Blogging

Blogging Etiquette 101: the Dos and Don’ts of Blogging

Almost every blogging advice on the internet today is geared towards helping you become a successful blogger. But very few of them talk about the need to be a courteous blogger of some repute. I know I’ve emphasised this a million times but permit me to stress it again — your relationships with other bloggers matter a great deal.

Your character — the way you comport yourself when addressing or interacting with your readers and fellow bloggers — matters more than you know. You see, your readers might not know you in person, but from your posts and comments, and the way that you behave online, they can paint a picture of the kind of person you are in reality — that is, the kind of person you are offline.

Simply put, the things you do in this virtual space say a lot about your person. They also either build or damage your reputation. Which is why I encourage you, dear blogger, to treat everyone you interact with with the kindness and respect that they deserve. In other words, treat everybody with courtesy and etiquette.

Speaking of etiquette, there are 12 essential rules of blogging etiquette every blogger should know. Let’s take a look at them, shall we?

Blogging Etiquette 101: the Don’ts of Blogging

1. Don’t end your comment on someone else’s blog with a link to your blog.

You can promote your blog many ways, but one way you should never promote your blog is spamming other bloggers with the link to your blog. Many bloggers are fond of including the link to their blog at the bottom of their comments because they hope that someone would click on their link and visit their blog. This is a spammy behaviour, and nobody appreciates spam.

It’s okay to want more readers for your blog, but you have to attract them the right way. And you know, if you leave genuine and insightful comments on other blogger’s posts, chances are that other people would see your comments and visit your blog, without you even begging them to.

2. Don’t leave spammy or generic comments on other people’s blog.

As I said earlier, nobody appreciates spam. Nobody appreciates a generic comment, either. People love getting insightful comments, and not unspecific ones such as: “Deep”, “Great post”, “Makes sense”, or “I agree”.

Generic comments are unspecific and boring. Instead of commenting “I agree”, why don’t you state which part of the post you agree with and why? And instead of saying just “Thanks for sharing”, why don’t you share how the information that blog post provided has just helped you?

Leaving a generic comment on just one post is one thing; leaving it on several posts just to get a blogger’s attention is spam — and one thing bloggers hate more than spam is a spammer.

3. Don’t ask for follows.

If you’ve been following my blog for quite a while, you would know that I’m a big anti-follow-for-follow advocate. I’m one of those people who believe that you should only follow a blogger because you really want to, and not because you have a selfish motive — like expecting them to follow you back, thus increasing your number of followers.

It’s a two-way principle by the way — I also believe that people should follow you only because they want to, and not because you asked them to. Asking other bloggers to follow you is usually seen as being too forward and can seem rude sometimes. If you ask me to follow your blog, I would most likely visit your blog, and if I eventually follow your blog, you can bet that it’s because I enjoyed reading your posts — not because you asked me to follow your blog.

Unfortunately, not every blogger is like that. Some would ignore your comment if all its says is, “Great post! Follow my blog!”

4. Don’t comment on other people’s posts with a negative intention.

I can’t think of any reason why you would always comment on someone’s post with a negative intent other than jealousy. All the times I’ve seen people behave nastily when commenting on someone’s posts, it’s usually because they are jealous of that person’s success.

Of course, there might be other possible reasons why people leave cruel and bitter comments on other people’s posts every time, but then again, none of them are justifiable. You shouldn’t be mean when commenting on other people’s posts. If you know you can’t comment on people’s posts without making them feel bad about themselves, then you shouldn’t comment at all.

5. NEVER, EVER steal another blogger’s work.

There’s a stark difference between getting inspiration from someone’s post and stealing that person’s post. Although people often confuse the two. Truly, there’s nothing new on the internet today: every topic you can think of has been written about by someone. But does this mean we shouldn’t write about a topic simply because someone else has written about it?

Of course not.

The beauty of the internet is it’s diversity — a million bloggers could view an idea or a topic from several different perspectives and write blog posts that are similar, and yet so different from one another. When you want to write about a topic, it’s okay to read posts already written on that topic so as to gain inspiration. But it’s absolutely wrong to steal those posts.

Even if it’s as little as a paragraph or just a sentence, do not steal it. Do not copy it word-for-word. The best you can do is rephrase that sentence or paragraph in your own words. Plagiarists are usually under impression that when they steal other people’s content, nobody notices it. But the truth is, someone will always notice.

