I’ve had this post brewing for a least a year – originally it was titled “Blogging Etiquette” but what do I know about manners? 😛 I suppose it can be viewed as passive aggressive to post this now, as I am departing from the world of blogging. At the very least, I hope this will get you to think about blogging practices, and how it affects other people.
Let’s get the Don’ts out of the way first. Warning: I swear in this post. 😇
Continuously post sponsored / free products. When every review you write is on some free product that’s “amazing” and “must-have”, then those words ring hollow. As much as everyone claims they form their own opinion even when given free stuff, it’s not truly possible with that invisible string tied back to the brand PR. This is why I consciously limit my engagements with brands – it’s not worth my integrity. If you went into blogging just to get free shit, then I’m very sad for you. Don’t be a shallow shill just for free shit.
Collect followers just to boost your count. I understand this – in part, the number of followers is a validation and tied to self esteem. It is also the “value proposition” in the playbook for blogging and social media nowadays: your followers count is your leverage to get free shit. Similar to how magazines do not exist to provide content – they sell advertisements – blogs have become another marketing tool. It’s gotten so senseless though. When I see that you’ve got 2,000 followers but only 20 likes and zero comments, it makes me wonder. I’m a person, I’m not a statistic to be collected for you to resell to whatever brand you want to engage with. I’m not following your blog / IG / Twitter just to increase your stats. Don’t make this a numbers game.
Act ignorant and make no effort to improve. Maybe this applies to do’s and don’ts for life in general, but it irks me to no end when people don’t strive to learn and improve themselves. If you’re posting about a product, perhaps research something about it instead of just posting pretty pictures and selfies? And year after year, there’s no evidence of growth. Don’t be stagnant.
Never read or comment on other people’s blogs. Oh so it’s all about you? Why don’t you just run a digital magazine and disable your commenting section. What, you like it when people comment on your post? 😮 That’s nice. Why don’t you stop being so selfish. This also applies to people who only post on other people’s blogs when they’ve recently uploaded a blog entry themselves, to lure people onto their own blog. Don’t be a self-centered jerk.
Bump up your post so it is at the top of the Reader / Feed. Stop with this practice already! You posted your blog entry at 8am and now I’m seeing it reposted at 8pm again? Or the next day? You want more exposure: more likes, comments and clicks – I get it! This is such a needy behaviour. It clogs up people’s feed with stale material. On online forums, this kind of behaviour would get you banned. Why don’t you promote your blog through other channels like IG or Twitter instead? Don’t spam people.
Summary: Don’t be a needy, hollow, and ignorant blogger with no regard for others.
Develop an identity. Cultivate your brand. I’m sick of seeing a sea of sameness over and over again. You don’t have to be the WoRLd’s mOsT uNiQUE pERsoN (ouch, it hurt me to type that out!) but the combination of traits that are specific to you are what makes you, YOU. Myself, I know I’m known for being a makeup hoarder. 😛 I like creating tables and charts when I write product reviews. I don’t post photos of my face online. My signature colour is the putty taupey shade of my blog background. Try to list what makes you and your blog different from others out there. Your identity will set you apart from the crowd. ❤ Do you!
Engage people. At the heart of it, blogging is a virtual community. It’s nice to connect with people online. A super easy way to do this is ask a question in your blog post to invite a response. When someone talks to you in real life, do you just ignore them? So it goes with comments – try to respond to every single comment you receive, and make a concerted effort to reach out and comment on others’ blogs without being prompted or armed with an ulterior motive. And post actual comments related to the blog post, not just fluffy crap (“Love this!”, “Awesome post!”, “So pretty!”… and don’t get me started on comment pods 🙄 ) – this means you have to read their blog entries instead of skimming! 💡 Genuine engagement is how organic blog growth comes. I often start following people when I read their comments in other people’s blog entries, and I think to myself, now this is someone I’d like to get to know better. You’re not a number to me. Do give your time to others.
Remember that content is Queen. I know the common phrase is “content is king” but it’s 2018, ya know? 😉 Maybe I take blogging too seriously, but it’s my work that I’m putting out there. In a way, I view every blog entry as a mini essay and I want to be proud of what I create. I like offering high quality information, photos, and swatches. Posting a variety of topics and formats also helps to maintain the interest of your readers, so I recommend switching things up once in a while. If your content isn’t compelling – why do you expect people to click on your blog? Do have substance.
Create webs of connections. Continuing with the metaphor that blogging is like a community – connections are the glue that bind individuals together to form a community. Simple ways to create connections can include doing group collaborations, blog swaps, or guest posts. Give a shout-out on your blog to a fellow blogger, or link back to their post which inspired you (usually to buy stuff, ahem, you enablers! 😆 ) Give credit to where credit is due. This creates strong online connections and shows comradery among bloggers – we’re all in this together! Also, don’t forget to link back within your own blog if you’ve posted something relevant previously. Do link up.
Find balance. Blogging isn’t the real world. It may seem all-consuming but it can be an insular sphere. A small percentage of the general population have a blog (anecdotally, aside from people I met through blogging, I personally don’t know a single person who blogs), and teeny tiny fraction of those who do blog, do it full time. It’s good to get perspective by stepping away from the blog (and social media!!!) sometimes to get out of a singular mindset. Blogging should be a part of your life, not your whole life. Do real life!
Summary: Be yourself and be excellent to each other. 😀
Do you agree or disagree? What are your blogging do’s and don’ts? Discuss. 🙂
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