Blogging etiquette is something that seasoned bloggers sometimes take for granted, but that many beginners are just discovering. When you first start blogging there is a trial and error period where you are just trying to figure out what’s accepted and what isn’t in the blogosphere community. Those bloggers who’ve been at this a while tend to evolve seamlessly without thinking about how things change daily–they go with the flow. So what I’d like to do is discuss five etiquette rules (if there really are any rules in blogging) that beginners can use.
1. Use permalinks whenever you can. A permalink is the link to an individual blog post. These are important because if you ever need to link to an exact blog entry, you use the permalink as your link. It’s poor blog etiquette not to use the permalink.
If you don’t use the permalink, you’ll just be linking to your main blog page. The problem with that is that, as you post new blog entries, the newest entry appears at the top of your main blog page and the other entries are pushed down on the page. The entry your readers are looking for may be down at the bottom of the page or already in the archives; your reader has no idea where to find the entry! If they click over to your site expecting to see a specific post related to a carnival and they see a different post, they may not take the time to find the “real” post they’re looking for.
2. Don’t hotlink images. Hotlinking is when you are directly linking to another site’s graphics, files, video, etc. instead of linking to those items from your own server. A better way to use graphics (once you’ve asked permission) is to right-click the image and save it to your computer and either insert it into your blog from your computer or upload it to your account at PhotoBucket (or a similar third party) and use that code.
This is important because every time an image is viewed on a page on the web, it’s pulling bandwidth from wherever it’s stored. If many people were using an image on their site and it was being viewed on many pages at one time, then the main site (who’s hosting the image) will experience excessive use of bandwidth and that gets expensive (yes, some hosts make you pay for bandwidth). Be considerate and a) ask permission and b) download the graphic to your own server.
3. Ask permission (for almost everything). Familiarize yourself with copyright and Creative Commons. While you don’t have to ask permission to link to someone, you do have to ask permission to use their photographs and their content (if it’s more than Fair Use would allow).
4. Don’t sell yourself in comments. Bloggers have differing opinions about whether it’s OK to link to your own blog in the comments at another blog. Some think it’s a bit like poaching traffic or promoting yourself in an inappropriate place (after all, this is someone’s personal blog space). Others think it’s OK to leave a permalink if you’ve written something extremely relevant. Just linking to yourself for the sake of having your link out there is a definite no-no.
Most platforms ask you to enter your name, e-mail, and URL before you leave a comment and then, when your comment is posted, readers can click on your name and be taken to your blog. Putting your URL in the comment itself is redundant.
If you’re reading a post and you’ve written something similar you can go two ways:
- Give an overview of your thoughts/post, then let readers know you’ve said much more on the subject and invite them to read your post by listing a permalink to that article.
- Give an overview of your thoughts and leave it at that.
5. Don’t be offended if someone doesn’t accept your tag in a meme. Memes are easy ways to fill your blog with content when you are first starting out. I think they’re popular to beginners because, at first, it’s really fun to share information about yourself and mems offer an easy format to follow. However, memes have been done to death on blogs and there a more than a few bloggers who don’t want to bother with them. If you tag someone and they decline or do not respond, let it go.
More advice on blog etiquette:
- Blog Etiquette or Blogtiquette via Tip Junkie
- Blog Etiquette and Eating in NYC via Bong Mom’s Cookbook
- Blog etiquette–5 good tips via Dipity Road
A version of this article was posted at BlogHer.