6. Don’t turn every comment into your personal blog post.

Okay, I know I do this occasionally, and I know it’s somewhat wrong, but then again, I do it occasionally, not all the time. People usually write very lengthy comments when they can so much relate to a blog post. For instance, if you make a post about how you celebrated Christmas as a child and I discover that we celebrated our Christmas similarly, there’s a high possibility that I would narrate my personal experience in my comment to show that I truly can relate to your post. There’s also a high chance that my comment will be very long.

This isn’t always wrong, although every blogger has their own preference and limit — some bloggers feel bored to read your comment once it’s longer than two paragraphs. Others, like me, wouldn’t mind. I, for one, don’t mind reading comments that are as long as the first chapter of the Bible, so long as they’re related to the topic. However, I suggest you pay great attention to how lengthy your comments are, just to be on the safe side.

Blogging Etiquette 101: the Dos of Blogging

1. Always reply to comments.

No-one owes it to you to comment on your blog posts. When people comment on your blog posts, they don’t do it because they feel it’s their obligation to you. Rather, it’s either because they could relate to your post, they enjoyed reading it, or it might just be that your post has given them something to think about.

The fact that someone read and commented on your blog post shows how much they value and support your work. So it would be rude and unfair to them to leave their comments unanswered. Even if they leave a generic comment, like “Nice post!”, a simple “Thank you!” reply would suffice.

2. Read and comment on other blogger’s posts.

One of the most essential rules of blogging etiquette and blogging success is the rule of reciprocity. As I always say, if you want other people to read your blog, then you must read other people’s blogs. And if you want honest and insightful comments on your blog, then leave honest and insightful comments on other people’s blogs. In blogging, what you sow is what you reap. Your input will always determine your output.

A blogger of etiquette isn’t a selfish blogger. He cares about other bloggers as much as he cares about himself. Which is why he would always support them at every opportunity. And what easier way to support other bloggers than reading and commenting on their blog posts?

3. Follow up the comments fellow bloggers leave on your blog.

Kayla from KaylaAnn taught me this great way to support fellow bloggers and build friendships with them. It works like this: whenever someone comments on my blog post, I would visit their blog and read one or two posts, and then I would leave a comment on their posts. And if I love the kind of content they create, I would follow them. Even after following you, I would always visit your blog whenever you comment on my blog post.

Of course, there are cases when it would be difficult to comment on your posts. At times like that, I would simply LIKE your post and move on. Following up the comments other bloggers leave on your blog is a nice gesture of courtesy, don’t you agree?

4. Be nice to those who disagree with you.

As a blogger, you must be prepared to face criticism every once in a while. There will be times when people will disagree with you, and some of these people who disagree with you might do so rudely. They might insult you and call you names, simply because they disagree with your opinions, ideas, or principles.

When you’re dealing with these people, tread very carefully. Be nice and polite when addressing them, watch the kind of words you use, and try to help them understand why you stand by your opinion. And while you do this, do not discard their opinions. If you do all this and they still remain their bitter selves, then please, ignore them and refrain from replying to them — for the sake of your peace of mind.

5. Link back when quoting someone or stating an information you got from a case study or research.

When you’re referencing someone or their work (especially when “their work” is a case study or a statistical analysis), you should link back to their work. And if what you’re making reference to isn’t on the internet (maybe it’s something you read in a textbook), cite the source properly. I did something like this in my last post (see photo below).

You’re advised to do this for several reasons, but mainly because the owner of the work deserves some credit, and because using numbers to back up your point when a research was never conducted is rather wrong. If you say, “90 percent of high school kids today suffer from depression and anxiety”, you should back up that “fact” with a statistical analysis or case study. If you can’t find a statistical analysis to support your opinions, then it’s best to reconstruct your sentences. For instance, you could change the above sentence to: “A great number of high school kids today suffer from depression and anxiety.”

6. Be honest and genuine with other bloggers. Always. (Don’t be a dishonest asslicker).

Nobody likes to be told the truth, especially when the truth is bitter and difficult to handle. But does this mean we shouldn’t let our blogger friends know when they’re wrong? I think not.

Granted, to an extent, we are all each other’s asslickers — we are all adoring fans of one other, and we’d hate to hurt our feelings more than anything. This is why we often agree with other bloggers, instead of correcting them, when we know full well that they’re wrong.

But being my friend means correcting me whenever I’m wrong. Being my friend and a person of etiquette means nicely or politely correcting me whenever I’m wrong.

