In my neck of the woods, a new school year is starting and parents are collectively rejoicing as kids head back for another year of learning. The timing seems right for a blogging back to school post!
With that in mind, following is a refresher on the fundamentals for successful blogging:
1. Publish useful content.
This fundamental rule of successful blogging applies not only to the content in your blog posts but also to the content in your blog comments and across the social web. Make sure it’s useful or no one will read it, share it or talk about it.
2. Avoid things that make you look like a spammer.
Go light on the links, disclose paid posts and ads, and don’t crowd people’s in boxes. In other words, be honest and play nice.
3. Give credit where credit is due.
Cite your sources. If you quote content from another website or blog, link back to that site or blog as the original source. If you use an image with a creative commons license that requires attribution, make sure you link back to the owner of that image.
4. Follow the laws.
Claiming ignorance won’t get you off the hook if you’re caught breaking the law. Make sure you don’t plagiarize, and only use images, audio and video that have the proper copyrights and usage permissions attached to them that allow you to legally do so. If you publish paid posts or reviews on your blog, make sure you follow the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 16 Title 255.
5. Remember your words live online for a long time.
Don’t publish content on your blog or elsewhere online that you might regret later. What you publish today can be found in Google searches for many, many years. Even your Twitter updates are archived by the Library of Congress!
Remember those rules you learned in grade school about being nice to others, being respectful, listening, taking turns, and so on? They apply to us as adults, and even to bloggers and online publishers, just as much now as they did when we were children. Follow those golden rules you learned in kindergarten, and you should be just fine.
Are you still following the blogging basics or is it time to go back to school?
Yes, it’s back to school for us all and a great time for a re-think. Being useful is my number one too. Sometimes we need to re-focus on exactly what is useful and that means looking again at your audience. It is so easy to stray from the path when you forget who your audience is, maybe it has changed over the year?
We could use refreshers like this at the start of each new semester. I especially like that you added the point about words living a long time on the net for a long time. Asking ourselves ‘are you sure?’ before hitting ‘publish’ is always a good idea.