Blog Etiquette

Hello bloggy friends!  Today I want to touch on the subject of blogging etiquette…for both bloggers and readers of blogs.  I don’t know it all (not even close) so I’d love for you to chime in with your own personal thoughts on blogging etiquette.  I’m sure you will have great things to share!  So here we go:

Thoughts for bloggers:

  • Always link back…always!  No doubt you have likely experienced what it feels like to find content that you shared posted on another blog with no crediting link.  Of course it is also wise to note that there is a possibility that that other blogger simultaneously discovered the same content (this has personally happened to me and was really upsetting when out of the blue someone came after me with accusations of content theft – I was able to show them that I hadn’t stolen the post content, but it was still rattling).  The main point here is not to police the blog world, but rather to do your part to give credit where it is due.  It seems that some bloggers think that it looks bad if they don’t find all the content for their site on their own so they intentionally leave crediting links out of their posts.  Maybe some readers are put off when a blogger finds content elsewhere…but I personally have a higher respect for bloggers who make a habit of crediting their sources, regardless of where they found it.  Community and sharing is what blogging is all about (in my opinion)…and link sharing is a positive and vital way to grow your network of blog relationships.
  • It is usually in bad form to recycle full posts/images from another blog.  Since blogs rely upon incoming links for growth you are only hurting the other blogger by copy/pasting complete posts (your readers will have no reason to visit the original blog – even if you do provide a link), not to mention you will be profiting from their hard work (they had to find the content, write about it and assemble the post images).  Instead, give your readers a teaser image or two and let them know why you like the post…then direct them over for the full post content with a link to the source blog.  Additionally, freebies, downloads, PDF files, etc. should remain on the original blog that created them.  It is great to spread the news about a freebie you love, but it isn’t nice to take the download and offer it from your own site.  Doing so eliminates any need for your readers to visit the original source blog…not good.
  • Copyright.  This is a huge (scary) topic and one that I will be sure to address more thoroughly in the future.  But the main thing I have to note on this topic right now is to be sure to honor the artist/designer/blogger’s posted wishes regarding their work.  If they ask for you to obtain written consent before posting…then that’s what you have to do.  If they say they don’t want their work blogged, then it is best to just walk away.  There are millions of those out there who are happy to have their work shared with the world…so go to it.
  • Be proactive, not reactive.  From time to time you may come across someone in blogland (on your or another blog/social networking sites/or by email who has only hurtful or mean-spirited things to say.  Some blogs thrive on this sort of environment, but if you are not a blogger who enjoys this sort of atmosphere then it is wise to sort out exactly how you will respond to these kinds of individuals.  I have personally adopted the “kill them with kindness” philosophy and find that it is best to say nothing at all when possible, or address such individuals with a calm and understanding tone.  I think it takes a strong person to just walk away and not try to get the last word in…but I believe that it really is worth the effort.  If all else fails, ask a trusted friend in the blogging community for their advice and hang in there.  If you refuse to give them kindling for their fire, eventually they will have to burn out.

Thoughts for blog readers/businesses:

  • Remember that bloggers are only human.  There are so many facets that make up a blogger’s world (and everyone is different) so it is easy for some things to fall through the cracks.  Believe me…any kind comments, sweet emails, etc that you might want to share with a blogger can mean the world (they do to me at least).
  • Newsletter no-no.  If you own or work for a business…never sign a blogger up for your newsletter without their permission.  This is something that happens to me all the time and I make it a general rule to unsubscribe immediately.  This practice leaves such a bad taste in my mouth that it makes it hard to want to feature the company’s products after this has happened.

The best rule for blogging etiquette really has more to do with the Golden Rule than anything else.  “Treat others as you would like ot be treated.”  As long as I remind myself of this then it seems like everything moves along exactly as it should.  I hope my little tips will be of help to you in your blogging journey.  Feel free to ask any questions you’d like in the comment section below…I’m happy to answer them.  xo Ez

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47 Comments

  1. Traveling Mama / / Reply

    This is so great! I know when I first started blogging I made some mistakes unknowingly, but these tips are a great guide that all of us can appreciate!

  2. Ranu / / Reply

    Question for you regarding linking! I always credit back to where I find images and content but am wondering how many links back one has to include? For example, if you post something on Creature Comforts, and I find it on another blog linked to your site, is it OK to just link the blog I found it off of (which ultimately links back to your site)? Just wondering what your thoughts are on this. Let me know, and thanks for all the tips. As a newbie blogger, it’s helpful to see what do’s and don’t’s are. Keep up the fab posts!

