How To Handle Online Criticism

Dealing with criticism of your site and its content is an inevitable part of life as an affiliate marketer. Here’s how to deal with the different types of negativity you might face online, and how to turn critical comments into a positive force for your blog and your business

No one likes to be criticised. Yet criticism, in both private and professional realms, is just one of those things you need to learn how to handle. For newcomers to the field of affiliate marketing, dealing with critical comments from users can seem a daunting prospect, partly because thanks to the anonymity of the internet the tone of comments posted on your blog posts can seem unnecessarily harsh or negative.

If you’re new to the topic, here are some tips on using social networks in affiliate marketing, along with some Dos And Don’ts for your blog. But in this article, we will offer advice on how best to respond to any criticism of your work in a professional and constructive manner, and also show you some ways in which you can benefit from the negative comments some users post.

Professional Ways To Handle Negative Comments

By default, social-media platforms automatically offer your users the opportunity to get in touch with you. However, you should ensure that your website isn’t just a one-way street when it comes to communication. Interacting with your visitors is a worthwhile way for you to enter into dialogue in  order to exchange ideas. It’s an important aspect of building a community and will often result in you receiving useful content suggestions from your audience.

However, you ned to accept that, by including a comment function on your website, as well as enabling your visitors to contact you by providing information about your preferred communication channels, you’ll inevitably be confronted with criticism. Objective criticism is generally desirable, as it can help you to improve your content, and therefore ultimately lead to an increase in traffic on your website, which should ultimately lead to more sales and commission for you.

However, the more traffic your website has, the greater the likelihood is that you’ll have to deal with some negative feedback, in the form of critical comments. For a better introduction to the topic, let’s first look at the different forms this criticism is likely to take, and divide it into two categories:

  1. Constructive, Useful Criticism
  2. Destructive, Insulting And Offensive Criticism

1. Dealing With Constructive, Useful Criticism

Regardless of whether, at first glance, criticism of your site or service seems justifiable, or seems unfounded, any constructive or useful criticism contained in user comments usually has justification. As long as the person concerned doesn’t become offensive to you or others, you should take any form of constructive criticism seriously. After all, any visitor taking the time to comment on what they perceive to be wrong with your site is taking the trouble to contribute to the enhancement of your content, and to possibly offer important information to you or to other users.

So address any communications of this kind in a timely manner: consult the person involved for more detail, and thank them for their comments. A timely response usually smooths over any frustration or inconvenience caused and will help generate goodwill to find a solution to the problem. It also increases users’ confidence in you and your website.

If you’ve adjusted or altered your content based on user criticism, in the comments section, you could, for example, point out that user was instrumental in the redesign or revision of the new, improved feature. Doing so will help with community building, and can have a positive impact on future interactions with your users.

By seeing useful criticism as a chance for you to improve your site, you’ll begin to consider critics as potential allies and partners of your community. Last but not least, if someone has left constructive criticism with you, it shows that your website or blog is important to them in some way, otherwise nobody would take the time to leave you a comment. Here are some general ways to think about how to improve your blogging skills.

2. Dealing With Destructive, Insulting And Offensive Criticism

On the other hand, destructive, insulting criticism is often left by trolls. Trolls are users on the net who seemingly have nothing better to do than criticise you and don’t shy away from personal insults. Of course, you can adjust the settings of your website in the backend to ensure you have the chance to review all comments before they’re published – this will enable you to monitor troll comments and the like, so you can filter them out or simply delete them. In some cases, this will work and save you from having any confrontation.

However, you can also take advantage of any destructive, insulting comments by counteracting an offensive comment objectively and with convincing arguments. This will distance you and your site from the criticism and often, it will prompt other members of your audience to jump to your defence, which can help strengthen your bond with your users and increase the likelihood of positive interaction with your readers in future.

It becomes more difficult, however, when offensive comments or attacks on your blog are published on external sites. If this is the case, you can try contacting the website operator directly and ask them to remove the relevant content on their website. Bear in mind, though, that the whole incident will often be long forgotten before a website operator even has the chance to reply to you, and the original comment will most likely soon be carried away in the endless stream of information out there.

Remember: Criticism Is Inevitable

Anyone who operates a website must always expect to be confronted with both constructive and offensive criticism, often in the form of negative user comments. If objective or constructive criticism in relation to an article or a product review is justified, however, it can actually be desirable, as you can use the points raised to help improve your content – with the end result of increasing traffic to your website. If this happens, you should even consider acknowledging or thanking the user who originally made the criticism.

Even destructive and insulting comments can offer you the opportunity to distance yourself from the user who posted them, and enable you to counter the comment with persuasive arguments to the contrary. When dealing with inappropriate criticism, you should always remain factual and not be drawn into it, on the whole.

In all your dealings with criticism and negativity, you should make sure your tone-of-voice remains professional, and respectful of your users – always maintain a professional demeanour and you’ll find most visitors to your website will do the same.

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