Blogging is such an interesting form of writing. It has the readership potential of a newspaper or magazine without the filtering benefit of an editor. There is no one setting any kind of specific expectations or standards for how things should be done which leads to a very eclectic mix.
It takes a long time to learn the ins and outs of blogging. After 5 years in the blogworld I feel like I've got a decent handle on the digital niceties and social mores. Allow me to share what I've learned.
A. If you host a guest blogger, write them an introduction and then let them have the spotlight.
Writing an intro for your own guest post is painful. Reading self introductions on guest posts is painful. If you are hosting a guest blogger who is providing you with quality content for your blog with no effort from you then the least you can do is write them a three sentence introduction.
Also, if at all possible, let your guest post be the only thing you put up that day. Anything you have to say can probably wait until their guest post has sat at the top of your blog for 24 hours.
B. Lay off the copy and paste.
Did you know that bloggers own a copyright on all their original content? It's true. All the pictures, words, tutorials, etc. on a person's blog legally belong to them. Therefore, copying and pasting stuff from someone else's blog without permission is technically stealing but I still see it all. the. time. If someone posts something you enjoy and would like to share on your own blog, follow these steps-
1. Ask permission to share their content. This is a good place for flattery.
2. Post only a picture, short snippet or quote from the original. Just give your readers a little teaser to get them interested.
3. Add a link directing your readers to the original if they'd like to see the rest.
C. Be kind.
Use your blogs for good. Be kind to others in your commenting and your posting. Strive to be among those who are inspirational and beautiful. You are entitled to your opinions. You are entitled to write about them. But please be respectful in your writing. Be respectful when you disagree. Take the high road when someone else doesn't.
And people may disagree with me on this one but I hate the practice of eviscerating mean commenters. I think it makes the person look petty. When someone just lets it slide or replies in a thoughtful, respectful manner I think, "Wow, that right there is a class act."
D. Link to people you mention.
If you're talking about someone who has a blog or website, link to them. Forgetting every once in a while is an honest mistake (I know I've done it), but failing to do so on a regular basis is lazy and a little rude. People like to be recognized and your readers like to put faces to names.
E. Leave thoughtful comments.
I've gotten a fair number of comments from people who were obviously here for 10 seconds with the sole purpose of self promotion. They left comments to the effect of, "Nice blog! Come follow mine!" or there was this one time I wrote about being sick and how I had a cruddy morning and someone commented, "Sounds like a lovely day! Come check out my giveaway!" These comments make me feel stabby.
You have every right to promote your blog but that is the wrong way to go about it. READ people's posts. Leave thoughtful comments. Insert a simple link to your blog (<a href="your link">your text</a>)and leave it at that. If you have good content then the followers will come on their own.
What am I missing? Any other tips for being a gracious blogger?