52 responses

  1. Steve Roy
    July 29, 2014

    Whoa Marcus, I love the crusader in you! This post vaguely reminds me of one you wrote a few years ago about a certain blogger not taking action and why building an online community is not enough.

    It’s about sales.

    This post is really interesting to me because I have found myself in the position of defining my online success by the level of engagement on my site. I felt validated and like people cared about my message when they took the time to write about it.

    But I’ve learned that the people who write comments are NOT my customers. And as much as I love comments, they are a terrible indicator of the success of a business.

    I read Dan’s post and he states “a company blog with no comments after years of posting is a fail”. That is ridiculous and has zero merit. Your example of Yale Appliances is testament to that and I’ve personally seen plenty of business sites with little engagement that are killing it financially.

    His point that a company should measure their success by their comments per post is insane. Actually the more I read, the more I’m tempted to write my own post about this!

    It seems that securing a guest posting spot on Moz.com is as easy as having an opinion and using a ton of infographics.

    I’m with you on this one, Marcus. Thanks for sharing this and hopefully this helps prevent people from becoming discouraged about the lack of comments they have. God forbid they quit their business efforts because their comment per post number was only 2!

    • Marcus Sheridan
      July 31, 2014

      Steve, so great seeing your avatar pass by TSL again, thank you man, and a GREAT comment to.

      Onward and upward brother!

      Marcus

  2. Steve Roy
    July 29, 2014

    By the way, if this post doesn’t get at least 20 comments, I will have to consider you and your businesses a complete and total failure :)

    • Marcus Sheridan
      July 31, 2014

      Hahahah, nice Steve!

  3. Jay Baer
    July 29, 2014

    Wow. How did that run on MOZ?

    • Marcus Sheridan
      July 31, 2014

      Yep, that’s the question of the week bud. ;-)

      Appreciate you stopping by bud and look forward to catching up soon,

      Marcus

    • Cyrus Shepard
      August 1, 2014

      Cyrus here. I work on the editorial team at Moz that published this post. If given the chance, I’d publish it again!

      You see, the post may be controversial, but many people have different points of views. There are rarely any absolute “truths” in online marketing. If Seth Godin (as smart as he is) chose to publish comments, he’d find quickly how many people actually disagreed with him :)

      In fact, a lot of very smart people agreed with Dan. The post received higher than average positive feedback, social shares, inbound traffic and, of course, comments. (here’s a full list of stats: http://moz.com/blog/broken-art-of-blogging/stats)

      Of course, a lot of people disagreed with Dan too. The post also received higher than average negative feedback.

      We have a responsibility to explore and publish new ideas. Sometimes those ideas push the envelop, or they aren’t supported by evidence, or they are just plain wrong. It’s easy to judge when hard facts are wrong, but ideas you give more leeway to.

      Sometimes it doesn’t work out. Sometimes it does. Case in point: Two years ago we published a very controversial post that almost everybody hated. It almost broke the record for negative feedback. The post was called “Guest Blogging – Enough is Enough” Turns out the author was 100% right, but way ahead of his time.

      Regardless, I have huge respect for Marcus and the article he published here. It’s a passionate and well-reasoned retort, and perfectly suited to his audience. He also manages to be critical without being mean – something we hugely appreciate (TAGFEE for the win). I’m glad we can have this debate.

      Thanks, Cyrus

      • Jay Baer
        August 1, 2014

        Hey Cyrus. Thanks so much for dropping by, I appreciate it.

  4. Jeremy Abel
    July 29, 2014

    Hi Marcus,

    Thrilled you came across that article and took the time to give it a reality check. My biggest issue with that article was the fallacy that there is one metric to rule them all, and that other pieces of data have essentially no bearing on the success of a blog.

    There’s a popular saying, “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” By attributing a blog’s success to a single metric (even if that metric is just pageviews) is essentially going against that principle. If your first article on answering customer questions didn’t generate comments, would you automatically assume it wasn’t giving people what they want? Of course not. You’d look at the totality of data sources (over time), assess against the purpose of your blog, and then make a decision as to whether or not that article was successful.

    It’s these simple one-off metrics which are backed by “I believe” and “in my opinion” that can lead promising endeavors awry. Yes, it’s HARD to gather and analyze the data, but it’s through these efforts that real insights are discovered, strategies are refined, and smarter decisions can be made.

