You can’t please all the people all the time.
If you’re going to be a blogger or niche site publisher, accept this.
You also need to accept no site you publish will be perfect. My sites have more problems and things to fix than I care to think about. I do my best, but perfection isn’t the goal. Perfection is impossible.
I’m okay with it. I have to be or else I’d go crazy.
If you’ve visited here before, you know I’m not a perfectionist. The writing isn’t Pulitzer Prize material. I ain’t got time for that. I’m not capable of it either (which goes to show you don’t have to be the best writer to publish successful websites unless it’s a site about writing).
It comes down to diminishing returns for me.
I could drop everything for 6 weeks and fix every little thing. The problem with that is threefold:
- First, my sites would still be imperfect.
- Second, the results wouldn’t justify the time and effort.
- Third, the opportunity cost of adding content and promoting my sites would be significant.
That’s not to say I don’t update and improve content. I do so weekly. But these are bigger updates usually and I can only do so much.
- Fourth, you’ll receive complaints and criticisms no matter what you do. You need to develop a thick skin.
Scathing Complaints I’ve Received
This is the fun side of publishing websites [sarcasm].
Here’s a list of common complaints I get across all my sites. See how they compare to complaints and criticisms you get.
1. You need a drink of water dude!
My wife and I still laugh about this one. I’m not the most animated speaker. A commenter on one of my first videos ever commented: “your voice is so dry, you need a drink of water dude.”
Back then I was embarrassed. Now it makes for a funny story.
That’s a fun comment. I guess they didn’t like the article.
3. You’re an idiot. This site sucks!
Mistakes are made. I recently had a commenter tell me I had miss-classified some information on a blog post. They were correct. It was a bad mistake. I fixed it and thanked them.
4. STOP! Too many emails
Some people hate receiving multiple emails per week. I get that, but I won’t adjust it on account of a few complaints.
5. Way too many ads. Gross. I’m never visiting again.
Gross is not the feedback that would occur to me for a site with too many ads. I found this an interesting choice of words.
I’m aggressive with ads on my sites. I don’t use prestitals (ads that block access to a site) and my video ads are silent, but otherwise, I use plenty of ads. I’m actually surprised how few people complain, but some people do. I thank them for their feedback. In one instance, I followed the suggestion and removed an ad. The ad they referred to was egregious.
I’ve noticed in one niche that the complaint rate for email newsletters increases when I include native ads in the email newsletter. I still use them, but have toned it down.
6. Hey, why no images? I love the images!
I’m in a couple visual niches and sometimes send emails without images. Since most emails I send include images, some readers don’t like it when I’m lazy and skip the images. I see their point. After a few complaints, I take the time to include images in the emails.
7. You lied
Some niches I’m in have literally tens of thousands of physical products to promote. The problem with this is sometimes products are discontinued on merchant sites so the link goes to a 404 Error page.
I understand that’s frustrating for readers, but there’s not much I can do about it. When I get a comment telling me the product isn’t there, I change it.
8. You’re a terrible writer
Yesterday, I wrote “mauling it over” in an email and blog post. Talk about amateur hour. It should be “mulling it over”. A reader pointed it out in a very kind and polite manner, but that’s not always the case. I’m an okay writer but a terrible editor. I’ve had many instances where readers point out typos, misspellings, and grammatical errors. It happens.
9. Worse product ever
As an affiliate, I suggest products, courses, software, etc. I really do try to ensure recommendations and links go to good options. However, not everyone will like what I link to and/or promote. I actually take this complaint seriously because they spent money on something that didn’t work out. I apologize profusely and explain that it really was/is good for me.
10. I never signed up for this you jerk
You’re right. I guessed your email and added it to my AWeber email list.
It happens. People sign up to email newsletters not realizing they’re signing up to email newsletters.
For one niche site, I now add a little note at the top of every email newsletter explaining how and where they signed up and explain they can unsubscribe at the bottom. This has helped with this issue. Interestingly, it’s also helped with affiliate sales because it brings them back to the sign-up funnel that includes an affiliate offer.
Sometimes I’m wrong. Sometimes I’m right and incorrectly accused of being wrong. In either case, sometimes I get a big fat “WRONG.’
12. Your site takes forever to load
When I started, I didn’t optimize images. I published images that were 3,000 pixels wide and over 1 MB in size. The site took forever to load. I’ve since learned the importance of optimizing images and doing all I can for a fast site. Switching to Kinsta helped big time as well.
13. Why didn’t you explain X?
Despite best efforts to be thorough on a topic, sometimes I miss things or angles that should be covered. This type of feedback is very helpful because it spoon-feeds me what I need to add to various pieces of content.
14. What does that mean?
After spending years in a niche, it’s easy to fall into using industry jargon and acronyms assuming everyone understands. After a few visitors asked me what something meant, I’m more mindful about this and make an effort to explain acronyms and/or jargon in the information.
15. How could you miss this?
Across my niche sites I publish listicles of services, products, etc. Sometimes I miss a relevant product or service. Usually the product/service owner points it out asking to be included. Other times regular site visitors tell me I should include something.
16. You’re a misleading piece of S%#t
Hey Mr. Bigshot publisher, why do you say there’s 101 of X when there’s only 40? You’re a misleading piece of S%#t. The problem here is when I have massively long articles with over 50 images, I split the article up into two or more pages to help load time. While my pagination buttons are prominent, they can be missed. We’ve all been there, right… looking for the next page or numerical pagination links but can’t find them (among the millions of ads).
Not just me…
After I sent this out in an email newsletter, I received a bunch of super nice replies. One reader referred me to the following video titled “British Guy Reads Hate Mail” om the Abroad in Japan channel. This is priceless. I thought I had it bad.
Kill them with kindness
My response, if I respond, is to be polite and thank them for their feedback. Sometimes I wait a few hours or a day to respond if my inclination is to be snarky. I try to avoid that at all costs. In most cases, people that leave rude comments or feedback that’s out of line are having a bad day. Websites can be a place to vent.
You Need a Thick Skin
When I started, I took criticisms and complaints personally. Now I don’t.
I fix what I can. I apologize profusely. Readers are customers. While not always right, I’m exceedingly polite no matter what they say. Usually, when someone says or writes something nasty, they’re having a bad day. It’s not personal. I’ve done it myself (I never feel good about it afterward).
Here’s where you’ll encounter nastiness, complaints, and criticisms.
If you have comments activated on your site, some comments will be nasty. I usually publish them unless outrageous.
If you run an email newsletter, you’ll get some zinger replies in any niche. My favorite is F$%K YOU!. I’ve had my share of those.
If you sell a course or sell anything and happen to sell a half-decent number of units, you’ll get some bad reviews.
Social media insults
If you post on social media, you’ll definitely get some killer complaints and criticisms. People love to let it fly on social media, especially Facebook and YouTube.
The silver lining is if you’re getting negative responses, you have an audience.
Have you ever received any scathing complaints? If so, do tell (in the comments below).
Jon runs the place around here. He pontificates about launching and growing online publishing businesses, aka blogs that make a few bucks. His pride and joy is the email newsletter he publishes that’s “the best blogging email newsletter around.”
Hyperbole? Maybe, but go check it out to see what some readers say.
In all seriousness, Jon is the founder and owner of a digital media company that publishes a variety of web properties visited and beloved by millions of readers monthly. Fatstacks is where he shares a glimpse into his digital publishing business.