This post is by Leia of HiFashion
I wish someone had given me a crash course on blogging etiquette when I first started blogging! Here are some tips I’ve picked up along the way. Please remember that these are all based on my personal opinion and not all of them are hard and fast rules.
Always, always, always give credit where it is due.
- If you are using a picture taken by someone else, make sure it’s okay to use it.
- Add a link to where the picture has come from.
- Do not steal bandwidth! Download the image onto your computer and re-upload it using your blog software or an image hosting site.
- As with pictures, make sure you have the right to reproduce text. Even paraphrasing ideas is a form of plagiarism, so always inform your readers if you have gotten ideas from someone else.
Fellow bloggers love to receive e-mails from their readers. But there are a few things to keep in mind when writing to someone…
- Make sure you remember whom you have contacted and what you have contacted them about. I know it sounds elementary, but we once had an e-mail (addressed en masse) from a new blogger who wanted to be added to our blogroll. A month later, the same blogger wrote us pretty much the exact same e-mail! If he/she had taken the time to check our blog, he/she would know that we had already done so a month ago, when first asked.
- Don’t send mass messages. If you are taking the time to write to someone, make it personal, and address them by name or at least blog name. I know that if something isn’t addressed to me personally, I am much less likely to take it seriously. Also, you are probably less likely to send the same e-mail twice if you take the time to make it personal!
- Give and receive. I honestly don’t mind helping someone out – especially new bloggers – because I know how clueless I felt sometimes when I first started blogging. But sending multiple e-mails to someone asking for help and advice is a little bit too much, especially when it’s clear you just want them to help you with promoting your own blog. It’s fine to ask for help, but make sure you are giving something back, even if it’s just in a small way. That may mean just saying ‘thank you for your time and patience,’ or perhaps mentioning on your blog that someone provided you with valuable advice.
- Comment back: If someone comments on your blog, make time to visit their blog. It’s nice to get to know your readers. If you have time, leave them a comment, too (you know that warm fuzzy feeling you get inside when someone leaves you a comment? Rack up some good karma by doing the same for someone else!) If they ask you a question, see if you can e-mail them to answer it, or visit their blog and answer it there. I read so many blogs that I don’t always remember to check back to see if someone responded to my question – it’s much more efficient if you answer it in a place that they are sure to see!
- Spam filters: I hate them. If I have to go through a complicated process of filling in a word verification, I often decide not to leave a comment. And I really see no point in having word verifications as well as moderating comments! There are so many blogs that get thousands of hits and comments every day that do not choose to activate their spam filters. I recommend only using yours if you have already had problems with spam comments. Note from Editor: WordPress's Akismet spam filter is quite effective without using word verification.
- Make comments accessible to everyone. Again, if I am trying to comment on a blog and it only allows comments from certain people (for example, only people with a Google account), it can make me change my mind about leaving a comment at all. I have two Google accounts (a personal one as well as a blog account shared with my co-blogger, Sherin) and I don’t like having to sign out and sign in again or switch browsers just to leave a quick comment. This can also diminish your chances of getting feedback from readers who don’t have Google accounts. Again, I would recommend increasing your privacy only if you have had spam commenters or other problems in the past, but if not, you should allow as many people as possible to comment on your blog.
- Negative comments (giving them). I usually go by this rule: If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all. No one expects you to like or agree with everything you read in the blogosphere. We all have different tastes and styles; it is completely normal to dislike someone else’s outfit or post. That doesn’t mean you have to be hurtful. Constructive criticism and differing opinions are welcome, but there is a nice way to say something and a rude way to say something. If you can’t figure out how to say it nicely, don’t say anything at all.For example: You see someone wearing an outfit you don’t like because you think it’s too revealing. Here are some polite ways to deal with this:
- Don’t leave a comment at all.
- Is there anything you like about the outfit? Focus on that. You could say, “Nice shoes!” for example.
- Do you simply have to mention the short hemline? Try this: “Wow, you are so bold for being able to wear something so short in public! I could never pull that off myself, but it’s great to see people taking risks like that.”
- You may be tempted to say, “Ugh, how trashy. How can you leave the house wearing that sort of thing?” Please don’t say this or anything similar. It’s just not nice. You wouldn't walk into someone’s house and criticise their belongings, so don’t visit their blog and leave rude comments about their attire or opinions.
- Don’t leave negative, Anonymous comments. If you are going to say something, own up to it. If you are too afraid of saying something that can be traced back to you, don’t say it.
- Negative comments (receiving them). I am lucky in that our blog, HiFashion, has not yet received any negative comments, but these are my thoughts on them.
- A person who writes a negative comment is usually just jealous. I know it’s hard to take a negative comment as a compliment, but if someone has taken the time to let you know how they feel, they must feel quite strongly about the issue.
- If you receive one, you should delete it or ignore it.
- If the commenter has left a name or a blog URL, you can try to track them down and explain that the comment was hurtful. If you receive yet more negative feedback, consider barring their I.P. address from your blog.
- If negative comments cease to stop, address the issue on your blog. Consider disabling comments altogether if the issue really gets out of hand.
I don’t consider it good blog etiquette to force your readers to listen to your music (especially if it is loud or has vulgar language). Keep in mind that everyone has different tastes! If I click on a blog and am bombarded with music, I often close it without reading any further, and I know I’m not the only one who does so. There are multiple reasons why I do this:
- I am often listening to my own music or watching the news while browsing through blogs;
- My internet connection is sometimes slow, so the music comes through in broken bits and pieces, making it very annoying to listen to;
- I sometimes open multiple blogs at once. Imagine if they all played music simultaneously! This has happened to me before, and I assure you, it is not a pleasant experience.
Don’t get me wrong, I love music, and I see nothing wrong with sharing songs with your readers. But you ought to do this respectfully. You can share music by adding a music player which readers can choose to switch on; embedding YouTube
There you have it – my ideas on being a polite, respectful blogger! Do you agree with my points? Why or why not? What would you add to this list?