the things you say here as well. :-)



leon Noone October 22, 2011 at 8:47 am

G’Day Marcus,
Here’s another way of looking at this. Everyone who comments is a client in the sense that you’re providing a service to them by writing posts that they wish to comment on. They simply don’t pay for the service. This applies particularly to regular commenters.

The moment they lose interest in your posts they’ll stop commenting and cease to be your clients.

Turning these non-paying clients into paying customers is a separate issue. To do so, you need to provide a product or service that they’re prepared to pay for. In your case. it may be something other than a swimming pool.

For instance, your business insights and experience may be saleable. It’s only a question of how.

Could be great fun too.



Marcus Sheridan October 24, 2011 at 9:19 am

You bring up a very, very good point Leon that no one has really talked about here, and that’s the ‘solution’ of ‘selling’ to the commenters. What’s funny though is that I’ve never been the hard sell type like you see with so many online. I’ve always loved this community, the commenters, and enjoyed the conversation and what I’ve learned. It has also drastically improved my network. Notwithstanding, there have been times when I let # of comments dictate my feeling of ‘blogging worth’. Looking back on those days, I understand how and why they happened, but my biggest key to writing, at least at this point in my blogging ‘career’, is to make sure I’m writing to meet my ultimate goals, not writing just for a sheer number at the bottom of a post.

This being said, I hope you understand how much I love your witty wisdom and thoughts here on TSL. You’re one of my oldest supporters (in terms of how long you’ve been reading, not in terms of the white hairs on your beard ;-) ) and I’m extremely grateful to you whenever you’re kind enough to take moments to add to the conversation and make others smile while you’re doing it.

Have a great day my friend!!



Jens P. Berget October 22, 2011 at 10:06 am

Hi Marcus,

I have the same experience as John and you, but I don’t look at comments as business (at least not in the short run). I believe that comments is a brilliant way to create strong relationships, and that’s important even though it might not get us new customers. I think that lots of comments is more important as an indirect way to get customers. People will get impressed by your blog and the engagement, and they’ll become customers because you impress them. So, to me comments are still important, and especially as a way to get feedback and as a way to help us improve.


Marcus Sheridan October 24, 2011 at 9:13 am

I agree that comments have value Jens, without question. But my main point here about comments is this: If we worry too much about comment validation, and only write with the intent to ‘get more comments from our commenters’, then there is a good change our inspiration and blog will suffer. Does that make sense?

But please understand I very much appreciate this community. You’ve been such a support and helpful voice over this last year, and I hope you know that.

Have a great week bud,



Jens P. Berget October 24, 2011 at 12:44 pm

Hey Marcus,

Yes, I get your point, and I completely agree :)


Jackie Paulson October 22, 2011 at 4:21 pm

I have to say I will now go look at my stats, and comments, and I bet I have over 10,000 too! I have no business really as of yet…my site just started because I am unable to find work where I have a degree: Paralegal. I am out of money and ideas, so I network and do what I love, reading, writing and doing book reviews. You gave me something to really think about today, thanks ♥ ! Jackie !


Marcus Sheridan October 24, 2011 at 9:11 am

Hi Jackie, so glad this helped and I certainly wish you luck with your blog and writing. It can be tough out there, but if your goals are well defined, and you stay the course, it does pay off.

You take care,



Jackie Paulson October 24, 2011 at 1:27 pm

Thanks Marcus and I am friends with so many on this comment form too…If you have not yet told about Tags and Categories I really need help in that area. Do you do video’s? I bless you ~Jackie


Marcus Sheridan October 24, 2011 at 3:31 pm

Do I do video? Just check out today’s post Jackie, you’ll get your answer there ;-)


Al Spaulding October 22, 2011 at 7:23 pm

Thanks for this post. It just make me think things through a bit differently. was pushing and pushing for more and more comments when my blog is growing just fine with 20-30 comments a post. I avg about 1 personal email ever 2-3 posts and am actually happy with the way its growing. Thanks for reaffirming to me that I am going the right route.


Marcus Sheridan October 24, 2011 at 9:06 am

If you’re getting 20-30 comments per post Al, that’s awesome man. Heck, that’s about what social media examiner gets and they have a mere 110,000 subscribers….yet they’re doing pretty well. ;-)

So yeah bro, you’re going the right route. Just keep plugging away, know who you’re writing to, and allow your goals to be your compass.




Mitch Mitchell October 23, 2011 at 12:41 pm

Interesting stuff here, and of course I’m late to the party again.

It’s an interesting way of looking at things, and when I look at my blogs I can’t overly disagree. My main blog really wants to just drive comments, and though I’d like to get business from it, I know I’m probably never going to.

However, my business blogs have a much different focus and purpose. To that end I have gotten business from one of them and a couple of speaking engagements, but that blogs been around almost 6 years so I’d be pretty pathetic if I’d never gotten anyone to participate. My other business blog has only been in existence since August, has not generated any new business yet but has moved that website up drastically in the search engines and gives me a platform to use as an example for a live presentation I’m giving next week, which could end up helping me attract business. Very much worth it.


