Webconsuls - Web Design, SEO, and SMO Specialists

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Blog Comments are a Virtual Traffic Circle

Traffic circle or roundabout is ahead.Image via Wikipedia
I remember the first time I encountered a "traffic circle". It was 1988; I was 39 years old and living in New Hampshire. A business associate told me to meet him at a car dealership near the "rotary" in Portsmouth (or thereabout). But there was one problem with his directions. By "rotary" I thought he was referring to a ROTARY(as in the organization) office building. When I finally found him at the car dealership I told him I didn't see the ROTARY to which he responded: "What are you talking about? You drove through the rotary!" Again I queried and finally he adequately described the nightmare that I had just been subjected to: A traffic circle!

So there you have it. Traffic circle, rotary or roundabouts - "a circular arrangement constructed at the intersection of two or more roads in order to facilitate the passage of vehicles from one road to another."

Recently someone (a client) asked me why I read blogs and why do I comment on the blogs I read. The obvious answer to the first part of this question is that I read other blogs to learn about the SEO and SMO industry, hoping to share the knowledge I glean with our clients and co-workers. I comment on the blogs that I regularly read if I have something to add to the conversation or if I have a question about the subject matter. The by-product of this process is that I develop social media relationships and links with relevance and reputation.

Here's how I visualize blog commenting as a virtual traffic circle:
  1. A blog post is written
  2. I am notified of the post via an email or RSS feed (it is ok to start into the circle)
  3. I read the post
  4. I write a comment and identify myself with a link to our domain address or blog address - "the intersection is constructed"
  5. Other readers or the blog writer read my comment and perhaps click on the link to our domain address or blog address
  6. New traffic comes to our site - a visitor who may read our blog or search for a service we offer
  7. New visitor leaves a comment (with a link to their site) or sends us an email

Virtual Traffic Circle: "a circular arrangement constructed at the intersection of two or more blogs/websites in order to facilitate the passage of web traffic from one business to another."


Lately I have read a number of really interesting posts about blogs and blog commenting. Here are a few I would like to share with you. I hope you will take the time to read these posts. You will learn so much.

Drive Traffic to Your Site with a 6-Step Blog Comments Blueprint 

Blogs As Loss Leaders

Value Your Blog Real Estate

Are Blog Comments Dead?

One last thought:
If you are not accustomed to traffic circles (real ones), they can be intimidating. You need to learn about them, understand them, know when to merge, know how to exit to your destination. The same applies to blog commenting and virtual traffic circles, don't you think? I would love to hear from you on this...merge into the traffic circle and comment!

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13 comments:

  1. I really like this visualization for commenting. I think it works especially well for you, Judy, since you always leave such interesting comments! It makes people want to visit your site to see what else you have to say. Comments that add little value to a post or discussion don't really drive traffic in the same way.

    Social media is definitely a big part of the traffic circle as well! I'm finding that when someone retweets my link or gives it the thumbs up on Facebook, I automatically want to see who they are and where they write. Even if they don't leave a comment on the post, they're saying, "hey everyone, I think this is something you should read!" which is a comment so to speak in and of itself.

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  2. Allison,
    I am so glad you stopped by here today. You are correct, comments that add little value, like "great post" won't drive traffic.

    I am hoping that this post and the links, particularly to "...6-step Blog Comments Blueprint" will help our clients to understand that they have something to contribute to blogs about their industry and if they take the time to do this methodically and regularly, then they will enjoy more valuable web traffic.
    Can't wait to meet you in person.
    Judy

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  3. I never would have thought of that, but it's a really great analogy. As to the real traffic circles, I have to agree. Nightmare is an appropriate word, especially if you don't know where you're going. :) Luckily virtual traffic circles are much easier and more fun to navigate!

    I also agree with Allison that you leave really interesting comments. I truly enjoy your stories and I thank you for sharing them.

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  4. Jodi,
    I came to conclusion that traffic circles and roundabouts were something that you find in New England. When our oldest son was attending California State University, Long Beach, he lived near a very rare Southern California traffic circle. It is almost like you need to learn how to rotate into the circle, not unlike playing volleyball.
    In 2008 I was visiting family in Albany, NY. They had some new traffic circles in the area and they were the "talk of the town".

