The Golden Nuggets of Negative Feedback

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  • March 22, 2010

Positive or Negative Feedback?

We all love hearing people’s positive feedback telling us how great our blogs are. I love to hear that a principle from this blog helped someone achieve a higher level of success or that something I wrote motivated someone to try something at their site. I enjoy it when people tell me that the site looks great or that they subscribed to the content and are enjoying what they find.

I love hearing those things but the truth is this: critical, negative feedback is usually more helpful. When those people who dislike our sites are willing to tell you why they won’t be back, it is then that you can take that negative feedback to find out what elements you’ve been overlooking.

Most of the time we get discouraged or hurt when someone attacks us or our site. This is the wrong answer. We should happily accept criticisms. We should value people’s complaints like gold and seriously consider every bit of advice regardless how negative the feedback may seem.

Critical Feedback Allows You To Discover the Deficiencies You’ve Been Overlooking

Remember all the times that you’ve complained about the cell phone company, the cable company, the car dealer, or someone else? If they would just change some silly policy then their services would be great but you can’t just call up the president of their company and let them know to adjust something.

You blog is the same way. People get frustrated with it or they don’t like it and they often never take the time to let you know how they feel. So when someone does take that time you need to realize that it is your opportunity to hone your product and create something much better.

Negative Feedback Presents a Decision: Do you want the truth or do you want to feel good?

If you ask a friend to review your site and provide you with some feedback and they tell you that it is great…then they aren’t really helping you. If you ask me to look over your site and provide you with some feedback for improvement then you had better have some thick skin because I will make it my goal to point out what is wrong with it.

It’s not because I think I’m better than you or that my site is amazing. That’s not the point of negative feedback. It’s because I want you to understand what you can do to make your user’s experience more enjoyable. It’s because I want to help you become the success that you have the potential to be.

When I’ve invited my friends to review my site I’ve expected the same kind of brutal honesty. I want the comments that tell me what people like and dislike. I want to know what I can fix and I value people’s criticisms. You should too.

Reflecting Together on Negative Feedback:

How do you respond to critical feedback? Do you delete or ignore negative comments or do you accept and consider them? Are you actively seeking for negative feedback from your peers?

About Nicholas Cardot

It's my personal quest to enable every person that I can to unlock that dormant potential concerning their online influence. Also, I'm a geek.

26 Comments

  • Tom | Build That List says:

    I think that a lot of us blog through rose tinted glasses, and that is why we get so offended when people criticise ‘our baby’.

    If we are treating blogging as a business then any feedback, good or bad, should be taken on board and analyzed to see if action needs to be taken.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Flipped: The Complete Guide To Flipping Blogs For Profit (Review) =-.

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      Tom | Build That List » That’s exactly right. Those rose tinted glasses could be the very thing that’s holding us back from reaching our read potential.

  • BIZZNURSE says:

    Hi, I agree with the facts that we are too sensitive when people commented negatively towards our post or blog. We smile when some people jus say “Nice post!” altough they comments without actually reading what we have been writting about. However, to read negative comments is also somehow less encouraging for beginners like me. Thanks for the tip Nicholas!
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: I think I should blog about this! =-.

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      It may be discouraging, but if we’re really in it to be successful and to build an audience then we should be able to bounce back from the discouragement and accept the negative feedback at face value. If it’s valid, we internalize it and learn from it. If it’s not valid, we dismiss it. Either way, we shouldn’t allow it to upset us.
      .-= My Latest Blog Post: The Golden Nuggets of Negative Feedback =-.

  • Nicole Bauer says:

    I think it depends on how people express the negative feedback. If someone just writes “You site sucks” then I would be pissed and delete it. :) But if someone really gives me constructive criticism then I definitely take it into consideration. I had to learn that though. When I was younger I saw every critique as something bad and I always reacted with arguments against it, but now I appreciate when someone takes the time to let me know what he/she doesn’t like about my work.

    Cheers,
    Nicole
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Just testing Feedburner Plugin =-.

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      I agree. That’s really the difference between and insult and actually valid negative feedback. Feedback is something that we can learn from and we should embrace that, internalize it and grow stronger because of it. Insults don’t help anyone. You’re right about that.
      .-= My Latest Blog Post: The Golden Nuggets of Negative Feedback =-.

  • Ed says:

    i generally ignore negative comments. sometims people dont like my stuff, cant blame them
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: How To Make A Manga You =-.

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      You’re right about one thing, Ed. You can’t blame them. If they don’t like our material, it’s our fault and we should take the time to carefully consider if others might feel the same way and simply haven’t taken the time to tell us. Then we determine if there are changes that we could make that would make our websites and blogs more attractive and appealing to potential users.
      .-= My Latest Blog Post: The Golden Nuggets of Negative Feedback =-.