Telling someone they’re right when they aren’t doesn’t show that you care. Massaging your blogger friends’ ego just to save your friendship only shows that you’re their friends for a selfish reason. Perhaps, they have a large following and you feel that it would be a shame to lose a friend that popular. But that’s a faulty mindset. If you really want to be a friend to someone, you would correct them when they’re wrong; and you would be careful to do it nicely, not rudely.

After all, friends are meant to improve each other, aren’t they?


Which blogging etiquette in this list do you follow? Do you have a rule of blogging etiquette you wish to add to the list?

52 thoughts on “Blogging Etiquette 101: the Dos and Don’ts of Blogging”

  1. This was very helpful, Obinna. I had heard some of those points before, like never asking for someone to follow your blog, but some were new to me, like “Link back when quoting.” I always give credit, but I am not sure I know how to “link back.” What do I type to have the words be a “link?”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Jan! I’m so glad you found this post helpful. That’s “mission accomplished!” for me. 😊

      Linking back is very easy. Let’s say, for instance, that you want to quote something I said in this post. Giving credit to me would be very nice; it would also be the right thing to do. But you shouldn’t stop there — you should also link back to my post. You can do this by copying the link to THIS post from your browser, and then add it to YOUR post — the post where you quoted me. There’s a tool for that in your WordPress editor, one that looks something like this “🔗”. It allows you embed the link to another post or page in your own post. When you embed MY link in YOUR post, you’ve linked back to me.

      You can explore the tools in your editor and try to link to one of your old posts.😊
      Was this helpful, Jan? I can clarify if you find my explanation a bit confusing.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. 🙂 Obinna, I am in full agreement with everything that you stated in that blog post of yours.

    I would discourage any blogger from leaving the links to their blog at the end of the comment because it is spammy behaviour.

    If someone wants to check out a commenters blog, all they have to do is click on their Gravatar; which will forward them to the commenter’s blog.

    And, I take replying to comments seriously.

    Have a great week, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. OMG, laughing at your comment to Emete….I am dying at “Each comment is just a minute older than the one before.” 😂 Hysterical!!!!

    I do that too, whenever I see someone liking several of my Blog posts in succession I check to see the time that lapses between each “like”; if the likes comes faster than the time it takes to read the post then I know the “liker” didn’t even bother to read what I wrote . 😁

    I disagree with you on one thing though – The not asking for followers part…I don’t see anything wrong with asking someone to follow you if they like your content. In fact, my instructor from my Blog Writing 101 course that I did last Summer recommends it highly. It’s a great way to build your following.

    Also laughing out loud at the don’t be a “dishonest asslicker” statement…Yeah, yeah, I’m in full agreement with that one. 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, that Emete guy made me laugh so hard that day. 😂 😂
      At first, I thought his compliments were honest, until I saw that he made all six comments “just now”. Can a normal human being read six LONG posts in less than a minute? 😂

      I’m curious, Rakkelle. 😏
      You said you don’t see anything wrong with asking someone to follow you if they like your content. My question now is, how do YOU know they like your content? Is it because they keep liking and commenting on your posts without following you? Or do you ask when they tell you they like your content?

      Now that you mention it, you have a VERY valid point. I mean, if you’re a first-time reader on my blog and you tell me how much you enjoyed reading my post, I can playfully ask you to follow me if you want to read posts like that more often.

      (Contrary to popular belief, it’s totally fine to be an asslicker! Just don’t be a dishonest one 😂)

      Like

      1. Obinna, if you read my last blog post, “A 45 Year Marriage” at the very end there is a paragraph that states that f my readers like my content and would to read more then they should hit the follow button, if it’s in their pleasure. Simple and easy.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Ah, well, that’s different.
          I have that, too.
          I think Obinna was talking about asking people to do so in the comment sections often under their own posts.
          Doing so on your blog is normal.
          Thanks for replying, Rakkelle.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Oh, I know what you mean, Rakkelle! That’s TOTALLY fine. I do that, too! I ask people to follow my blog on social media.

          I was actually talking about commenting on other people’s blog posts and asking them to follow you. 😊

          Like

  4. Nice post……….😁😂 (#2 in action)……
    No, but seriously. I agree with most of the do’s and don’ts that you listed. I’m not sure about not deleting negative comments though. Granted this hasn’t happened on my blog, but I had someone on my ig account disagree with me about something and then they started to call me all sort of names. So I kindly blocked them from my account. However, it erased all of their comments ,which I didn’t want to happen because the conversation was decent until it became personal. I think if something like that happened on my blog I would probably delete it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading, EJ! 😁
      You know, I wish that I could block people on WordPress like I do on other social media. Or maybe I can? Maybe it’s possible, but I haven’t checked?

