One of the beauties of a blog is that it provides user interaction. One of the curses of a blog is that it subjects you to “user” interaction. Comments are a great way to get feedback and have a conversation with your readers but there will be . . . SPAM. Maintaining blog comments is vital to making it a dynamic communication tool.
So let’s deal with the positive aspect first, reader comments. Trainers, consultants, and professional coaches can frequently write about something that not everyone will agree with. Whether the comments are supportive or critical, it is always a good sign if your readers are taking time to comment on what’s written. It’s the most direct indication that your blog is connecting with readers.
But comments only fill in one side of the conversation. Many bloggers treat comments as the “reader review” section. It has the potential for much more. If a reader has a question or needs clarification, write a comment that provides the information they need. If a reader criticizes a point in the article, either acknowledge the criticism or provide follow up clarification. The point is whether good or bad, don’t ignore your readers.
Now for the negative aspect of comments, SPAM. SPAM is unavoidable. There are ways of minimizing it like captcha apps or more in depth SPAM tools like the one I use, SPAM Karma. However, these are just a first line of defense that will miss some of the craftier comment bots. The ultimate decision on what comments get approved and what comments get marked as SPAM comes down to the blogger.
We’ll tend to give the commenter the benefit of the doubt. If there’s a chance that the comment is truly from a person then we approve it. If you review some of our past posts, you’ll see examples of comments that are likely from a bot, but we’d rather allow a few bits of SPAM rather than mistakenly deleting a reader comment. Here are our guidelines for approving or denying comments
- Is it written properly? Some misspelled words or inarticulate grammar is OK but if it’s so poorly written that a viable point is hard to decipher then it gets rejected.
- Does it have a message that’s on point? We just deleted a comment from a “reader” about becoming a creative writing teacher. Nothing wrong with creative writing but it had nothing to do with the article on SEO. If it doesn’t relate to the topic then it gets rejected.
- Is it overly promotional of a product or service? A lot of comments will come with hyperlinks in the comment or user name. It’s a ploy by SPAM bots to generate a lot of incoming links to their site. If we see comments that read as ads, it gets rejected.
Maintaining your comments section by replying to reader comments and scrubbing SPAM shows readers that you intend to have a dialogue with those that engage with you. This interaction allows for more and better insights about your field of expertise and a feeling of community with your readers.