When The Reaction to Your Blog Post Goes Wrong
A blogger just contacted me quite upset about the reaction to a blog post they’d written. They wanted my advice on what they should do.
“Should you do anything?”
“Well, I thought I should respond, but I don’t know what to do!”
“Did you want a response to your blog post?”
“Sure, but not this response.”
“You wanted a response. You got one. What about that response aren’t you happy with?”
When we put our words out there on a blog, we want a response. That’s part of the whole justification for blogging. We want a response. We want reactions. We want feedback.
The problem is when your expectation about that feedback isn’t met.
Handling Rejection on Your Blog
How do you handle rejection on your blog? Have you published something expecting a positive response and received a negative one? Have you published something negative, expecting everyone to jump on you, and got favorable and supportive reactions instead?
Not everything we publish on our blogs will be agreeable to everyone, no matter which way your expectations lay. How do you respond when your blog post feedback doesn’t go as planned?
You have a lot of choices.
- Fight Back: You can defend yourself, your blog, and your position against criticism or negative feedback.
- Agree With Them: If you really agree with the commenters’ position, then agree with them. Not everything has to be a fight.
- Say Nothing: You can sit back and say and do nothing as response. Let your blog post and the commenters’ responses take center stage and just watch what happens.
- Blog a Response: Many use the responses from one blog post to blog another blog post about the responses. You can choose to respond by defend yourself, agreeing with the commenters, or just pointing to the comments and feedback and let them speak for themselves in the new blog post.
- Let Others Respond Openly: Sometimes the response to a blog post is another blog post on another blog. Discussing the issue with a fellow blogger can often encourage them to take up your defense, or possibly agree with your commenters. If they do, you then have to choose to respond no their blog post, on your blog, or not to respond at all.
Is there a right or wrong answer? It depends. It depends upon what you want the long term outcome of the conversation on your blog to be.
Decisions Per Blog Post Reflect on Your Overall Blog
How you choose to decide to respond to comments on a single blog post can set the policy and standards for all your blog posts, encouraging or discouraging future commenters.
A movie star, director, or producer might only be as good as their last movie, but a blogger is only as good as their blog – their whole blog. Each post added together to represent the whole.
Those who comment for or against your blog posts are rarely one time commenters. One time commenters usually thank you or ask a quick question, not participate in an ongoing conversation. The ones you adore are probably the ones who keep coming back for more, and leaving more than one comment, right?
Why do they keep coming back for more? Because you keep serving up content of interest to them and worth commenting upon. They like the whole and are willing to forgive a few flops along the way because the overall blog’s content makes it a good playground for thought and interaction.
The decisions you make on one blog post can influence future blog post responses, especially if you apply those same response decisions across all blog posts.
In the early days of your blog experience, the decisions you make can set the standard for all decisions to comments that follow. Make them wisely.
- How would I want the response to be if I were a reader?
- Which response decision will have the greatest long term impact for my blog?
- What kind of blog do I want?
- What kind of a blog conversation do I want to build?
- What kind of readers do I want?
- What kind of readers do I want to encourage to comment?
As I talked the blogger down from blog comment panic, we answered these questions. She calmed down enough to step back and look at her blog post as a reader would, not as the author.
She realized that she wouldn’t want the blogger to respond angrily or defensively to the comments, a reflection of her inherent personality. She wanted long term, supportive readers – a community. She wanted to provide a place where they could openly respond without criticism from her, though a few slaps about the hands would keep things under control and, indeed, make it a safe place to play with some guidelines and boundaries in place. She also realized it was time to get a comments policy in place.
If you want an open blog, you have to open the door to whoever shows up. If an individual causes problems, then the community depends upon the parent blogger to keep the bully under control, but for the most part, freedom of expression is welcome, even if it doesn’t agree with yours.
If you want an argumentative blog, one where you blog snarky and expect snarky comments in return, you will get what you ask for and invite into your blog home.
If you want a controlled blog where you have the ruling voice and what you say is the only say, then either become a dictator controlling the comments, or close off comments so yours is the only voice seen on your blog.
It’s your choice, but choose wisely. Remember, comments are content and you do control them, as well as your responses to them.
The author of Lorelle on WordPress and the fast-selling book, Blogging Tips: What Bloggers Won't Tell You About Blogging, as well as several other blogs, Lorelle VanFossen has been blogging for over 15 years, covering blogging, WordPress, travel, nature and travel photography, web design, web theory and development extensively as web technologies developed.
It’s too early for me to know exactly what I’d like in terms of a readership, though eventually it would be nice to have readers who interact with each other in the comments.
I see this occasionally but more often than not, people seem to leave their one comment and they don’t return until the next post is published.
I’m new to blogging so I accept I may be wrong, perhaps there are a lot of ‘discussion’ type blogs out there – I just have to find them?
I’ve come away from reading this, understanding that if I want that kind of blog and that kind of readership I need to make it happen.
Very useful article. Thank you.
Wow. I scared evryone away. LMAO.
Were it not for the spammy looking comment above from usagermanstu I’d be all alone here.
There we go. Problem solved. If I don’t get any readers on my blog I’ll just respond to myself. :-D
@ Dave Fowler:
Thanks for pointing out the comment spam.
And why not respond to yourself? You’d be surprised at how many actually do.
Hehehe. Thanks Lorelle.
I’ve just started out blogging – and I wonder whether in situations like this you’d put this content out again – but rebranded. You’ve given good advice here and it’s a shame it didn’t draw more responses.
I know you’re a very experienced web publisher and the lack of reader contribution probably won’t bother you, but I fear that it might bother me.
I wouldn’t want good material to go to waste (assuming I can produce it), so any advice would be appreciated.