Self-promotion is sort of a divisive issue. Some people find it tacky and just off putting while others consider it a necessity and show of industriousness. After all, how else are you gonna get your name out there? You gotta be your own biggest fan. More stock phrases about fame and stuff.

Normally I wouldn’t be talking about a subject like this. Self-promotion isn’t something I pay much attention to as I find that way too many people know my name as it is, in real life that is. But it’s a little different when it comes to the online world.

Hatsume Miku with computer
a frightening and wonderful world

There’s a sort of unwritten rule that you don’t comment on YouTube videos just to plug your own channel. People that do are usually ignored or made fun of. I have heard more than one popular creator say they block those types of commentators. But does the same apply to blogging?

There are a few reasons why someone might not like to have people comment in posts only to talk about their own blogs. First it’s a little disappointing when you think someone’s enjoyed your work to find out they actually don’t really care. Well maybe they do but there’s no way to tell.

There’s also the fact that if it’s a much smaller blog it can feel like they are trying to piggy back on your readership without putting much effort in and if it’s bigger blog like they could easily overshadow you. Either way, it’s one more person competing with you for the limited attention of readers and they’re using your own platform and efforts to do it.

Finally, up to a certain point their associating themselves with your blog. By leaving the comment there, some readers will likely believe that you are ok with promoting this new blog and you may not be. They might be putting out posts you’re not comfortable endorsing.

ueno uncomfortable

On the other hand, it’s a great way to build a feeling of community. And they may actually lead your readers to discover a blog they really enjoy. I actually put effort into discovering and sharing other blogs so having someone do it for me is great. Or at least it should be.

I have only ever blocked one commenter from this blog and that was because they were using my blog to promote theirs. At first I didn’t think much of it and even thought that maybe I should do the same. But when I checked out their blog it was full of aggressive and in my opinion mean-spirited posts mostly against women but a little against everyone “different”. I have had my share of sexist commenters throughout my time on the internet but these were truly unsettling posts to me and I was feeling a bit odd for quite some time after reading them. I’m not exactly the most sensitive type.

I quickly decided that I didn’t want any of my readers to feel that way because of me. I didn’t want to endorse this blog even passively. I’m not proud of the but I took the cowardly rout of erasing the comments that led back to that blog and blocking the commenter. I wasn’t mature enough to at least try to talk to them. But I don’t regret getting those links of my site.

Since then I’ve been very wary about people I don’t know linking their blogs in my comments without warning.

Rini 2020 (9)

But (I hear an imaginary new blogger say in my head) it’s the best way to let people who like reading blogs know about your own. How else are we supposed to get the word out there.

Here are my thoughts on it. Take this with a grain of salt, these are just my personal opinions but they have been shaped by talking to a lot of other bloggers about this subject, especially when I was starting out. Collaborations are the best way to get a link to your blog on a specific person’s site. You’re giving them some material in exchange and if they agreed to work with you then it’s up to them to vet you. Just keep in mind that some bloggers can get very busy and getting turned down is not necessarily a sign that they don’t like your work. They could simply not have the time.

(Here’s a shameless self-plug, I wrote about blog collaborations here and here)

I think it’s generally fine to mention your own posts in the comments if you’ve written something directly related to the specific topic. And just writing something generally about anime doesn’t count as the specific topic. There are some people that are still uncomfortable with that for all the reasons I’ve listed above and that’s fine. I should say that in my experience a well written or witty comment is much more likely to get people to check out your blog if it’s properly linked to your Gravatar account than a link back. Oh yeah, everyone should make sure their blogs are in their profiles! That helps a lot.

it helps me!

In my opinion though, nothing beats self-promotion to starting a tag. Especially if one puts a rule in there that everyone has to link back to the original blog for ever. Google loves links to pages (apparently) so even if one doesn’t get direct visitors from other people doing the tag or award post, they are still improving their SEO and getting a better chance of getting found through search engines. And as long as you actually created something, a game, a questionnaire, a post format, it’s mutually beneficial. The people who do the tag get a fun often easy post out of it. I like this give and take. It’s not like when I do my discovery posts, or wonderful bloggers do round up posts where we just share other articles or blogs we discovered. (Those do take a lot of time to find, read through and put together don’t get me wrong but it’s a different dynamic).

Of course there are also an array of different social platforms you can promote your blog on but those take a lot of time and hard work and I’m really bad at it so I shouldn’t give any advice…

These are my personal views of self-promotion. Take them with a huge grain of salt as people have different opinions on the subject. Some aren’t bothered at all, others strongly dislike it. Actually I m curious. If you have a blog, how do you feel about other bloggers using your comments section to advertise their own stuff. What about getting told you should talk about a specific blog for no particular reason. Are you o.k. when people want to do collabs but only on their blogs? What self promotion do you do?

