The 10-Comment Rule

This blog has what I call "The 10-Comment Rule."

I Post a Blog Entry, But I Don't Post Another One
Until the Original Post Gets 10 Comments.

I have the ten-comment rule because I'm just like you and have been to loser forums with tons of posts and zero replies to all of them.

On a blog, there's less focus on the replies and more on the original post, but that "empty restaurant" effect is still there.

  1. Participation. If someone fills out a comment to a post of mine, they're no longer just surfing. They are now in interactive mode and are more likely to buy from me if I mention a product.
  2. Search Engine Food. Search engines love lots and lots of content, and with comments, your pages can become much longer than the original post... that means more keyword matches for you and more search engine listings.
  3. Intrigue. If you see lots of comments on posts you are more likely to read them, which means you spend more time on my site, which means you're more likely to see something you like.

Remember, your blogs are there to make you money. Update it and tell people about yourself, tell them what stuff you are working on and what products you have just put out. Try to work a call-to-action at the end of every blog post. Either you want to send them to a sales letter of yours, sign up to a mailing list or subscribe to an RSS feed.

If you are talking about someone else's blog or site, mention that in the BEGINNING of the post. Don't make that your final call to action (unless it's an affiliate link).

Don't forget to apply what you know about selling and direct response sales letters to content site and blogs:

  • Try not to link out to too many sites. On the blogroll on the right side of the page, link only to your own products.
  • Offsite linking includes "chicklets." Have one chicklet, i.e. "Digg this." But not: "Add to My Yahoo!" ... "Add to Reddit!" ... "Add to Bloglines" ... and so on. That's
  • Build up a mailing list and send an e-mail to that list every time you make a new post.
  • Stay away from AdSense. AdSense is for people too lazy to build a list and make a product. Believe me, that was me too at one point.

I researched how to make WordPress more optimized for search engines:

  • I added meta tags to the header and made a robots.txt file to prevent duplicate content penalties.
  • I changed the permalink configuration so the full URL of the post was actually revelant.
  • I tweaked the template so there wouldn't be a bunch of extra text in the TITLE tag.

Got it? Your blog is just another part of your business, it's not "just for fun." It can be fun but it has a purpose:

  • To present yourself as an authority figure in your niche. (BRAND YOURSELF.)
  • To capture untamed search engine traffic and funnel it into a list or to your other products.
  • To maintain a relationship with your list and past buyers. When you update them every once in a while, they remember who you are.

A minor side effect is that sometimes the conversation will meander off-topic and give you an idea for your next blog post.

Try your own 10-comment rule if you have a blog. My 10-comment rule works because I have a list of 10,000 subscribers (66% buyers) so you might have to make it a 5-comment rule if you have a smaller list.

Or, the ten comment rule might just mean that you can only post one blog per month. You can spend the rest of the month creating products, building up a list, and maybe advertising for your blog.

Seriously, what is the point of doing ANYTHING if no one is going to read it, or if they're going to just read it and lurk and not say anything about it?

Filed in: Site Building

Comments (34)

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Sites That Link to this Post

  1. Zero to IM Hero | September 18, 2008
  2. How to Get More Blog Comments | get inspired design.com | November 15, 2008
  1. I actually turn off comments altogether on my main blog. I’m too busy/lazy to adequately moderate them — but you bring up some great points about the benefits of comments!

  2. Robert Plank says:

    Hey Chris, I used to have comments moderated and it took up way too much time, especially getting through all the spam.

    Recently I set it to let everything through, and installed the Akismet plugin. There’s a built-in link to it in your Plugins tab for WordPress.

    I haven’t spent any time moderating since then.

  3. Don Morris says:

    As marketers we’re supposed to be testing and tweaking our efforts. A measure of how well our blogs are doing should be the quantity and quality of the comments we receive.

  4. G-Man says:

    I figured that it was something along these lines with regards to why you were doing it.

    I think it’s a pretty good idea overall. I know I could certainly benefit from more comments on my blog πŸ™‚

    G-Man

  5. sensex says:

    Hi Robert,

    I hope you get the min 10 comment on this post, i dont want to see this blog getting closed due to that πŸ˜‰

    Nice post with some valid point.

    Pankaj

  6. Lou Dalo says:

    Lots of good points Robert, and a pretty “gutsy” position to claim you’re not posting until you get 10 comments. I love it.

    hey, was wondering if you could elaborate on what you did with the meta tags and robots.txt to prevent dup content penalties?

    Lou

  7. Robert Plank says:

    Lou, I’ve written a blog post about that and I’ll add it just as soon as we fill up 10 comment on the post about Black Hat PHP.

  8. very nice idea to increase participation from your regular user.

    I have few of your PHP product… got it for cheap at WSO. probably you are the only one original product maker at WSO apart from Pete… most of them are rehashed junk. Your are really cool php code.

    Ani

  9. John Taylor says:

    And make sure you back up your database regularly, else you could end up like me with all the data from blogs, membership sites and dimesales being wiped out by a hosting company going bust overnight with no warning.

