How To Handle Blog Comments- Once You Start Getting Them

It’s tough to get a blog going! From a technical standpoint, getting everything set up the way you like it, making sure all your social media accounts and RSS feeders are hooked up, and installing all the right plugins and scripts for analytics and social sharing you’re looking at a good 8 hour day, unless it’s heavily templated or you’re just ripping off an existing design (nothing wrong with either of those, for the record!) Then, after that, comes the really difficult part, which is actually writing something! Anyone who’s written a blog for any amount of time knows that eventually you run out of topics, or out of time or steam, and the really hard part is that you have to keep going, even when you don’t have any ideas or just plain don’t feel like writing anything.

Congratulations, you’ve gotten over those hurdles and now your blog is starting to pick up a readership! Your articles are getting retweeted or shared on Facebook or Google+ and people are actually engaging you through those channels. You’ve got people commenting on your blog now- after a while in the desert, finally, you’ve reached an oasis! So, what are the different types of blog comments you see, and what should you do with them?

1. Spam

2. Criticism

3. Legitimate discussion

4. Pingbacks

5. Gushing praise

1. Should be deleted, it’s a poor quality signal to the search engines. Having comments on the blog just to have them is no good, and beware of 2 especially tricky types of spammers, both of which have hit this blog at some point. The first is the one who writes a comment effusively praising your blog or comment or topic, but then he’s named ‘viagraforuxxx420’ and links to some shady site. The second is someone who will write something seemingly helpful like “I can’t get the RSS feed to work, mind helping me out?” Beware of these seemingly beneficial comments; neither is real and therefore neither is valuable. Lots of spam tends to pop up on blog posts that have a good response as the spammers think they can piggyback off of your hard work.

2. Any product with a large volume of sales is going to have some criticisms. This can be countered with excellent customer service as well as- this is tricky- handling the issue publicly, responding to comments. If the overwhelming majority of comments are negative or even hateful, consider turning comments off altogether- hiding negative comments won’t help you seem authentic, but having 300 vitriolic posts about how your product is a scam or your service sucks is clearly pretty detrimental to the success of the site as well.

3. This is very helpful for SEO but these types of comments tend to be few and far between, at least on a small scale blog with maybe 100 visitors, such as this one. Make sure to let these through and respond with a thank you, or address the commenters’ point- healthy debate and discussion will beget more healthy debate and discussion, and since the search engines want to see engagement, what better way to show it than to actually, you know, engage your readers?!?

4. This is a search engine bot posting a comment to validate that the blog is real. This can be deleted.

5. Be wary of gushing praise, some is clearly fine as it’s an endorsement of your product or brand, but if there’s too many comments outright praising you, with nothing negative to balance it, it looks bad. Also remember, Google is a domain registrant- they know if you are commenting on your own properties to make yourself look better. Don’t do this!

Encourage commenting when you post what you write to Facebook, or Google+, or whatever forums you inhabit- there’s nothing wrong with encouraging a little feedback from your regular readers! The key is sincerity.

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