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??
An excellent list. I think an expansion on the copycat point is that it is ok to be inspired by people’s words, and write about the same topic, with a link back to the post that inspired you.
Thanks Cate. You’re right, I’ve often written my own post based on an idea I got from someone else xxx
Great points Robyn, I think it’s vital for bloggers as a community to stick together, assist each other and be considerate.
Absolutely, I couldn’t agree more Aleney. We’re all kind of in the same boat, so supporting each other is vital xx
Fabulous points Robyn. A few years back I read a quote that said “behave in such a way that if someone should speak poorly of you, no one would believe them”. I think it applies to blogging too.
I love that quote!! I’ll be keeping it up my sleeve as I’m sure it will be needed at some point in the future xx
It really is just common sense most of the time isn’t it. The same rules can be applied to the rest of life too!
Yep it sure is. Unfortunately sometimes common sense is just too obvious and it gets missed x
I agree with don’t put your blog link in comments. I think some new bloggers just don’t know it’s not the done thing.
I think so too Toni. I honestly think that there are so many newbies that really don’t mean to offend, they are just naive to it all xx
Yes! This is a fantastic list. I still feel a bit clunky with my social media etiquette, because in my first blogging incarnation it never existed *old person alert)* It was unchartered waters for me once I started blogging again, even though I wasn’t strictly a newbie. I think I’m starting to get the hang of it though. Oh god, spoken like a true oldie.
Hahahaha, I totally know what you mean. I think I’m still a bit clunky when it comes to twitter – it’s just one platform that I really struggle to ‘get’!! xx
Thanks, this is a good list to make you stop and check you are doing the right things – Well 1 and 10 are, I didn’t read the ones in the middle… ;)I think 6 months in I’m getting the hang of the blogging ‘rules’ and etiquette.
Hahaha, very good!!! It think it took me about six months-ish to figure it all out too. xx
Great list of things to keep in mind. Bec x
Thanks honey xx
Brilliant post Robyn! All bloggers need to know this. I’m going to share this at the Cookie School course because there are a lot of newbie bloggers and this will help them so much. 🙂
You’re an angel, thanks Bec. How’s the course going?? It looked fabulous x
Great list! I wish it was easier to find out who shares your posts on Facebook though…they don’t make it easy!
If you’re tagged in a share then you should get a notification from Facebook. When sharing something, always try to tag the author and that way they’ll know. It’s not always done though and you’re right, it is pretty hard to track xx
Wonderful points! Totally agree to support each other – that’s been huge in finding my blogging tribe and growing our blogs together. You’re totally right when people just leave comments without reading the post 🙂
Me too!! It’s such an easy thing to do and it makes the world of difference doesn’t it? I’m made some amazing friends since I started this blog xx
I think you’ve covered everything. I really hate the coments that say something general (showing they really haven’t read your whole post) and then finish with “please come and look at my blog” and a link to their blog. It’s so obvious they are just fishing for traffic and it makes me less inclined to visit. Comment on my blog a couple of times over a few weeks and then I might consider it!
Replying to comments is my biggest downfall and something I’ve been working on trying to get better at. I sometimes wonder, what is the statute on replying, if the post is over 2 weeks old I sometimes give it up for a lost cause (but only because I have written so much more content in that period that has comments that need replying to!). Must get on that today!
I’m the same Kylie, it’s not just you. I really try to get back to everyone that comments but sometimes I read them on my when I’m on the go and then forget to go and reply. I need to get better at it too xxx
Nailed it, Mrs D. It really just comes down to being a nice person. It constantly amazes me how hard that seems to be for so many people. Worrying!!
