Use Your Competitors to Build a Better Website

One of the most popular posts I wrote on this site was Flash Equals Evil Website Design. The most vocal of those communicating were Flash web designers telling me that I was wrong, incompetent, and various other insults.

While many Flash web developers just emailed me their complaints, several actually posted their objections in the comments section of the post! Since these items were not so favorable to my point of view, or just plain vile in their nature, I decided to erase them.

Erasing Negative Comments Was a Bad Idea!

I should have left the negative comments on my site. While distasteful, the benefits of publicizing my detractors would have far outweighed any concerns I had about potential clients being turned away from my service.

Why You Should Let Competitors Write Bad Things on Your Website

1) Free Publicity.

Every time someone writes a comment on your site, your page becomes that much more interesting. Audiences love to see conflict and resolution. By word of mouth, your on-page discussion will be emailed around, posted on bulletin boards, and otherwise circulated to audiences you never would have been able to reach before.

Also, if you have a handy web site designed by Charlotte Web Development, those comments will be syndicated and spread through out the web via RSS attracting even more visitors.

2) Free Original Web Site Content.

Every website author wants more content for their site. It helps them attract and retain readers, aids in search engine marketing, and better describes your business value proposition. The great thing about nasty comments from your competitor is that their angry post helps build your business!

3) Position Yourself as the Expert and Help Make the Sale

Chances are that some visitors to your site will agree with the angry words your competitors are writing on your site. To quote Arnold Schwarzenegger, ‘That’s fantastic!’ And the Governator is right, negative comments are fantastic – they give you a chance to calmly address your detractor’s issues in a logical and convincing fashion. Logical responses shine when compared to angry impulsive comments. What is more reassuring or convincing to a potential client than when you take the time to accept ridicule and demonstrate why your position / product / service / idea is superior?

Negative Comments – A Case Study

OK, ideas are great, but you want to see what this looks like in the real world. Take a look at what this Brisbane Web Designer managed the comments he received to great success.

The first article was about an Australia Olympian hopeful Libby Lenton. The article is fine, it makes a point but it is nothing special. Just a thought piece. The comments below are where Brendon shines. Notice how he allows his audience to post whatever they like, even if it is against his point? He pushed the conversation further by engaging and counter engaging them to make his real point – He Knows Marketing.

Now look at the comments on the follow up post about Libby Lenton’s Wedding. Brendon writes a follow up post about the first post entirely based off of the commenters that disagreed with him. He can quote them and drive the conversation as he wishes.

But Brendon isn’t done yet. New comments come to the second post. One negative fellow takes a shot at the worthiness of the site, impugning Brendon as an inept web designer. In his reply, we learn that the first post created considerable traffic for his site and now ranks highly for some popular terms. He also camly defends his original points and comes off looking as a thoughtful, respectable guy.

Not a bad day’s work!

What I Should Have Done

On my post against Flash Web Design, I should have posted the negative comments. I should have pointed out that the comments were appreciated and thanked everyone for the dialogue that was taking place… while mentioning that you cannot have comments, blogs, or content management in a Flash website design.

Well, I’m sure to post something controversial to Flash designers again in the future. Maybe I’ll get some traffic. Hopefully I will be able to take advantage of it!

Have you had any experiences with negative comments? Let everyone know below!

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