I have been blogging for over five years now and have learned so much about online etiquette, social graces, and how to professionally blog during that time. I still have a lot to learn! A year ago, I shared some blogger commandments to live by in a guest post over on Just a Girl’s blog. I’m preparing to go to the Snap Conference next week which has me thinking about blog business and how we “do” blogging. Today, I thought it might be helpful to revisit the 10 blogger commandments I try to live by.
1. Thou shalt produce good blog content.
Content is king and context is queen. Our site has to have good content to keep people coming back for more. Our content needs to be entertaining, relatable, interesting, engaging, informative, well written, with good photos, and a sense of humor certainly doesn’t hurt :). But we also have to take into consideration the context in which our readers are viewing our site. Are they on a mobile device trying to navigate a mobile unfriendly blog? Are they a new visitor popping in from Pinterest and want to know what we are all about? Are they non-English speaking and unable to easily read our content? Are they searching our blog for our pallet creation but can’t find it because we titled our post “I Did the Coolest Thing EV-AH” instead of “pallet creation”? The context in which our readers are landing on our blog will give us a ton of information on how to keep them engaged and returning. Pay attention to your Google Analytics key words, traffic sources, top posts, etc. to learn about your audience and then use that information to become a better blogger.
2. Thou shalt use one’s blogging and social media platforms for good.
Whether your readership is in the teens or the trillions, you have an amazing opportunity to reach others. Blogging is a powerful gift and can be used to ignite a spark in someone else. We want to be ready for what sparks we might be igniting! Now, if you know me, then you know that I’m not one to shy away from speaking my mind (or from conflict in general). However, I always want to use my blogging platform for good and not for harm. If you’re going to approach any hot-button topics on your blog, then you might first consider seeking out a blog friend to bounce your ideas off of and give you feedback.
3. Thou shalt have a skin as thick as an elephant’s hide and shall be comfortable with thou delete key.
When you blog, you put yourself out there for all to praise and all to criticize. Negative comments sting and are never fun to receive but arguing back seldom does any good. Keep your focus on the positive and just hit that delete key!
4. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s blog.
Etsy Shop Print for sale by Ann Shen
The comparison game happens to the best of us. It’s so hard not to be envious of a fellow bloggers’ traffic, numbers, home, projects, opportunities, popularity, etc. but coveting just leaves you feeling icky with nothing gained. Make your blog goals be about you and not someone else. Yes, it is cliche’ but it’s also so true: focus on being the best YOU and bringing that to your blog each day.
5. Thou shalt unplug occasionally.
Blogging can easily become all consuming. If you blog for income, it can be even more difficult to place boundaries on your “work time”. When you love what you do it doesn’t feel like work and let’s face it, the internet is addictive. Taking at least one day off from blogging a week is so important for your creative mojo not to mention your family life. Do yourself a favor and unplug at least one day a week.
6. Thou shalt not steal others’ content, photos, ideas, or blog name and thou shalt link back and give credit where credit is due.
Putting it rather simply: Stealing others’ ideas and passing them off as your own just makes you look dumb. You are amazing all on your own and you don’t need to copy someone else! Be original and if you do copy then of course give credit where credit is due. We all inspire ideas in each other, but our ideas should be different enough from the original that they are clearly our own.
7. Thou shalt honor thy blog family.
original source unknown
Our blog niche is amazing, and I think we’re one of the nicest niches out there! Home bloggers rock. I love that we honor each other through features, pins, re-tweets, facebook shout outs, etc. It’s good bloggy karma and it sets our niche apart. Keep it up!
8. Thou shalt be authentic and relatable.
Image created by me. Grab your own copy here.
We do “pretty” really well, but we all know that “real life” doesn’t always look like a page from a Pottery Barn catalog. It’s okay to show the not-so-pretty every once in awhile on your blog. It shows others that you are human too. Don’t be scared to be real. People love real people!
9. Thou shalt not make an idol out of one’s blog.
Blog worship is easy to do. Blogging is awesome, inspiring, and fulfills many needs. You are awesome, inspiring, and fulfill the needs of others! However, a blog is just a blog and shouldn’t become the center of your universe. If it has become the center, your priorities are out of whack and it’s time to reevaluate and practice some more of number 5.
