Blogging

Do You Have Tips for New Bloggers?

A new blogger's guide to WordPress from Mental Health @ Home

I’m putting together a page on my site that will be a guide for new bloggers on how to engage with the WP community, and I’m hoping to get for your input.

There will be a section on blogging etiquette.  This is a quick summary of what I’ve come up with so far.  Is there anything that you can think of that I’m missing?

  • Don’t plagiarize.
  • Don’t say “Great post!  Follow and like my blog mentalhealthathome.org.”
  • Generic comments like “nice post” don’t tend to go over well.
  • Don’t be a rapid-fire liker.
  • Be careful about giving unasked-for advice, especially to people you don’t know.

There will also be a section listing some of the regular prompts in the community that newbies might want to participate in.  Any suggestions?

Thanks for your help!

You can find A New Blogger’s Guide to WordPress here.

53 thoughts on “Do You Have Tips for New Bloggers?”

      1. About being responsive to comments, I have a slight problem with this. There is a person who is almost always the first to comment on my posts, and many times his comments seem designed to direct readers toward his own blog and agenda. I have been politely accommodating him with replies intended to emphasize our common ground. But the truth is that I find his approach distasteful, and I’d rather not indulge it further.

        On the other side of this coin, if I begin following someone’s blog and commenting, and they start to dismiss or disregard my comments, I simply cease to follow the blog. This happened with someone who shared some mutual interests with me. But it wasn’t worth forging an online relationship with someone who was, for whatever reason, intent on ignoring me — no matter how much we had in common,.

        1. That’s a good point. If someone ignores genuine comments, then people are going to stop commenting. I have a low tolerance for people who use comments on my blog for self-promotion. I might ignore the first few, but then I’ll just delete. Comments should be about conversation, not promotion.

  1. Don’t let it become an obsession or make it out to be more than it is. There are probably not people waiting on the other side for your entry, clicking refresh like it’s a Ticketmaster buying screen over and over. It can be a great community, and a supportive community, but remember it’s only virtual and it’s important to go outside and play sometimes.

    1. We hear that you are not waiting impatiently for people’s replies. Sounds as though you differentiate between blogging as a virtual experience and your face-to-face experiences.

      For us, these blogging relationships feel as important as face-to-face interactions. Maybe we are placing more value on WordPress relationships than others do.

      That is interesting to notice. Thanks for saying your perspective. We are going to reflect on this topic

      1. I think what Josh was referring to was trying to adhere to a rigid posting schedule and thinking that other people also expected him to adhere to that same rigid schedule.

        I think any time that elements of blogging start to be “shoulds” rather than “wants,” that’s a good sign that it’s time to hit pause and reflect. I think a lot of bloggers struggle at some point or another with getting really fixated on stats, and that tends to point down the “shoulds” pathway.

        I have very few face-to-face interactions, so relationships here matter a lot.

            1. They do matter, but we also lament kids always being on their phones, or teens and 20-somethings being into the influencer lifestyle and the phoniness that pervades on Facebook. Do you think any of these people believe that they’re doing anything unhealthy or wrong? No, and I think the jury is still out on if they are doing anything wrong, but I have a feeling they may look at the WordPress community and see certain issues. My point was that as I don’t think it’s healthy to make Facebook or your phone or your influencer lifestyle the center of your world, much as I think it’s important to not make WordPress the center of your life. It’s a virtual world, and I used to be addicted to virtual worlds. When you’re in them, you see no harm, only good, but if you’re not careful and maintain perspective, they take away as much or more than they can provide.

  2. Great post! Follow & like my blog invisibly.com

    Only joking 😉

    I think you’ve got some good tips so far. I started writing a few tips then realised they weren’t really about etiquette specifically, oops! In which case, I’d maybe add…

    * Don’t play the follow/un-follow game. Follow someone because you want to, because you like their content or otherwise want to support them. Don’t follow hundreds of bloggers just in the hopes of getting the gesture returned so you can then unfollow them.

    * With your point about not being a rapid-fire liker, try not to rapid-fire comment either. It’s logical you’ll be skim reading a lot of posts, but try to skim read well because you don’t want to say “great, so glad things are going well!” based on one part of the post you’ve read, only to miss that this person’s attended a family funeral or that their pet has just died.

    * Don’t plagiarise doesn’t refer to just copying/pasting the whole thing. In my opinion it also means don’t copy the tone and style of someone’s post; if they’ve done something pretty unique and different it’ll be very obvious to them if you’ve ripped it off. If you want to style your post after something someone else has done, resist the urge or at least ask their permission first as that’s the polite thing to do.

  3. All five are very good. Of those five, I’ve been guilty of #4 — “rapid fire liking” — before. But it’s never a good idea to “sign something before reading it” — though our fast-paced society, combined with my fast-paced nature, seems to insist on it.

    If I can think of any other suggestions, I’ll let you know.

