Being a beginner blogger can be scary! You’re out there, doing your thing, when you realize -oops!- you offended someone! You forgot to link to your source or reblogged an idea or accidentally promoted your blog on someone else’s. We’ve all been there, don’t stress! Here are a few “blogiquette” guidelines for you to follow.
These are obviously my personal opinions, please feel free to contribute your own blogiquette rules in the comments!
“The Brainstormer” print by Nan Lawson on Etsy
Why do you blog? You have something unique to share with the world. So share it! It’s okay to share others’ ideas once in a while. In fact, it’s good to share the work of people you admire, and it can be a great way to meet other bloggers. But if you are constantly “re-blogging” instead of just blogging, your readers will catch on fast.
Sharing is one thing, but it is never okay to steal the work of others without giving the creator credit. Here are my general rules for sharing content:
Credit, credit, credit. When I talk about an idea, post, or photo I found somewhere else, I like to go a step beyond linking to the source and write a few sentences about how and where I found it. I also use the writer’s real name, as long as they use it publicly on their blog. This can make your words of appreciation go even further.
Don’t take everything. This especially applies to DIY tutorial-type posts, including recipes. If I were to use every image and word, readers would have no reason to visit the original post. Borrow one or two photos, write your own description of the post or project, and allow your readers to follow the link.
Comments make bloggers happier than cupcakes. But there is a right and a wrong way to comment! First and foremost, be genuine. If you like something, say so! But don’t go overboard.
Don’t use your comments to promote yourself. There is a box to include your URL with you comment, feel free to link to your blog or site there, but don’t link to yourself in the body of your comment.
Read first, comment second. If you have a question after you read a post, go back and read it again. Then check in the comments to see if anyone else asked. If you still don’t see the answer, ask away! But please stop back and say thank you if the blogger took the time to respond.
Respond to comments, visit readers’ blogs when possible, leave comments generously. Participate in conversations on Twitter and Facebook.
Personally, I try my hardest to respond to comments by new readers and people asking questions, as well as any especially awesome comments. If someone @ replies me on Twitter, I will always follow them back. I check out my commenters’ blogs and leave comments when I have a moment, and I comment on blogs who mention me or my blog when I spot them. I understand that many “big” bloggers can’t possibly do this for all of their readers, but for now, this loose policy works for me.
Do I even have to say this? Bloggers love to be talked about, and because of this, they have lots of ways to find out who is talking about them and what they are saying. One time I found someone had pinned a project from my blog along with the caption: “Cute idea, but this girl needs to get a job.” Now, I write about pretty benign topics, so I don’t expect much controversy and, truth be told, worse things have been said about a lot of bloggers. But there is really no reason to bash others in any way – that is not the way to become popular!
So, what do you think? What guidelines would you add to my “blogiquette” list?