  10. Robert Plank says:

    Oh yeah John, I saw that post on your blog and left a comment. That’s why if you’re on a dedicated server, do a FULL server backup. That preserves all your account settings, not just the files and mysql. I have 37 accounts on my server, I would hate to have to set ALL those accounts and their subdomains back up.

  11. MistrTim says:

    Hi Robert,
    I saw right away what you were doing, and thought it was a great idea. It’s in my “to do” folder when I have the kind of list and more response to my blogs.
    I still think however that there is a valid reason to continue posting even if NOBODY’S reading them. You are adding your own content (what a concept! πŸ˜‰ AND someone is reading them if you’re doing things right. (I mean Google and other search engines…)
    No changes to your website for long periods of time doesn’t look good either, to Google, or to any readers who happen to come along.
    I don’t know about others, but I always look to see how long you’ve been blogging, how often you’ve been blogging, AND what you’ve been blogging about! That activity plays a large role in how I see you as a marketer.

    Keep up the good work!
    Love your scripts!

  12. Robert Plank says:

    Mister Tim, if your list is small you should still be e-mailing them with every post and have a signature link to the latest blog post if you do forum marketing.

    If you reply to each comment, that means you really only need 5 comments from people. If you go with the suggesting in the original post about trying a “5-Comment Rule” … you only need 3 comments.

    Another thing you can try with a small list is telling them that the first 5 people who post a DECENT comment and type in their web site address in the “URL” field of the comment form… will get some kind of freebie from you. Like one of your products burned to a CD.

    It should be a PHYSICAL product because that way it actually feels like a gift. Tell your list that you will look at the URL they provide in the URL field, look it up via whois and mail it to the contact address they’ve provided in their whois info.

  13. J.R. Jackson says:

    Excellent post Robert. Do you have any specific tips for network marketing related blogs?

    J.R. Jackson
    http://www.JRJackson.com

  14. MistrTim says:

    Sorry to hear of your loss John, and I will most certainly be taking your recommendations to heart!
    What company were you hosted through btw??

  15. Hey Robert

    As soon as I saw the 10-comment rule, I knew exactly what you were doing and thought it was brilliant.

    On the back of that, I’m having a WordPress plug-in written that will automate the posting of additional posts but only after x number of comments have been submitted.

    Email me if you’d like a beta copy.

  16. Robert Plank says:

    Nick, heck yeah send me a copy!

    I was thinking about making that plugin… but WP plugins don’t sell well and if it gets really popular someone will copy you and make a free one. I would definitely pay for an autopost plugin though.

    Just make sure there is a minimum time elapsed before posting the next blog entry so it doesn’t burn up all the posts on a popular blog.

    For example, if the comments fill up for post #1 on Monday, I don’t want post #2 to get posted on Monday as well… I want to be able to say I want a 48 hour delay so it doesn’t show up till Wednesday.

  17. Well, this is my first time posting on your blog Robert (I think! :?), although I have been reading! I love what you’ve written and totaly understand were your coming from with this 10-comment rule.

    I was thinking about implimenting this over on my blog, but I thought the 10 might have been a little too much. I still might go ahead with as 5 comments.

    Sometimes I don’t know what to write and then I’ll maybe post something that’s slightly off-topic and still get no comments. I think I need to do a little work on my blog, and make it work BEST for me.

    Nick, that sounds like a great plugin! But I do agree with Robert with the delay part. You could quite easily go through 10 posts in just one day… πŸ˜‰

    Thanks
    Mark

  18. Janis says:

    Hi, Robert ~

    Love your post(s). Had a feeling about what you were up to with the 10 comment rule. Thanks for explaining it in detail.

    Nick – I would love to know more about your plug-in. Didn’t see anything posted when I clicked on your name-link though???

    Now I have to go make a comment on Robert’s post about Black Hat PHP, if necessary, so we can all learn more from Robert about his meta tags and robots.txt tactics!!

    See you all at Roberts next blog post!! πŸ˜‰

    Janis πŸ™‚

  19. John Taylor says:

    MisterTim,

    Now what would be the point of that?

    They’ve gone out of business.. that’s why I couldn’t recover any of my lost data. I suspect they owed the data center a lot of cash and they got switched off.

  20. Ken Little says:

    Robert
    I agree the purpose of a blog has to be to promote interaction and that you need a measure of regular readers.

    The Money is in The Quality Connection not in the list.

    The only way to answer the question –
    “Do I Have a Quality Connection with My Readers?” –
    is to set up a rule like the 10 Comment one you’re
    using.

    In my business studies classes I teach the importance
    of testing and tracking. What you test and track
    you can control. What you control you can improve.
    Bottom line – what you improve builds your client connection long term and that builds your future income streams.

    In the case of your blog you have such a positive public profile I’m sure you’d always have plenty of readers as you are constantly adding value to their life.

