Wednesday, March 12, 2014

"The Blogging Code" by Karen Lange

The Blogging Code by Karen Lange

Have you heard of The Code? You probably have, although maybe not in those terms. It's what I call the blogging guidelines about followers, comments, content, etc. As newbies most of us muddle through, observing the veterans and gaining hands-on experience. While The Code may vary a tad by individual, locale, and genre, these unspoken rules of etiquette have universal threads. Here are my top items:

Followers - When someone follows you, you follow back. Do you do this? I do, unless I cannot locate their blog, the topic is something I can't embrace, or is written in another language (even with the translate feature it can be tricky).

Comments - When someone comments, you reply, either within the comments or via email later. What's your policy? Some argue that people don't come back to see the reply you make. While this may be true most of the time, I've had visitors return and comment on my reply. I also think that when someone visits and jumps into the discussion, they can see that you read and value comments enough to leave a reply. I liken the conversation generated over a post to sitting around talking to friends. It's one way to help us get to know each other and see what's happening out there.

Time is another factor, and writers often find commenting "one more thing to do". I agree, it is, but I like to show my gratitude and interact with visitors this way. I appreciate the bloggers who shoot me a quick email of thanks when I comment on their blogs too.

Content - Offer interesting content with take away value. Whether it's how-to info on topics A to Z, book spotlights or reviews, links, interesting musings, stories, or other content, this is a key reason why readers return. Right? Providing meaningful content is important, for I want readers to come away with something useful, or at least feel like we got better acquainted.

Personality - Be a good reflection of you. A blog, unless it is strictly for business use, reflects the writer's style. It offers a glimpse into our world and unique perspective. Concerning writing style, I was once told to "Relax and be yourself. It develops over time." Good advice. It applies to blogs too, don't you think?

There are exceptions to The Code, of course, such for those who lack time due to pending projects, family situations and emergencies, seasons of life, and commenting issues and whatnot. While we shouldn't let unrealistic expectations or requirements dictate our signature style, there are elements that can help make our blogs shine.

Do you have a code? What would you add to the list? How does your blog reflect your personality?

Karen Lange is the author of Homeschool Co-ops 101. She and her family were active in co-ops during their sixteen-year homeschool journey. Her three children have since graduated, and she is now a freelance writer and online writing instructor for adults and homeschooled teens.
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  1. Thanks for sharing the post today. It's great to be at the Scoop!

  2. Amigo, love THE code. Wonderful! It upsets me when I cannot locate someone who has followed me. I recently took my follower button down. I felt it distracted from my content. This isn't about a race. It's all about having great conversation, learning, and enjoying company. I had comments like, "I'm going to pass you in the follower count." Stuff like that. So I took it down.

    GREAT post from the BEST amigo in the entire world! XOXO

  3. Robyn,
    Me too - it does help things go more smoothly. And yes, I dislike it when I cannot locate another's blog. You are right; it isn't a race. What are we here for anyway, right? Thanks a bunch for your support!
    Back at cha,

  4. I struggle to keep the Code (I feel like I'm in a fantasy or sci-fi movie when I say that), and I've chosen to always visit and comment on blogs that visit and comment on mine. My "follower" area is a bit messed up and I can't always find my followers. If I'm on a struggle for time, I'm more likely to visit and comment than reply to comments, but your thoughts on that are so true. I like keeping the discussion moving. Hmm. I'll keep the Code as best as I can. :)