Blogging Etiquette

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.

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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.

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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.

4. Photography

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.Quilts

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!

5. Personality

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.

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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!

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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.

 

19 Comments

  • Shauna says:

    I think you’re spot on, those are all important. The only thing I would add is keep it short, don’t cut off what you want to say, but don’t talk about 7 different things in one blog post. If it has been a while or you want to talk about several different things, break them into 2, 3 or 4 posts.

  • rosemarazzle says:

    Rosemary B here:
    Totally agree. And, Shauna is right about too long posts. People love hearing about your life and adventures but keep the posts short.
    I did not know others were bothered by ya’ll. See, some people talk like that. I don’t, so reading it is kind of weird. I know it is more words but it is properly written as “all of you” not “you all” either.
    Anyway, yep. I mostly like correct English.
    Now comments…. I tend to leave very long ones :-D

  • This was an interesting and thought provoking read! I think the rules should be taken lightly. It’s hard to be yourself if you’re constantly worrying about how others will perceive you. I agree, whole-heartedly, with items like correct grammar. And yes, some posts can get a bit lengthy…it’s a delicate balance between sharing the “story” v. “Hey, look at what I made.” I think we’re growing a culture of impatience due to social media. I would much rather read a well written, thoughtfully considered, blog post of length than something short and shoddy proclaiming, “Look at what I can do!” I enjoy a blogger with a viewpoint. Content over quantity. Maybe I’m in the minority in that though.

    In the end…you can’t please everyone…and while honing your skills is certainly important, if you’re not being yourself than no one will care to read what you have to say. I think that’s really the most important thing of all. For me at least. Thanks for making me think! ;)

  • Susan says:

    Spot on with everything! Keep it short, have great pictures, be yourself. My latest issue is dealing with comments from those I can’t contact. Guess the best way is to leave a comment on the blog page?

  • sfredett says:

    Great summary, Rachel!!!! I would add that cutesy/colorful backgrounds are annoying. I usually read posts in a reader, but if I click over to leave a comment and the background is, say, fuschia, I close the tab. That could just be a personal preference thing though.

    Also – Make it easy for readers to follow you!!! Add bloglovin, feedly, follow by email, etc buttons. Include an email contact button.

    And please, please, please put your first name somewhere! I just ran across a blog this week where there was no indication of what his/her name was. Or even what pronoun to use… I know the internet allows for anonymity, but maybe not that much? :D

  • I cannot agree more – especially with the captcha…I hate when blogs have those! I also don’t like when the only option to comment is to sign up to disqus or goggle+ etc…..I much prefer a simple name, email, url. I will often choose not to comment purely because of captcha, although it bothers me less now that it seems to be a short number sequence that is easier to read.

    I struggle with the comments – if someone asks a specific question I’ll email a reply but if now I reply on the blog which unfortunately doesn’t notify the commenter that I have responded. Then again I’m not a huge fan of getting and email from another blogger saying “thanks” so it’s a tricky one!

  • Vera says:

    Well, you covered it good ;) Sure we could add few more but these are the most important.

  • Nice of you to recap although I do think that depending on why you blog has a lot to do with how closely these guidelines are followed. I thought is was great how some blogger use all lower case and would love to give the shift key a rest but old habits die hard.

  • Jan O says:

    As part of the 2014 Plum and June New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop, I’ve enjoyed being part of these discussions, and I’ve learned a lot. You’ve recapped the many conversations about blogging etiquette well. I so agree with your thoughts about leaving comments and always responding to comments. Sometimes it’s hard to find something more than “your quilt is lovely” to say, or “thank you, I appreciate your visit” in reply. But those times when a real conversation gets started are the best, and have led to several new blogger friendships for me.

  • CeLynn says:

    Thanks for the great read/tips. Although each blogger has their own style depending on how or why they blog,this is a great starting point. Personally I agree with the captcha it is rather annoying,especially when you do not get it right the first time.

  • Joanna says:

    Great round-up of the blogging tips! One thing that bugs me its when people tend to get “cutesy” in their writing. I know a lot of people use ‘sew’ in place of ‘so’ to make a single statement (“that’s SEW cute!”) and that’s fine but I’ve come across blogs where the blogger will use “sew” in place of “so” in every single instance!

  • How would you know if you were using Captcha Images or not? I don’t moderate my comments, do I need to to prevent it?

  • Ann says:

    A well-crafted post. We can all raise the bar on our work and our blogs. Thanks.

  • You know you made my day by mentioning basic spelling! I desperately want to include ‘aporkchop’ in a sentence somewhere now! Ha ha!
    We all make grammar oopsies, and I think colloquialisms add personality. However, if nothing else, all bloggers should know when to use apostrophes – such as for its/it’s and photos/photo’s.

  • This is a fantastic post, Rachel. Each of the subjects you covered is worthy of note. And you are so right. Size does matter!

  • Emily says:

    I wouldn’t worry about following the rules to closely, some blogs end up plain boring because they follow all these rules. Some of my favorite blogs are hap-hazard and enjoyable, not all prim and proper and perfect. I dont like feeling like I am being sold something ie a perfect blog, I much prefer them to feel real.

    I think following up comments only seems important if a friendship or something is going to built upon it, otherwise whats the point? (unless someone asks a question, and if a question is asked put the reply on the blog so everyone can read it!!!)

  • Oh, such a wonderful post! I pretty much agree with everything you said, and am trying to comply with basic etiquette expectations, as I transition from “I blog so my mom and sister can keep up with me” to wanting to participate in a community.
    I would add my personal pet peeve of the overuse of LOL. I so detest that phrase.

  • Karen Schulz says:

    visiting from I quilt Thursday. Your comments are sooo true. I also don’t like people who get you verify your comment. Drives me nuts and I stop commenting. There are other ways of being site safe

I love comments!

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