How to Handle Readers' Comments on Your Blog

Knowing how to handle reader comments on your blog requires speed and sensitivity. Comments from readers is a controversial area on a blog, both in the content of those comments and in how you handle them. If you neglect to read comments and respond to them quickly, your visitors may become frustrated and then leave.

Comments are an important part of your blog and deserve your time, attention, and — when warranted — response. Sometimes a comment should even be deleted. Whatever technique you use, don’t ignore your commenters.

Here are a few ways to handle comments:

  • Read your comments regularly, especially if you have an active blog that receives lots of response. Think of what you’re reading as you would a conversation and respond to those comments that ask questions, make you think, or just intrigue you.

  • Respond to a comment by leaving a comment yourself, or, if a comment inspires you to write another blog post, you can mention the comment in your new blog post.

  • Delete comments. Quite a few comments come from spammers and add nothing to the conversation; deleting those is a no-brainer. But some that are worthy of deletion are from real people and are even on topic. Every blogger has to make a choice about what kinds of comments need to be deleted.

    Bloggers should hit the delete key on comments that

    • Are off-topic for the post they’re attached to (a common issue with spam comments).

    • Are personal attacks on the blogger or other readers. For example, many bloggers draw the line on comments that contain racial slurs, name-calling, hate language, or speculation on things such as sexual orientation. People who leave these types of comments are often called trolls.

    • Are left anonymously

    • Are left with a fake name/e-mail.

    • Are libelous.

    • Are obscene.

    • Contain private information that shouldn’t be public.

    • Include a URL that appears to be included for marketing purposes.

    • Contain plagiarized material.

    Most blog readers can accept that it’s your blog, and you get to make the decisions about which comments stay and which go. Nobody likes to have their comments deleted, however, and often bloggers are criticized when they delete comments, especially when it isn’t clear why they’ve done so.

    Some bloggers have instituted a blog comment policy that outlines for readers what kinds of comments will be removed. If you’re thinking about writing a blog comment policy, take a look at what other bloggers have done.

When it comes right down to it, you control what comments appear on your blog, whether you moderate them ahead of time or afterward.

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