Blogging Etiquette (10/10)

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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!

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About Author

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

26 Comments

  1. Very very informative Zhu and I must admit that there are a few blog pals which I seldom visit because their images are too overwhelming and my computer sort of slow down or ‘hung’ ;(

    Can’t wait for your Canada series 😀

  2. This is some serious etiquette. I think most people just blog without realizing they’re breaking the “rules”. For instance, the nasty message I got a while ago, but I sort of figured out who it was.

    I think people should reply to other bloggers whenever they’re being asked a question. Some of them don’t even bother to reply, which I find very rude.

    bluefishs last great read…Floating postcards

  3. You offer good etiquette reminders!
    At the end, I felt rather bad because
    you tagged me more than a month ago
    and I promised to do a “meme” and I
    didn’t. I’m sorry Zhu! Please forgive
    me. I have a coconut for a brain…

    Seraphines last great read…Kansas Flip-Flops

  4. @shionge – Same here… I stopped visiting some blogs which would make my computer crash! I try to keep an eye on mine, which can be slow sometimes too.

    @bluefish – As I said, I think I made a lot of mistakes too and certainly don’t want to look like I’m perfect while the others are wrong! We all have a different perspective on what’s okay and what’s not 😉

    @Seraphine – Oh, I forgot a rule: you should never feel sorry for not completing memes! We get tagged for so many, I’m guilty on that one too! 😉

  5. Most of the “check out my blog” people are caught by Akismet 😛

    I didn’t make my theme from scratch because I’m lazy and occasionally use the default template as the base. Hmm…I wonder whether I should credit the person who made it.

    Btw, lol u lik it 2, this Utube video iz my favoite!

    Ulquiorras last great read…Survival Of The Funnest – Spore

  6. @Ulquiorra – Wow, that was deep…sarcasm! 😆

    The credit thing is up to you, it depends how much of the theme you use I guess. Can’t judge, won’t judge!

  7. I’m thinking of moving to a domain after so much temptations, but kinda pricey. :/

    These are a bunch of good blogging etiquettes! I bet all of us have committed some mistakes along the way…

    And I hv problems surfing your blog yesterday due to “database error”. @.@

    kyhs last great read…Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi

  8. Oops, I see that I haven’t been following a few of these. Yes, I hate those blogs that are written as if they are spoken. Run-on sentences, those stuff, aarrgghh!

    Oh, I don’t indent, but I insert a blank line in between my paragraphs. And yes, I do have some non-paragraphed entries, but those are my experimentations with styles influenced by James Joyce, and they are few and far between.

    When you mentioned the photo thing, I immediately thought, oops! I went to a holiday, I took 1600-something photos. I hope that my travelogues weren’t too much of a burden. But hey! I only have those travelogues about once or twice a year! Hehe.

    Linguist-in-Waitings last great read…Naked

  9. pocketcultures on

    This is good advice. I learned a few things 🙂 I never thought of checking my loading speed so I will be running off to do that now!

    I especially like the bit about being nice. It’s quite easy to take things the wrong way with digital communications, especially between different cultures, like you said, so always good to think before typing!

    Something else I think is good etiquette is linking to sources. If I write about something I read on another blog, I try to link to that blog to acknowledge where I got the idea. What do you think? I think it’s a nice thing, but it might be that not everybody agrees…

    pocketculturess last great read…Australians get on their bikes

  10. @kyh – Yeah, I saw that error there too. It was up for an awfully long time, wasn’t it?

    Wonder what caused it…

    Ulquiorras last great read…Young Hobbit vs. Google, Lord of The Pings

  11. @Seraphine – I tried it out and it works just fine. Congrats on your first plugin!

    @kyh – Shop around, I still find some affordable hosting. Let me know if you need some advice!

    @johnada – As long as you’re aware of copyright and how it works, it’s perfectly fine. But some people just grab’n’go! If you need me to address anything in the Canada series, let me know!

