Whether you’re a newbie blogger or a pro, following some extent of “blogging etiquette” is a must if you want your blog to be seen in good light. It’s pretty simple though, especially if you think of your blog as a reflection of yourself, which it basically is! And just a side note before we get to the tips; I’ve definitely fallen victim to a couple of these “don’ts”, and looking back now, I feel horrible for it! To avoid being completely negative though, I wanted to share a some tips that will benefit you and your blog as well. So for both your sake and mine, here are a few do’s and don’ts of the blogging world that I wish I’d thought about months ago!
What to do
1. Be yourself
I always find this to be my favorite quality of bloggers. I can connect with them on a more personal level and feel like I’m actually listening to a person, not reading off a screen. Staying true to yourself is so important in blogging, because you want your blog to be a reflection of who you really are!
2. Have a blogging schedule
Not only will this keep your readers coming back, but it will ensure that you don’t go insane trying to come up with a post every week! Keeping a schedule allows your readers to expect a post from you on certain days, and they’ll look forward to coming back for it.
It’s also extremely helpful when you’re participating in group projects with other bloggers, because double-booking a day for posts can get pretty chaotic! I keep a blogging planner with sticky notes color-coded for different types of posts, so I know what weeks have a giveaway going, or when I’m participating in a link up, so I don’t accidentally take on too much at once.
3. Join a community
This was probably the best decision I made since I started blogging! It’s a pretty amazing thing to see so many bloggers collaborating at once, especially when you’re able to join them on things like giveaways and social media hops.
My absolute favorite right now is Blog + Biz BFFs by Melyssa Griffin, a Facebook group with over 15,000 members! It’s a little daunting to join a group so big, but Melyssa has a strict set of rules that keep your feed from getting filled with spam. It’s a great place for bloggers to meet new online friends, collaborate, and learn about growing their blog!
4. Link back to your own posts
Having a reader find one of your posts is great, but don’t you want them to stay awhile and come back? By linking back to your past posts within new ones, your reader can explore your blog and get a good idea of what it’s like, while also learning a bit about where it came from. This is a great way to sort of “self-advertise”, and you’d be surprised at how well it works! If you haven’t done this before, try going back through some of your posts and look for topics you mentioned that have now been covered by a newer post. Add in a link to that new post, and see how your statistics change over time.
5. Have a clean blog design
Maybe this is a bad thing, but when I’m looking through new blogs, one of the first things that pushes me to close the page is an unorganized design. If I have to search around just to find your content, there’s a problem. Maintaining a clean design is crucial to giving your reader the best experience on your blog. It’s also helpful when you’re looking for bloggers or companies to work with you, because they want their content displayed in the best way possible, and a messy design won’t cut it!
Related: How To Find A Beautiful Blog Design
6. Use images to your advantage
While this applies to just about any social networking site, I’m mainly gearing this tip towards Pinterest. Images grab a readers attention much faster than words, so it should be one of your top priorities to have a picture of quality in all of your posts. I suggest optimizing these images for Pinterest, because I think we can all agree that Pinterest is one of the best places to advertise your posts and pull in readers!
To get more clicks, try adding short phrases to your photos that not only summarize what your post is about, but sound intriguing to the reader scrolling over it. You only have a few seconds to grab their attention, so make sure your images are eye-catching!
What to avoid
7. Posting link-ups/giveaways/promos all the time
You have a pretty overwhelming week ahead of you, so you sign up for a few “no-work-required” posts like link ups and giveaways to keep your blog up and running while your busy. But then a few weeks later, you realize that these types of posts consumed your entire blogging schedule for the whole month. While participating in the occasional giveaway or link up is great, it isn’t something you should be doing all week long. Make sure you’re balancing those posts out with some great content to keep your readers from getting bored!
This one seems pretty obvious, but I’m constantly seeing complaints about it on networks I’m in, because bloggers keep having their content stolen. Here’s what I have to say about plagiarism: if you’re stealing content from other bloggers to fill up your own blog, why are you even blogging in the first place? Now I get that you might read a post and become inspired to write something like it, but that’s not the same as copying word for word what someone else wrote. Just don’t do it!
9. Stealing photos
Along the same lines as the previous tip, but this one seems to be harder to understand completely. With so many stock photo sites out there, it’s hard to differentiate between what’s free and what’s not. And even when a photo is free to download, you might be required to cite the owner of the photo wherever you use it. Honestly, the best way to deal with this issue is by taking the photos yourself. That way you’re confident that everything on your blog is legitimate, and your pictures are more unique and personal!
10. Commenting for the purpose of advertising
This is mainly a habit of newbie bloggers looking to get their first readers. You might have a few comments on your blog along the lines of, “Cool post. 🙂 *insert link to blog*”. They aren’t very sincere, and it’s pretty obvious that whoever made the comment didn’t care too much about your post. Now don’t get me wrong, comments are a great way to get readers! But placing a link to your blog in every comment you write isn’t the way to do it. It looks amateur and kind of tacky, and may be sending the wrong message about your blog.
Instead, comment on other blogs with the intention of connecting with the writer. If your comments are sincere and you make it clear that you really read the post and enjoyed it, there’s a good chance the writer will check your blog out to see who the new face in their comment box is!
11. Taking advantage of communities/bloggers
One of the main reasons bloggers join communities or connect with each other is to expand their exposure and introduce more people to their blog. For example, at the Peony Project, there are weekly follow trains and blog post threads so you can get the word out about your blog and new posts, which I absolutely love! Usually, if you add your link to these threads, it’s expected that you check out a few other bloggers on the list to keep the system flowing smoothly.
However, there are always bloggers that try to take advantage of these types of services, and simply use them for their own exposure without helping out anyone else in the community. This often goes unnoticed, because it’s hard to keep track of who follows who and who comments on what blog, so this is more of an honor system thing. I know it can be hard to make time for connecting with other bloggers, but you’ll end up with more engaged readers and a better follower base if you just follow the rules and gain readers the right way!
Social media isn’t just an outlet for connecting with people anymore; it’s a series of platforms with endless opportunities for advertising and promoting yourself. I mean, what would we do without Twitter and Facebook and Instagram and all those other places we announce our new posts at? We would literally have to text or call all of our readers to let them know we put something up! Obviously, that’s extremely inconvenient, so social media is the way to go.
But please. Limit your advertising. If you’re adding a new Tweet every five minutes about the post you just put up, your followers are going to get pretty annoyed, and might end up unfollowing you. Unfollowers=bad news! This is where social media schedulers come in handy, because they spread out your posts/tweets/statuses so you don’t overload your readers. I don’t use one personally, but I do my best to keep track of when I promote my posts to give my readers the perfect balance of information!