How to Take Control of Blog Comments
Today's Editor's Picks
So you’ve gone ahead, created a website, and you’re publishing content to the blog. Nice!
In time you’ll see a trickle of comments coming through which is a big win for you because it validates that people are interacting with your content (rather than just seeing a ping in your analytics).
But then the site starts taking off …
Where before you’d spend a good hour or two of your day responding to comments you’re now looking at something around 4 or 5 because so many are coming through. Uh-oh!
What do you do when the comment section of your blog starts using up more time than you would to produce the content? The following are a few best practices (and resources) to keep things under management.
1. Create a comment policy
Right before the comment box should be a blurb outlining what you expect from the comments.
These expectations may include:
- No foul language
- Not being overly promotional
- Providing sources in arguments
A comment policy is there to at least let people know what will pass. Breaking the rules will send them to the trash. This helps (a bit) in keeping people focused on the topic and not just trying to pull a ruse so others will click their link.
2. Go off your gut reaction
I’ve seen countless blogs where the comments were actually thinly disguised advertisements to the site but the blog owner did not know. What’s unfortunate is that either A. they did know this information, too, or B. they didn’t and now they’re wasting time responding to “someone” that’s just trying to gain from the comment (a link).
After a while you can naturally pick up on these types of comments. They come across as sincere but if you were to click through the link or spend a few extra moments considering what they’re trying “to add” to the conversation it becomes apparent that it’s insincere.
Don’t bother with these comments.
Just send them to the spam folder and move on to the ones that really matter. They may not come through all too often but spending 2 or 3 minutes here and there to respond surely adds up.
3. Know when to turn them on & off
There’s a huge debate about comments being on or off.
It really depends on:
- If you have the time to comment
- If you believe it affects your point
- If it does/doesn’t add to the conversation
Comments are great, no doubt, but if they have become overwhelming it really puts you at a deadlock because you’re spending more time with the comments than writing content. On the other hand, it’s the comment section where you can really connect with people and find great ideas.
Nowadays it seems a lot of blogs are slowing down on comment count because people are using other social platforms to continue the discussion (like Facebook or Twitter). You could always integrate those which is, at times, easier to manage.
4. Use a better comment system
The built-in comment systems for most blogs are a little lackluster.
You can do some editing on the backend to include (or remove) extra fields or to spice it up but generally you’ll want to add a few blog comment plugins to make the basic system work well.
However, there are plenty of options that give you better features, like:
When you have the chance give them a try on one of your other blogs, see how it works, and then port it over to your main sites. A lot of these have great social features that makes it more than just a comment.
5. Grow a thick skin
Last is the simple action of growing a thick skin.
- Yes, there are trolls.
- Yes, there are spammers.
- Yes, there are the overly promotional.
- Yes, there are rude people.
You just need to get past that.
Remember that it’s your platform so you’re in control. If you feel like someone is being rude then just delete the comment and go on your way. Don’t feel obligated to approve every last comment (and respond to them) if some of them are people trying to sneak in shady links or being mean spirited.
Don’t let them get to you otherwise they’ll get to you.
Comments are a great way to build your presence when you’re just getting a start. It lets you introduce yourself and expertise to other blog owners. If they see the value you’re adding to the comments it may open up an opportunity so that you may network with them and develop a good friendship.
When you are the site owner and notice comments are taking up too much time (especially with spam) you have to put your foot down. Not only do you need to do this to save your time but you have to remember you’re presenting an image to your community and if you’re letting insincere, spam comments come through it really deteriorates the discussion as a whole.
Are you currently overwhelmed by blog comments? How do you handle them?