P. T. Barnum is alleged to have said, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.” I would say that the same holds true when it comes to increasing readership of your blog. Frequently people tell me that they do not want to allow comments on their blog because they are afraid of negative comments. It has been my experience that bad comments drive more traffic than positive ones do…and the worst thing of all is to have no comments at all.
My last post created a bit of a stir. More negative comments resulted from this post than from the other 70+ posts combined. What I thought was an interesting insight and useful tip has received a significant number of negative responses. Here is a sample:
This article is a load of hokum.
C’mon 2 spaces, 1 space ….Give it a rest. Life is difficult enough.
This type thing is infuriating….Should be prosecuted!
No wonder we are in such a mess in this country!
Only a few comments were actually directed at me as the author, and they were only to politely suggest that I was mistaken; that two spaces are the preferred punctuation. As a whole, the discussion was lively and informative. As it turns out, the Associated Press Stylebook specifies one space after the period. However, according to a college professor who commented, “the sixth edition of the APA style manual requires two spaces after a sentence….many universities require student papers to follow APA guidelines.”
So, the debate is still in play. According to one commenter, “My sister-in-law has a doctorate in English Literature. I asked her the proper use of commas. Her response amazed me. She said grammar, punctuation, and words are like the fashion industry. There are very few rights and wrongs, but rather what is popular at the time.”
I was not intending to be controversial, but as it turns out, I’ve benefited from it. Not only has this post attracted more negative comments than all the rest combined, but it is also the most read, the most “liked”, the most shared, and the most commented on post I have ever done. Additionally, in the past 36 hours since I posted it, I have picked up more subscriptions to my blog than in any other whole month.
Do not fear negative comments. Make sure that your content is good and let it stand on its own merit. You will take a few hits but those who are never controversial are rarely interesting.