Handling bad reviews on your recipe page can be tricky. Not only are you dealing with an unhappy reader, seeing these not-so-great reviews on your beloved recipe can feel really hurtful, especially if people go out of their way to be extra aggressive, as we so often see across the Internet & social media these days.
Bad reviews can feel like the end of the world. So lets talk about how to handle them!
How to Emotionally Get Past Negative Comments
I’m sure many of us can relate to this moment. You hop into your website dashboard and voila, you see you got a new comment! Woo! Then as you begin reading it, your stomach starts to sink and you start to feel upset, anxious, nervous, and flustered.
Seeing comments like that can really put a dent in your day. You’ve put so much effort, love, and joy into creating a recipe post, so seeing that someone hated the recipe or it didn’t turn out well for them, can feel so disheartening!
Before you take ANY action, it’s important you let these emotions sink in and you address them BEFORE you take action to this comment. This is the very first step to dealing with it.
Ask yourself some questions like:
Did this person share any insight about the recipe that made it go wrong for them? (i.e. “my cake collapsed”)
Is there any diagnoses you can make out so that you can share a helpful tip with them when you go to respond? (the cake might have been underbaked, the oven temp was off, opening the door too soon…)
Or are they being mean to just be mean? (red flag to just ignore them)
Thinking about the “why” behind the comment, can help to ease those not-so-great feelings. If there are clues to something they may have done that impacted the success of the recipe, you can take the pressure off yourself and reply to them with some helpful tips to ensure they have success next time!
Why Do Readers Get Upset?
Readers are unfamiliar with certain ingredients or techniques and could not replicate the recipe correctly, leading to their frustration.
The instructions were unclear
There was a typo in the recipe
Another tech issue (i.e. maybe Pinterest rich pins didn’t pull the recipe correctly from your page... I’ve had this happen!)
Overall, time & ingredients are expensive resources, and it stinks when recipes don’t turn out as planned! (we’ve ALL been there!)
If the person had an issue with the actual recipe, we can fix that by either amending the recipe or giving them some constructive feedback.
If their words are just completely out of line and they’re just being mean for the sake of being mean, that is their problem!! It has nothing to do with you; your blog was just the unfortunate place that this person decided to unleash their frustration on.
How to Respond to Negative Comments
Responding to negative comments promptly and professionally is the best approach.
It might feel tough in the moment, but taking the high road is always your best bet!
Remember, you are building a professional business and brand - the last thing you want to do is say something that you’ll regret!
Here’s how to reply:
Make sure you thank readers for their feedback and offer a sincere apology if something went wrong with your recipe or instructions.
Take the time to acknowledge any mistakes you may have made and offer suggestions on how you plan to improve in the future.
If they have a specific issue and you’re not sure how to address it, do a quick Google search and leave some feedback for them. (i.e. “I substituted oil for butter and the recipe didn’t turn out right”… you can respond with a link to a page explaining why it didn’t work or share your own words on what some appropriate substitutions are)
Part of your job is to show readers that you take their opinion seriously and are open to making changes. Most importantly, don’t take the criticism personally - it's just part of being an online food blogger!
And lastly, if the comment is just truly off the wall and you don’t see a path to helping this person, simply ignore the comment. 🙂
You have every right to NOT reply or engage with this person!
Have Fun With It
This is an AWESOME trend I see a lot of creators do nowadays.
They take the worst of their comments and they turn them into “inspirational sayings” or hilarious compilations on social media, and this is content that people LOVE to see!
Amanda Rettke from Iambaker is a master at this! Check out some of her posts on having fun with comments 🙂
Master Your Mindset
It’s easy to get wrapped up in other people’s drama on the internet. Don’t let it get to you!
If you are taking the time to test your recipes, you ensure that they are written up perfectly, and you provide helpful instructions or tutorials, there’s no reason for you to worry about YOUR content. A lot of people quickly blame the recipe for failing them when really, it’s their oven temp or quality of ingredients, or another outside factor that you cannot control. All you can do is offer your support & guidance in these situations.
Remember: If someone is complaining for something out of your control, then all you can do is help them with kindness, point them in the right direction, or simply let it go.
ALSO REMEMBER: You are probably receiving 100x the amount of nice comments for every bad one you get. Focus on the nice ones!
Hopefully this gave you some confidence when approaching bad or mean comments!