As Adrienne Smith (the blog commenting superstar) says, “Building connections with the blog owners and commenters is powerful. It’s how you meet people by showing up and adding to the conversation.”
But the problem with blog commenting is, pretty much every blogger knows how beneficial it can be. And unfortunately, not everyone is going to approach commenting as a relationship building tactic. Many people still comment only to benefit themselves.
So what if you get comments that aren’t quite adding to the conversation?
Some comments are obviously spam and can be deleted with little hesitation. But a lot of comments fall into a grey area. So how should you handle your blog comments?
The First Layer of Defense
First off, you should definitely have some sort of anti-spam mechanism installed on your blog. Askimet is a good anti-spam plug-in for WordPress blogs.
This will help you get rid of 90% of the spam that you’ll encounter.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way …
I’ve been seeing this more and more. Like you know they took the time to at least look at your blog and hand-write a comment, but the comment is nothing but self-promotion. Most times, you can tell it’s a cut and paste thing. These won’t get caught by Askimet, since the author isn’t in a spam database anywhere.
If you see a message with a link in the body text that really doesn’t add any value to your site, delete it. Most times these links aren’t actually related to your site. They’re just cloaked to look like they are so that you will approve them.
You may get messages with the backlink embedded in the person’s name and website (if you’re not using a plugin like CommentLuv that automatically links to their blog.) Whether or not you keep these comments depends mostly on the content of their comments.
If they’re reading your posts and adding value to your site, then of course you should keep their comments. But if they’re just commenting on your site generically to get a backlink to their site, then use your discretion. You know, something like “This post was very insightful. Thank you for posting it.”
A lot of comments fall into this grey area. The truth is, often times they are from people who actually read the post and just aren’t very adept at commenting. They might not add a lot of value, but they are clearly not automated spammers. Some bloggers will delete these, while some will approve these. It’s up to you.
Comments That Make No Sense
You know, the ones that make you go “huh?”
Sometimes, these are spammers that made it through the filter. But they could be actual readers that just didn’t express their thoughts all that well.
If there is no ridiculous backlink or website attached to the comment, I’d approve it and respond with a request for clarification.
Deleting dissenting comments is a big mistake. People who take the time to read everything you wrote and then share an opposing opinion should be rewarded rather than silenced.
Someone might disagree with something you post this time, but could be a big fan of something you write next week. If you delete their comment, you’ll lose them forever. Furthermore, the people who take the time to write their opinion are probably people who really care about your topic. So thank them for their comment, politely refute if you need to, but don’t delete or ignore them.
The Really Long Winded Comments
Every once in a while, you’ll get hit with a really long comment. Like one that could be its own blog post.
First thing you do: Say “woah”
Next, thank them for their well-thought out piece of content that they have shared on your blog. They have likely raised some good points in their novel.
Most bloggers have come to realize the benefits of commenting on other blogs. Many of them use this tactic judiciously – commenting to build relationships with other prominent bloggers. They take the time to write a well thought out comment, and leave something that is more beneficial for others than themselves.
Unfortunately, not all the comments you get on your blog will have the same value. Judge each comment and approve or delete as you see fit. Remember, some of these will really be spam, while others may just be actual readers who just aren’t as adept at commenting.
How do you deal with blog comments that don’t add to the conversation? Leave a comment and share your strategy for dealing with blog comments.