The majority of people are considerate and grateful to bloggers for sharing their expertise, wit, art, and creativity. However, you will occasionally encounter a difficult situation. It can usually be handled quietly and swiftly, but the secret is to not take it personally or let it get you down.
Every now and then you will get asked for something that you’d rather not give, for whatever reason. For example, someone might offer to write a guest blog post for you, or invite you to do so for them, but you don’t think their blog is a good ‘fit’ with yours—to say yes might not be good for your reputation, to say no might cause offence.
Alternatively, someone you know might ask you for a link to their site, or to advertise something they are doing for charity, or to ‘like’ something of theirs. Again, the risk to you is that you dilute the quality of your blog, or not be true to what you really think. A Facebook ‘Like’ or a Google +1 is, after all, not just saying you like something, but a public endorsement and recommendation to your friends.
You may get approached by companies or PR people wanting you to write a paid review, or cover an event on their behalf.
What to do: As long as you are clear in your mind what you consider as being true to you, your blog, and your readers, you should feel comfortable saying either yes or no. You may wish to, but don’t feel you have to explain or defend your decision.
It’s a good idea to pre-empt these kinds of situations by spelling out your policy on your blog, rather like one of those signs you might see at the convenience store saying, ‘Please do not ask for credit as refusal often offends.’
Flaming & trolling
Your blog is your own voice, and it’s likely that not everyone will agree with everything you say all of the time. Dealing with rude or critical comments can be one of the hardest things about blogging, especially if it seems to be personal.
This kind of thing (also known as ‘flaming’) has been around since the start of the internet, when people could hide behind anonymous avatars and made-up names. Sometimes arguments even break out between commenters, which then tends to attract other forms of antisocial behaviour, such as writing something contentious just to get a reaction, or hijacking the discussion (also known as ‘trolling’.)
What to do: Look at your comments settings—most blog software allows you to moderate comments before they go live. You can also ensure that people have to enter an email address before they can post, or sign in with other ID, such as Twitter or Facebook.
If someone leaves a negative comment, you might still decide to publish it if it’s legitimate criticism, so that you can address it. Even if it’s unreasonable, it can still be worth publishing as it shows that you’re open and willing to face your critics. Answer the criticism publicly and politely and close the comments. Dealing with difficult people in front of an audience can undermine them and earn you a huge amount of respect from sympathetic onlookers.
Blogging for Creatives is Robin Houghton’s step-by-step guide to everything you need to know about how to design and profit from a beautiful blog that people will want to return to again and again. With advice on which blogging platform to choose, essential tools and accessories, and how to take your blog to the next level, whether you’re looking to create a platform for your creative trade, an inspirational journal, or a hub for people with similar tastes and interests, learn how to benefit from being part of the blogosphere in this accessible, non-techie book.