When you start a blog, one of the things you expect is lots of conversations to take place around the obviously awesome posts you’re writing. You pour out your heart into a spell-binding piece of content that you’re sure will become a thought-leader piece in your industry only to find out only a few people read it and nobody bothered leaving you a comment.
It takes some time to build up a following that will willingly share your wisdom with their friends. It takes even more time to get a large enough following when the 1% of your readers will start leaving comments. The hope is that after a nice run, not only will you have people leaving comments, but smart, insightful comments.
One way to help speed up the process is to be a gracious host. If someone leaves you a thoughtful comment, take a minute to respond. Letting the original commenter know you value her effort will show you’re engaged with your readers and also encourage others to chime in.
The best advice I ever heard about blogging is. “Love your readers, even if you only have 3.”
On the web, one kind of love is “link love”. That’s the kind of love that comes from other sites linking back to your site. That is the base of Google’s original PageRank theory. Each link pointing at your site is like a vote, telling the search engines that those sites are saying, “this site I’m linking to is valuable”. Of course, over time, hundreds of other signals have been added into the algorithm, but links are still a core signal.
The plugin rewards your most consistent commenters by removing the nofollow on the links associated with their comment. You can set it so that the links become full followed links after any number of comments, so you can use it with any size audience.
We’re going to be using it on this blog and we’ll be recommending it to many of our clients.
Let me know what you think of the plugin and if you might implement it.