Blogging about blogging: Advice on blogging etiquette
You know, a friend of mine has recently debated whether or not to start a Vlog, and is having a bit of trouble coming up with things to talk about. It seems to be such a common theme among people who are starting or have started blogs… the old “what do I write about?” dilemma. I think the best place to start is with something you love. Blog (or, vlog if that’s how you roll) about whatever makes you happy, or… whatever makes you unhappy, I guess. I stumbled across a blog today about a woman who has a passionate hate for mediums and her blog is dedicated to bitching and moaning about them… at first it was a little funny but after a few posts it tended to feel very… samey. And grumpy. To be honest, I didn’t want to read much further. You hate mediums, I get it. So if you blog about things you hate, be prepared to turn some readers away.
I prefer to stick to topics I like, rather than things I’m bitter about and I think that when starting up a blog this is the perfect place to begin. My early blog, Tales From a Female Traveller (no, that’s not a typo, traveller has two l’s in British English), which is still on blogger somewhere, was all about my travels around the world and my experiences as I went. Now I tend to blog about photography AND travel as two of my greatest loves. During the height of my travels I had a few hundred followers who loved to read about my adventures and possibly live a little vicariously. lol
People always think “What do I have to blog about?”, “Who would read anything I write?” and the answers are everything and no one if you don’t try. If you can’t figure out what to begin with, begin with a topic you know the most… you. What do you love? What do you hate? Who do you love? What are your favourite foods? What was the most significant event in your life thus far? Do you have kids? Do you have a dog or cat? The list goes on… whatever you write about, is interesting to SOMEONE. However, I do believe that there’s a certain etiquette to blogging and a lot of blogs tend to disregard the basics. Here’s a short list of what I’ve labelled “Blog Etiquette”.
-First and foremost, have a layout that’s easy to read. Yellow writing on a white background is just silly. Colours can be visually difficult to read, which is why most books, newspapers etc are black text on white background.
-Use a title that is relevant to the topic of the blog post or something that is clever or witty.
-Write like you are writing for an audience reading a magazine and use a style. If your style is witty and funny, then be careful to make sure it’s not pretentious and tacky, unless that’s what you’re specifically aiming for.
-Try not to swear. Unless you have a blog about the inner workings of the F bomb, then it’s not relevant and not necessary to your blog. I normally swear like a sailor, but that’s just for me.
-Have some structure. Just because it’s a blog doesn’t mean you have to ditch the whole idea of introduction, body, conclusion.
-If you’re giving props to someone, then link to their site.
-Don’t diss others in the industry you’re in, or any other industry for that matter. Even if you’ve had a truly bad experience, it will only make you look bad. Once it’s written, it’s gospel.
-If you use more than one language then simplify your post into the language you’re not as good at or still learning and write the body in your native tongue, attaching the second language blurb as a new paragraph at the end of the blog post. If you’re brilliant at more than one language and call yourself fluent, then by all means post in both.
-Run spell checker. If your blog doesn’t have spell checker then write it in a word processing program like Word and then copy and paste.
-Don’t assume your readers are stupid.
-As a reader, when posting on someone’s blog, as well as leaving a comment on the Facebook or Twitter link, comment on the actual blog post as well.
-When commenting, try to make it meaningful. Visiting 60 blogs and writing “fab” in every post is generic and boring and it smacks of insincerity. Try to be sincere. If you don’t really think it’s brilliant, then don’t comment just for the sake of being seen.
-Be humble. No one likes a tall poppy.
Lastly, if your blog calls for it, then compliment it with pictures or video links. Images can help to illustrate your point and enrich your story and as a society we are most visual people. You can even go that once step further and do an actual vlog and skip the whole text thing altogether. However you choose to blog, do it in style… but mostly, do it in YOUR style.