  3. molly / / Reply

    hey, this is great!

    these points all make a lot of sense.

    what is your take on commenting and following? i try to always comment back to people who comment on my blog, and same goes for following people in return for following me. however, sometimes i get really annoyed when it’s clear that someone has only commented for the sake of getting more comments/followers on their blog (like when i observe people leaving the SAME EXACT comment on multiple blogs). would love to know your opinion, or if you’ve posted about this before!

  4. Ez / / Reply

    Thanks for your comments everyone!
    @ Ranu – It sounds like you are doing a great job. I generally just link to the source where I found the content personally. If you’ve linked to their post than readers will be able to follow that link and can then discover where that person found the content (if it is content that has been bouncing around blogland). Of course, use your best discretion, but my general rule would be that any link is better than none at all. : )

    @ Molly – I think this is a great question. I have covered it a bit in this post http://tinyurl.com/28tf7lq It is true that comment spam is alive and well, and you will just frustrate and overwhelm yourself with trying to reply to it all. I find that I don’t have the time to respond to every comment left for me, but I try to pick out a few that really stand out for me and respond to those. I also will reply by email to thank and interact with individuals who I feel have left a really heartfelt comments. It’s okay to not respond to spam comments. I promise.

    xo Ez

  5. Daniella / / Reply

    This is so great! Thanks for posting! I’ve come across the "discovering content from the same source as another blogger" issue, who immediately accused me of something I didn’t do. It’s disheartening that some people thrive in that mean-spirited environment as you said… but I just move on, because there are SO many other supportive bloggers and readers out there that i’d rather spend my time with! It’s what makes blogging so much fun as far i’m concerned… thanks for all your inspiring thoughts and views on blogging :)

  6. anke / / Reply

    I think hot-linking images from other peoples’ websites it also a big no-no.
    You would think that people know that by now, but I keep seeing blog posts where people do it,
    I assumed they don’t realise that they can get the other website to crash? :-(

  7. Erin @ Slipcover Your Life / / Reply

    I always try to do my best when linking back cause I def. know how it feels to be swiped. Got a comment the other day on my post, and three days later the content was on the commenters blog with no credit. This was a great reminder for me to try as hard as I can to always give credit (i know in the past sometimes I forget where things are from and can’t give credit, but I’ve been trying harder to document sources!)

  8. abby / / Reply

    Yay, Ez!
    I love this post and agree with all that you’ve said :)
    Thank you!!

  9. Janice / / Reply

    I prefer to have photos credited to the photographer {in this case myself} as well as to the blog where they found them–often you will see the following: (image credit; via______)–this is what I personally prefer.

    The source can usually be found with a few "back" clicks and link following. A friendly email to the blog poster to let them know it is your photo is what i have done in the past. i think most bloggers are appreciative of this and if they are professional will welcome the up to date information.

    I think it is important to recognize photographers as the artists they are as well and giving them credit. It is all a part of researching content , especially considering photographers are not being paid for their content when it appears on blogs.

    Great topic Ez~
    Janice

  10. Make, Do & Send / / Reply

    Another great post Ez! I think it is courteous to let people know if you use someone’s images or link to their work.
    I can see that it could slow the blogging/posting schedule to wait for permission every time you see something online you want to blog. I try to get around this by sending a quick email after posting to the person whos work I have used to let them know and give them an opportunity to ask me to take it down if thats how they feel. I am very aware of copyright and copyright law so I hope this process means that I dont have any images ect on my site that the photographer/blogger ect wouldn’t want posted there.

    On another note, I understand that blogs with lots of comments cant possibly reply to every one but on small blogs I think its nice to reply to comments. After commenting a few times on blogs with few comments only to get no response it feels like your talking to a brick wall and I dont bother any more even though im sure the blogger is excited when they get comments. Blogging is all about community and shouldnt be one sided but a two way conversation :)

    ps… Anke – what is hot-linking? how does it make the websites crash, i haven’t heard of this before?

  11. Make, Do & Send / / Reply

    Another great post Ez! I think it is courteous to let people know if you use someone’s images or link to their work.
    I can see that it could slow the blogging/posting schedule to wait for permission every time you see something online you want to blog. I try to get around this by sending a quick email after posting to the person whos work I have used to let them know and give them an opportunity to ask me to take it down if thats how they feel. I am very aware of copyright and copyright law so I hope this process means that I dont have any images ect on my site that the photographer/blogger ect wouldn’t want posted there.

    On another note, I understand that blogs with lots of comments cant possibly reply to every one but on small blogs I think its nice to reply to comments. After commenting a few times on blogs with few comments only to get no response it feels like your talking to a brick wall and I dont bother any more even though im sure the blogger is excited when they get comments. Blogging is all about community and shouldnt be one sided but a two way conversation :)

    ps… Anke – what is hot-linking? how does it make the websites crash, i haven’t heard of this before?