  4. Oh! I just now noticed the suggestions from “Invisibly Me” which I didn’t notice earlier (probably because I was moving too rapidly). I think those are all good, and I especially find the follow/unfollow game distasteful. I’ve got close to 1000 followers, I only follow about 100 people whom I know of. I think we gain more from the blogging experience if we only follow those whom we truly wish to read.

    I may even reduce the number whom I follow. This competitive, high-pitched “numbers game” drives me even crazier than I already am.

    1. It’s disappointing how popular the follow/unfollow game seems to be. A large proportion of the new followers that I get seem pretty sketchy, and presumably they’re just hoping I’ll follow them back without thinking. People need to find better things to do with their time.

      1. Agreed. This dynamic seems to stem both from the ultra-fast pace of modern society, and also from the consonant notion that quantity is to be emphasized over quality. I’d rather let my companions be few, and gain from each of them more.

  5. Make your own schedule. Expect your writing patterns to change as life changes. Don’t get caught up in the follow/unfollow games. Don’t stress about stats. Quality over quantity.

  6. I don’t know exactly how to phrase it (very tired and major headache today!)
    but there was blogger who seemed to be reblogging most of my posts without asking me first.
    I guess as a once off, most of us would not mind, but I don’t think it’s good blogging etiquette to reblog the same bloggers post regularly without checking the are ok with that.

  7. Great tips and great initiative! I will be reading this section eagerly. As for now, no tips come to mind that aren’t already mentioned.
    Maybe I could add that I found it very unique to discover that there is something like the ‘art of commenting’. I mean to say that sometimes your comments can be as important as your posts. That blogging is a two-way street (if you want it to be). I guess when you’re starting all emphasis will be on the content itself but your comments are content too. I find this one of the bigger perks of blogging in comparison to other social media.
    Also, don’t compare your blog to others but that is not strictly etiquette I guess.

  8. I’d say think of it like a personal journal – so you’re going to write it down anyway, whether someone looks at it or not. From a personal level, I forget too easily (think Dory in ‘Finding Nemo’) and so like to get it all down, plus writing helps me work things out slowly but surely, and then to my delight actually reading people’s comments have also really helped. That’s win-win!
    With regard to the ‘like’ thing, I find it confusing when someone likes a page but the stats don’t show it’s been visited the same day! So I take ‘like’ with a pinch of salt unless I’ve got to really know the person a bit (as much as you ever really can online).
    Oh and ashleyleia, I was so tempted to just write ‘great post’ and run. But I saw someone else best me to it 😋

    1. Great comment! Lol

      My sense is that some people will search for a tag in the WordPress reader and then go along and like every post from the Reader search results page without actually opening the post.

      And I agree – just write, and good things will happen.

          1. There are a couple “likes” that appear on every one of my posts almost instantly after I post them. Both of these bloggers NEVER comment, but only “like” — and do so very quickly. It has the feel of a “hit and run.”

            I get the feeling these likes are automatically generated. One of them is from someone who lives in a nearby city. I began to read his blog and enjoyed it, then I noticed he never responded to my comments, so I gave up commenting. It’s a bit irksome to continue to receive automated “likes” from someone who clearly is paying no attention to my work at all.

            On my end, I need to resist the urge to “like them back.” I’ve fallen prey to that only when concerned with stats. It’s like “Hey – you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours!” But now I see how odious that is, thanks to this post.

            Really glad to have engaged in this discussion. It’s brought a lot of good things to light.

            1. Yes it’s been great to get so much input.

              It’s a shame that there are people who are just automatically clicking like on everything. They’re definitely missing out on what’s really good about blogging,

  9. Proof read! Grammar, spelling, punctuation mistakes are okay but it’s really frustrating and hard to read posts or comments with multiple commas in a row like “,,,,” and messed up capitalisation like pLeAs3 folpow myyyy website. It’s HTTP avcfeBLABLAxtz”. They look like someone rolled their face across the keyboard.

  10. I would add, always make a return courtesy visit back to your newcomers and followers. If you don’t like their site – tell them so or ignore them – but don’t ignore those you wish to keep.

  11. I always try to tell new bloggers to not compare themselves to others and to lead with passion. Good point about the comments that are “great post. Follow me at..” Those types of comments don’t help engagement. Blogging is more than “follow for follow.”

  12. Hey. Thanks for the post. Liking the tips. I wasn’t aware of the follow/unfollow game so that’s good to know.

    I think it’s important not to make views and likes of your blog a measure of success in your life. Sometimes it can be easy to think less of yourself because your post didn’t get many views etc. Life is about more than that.

    Also, make sure to take time out for self care. If you need a break take one. People on WP probably don’t know you personally and they don’t know what’s going on in your life. You don’t owe people anything. Take care of yourself before others.

    I’ve recently taken some time out and yeah my numbers have dropped. I expected them to. I’m still glad I took that time to focus on myself. X

    1. Great suggestions. And I think sometimes people do take it personally when their stats have dropped during a blogging break, but I think it has nothing to do with the blog itself, and everything to do with how people read blogs, i.e. what’s newest in the reader and email notiications of new posts.

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