      In your shoes, I would definitely do the same thing you did. On Facebook and IG, I delete comments once they start getting really personal and bitter. If you call me all sort of names on my blog post, I’m sure I’d delete your comment, too. Although if the negativity isn’t too much, and I’m enjoying the argument, I would leave your comment there. I kinda like it when people disagree with me… After all, I can’t be right all the time. I would just appreciate it if they’re nice when stating that they disagree.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Exactly! There is nothing wrong with disagreeing. Just be civil about it. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, but I do expect some common courtesy. I haven’t set up a fb page for my blog yet…I have a very strong dislike for fb…but I’m sure I would respond the same way if I had one.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post.
    *walks away*
    *turns around*
    What? I “Liked” your post, too. What more do you want?
    *comes back*
    — No. 2 from the list of don’ts actually made me stop and think a little. I totally agree with what you said. In fact, I’m not real fond of those comments. However, somewhere in the back of my head, there’s some memories of me doing that. Not sure of the circumstances. I might have to pay a closer look.
    — No. 4, well… there were times when I made negative comments on other people’s posts. However, it was not intended to come from a negative place. It wasn’t envy, either. I just disagreed with what was written. And I feel like I am allowed to express my views on an open forum like that.
    — No. 6 made me laugh. Please feel free to post a comment as lengthy as the WHOLE Bible on my page. It would be nice if it was related to the post, though. I’ve had people only read the title and then post something completely irrelevant to the rest of the post. You better not complain about MY lengthy comments!
    — No. 3 from the dos list I wholeheartedly agree with. That’s actually something I do, too. I used to do this for everyone that followed me, too. I still do. Sometimes. I have to admit that I’ve fallen behind on that front. I’d like to be more welcoming to my new subscribers.
    — No. 4 – yes! Do not attack someone’s personality if they attack your post. Debate with them. Defend your writing, but allow them to have an opinion.
    Did I say “Great post”?
    Mic drop.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I read your comment from beginning to end three times, Goldie. I’m still laughing 😂 😂
      I was surprised when I saw “Great post” with your name displayed above it, but then I scrolled and saw the full length of your comment. 😂
      I can’t ever complain about your lengthy comments. Can you complain about something you enjoy getting?

      About No. 4, I understand where you’re coming from, and I can say that we’re alike. I think the word I was looking for is “bitter”, not “negative”. When I wrote about it, I pictured someone who ALWAYS trolls bloggers. Someone who comments negatively on EVERY blog post other bloggers publish. You’re too nice, wise, and mature enough to fit into this category, Goldie.

      Thank you for reading, Goldie! And for this AWESOME feedback!!!
      *starts reading comment from beginning to end again*

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You almost made me ROFL with the closing remark.

        I think you already know this, but if not – you are a great motivator. You empower people with your positive feedback. You always have something supportive to say. It makes a huge difference in people’s lives.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Obinna, this post is on point! #1 & #3, I wanted to jump up and scream yes because I can’t stand that. I’m much more likely to visit someone’s blog if they simply leave a genuine comment instead of blatantly asking. #2–I used to leave the comment “Great post!” sometimes, but I’ve since realized that you might as well leave a comment that is actually insightful or don’t even bother with a comment. #5 is also very important. If you are inspired by another post, it’s good to acknowledge the post and link to it so that you are giving credit where credit is due.

    I also agree with the list of do’s. I love your humble attitude that we should always reply to comments since that person took the time to leave one and that we should care about other bloggers as much as ourselves. That very attitude is helping me succeed and helps grow a loyal readership! Thank you for sharing. I hope some bloggers take it to heart!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, Lily! I want to frame your comment and hang it on my wall! I can totally understand why you wanted to jump up and scream 😂. It frustrates me when I’d publish a post, then get a notification that someone has commented on my post, only to check and see “Follow my blog, pls.” It’s very annoying.

      You’re absolutely right! Insightful comments beat other types of comments, and sometimes, it’s best not to comment at all than leave a generic comment.

      I’m honoured and flattered that you agree with ALL my pointers. 😊
      Thank you so much for reading and commenting, Lily! Much appreciated!