  12. Make, Do & Send / / Reply

    Another great post Ez! I think it is courteous to let people know if you use someone’s images or link to their work.
    I can see that it could slow the blogging/posting schedule to wait for permission every time you see something online you want to blog. I try to get around this by sending a quick email after posting to the person whos work I have used to let them know and give them an opportunity to ask me to take it down if thats how they feel. I am very aware of copyright and copyright law so I hope this process means that I dont have any images ect on my site that the photographer/blogger ect wouldn’t want posted there.

    On another note, I understand that blogs with lots of comments cant possibly reply to every one but on small blogs I think its nice to reply to comments. After commenting a few times on blogs with few comments only to get no response it feels like your talking to a brick wall and I dont bother any more even though im sure the blogger is excited when they get comments. Blogging is all about community and shouldnt be one sided but a two way conversation :)

    ps… Anke – what is hot-linking? how does it make the websites crash, i haven’t heard of this before?

  13. Make, Do & Send / / Reply

    Another great post Ez! I think it is courteous to let people know if you use someone’s images or link to their work.
    I can see that it could slow the blogging/posting schedule to wait for permission every time you see something online you want to blog. I try to get around this by sending a quick email after posting to the person whos work I have used to let them know and give them an opportunity to ask me to take it down if thats how they feel. I am very aware of copyright and copyright law so I hope this process means that I dont have any images ect on my site that the photographer/blogger ect wouldn’t want posted there.

    On another note, I understand that blogs with lots of comments cant possibly reply to every one but on small blogs I think its nice to reply to comments. After commenting a few times on blogs with few comments only to get no response it feels like your talking to a brick wall and I dont bother any more even though im sure the blogger is excited when they get comments. Blogging is all about community and shouldnt be one sided but a two way conversation :)

    ps… Anke – what is hot-linking? how does it make the websites crash, i haven’t heard of this before?

  14. Make, Do & Send / / Reply

    Another great post Ez! I think it is courteous to let people know if you use someone’s images or link to their work.
    I can see that it could slow the blogging/posting schedule to wait for permission every time you see something online you want to blog. I try to get around this by sending a quick email after posting to the person whos work I have used to let them know and give them an opportunity to ask me to take it down if thats how they feel. I am very aware of copyright and copyright law so I hope this process means that I dont have any images ect on my site that the photographer/blogger ect wouldn’t want posted there.

    On another note, I understand that blogs with lots of comments cant possibly reply to every one but on small blogs I think its nice to reply to comments. After commenting a few times on blogs with few comments only to get no response it feels like your talking to a brick wall and I dont bother any more even though im sure the blogger is excited when they get comments. Blogging is all about community and shouldnt be one sided but a two way conversation :)

    ps… Anke – what is hot-linking? how does it make the websites crash, i haven’t heard of this before?

  15. Make, Do & Send / / Reply

    Another great post Ez! I think it is courteous to let people know if you use someone’s images or link to their work.
    I can see that it could slow the blogging/posting schedule to wait for permission every time you see something online you want to blog. I try to get around this by sending a quick email after posting to the person whos work I have used to let them know and give them an opportunity to ask me to take it down if thats how they feel. I am very aware of copyright and copyright law so I hope this process means that I dont have any images ect on my site that the photographer/blogger ect wouldn’t want posted there.

    On another note, I understand that blogs with lots of comments cant possibly reply to every one but on small blogs I think its nice to reply to comments. After commenting a few times on blogs with few comments only to get no response it feels like your talking to a brick wall and I dont bother any more even though im sure the blogger is excited when they get comments. Blogging is all about community and shouldnt be one sided but a two way conversation :)

    ps… Anke – what is hot-linking? how does it make the websites crash, i haven’t heard of this before?

  16. Make, Do & Send / / Reply

    Another great post Ez! I think it is courteous to let people know if you use someone’s images or link to their work.
    I can see that it could slow the blogging/posting schedule to wait for permission every time you see something online you want to blog. I try to get around this by sending a quick email after posting to the person whos work I have used to let them know and give them an opportunity to ask me to take it down if thats how they feel. I am very aware of copyright and copyright law so I hope this process means that I dont have any images ect on my site that the photographer/blogger ect wouldn’t want posted there.

