You Can’t Please Everyone: Five Ways to Handle Negative Comments

Easy reading is damn hard writing. -Nathaniel Hawthorne-

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As hard as some of us try, we simply cannot please every person who reads our
blog posts. Some writers try harder than others and see some positive results in
terms of

traffic and people
genuinely reading and enjoying their content while for
others, writing comes a lot easier. But regardless of whether you spend three
minutes or

three days
writing what you think is a fantastic blog post, someone will
always be ready and willing to cut you down the first chance they get. Sad,
isn’t it?

Part of what makes blogging fun is all of the interaction that we get to
experience with other people in our niche who share similar interests or others
who are curious and want to learn more about what we’re discussing. Of all the
things that can go wrong with a blog (and believe me, there’s a list!), one of
the major issues that often gets hard-working bloggers down is when someone
leaves a negative comment on their blog post.

Walking the Line

If people didn’t think differently, then the world would be an awfully boring
place. Part of what makes the World Wide Web so unique and interesting are all
of the different opinions, ideas and experiences that each of us brings to the
table. Having said that, it’s ok to offer constructive criticism to someone
else- or even to disagree with them and say so. However, many bloggers would
argue that it is NOT ok to leave disparaging comments on blog posts just for the
sake of doing so.

What to do About Negative Comments

Web strategist,

Jeremiah Owyang
, discussed several ways of handling negative comments. To
further supplement what he says, here are some words of advice I’ve come up with
with regards to negative comments:

  1. Get to Know the Person: Before you jump to any
    conclusions, take the time to look the person up. Do they have a blog of
    their own? Have they commented on other blogs besides yours before; and if
    so, do they have a history or pattern of leaving negative comments? Are they
    a competitor of yours?
  2. To Delete it or Not to Delete it? Don’t rush to delete
    a negative comment right away. If you’ve determined that the person isn’t
    spamming you and that their comment has some validity, you may want to leave
    it up. Many bloggers are against leaving negative comments on their blog
    because they feel that it somehow damages their credibility. However,
    leaving the negative comment up there might provoke some discussion or
    reactions from other bloggers, thus helping you to drive traffic. Keep in
    mind that this isn’t something you want to do all of the time though.
  3. Face the Facts: While some people are shiftless and are
    out to do more harm than good, you must face the fact that not every single
    person is going to like what you’ve written. The best blogs are those that
    have diverse comments. Reading through comments or even receiving comments
    that fall along the lines of “great post-it really helped me with…” or “I
    really agree here…” tend to be boring and somewhat unbelievable. Surely,
    there had to have been someone who saw things differently!
  4. Build a Relationship: If the person leaving the
    negative comment has an email address, you may want to consider emailing
    him/her to simply discuss why they felt the way they did to see if perhaps
    it was due to something you left out of the blog post, etc.
  5. Don’t Ignore the Problem! Ignoring a problem will never
    solve it. By reaching out to the person leaving the negative comment, you
    are acknowledging that there is a problem as well as demonstrating to your
    readers that you have an open mind as well as confidence- both of which will
    serve you very well in the blogging world!

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