4 Blogging Etiquette Tips for Beginning Bloggers

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. Ask permission. 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).

3. 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.

More advice on blog etiquette:

A version of this article was posted at BlogHer.

44 Responses

  1. Jennifer Elton August 17, 2009 / 1:35 am

    Thank You! I really enjoyed this post and learned some new things

  2. mannequin August 17, 2009 / 10:37 am

    Thank you, for number five especially. Today I am faced with that very dilemma again and it’s such a delicate situation.

    I wish meme’s would go away and die.

  3. Lisa@blessedwithgrace August 17, 2009 / 3:56 pm

    Great info. I read it to make sure I wasn’t breaking any of the etiquette rules. Whew…. I’m good. (Smiles)
    I was so glad you listed #5. I don’t know how many times I get that message in my comment, “Hi. Come visit my site. I have an award for you”. Or “Hi, you’ve been tagged. Come visit my site.” UGH!!! I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but I just don’t like the “pass the meaningless award” around just to do it….. Does that sound bad and ungrateful? I hope not.

    Again, great post. I love your site and all the great info you are kind enough to share!
    So, come visit my site… I have an award for you. {Wink. Just kidding.}

  4. Trina L. Grant August 18, 2009 / 11:56 am

    It is very important for writers to be familiar with copyright and license law. While trial and error is an inevitable part of building a writing career, there are some areas where we are not allowed any ‘uh-ohs’. The law would certainly apply in this instance. It is essential to be very aware of your rights and protections under the law, as well as boundaries. A writer or photographer who is inadvertently not credited will not care that the offending writer is new to the field.

    In-your-face marketing is not pleasant when it is a huge red and yellow flier in the mailbox, nor it is attractive in blog commentary. It is no secret we all use the exposure from leaving comments on other writers’ blog posts to garner publicity. The exposure itself should be enough for advertising in the way of good taste. Giving oneself a byline in every comment is tacky, at best, and capable of destroying a writer’s credibility at worst. Let your insight and eloquence speak for themselves. Don’t turn your writing skills into the SHAM Wow! of the writing world.

    Another point new writers should consider is how they approach online discussions. Writers’ forums and blog commentary are not the same as traditional online chat rooms. The shortened slang of a chat room is not welcome in writers’ circles. Nor do seasoned writers appreciate newcomers to the field who just jump into the fray with a brash opinion on every topic, and a know-it-all attitude. Those young to their careers should try to learn from those who have paid their dues and put in the time and effort it takes to build a successful career and credible reputation.

  5. Roberta Leal October 5, 2009 / 5:33 pm

    This was beyond useful. Thank you very much.

  6. LisaRenee October 24, 2009 / 12:32 am

    Thank you! Very timely post since the topic of how and when to link came up and I found you via google’s search engine. Number 4 was extremely relevant to the discussion and your post helped me demonstrate the debate/discussion on linking as well as to emphasize what my own personal feeling was on the topic.

  7. Dj FREQ December 10, 2009 / 3:44 pm

    Thank you very much for providing the basics here. There’s a lot info about how to get up and running with a blog out there, but not a great deal about how to do so with out looking like a complete dweeb. My problem is that moving away from a completely flash-based site to a WordPress-based site presents itself with a completely different set of possibilities, both for growth and for offending the community.

  8. LambChop August 4, 2010 / 10:05 am

    Thanks! This is SO HELPFUL to those of us just starting out and trying to figure out what’s what, and what’s appropriate.
    I’ll be subscribing to your RSS.
    Thanks again!

  9. maoquai December 12, 2010 / 8:56 pm

    Re: point #2 – is it okay to embed code for a video on Youtube? I’m imagining it can manage the traffic, but now i’m terribly concerned. I assumed the “embed” button was there for a reason. :/

    Thanks for these five points – it is a bit of trial and error in pulling together a blog and finding the appropriate blogging voice. I really appreciate the input – very useful, indeed!

  10. Melanie Nelson December 15, 2010 / 12:17 pm

    Yes, maoquai, it’s OK to embed video from YouTube. That’s not quite the same thing. Good question!

  11. Tonya December 15, 2011 / 5:56 pm

    ***GREAT TIPS Melanie!***

    I am a Certified eBay Stores Designer, Website, and Blog Designer.
    I will definitely be passing along your awesome tips! Keep up the great work!

    ~Tonya with TonyasDynamicDesigns~

  12. Olivia James September 15, 2012 / 1:27 am

    Hi,
    Thanks for your post. I have just started a blog.
    Regarding asking for permission to use images, is it ok to use images of things I am promoting (with no financial gain), if I link to the original source? Eg- image of painting, link to artists website and mention them by name, or photo of something and a link to the originating site. I would love it if someone linked to and mentioned my blog, but I am unsure if this is bad blog etiquette. Thanks. :)

    • Melanie Nelson September 17, 2012 / 9:21 pm

      Hi, Olivia, I wrote a post that addresses your question: http://www.bloggingbasics101.com/2012/09/protecting-your-blog-content-the-nickmom-blog-controversy/ The best advice I can give you is to always ask permission before you use an image (and citing the image is not permission, unfortunately). However, there are options for you if you can’t get permission. For instance you can always check a site like morguefile.com where images are free to use. Or you can check Flickr.com and use the Creative Commons photos that allow you to use their images for non-commercial use with attribution.

  13. Rattus September 27, 2012 / 2:56 am

    Thank you for this informative post! Number 4 is especially true… I do appreciate that people leave comments but it’s such a plague when they just leave irrelevant comments just to sell themselves. I find it very offensive.

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  15. adrian February 9, 2013 / 3:17 am

    thanks for this info. I was reading for ebay seller info for blogging. helps a lot to a newbie blogger like me.

  16. Yong March 10, 2013 / 10:50 am

    What a great list of etiquettes. I’ll have to share these with my clients. Thanks for sharing!

  17. Mike September 15, 2013 / 4:05 pm

    excellent advice for us new bloggers. I have already learned some things the hard way and your insights put things into perspective.

  18. Jodi November 16, 2013 / 2:50 am

    Just to clarify- Using a link to send people here for more information is okay, but putting a picture with it without asking is not. Correct?

    • Melanie Nelson November 18, 2013 / 11:51 am

      Jodi, no. You can link to the article and post your own image, but you can’t use the image from the original article unless you get permission.

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