Wednesday 8 February 2012

Blogging Etiquette from Actually Mummy (New Bloggers Fortnight)

Today's post is written by Helen. Well, she would have you believe it is written by her 7 year old daughter and that is the fun of her blog, it is a really interesting take on parenting from a 7 year old girls perspective.  Quite how she manages to keep up the pretence I have no idea, respect lady!

I am 7. Which is rather younger than my Mum, who I begrudgingly allow the credit for all my writing. She is a blogger, a ghostwiter and a Mother. She likes RomComs and Sitcoms. She makes a great macaroni cheese, but she spends far too much time twittering. And then she tweets ;) She blogs at Actually Mummy, where I get to shout about my brilliance! Which is just as well, because my school teacher remains unconvinced! ;) I live with my brother, the Bug, and we all run rings around Actually Daddy.

How to Blog (Nicely!)

So you finished your first blog post. With bated breath, you hit ‘publish’, and sat back with a mixture of pride and apprehension, and waited. You read that post again, twice, three times, and waited. And then, a comment. Someone else read your post, and liked it! Then everything went quiet again and the cravings kicked in, the desire for a comment, the hunger for statistics.

I have been there, not that long ago actually, and I wish I could have been more patient. Because you see, I made every single blogger mistake, committed every faux pas there is en route to blog happiness. And the angst! The ‘Holy cow I have no idea what I’m doing out there’ nightmares, and the ‘Oh crap I think I really offended that person’ light bulb moments during the school run. I wish someone had led me by the hand and told me the right way to do things.

Now, I still have a lot to learn about blogging, but here is what I have discovered over the last 10 months. My top 10 tips on how to blog nicely, and win a group of friends that will give you all the support you ever need on your blog adventure.

1. Controversy
Do it! If you believe in something, even if it is the opposite of what everyone else is saying, say so. It will gain you readers, it will tell people something about you, and it will make you memorable. But only do it if it is what you truly believe. Make it up for the sake of statistics and it becomes ugly and contrived. Write from the heart and stand by what you say, politely. People will respect you for it.

Tricky one. If you take the time to read a post, you want the blogger to know that. If the post means something to you and a good comment comes to you quickly, comment. The writer will appreciate it. Do not, under any circumstances, write ‘blah’ comments, in the hope of a return visit! I once visited a few blogs who had all written posts on the same theme (a meme). What stood out for me about them all was another blogger who had written the exact same 3 words on every single one of them. That, for me, is a ‘blah’ comment. It had no meaning, and only one intention – to secure a comment back. I never visit that blogger now, although I am assured that she writes a great blog. Same goes for ‘follows-back’ comments. In the early days I would always end a comment with ‘I am your newest follower! ’ in the hope of a follow-back. Naff – I was so naff! And links, only link your own post in another blogger’s comment section if it is relevant to the post, not just for PR.

3. Twitter
If a comment escapes you, but you liked the post, there is no greater favour than a retweet. Tweeting someone else’s blog post is an even bigger compliment than a comment and will certainly get the blogger’s attention. And whilst we are on the subject, never ask for a retweet unless you are trying to promote a good cause. Asking for retweets of your blog post is tacky. As is direct-tweeting every single post you do to another blogger, just because they have showed an interest in you previously. In fact, once I switched to retweeting other bloggers, I suddenly started to get more retweets of my own posts. Make friends on Twitter, treat them kindly, and they will return the favour – in their own good time!

4. Community
The people who return regularly to your blog enjoy your writing. Look after them because they are your community. Answer their comments if something springs to mind, and visit them back. If you like them keep visiting, and visit their community. Chances are you will like them too. The more you give, the more you will get back.

5. Reach out and be Brave
If you have a question ask it. But be respectful. I will never forget the nerves when I emailed another blogger to pick her brains on some research she had done. I was polite about it and admitted I was a duffer. I credited her with a link as soon as I could, and I have always put myself out to help her when she has asked. I now consider that blogger a great friend, and she has supplied me with goodness knows how many readers since.

6. Do not criticise people you do not know
You have no idea what other people go through. If I have learned one thing about blogging this year, it is that no matter what private stuff people put on their blogs, you have no idea if that is the whole truth. I know so much about some bloggers, but until they tell me that they were raped, or beaten, or abused by a relative, or that they attempted suicide, or have a sibling that died from a drug overdose (and yes, I have heard all of these things) I do not know what motivates them, or what they go through. So be gentle in your judgements and wonder how you can help before you jump in with admonishments.

7. Linkys
The mother of all etiquette debates! Join in whenever you like. Don’t feel compelled to do it weekly. Dip in and out whenever you feel like it. Read the post and ideally comment before you link. Read a few of your fellow linkers. Don’t spend hours visiting everyone, just those that take your fancy. But for goodness sake, credit the linky host with a link in your own post. To my mind, if someone is giving you the opportunity to showcase your own blog on their site, the least they deserve is a link from your post to say so!

8. Be polite: Just because you cannot see a person doesn’t mean you can’t hurt their feelings.

9. Be polite: Don’t agree? Fine, debate, but don’t be rude.

10. Be polite: Chat to people. Make small talk, because one day they could be your best friend.

Thank you Helen, I am not sure you made that last point quite clear enough though.  What was it you said?  Be polite? So I expect by now you are throughly confused, yesterday Ruth told you there are no rules of blogging and now today Helen gives you some tips on how to blog nicely (which could easily be construed as rules! lol).  As I have mentioned before your blog is your own and only you can decide what to put on it and how to conduct yourself when blogging.  My lovely guest hosts and myself will just advise you in what has worked for us.

Don't forget to come back tomorrow and check out my pick of the new parenting bloggers.  It is Thursday and that means just one thing for me - #R2BC or Reasons to be Cheerful to the uninitiated.

Will you have made my shortlist?
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