Blogging has been around for ages, and bloggers do everything they can to generate traffic. Every blogger has their own method of driving traffic to their site — some ethical, some not.
There are many bloggers who rely on gaining “clout” or use conflict as a marketing technique to attract visitors to their sites. Bloggers like this may be familiar to you as they tend to go viral quickly, but the fame is often short-lived.
Unethical bloggers leave negative comments on other people’s blogs just to attract attention. This kind of practice is greatly frowned upon in the blogging industry. Unfortunately, not everyone in the blogging industry has manners, and common blog writing etiquette doesn’t seem to be so common at all.
If you’ve ventured into the blogging industry, you’ll have more success in the long-run if you promote ethical marketing tactics. With that said, here are the five common blogging etiquette rules every blogger should always keep in mind.
A blogger’s permission isn’t required to quote small sections of their content. Most of the time this practice is okay as long as you link back to the original post. Not only is this proper blog etiquette, it can also be used to your advantage.
Whenever a blogger links to another blog or blog post, the owner of that website is alerted with a trackback, an automatic notification that’s sent when a link has been created on the owner’s blog post from an external website. Oftentimes, their curiosity will lead them to check out the blog that linked to their site. As a blogger, this could earn you future backlinks and guest blogging opportunities.
If your article is heavily inspired by another blog, it’s common etiquette to credit that blog. While not a requirement, it’s the courteous thing to do.
Come on, don’t go there.
This rule has been established since grade school:
It’s never okay to claim someone else’s content as your own.
Besides the obvious fact that you’ve stolen someone else’s property and plagiarized, now you have to contend with the entirely new issue of duplicate content. When Google detects duplicate content, site owners can suffer rankings and traffic losses.
Copying an entire post to your blog doesn’t give your users any incentive to check out the original post, so in essence, you’re stealing traffic from that blogger. Copying someone else’s content without their permission can lead to your blog getting shut down.
It’s NEVER okay to copy and paste someone else’s work without their explicit permission. If you’re inspired by or choose to use other’s content, you should still put your own twist on the content and give credit to the original author.
I know, very few, if any, ideas are genuinely original these days, so copying can be hard to prove. However, if you come across something you like and want to replicate, try to figure out a way to put your own spin on it.
The sad fact is that there are several bloggers who have had their projects copied by big brands and corporations without recourse because these companies have the means to squish the “little guys.”
Don’t use images on other blogs without permission. You might think that it’s easy to get away with, but I promise you, the risk isn’t worth it. If you get caught your website can, and usually will, be shut down.
Just don’t steal other people’s property.
The safest way to include images in your blog is by using stock images. Stock images are royalty-free images, and there are many websites that host them. Pixabay, Unsplash, and Shutterstock are my go-to websites for stock images.
Look, I know that it can be hard to find the time to respond to every comment, but if a user cares enough to leave a comment, the least that you can do is respond.
When a user comments on your blog, that’s an opportunity to turn them into a subscriber because they’ve expressed interest in what you have to say.
Don’t let the opportunity slip away.
People want to feel like there is a real person behind each blog post, someone who could help them or even be a friend. So always try to respond!
This is something bloggers have always struggled with. Even the most experienced bloggers still struggle with how to best approach comment replies. So how DO you reply to comments?
To be frank, with the variety and complexity of comments, it’s impossible to answer every comment the same way. All comments are unique, so responses require a personal touch.
At the very least, a “thanks for commenting” is necessary, but I recommend doing more than that. Take the time to actually read what the commenter has to say and to formulate a thoughtful response. Not only does this show your users you respect their opinion, but it keeps them coming back to move the conversation forward.
A bit of a tip when it comes to efficiently replying to blog comments – filter spam and bots. If you think your blog is immune to spam comments, you’re mega wrong. They trickle in, little by little, and before you know it, your blog posts are overwhelmed by spam comments.
Filtering spam comments is easily done by installing anti-spam plugins like Akismet. Akismet is a WordPress plugin that’s free for personal blogs. Among its major features is the ability to automatically identify and remove all comments that resemble spam.
If you’ve been blogging for any period of time, you probably already know this, but I’ll say it anyway: Not everyone is going to agree with what you post.
Plenty of people will disagree with you along the way, and many of them will have no problem letting you know. Don’t be one of those bloggers who can’t handle criticism.
Learn to take criticisms, try to reflect on your post, and you may learn a thing or two from the negative comments people leave on your blog. Respect all your commenters, regardless of whether they agree with you or not.
There will always be mean people on the internet. I’ve had my share of mean comments, but they don’t get to me anymore because I’ve learned how to tune out the trolls.
If negative comments get you down, just think of all the people who love your blog! Haters gonna hate.
Y’all know where I’m going with this: Stop with the keyword stuffing, buying followers, and stay far, FAR away from Private Blog Networks (PBNs).
These may seem like promising shortcuts, but these black hat SEO practices will bite you in the ass sooner or later.
Be genuine. Be honest. It’ll go a long way.
Instead of trying to cheat the system, create content people actually want to follow/like/comment. Don’t pay imposters to boost your ego. It’s pathetic.
It’s not the algorithm that’s hurting everyone’s blog engagement – it’s the cheaters who participate in these tactics that are doing the damage. Don’t be one of them and don’t support those who join this bandwagon.
Blogging is an amazing tool for sharing information, thoughts, opinions, and expertise. Conflict will always be present, but it costs you nothing to be courteous. If you’re having trouble with the moral “grey area,” just remember – it feels wrong, don’t say it.
Here’s a recap of all the blog etiquette rules:
These rules aren’t that hard to remember, and as long as you’re friendly and fair, you shouldn’t run into trouble.
Thinking of starting a blog? Read this blog post on the 8 Essential Steps to Start a Blog Business and Make Money.
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