Once your law blog gains steam, visitors will start to leave comments, and things will get interesting. Comments will range from personal attacks to spam to positive feedback. When you are deciding how to respond, keep these things in mind.

Spam comments. Most of the time, these are easy to spot. The link included goes to a site filled with tags, keywords, and a bunch of gibberish. Sometimes, a spammer might leave a seemingly real comment, but the link is to a site that is basically a sales pitch. For the most part, you should delete these comments. If you think the site is something potentially useful, then use your discretion on whether to allow the comment.

Legal questions. Regardless of how big and bold your disclaimer is, people will ask legal questions. Responding with any form of legal advice is asking for trouble. Sam includes a legal referral box on all posts on caveatemptorblog.com. You can also respond to various comments by simply stating “you need to speak with an attorney in your state regarding your legal situation.”

Criticism. Put your ego aside and acknowledge when readers make a valid point. Many comments serve as valuable additions to your post and acknowledging the author fosters more discussion and the sense of community on your blog.

Meritless negative comments and personal attacks, however, are a different breed. You can call out nasty commenters, but most poorly written comments speak for themselves. The wiser approach is to take the high road and either ignore the comment, or try and respond in a dignified way. The worst thing you can do is get caught up in a name-calling argument with someone online.

(photo: avinashkunnath)