Welcome to my series “How to NOT Suck at Blogging.” I decided to start this after numerous requests for written tutorials from bloggers I have helped. The title is meant to be a joke, but if you suck at blogging (like I did when I first started) I hope you are able to find some useful and helpful information in the series. If not, well, don’t say I never did nothing nice for ya!
Last week I gave you a list of four blogging etiquette rules that you probably didn’t even know you were breaking. This week, I have four more for you. These rules might seem simple or silly, but they are the most common rules I see getting broken by new bloggers who don’t know any better and seasoned bloggers who SHOULD know better.
- Don’t comment on stuff for the sole purpose of gaining a new follower. I love getting comments. But when a comment simply says, “Hi, I’m following you now, follow me at XYZ” I’ve already lost interest. Comments are wonderful, but using them as a sole means to sell your blogs to others is rude. The only exception to this rule is for linkups. Many linkup hosts (myself included) request that you comment and say hello if you are new to the linkup so they can follow you. The rest of the time, you come across as a jerk. This rule also applies to social media. Don’t comment on other fan pages with a link to your own post unless that is what the post asks for. It’s the equivalent of spamming people, friends.
- Always ask permission before using something that doesn’t belong to you. If you don’t own the image, don’t use it unless the owner says ok (I’ll discuss copyright laws at length later). Don’t borrow quotes or really, anything without someone saying they are ok with it. While it’s not uncommon to quote people, if you do, the very least you can do is give credit (remember rule 2?) I often try to tag people or email them to let them know they inspired something or even just that I shared something of theirs if it’s not something I needed permission to use. I’ve only been asked to remove a link back to someone’s blog ONCE in the five years I’ve been doing this.
- If you set up a mailing list, DO NOT spam people. As a general rule of thumb, don’t take email addresses from your own linkups and subscribe people to emails to your posts. While it is common practice to add people who participate in linkups to a mailing list, it IS NOT one that sends them daily post from you. Typically the ok list to add a linkup email to is a reminder email list for your linkup and that is pretty much it. Maybe a miscellaneous email here and there, but the only people who should get your blog posts in their inbox are those who specifically signed up for that individual service. I personally offer two separate mail lists for this reason, one is a linkup reminder and the other is for those who want to get my posts in their inbox.
- If you commit to something, commit to it. I get it, we bloggers can be a flaky bunch, myself included in that. But here’s the deal folks, there is a difference between being a little flaky and being down right rude. If you know you can’t fulfill your obligation, tell the other blogger as far in advance as possible, especially if it’s something like a feature, a guest post in a series, or a giveaway. Those are things that take effort and planning by the blogger who is hosting. It can cause a massive kink in their plans and really screw things up if you bail at the last minute. Especially if the blogger is hosting a giveaway that is sponsored by an outside brand. Bloggers who have those relationships build them by being trustworthy and reliable. You bailing last minute doesn’t just make more work and trouble for the hosting blogger, but can possibly damage the relationship they have with their sponsor.