  • Ed says:

    Good Comments…Bad Comments…bottom line is the interaction between the reader and author…plus traffic to your site (blog)….great stuff Nic!

  • Ileane @Blogging says:

    I belong to the Website Babble forum and one of the topics is site reviews. It’s amazing to see those brave site owners offer their sites for review. Their sites can be transformed from something very mundane and dysfunctional into a welcoming user-friendly site, based on the comments and tweaks offered by the WB community.

    It’s great how the negative/critical feedback is welcomed and acted on by everyone.

    Thanks for the post Nicholas.
    @Ileane
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: What’s More Important? Your SEO or Your Readers? =-.

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      That’s a good idea to submit your website to a forum for review like that. Often times we have something on our site that our users don’t like simply because we don’t know that they don’t like it. If we knew that they didn’t like it we would change so we need that feedback to let us know about it.
      .-= My Latest Blog Post: The Golden Nuggets of Negative Feedback =-.

  • Chris says:

    You are so right that negative feedback is a crucial key to improvement.

    I think I may be looking for positive reinforcement too much of the time and neglecting true feedback that will help me (and my blogging) grow and get better.

    There’s always room for improvement.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: 5 Ways to Make More Money on Hubpages =-.

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      It’s good to recognize that. Sometimes it feels good to have that pat on the back, but that pat on the back won’t compel you to grow, improve, fix things, and propel your site to the next level. Sometimes you need that critical eye to see what you are really missing at your website. Sometimes that’s all that’s missing to take it to the next level.
      .-= My Latest Blog Post: The Golden Nuggets of Negative Feedback =-.

  • dhila says:

    of course i wont delete the critical comments or attack the peers who give me the negative feedback, as long as their comments can build up my blog character. :)
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Selamat Datang Cinta =-.

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      That’s good. And remember that you’re the only one who can determine whether or not the feedback can build you up or not. If you decide to learn from it then you will learn from it. If you decide to get hurt, then you will gain nothing from it.
      .-= My Latest Blog Post: The Golden Nuggets of Negative Feedback =-.

  • Dennis Edell says:

    I couldn’t agree more! This is exactly why I went the bold/unusual route and decided to build the new blog “live”.

    I gotta say, so far, it’s working better then I ever expected. We all know readers love to give opinions, but my feedback so far has been fan-dam-tastic! ;)
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Would You Like a FREE Banner Ad Position? =-.

    • Nicholas Cardot says:

      Dennis Edell » That really is a unique approach to building a website. I’ve not heard of that being done before.

      • Dennis Edell says:

        Dare to be unique. ;)

        Seriously though, “your design will make or break your readership” is one of the most rehashed tips there is, no?

        So hey, include them from the get-go and you’re golden. ;)

        If you check out some comments, you’ll see what I mean. :)

        This may or may not be the right approach for every blogger or every niche readership.

        I wasn’t a bit nervous knowing ahead of time most of my readership followed me from the other blog…I already knew they were awesome.
        .-= My Latest Blog Post: Would You Like a FREE Banner Ad Position? =-.

  • Robyn from Sam's Web Guide says:

    I would not say that I actively seek negative feedback, because that’s just expecting the worst. I prefer to seek what I call constructive criticism and not just a bashing.

    Honesty is best and this is the only way someone can become better at what they do. If friends are simply playing hypocrite and say, “Great site or great idea” when they know that they don’t like it then no one benefits there.

    Actively seeking feedback is extremely important for any venture to be successful.

    I would love to get some feedback from you Nicholas on my site. I’m yet to get any professional feedback. Don’t worry, I can handle it:)
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: 10 Simple Steps to Secure & Protect your WordPress Blog =-.

  • Reza Winandar says:

    Don’t ever get mad and angry when you recevied critical or bad feedback. It’s a help for you.

  • scheng1 says:

    I like those constructive comments, since they offer solution, not just criticism
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Go green with solar energy at home =-.

  • fwoan says:

    Thanks for the pep-talk. I’m going to use your advice.
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: A Plea to Throw One’s Vote Away =-.

  • Ronnie Tabor says:

    Dr Shelley Gable in her research states that how we respond to someone when they share good news has significantly more impact on building a stronger relationship than how we respond when they share bad news (criticize).

    http://ms-jd.org/how-do-you-re

    I need an entire post to develop this not to mention share how powerfully it has worked in my life. But in a nutshell, there are four ways we typically respond

    Active-Constructive
    Active-Destructive
    Passive Constructive
    Passive-Destructive

    Out of these four responses, only Active Constructive Responding will build on a relationship. The other three tear down relationships, just at different speeds.

    Ronnie Tabor
    http://www.ronnietabor.com

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