Marcus Sheridan October 24, 2011 at 8:59 am

I like what you’re doing Mitch, as it sounds like your different blogs have more defined ‘identities’ and goals, and this is your driving force with each. Very cool.

Like anyone else, I do very much enjoy comments. I appreciate smart thinkers, especially the ones that question the norm (like you). There is major value in that, but at the same time, one most know who they need to be writing to and what their ultimate goals are.

Have a great one Mitch!



Howie at Sky Pulse Media October 23, 2011 at 1:33 pm

I only come here for the cupcakes.


Howie at Sky Pulse Media October 23, 2011 at 1:38 pm

Here is what is important. The goals.

I blog for one reason and one reason only. Do I want more comments? Yes. Do I want more traffic? Yes. But being an irregular poster these days this is harder.

So what do I blog for? Really so I can post the links on my Website front page. That is it.

What does that get me? I want anyone thinking of hiring me as a consultant or strategy can get insight into my views and vision. And then hopefully gain a client.

But this also holds me back. I am a sales guy at heart. What if people read and wonder if I am off my rocker and I never get to prove/sell them on my vision? That is the risk I take. But seriously I don’t want to work with people who don’t have buy in with my vision.

But seriously Marcus you never sold one pool here?


Marcus Sheridan October 24, 2011 at 8:57 am

Exactly Howie. The GOALS are everything. And that was really my point of this article, hoping that folks would have a clearly understanding of said goals, how receiving or writing for comments can affect that, and then what they can do about it.

Thanks for always making me smile brother ;-)

Have a great week,



John Sherry October 24, 2011 at 4:15 am

Well you sure got a lot of comments this time Marcus. I think the comment thing may not work for you now but it’s the way to start, to develop a profile, and to get peer recognition on the blogging scene and be taken seriously. We wouldn’t be talking here otherwise. They are a blog foundation. That said, I too have lots of comments and few ‘conversion posts’ but maybe your posts should/could be used as some kind of landing page with a content based on here’s the issue/problem, here’s what to do, and I’m the guy to help you achieve it i.e. more of a sell of what you offer. Why not? I’m headed that way because I adore having people drop by but I’d rather like them to bring their cheque book too. It’s up to me to give them a reason for that!


Marcus Sheridan October 24, 2011 at 8:55 am

Very, very valid point John. I hope folks that read this article don’t think that I’m anti comments or anti community. Not at all, and like you, I very much appreciate them and relationships do lead to business opportunities, without question.

At the same time, I did want to challenge folks to *know* their blogging goals, understand where comments fit in those goals, and then to run with it.

But great idea man. Thank for all your support and help over the last year John.



Bill Dorman October 24, 2011 at 8:13 am

For what it’s worth, I never look at site visits. Because my blog is just personal, all I have to go on are the comments. If I decide to take my personal blog in a different direction then the measurement and metrics might become important.

When I started my blog I didn’t expect I would be doing business with anybody I am communicating with. It is very similar to the Chamber functions I attend. Since my day job consists of dealing with larger businesses, there is probably nobody at a Chamber function I will do business with. However, I’ll bet somebody at that function knows somebody I want to do business with.

I think it’s a matter of what your goals are. Right now, my goal is to improve as a writer, make new connections, and learn along the way to see what resonates within the community. If it leads to business opportunities down the road then I will certainly capitalize on them. In the meantime, I will continue to grow my business in the traditional way and be in front of the curve when I see social providing an opportunity to maximize my efforts.

That’s my story for today and I’m sticking with it…..


Marcus Sheridan October 24, 2011 at 8:52 am

Hey Bill, great to hear from you bud and I think you understood this article exactly as it was meant to be written: What are your goals.

You gauge your blog by comments and there is nothing wrong with that. Over time, you may be inclined for something different or the exact same, either way, you’re quite aware of what your blog is about, and that’s awesome man.

Keep smiling and have a great week bud,



Stacey Herbert October 24, 2011 at 1:22 pm

Not much to say other than PREACH IT! I don’t know when or what happened when comments became enjoyable, but I felt a sense…of ok…what next! When this feeling became ever present I took a step back and and started to look at my real goals. This was awesome Marcus…however feel free not to reply to this comment :-)


Marcus Sheridan October 24, 2011 at 3:33 pm

Awww, thanks Stacey, that’s awfully nice of you to say.

Yes, if we are making progress as a blogger, there will come a point, in my opinion, when we all say “What is next?”

As I talked about a few weeks ago here, the moment we stop growing and developing as a blogger, we start dying.

Good for you for being willing to take a look at your next level and next set of goals Stacey. I’ll be cheering you on.



Jk Allen October 24, 2011 at 2:41 pm


This post spoke exactly the message I’ve been softly delivering in the blogosphere for the last few months. We even had a very similar conversation a couple weeks ago on this one.

I left a comment on one popular person’s blog about how blog comments take up so much time and I can’t understand how business people have all hours of the day to sit in front of a computer and babysit their blog to reply. The response was kind, but it was no secret that I unintentionally offended. Oops!

I think blog comments are great. I enjoy reading mine and find that many of them add to the overall value of the content.

