7 Blogging Commandments
In almost all professions in life, there are acceptable and unacceptable practices in carrying out a job. Doctors, lawyers and educators abide by a set of rules and guidelines when it comes to performing their duties. These rules ensure that a task is carried out with respect for others and with sound, moral judgment.
The same idea applies in blogging. The freedom to express opinions and publish them through the Internet entails a certain amount of professionalism, tact and fairness to everyone. A great future in blogging is not just guaranteed by the amount of traffic coming in to your website, but also the quality of relationships you have with your readers and fellow bloggers.
In a world where devious ways are the easier paths to follow, here are seven rules that a blogger should never forget:
1. Thou shall not steal.
As any endeavor in life, blogging requires one to be of sound integrity and genuine intentions. A blogger should have original ideas and his/her drive to blog should be a sincere desire to answer a question or resolve a problem. A common manifestation of a lazy blogger is imitating or plagiarizing the ideas of others. This can ultimately destroy a blog’s credibility and lose its readers in the process.
2. Thou shall not take your readers for granted.
The success of a blog may rely on a good combination of factors, but it is undeniable that the most important one is the readers. The readers are the most effective marketers for your blog content. More like “word-of-mouth” and “viral” methods, one reader who likes an article can share it with others, creating a wave of new visits to your site. Do not ignore their value. Nurture this by developing a relationship with them and engaging them in conversations long after they have read your content.
3. Thou shall honor your words.
Your blog should aim to answer or cater to a singular cause/idea/problem. A consistent, focused blog is key to maintaining a loyal following. Your readers should keep coming back to your content because they expect to find the same quality they did when they first visited your blog. In other words, your blog should have a brand – an identity to make it stand out and establish recall among your audience.
4. Thou shall kill.
Not in a literal way, but figuratively your content should kill. It should be creative, helpful, and make the reader remember your blog. The adage, “Content is king”, is a common motto for most bloggers, and there is a good reason for that. People are drawn to your blog or veer away from it primarily because of your content. There are thousands of articles about a single topic written every day. The challenge is to make yours heard.
5. Thou shall not bear false witness to your neighbor.
Blogging is as competitive as any other business. It is only natural that bloggers find ways to outdo each other with similar or opposing ideas and solutions. However, it is not very ethical or nice to resort to speaking ill of your competition to gain an undeserved advantage. This puts you in a bad light to your readers, and goes against the idea of creating a community of like-minded people through blogs. One should not discredit the success of others, especially if one hopes to be successful too.
6. Thou shall rest.
Sometimes blogging regularly can get one stuck in a mindless routine. This may affect the quality of your content or simply lose the interest of your readers. Most bloggers believe that publishing many articles generates more traffic. Others, however, believe that quantity is not always important, and neither is traffic. So it is important that a blogger takes time away from the computer to “reset” his/her state of mind. Some of the best ideas do not necessarily come from sitting in front of the computer. Seasoned bloggers claim to have spur-of-the-moment ideas when they go out and interact with the outside world.
7. Thou shall not make money your God.
It can’t be helped that some bloggers are after the monetary benefits of blogging. With numerous opportunities to monetize a website or blog, more and more bloggers are pulled into doing it. This is completely fine. In fact, there are many successful bloggers who have lived entirely off their blog earnings without having an alternate source of income. However, money shouldn’t be the only reason for starting a blog. It can be a pleasant by-product of blogging, but never the sole purpose. Your blog should serve your readers first, who are the reason for its success in the first place. This means that prioritizing them should be more beneficial to your blog than worrying about getting advertisers or affiliates.