Oh, and THANK YOU for making such a lovely picture out of my words. That’s really made my day. xxx
Absolute pleasure! They are very wise words – I love them xx
Ahh the old ‘I’ve just skimmed this so I’ll leave a generic ‘great post’ comment on it’ – classic (although I admit I think I’ve been guilty of that once or twice myself!) Great list – it really just comes down to manners and asking people, doesn’t it? (like most things in life!) Chloe x
Yep, it’s so easy when you know how :)) x
Great article. Have just shared among a business group I am part of as someone asked the question about blogging yesterday. Will also share on my FB page. Many thanks
Thanks so much Nerissa. I’m so pleased you found it helpful xx
Love this list! Especially the manners part. It all comes down to communication, and there is so much support in the blogging community that you’ll get so much help and advice when you just ask. xx
I completely agree. I’ve had nothing but support since I joined the community and have made met some of hte loveliest people xx
Great list Robyn. I know there’s not many original ideas anymore but if you think your idea has been inspired by someone else, it’s always a good idea to do a bit of research and credit properly.
I totally agree Carli. I’m sure the blogger who inspired you would be totally flattered xxx
Such a great list and reminder for new and old bloggers alike. It is a navigational minefield out there, but posts like this help us newbies out. Thanks xx
It’s an absolute pleasure. You’re so right it is a minefield out there – sometimes I’m amazed at how far I’ve come since I fist started. I was totally clueless xx
Great post Robyn! You really hit the nail on the head. A great post for newbie bloggers and a little refresher for the rest of us. xx
Pleasure Shelley, I’m so pleased it’s been received so well. It’s made my day xx
So well said!
I would also add that it’s good form to link back to the host of a blog hop, and make sure you know the rules of that linkup. Don’t just do your own thing
Very true Jess, It’s always respectful to honour the linky hosts rules xx
This is such an excellent post! I’ll admit, I am guilty of breaking some of these rules when I first started out. I was terrible for a link and run. I also had absolutely no idea about the 80/20 rule until now! Thank you for enlightening me. I’m off to go and fix my mistake now, haha!
It’s such a pleasure, You’ve made my day that I’ve been able to help out with at least one thing. Breaking these rule is so easily done when you first start out, I sure did it too xx
such a great post Robyn. Its all about being polite, and kind. Which is a great thing for everyone to remember, if you’re not sure do the nicest, kindest thing. Newbies and some who may need a reminder 🙂
You can never go wrong if you’re just nice xx
All good rules Robyn and it really comes down to common courtesy (although it is hard to know what to do when you start out). I am sometimes amazed at how bigger bloggers always still reply to comments – but then that is probably how they have built such a loyal community – by being courteous and generous.
Me too!!! I guess you just have to set some time aside in your schedule to read and reply to comments. It’s a great way to get involved in your community xx
Love this!!! This is definitely the best ‘blogging etiquette’ post I’ve ever read!! Just wonderful xxx
Aw thank you honey. Must appreciated xxx
A great list. Although the one on social median can be difficult. If someone mentions you on Facebook you don’t always see it so I think a bit of leeway is needed. It’s annoying though that we don’t get a notification that someone mentions our page. I always feel bad if I see an old mention because I do think they they must think I was ignoring them.
I’m the same Tegan. It’s so hard to miss things on Facebook especially as the tagging system is not that good. I guess we just have to do our best xx
This is fantastic, thanks so much for sharing. I particularly like the point about helping out newbies. As someone who hasn’t even been blogging for a year yet I really appreciate those willing to share their knowledge. It’s a great feeling. E x
I’m so glad I was able to help. It wasn’t that long ago that I was in the exact same boat too xx
what a wonderful list. So true – all of it x
Thank you so much xx
Love this list. Common courtesy goes such a long way.
I’d just add though on the 1st point that adding a credit and link under a photo isn’t enough in the eyes of the law if you haven’t also sought permission from the copyright holder. I’d suggest checking out creative commons, public domain or stock photos before taking images off people’s blogs.
YOu’re absolutely right Lilybet. Thanks for your feedback, I think I will update the post and add that in. I truly believe that taking your own photos is the way forward x
Great list but yes, it might be a good idea to update #1. It’s a matter of copyright law, not just etiquette. Bloggers can be, and have been, successfully sued for thousands of dollars for using photos that aren’t theirs, even with an image credit. It’s a good idea to read a few articles and learn about creative commons licensing if you’re going to use any images you didn’t create yourself.
