Blogging Etiquette (10/10)


Wel­come to my new “How To Blog” series! In this series, I’ll try to put my knowl­edge to good use and shed some light on the basic of blog­ging. You will learn how to set up a self-hosted blog, what are the must-have plu­g­ins, how to attract read­ers, how to mon­e­tize your blog etc. I’ll pub­lish a new “How To Blog” post every Saturday.

This is the tenth and last post of the “How To Blog” series and I’d like to close it with some advice on blog­ging eti­quette. Indeed, behav­ing well in the blo­gos­phere is impor­tant because:

  • Rep­u­ta­tion stays for­ever on the web
  • We are all from dif­fer­ent cul­tures and must learn to respect each other
  • Blog­ging = com­mu­ni­cat­ing… isn’t it?

On writ­ing posts:

  • Blogs are a writ­ten medium, so do every­one a favor and punc­tu­ate, cap­i­tal­ize and spell check your posts. I’m not talk­ing about the odd spelling mis­take (will I ever be able to spell “neigh­bor­hood” prop­erly?) but posts like: “lol u lik it 2, this Utube video iz my favoite”.
  • Writ­ing is caps is for­bid­den. Unless YOU ARE SHOUTING! Seri­ously, caps are hard to read, espe­cially when write your entire post in caps.
  • Para­graphs are an inven­tion of God™. They sep­a­rate your mains ideas and are nice to the eye. Plus, hit­ting the tab key only takes a second.
  • Don’t ever copy some­one else post/ blog/ entire web­site (yes, some idiots do that). You will get caught and will look very stu­pid. Trust me.

On using images:

  • Please, resize your images for those who don’t have a fast inter­net con­nec­tion. One large pic­ture per post is fine, but if you took 1,000 pic­tures dur­ing your hol­i­days, please resist the urge to post every­thing in a sin­gle post. You can either make a pic­ture page, like on this blog (see Pics), send peo­ple to your Flickr, Pho­to­bucket or what­ever account, or use thumb­nails. Any­thing that won’t make my com­puter crash basically.
  • Not every­body is a pho­tog­ra­pher or an artist. That’s fine. What’s not fine is steal­ing images. Copy­right my friend, copy­right… Don’t just use Google image to find some­thing suit­able for the arti­cle you’re about to post: chances are, the image will be copy­righted and you will get into trou­ble. No, no, trust me, you will. See this thread at Dig­i­tal Point for exam­ple, where blog­gers and web­mas­ters are being sued by Getty Image Com­pany for what appears to be rel­a­tively small copy­right infringe­ment… On the same forum, you can read the excel­lent: “copy­right, what you need to know”. So if you’re des­per­ate for pic­tures, you can either: 1) take them your­self 2) ask an ama­teur pho­tog­ra­pher on Flickr for exam­ple (I was con­tacted sev­eral and never said no — too flat­tered for that!) 3) buy stock pho­tos. You will save your­self a lot of has­sle in the long run.

On blog design:

  • Chances are you didn’t make your theme from scratch but rather down­loaded a free theme/ tem­plate. Did you notice the small line at the bot­tom of it? These are the cred­its, usu­ally a link to the designer who cre­ated the theme/ tem­plate, and some­times a link to the blog­ging plat­form. For exam­ple, on my blog, you can read: “Copy­right © 2008 Cor­rer Es Mi Des­tino. Pow­ered by Word­Press. Options theme by Justin Tad­lock”. Justin designed this amaz­ing theme that I tweaked and cus­tomized. I got the theme for free. I get sup­port for free on his forums. He is con­stantly improv­ing his themes. Why on earth shouldn’t he get credit for it? Yet, a lot of peo­ple remove the credit line alto­gether or worse, attribute the theme as their own. This is just pathetic…
  • Make sure read­ers can access your blog eas­ily: check your blog load­ing speed (you can use Web­site Speed Test for exam­ple), don’t pile up thou­sands of wid­gets and images in your side­bar, make your font big enough and avoid flashy gad­gets. Among oth­ers rec­om­men­da­tions.
  • Make sure your ads or your spon­sored posts don’t drive read­ers away. Pop up win­dows are a big no-nos as most peo­ple can’t stand them. Text or image ads are usu­ally fine but think about their place­ment: you want them to be seen but you also want peo­ple to read your posts. Just don’t overdo it… I per­son­ally hate spon­sored posts but they are fairly accepted by read­ers as long as you have good con­tent and don’t do that too often.

On pro­mot­ing your blog:

  • Wait until your blog is fin­ished and you have a few posts to start pro­mot­ing your blog. Ask­ing for a review of an empty blog with just the “hello world” post and a bunch of ads can drive poten­tial read­ers away for a long time.
  • Pro­mot­ing a blog doesn’t mean plug­ging your link any­time you can. A lot of blogs now use the Com­mentluv plu­gin which links to your last post when you com­ment on a blog. You don’t need to type your blog link sev­eral times in the com­ment when you leave one.
  • Pay atten­tion to peo­ple and they will pay atten­tion to you. Blog­ging is a two way thing: read blogs that you are inter­ested in, leave gen­uine com­ments, help when­ever you can and peo­ple will visit your blog. Don’t be that obnox­ious “check out my blog” per­son.

On inter­act­ing with peo­ple:

  • Be nice. Not every­body share your point of view, your cultural/ reli­gion back­ground, your ideas. Peo­ple can and will dis­agree. That’s life, and the key­word is r-e-s-p-e-c-t.
  • And when you “tag” peo­ple for a meme, don’t just type their names or blog URLs: link to them. Like­wise, if you com­plete the meme, you should link to the blog­ger who tagged you.
  • Do things with­out expect­ing any­thing in return (links etc.). It works well in the long run.
  • Post com­ments that are related to the entry. Don’t break the dis­cus­sion with one of these “by the way, did you check out my last post” kind of com­ment. Most blog­gers have a con­tact form if you need to ask them some­thing off topic.

We all break the rules once in a while and I made my fair share of mis­takes, but I hope these points will help you under­stand and enjoy the blo­gos­phere to its best! Let me know if you would like to add points, I can update this post periodically.

Next week, I will start an “How To… In Canada” ten-posts series, where you will learn how to immi­grate to Canada, how to find a job, how to open a bank account and more. See you then!


About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


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