As many of you know, I have been participating in the New Quilt Blogger’s Blog Hop (hosted by Beth @ Plum and June) this year. We’ve had many discussions on what it means to be a good blogger, and how we can make our sites better. A lot of our conversation boiled down to blogging etiquette. I can’t say it was something I had given a lot of thought to in the past, but now I see how important it truly is. I’d like to enumerate some of the thoughts that were shared on this hope. This means that these thoughts aren’t only my own and I have all of the lovely ladies on the hop to thank.
1. Spelling and Grammar
This was one of the biggest issues that came up in our discussion! If you want to share an idea with the world, do it well. It turns out that many people are so turned off by consistent errors that they stop reading the errant blogs. Don’t worry, a misspelling here or there won’t scare people away.
A few people even said they are bothered by colloquialisms like “ya’ll.” Although this doesn’t bother me, keep in mind that it may turn some readers away.
2.Responding to Comments
You should always acknowledge your commenters. ALWAYS. This is non-negotiable.
However, the way in which you do it can change. The most popular idea among quilters was to send an email response to the commenter. Spark conversation by saying more than a simple thanks, if possible. If your commenter is also a blogger, another popular idea was to visit their blog and leave a comment.
Let’s spend a minute talking about replying to comments directly on your site. Not all blogging platforms are created equal. From my understanding, a reply to a comment on WordPress is emailed to the commenter. However, if you are a blogger user, that response is NOT emailed to the commenter. Unless that person checks the box asking to see the remainder of the comments or happens to check back on the blog post, they will not see your response. My suggestion would be to make sure that whichever method you use, your readers are seeing your response. Share the love!
3. Leaving Comments
Blogging is all about community, right? Participate! You don’t have to comment on every single post ever. That would just be…exhausting. No one expect you to. I encourage you to comment as much as you are able, especially when you find something particularly inspirational.
Although sweet little comments are nice, they make it hard to spark a conversation and build community. Try to leave specific complements, ask questions, or share a similar experience.
This is especially important for quilty bloggers since our blogs are mostly about those beautiful quilts we’re making. There is not an expectation of having the fanciest camera out there, but it is important to take the best photos within your ability. I’m no expert on the subject, but I recommend doing some searches for tips on how to improve your photography.
Displaying the photographs on the blog is equally important. Size matters! (wink, wink) Make your photos easy to see without the user needing to click to enlarge. Per some of the groups discussion, I have switched all my photos over to Flickr which allows me to easily add high quality photos to my blog for free! Plus, if someone clicks on your picture, they will have the chance to see others on your Flickr account.
Simple editing to your photos can make a world of difference. I use Picasa, which is a free Microsoft resource and allows me to do a lot on my own skill level. I know many people use Photoshop and Illustrator which are also awesome tools if you want to invest in them!
This one is without steadfast rules. Let your true colors show though. Be yourself. Bland blogs are boring. You don’t have to be the perfect quirky blogger with the cat glasses and witty catch phrases. Be nerdy, be goofy, be honest. Your readers will appreciate it.
6. Staying on Topic
This ties in with personality. Readers want to know who you are, but they don’t want to know what you ate for breakfast and if your cat has a good day. If you’re a quilt blogger, focus on quilting. Throw in those personal tidbits to keep us interested but leave the rest to your diary.
7. Spam Prevention
Another topic that popped up repeatedly in our discussion of good blogging techniques was spam prevention. More specifically, the use of captcha images. The ruling was…(drumroll)….get rid of it! I know I’ve written a nice comment, clicked submit and moved on to the next blog without realizing that the page refreshed with a captcha to fill in. Some of the ladies in my group said they won’t spend the time commenting on those blogs – it’s that serious!
Still want spam prevention? Set your blog to allow you to moderate comments before they are posted to the blog. It’s easy and user-friendly.
Why believe me?
These blogging etiquette ideas are not just my own, but a collaboration of 80+ ladies. Not just any ladies, but avid bloggers and blog readers. I think that’s worth trusting, don’t you?
So what do you think? Is there something you really love or hate when reading blogs? Please let me know in the comments.