6 lessons to learn from negative feedback on your blog | Ladders

Don't let a couple of negative comments bring you down.

6 lessons to learn from negative feedback on your blog

Don’t let a couple of negative comments bring you down. Use these tips to deal with the internet trolls.

A little blood, sweat, and tears go into each article you write – whether it’s for your job, as a guest contributor, or for a personal blog. So it’s easy to take it personally when these pieces you worked so hard on get overrun with comments by people critiquing your two cents, the way you delivered it, and even who you are as a person.

At first, the influx of criticism may make you feel helpless, but don’t be discouraged — any feedback, even hateful comments, is a sign that your article intrigued readers and perhaps even ruffled a few feathers, which is every writer’s goal. So the next time this happens to you, take a deep breath, and remember these six tips to help you cope with criticism on your beloved blog.

Fight the urge to fight back

It’s no secret that people are more comfortable being outspoken when their identity is hidden behind their computer screen. I can guarantee that almost every person who leaves a rude comment on your blog post would never dream of saying something so nasty to your face, despite the mistakes you may or may not have made in your article.

Whatever you do, it is crucial that you do not respond to rude, superficial comments only written to dishearten you. If readers comment with relevant questions about your article, feel free to answer them, but never address an insult. If more than one reader asks (politely) about a point you perhaps didn’t explain clearly enough, feel free to clear up any misconceptions that might change the content or purpose of your article.

Come At Me Baby

Know that you might see more hate than love

The people who feel most compelled to comment are usually the ones who didn’t appreciate your work. The ones who enjoyed it probably don’t feel the urge to share their thoughts. Unfortunately, your dissatisfied “customers” are the most outspoken; it’s a fact of life. But you were confident enough in your piece to put your name on it and publish it. You know it’s good, most of your readers know it’s good, but you unfortunately might miss out on some much-needed compliments.

Try not to focus on the negativity — I promise that for every reader who bashes your post, there are multiple people who loved it but didn’t share their opinion with you. A very wise career coach once told me that in a popular blog, negative comments are virtually inevitable — if people put in the effort to be mean to you or rationalize why you messed up, you’ve made it.

Don’t delete it just because it bothers you

If you wish to delete comments written by others, that’s up to you. You’re definitely free to delete anything slanderous or not pertaining to the article’s subject, but if you delete every criticism, you’re discouraging all feedback (even helpful feedback).

It may be tempting to say ‘goodbye’ to that slightly condescending, nit-picky paragraph forever, but how else will you learn from your mistakes ?

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Consider that they might be right

Ehhh sorry Charlie, but your readers might have a point. While you shouldn’t obsess over rude responses, try not to totally tune out criticism — most people don’t have the creativity or won’t put in the effort to make something up completely out of thin air. It’s likely that if multiple people mention the same flaw in your article, you probably didn’t present the point you were trying to make properly.

Don’t be intimidated by your mistake. Just correct yourself by responding to those who respectfully inquired about the mix-up or inaccuracy. Be sure you thank them for their interest in your work.

Don’t dwell on the negatives 

In addition to attacking your writing, some people will personally attack you using any information provided — including your photo or byline. These people are exceptionally cruel, and deserve an eternal bad hair day for being so rude to you when you were just trying to help or entertain them.

Try not to let these people phase you. Remember that some people are practically pros at spamming blog posts with derogatory content. It’s possible to find a reason to bring down anyone — and some are experts at detecting a weakness just by looking at a headshot or reading a short author bio. Please don’t be deterred by such unoriginal, hastily-crafted put-downs.

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Never stop writing!

At the risk of sounding cheesy, don’t let a few rain clouds block your sunshine. Most likely, you’ll have some good Samaritans come to your rescue and defend your writing honor in the comments — those are the readers you know you’ve really influenced! That’s difficult to do, so take immense pride when this happens. It proves that, just how you liked what you wrote and thought it contained valuable information, others agree with you.

One last thing, bloggers…

As a final note, keep in mind that most things boil down to a matter of opinion: A topic you’re interested in, a song you love, another article you think is brilliant — someone else will detest all those things.

If readers comment with conflicting opinions on your topic in an appropriate manner, pat yourself on the back! Debate on your post is a sign that it’s thought-provoking and worth discussing further. Just make sure you’re not responding to readers who posted a comment with foul language or mentioned anything about you (not just your content or fantastic writing style).

Remember that the people writing negative comments are not your enemies, but internet surfers who might be bored, in a bad mood or just unpleasant people in general. If people are commenting, they’re reading. Do you know what would be way, way worse? If no one read what you wrote. So start brainstorming your next idea, and give everyone even more to talk about!

Hope Restle

Hope Restle

Hope Restle was previously a Public Relations and Marketing Intern at Ladders. A journalism major at New York University, she also manages all social media accounts for online art dealer Zatista, and is a weekly contributor for their blog, Wall Spin. When Hope’s not writing or posting artwork, you can find her at Joe’s Pizza or anywhere that serves pancakes all day.

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