In keeping with this month’s theme of anti-bullying, we felt it was important to address how to deal with negative comments on your blog. Not everyone is going to agree with you always. And in some cases, not everyone will be respectful.
Negative vs. Constructive Criticism
It’s important that you determine whether the comment is in fact negative. This is why it’s important that you don’t respond immediately. It’s possible that what you define as negative might actually be a different opinion or a correction to something you have posted — criticism can sometimes trigger our defenses.
Often our first instinct is to defend ourselves. By taking some time before you reply, you allow yourself to calm down and look at the comment as objectively as possible. What is the commenter trying to say?
Give Yourself Some (Mental) Space
You might not believe it now, but emotion will direct your reply. Be sure that enough time has gone by before you respond, and know how you want to respond before you begin typing.
Once you’ve determined where the feedback is coming from, you can start moving forward. For example, if the comment is actually a legitimate correction to something you wrote, thank him or her and shake the negativity off. If it’s someone who doesn’t share your opinion, continue the conversation in the comments, or invite them to share their perspective in a guest post.
Take Action, But Don’t Stoop
If the comment is highly offensive, delete it. In many cases negative comments stem from Internet trolls who simply exist to challenge the status quo. Their intentions are to press your buttons, cause a stir, and hope that you or your readers add fuel to their fire. Don’t give them what they want.
You can block this person from commenting on your blog by tracking down their IP address. On WordPress blogs, this can be done by visiting Comments from your Dashboard. From there, go to Settings > Discussion where you can copy and paste their IP into the blacklist section. You can also block specific words, names, URLs, and emails.
Blogger blogs are a little trickier. For this reason, we’re directing you to a tutorial from My Blogger Lab. If you know of any easier way, we’d love for you to share it in the comments.
If the harassment continues, keep a log of IP addresses, the content of the comment, the URL, and a timestamp. If it’s serious enough, take this information to someone else, such as a parent, or if warranted, even the police.
While we’ve addressed how to handle the negative comments left on your blog, it’s also worthwhile to take a look at the comments you’re leaving for others.
Think about how many times you complain, gossip, or saying something negative throughout the day. I bet you’ll be surprised to find out the number is actually much higher than you thought. Negativity is sneaky. Even if your intentions are good, the tone or language you use can suggest differently.
Take a moment to re-read your comment before you hit send. Is this something that you’d want to see on one of your blog posts?
Jennifer is a former sorority girl turned geek. She’s a news editor for Sprout Insights, app-enthused reviewer for Today’s iPhone, 20SB Executive Board member, and Nintendo Brand Ambassador. Jennifer’s inspired by fellow bloggers, bright colors, rainy days and tasty meatballs.