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There’s not much that I hate more than dealing with comments on our niche sites. They can be a huge time suck, all for what feels like nothing.
As I mentioned in this post, there are definitely valid reasons to keep blog comments enabled, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t drawbacks as well.
One of the cons to enabling comments on your site is that you’re sure to deal with some negativity from time to time. Many times, this negativity is just from someone being hateful, but other times, there’s value to be found in the commenter’s rant.
There are a couple of scenarios where you can use these negative comments as positives. The first in when someone has a legitimate complaint about something on your site.
Complaints like these usually come in the form of something like “You don’t know what you’re talking about. In the section about…, you said…, when it’s clearly… You’re an idiot.”
If you outsource your content, there’s a good chance that comments like these are truly pointing out inaccuracies in your posts. These commenters are doing you a favor by telling you exactly what to fix on your posts to make them better.
When this happens, we research the claim, fix the article accordingly, then delete the comment. We don’t publish these comments, as that’s not going to really do you or your visitors any good.
The other type of negative comment that can be spun as a positive is one where someone says something nitpicky, that really has no real basis. They’re just saying something to make themselves feel better and prove that they’re smarter than everyone else.
What we’ve found in most cases is that if you publish these types of comments and respond to them in a positive way (“Oh wow, I didn’t know about that. Thanks for pointing it out.”), the engagement on that post will go up quickly with the vast majority of people defending you and the post.
We’ve had several instances of this scenario where there are zero comments on a post for a very long time, then after we get one negative comment and respond to it, comments just keep trickling in in response to it.
This is great because not only are people backing you up, but they’re engaging with your post. They’re staying on the page longer to read the comments, coming back to see how others respond, adding content to your post (which will lead to newer visitors staying on your site longer), etc.
These are all positive things that can come from one person posting a negative comment on your blog. These are the types of comments that you shouldn’t simply delete, because they are opportunities to improve the engagement on your site.
Negative comments are a way of life, no matter what platform you use. Some of them should simply be deleted, but some can be used for good.
Do your best to not let these types of comments get you down, and instead, figure out ways to squeeze some value out of them.