How To Be Nice

Why to be successful in internet marketing you need to be… nice.


The internet is a big, dark, lonely place.

Actually it’s not.

Well, it is big, but it doesn’t have to be lonely.

As I sit in splendid isolation in the corner of Starbucks writing this, I ponder two things: –

1) My Christmas blend filter coffee is pretty damn tasty and I will soon be seeking a refill.
2) A big part of being successful in internet marketing and blogging comes from being nice.

Nice is not a nice word

Firstly, let me state that I hate the word nice.

It’s so bland. The blandest of all words; like dipping a rich tea biscuit in tepid water while listening to a CD of Simply Red piano covers at your nans.

But, I guess (grudgingly) that, just as there is a place for Simply Red in the world, there is also a time to use the word nice. And this is one of those times.

So, fellow internet marketers – here is how to be nice.

Share other people’s interesting content

No one likes a show off.

Remember that kid at school who was good at everything and liked to brag about it?Sure, on the face of it he was Mr Popular, but you can bet that deep down everyone just wanted him to shut up and get over himself.

He probably works in a bank now and cries himself to sleep every night (alone).

Striking A Balance

Of course you have to share your own content on your social media, but, taking twitter for example, somewhere in the region of 50% of your tweets should be sharing the content of others.

The person who’s content you shared will be grateful and your followers will be grateful too.

You can bet that you will have a bigger circle of internet friends than Billy big boots in no time.

tip: Don’t just hit the auto retweet button. Add your own message (to your followers) at the start of the tweet telling them why they should check it out, like this: –

You’re more likely to get thanked, like this: –

And on that note….

Thank those who share your content

If someone shares your content take the time to thank them whenever possible. They’ll be more likely to do it again.

Even better, share or retweet one of their posts.

Link out freely

While a tweet or a like is a great way of sharing cool stuff and helping out your fellow internet marketers, nothing quite says ‘I love you’ like a link.

Ignore those who tell you to horde pagerank etc – they still think it’s 2001.

Well, newsflash, Supergrass aren’t in the charts anymore (sadly), so time to step into the twenty-tens (or whatever the hell this decade is called?) and start linking out.

Not only will you be building your burgeoning reputation as a super nice blogger, you’ll also be: –

So share the link love!

Comment on interesting posts on other blogs

Everyone likes getting comments.

They reassure us that someone is actually listening andΒ we are not just some cyber nutter, ranting away pointlessly to ourselves and spewing words out into the ether.

So if you enjoy an article, take the time to leave a (thoughtful) comment.

Bonus: You’ll probably get some referral traffic and will be helping to create a diverse link profile.

Thank those who comment on yours

Those lovely people who leave a comment on your blog….

Answer their question (if they have one) or thank them for their comment.

Don’t spam!

Spam is the anti-nice. Santa doesn’t visit spammers.

Don’t do any of the following: –

  • Leave spammy comments on blogs (automated or otherwise)
  • Spin articles (they’re no use to anyone and clutter up the internet)
  • Spam forums for a signature link
  • Tweet links to your content every 10 minutes
  • Send spam emails to your mailing list
  • Acquire that email list through dodgy methods

Basically, don’t annoy the internet.

Not such a lonely place after all

Succeeding with internet marketing these days is all about providing true value for your visitors (through exceptional content) and building your online network/real relationships.

If no man is an island, then neither should your website be drifting alone in the ocean of the internet.

Reach out to other webmasters in your niche, share their content, ask them to share yours, leave comments. Say thanks. Be social. Be nice.

Time for that refill (thanks Audrey!).


About the Author

I'm a web developer, programmer, blogger and SEO expert from Glasgow, Scotland, with over 15 years experience in the industry. When I'm not writing about marketing and SEO you'll find me strumming the guitar in my band or listening to Revolver on repeat. Follow me on twitter, connect with me on google+ and add us on facebook to keep up with all the latest trends in SEO and online marketing.

Mart Shark - December 18, 2013

This is a really interesting one. I am a 100% advocate of being nice and I agree with your principles of “nice SEO”.

What we really need is a good cop/bad cop test – you versus Matt W and all of this blackhat shizzle! πŸ™‚

    David McSweeney - December 18, 2013

    Thanks Mart,

    Funnily enough I’m a big fan of Matt’s content, but not the content of a lot of his content (if that makes any sense!). His tutorials are exceptionally well written (exactly how it should be done), he’s made great connections, replies to his comments, emails, he’s helpful… all the good stuff. The way he’s built his blog traffic with the zero backlinks experiment/promoting his content is exactly how it should be done, but I am of course completely against the automated link building/spinning etc that many of his tutorials advocate.

    The white wizard always wins in the fairy tales right…?

      Brandon Bear - December 19, 2013

      My take on this — Matt’s website “niche” is blackhat (or whatever you want to call it) SEO.

      His personal marketing tactics are much more whitehat/social-focused. Some people get confused with marketing blogs because they don’t realize “internet marketing” is as much of a subject as it is a profitable market.

      He’s a really smart marketer, because he’s capitalizing on the blackhat seo/marketing crowd while not wanting to use those same tactics on his own site.

        David McSweeney - December 19, 2013

        He’s a very smart marketer and there’s certainly a lot of money to be made in the ‘black hat’ niche. Lots of expensive link building software to promote and desperate webmasters! One of my biggest problems with automated tools is that when they (inevitably) don’t work, the response is ‘well you must be using it wrong’. I think the fact that Link Emperor no longer rank for their own brand name is proof that this is nonsense. If they can’t use their own tool, then who can???

Jerod Morris - December 18, 2013

100% agree David! It isn’t always possible or practical to reply to every single comment or tweet you get, but making your best effort to is advised. For all of the reasons you mentioned above, and just because it gives you good online karma. But mostly because of the reasons you mentioned. πŸ™‚

And you hit the two most important nails on the head: success online is about providing value and building relationships. Do the first, and the eyeballs, comments, and kind words will come your way. Do the second as well, and you have a fighting chance to build an audience.

    David McSweeney - December 18, 2013

    Thanks Jerod. I think you definitely need both. It’s the old analogy of opening a great shop down a back alley; you can have the most amazing content in the world, but if you haven’t built the relationships that get those eyeballs coming to see it, then you’re not going to succeed. Vice versa of course, you can be Mr nice guy, but if you haven’t got the content to back it all up…

James H. - December 18, 2013

This is why I like reading your posts, David! You’re very transparent and down-to-earth when it comes to blogging and marketing. You’re also kind of… nice. (Is it okay to say that about you?)

I like that you mention the 50/50 rule about what to share online with your readers. Fifty from you, the other fifty from them. I can’t remember who else I read this from, but another blogger mentioned the 80/20 rule.

It’s basically the same philosophy, but he/ she argued that you should spend your time sharing 80 percent of other people’s content and only 20 percent of yours.

What do you think about that in comparison to the 50/50 rule?

    David McSweeney - December 18, 2013

    Well, I’ve been called a lot worse over the years… so nice I can deal with πŸ™‚

    50/50 is what I try and stick to (roughly), but I guess if you have the time, the higher percentage of other people’s content you share the better.

Dilip Win - January 7, 2014

Interesting article, Sharing and Commenting is really must needed one. Getting many backlinks help us to get blog to top level. Nice article

Comments are closed