How to Follow Proper Guest Blog Posting Etiquette and Guidelines
Blog posting, like any other activity that involves more than one person, is subject to rules of etiquette that everyone who participates in them must follow to avoid making other people feel uncomfortable. It falls under the much larger category of “netiquette,” which encompasses all the rules of etiquette that are meant to be followed by everyone using the Net, whether for emails, social media, posting comments on YouTube or whatever. This article will serve as a guideline for following proper guidelines when making blog posts. (There is even a new term “blogiquette” to describe such guidelines!)
Relevance to the topic under discussion
Understand that every blog has a certain topic of focus and that every post that you make needs to tie in clearly to that topic. If what you wish to say is more closely related to another topic, then you should consider making that post to a different blog devoted to that field.
A word about plagiarism
When we use the word plagiarism, we usually mean either (a) the direct quoting of the work of another as if it were one’s own in one’s academic assignments, without giving credit to the original author, or (b) the similarly direct and stealing a quote in a book or article written by oneself, with the intent of being paid for another’s work. The latter obviously constitutes a form of fraud.
In the blogging world, plagiarism is frowned upon as much as it is in the academic and the publishing worlds. At the very least, you should include a link to the page from which you are quoting, but go beyond that minimum and describe your source in a few sentences, including the name of the writer. Additionally, you should not quote more than a few sentences or phrases since people can always go directly to that website. When posting to a blog, you want to say something unique to yourself, something that identifies you personally. Thus, rather than simply say what so-and-so said, describe your personal reactions to what he or she said. State whether you agree or disagree with those statements and why.
Comment in the right way
There is a right way and a wrong way to make a comment online. Say what you genuinely feel; do not try to praise the blogger insincerely. If you have an online business, do not use comments to promote yourself. The creators of blog pages always include a URL space in the comments block.
Ask your own questions
Before you make a comment or ask a question, first read the list of comments by other users to see if they have made the same comment or asked the same question. Only if you no one else has done so should you proceed with what you want to post. If you get a response, take the time to thank the blogger. They really like it when people do that!
When you make a comment to a given blog for the first time, it is considered good manners to let the other users know who you are and why you are interested in this particular blog. Some information that you can give includes:
- Your profession
- Your hobbies
- Anything in your background that relates to the topic at hand
Many bloggers will automatically disregard and delete any anonymous comments.
Do not post negative comments about anyone, on or off the blog
You are free to express your disagreements with things that people say, but do not ever say anything negative that is directed at personally at that individual. It is even worse if you post unflattering comments anonymously (see also the above section). At least have the decency to own up to what you say about other people. It is only the coward who hides behind the anonymity of the Internet. You must also avoid comparing yourself and your life with those of others.
Do not SHOUT!
On the Web, typing in ALL CAPS is considered to be the equivalent of shouting or “flaming,” as Web users like to call it. Whatever the name for it, it is considered rude and should be avoided. People will be perfectly willing to read what you say if you write in a normal tone.
Do not make long-winded comments
Wordiness and long-windedness are both absolute no-nos in blogging. Do not use many words where only a few will express what you want to say just as effectively. Likewise, do not get so caught up in what you are saying that you take to rambling on and on and on just to show off your knowledge. Remember that you are sharing this blog with other users and you do not want to bore them to death. A blog is certainly not a place for you to exhibit your expertise in a given field. If you want to do that, there are other avenues of expression for you, such as writing a book or an article or creating a website for yourself. Anything you post to a blog should somehow add value to the conversation that is taking place among the users.
Make sure that your comments are easy to read
Since the comments that you post are going to be read by other people, you do not want to put a burden on them to figure out what it says. Put spaces between words and also punctuate correctly, placing a period at the end of each sentence and a comma, a colon or a semicolon where appropriate. Follow the rules of capitalization and also begin a new paragraph when starting a new idea.
Individual blogs may have additional guidelines
Always read the etiquette rules set forth by the particular blog to which you want to post. They may have policies that go beyond those discussed so far. There are blog sites, for instance, that require that all their posts be in grammatically correct English. Others forbid you to give out your personal information. Such information includes, but is not limited to, your first and last names, email address and phone number. As the case with the online world in general, you do not want to run the risk of somebody using that information to commit spamming or identity theft.
If you violate the guidelines of a blog site, you may be asked to issue a public apology. You may also be subject to disciplinary action, which may include being excluded from all future blogging activity with the site. That is why it is so important to both learn and adhere to “blogiquette” rules.
Follow the golden rule
You have doubtlessly heard it repeated countless times “that you need to treat other people the way you yourself want to be treated”. This rule applies to blogging just as much as it does to any other social activity. Thus, for instance, you should never make negative comments about other people because you would not like anybody else to say the same things about you.
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