Blog comments provide direct feedback on the content you’re publishing and for many bloggers, they provide proof that someone is listening, reading, and paying attention—that the content you work so hard to create matters. For many bloggers and brands, comments are a sign of a successful community and interactive conversations between the blogger and commenters show the audience is engaged. This reinforces the value of the blogger’s brand.
But what happens when comments are posted that aren’t nice? What can do you when an internet troll who finds confidence behind a keyboard posts comments that belittle, shame, or attack you? That’s exactly what we’re addressing in this post…
Six Tips To Help You Respond To Negative Blog Comments
Don’t Respond Right Away
Unlike positive comments, which should be responded to right away, negative comment responses need to be handled more carefully. When a negative comment is left on your post, take a deep breath and let it sit for a little while—if you need to, vent to a friend or family member to get your emotions out. If you don’t have someone to vent to, write out your emotional response (not on your website) and then delete it.
Look For Common Ground
Read the negative blog comment again and evaluate it objectively. Sometimes, a negative comment comes from a lack of information, a misunderstanding, or an assumption. Is there any part of the comment that has merit? Is there any truth to what is being said? Can you understand their perspective if you put yourself in their shoes? If so, respond with objective empathy. First, acknowledge their point of view, then explain your perspective.
Be Careful With Your Words
When comments have already taken a negative turn, be very careful about the words you use in your response. Keep emotions out of it, stick to the facts, and avoid getting defensive or attacking the other person—this will only incite another negative response.
Move The Conversation Off The Blog
The last thing you want is to have a public argument in the blog comments with a nasty person—those situations never turn out well and usually end up making both people look bad. In your response, don’t leave the conversation open for a public response. Instead, share that if they have more to say, you are open to continuing the conversation through email or speaking with them through Zoom.
Remember That You Are In Control
You control which comments get published and which get deleted. You also get to decide if comments are moderated and how heavy you want the moderation to be.
If someone takes the time to leave a comment on your blog, it means they are paying attention and they are part of your community—and there are going to be times that people in your community disagree with you. Don’t stifle their voice and delete their comment just because it isn’t praising you. A good mix of comment types shows a healthy engaged community.
With that said, there is a difference between a disagreement and someone being mean. Welcome spirited debates but do not tolerate mean, hateful, or borderline abusive posts.
Publish A Comment Policy
If you have a website or blog with comments turned on, it’s a good idea to publish an official comment policy that explains the rules and guidelines for commenting on your site and the reasons a comment may get rejected or deleted.
You Are The Boss Of Your Blog
Remember, you are the boss of your boss and website. You drive the brand, lead the community, demonstrate the behavior you want to see, and make the technology choices, which is why Liquid Web’s Managed WordPress is a no brainer. It makes it easy for you to focus on building your community while we take care of backups, performance, and updates—and if a Negative Nelly does show up, always remember that you can privately rally your friends to respond in the comments and support you too!