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Note: Also see Blogging 102
I have been blogging for a couple years and have learned a thing or two about blogging. I am not going to try to re-invent the wheel here because so many
bigger and better other bloggers have already said so much on this topic, but readers write to me frequently with blogging or starting-a-blog type questions, and I thought I’d share a few of my own thoughts.
This is in no way a comprehensive list and it touches on different aspects of blogging but here are a few thoughts.
Each and every point is my opinion only, of course.
1. Thou Shall Not Steal. Remember the Eighth Commandment? Well, the same is true in blogging. If you see it on another person’s blog, it’s theirs. Don’t take it.
Whether it’s their recipe, their widgets, buttons, text, graphics, or anything at all on their blog, it’s theirs. Don’t take it.
This includes their photos. In the past I have done recipe posts where I highlight various bloggers recipes and use photos from their sites, but I will not publish those posts any more of those unless I first have their permission to use their images. No one is perfect, we all make mistakes; but once we know better, we do better.
Ask a blogger, first, if it would be okay to use something from their site on your site (graphics, images, etc.) but be prepared for them to say no, or gently ignore your request. And yes, I have asked others and this has happened to me. This is their prerogative.
Also, don’t steal their “voice” or their vocabulary. Use your own.
Be your own person in life. And on your blog.
In life, almost everything can be taken by someone else. Whether it’s your car you have parked in your driveway or your purse you left in your grocery cart and turned your back on for a second, someone can take your things.
The internet makes it very easy to take intellectual property and non-tangible things. This doesn’t mean it’s right.
There may or may not be laws concerning this, but there are norms, customs, ethics, and a moral code that I hope is not dead. In life, as in blogging, if it doesn’t feel right to you, it’s probably not.
2. Linking Back. To expand on point #1, if you see a recipe on someone’s site and you want to make, or you did make, don’t re-write the whole thing on your blog. You simply link back to it on their site.
This can be a bit tricky if you adapted or modified their recipe. I’ve noticed it’s becoming increasingly common on food blogs to say “Adapted From” when someone uses and reprints another’s recipe.
However, unless you really adapted it in a significant or meaningful way, I personally think that simply linking back is more appropriate rather than rewriting it and reposting it on your site.
The blogger or person who created and developed the recipe should get the credit, accolades, and traffic to their site. Not you.
If you made bigger modifications, or you feel justified in reprinting it, then let common sense be your guide.
Copywrite infringement laws are a beast. I wouldn’t want to find myself on the wrong side of them.
Want to grow your readership? (see numbers 3 & 4)
3. I’d suggest commenting on other people’s blogs. It gets your name out there. No one knows who you are unless they see your name, over and over, and what better way to do this than on others’ blogs.
Comment on a wide variety of blogs, too. I read and comment on blogs on topics ranging from home decor to photography to yoga and fitness to food. Even within food blogs there are baking blogs, vegan blogs, raw food blogs, wine blogs, you name it.
Let people know you and your blog are out there in whatever way you can and commenting is one tried and true method.
4. Be consistent in your blogging. You don’t have to post 3 times per day or even daily, but if your readers come to expect a post approximately twice a week from you, but you disappear for two months, then post twice in 3 days, and then drop off the map again for a few months, your readership may forget about you.
Readers want some sort of consistency as well as frequency.
5. Expect to spend time at blogging. Blog posts don’t write themselves, and all the other aspects of blogging from answering reader questions via email to replying to the questions you will receive in your own comments, or dialoguing back and forth with your readers within your comment field, it all takes time. Be prepared to have it to give.
1. Posts that have no doubt said it as well, or better, than me include:
Deb of Smitten Kitchen’s FAQs on everything from copyright law to appliances to photography
Deb of Smitten Kitchen’s Approach to Food Photos as well as links to other sites that give food photography tips
(To my point #2: notice I didn’t list out people’s 10 things or top tips, I simply linked back)
My own post on Real Food Styling & Photography gives real examples of what to do, and not to, to make your food pictures look better. I include a discussion on why you don’t absolutely need a DSLR but you do need to style your food.
There are so many “Blogging Tips” and “Want to Start a Blog” and “Lessons I’ve Learned About Blogging” type posts on the internet. I could re-link over and over, but if you happen to know of any true gems, leave them in the comments. In fact, Katie just did a post today on her experiences and her blogging tips.
2. Was this helpful or what have you learned about blogging that’s been instrumental and helpful for you and your blog?
If this was helpful, I can do many more posts like this. I have so many tidbits I just don’t want to restate the obvious. I already do have a Blogging 102 written so you get one more, at least.
However, we were all new once and even if you’re not new, it’s still interesting to read another blogger’s take on things, I find.
I also didn’t mince words today. Sometimes just being direct is the best approach, and of course these are my thoughts and opinions only.
3. Any specific questions you’d like answered?
Ask and you shall receive.
And from my last post, thanks for the compliments about Skylar and it sounds like you all are some creative and imaginative folks. Excellent!
I think people who read, and write, blogs are by nature creative, imaginative, intuitive, and we’re all cut from a similar cloth in that regard.
Who else could see “beauty” in chocolate picture…
…after chocolate picture, right?
Give me your thoughts and questions!
Other Posts in this Series:
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