    @Linguist-in-Waiting – No, I wasn’t thinking of you when I mentioned the picture thing! 😉 I actually find it original you showcase a picture per post.

    @pocketcultures – Your blog loads just fine 😉 You’re right about quoting source. It’s very important… some people just disregard it and it is considered as bad etiquette!

    @Spyder – Thank you Spider!

    @Ulquiorra – I’m gonna explain about the error below 😉

    About the error message you probably got is you tried to visit my blog Saturday night or Sunday:

    My hosting company, Site5 apparently had some server issue… well, they basically disconnected my blog, screwed up something in MySQL.

    I sent a ticket as soon as I noticed my blog didn’t work and it took them 29 hours to reply the problem was fixed. I was getting very frustrated, especially some hinted in the Site5 forum that I had been hacked, that it was my fault etc.

    Eventually, I talk to a nice guy on the Digital Point forum and he offered to help me fix the problem. I trusted him with my login, password etc. (my life basically! :lol:) and within minutes, I was back online.

    He had talked to my hosting company (God knows how, they weren’t replying my emails!) and it was a problem on their side. I thanked the guy and he wouldn’t even accept some money!

    I just got a reply from the support team tonight (a bit late guys but nevermind…) and yes, it was a problem on their side.

    Phew. Slow support, isn’t it?

  12. Good series! Ought to benefit newcomers to the blogworld. Incidentally, did you see the report which said that the growth in active blogs has now tapered off? Essentially, the blogworld is not growing as rapidly as it did in the past (if you count active blogs).

    Shantanus last great read…Two New Airports & More

  13. Hi Zhu,

    I was just scrolling down the comments when I got to your response to Ulquiorra’a comments.

    That is like having a nightmare, especially thinking that you’ve been hacked. I know of some bloggers who have actually been hacked and copied, yet were stricken out by Google for “duplicate content” even if they were the original.

    The other nightmarish thing is trusting your blog life (password and all) to a perfect stranger you haven’t even seen. That’s the important thing about being nice – word gets around – and they wouldn’t dare do that to a nice person.

    You’re blessed Zhu, and good for you! 🙂 –Durano, done!

    durano lawayans last great read…Pacquiao’s Professionalism, Patience and Prayers

  14. Salut Zhu!

    Loved this blogging etiquette: there were parts where I even laughed (the “check out my blog” & “have you read my last post” parts lol)!

    Another thing that is disappointing is when bloggers write the same comment on several blogs – of course, this is related with “check my blog out”; it is a bit sad…if one doesn’t have nothing good to say, then do not make a comment at all.

    Ah, you forgot one thing (it is so basic, but there are people who don’t understand this simple etiquette rule): when one blogger visits your site for the first time, it is common courtesy to visit his/her blog, and thank for the visit/comment.

    Loved the respect part; so true, the least we can do is to write/communicate in a way that nobody feels insulted, hurt…

    Great article, great series (I think I just didn’t read one of them cause there was an issue at the time, but I will try again)! 😀

    Cheers

    Max Coutinhos last great read…A Day at the Beach

  15. @Shantanu – Thanks for the info, I didn’t know. I guess a lot of people are realizing now that the making-money-blogging trend is a bit overrated!

    @beaverboosh – I’m nicer and usually reply faster when people say “hi” and “thank you”. The only reason I didn’t link your blog when I wrote the post is because Blogger had an error message that the blog didn’t exist.

    @durano lawayan – I guess I was lucky on that one! However, my hosting company wasn’t helpful at all, I’m glad this guy contacted me on a forum. I always keep backups so at least I knew it wasn’t lost for good. Just a headache.

    @Max Coutinho – Yep, these things are good etiquette too! I too visit commenters’ blog or at least acknowledge them. I never noticed anyone leaving the same comment twice, but I’ll keep an eye on that now! 😆

  16. Good Site and keep up the good job

    warrens last great read…So Mortgage Refinance it Is? Things to Think about Before Deciding

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