Every blog writer wants engagement on their blog. Otherwise, blogging can feel like you are simply writing for the internet, the search engines, for SEO and all the other impersonal entities out there. Comments can make blogging really interesting as they spark conversation and give you an insight into what your audience is thinking about your writing. So how do you deal with comments? What is the correct commenting etiquette from a blog owner’s point of view?
First of all, you need to allow comments. If you are new to blogging, make sure that the settings for your blog are set so that anyone can comment. Don’t worry about people disagreeing with you, we’ll deal with that in a minute.
Dealing with spam
Get a good spam filter. If you’re on WordPress, Akismet will catch most spam comments and it learns as you mark more comments as spam, so it gets better over time. If spam comments do get through, simply delete them. There is no need to engage with spammers.
Dealing with trolls
Unfortunately, there are people out there who’s only purpose in life is to be nasty. Should they find their way to your blog, simply delete the comment and if you have a blocking function, use that as well. Your blog is on your website, your property. You don’t have to deal with people like that.
Responding to comments
When people take time out of their busy lives to leave a comment, it is only common courtesy to respond. Do you need to reply to each and every comment? No. But reply to as many as possible. It’s simply good commenting etiquette.
If the commenter has only left a token comment such as “nice post”, a simple “thanks” will do. But if there is some actual content or a personal note, make sure you add some real value to the comment, not just a one-word reply.
Once you reach the stage where you receive dozens or hundreds of blog comments every day, you might have to rethink who you reply to. But most small business blogs don’t encounter that problem.
Dealing with negative comments
Not everyone is going to agree with you. That’s ok. Acknowledge the disagreement and deal with it in a respectful manner. Don’t delete negative comments as a matter of cause. Dealing with controversy openly and in an appropriate way is a great way to show your professionalism.
If the issue is voiced in a nasty way, however, you have to decide whether you’ll apply the troll rule.
Over to you
What’s been your experience with blog comments? Do you maybe have some commenting etiquette rules you follow that I haven’t mentioned? Let me know in the comments.
This is one of the strategies I teach when working with my blogging clients.
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