    Keep up the “10 CR” -Ten Comment Rule – it’s a great way to build quality client connections.

    Success Belongs To You Robert
    Ken Little
    PS
    Many thanks for the amazing scripts.

  21. MistrTim says:

    Hi Robert,

    Some very good suggestions that I will certainly take to heart. It’s very true that my own reply comments will be added to the total.
    ________________________________________________

    Hi John. I’m sorry, didn’t mean to pry into your personal situation, nor to publicly villify the owner of the company that failed. But as you’ve suggested one possibility of bad debts causing loss to you and likely many others, it was simply my intent to be forewarned in future dealings with this and other hosts. If you’d prefer a private response you can find me in Forum Know How. Thanks for your time πŸ™‚

  22. Amirol says:

    Hi Robert,

    I’m your new customer for Black Hat PHP. It’s a really great script.

    By the way, thanks for the great tips. I guest i should also make 10-comment rule for my blog.. hehe. πŸ˜€

  23. Paydex says:

    Robert-

    You’re Crazy*!

    Paydex

    (in a good way!) πŸ™‚

  24. Dear Robert and Nick The Geek,

    As with Nick The Geek, I recognized what you were doing by implementing the 10 comment rule.

    After having studied Post Graduate Biochemistry ,on phi X174 bacteriophages, then R.N. Nursing then Medicine
    abroad in two languages, then Unix Administration I never thought I would be taking advise or direction from
    some punk kids who could be my sons! Tomalo por el lado amable. Take it on the friendly side! I already sent you
    a personal letter a long time ago thanking you for sharing your education with me.

    To paraphrase the Ruby on Rails team: It’s the same each time with progress. First they ignore you, then they say you’re mad, then suddenly your dangerous! Then there is a pause and then you can’t find anyone who disagrees with you!

    Thanks again punk kid, my own friends who are programmers here don’t answer my calls and sometimes it really hurts me to feel off the wall at 54.I even remember their birthdays every year. All I can do to feel better is remember I saved many lives and eased the suffering, by holding their hand etc, of people who were dying in front of my eyes and I had never met them before and rarely got paid.

    Oh, the emptiness of their shallow lives,i.e. my so called programmer friends here where I live in Emporia Kansas.

    Dear Nick The Geek, would you be so kind as also let me beta test your WordPress plug-in written to automate the
    posting of additional posts but only after x number of comments? But, as Robert says a 48 hour delay if post#1
    fills up right away so post#2 doesn’t get posted on the same day.

    Just a little FYI I did beta testing for BrainMaker Artificial Intelligence, designed by seven Caltech
    mathematicians and engineers. I used it to predict the dog races in Tijuana Baja California México. So, I really will send you feedback when I find mistakes, glitches or suggestions etc.

    Thank you for your attention to the above request and please have a pleasant day!

    Yours very sincerely and respectfully,
    Frank Funston Eckdall
    Esquire
    P.D. Thanks again all you punk kids who share your research and knowledge. Tomalo por el lado amable.

  25. Marjoryzb says:

    favorited this one, guy

  26. Interesting. There are so many bloggers that limit this or that and want everything perfect. I like your ten comment rule. I will use your idea about leaving Akismet in charge of your spam.

    Thanks,
    Rick

  27. George says:

    Haha ^^ nice, is there a section to follow the RSS feed

  28. Howard says:

    My blog with the most traffic (and most income) has very few comments. Well, actually, it has 1000’s of comments every week, all but one or two of which is spam. Every few days, I go in and delete everything that Akismet flagged.

    Oh, and that blog uses AdSense. And I’ve never bothered to build a list there, although I might in the near future. I’m starting a companion blog on another niche, and I plan to build a list on that one from the start, just to see what difference that makes.

    I’m aggressively building a list for a newsletter that is associated with yet another blog, and I’m promoting my own products. It’s my least profitable (and the most work) so far. The newsletter on that list gets about a 70% open rate (according to my autoresponder vendor’s report, anyway).

    I don’t think that your 10-comment rule (or 5-comment rule) is really universally applicable.

    Although I *would* be interested in whatever plugin you use to limit the number of comments. I’m working on getting more comments on one of my blogs (where a comment counts for points in a giveaway that I’m holding at the end of this month — and no, it’s not the one that I used to tag this post — the readers of this blog are unlikely to be interested in either the blog or the prizes), and I may need to limit them.

  29. Howard says:

    What plugin do you use to limit the number of comments to 50?

  30. David Ashton says:

    What a great idea Robert. I will be changing the way I have been doing things, from what others have advised. As you are a results orientated guy, I really would like to thank you for all the great help you have been for me over the last few months.

  31. Howard says:

    I have a site that is getting close to 20,000 visitors/month (and growing steadily), and very few non-spam comments (*thousands* of spams!). While I wouldn’t mind getting more comments, I wouldn’t consider it a “loser,” especially since it’s one of my top earners, but I would like to get more (constructive, non-spam) comments on it.

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