Thanks so much Bec and you’re absolutely right. I don’t know much about the laws of photos as I’ve only ever used my own. It’s a really good point though and I will be researching a little and updating xx
Just popping in to agree it is actually illegal to use other people’s images without permission! Yes crediting the original source is nice and should be done, but to stay totally above the law, get permission, buy an image, use a royalty-free image with appropriate credit or take your own!
Sorry to be the big boogeyman, I loved your whole post 😉
Not at all, I have just updated it now. THANK YOU for you feedback, muchos appreciated!! xx
Just be nice. I like it. And I promise I didnt just read the first and last paragraphs! Etiquette is a wonderful thing. X
Hahahaha, I believe you!! It is wonderful and so easy to do xx
That’s what I call a Top Ten – I’m going to share this on my page. I’m especially pleased that I learnt something new, I had no idea about the 80/20 rule but I do now, so thank you muchly!
Yay, I’m so glad you got something useful out it. That makes me happy. Thanks so much for sharing too xx
Yes! Great post. My rule has always been ‘If you can’t say something nice, don’t say it at all.’ I also agree with using your own photos. I prefer to see pics that a blogger has taken themselves. 🙂
Me too and it’s so much more personable to have your photos. Thanks for reading xx
I love the last point and it’s what I try to do. Just be nice. Just treat people how you want to be treated. I’m a big believer in replying to all comments on my blog.If people take the time to read my words then I want to acknowledge it. Thanks for the social media 80/20 tip. I need to work on that.
Ditto, I wasn’t aware of the 80/20 social media thing either and definitely need to work on it. Many thanks for spelling out what some bloggers may thing to be the obvious, but I’m feeling a bit creepy now at how many points out of ten I actually need to improve 😉
Ditto, I wasn’t aware of the 80/20 social media thing either and definitely need to work on it. Many thanks for spelling out what some bloggers may think to be the obvious, but I’m feeling a bit creepy now at how many points out of ten I actually need to improve 😉
And now you get three comments for the price of one, as I desperately tried to edit my typo… 🙂
This is such a great list Robyn! So much is common sense and courtesy, but sometimes they are forgotten.
The hardest thing for me is keeping up with FB. If you’re not tagged, it can be tricky, can’t it?
I think I really need to make a schedule for checking things, and making sure I follow up on things. x
Some great pointers Robyn. Not just for newbies but to remind us all about continuous etiquette. Measure twice cut once. I like it. I like it a lot.
Thanks Tara, it’s once of my Dad’s saying that has always stuck with me! x
I love this Robyn. I know myself as I am a newbie everyone I have come across has been sooooo helpful! It’s lovely to be part of such a kind, supportive community 🙂
I totally agree Kirsty. I even feel like I’m made some lifelong friends in this community already x
#naiked it Mrs D!! Xx
Ohhhps #nailedit xx
Thanks Lynsey xx
Yes, You nailed it and so nicely said. I thought nailed before I read the above comment lol.
Aw thank you Trish. I must say I’m pretty overwhelmed by all the lovely comments I’ve had on this post. xx
Fist bump chick – and awesome list for bloggers and life in general! xx
Thank you lovely. I’m so flattered by all these awesome comments x
Great post – thanks for sharing. Always nice to read these posts to ensure you’re on the right track as a respectable and professional blogger.
Thanks Sophie xx
Fantastic post Robyn! Luckily for me, I have picked up on all of these and hopefully not made any blogging faux pas!! As you know I linked to this post from my post today. Just realised that I hadn’t commented on it though! Now I have 🙂 xo
Such a nice reminder, I think sometimes we can all forget just how foreign this world was when we started out. These things that have become second nature were so confusing at first. xoxoxo
Excellent list! I really need to be more conscientious about replying to comments left on my blog, I always have good intentions of doing it and then time runs away with me.
Thank you, Robyn! I’m one of those ‘newbie bloggers’, and am still in the process of getting to know ‘all the rules’. I’m definitely keeping this one in my bookmarks to reflect upon regularly. 🙂
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