    So happy that you stopped by for a visit. I enjoy reading your "A Pat on the Back!"
    Judy

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  5. I like your analogy although I would say a pyramid would also work. Once a blog post is made, a user comes and makes their comment and leaves a link to their blog/site. This process repeats itself and more visitors do the same and form a pyramid.

    I would also like to add while I was attending Cal-State Long Beach I came across that roundabout often and once with my brother. If you know my younger brother then you know he's not predictable so we drove round and round the traffic circle three to four times. It amused him more than a kid on the tea cup ride at Disneyland.

    Good times =)

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  6. Malik,
    Having you comment tonight...just tops off the day. I don't even want to talk about pyramids. Those of us who are familiar with Cal State Long Beach also know that the beautiful and majestic blue pyramid is something to behold when visiting Long Beach. But a pyramid as a business model has always left me with a negative feeling, think "scheme"!

    Now, regarding your younger brother, it is so easy for me to visualize him in that Long Beach traffic circle. Absolutely, he would insist on going round and round, like the circle game.

    Good times...indeed.
    Judy

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  7. I love this analogy. What a great way of putting it.

    I certainly found it difficult the first time I used a traffic circle (it was in Halifax, Nova Scotia). As scary as they are at first, I think they are a great idea for keeping traffic flowing. Our "UK" friends are much more used to these than we North Americans.

    When I first started following blogs, I was hesitant to write comments just as I was hesitant to get into a traffic circle in the first place. But, practice, practice, practice.

    I still don't comment enough on blogs and I wish did more and gave it the time.

    Great post, Judy.

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  8. John,
    I think it is interesting that you and I can remember the first time we entered a traffic circle. I am not sure what that says about us or traffic circles.
    Knowing how to get on and off is a learned skill; I don't think it comes naturally. I am reminded of the old-fashion merry go rounds that were in school playgrounds. I recall walking over to one that was going very fast, some kid yelled "jump on" and I did. Now that I think about it I do believe it was easier to jump on while in motion, as opposed to jumping off while in motion.
    Time to get back to work.
    By the way, I enjoy your comments on other blogs...remember that is how I met you!
    Judy

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  9. John,
    I think it is interesting that you and I can remember the first time we entered a traffic circle. I am not sure what that says about us or traffic circles.
    Knowing how to get on and off is a learned skill; I don't think it comes naturally. I am reminded of the old-fashion merry go rounds that were in school playgrounds. I recall walking over to one that was going very fast, some kid yelled "jump on" and I did. Now that I think about it I do believe it was easier to jump on while in motion, as opposed to jumping off while in motion.
    Time to get back to work.
    By the way, I enjoy your comments on other blogs...remember that is how I met you!
    Judy

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  10. Hi Judy - I've been thinking about this a lot lately as I've only recently gotten more immersed in twitter on both a personal and corporate level. It's very clear to me that social media, and blogs and really the internet in general, is all about creating value for someone now and receiving value somewhat later. I mean, it's kind of true in life in general. If you do good work and you care about it, good work will come back to you later.

    Anyway, great post. Very thoughtful.

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  11. Darren,
    I am glad you found my post. I have to admit that beneficial aspect of blog commenting escaped me for a while. Then I found as I became more engaged with real comments, not just "great post", other bloggers enjoyed hearing from me.
    We all learn from each other and the "traffic circle" serves multiple purposes.
    I have just gone to your site. I will visit it again.

    Thanks again for your thoughts.
    Judy

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  12. Love how a great analogy creates a lasting image and helps really crystalize thinking on how things work.

    Merging into the circle with a question - as I was recently approached with a new concept - the monetization of blog comments - similar to Googles model of sponsored PPC listings -

    What are your thoughts on sponsored comments?

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  13. Sandra,
    I am glad you like the analogy. You ask a good question about sponsored comments. My immediate thought is that it would probably resemble spam. I am not sure how it would work and whether or not it would add to the conversation.

    Maybe some other readers can chime in on this question.

    One more thing...in an effort for this traffic circle to work well, I always check my commenter's link. Yours is broken. Maybe you want to comment again with a working link.

    I hope others will offer thoughts about your question.

    Judy

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Thanks for your comment!