The internet is full of blog posts on how to be a “good blogger”. How to perfect SEO; how to maximise your reach; how to use social media to introduce your blog to more people. There are a few posts about how to be a nice blogger – but, if the current state of the blogging community is anything to go by, the message just isn’t getting through.
At times, I love the blogging community. I love the appreciation and love shown during awards season – bloggers nominating each other for fantastic accolades; supporting each other and asking people to vote for their blogging buddies (I can’t let this opportunity pass without doing the same; please vote for the fantastic Beauty, Baby and Me in the MAD Blog Awards!)
With that said, on the occasions I have considered throwing in the towel with my blog, certain parts of the blogging community have been the driving force behind that. I love writing my blog. I’ve been writing it for two and a half years now, even if I’ve only really been making a concerted effort to put it out there since September. In that time I’ve joined Facebook groups, signed up to linkies, joined in with Twitter chats, and found such a fantastic community that I feel so lucky to be a part of… most of the time.
Rather than focus on the negatives, however, I’m going to turn it into a positive. Here’s my list of top tips to be a nice blogger.
- Remember that blogging isn’t a competition. Yes, there are blogging awards, but these are about rewarding excellence. It’s not saying “These are the only blogs worth reading and if you’re not on the list, you shouldn’t bother”. Blogging awards season tends to breed a lot of contempt, especially when bloggers start canvassing their “real-life” friends and family for support. Practice your “Leonardo DiCaprio at every Oscars except the last one” face, show your support for your fellow bloggers, and tell yourself that next year is your year.
- If you join a linky, play by the rules. There’s nothing worse than a blogger who joins a linky, gets loads of comments – and then buggers off into the ether, never to be seen again. If you join up to a linky, follow the rules. If it says comment on one post, comment on at least one. If it says comment on four, comment on at least four. If it says comment on every single post, then you jolly well should comment on every single post. No-one is forcing you to link up – if you’re doing it of your own free will, you need to follow the rules like everyone else. If you want to be a Super Nice Blogger, try to comment on double the amount of posts the host asks you to – or even more!
- Don’t disparage other bloggers. I used to be guilty of this – not outright, but I’d often say “Oh no, I’m not one of those bloggers, doing it for all the free stuff”. Some people use blogging to pay the bills, and that’s fine. Some people don’t do any reviews, and that’s fine too. Most of us fall somewhere in the middle; blogging mostly about our life, but with some reviews and opportunities thrown in. No-one is “doing it wrong” – there’s no such thing when it comes to blogging.
- Don’t exclude other bloggers. The blogging community is mostly very inclusive, but there are some definite cliques, and if your face doesn’t fit, you’re not getting in. Having blogging friendships is great – I feel very lucky to count some lovely bloggers among my friends – but when you start treating people outside your clique like they’re not worth your time, that’s when it’s all gone a little bit playground.
- Don’t copy other blogs. This is a MAJOR no-no. This doesn’t just make you a not-very-nice blogger – it makes you a Really Really Bad blogger. Every person has their own unique voice and their own story to tell – why would you steal someone else’s?
- Don’t be quick to accuse others of copying your blog. So you’ve done a post about How To Be A Nice Blogger. And you’re just cruising the blogosphere, and you see that I’ve written a post called How To Be A Nice Blogger. I understand that your immediate reaction would be “CALL THE INTERNET POLICE! SOMEONE STOLE MY BLOG!”, but slow your ropes there. Lots of us will have similar experiences, and will blog about those experiences. It doesn’t mean they’ve copied you. It doesn’t mean they’ll steal all your readers. Your readers love you for what makes you unique – if someone really has copied your blog post, people will see them for the copycat they are. If they haven’t copied you, and you accuse them, you’ll be left with egg on your face.
- Nobody likes an Unfollower. There’s something exciting about watching your social media following grow. It extends your reach and expands your blogging community. It’s polite, when a blogger follows you, to follow them back and check out their blog. If a blogger follows me, I will follow them back and try my best to interact with them. So it’s so irritating when I go through my “Followed” list, and see that bloggers have followed me, waited for me to follow back – and then unfollowed. It seems to be all about making sure their Followers outnumber their Following – but let’s be perfectly honest, it’s just sad. The most shocking thing? Some of the biggest names in the UK parenting blogging community are very guilty of this.
So there we are. It’s not difficult. It’s not rocket science. Really, it’s just basic common sense and being a nice person. Most bloggers are lovely, and already fall into the bracket of Very Nice Blogger – but the blogging community definitely has a mean side, and it ruins the enjoyment for everyone else.
So, newbie bloggers – or anyone who’s recognised some not-so-nice blogging traits in themselves – follow these tips, and you’ll find yourself a part of a lovely blogging community in no time!