As A Blogger, Should You Be Worried About Your Online Reputation?

Online Reputation

Image by ‘B Rosen’

The Internet is a vast valley of unique voices and endless information. Anyone with a computer and something to say can post just about anything that’s on their mind.  Whether you’re a highly paid professional or just someone who posts their daily musings, being a blogger can help anyone get their opinions, personality, or thoughts out to a massive audience of voracious readers.

This vast collection of information can also pool together and create an “online reputation” that sticks to your name like glue. Blogs are one of the easier ways to establish your virtual online reputation. They not only feature thoughts and words that come straight from your brain, but they also give customers and clients a place to express their interest or responses to your posts and services.

However, this also presents an inherent risk. Blogs may make it easier to communicate to clients and voice your opinion, but they can also have a negative effect on your online reputation. Readers who are dissatisfied with your work can post negative comments, not just on your blog but on other blogs and sites. The viral ability of blogs can also spread rather quickly and send you scrambling for help from a reputation management service. This can be particularly troublesome if your blog finds itself on a prominent web portal or news service in a purely negative light.

The chance for a diminished reputation grows almost exponentially the more popular your blog becomes over time. The more readers who find your blog, the more diverse make-up of opinions and viewpoints are brought with them. Of course, readers often know what to expect from a blog if they are familiar with the blog’s subject and tone or the blogger’s work, but it also increases the risk of offending their viewpoint or sensibilities.

Learn To Manage Your Online Reputation

Online Reputation

Blog comments can both improve or damage your online reputation, depending on how you react to and manage them. Image by ‘Reid Rosenberg’

This doesn’t mean you should water down your work or the type of material or service that your blog provides to your readers. Doing so presents a greater risk of losing a large portion of your audience and erasing all the hard work it took to build that audience in the first place.

It all depends on the sensibility of your average reader, and getting to know them better is the key. If someone takes the time to post a serious and thought-provoking comment on your blog, take the time to read and respond to them. This not only helps you learn more about the readers who visit your blog, but it also lets them know that you’re monitoring your blog and are interested in what they have to say about your work.

You can also control the blog comments that come into your blog, but that can have repercussions as well. Censoring comments outright that aren’t spam or offensive for the sake of being offensive has the potential to create more problems than just leaving them on your site. They are likely to complain about your behaviour on other blogs or message boards. That can not only ruin your online reputation–it could also reduce the potential for more readers if the censored comment writer begins to gain traction and supporters on other blogs and message boards.

Of course, it’s impossible to be any kind of blogger and temper your words and thoughts to the sensibility of every potential reader. Someone is bound to disagree with or be offended by a post, no matter how benign or innocent the topic may seem on the surface. There are also “trolls” out there who spend an inordinate amount of time and effort just to inflame readers against the blogger or make trouble for the sake of making trouble.

However, meeting these readers’ expectations and perceptions are just part of the challenge and privilege of being a blogger in any professional or personal capacity. There are pitfalls to the medium that can negatively affect one’s online reputation, but learning ways to meet those challenges without compromising one’s position or viewpoint can make it the most fulfilling and, in a strange way, the best way to maintain or even improve that same reputation.

About Danny Gallagher

Danny Gallagher is a freelance writer, reporter, blogger and humorist. He can be found on Facebook and on Twitter.