Allowing comments on your IDX website or real estate blog is a good idea to foster engagement and build community. But it can quickly descend into what resembles a Wild West style bar fight. On top of that there are spammers and trolls.
As a real estate agent, you don’t have time to spend all day reviewing comments and weeding out shenanigans. In this, blog post will cover some best practices for moderating comments quickly and effectively on your IDX real estate website.
Why Should You Allow Comments?
Online lead generation is all about engagement. You want your leads to engage with your website so you can learn about them and their preferences. By allowing comments, you encourage your leads to engage with your site but also with each other. By seeing what content is attracting the most comments you can learn what interests your leads most. Comments also keep leads browsing longer as they read and respond to what others have posted. All of this builds a sense of community that can become self-perpetuating with time.
Why Should You Moderate Comments?
Comments can unite a community. But they can also divide one. This is why you should moderate comments. Comment monitoring is not about enforcing political correctness. It is not about limiting free speech. It is about maximizing your bottom line. By promoting a welcoming community free of attacks and threats, you can maximize participation and lead generation on your IDX real estate website.
How Should You Moderate Comments?
You should moderate comments in a fair and even way. You should promote all comments that add value to your content or discussion. You should remove all comments that do not. No one person or group of people should be favored compared to others. Here are 8 tips to achieve this.
Create and Publish a Comment Policy
The best comment moderation is self-moderation, or the idea that commenters on your IDX real estate website or blog will police themselves. This, actually, is achievable on small scales. The first step is to create and publish a comment policy so everyone knows the rules. Your comment policy should be concise and clear. State exactly how you expect commenters to behave. State exactly the types of comments you will remove. You will find long-term commenters are willing to defend your site and the discussions on it.
Keep Comments on Topic
Your moderating should aim to keep discussions on topic. Your website is a forum for conversation on a limited number of subjects. There are plenty of forums on the web. If a commenter wants to divert the discussion in a way that has no bearing on real estate, he can do that somewhere else.
Links can be useful in comments. If used for citations, they can strengthen a comment and the discussion happening around it. But they can also be used to distract. Any links that are overly promotional or add no value to the content on your site should be moderated.
Prohibit Profanity and Abuse
Any attacks, threats, abuse or inappropriate language of any kind should be removed. Comments can be negative. This is normal. It is even a sign of a healthy discussion. But once negativity becomes personal, whether it is directed at you or at another commenter, you need to step in. It is up to you to define the line and act decisively when it is crossed.
Commenters should be allowed to disagree with you and other commenters. But they should not be allowed to promote falsities. People come to your site for the quality of the content on it. Do not allow commenters spreading false information to take away from that.
IT IS PRETTY ANNOYING TO SEE A COMMENT IN ALL CAPS ISN’T IT? IT’S ALSO PRETTY ANNOYING SEE TO A BUNCH OF EMOJIS DESIGNED SIMPLY TO ATTRACT ATTENTION ;-):-0 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Your site attracts leads with the quality of the content, not in the manner it is delivered. You should hold your commenters to the same standard.
As you build a larger and larger following on your site, you will need to employ some techniques to review comments more efficiently. The first is to set up a spam filter. Akismet is a pre-installed anti-spam extension for the WordPress platform. Once activated, Akismet will learn to automatically filter comments based on what you mark as spam.
Recruit Moderators From Your Community
Another way to moderate more efficiently is to recruit help from your community. You can promote high quality users and grant them the privileges to flag or remove comments.
Now you know how to moderate comments on your IDX real estate website. Feel free to leave your own comment below. Or for more, check out How to Create a Custom 404 for Your WordPress IDX Real Estate Website.