    Thank you so much for addressing this topic, Marcus, and for sharing all these great examples to back your position.

    Keep changing lives brother.

    Jeremy

    • Marcus Sheridan
      July 31, 2014

      Jeremy, thanks for your thoughts bud. Yeah, the idea of “one metric” is almost always a bad path to go down because the more someone looks at different businesses, the more they realize stuff changes like crazy. :)

      Continued success my friend!!!

      Marcus

  5. Brent Carnduff
    July 29, 2014

    Hear, hear! Well said Marcus!

    • Marcus Sheridan
      July 31, 2014

      Thanks bud!

  6. Shelly Kramer
    July 29, 2014

    Still laughing. Unfortunately, I run across this kind of crap content (and crap advice) all the time. I’m really surprised that it appeared on MOZ, but maybe this post will cause them to take a better look at content before it’s published. This is crummy advice and absolutely does more harm than good. Like you, I’m a believer that effective content marketing leads to more leads and opportunities, not blog comments. Goodness gracious, what was he thinking? Oh wait, he wasn’t thinking!! Great one, Marcus.

    • Marcus Sheridan
      July 31, 2014

      Shelly, this comments have me a big smile, looks like we’re on the same page. ;-)

      Keep giving businesses great advice my friend!

      Marcus

  7. Jim
    July 29, 2014

    As I read this I was reminded of a post I wrote a while back on the same topic. Wouldn’t you know, when I looked it up, it was an article you’d written Marcus that triggered the post.

    You hit it on the head when you say we need to stop using the word “blog.” It is such an outdated and misunderstood term. Friends who don’t understand what I do still ask with a snicker if I’m still “blogging” as if I’m spending my days writing about the latest video game.

    Sort of amazing that more than a year later, on a site such as Moz, we still see a mentality that was outdated more than a year ago when we last discussed it. May be more a comment on the state of guest blogging than anything else.

    • Marcus Sheridan
      July 31, 2014

      Jim, great stuff bud. The whole thing is a head-scratcher but hopefully we’ll continue to progress and not go backwards with this stuff ;-)

      Appreciate you stopping by bud and hope you’re well,

      Marcus

  8. michael e.stern
    July 29, 2014

    …for awhile I fell into the trap of the holiness of blog comments of which I have very little. Yet my business is booming with work coming in as far out as I can forecast. The conflict between what I believed and what I experienced was confusing to say the least. I manage to feel better right after a bank deposit. :)

    I still blog but it no longer has the same suffocating grip around my throat. Thanks for the info and therapy…

    Michael

    • Marcus Sheridan
      July 31, 2014

      Believe vs. Experience—-GREAT point Michael…thrilled you’re finding success though, that’s great!!

      Best,

      Marcus

  9. vella di
    July 29, 2014

    Thanks for sharing great article. I think you did prove your viewpoint very well with the help of acclaimed definition of quality. But the problem is with it’s interpretation. If something is relevant and helpful can’t we say it of quality. So one has the right to differ by you very well explained.
    Thanks for your thoughts….

  10. Neil
    July 29, 2014

    Marcus,

    I don’t want you to feel unworthy, so I’m leaving a comment…

    I love your comments about killing the word “blog.” Blog has become a noun, a verb and a profession. But it’s really just a tool. When I think of “blog,” I picture a lonely college student chronicling their life for all the world to see.

    You’ve inspired me to change my nav bar link to education, tools, thoughts or resources instead of blog.

    Anyone have a good noun we can use in place of blog?

    • michael e.stern
      July 29, 2014

      Neil,

      Writings is a potential candidate…

    • Marcus Sheridan
      July 31, 2014

      Neil, love that we’re on the same page bud and hope you’re able to find the perfect word…I’ve been searching for it for 4 years now!! ;-)

      Marcus

  11. Jennifer
    July 29, 2014

    Spot on Marcus. I tell my clients all the time that they have to have value. The money will come after the value is provided. I personally can’t stand people who refuse to engage at all with their audience if they are blogging, or interacting on social media. I understand it takes some time, but its really egocentric to say that you are too busy to engage with people. Not that you have to respond personally to every comment but a few responses here or there show that you are genuine. Take the relationships out of business and you risk losing loyalty.

