Hello fellow bloggers! I thought it was about time for another edition of Blogging Help, and today I wanted to go over a few ways we can be more courteous bloggers. Just a quick note up front…if any of these come across as harsh, please know that’s not how I meant them. I just wanted to keep this post to a reasonable length, so I’ve tried to keep each point short, which sometimes comes across as harsh. I’d be happy to elaborate in the comment section if you want more info on any point.
Let’s just jump right in, shall we?
1. Be thoughtful and deliberate when linking to another blog.
If you’ve been blogging long, chances are that you’ve used another blogger’s photo, or mentioned one of their posts or projects, in your blog post at one time or another. And of course, because it’s the right thing to do, you provided a link back to that blog.
But did you know that there’s a courteous way to link (i.e., a way to link that will actually benefit that blog when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), or how Google views that link), and ways that you can link that do that blog absolutely no good whatsoever when it comes to search engine optimization?
Here’s the quick scoop:
- Linking with short, nondescript words do the other blogger no good whatsoever.
- Linking with the name of the blog is a better option. As courteous bloggers, this should be the absolute minimum that we do.
- Linking with a short description of the project is the absolute best, most courteous option.
Best linking etiquette: Linking with descriptive words, such as “Diamond-tufted upholstered headboard tutorial from Addicted 2 Decorating”
For more information on this topic, you can read this great post about linking to other sites and using text anchors by Shannon at Madigan Made.
2. When you feature another blogger’s project, don’t give away the whole story.
Recently a blogger (who I really don’t know at all) asked one of my blogging friends if she could feature my friend’s project on her blog. Of course, my friend said yes! After all, who doesn’t LOVE to be featured?! But what my friend didn’t know was that the other blogger was going to use EVERY.SINGLE.ONE of her pictures of the project in the post.
With every single one of the pictures in this blogger’s post, with every detail shown, this blogger’s readers had little or no motivation for visiting my friend’s blog. Something about that just isn’t right, is it?
When featuring someone else’s project, the goal should be bring attention to that blogger’s talent, creativity…and to her blog. Give your readers a motive for clicking over to the blog to check things out. Don’t give away the whole story. Create interest…make your readers curious. If you send traffic to another blog, chances are good that that blogger will reciprocate at some point.
3. Leave comments with no ulterior motive.
This has been talked about quite a bit lately, but I wanted to take the opportunity to reinforce this idea. The comment form on another person’s blog should not be used to promote your blog, promote your link party, twist people’s arms to visit your blog, etc. The comment form should be used to leave genuine, sincere comments regarding the topic of the blog post. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you should never leave a link, or that you should never mention your blog. If it’s relevant, then do so!
But leaving a comment that says, “I’m your newest follower, please come follow me” will motivate no one to visit you. That type of comment comes across as very self-serving. Being sincere and genuine is the absolute best way to make someone want to visit your blog and find out more about you.
4. Don’t require people to follow your blog in order to participate in link parties or other blog events.
The bottom line is that you shouldn’t have to twist people’s arms to follow your blog. Many people (like myself) will see that requirement, and click away, never to return again. Others may follow just to participate in your event, and then unfollow at their earliest opportunity.
How do you gain followers? Certainly not by twisting arms!. You gain followers by having original quality content. Whenever the question of “How do I get more followers?” creeps into your head, there is only one right answer. Original quality content.
5. Don’t encourage your readers to pin other bloggers’ projects directly from your blog.
If you often feature other bloggers’ projects on your site, don’t encourage your readers to pin those directly from your site onto Pinterest. Instead, encourage them to click through to the original blog to pin the picture. At the very least, just don’t make it incredibly convenient for people to pin them directly from your site.
As you may know, I have a love/hate relationship with Pinterest, but a close second on that “hate” list is the WordPress plugin that puts the “Pin It” button on every single post. If you only ever post your own original content, then the “Pin It” button is great to have on every single post. But I absolutely cringe when I see that plugin being used on blogs that often feature other bloggers’ projects.
Wouldn’t it feel like more of an accomplishment and be more rewarding to get a ton of Pinterest traffic based on your own hard work and your own fabulous projects? Again, it comes down to content. If your own original content is quality, pinnable content, then you won’t need to benefit from someone else’s hard work. Let them benefit from their own work, and encourage your readers to give credit where it’s due.
Those are my top five suggestions for being a courteous blogger. Do you agree? Disagree? Is there something you would add to your own Top Five List? If so, spill it!