      Like

  7. See now I feel bad, I just left a post on a fellow poet blogger poem that said simply, “beautiful”. This has helped me to know not to do it again though. I’ve downloaded those blogger Do’s and Don’ts ebooks several times but haven’t read them. This was quick and to the point and a little humorous. I must admit that sometimes I’ve clicked on a persons blog and didn’t even know that I followed them or they followed me because I wasn’t connecting with them. Thank you for this! Very helpful!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re very welcome! You shouldn’t be to hard on yourself, though. I follow some poet bloggers, and there were cases when I couldn’t come up with a long or “deep” comment. Sometimes, it was because I didn’t understand the poem; other times, it was because I couldn’t resonate with it.

      During those times, I left comments like “beautiful” or “Very nice poem”. Later on, I realised some of my comments were dishonest and generic, so I stopped leaving comments like that. We all have a day when we finally realise our mistakes. Yours is today. 😊

      Thank you so much for reading! I’m so grateful

      Like

  8. Hey!
    I think I’ve done No. 2 from the Don’t’s list a few times in the past.😅 Like the times when I feel a post is pretty good but i’ve nothing to say about it other than that. Or when I do have something to say about it but I’m in a hurry or I feel it is obvious or something like that. But now I’m gonna make sure I don’t do it in the future.
    No.6. Yeah, I’ve done that a few times as well. Writing a comment as long as a post! Man, I’m doing it again, huh?
    I strongly follow the points 1, 3 and 4 from the Do’s of Blogging. Reading and liking the posts of the bloggers who commented on your post is polite and you also get to know your readers while doing this. And accepting criticism and working on it actually helps to improve our work.
    Thank you for sharing these tips. I’m gonna work on No.2 for the time being.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Mr. Obinna, this post is well articulated, and clearly structured with passionate commitment. It is also filled with a lot of practical insight regarding the good ethics of blogging.
    It is very clear you are a decent gentleman, and I am highly impressed.
    Do keep up the excellent work. Best Wishes.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Actually your post made me think about the topic copying peoples contents in terms of topics. I like your point that you can write about the same topic, but you can cover a different angle. I always thought writing about the same content as other people is copying and not original, but you made me think in a different light. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Anna! First off, I am so, so sorry for the delayed response. Believe me. I went on an unplanned break from blogging; that’s why I haven’t made any new post or replied to comments in a while.
      About what you said, I’m glad you’ve seen the light (LOL), and I’m even happier I was the one who helped you see it. Truly, there’s no such thing as originality today. So the saying, “There’s nothing new under the sun” is very true. No topic is new. It’s our different perspectives of these topics that are unique.

      Thank you so much for reading, Anna. Again, I apologisw for the late reply.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Thank you for Sharing Obinna, there is a lot in your piece to reflect on. It’s also a great way to do a check sense of what your doing well and the areas for growth.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, thank you so much for reading, Camille. I’m more than glad that you found this post helpful. And I apologise for replying a bit late. I haven’t really been active on this space for a while now. 😔

      Like

  12. Great advice as always. I’ve found that my spam catches most of the time when another blog is trying to dump in their own blog link or asking for follows. Unfortunately i get it a lot on Instagram!!

    What do these ppl truly expect, that ppl will rush to view their blog and follow it??

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I honestly don’t know!
      I mean, there’s no logical or unselfish reason behind it. I would never understand the people who spam others with their blog links. Some say it’s an SEO technique, but what do I know?

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Oooh oooh oooh Yes! I can’t bear it when someone clearly hasn’t read twenty of my posts in the space of sixteen seconds. Frankly it’s a lie. Suffice to say, I thoroughly enjoyed your post and will now follow you although please don’t take that as a request from me for you to follow me. Gosh, what a mouthful. Sorry. Katie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re very funny 😂
      Yeah, nobody likes it when people likes our posts just because they think they’re doing us a favour.
      And I’m flattered that you enjoyed my post so much. Makes me feel like I’m doing one thing right

      Liked by 1 person

  14. thank you for the great insights. honestly, at times i find myself guilty of the points you raised. of late though, i have been particularly harsh with a group of people who i feel have been doing an injustice to a sector of our community (our athletes). i have tried to be constructive with pushing changes before, but nothing has happened until i became more critical, more vocal. it pains me at times, but i felt it was the only way i could get our group’s advocacy noticed. i sometimes feel like giving up, but at the same time, lots of people are saying that we are on the right track. it’s really a dilemma for our group right now.

    Liked by 1 person

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