There is so much more to blogging these days than just tapping out your thoughts on a keyboard and hitting publish. Fortunately the internet is full of useful articles and advice on how to start a blog, how to navigate SEO, and many other practical tips. Where things can get a bit cloudy is the silent etiquette that most bloggers (who have been blogging for a while) just do without thinking.
I remember when I first started blogging, I had absolutely no idea that there was even a blogging community out there never mind that there were rules involved!! It took me a few months to figure it all out and learn how to interact with other bloggers. It can be so easy to offend and do the wrong thing online without meaning to or even realising you’ve done it. I’m pretty sure I had a few eyebrows raised at me in my early days. It’s scary enough hitting publish on those first few public posts, without having to worry about offending other bloggers too.
Saying that, it’s a nice reminder for all of us, whether we’ve been blogging forever or just starting out, that good manners will never be overlooked. Here is my take on the silent world of blogging etiquette.
10 rules of blogging etiquette
Never ever use someone else’s photo without their permission first. It is illegal to ‘steal an image’ from the internet and you could end up with a hefty fine, not to mention some very disgruntled people. It’s just common courtesy to ask BEFORE you actually use the photo if it’s not yours. Most of the time other bloggers are more than happy for you to use their photos just as long as you give them credit for it. A simple ‘image credit’ note under the image stating who it belongs to and a link to where you found it is all it takes. If you don’t get a response then DO NOT use it. There are lots of places where you can buy stock images, or you could search the internet for free images that are specifically for blog use The best thing to do in my book is to just take your own photos. For more information have a look at creative comms licensing.
If you’re adding a link to someone else’s blog post within your post, it’s so important to add the permalink to the exact page you’re referring to, rather than just a link to their website. It’s so annoying when you click on a link and end up on a homepage where you have to spent the next half an hour searching for the article you wanted to read. If you’re adding a link to another blog post, it’s also really nice to drop the author a line on social media and let then know you’re done so. They may want to read it or even share your post.
If you’re commenting on a blog post, it’s a good idea to make sure you’ve actually read it properly first. Bloggers can so tell if you’ve just read the first and last paragraph and thrown a ‘general comment’ in there. It’s also not the done thing to add a link to your own blog in the comments of someone else’s blog. This can sometimes be seen as ‘personal spamming’ or stealing traffic. If someone takes the time to comment on your blog it is always good practice to reply to their comment. If you’re able to, it’s also nice to pop back to their blog and read something that they’ve written too. Finally, if you add your blog post to a linky, you really should, at the very least, read the blog posts that are in the same line as yours on the linky. It’s not fair to everyone else taking part if you just ‘post and run’.
4. SOCIAL MEDIA
If someone shares one of your blog posts or photos on social media, it’s good practice to just acknowledge it by saying a quick ‘thanks for sharing’. If you don’t, they’re unlikely to share your work again. It’s also nice to return the favour and share something of theirs on your own social media. You don’t have to do it straight away, but keep a look out for when the time is right. As I mentioned before, if you share someone else’s link in your own post, make sure you credit them properly and let them know by tagging them on social media. Finally remember the 80/20 rule when using social media. Post 20% of your own stuff and 80% should be shared from others. You will put people off very quickly if you just promote yourself all the time.
Never ever copy someone else’s content. If your work is not original then don’t publish it. It’s ok to link to other peoples work but make sure you have included the correct credit and permalink along side it.
It sounds simple enough but good manners go a long way in any situation. Always be polite and friendly and never bad mouth another blogger on social media.
7. HELP AND SUPPORT
Offer a helping hand. There are always newbie bloggers starting out that are not quite sure what’s acceptable and what’s not. It’s quite intimidating being on the outside, so if you’re able to, offer friendly advice where it’s appropriate. You never know when you might need it in return. Also, if you know of another blogger that is having a promotion or about to share a new project, then offer then some support. Again, you never know when it might be your turn to need it.
Aways give credit where credit is due. Whether you have used someones else’s photo or added a link of theirs to your post, it’s so important to make sure you credit them for your work. Someones you may have written an original post but it was inspired by another blogger – give them a shout out to say thanks and just acknowledge their help.
9. MEASURE TWICE, CUT ONCE
If you’re worried about something, then always ask someone else before you hit publish. There are plenty of blogging forums out there.
10. JUST BE NICE
At the end of the day you can’t go far wrong if you’re just nice, friendly and considerate.
If you’re a blogger, do you have anything else to add??