Rini 2020 (11)

31 thoughts

  1. I might be the only weirdo who actually blog to have a conversation with myself lol. I am not much interested in growing my blog out of fear of harassment which is why my blog is still tiny. I was looking for your feminist posts btw, I would like to read it.

  2. I’d only self-promo if I were saying something relevant, such as “I said something similar in the past, here it is”. I distinctly remember placing a link for a blogger who I knew at the time didn’t know I existed a while back, but times like those are few and far in between because mostly it’ll just be my thoughts and I’ll make my own post + link back if I have too much to say.

    On WordPress, you have to worry about spam shenanigans from links as well as comments getting “eaten” once you hit send, so in most cases I let the Gravatar do the heavy lifting – I remember I didn’t have mine linking to the Spellbook for a bit and people pointed it out, so people do notice eventually.

    Every time I’ve done link exchange, it’s not been profitable in terms of traffic. Sidebars and individual email notifications of favourite blogs (when consistently checking email at least once a day), on the other hand, are dangerous (for me) though, since I’m an archive binger by nature…(Can you tell, as I’m typing this, I’m up at an unreasonable hour for those very reasons…?)

  3. Testing Testing…
    Did my comment go through? YES!!!! My posts are not that bad lol.
    I honestly don’t think you did the cowardly thing blocking that specific blogger, you just didn’t buy into their views or opinions, which from what you said seems like a very old old way of thinking. Talking to people like that is usually like talking to a wall and I think would probably have more chances actually talking to a wall than them. People like that need to come to the realization of what they are doing on their own.

    On self-promotion, I think you said it perfectly a well written or witty comment is the way to go. I have done it the other ways before and it honestly always feels weird to me.

    1. I follow comments all the time but never when they are links to someone else’s blog. I’m not sure why. Weird unspoken rule or something

  4. I can’t say that I’ve had the problem of others self promoting on my blog. I don’t get many comments and a chunk of them are just plain spam. I will say I think that this is a must read for any new blogger considering the way self promotion is pushed by the so called blogging gurus. However it is a tough call as any blogger wants there stuff to be read and it’s hard to push through those times when it seems like no one is reading what you write.

  5. Self promo is defintiely an odd thing to get to grips with, both inside and outside the blogging world. I don’t mind it so much, but then I don’t get much of it in my comments sections, so that might be why. From a personal standpoint, I occassionally mention if I have a similar post, but I don’t think I’ve ever left a link unless I’ve been prompted to do so (such as with the Jon’s Creator Showcase).

    You’re right that simply commenting increases your traffic too. If you make a thoughtful comment, plenty of people will actually follow it tyour profile and if, like you siad, you have your site linked there, then it’s a natural progression. A lot of traffic building courses actually say the same thing, I believe.

    Self promo is quite a hard balance on social media too though. I know with books for example that too much self promo is viewed negatively. Like, if someone says ‘tell me about your book’ on Twitter, it’s fine, but if your’e interjecting links to it into every barely related tweet thread, you’ll probably damage sales.

    I think the thing is, self promo is essentially advertising. And advertising is hard in general. I think it probably helps to simply know the blog you’re commenting on. At least if you’re familiar with the blogger – or even asked first – you’ll know what they’ll think about you doing it. Their audience though? That could go either way.

  6. I haven’t had any issues with people using my blog just to advertise theirs (at least, not that I can recall), but in theory, I’d be totally fine with someone linking to one of their posts IF it was directly relevant to something I said.

    Basically, I think in all self-promo (whether it be to do with blogs or any other type of format, and regardless of topic), relevancy is always key. That and just common courtesy – if I wanted to try and spread the word about something specific on someone else’s blog, I’d contact them directly and ask first, and then try and return the favor somehow or even do some kind of collab if possible.

  7. “I wasn’t mature enough to at least try to talk to them.”

    Trying to talk to people is fraught with risk. You don’t know who is a &^%$#@!

    As a guy I have less risk in doing that but I’m still careful. *Block – delete – forget* is the best option unless the person is harmless, really has potential, and just needs an etiquette lesson.. Google counts links back to your posts from other sites fairly heavily.The selfish people who comment for no reason other to leave a link is just using you to increase their SEO.

    I admit it it. As a beginner, I placed links to my own posts in replies when I thought my own post was a perfect complement and i didn’t feel like copying and pasting a thousand words. Not recently though. There is the alternative strategy of a well done reply concluding with, “I’ve posted my thoughts on this in greater depth on my own blog if you are interested.” and then let your gravitar do the work.