    On another note, I understand that blogs with lots of comments cant possibly reply to every one but on small blogs I think its nice to reply to comments. After commenting a few times on blogs with few comments only to get no response it feels like your talking to a brick wall and I dont bother any more even though im sure the blogger is excited when they get comments. Blogging is all about community and shouldnt be one sided but a two way conversation :)

    ps… Anke – what is hot-linking? how does it make the websites crash, i haven’t heard of this before?

  17. Make, Do & Send / / Reply

    Another great post Ez! I think it is courteous to let people know if you use someone’s images or link to their work.
    I can see that it could slow the blogging/posting schedule to wait for permission every time you see something online you want to blog. I try to get around this by sending a quick email after posting to the person whos work I have used to let them know and give them an opportunity to ask me to take it down if thats how they feel. I am very aware of copyright and copyright law so I hope this process means that I dont have any images ect on my site that the photographer/blogger ect wouldn’t want posted there.

    On another note, I understand that blogs with lots of comments cant possibly reply to every one but on small blogs I think its nice to reply to comments. After commenting a few times on blogs with few comments only to get no response it feels like your talking to a brick wall and I dont bother any more even though im sure the blogger is excited when they get comments. Blogging is all about community and shouldnt be one sided but a two way conversation :)

    ps… Anke – what is hot-linking? how does it make the websites crash, i haven’t heard of this before?

  18. anke / / Reply

    Make,Do & Send –> if you use an image from another person’s website by just using the URL instead of uploading it to your own server, this may overload their website server and can get it to crash.
    Particularly if you do it to a person whose website has a bandwidth limit.
    There’s no need to do that since you can use photobucket or space on your own blog server.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hotlink

  19. Ez / / Reply

    Wow! Thanks for all your personal insight into this topic everyone! It’s great to read all your thoughts and I’m learning a lot in the process too!
    @ Jamice – You’ve made a really excellent point and one that I need to work on more carefully for Creature Comforts. Thanks for making me think!

    xo Ez

  20. Janice / / Reply

    Hi Ez,

    Most people who have used (I can only speak form my own personal experience) content/photos always give credit, I’ve not had a problem. There have been maybe two instances and I have politely emailed them to just say "Hi, I thought I would let you know that is a photo I took if you would like to give the proper link to your readers"..or something along those lines. I find a friendly approach is best.

    I did once have someone blog about a DIY, then proceed to cut and paste all of my text with my photos onto their blog. I did email to ask them to remove the text and requested that they instead link to it, and told them to feel free to use a couple of images on their blog. They removed the post altogether, so I interpreted that as they were offended and I felt it reflected a lack of professionalism on their part.

    I also did not mean to suggest that I should get paid for my photos (that’s kind of funny to even type that), but that comment was more a general comment directed at blog content that uses a lot of magazine photos–and then we cry that our beloved magazines are going under.

    I know Poppytalk always credits the photographer and source and that is probably one of the first popular blogs that I have seen take a professional approach. I know you do it here as well Ez, so I think you already have the etiquette under your belt.

    I have been the recipient of the kindness of many bloggers and I try and do ‘thank you’ posts devoted entirely to those that have extended those kindnesses my way.

    J

  21. Rachel / / Reply

    This is great Ez! Giving a link to the person who originally pointed me in the direction of a tutorial or article is something I’ve been thinking a lot about. It is tough when multiple people email you about the same thing but I do want to give them all credit! I appreciate them all so much! I need to put more thought into that. Thanks so much for this, I’ll be linking. =)

  22. Julie - A Fine Tooth Comb / / Reply

    Hi, Ez. I am embarrassed to say that this is the first time I’ve read this section of your blog (the tips for bloggers). What rock have I been hiding under?? :)

    Such wonderful tips here. Linking to others whose content you allude to is just the right thing to do. And . . . it’s FUN, too! I’ve found so many blogging friends this way. It really does pay to do the right thing.

    Can’t wait to read more of your tips!

  23. Ashley / / Reply

    Hi Ez,

    Although I know this wasn’t directly addressed in this post, I’m hoping you can help me with some blog etiquette. I’m preparing to approach a few blogs that I know to be content submission-friendly, but I don’t want to submit the same content to different blogs; I know that bloggers like to have unique and often exclusive content.

    If I approach a blogger with a product line or idea to post about, and I never hear a response back, when is it okay to approach a different blog with the same idea? How long is long enough to wait before I can assume they aren’t interested in my material?

    Thanks :)

  24. Ez / / Reply

    Thanks everyone for your comments and insight! It’s always such a treat reading your responses to these posts!

