I have written several posts about blogging, like how to get your blog noticed, and how to write better posts, but today I am going to talk about blogging etiquette. I have read about a lot of fellow bloggers upset by things people have done. So here are some suggestions of blogging dos and don’ts. Admittedly, I have done several of them myself (especially when rushing and replied to the wrong comment etc.) but I am working on improving too.
1. DON’T be a blogbomber. What is blogbombing you ask? Well, think photobombing but in blog form. Just dropping in out of nowhere are stealing the attention or altering the post. You can always tell these comments apart from the rest. Clearly this person does not read your blog, and based on what they have said, they haven’t even read the post. I think I get these because I have it set up that you can only read the beginning of the article in your WordPress reader. So, sometimes I will get comments from people who have clearly only read the first sentence of the article because their comment is way off what the post was about.
2. DON’T plug your own blog in the comments. Personally I find this to be another form of blogbombing. Unless you are asked to leave links, I don’t think it’s really appropriate (especially if you are not a follower). I’ll admit there are times where I have written a post that addresses the same topic that I think might be helpful, but then I will just invite the author over to my blog to check it out. Often times when people leave links in the comments on my blog I will not approve them unless they are one of my regular readers/ followers in which case I consider them a friend so it’s okay.
3. DON’T leave rude/ inappropriate comments. This one is just common sense to me, but don’t write nasty comments on someone’s post. I have received a few of those, and as much as I try to shrug it off they can be upsetting. Especially since, again, these people usually don’t read my blog and know nothing about me they are just passing judgement on the one post. If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
4. DON’T ask for opinions and then be upset when you get them. This happened to me once where the author (albeit unknowingly) wrote about a very controversial topic and asked for opinions. When I gave a (toned down) version of my opinion she got mad, stopped reading my blog, deleted my comment and sent me a nasty email. Believe me, I am not the type to slathering my opinions about the internet but if you ask for it then you better believe you are going to get it.
5. DON’T constantly reblog other people’s work. I love that WordPress has the option to reblog someone else’s article and when I find something that I really think people should read or will enjoy reading I will reblog. But there are some blogs out there who only seem to reblog other people’s work and never write anything themselves. In my opinion, I don’t think that says much about you as a blogger (unless that is the purpose of your site).
6. DON’T copy other people’s work. It wasn’t cool in school and it’s not cool now. Obviously it is going to happen where you blog about the same topic as someone else, especially those hot button ones like working mom vs. stay at home mom. But if you use someone else’s ideas always give credit to the author with a link to their blog or that specific post. In my case, I write my articles weeks before they publish and sometimes during that time a blog I follow will post something similar and I worry people will think I have copied, but nope, just a case of great minds think alike.
7. DON’T forget to have a title for your post, or have a title that is completely misleading. It is so frustrating when I read the title of an article and get all excited to read it only to find out it has NOTHING to do with what I thought. Obviously this does not include misinterpretation of the title since that can happen and has to do more with the reader than your title. I love really creative titles but try to keep the ball in the park.
8. DO reply to people’s comments. I follow hundreds of blogs and try to read as many posts as I can regularly. While I often “like” several posts, I only comment on the ones that really speak to me, and I often put a lot of thought into my comments. Maybe this is just me, but I find it’s very nice to get a response, even if its just a simple thanks.
9. DO read other people’s posts. I like blogging because you are engaging in a conversation with people. They read your blog, you read theirs and you become a community. Don’t expect people to read your blog if you don’t read anyone else’s blogs. That’s like being at a party and just standing in the middle of a room yelling at people. You have to talk with them and engage with them in order to make friends. Plus, who knows? Some of my best articles were prompted by something I read on someone else’s blog.
10. DO take part in blog awards. I love blog awards. If it weren’t for me getting nominated for a Liebster award way back at the beginning my blog would not be what it is today. They are so motivation and make you feel great. Yes. oftentimes they are a lot of work, but do it anyway as a thank you to the person who nominated you. I found some of my favourite blogs because they were nominees.
11. DO try to be clear when using humour or sarcasm. Even with emoticons and punctuation we will never be able to convey the same level of emotion that we can in human speech. So while I do appreciate subtle humor, sometimes people will just drop in a line and you can’t tell whether they are serious or joking and that can completely change the tone of the post. Ditto with comments. I have had some that left me confused as to whether the person actually liked my post or they were being sarcastic.
12. DO have fun! Okay, that’s not really etiquette, but I had to say it. After all, it is why we are bloggers in the first place. If you aren’t enjoying it, why bother doing it?
That is all for today class. Thank you for attending Shannon’s finishing school of blogging. As your homework I invite you to post your own etiquette suggestions for other bloggers in the comments section.