It’s About Community and Engagement, not PR or Rankings

Updated September 9, 2011

Doc Sheldon

A friend of mine, Ana Hoffman, continues to amaze me with her savvy approach to marketing and blogging. I stumbled across her blog not long after she launched, and was immediately impressed with her ability to achieve a delicate balance of aggressive marketing and cohesive community-building.

If you’re a blogger, and particularly one that’s interested in maximizing the benefits of blogging to your online business, you can learn a lot from Ana. She’s managed to amass a good bit of knowledge and enjoys sharing it freely with her readers. If you haven’t already visited her blog, you owe it to yourself to do so. The tips she shares and the example she sets are pure gold!

For instance, she recently shared a list that took her a fair amount of time to compile:

Ana Hoffman from Traffic Generation Cafe has just published an amazing list of CommentLuv enabled blogs – great resource for finding new quality blogs to comment on, build relationships, and quality one way links.

I’ve been fairly vocal (negatively in flavor, in case you missed it) in the past about people that comment on blogs just to drop a link. The people I’m talking about typically leave meaningless “Great post!” comments, assuming that dropping such tidbits on forty blogs a day will miraculously catapult their site to PR9 and a #1 slot in the SERPs. The comments that pigeons drop on park statues have as much value, as far as I’m concerned.

But what Ana teaches, and quite effectively, is that blogging and commenting is about community, not PR or rankings. Sure, she points out which blogs on her list are nofollow… and she doesn’t nofollow links on her own blog. Neither do I. Why?

For my part, it’s because I realize that most bloggers are not SEOs, and they still think that it makes a big difference to the value of those links. They don’t realize that things like blog comment and forum post links are so diluted that their value is a fraction of what it might be in the body of an article or blog post.

So I don’t use nofollow, as doing so might make some readers less likely to engage. And engagement is what it’s all about. I suspect that Ana may feel the same.

So, do yourself a favor, visit Traffic Generation Cafe, subscribe and pay attention to what Ana shares. You could do a lot worse!

As long as I’m plugging folks, I really ought to get one in here for Andy Bailey, too. He’s the power behind CommentLuv, which most of you are already probably familiar with. But it’s going to really rock very shortly, as his new CommentLuv Premium will soon be out of beta and in the wild. I applied to be a beta tester, but didn’t make the cut. Ana did, however, and is helping Andy find any bugs that might exist, before he rolls it out to the public.

Having seen some of what his new CL Premium offering does, I can promise you, you’ll be seriously impressed when you see it! I can’t wait to get my hands on it!


  1. Barry Wheeler says:


    I think I’ve finally found someone who understands the true nature of building a relationship and engaging their readers (other than Chris Brogan!) 🙂

    Great post, thanks for being on the mark!

  2. Thanks for stopping by and chiming in, Barry! Hope to see you back soon. I know you’re familiar with Ana’s digs… seem to have seen you over there a time or two. 😉

  3. Hi, Priya- Thanks for your visit and your comment. Welcome to our growing community.
    Yes, Ana shares freely, and has built a dynamic community at Traffic Generation Cafe. The fact that she’s a really sweet person doesn’t hurt, either. 😉

  4. I’ve been checking anna’s site for a few times already and I think her ideas are really true. Blogging is not just about PR, and not all bloggers are SEOs..I actually got your site from her list..

  5. Steve@Affiliate Marketing Tips says:

    What’s up Doc?

    (Sorry, I couldn’t resist. Bet you get that opener a lot.)

    I have to 100% agree with you. Community is everything. I also have my blog enabled dofollow for the same reasons as you. I want to reward the community who take time to really respond.

    But those spammish comments simply do not “cut the mustard”.

    There is nothing wrong with visiting new blogs, maybe even hoping for a link, as long as you actually read the post and your comment is quality. But more importantly you should be hoping to develop a new relationship. The latter is far longer lasting and valuable.

  6. Ana | Web Traffic says:

    I am so incredibly honored, Doc – it’s been quite a journey and you indeed saw most of it in progress.

    Thanks for being a part of my community and letting me be a part of yours.


  7. Thanks for stopping by, Jasmine, and welcome to the Clinic! Yep! Ana’s really careful to be sure that everything she says in the Cafe is checked out, so that she doesn’t mislead anyone.

  8. Hmmmm… yeah, I think I might have had that opener tossed out at me a few times, Steve. 😉
    Slowly, but surely, people will get the idea about how much more valuable networking is than nearly worthless links. When I started out, I thought that forum signatures and blog comment links were the ideal, low-cost way to build PR.
    But, then, I used to believe in the Easter Bunny, too. 😉
    Thanks for stopping by… don’t be a stranger!

  9. I’m sad to admit that I’m not nearly as active a member of the Cafe as I’d like. Work seems to dictate my movements, and I don’t get out and around as much as I’d like. I’ll try to make it a point to stop by over there more often, just to share a cup o’ virtual coffee.

    Thanks for stopping by… you know I’ll always keep a light on for you! 😉