At first I was surprised she had so much to say about comments. Then I was grateful, because I don’t always know how to handle them, particularly the snarky ones that irritate people. Elise’s no-nonsense policy showed just one of the reasons why her blog is so successful. Here are her tips:
1. Solicit comments by asking questions. Have a conversation with your community, and as a result, you’ll attract comments that add value. “Readers have interesting things to say too. I have learned so much from them about recipes, new ideas, and recipe fixes,” she says. One reader delighted Elise, for example, by commenting on her cinnamon toast post that it is better under the broiler.
When Elise posts a new recipe, her goal is to interact with readers. She asks questions such as, “This is how we like our chile verde, how do you like yours?” “What are you doing with parsnips?”
2. Edit comments with readers in mind. Elise gets about 30 comments per day (her site gets more than 100,000 visitors per day) and spends two hours working on them. For the ones she publishes, she edits for grammar, spelling and relevance.
She compares her philosophy to a newspaper’s, when it comes to cleaning up the comments.
3. Have a philosophy. “I expect commenters to be like invited guests to my living room,” she explains. While Elise publishes almost every comment, she will delete comments posting opinion as fact, and those that misinform, bait, or are just irrelevant. She will also delete those she deems negative or unhelpful. “I don’t like to read that stuff on other people’s blog,” she says, implying that her readers don’t want to read them on hers.
To the bloggers in the room, Elise advised, “Don’t engage with people who say some version of ‘you’re an idiot, you don’t know anything.’ Don’t even finish reading them. Do not engage the trolls. There are people out there who get their kicks out of making people’s lives miserable.”
So that’s what has worked for Elise. What works for you? Do you edit comments? Do you delete at will, or are you so pleased to receive comments that you let them all stand? If you have recipes, do you get comments that enhance them?