This past summer, I started to take on new things and found that the reason I couldn’t find much time to work on income generating stuff was because my time was being consolidated by blog comments; responding to comments on my site and leaving comments on others.

As a response I cut my commenting time down to about 10% of what I used to do (completely cutting out about 90%).

I think it’s important to have a balance…but for anyone who is overly caught up in blog comments, should put that same energy into revenue generation.



Marcus Sheridan October 24, 2011 at 3:26 pm

I think you and I have been very much in the same boat on this one JK, as our need to ‘create’ has been calling more and more, and I think it’s a natural (or should be) progression of a blogger as their vision matures.

What I don’t think people understand about what you and I are saying here is that this is not about ‘community’ and ‘relationships’, but rather about goals and validation.

Thanks for all brother,



Josh Sarz October 26, 2011 at 11:36 am

I’ve also realized comments are not everything. I’m new to blogging, and I’m still on the road to learning a lot from everyone. I love the community you’ve built and grown here in your blog. I hope to have that kind of interaction someday on my own blog.

I’ve gotten some comments but I think most of the them are just people wanting to get links, but I approve them anyway, since I don’t have any other comments in my blog yet. The only “real” comment was made by two of my old friends.


Neil Johnson October 29, 2011 at 1:06 pm

Some of us find ourselves thrown into this through necessity and not desire but it quickly becomes an addiction.
I was made redundant last year, just before Xmas.
In this current economic climate, you have to think a little outside the box and I am just starting a site for people who have been made redundant who may be interested in starting an internet business.
I am aiming to pass on the information so they don’t make the same mistakes I did and can save time and money and making money from blogging is one of the skills most people don’t understand.


Jimmy October 31, 2011 at 1:24 am

Hi Marcus,

My blogging goals have always been to build my personal development training business. It is my aim to provide education and value through mybwriting and content to my potential customers. Even if they are just readers looking to improve their lives, it is of great sarisfaction to me.

Blog comments to me are a form of feedback and learning. Sometimes I learn more from comments than writing or reading articles themselves. Commenters might be only one percent of the readership, but it is still valuable information and networking which will lead to more business eventually.


Marcus Sheridan October 31, 2011 at 12:31 pm

No question they are valuable Jimmy. They inspire conversation, further blog posts, deeper thought, etc. Notwithstanding, I do not think a blogger can build a business around them. In other words, the comments are built around the business, not the other way around. This is where I was off at first when I started blogging.

Thanks bud and hope you have a great week,



Sire November 3, 2011 at 12:38 am

Hey Marcus, I do believe this is my first visit here and you can thank Mitch for that ;)

I have always held commenting on a pedestal saying as how it is the lifeblood of any blog and I commend you on taking the time to reply to those who have left one here, something that most of the big boys fail to do because they believe there isn’t any money in it.

Speaking of money, my main blog has accumulated over 21,000 comments over the years, the first post being in August of 08 and I’m pretty sure that some of the money I’ve made over the years was from actual commentators. Naturally it’s a little difficult to know the exact numbers but I know that they exist.

The thing with comments is that they make your blog look alive and I’m sure that the interaction between you and your commentators can actually help you to secure a sale because potential customers can gauge what sort of person you are from them.

As to goals I’m not much one for setting goals but I can say that when I write a post I always aim to deliver a post that entices interactivity. If it makes me some money along the way then that is a bonus.


Mike Holman November 18, 2011 at 11:13 pm

It took me a couple of years to figure this out.

I still love comments, but they just don’t pay the bills.


Marcus Sheridan November 21, 2011 at 10:06 am

Exactly Mike. And good for you for having figured it out, as so many never do. Comments do not equal currency, that is for sure.

Much thanks man,



Rick November 20, 2011 at 11:05 pm

Loved this post. It was actually the inspiration for the last #blogchat

Hat tip to Farnoosh at prolific living for pointing it out to me!


Marcus Sheridan November 21, 2011 at 9:51 am

Thanks so much Rick!

And yes, that Farnoosh is something, isn’t she!




Sam December 10, 2011 at 8:37 pm

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Lisa Angelettie January 28, 2012 at 7:36 pm

This was a great article — and very insightful. While I have always gotten clients, customers and interview requests because of my articles, I still felt “incomplete” because of my comment #s. This puts things in perspective. At the end of the day, I know people are reading because they invest in me — and for me that’s a major goal.


Melanie Kissell February 5, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Terrific conversation going on here, Marcus. I just spent the last 45 minutes reading all the comments — and I don’t usually do that. But this topic grabbed me by the collar! And the comments are awesome.

“Most of the people who comment on blogs are other bloggers, which also happen to be your peers. So in fact you are speaking to your peers more than your customers.”

I agree with John.

And since I’m an affiliate marketer, one thing I can tell you FOR SURE …

From time to time, I’ll include a link to a product or service in my posts. My peers and fellow blogging buddies DO NOT click those links … never, ever.

I’m basically “preaching to the choir”. Not that their voices aren’t angelic or anything …

But “singing” doesn’t equal “sales”. :)


Marcus Sheridan February 6, 2012 at 10:46 am

“Singing doesn’t equal sales.”……Love that Melanie!

Well said my friend!



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