The Jackal's 10 rules of blogging | The Jackal

14 Jul 2014

The Jackal's 10 rules of blogging

There are heaps of blogging rules out there on the interwebs, many of which are a bit silly. So I thought I would take a few minutes to write down some of the more important ones:

1. Don't blog while you're drunk.

It might seem like a good idea at the time, but what you write while intoxicated in most cases isn't going to be worth reading. Sure, if you want to gain a reputation for ranting online and not making much sense, imbibe and write your reputation away. However your audience isn't going to appreciate the befuddled scribbling’s of a drunkard and neither will you when you sober up.

2. Blog about something relevant that people are interested in.

If you want to attain enough readers to make blogging worthwhile it's a good idea to blog about a current topic of public interest. This can mean following news outlets closely and setting up a number of alerts to ensure your blogging is relevant and up to date.

3. Learn as much as you can about the topic you're writing about.

There's nothing worse than reading something whereby the author obviously doesn't know what they're talking about. It’s even worse when you click through to a link and there is basically nothing there. So take the time to research the subject matter so that you can develop a better understanding about what you are writing. That way your opinions will have substance, which will help when commentators try to tell you that you're wrong!

4. Read what other people have already written and don't copy them.

Plagiarism takes many forms and one of those is to re-write another persons opinion in your own words. Blogging shouldn't be about regurgitating something that has been said a thousand times before, it should be about new ideas that will progress the discussion.

5. Always link to and cite the people you're quoting.

You probably won't realise just how annoying it is to see your work passed off as somebody else's until it happens to you. In fact the Internet is full of lazy people who would prefer to just steal ideas instead of doing the hard yards themselves, much like the real world. Don't be one of those bloggers.

6. If you want to use other people's work, ask first and use proper attribution.

People who produce content such as graphics and audio usually like it to be promoted throughout the Internet. That's why in most cases they will let you use their work if you ask nicely and use a proper attribution. So take a few seconds to shoot off a query to the person producing the content you like. If you don't get a reply don't use it.

7. Avoid legal issues by obeying defamation and other relevant laws.

It's easy to get caught up in the moment with your opinions about other people taking over. However there's always two sides to a story and it's important not to let your emotions get the better of you and potentially land you in court. Unless you have the money to fight costly legal battles it's best to work inside of current publishing laws.

8. Don't spam other social media with your work.

If you're a new blogger it's hard not to announce your blog to the world on every social media outlet available. The end result will be that you simply annoy people and turn them off from reading your work. Take a more subtle approach and let others do the promotion for you. If your work is good it will get noticed.

9. Develop a privacy and commenting policy.

This isn't just important in terms of letting commentators know what the rules are, it's important because it protects you the blogger as well. Having a well-developed policy that you can highlight is one of the best ways to resolve a dispute and deter people who want to stop you from blogging.

10. Don't feed the trolls.

So you've worked hard to develop a blog to share your thoughts, now it's important to protect that content by administering your blog's comments. It doesn't matter how fantastic your work is, you will inevitably get some idiot who attacks it for no reason. It's easy to react to their abuse, but it's important that you don't. The best response to a troll is to ignore what they say or simply block them. However never accuse someone of trolling without good reason.

Photo credit - Ken Stratford of the Ongava Research Centre