How to Blog Nice – An Interview with Liz Strauss

So, I did say I’d talk about clients who don’t get blogs today, (and I will soon – promise), but yesterday I saw a question at a forum about people leaving rude comments at blogs. Mainly, this was about people being rude just because – with no rhyme or reason. This sort of situation – rude people at blogs always irks me. There’s really no point.

Blogger etiquette is a big deal when you blog for others because not only are you representing yourself as a blogger, but you’re representing your client or network. Blogging etiquette also matters because you will be dealing with comments, not all of them nice.

When I see bloggers acting rude, either in a post, or in comments, it does reflect on what I think of a network, channel at a network, or in some cases a company. It’s in your best interest to blog nice when possible. And I’m not talking about being a push over, I’m talking about being genuine, having manners (a seemingly lost art), and not pushing people’s buttons simply to stir up controversy. Disagreeing or debating topics is part of blogging in my opinion. Being rude well, I wish it wasn’t part of the blogosphere, but you see it a lot.

One blogger who is in no way rude is Liz Strauss. In fact, Liz is really nice. Ask anyone. A while back, I did ask around and Liz’s name kept popping up as “the nicest blogger” in town, so I knew she’d have some great tips on blogger etiquette.

As many of you likely know, Liz offers blogging wisdom and advice at Successful Blog, one of the few blogs about blogs at the b5media blog network. Nicely, (no pun intended), Liz answered some questions about blogging nice.

What are key traits that define someone as a nice blogger?:

Responsible, responsive, and respectful are three that come to mind immediately. A great blogger knows that he or she is the one who is responsible for the experience that readers enjoy. We set the climate.

It becomes a “nice” experience if we make room for folks to comment; when we greet them with welcoming hospitality. In the same way that we wouldn’t leave folks alone in our home talking to themselves, responding to them is only respectful.

Respect is possibly the most important trait. If we respect ourselves and our readers, our content, our atmosphere, it will all add up to a fabulous and nice experience.

Why do you think that being a nice person in the blogosphere is so important?:

Being a nice person is important in any part of the world. At the end of the day, it’s people who make the world work. It’s people who are the blogosphere.

The blogosphere is an amazing place to stretch our minds and our thinking. It’s a center of communication. The best communication happens when people start from a place where they both feel secure. If people know that you will always offer them a place to stand, they’ll often offer you their best back in return.

Is gaining traffic by posting controversial topics a good idea? :

Boy, if you’re looking for traffic, controversy is a hard way to go. Can you imagine trying to be controversial all of the time? It gets boring. Controversial becomes mainstream in its own way.

Personally, it’s not about traffic for me. I write for people, readers. I’d rather have fewer readers who stay.

Do you ever get mean or disrespectful comments from readers? :

It’s pretty rare that I get a mean comment. The first thing I would do when I did was get up and walk away from my computer immediately. I’d go look at the sky out my window or, if I could I’d go outside to stand away from anything that was made by people.

It’s kind of hard to take an angry comment on the Internet out of proportion when looking at something as big as the universe. That would be all of the perspective I need.

How can someone respond to a mean comment without flying off the handle? :

When I respond, (and I usually do, but not always) I choose my words with care. The position I take is that of a learner. I’d ask about the comment, making sure that I treated the commenter and myself with respect. I might say, “The words you’re using sound angry. I’m confused why you’re feeling that way.”

When a comment is outright disrespectful to me or to someone who visits my blog. I delete it and send an email to the person who wrote it. Once when a friend was under the influence, I wrote him offline and told him to quit commenting until he was ready to behave. My exact words were “You’re better than this.”

How can a new blogger be a kind and thoughtful blogger right from the start? :

Care about the folks who read your blog in every decision you make.

Now, what do you think? Is stirring up non-post related controversy a good traffic tactic? How do you feel about rude bloggers and how do you deal with mean comments?


  1. says

    Good advice.

    I had the pleasure of spending time with Liz at BWE and she’s just as nice in person as on her blog. And great stories too!

  2. says

    This is spot on advice. I recently read comments on 3 blogs in which comments were rude, condescending, and downright snarky. The blog owners were offended and upset …one to the extent of taking a week off. This is so unnecessary.

    This is a beautiful medium to speak our minds. An occasional rant feels really good ..but even that can be done with care and courtesy and thoughtful phrasing.

    My best advice is :

    Write preview re-write preview re-write publish review and re-write again if necessary.

    Best regards,


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