    One thing I find laughable is the strategy of liking a dozen posts within a minute or two without even making a comment in the hope of getting their blog checked out. Then they never show up again. It doesn’t work that way.

    1. I’m an optimist. I hope it’s just a faux pas from a newbie rather than actual SEO manipulation. Though it was probably totally SEO manipulation

  8. I deeply detest self promos i just simply let others visit my blog decide if they want to keep reading or not and have it up to them to decide wheter they want to read more posts for my blog or not.
    I also really hate it if someone just keeps spaming oh hey look at my blog post plz like and sub to it thats going to end up my spam list to delete and block.
    I see the comments section as either discussion about the post and the chance to ask questions thats it nothing else to it.

    1. I think I’m a bit more open with my comments section but I’ve never linked my blog in someone else’s. Maybe I will some day

  9. I have mentioned a blog I made in some comments, but never placed a link.
    When I mention my own post, it’s usually more in the spirit off.. “I agree with you.. or disagree with you.. I recently talked about the subject and should you want to know why I think that way.. it’s easier to check it out there instead of me forcing the entire opinion upon you in the comments. I generally think it’s fine for people to do that as well.

    I haven’t had much succes in finding colabs (I have one planned though) to self promote. I stil think I might not be good enough yet, so that one is a bit hard for me to do.

    Blog Tags I think are a great way to promote yourself. Creating oneself really works.. though I think my one died out quite fast. I might try it again at the end of me doing a “tag ” week where I do other people’s tag post. It’s nice because I feel trough most Tag Post we get to know something about a blogger and can sympathize about them more.
    I really like the sense of community tags create.

  10. I have limited time so I don’t follow many blogs. Some I check only once every two weeks. But I do often check out blogs I don’t know yet, and the most common sources are as follows:

    1. Gravatar links. I always read the comment section. I love conversations, and I love reading comments. And if comments are interesting, and I still have some time for anime related reading, I love to click the user names and follow through to their blogs.

    2. Side-bars: Many blogs have sidebars, either a blog roll, or weekly posts. I like to click those, too, under the assumption that a blog/blog post enjoyed by a blogger I enjoy is a potentially enjoyable post.

    3. This-week-in-anime posts. This might be higher up the list, if – by the nature of things – these posts wouldn’t only pop up once a week.

    Out of all those, writing good comments is the only self-promotion tool you really have. I don’t recommend link-exchange (I link to your blog and you link to mine), as there’s a danger I lose faith in that particular side-bar, if the blogs linked don’t actually feel taste-related.

    For some reason, I’ve rarely ever follow a link in a tag-post. I don’t know why, since it’s really similar to side-bars in the taste-relation aspect. I wonder.

  11. I haven’t had too many people link to their blog in my comments. I typically don’t mind so long as it’s on topic and or related in some manner. I tend to be careful myself, usually never linking directly unless specifically asked. Like when Scott asked for Mecha posts for Mecha March, gave the direct link. But usually I’ll throw out something like, “I wrote about x not too long ago…” verses direct linking.

    My best advice; be generous linking to others before you expect people to link to you.

    I started with my monthly section, which when starting out helped a lot. At first it was mostly the linked bloggers coming to give a quick thanks, but it has developed into actual traffic on my blog and ideally their’s. Additionally, linking to other people’s blogs in your own posts when relevant is good too. I love adding in other people’s reviews to my own if I feel too biased, to help make it a little more well rounded.

    Certainly, linking back is an interesting topic for debate. Never realized how conservative I’ve been with linking!

  12. I have absolutely zero problem with someone coming along and saying “hey, this was an interesting article on [x], I also wrote something about [x] recently where I look into some other aspects of it — here’s a link if you want to check it out.” (Not many people do, as it happens, primarily due to the overlooked/underappreciated nature of what I write about, but I would not have a problem if they did!)

    Someone coming along and just spamming your comments section with context-free links and no attempt to make those links part of the discussion however? No no. Again, thankfully I haven’t had this problem at all, though.

    I think the thing to remember is that the comments section is primarily for conversations. If something on your own site that you’ve posted supports that conversation, I say go ahead and share it — but be sure to provide some context, and be aware that the post’s owner is perfectly within their rights to delete it if they find it unacceptable for whatever reason.

    If you’re just piggybacking on a bigger blogger in the hopes that someone will click on your stuff, though, git outta here!

  13. I pick my time at self promo, I just recorded a podcast for a collab and jokely plugged my blog in a humorous manner which is harmless lol but picking the right time to is important. Sad people take advantage so Im picky whoever wishes to collaborate. Btw we haven’t collaborated since 2018 😏 we should have a talk hey hey

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