  12. Don Stanley
    July 29, 2014

    Aaaaaa-freaking-men brother! I literally just got off the phone with an inbound client who said he didn’t know whether to thank me or blame me for all the new business that has come in to his construction company in the past 6 months.

    When we started his company’s inbound marketing plan not long ago, we of course created a foundation with a learning center (what I like to call blogs) and then an eBook. We did the TSL “They Ask, You Answer” strategy for blog content. And then we created articles and hit publish.

    The results? It’s still early in the game, but the president of the company said their website traffic, in particular traffic to the learning center, has resulted in a huge increase in leads and sales. They are so busy with new construction projects they’ve had to hire new staff AND they’ve are turning work away. They are getting to cherry pick the best construction projects now rather than taking on any project that comes their way. He is thrilled.

    During this time, the blog has had 1 comment, let me repeat 1 comment. Yet they are doing literally millions of dollars in new business that can be tracked to their blog.

    With all due respect to those who think comments are king, I would beg to differ. If given the choice, I’m pretty sure my client would rather use 1 blog comment and millions of dollars in new projects as his KPI rather than having tons of blog comments with nothing but increased “engagement” and no new sales to show for it ;-)

    Keep preaching and teaching Lion! Or as I like to say, keep crashing forward Rhino style.

    • Marcus Sheridan
      July 31, 2014

      Hahaha, 1 comment…LOVE it Rhino, love it!

      Appreciate you brother,

      Marcus

  13. Martin Edwards
    July 29, 2014

    I think the author of the Moz post is possibly a bit confused! (I am being kind!) Blog comments are a useful indication of engagement with the the content but as you correctly point out, this does not necessarily have anything to do with the success of the blog or the business. It merely indicates that the particular article prompted readers to contribute their own views. Of course this only applies if they are properly considered and worthwhile comments. It also shouldnt include the count of comments which are just replies by the blogger either; although that may at least indicate that the blogger is engaging with their audience. If the article is specifically written to gather views from the audience then the success of that article can be judged by the number of non spammy comments! If you are writing content that will get people to press the “sign me up” button, the last thing you want is them spending their time down at the bottom crafting witty and thought provoking replies!

    • Marcus Sheridan
      July 31, 2014

      Martin, great points my friend. I guess we can all agree that this post from Moz was indeed an oddity ;-)

      Have a wonderful rest of your week and thanks so much for stopping by,

      Marcus

  14. Sam Edge
    July 29, 2014

    It’s getting harder and harder to get noticed in the blogosphere; especially in the B2B Content Marketing space. Folks try to post something outrageous and against popular thinking and then make a clever argument to prove their take on the subject.

    I’ve seen this from MOZ where they’ve done a good job of it. This post clearly missed the mark – but hey it get a hell of a good post out of Marcus for us so there was value in the end.

    • Marcus Sheridan
      July 31, 2014

      Yep, good points Sam. They missed the mark for sure, and still not sure what their end goal is end posting stuff like this, but regardless, they’ve done some great things in this space.

      Have a great week my friend!

      Marcus

  15. Davina K. Brewer
    July 29, 2014

    Marcus, Marcus, Marcus.. sigh. My obligatory comment love: To me what furthers teaching, helping, solving problems is two-way communication. In school, the least effective professors were the ones who just droned on from lecture notes, never venturing into discussion w/ students. It may have been considered a class, but IME it wasn’t nearly as educational vs those that engaged. Which is not to say I don’t agree w/you — I do.

    All that nonsense about vanity metrics, SEO, traction and success after a handful of posts is well, nonsense.
    They’ve got the blog tail wagging the business dog to be sure. There’s a difference in being a successful site “that publishes content, digits on a screen” vs. being a successful business. There needs to be alignment of blog goals to overall business strategy, and it will vary what metrics matter most, and what will make an actual difference to the business. Shares (some of which are automated, not read) – are not a quality measure of success. Comments are not the measure of success. Comments won’t save a business; being a better business will. Success is the measure of success. FWIW.

    • Marcus Sheridan
      July 31, 2014

      Hey Davina! How are you bud? Ready for some college football? ;-)

      Love your note about the difference between a successful site vs successful business…boy do those things get confused sometimes!!

