If you’re a blogger, you know that readers are bound to criticize you at some point. They might criticize you for your opinion on a certain subject, your style of writing, or for making a factual error in one of your posts. Whatever the reason, one thing is for certain: You need to know how to handle criticism properly if you want to thrive as a blogger.
Here are some tips to help you out the next time a negative comment finds its way to your blog.
• Don’t automatically delete negative comments—The last thing you want to do is to become a dictator with your comment moderation. The great thing about the blogosphere is that everyone—from the writer to the readers—has a voice. The second you take that away by deleting negative comments, you violate the whole premise behind blogging.
I almost never delete comments. The only time I’ll do so is if the comment is from an obvious troll or if it contains profanity that isn’t suitable for the particular blog. Other than that, I welcome negative comments. Everyone has a different opinion, and negative comments are often a great way to keep the conversation going on your blog.
• Try to see their point—Instead of getting caught up in the fact that someone is criticizing you, take a step back and try to see the actual point they’re making. More times than not, you should be able to understand where the commenter is coming from and why they’re saying these things.
Just because you don’t agree with them doesn’t mean their comment doesn’t have value. Take everything—from the positive to the negative—under consideration.
• Interact with the commenter in a respectful manner—The two wrong ways to handle criticism on your blog are to: 1) Ignore the comment altogether and 2) Get overly defensive and argumentative in your response. Neither of those will help you gain the respect of your readers.
The best thing you can do is to politely respond to the reader to push the conversation forward. Be respectful of their opinion, and let them know why you disagree with them. But don’t be rude or uptight as it just makes you look petty and incapable of handling criticism.
• Be willing to learn from them—Believe it or not, you don’t know everything. I like to view negative comments and criticism as learning opportunities. Step back and consider that maybe the commenter is onto something. Maybe they really are right and you’re the one who is wrong.
This might not be the case, but you need to at least be willing to learn from others. That’s the only way you’ll improve as a blogger.
• Don’t feed the trolls—Okay, so not all negative comments have value. In some instances, you’ll get over-the-top criticism from people who are clearly looking to stir the pot and get you riled up. These people are called trolls. They aren’t there to add something of value to the conversation. They just want to cause trouble and to get attention.
In these situations, I say ignore them. Don’t feed the trolls because that’s what they need. They want you to get upset so they can be in control. Don’t give them that power. Ignore trolls, and they’ll go away.
How do you handle criticism on your blog? Share your best tips in the replies.
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