I think the best way to introduce the topic of this post is to remind you that my favorite word is No.
At the risk of sounding no-fun, I like rules.
If you’re in a position to set rules for any given situation, they can help you reach solutions to issues faster and avoid future headaches.
And you are in a position to set rules for the online community you build with your website’s content.
Setting rules for your digital home isn’t strict; it’s a smart way to set yourself up for success.
Preserve your time for your most important work
We’re always looking for more time to spend on the projects we deeply care about.
But we often get tied up performing other necessary tasks, such as monitoring, evaluating, and responding to blog comments.
The good news is, you can preserve a lot of your energy by establishing communication rules for your business and website.
If your website is new, it’s well worth your time to create a comment policy for your blog. If your website has been around for a while, you can still add one.
Then, you have a standard that helps you review blog post comments you receive.
If a comment follows your rules, you’ll approve it. If it doesn’t, you can swiftly delete it and move on to more important work.
Write your comment policy
It’s easy to put together a basic comment policy to display on your website.
Like your business’s terms of service and payment policy, the page can evolve over time, so don’t worry if you need to expand it later.
Check out the four categories below to help you write the first draft of your comment policy. Then, get it ready and published on your website by a specific deadline.
1. The purpose of your comment policy
The first section of your comment policy should be welcoming.
These rules aren’t intended to turn people off from engaging with you.
For example, the introduction of Copyblogger’s comment policy explains:
“We’re very glad you’re here and can’t wait to see what you’ve got to say about the content marketing strategies, principles, and practices we write about each week.
“Before you add your contribution in the comment section of our
living roomhome on the web, please take a moment to look over the helpful guidelines below.”
I’m going to continue to use our comment policy as a framework for crafting your own text.
2. The type of communication you encourage
This section of Copyblogger’s comment policy states:
“We welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. The Copyblogger editorial team reserves the right to edit or delete comments as we see fit, without explanation.”
Comments are a great way to further the discussion that the blog post’s author started, so we give some examples of ways to do that:
- Add smart, relevant ideas that expand on an article’s premise — read the article before you comment
- Drop funny references or jokes that carry the conversation forward
- Offer useful, constructive (not stupid or ugly) criticism
3. The type of communication you won’t allow
Copyblogger’s comment policy gives examples of what violations look like:
“Here are some examples (not comprehensive, but you’ll get the idea) of types of comments that’ll ensure your failure to communicate, at least on Copyblogger.”
We then list specific behavior that is unacceptable, including:
- Comments that simply restate or repeat information from the article and don’t carry the conversation forward
- Off-topic personal or professional rants
- Threats to us or other visitors
4. Additional rules that protect your business and community
To wrap up, Copyblogger’s comment policy specifically notes:
“Don’t contribute spam. If you’d like your comment to appear on Copyblogger, be respectful of our community and think before you post.”
This final section sets more rules regarding the type of comments that are appropriate for your community. It might include information about:
- Links: If you must include a link in your comment, please be aware that your comment may not be approved for posting. Be patient. Relevant links that contribute to the conversation need to be approved. Obvious attempts to promote your business, gain backlinks, traffic, or other types of self-promotion are not allowed.
- Copyright: If we receive authentic notice that a comment is in violation of anyone’s copyrighted information, the comment will be deleted and the commenter may be blocked from posting comments in the future.
- Privacy: Do not share private information within your comment. We will delete phone numbers, email addresses, or any other private or personal information to protect the affected party. This is not the place to exchange contact information with other visitors.
Ready to publish faster and with less stress?
If you like guidelines like these that take some of the guesswork out of your content marketing, we created a small but super useful resource available soon to help you click Publish with confidence.
It’s a framework that lets you check off the most important elements of good content, so you know you’re producing your best work.