He was kind enough to let me push this post back a week even though for us here in the US we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving this week.
You know I could go on but let me just introduce to you the man known as the “blind blogger” and someone I call my friend, Max Ivey.
When Adrienne wrote to offer me the opportunity to write a guest post for her site, I was sincerely honored. When she suggested the topic of blog commenting to build relationships and a community, I couldn’t have been happier.
This is because its not only something I believe in but something that has been successful with both of my businesses. And I believe it is the main reason behind her own success. She isn’t called the “Engagement Superstar” for nothing.
How We Met
I should start with how we met because it is a good example.
I had been searching the internet trying to find suggestions on generating traffic to my website, The Midway Marketplace. I found a couple of bloggers I liked including Robin Hallett and Farnoosh Brock.
When I would read the comments on their posts, I would see links to other bloggers and their most recent posts. If their article sounded interesting, then I would click through to their blog and leave a comment.
I started reading her posts and began to hear about this new approach called attraction marketing. Basically, the idea is if you want to get people’s attention you do things for them like reading their posts, leaving memorable comments, and sharing their content on social media.
I had no trouble leaving quality comments because I grew up with letter writing and typewriters instead of emails, smart phones, and texting. Adrienne called me a Chatty Cathy at one point. But she did know who I was.
I do have another advantage in this area in that I am blind and my primary business of helping people sell amusement equipment is unique. Eventually, I felt comfortable enough with her to start emailing. And she graciously answered my emails.
She offered to help with problems I had mentioned in comments or with issues that she could imagine I was facing. And her help was invaluable.
Later, she mentioned me in a blog post titled five bloggers that I admire. This got me a lot of new visitors. It also introduced me to several more new friends who would be helpful in my growth.
There is Lorraine Reguly, who volunteered to help edit my blog posts and helped me fix an issue with images in them. She then decided to interview me for her site. I now hire her for editing important posts. And she has been invaluable in editing my upcoming ebook.
I also met Ashley Faulks, who helped me redesign my website and migrate all my old ugly yellow website pages to a new and improved WordPress version.
Things Started Happening Quickly
After that, Ashley decided to have me as the second guest of his podcast. I’m told it is still one of the most listened to.
There is Susan P. Cooper, who invited me to join Bloggers Helping Bloggers and introduced me to a whole new group of amazing people.
I can’t forget Dr. Diana Hardy; she found me through disqus. This is a comment system that a lot of people use on their blogs. She followed me there. I sent her an email because she is also from Texas. We exchanged a few messages, and I told her a little about my story. Last month she asked me to share my story in her online publication Red Wine Magazine.
These are just some of the people who I have met through blog commenting and some of the help I have received as a result of making friends and building relationships online.
How This Benefited My Blogs
I’m sure you want to hear about quantifiable improvements? Well, when I first met Adrienne and started using her methods to introduce people to me and my site, my website had an alexa ranking of over six million.
In a good month I might have gotten a couple of thousand visits with a total of about 15,000 page loads. After putting in the effort of writing regular posts and commenting on blogs where links to these posts would show up; my site made a lot of improvement.
It climbed all the way up to the top 600,000 in Alexa making it the highest ranked website for the sale of amusement equipment and related items. Site visitors grew to between 8,000 and 10,000 per month, and total page loads exceeded 100,000 for two months.
If you check the details of the Midway Marketplace now, you will notice that the site has slipped quite a bit but this is due to a combination of several factors.
First, I decided to take the leap and start a second blog where I share my more personal experiences as a blind entrepreneur.
Second, my clients haven’t been as forthcoming with new items, photos, or videos; so writing new posts has been more difficult than it was. I’m sure this will pick up again now that winter is coming and my clients will have more time as well as more motivation.
In addition I had some health issues that required multiple doctor’s visits, extensive tests, and lots of time lost before a diagnosis was made. I am healthy, and plan to be sharing my story for a long time to come.
How Blog Commenting Has Helped
I’d also like to mention how using blog commenting helped my new site, The Blind Blogger.
When my first blog started, I often didn’t get comments. If I got five or more, I was excited. Through commenting that blog moved up to getting at least ten for every post and a couple got over 20 with one getting more than thirty.
When I started the new blog, I already had a community of friends and admirers ready to support me. They wanted me to succeed. All but one post there has received at least 25 comments. And the one that didn’t was effected by my deciding to spend more time promoting a podcast appearance than on my own post.
I mistakenly thought my friends wouldn’t want to receive more than one post from me a week. This was a mistake for sure, but I should mention that my posts tend to be long generally about 2,000 words each.
Does blog commenting take work? Of course it does, but everything we do to promote our sites, our posts, and ourselves takes work.
How much time do you spend on social media not knowing if any of your friends or followers are actually taking action to support and promote your business?
How much money have you spent on advertising, software products, and training courses hoping to find that magic bullet that makes you a blogging superstar?
For me blog commenting, making friends, and building a community is the most effective use of my time. It gets me the most results with the least amount of effort. And to me these results are tangible and lasting.
They happened to me pretty rapidly as well.
I should have mentioned this earlier but my ride brokering site made those gains in a period of about eight or nine months. And this was after I had been banging my head against the wall trying to do it all on my own for over six years.
You don’t know how much I wish I could have that time back. Its hard enough starting a new business especially when there are naturally going to be more established companies with more experienced people and more resources already there that you will have to find a way to compete with.
Help Enough People
I know I have mentioned Adrienne here often. The truth is I learned a lot from her and am sincerely grateful. She reached out to me even though we were working in drastically different markets. Most of her readers have learned a lot of what they know about rides and the business of carnivals and amusement parks by reading my posts or communicating with me directly. But that is how much she believes in what she does. And that’s the other side of building a community.
Eventually, you are going to be the established blogger, and its going to be your turn to put your hand out and help encourage a struggling blogger. It will be your turn to feature a new blogger or invite someone your readers haven’t heard of to do a guest post.
I like to tell people that I’ve never requested a guest post, interview, or podcast appearance.
Well, that used to be true.
I got all my past opportunities from meeting people through the comments section. They found me interesting, inspiring, motivating, and most importantly memorable. They graciously offered me a platform to introduce myself and meet even more wonderful people.
I also tell people all the time that if everyone knew how supportive the blogosphere is, everyone would have a blog or a podcast or both.
You Are Not Alone
In closing I just want to say that none of us can accomplish a big dream by ourselves. No one has all the talents, skills, abilities, etc. to do it all.
My dad actually used to say that a one man band doesn’t play too loudly for too long.
I have made an unbelievable amount of progress with my business and as a person since getting out there and meeting people. I have asked for help and received it. I have also been given help that I hadn’t even asked for.
So many people did things for me for free or at a cost far below what they would normally charge. I have been given amazing opportunities to learn from giants and to share my story on other sites. And I can’t forget the emotional support.
Its so much easier to be positive and stay that way when you have a group of loyal people cheering you on.
I’m not where I want to be yet, but I’m so much closer now than I would be without my online family. I strongly encourage you to start getting out there.
Perhaps you will start by leaving a comment here. I do promise to reply to all comments. And if you aren’t comfortable leaving a comment, just go to my site (you’ll find the link below) and use the contact form.
I look forward to hearing from you and if I can help you on your journey, I will do what I can. I’m better on inspiration and motivation than I am on technical matters; but I do manage.
We would also really appreciate you sharing this post with your friends. You never know when they may need an encouraging word too!
Thanks to Adrienne for giving me this wonderful opportunity and thanks to you for reading this post.
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