      Appreciate you stopping by and hope all is well on your end,

      Marcus

  16. Allen Roberts
    July 29, 2014

    Jay got it right.
    Moz is usually a better editor than this, although I did miss the article, so pehaps they edited late.

    • Marcus Sheridan
      July 31, 2014

      Yeah, still a mystery to me how it ever made it on there Allen.

      Thanks for stopping by sir and have a great rest of your week!

      Marcus

  17. Archana Dubey
    July 30, 2014

    After reading this article, I burst out laughing as well as learnt also.. I agree with you Doesn’t matter whether you receive small number of comments or large.. One’s blog could do miracle..

  18. Nicole Kohler
    July 30, 2014

    Well met, Marcus!

    I’m somewhere on the middle on here. I do think that the original post made a fantastic point: blogs that don’t ever get comments (if this is a metric they care about) MAY be doing something wrong, and MAY need to re-examine their methods, their calls to action, their engagement with their users, etc. However, I did think, as you did, that going as far as saying “shut down your blog if you don’t have lots of comments by six months” was overkill.

    It’s an interesting issue, certainly, and I think the benefit of these strong, well-worded, opposing viewpoints is this: it’s going to get business owners and marketers thinking about the metrics that DO matter, personally, to them. And that’s a good thing!

    • Marcus Sheridan
      July 31, 2014

      No doubt Nicole, it’s about the metrics that matter. I just think the author of the Moz post was so over the top that it bordered along the lines of something you’d see in “US” magazine. ;-)

      Thanks for stopping by,

      Marcus

  19. Fatima
    July 31, 2014

    Preach, brother!

    I was surprised to see that article. Blog comments are great (and fun!) but seriously? No comments, ergo no blog? And where the heck did that SEO scare come flying in from, Google’s unfavorable take on low-quality guest posts? There’s a very special and limited situation in which blogging might theoretically harm your website: if you are hell-bent on spamming the internet with crappy, crappy link-stuffed pages of text. (I don’t feel like calling that stuff blog posts). It’s like swearing off milk just because some people are lactose intolerant.

  20. Chad Pollitt
    July 31, 2014

    Marcus:

    I’m very glad you wrote this. I thought the exact same thing and would have written something myself if I didn’t have three writing deadlines looming. You’re dead on IMO. Great job!

    @ChadPollitt

  21. Susanta Kumar Sahoo
    July 31, 2014

    Well done, Marcus! I share your thoughts on what constitutes the metrics of successful business blogging.

    I am a Moz contributor and to be honest, I was a little surprised how Dan wrote such a discouraging post with data that seemed only lop-sided to me. I mean we all bump into many valuable posts with few to no comments while conducting R&D nearly everyday. Those blogs should NOT have been closed. IMHO, comments, at times, are an indication of loyalty rather than engagement. It’s a only one of the metrics, not the only one, that define the quality of a blog.

    I think Dan owes his audience another post on making his points clear.

  22. Jared
    August 1, 2014

    This post is a great example of why I like Marcus. Great piece.

  23. David Silver
    August 1, 2014

    I attempted to read the other article but it just hurt, the man has some interesting ideas of success that I definitely do not agree with. I wonder if you have shared your thoughts with Dan? I’m interested to see what he would say to your response.

  24. Jen Jelly
    August 18, 2014

    First time hear and I’m loving it, what a great first impression. I will admit that I am completely new to blogging, I know very little about generating leads and that part of it. I was obsessed with getting my first comment, and then the second.. I though it would be the best thing to happen to my blog.. Glad I didn’t read that article before this one, newbie bloggers might fall into that trap of thinking comments equal some sort of holy grail.

  25. Oscar Quiroga
    September 2, 2014

    Sorry I’m late to the party!

    I agree with you Marcus and applaud your article. Being new to blogging, there are obviously many views as to industry practices in content marketing. I am coming up on close to a year in this industry and love it.

    A curious and simple thought I want to leave with you. If blogging for this person that wrote this article in question is so wrong, why on earth would he write a blog about it? Why not just find someone that would publish, say, a readers digest article, print magazine, newspaper, or some other form? Really? You want to chastise blogging by blogging?

    But then again, we are all commenting on it so his theory might have been proven that blogs should generate comments or there is no value in the blog. Correct?

    For what it’s worth…

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