5 Etiquette Tips for New Bloggers

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Laptop sitting on wooden table with crumpled up sticky notes and a coffee cupBy Jason Knapfel

Remembering to say please and thank you is a great first step, but etiquette in the blogosphere goes far beyond polite words and removing your shoes at the door. Everyone from corporations, to artists, to the average Joe can have a blog up and running in a matter of minutes. With an abundance of web homes, reflecting the characters, perspectives, and services of people or organizations, new bloggers have the opportunity to follow and build relationships with countless other blogs.

When traversing the blogosphere, how can a new blogger be sure to make successful connections and not alienate other bloggers with accidental errors in online etiquette? Here are five basic guidelines to make your first steps down blogger lane are the proper ones.

1. Comment (thoughtfully): You wouldn’t stroll into a new friend’s living room and not say hello, would you? The same goes for blogs you visit frequently. If the content interests you, say so. Even better, involve yourself in the conversation by adding to it with your own relevant thoughts. Blog communities thrive on fresh opinions. By sharing what you think, you not only enrich this blogger’s community, you invite other readers of that blog who may appreciate your opinion to visit yours. Effective comments that stay on topic represent you well in the blogosphere and make inroads for future sharing.

2. Avoid heavy-handed self-promotion: While insightful comments are subtle promotional tools, linking to yourself for the sheer visibility can sometimes come across as rude. After all, you are in another blogger’s space, where his or her vision takes center stage. If a particular post from your blog relates directly to the conversation and adds new value, do share, but be selective. Also, because most platforms ask you to enter your name, e-mail, and URL before you leave a comment, readers can click on your name and be taken to your blog. Putting your URL in the comment itself is often redundant or simply not allowed.

3. Use permalinks: Permalinks are links to individual blog posts. Following the metaphor of your blog as your home, it makes no sense to advise your spouse to grab a spoon from the oven rather than the silverware drawer. By providing a permalink to a post of your own or the exact location of a post from another blog, you give readers easy access to the information you promise, right where you promised it would be. If you only link to your main page, you’re forcing the reader to search for the content, when they have no idea where to look! Making good on promises builds integrity in any setting and is crucial for your blog.

4. Always ask permission: While you can link to another blog without asking permission (your link benefits that blogger by sharing their platform), you must ask for the right to use their content. Familiarize yourself with fair use, copyright, and Creative Commons.

5. Create a clean space: Make your blog readable and easy on the eyes. Don’t make paragraphs run too long. Follow basic rules of grammar and remember that CAPITALS READ LIKE SHOUTING! If you want to shout, that’s fine, but keep it to a minimum. Either way, there are more subtle ways to get your passion across without the cap lock. Readers should feel both relaxed and intellectually and visually stimulated reading your blog. Creating a pleasant environment, no matter what your topic, increases the likelihood of return readers and an increase in your following.

By using basic blog etiquette, you can be on your way to sharing your ideas or products with a growing readership.

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