    @ Ashley – That’s a great question! I think it’s wise of you to submit different content for each blogger. If you have heard nothing back within a week it is fair to go ahead and present the content to another blogger. In your approach emails you could also just let them know that this is original content that you are hoping to share with the blog world…and that they are the first blogger you’ve contacted with your content. Then let them know that you intend to distribute it more broadly within a week. That gives them the chance to jump on the content if they feel it is a good fit for their blog, and also gives you an easy out if you hear nothing within a week.
    Hope this helps.

    xo Ez

  25. Ellen (boltandfrolic) / / Reply

    Thank you for this post. All of these points really do go back to abiding by the Golden Rule! Just do right by people.

    I have a question: I’m setting up a blog for the 1st time and am building a blogroll from my bookmarks… it is proper to get permission from each blogger to put his/her blog on my list?

    Thanks! Ellen

  26. Ez / / Reply

    Hi Ellen! Great question! I usually feel that it is not necessary to ask permission to link to another blogger. Generally linking to others is seen as a good thing. If you want to let them know that you’ve added them to your blogroll you always can, but not all bloggers will be able to get back in touch with you…so try not to take it to heart if you hear nothing in return.
    xo Ez

  27. Ellen / / Reply

    Thanks Ez : )
    I understand– I wouldn’t take it the wrong way; everyone’s very busy!

    I hope you + your family are doing ok in the heat and humidity. Ohio’s the same way. The rabbits and I wouldn’t last long without air conditioning, for sure.

  28. foodiegetsfit / / Reply

    Wow, I am brand new to all this, I've just set up my first website and blog and this has been a goldmine of info. Every question I thought of along the way was asked and answered, thanks so much!
    :o)

  29. Bev Leeson / / Reply

    WOW Ez,
    What a coincidence. Here I am just setting up a Blog or trying to and I decide to take a break from it and go to look at some of the Blog's I follow for today's news. I arrive here and find all this wonderful Information on Blogs (SPOOKY). Anyway just want to say how much info you provided and how much I appreciate it. Keep up your wonderful creativity. Many Thanks.
    Kind Regards,
    Bev…….

  30. Kari (Ucreate) / / Reply

    I agree with you 100% and love everything about this post!! I'm so glad you mentioned the newsletter issue where bloggers just sign you up without permission…huge pet peeve!
    I'll be linking and sending my readers your way!

  31. Allison / / Reply

    This was a really helpful post, thanks so much for sharing your wisdom with us less-experienced bloggers ;-) I'm relatively new to the blogesphere and am working on a blog for my internship and this really helped!

  32. Olivia / / Reply

    Thanks for this post! I am in the process of exploring blog etiquette, and I find this very useful.

    I do have a question regarding linking. Do you need permission before even referring to someone else's blog post? Or is simply adding the link to the original blog sufficient (I'm not talking about copying the material, just referencing it). My thought is no, and that providing the link back is enough, but would love to hear from you.

    Thank you!

  33. Ez / / Reply

    Hi Olivia! Great question! Unless someone has specifically noted that you must first ask permission before linking to/writing about them, then I believe you should be in the clear as long as you give a proper link with credit on your blog. Hope this helps. xo Ez

  34. DreamState / / Reply

    I am a new blogger wondering about recipes! I'm inspired to get people on a healthy organic diet as I am. I follow alot of food blogs. Is it okay to post the recipe and photos from the original blog, credit,and write about the blogger..? I understand that is for the most part the entire post by the blogger. It seems a little far, but I do want the reader to know all of the ingredients, and I do want them to see photos of how yummy the dish is. Should I stick with just 1 single photo, and link to the original blog for ingredients, and process of cooking? Help : )
    Thank you for all of the advice,
    Kristina

  35. Ez / / Reply

    Hi Kristina. This is a great question! I personally feel that the right approach when it comes to posting content created by another blogger/designer, is to share only 1-2 of their images and then link to their post for the full content, including the recipe itself. The only time I'd say this would be different, would be if you've modified the recipe and want to share the changes with your readers. In this case I still recommend linking to the original recipe that you started with. And of course, always credit any photos with an active link back to the original source. Best of luck and congrats on your new blog! xo Ez

  36. Patty / / Reply

    So glad I read to end of these comments! The last question was exactly what I was needing to have answered. I will not be blogging about recipes but a similar idea where I will be sharing other's creations and photos. Definitely planning to link but was going to put the entire "recipe" on my blog.
    Maybe just the photo with comments and the link would be better. Thank you for this!
    Patty

  37. Jenny / / Reply

    hi Ez! I am very new to the blogging world, and don't have any intention of my blog ever being read by an audience of more than one or two, but even so, I am SO appreciative of these tips. You have such a lovely way of spooning out advice that makes it easy to hear and digest. Thank you.

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