Sometimes the comments on a web article or video is more entertaining than the content itself. The anonymity of the internet has allowed anyone to express their opinion in whichever way they chose. Of course, there are pros and cons to this freedom; for every insightful internet comment, there’s likely to be an inflammatory (or downright hurtful) one.
Tackling spam comments is part of the job of creating web content, and you might be tempted to disable the option when things get frustrating. But with a few tips on how to manage comments, you’ll see they can actually boost your reputation and improve client relationships.
Take control of the trolls
Trolling began in the message boards of the early internet, where users would flood posts with nonsense. Now trolls are present across most social media sites and many blogs, plus we now have to deal with the automated gibberish of spam-bots. So how should web content creators handle it all?
In 2014, one of YouTube’s biggest stars Felix Kjellberg disabled the comments section on his videos due to excessive spam. The decision was newsworthy: why would he silence the community that he earns money from? It was a small price to pay though, as YouTube’s failed attempts to reduce trolling on the site just weren’t cutting it. Kjellberg’s silence allowed the spam to die down as he was no longer a target. He soon reactivated the feature to the delight of his fans who now enjoy a community-based comment section, uninterrupted by spam.
If you’ve become inundated with trolls they can ruin your reputation and business. But should all web content creators disable their comment sections for fear of trolls?
While you can moderate out spam bots and obvious trolling, comments that criticise or question your content contribute to a varied community of readers. Comments that will offend other readers, you should delete, but there are plenty of ways to build a strong community of commenters on your site who will boost your web presence and business reputation, even if they aren’t all strictly positive.
Use comments to your advantage
Turning your comment section into a place where visitors feel they can engage and respond to your content has a lot of benefits for business. Here’s a few ways you can create a vibrant comment section.
- Respond to your comments, good or bad. It nurtures a relationship with potential customers and sends a message to other site visitors that you’re listening to your clients.
- Encourage comments where you can. Comments on your site contribute to your search engine ranking. Remind your audience about your comment section to get involved with on emails, social promotions and the blog post itself.
- Authenticate and approve your comments. Tools like CAPTCHA and WordPress moderations make it easy to review and manage comments before they’re published and shield you from spam-bots.
- Don’t allow links. You’re risking linking to infected websites from your blog, and lots of links to other sites isn’t great for SEO either.
- Create great content. Thought-provoking, well written content will encourage praise and further discussion in your comment section.
This is why we can’t have nice things
Internet commenting is an interesting phenomenon, and is even getting academic attention. As a web content creator, it’s important to keep your head high and not let the trolls win. After all, communicating on the internet has way more to offer than just upsetting people.
The web has provided freedom of speech to those denied it, spread awareness for those in need, and shown what communities are capable of. So don’t shy away from the opportunity to enhance your content with a comment section. After all, is it worth putting content out there at all if no-one can engage with it?