10. Thou shalt stay humble.
A healthy self esteem is nice and noteworthy…bragging constantly about how awesome you are is not. I’m all for tooting your own horn, but remember to do so in a spirit of humility. Chest beating is a turn off. Just stay sweet, humble and handle compliments with grace. You are indeed amazing, but don’t let it go to your head.
Thanks for letting me share some blog commandments that I try to live by! Let me know in the comments if you have any to add!
Paris Forlidas says
A wonderful and enjoyable post. Thanks Beth for grounding us towards the fact that blogging is not an easy task and making money from it is difficult. As a new blogger, this is what I intend to do in the long-term (hopefully). Every advice I get is important to complete a realistic blogging picture.
Sara @ BitznGiggles.com says
I pinned this post on Pinterest and finally got around to reading it today. I launched my blog back in August and have been working hard at gaining followers. Your commandments are definitely valid and ones that any new or seasoned blogger can relate to. I’ve run into a couple moments where I’ve found myself stressed out because I wasn’t able to publish as many posts as I wanted to certain weeks. I work full-time as a marketing professional in addition to my blogging, have two children and a husband that travels. I’ve learned to just do the best I can do, enjoy it and still spend ample time with my family. Thank you so much for this great post!
Right on! Great post!!
Thank you for these wonderful lessons! I’ve been blogging for 3 months now, and I need all the help I can get. 🙂 I I shall blog by these commandments 🙂
Capturing Joy with Kristen Duke says
Love this list!! Going to conferences and meeting those in the community has helped SO much, and trying not to compare is tough!
Thalita @ The Learner Observer says
Thank you so much for posting this in a lighthearted and meaningful way. As someone who is still so fresh in the world of blogging, I so appreciate someone as accomplished as you being able to say just what I need to hear.
Vidya @ Whats Ur Home Story says
Just saw this. A very very insightful post and all are key point that us bloggers should follow. To tell you the truth I have such a hard time trying to stay true to #3 and #4 :). Thank you for reminding us all once again!
Thank you for all these beautiful reminders Beth. I especially agree that it can be hard to set boundaries on time and limits for how much you blog. My blog is only a percentage of my income, but at times, it can feel like it is all of it. What great reminders to calm my sometimes over anxious blogging brain!
You are a wonderful example, Beth. Thank you so much for sharing your tips. I hope you have a wonderful time at the conference.
Thanks girl :). I appreciate it and I appreciate you!
Marty Walden says
These are just as practical and real as the first time I read them! Thanks for looking out for us bloggers! Have a great weekend!
Bonnie @ the pin junkie says
Kristin @ bliss-athome.com says
I love this so much Beth! Such great points and perspective 🙂 Thanks for sharing! xo Kristin
i just started blogging and truly appreciate these tips! thanks 🙂
Michelle at Faith, Trust, & Pixie Dust says
Darling Beth, This post is filled with great ideas. And I think you are a great example of being a gracious blogger. Thanks for leading by example.
You’re always such a sweetheart Michelle. Thanks girl!
kelly thompson says
I liked this- I can see how it could be easy to get out of whack on any of these! It really is all about balance!
So true! Balance is where it’s always at and where it’s always such a struggle to maintain.
Katie | deranchification says
Great post, Beth! Especially helpful to me as a new blogger trying to figure out what all I’m supposed to be doing (or not doing!) 🙂
Glad you found it helpful Katie! Thanks for stopping by.
jessica @fourgenerationsoneroof says
Nice job O’l wise one. I still can’t believe I didn’t even know what a blog was until I came across you 1.5 years ago. Now it is part of my life. Strange and wonderful at the same time. Great commandments for blogging and life in general. 🙂 Thank you!
Great things to remember and apply. Thanks for the coaching. It is so easy to forget those commandments if we don’t keep them refreshed in our minds and you gave us some that are very important to our mental health and our blogs health.
Thanks Wanda :)!
Beth, thank you for this great post! I’m still in my first year of blogging, so I don’t really know what I’m doing! This post is EXACTLY what I needed! You know, something I like in a blog is when I feel like the blogger is actually happy to have me there; something you do very well! Thanks! I’m pinning it! 🙂
Aw, thanks Audrey ;). I AM happy to have you here! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave me a sweet comment.
these are soooo true! I am not that much of a series blogger, i blog when i do have something important to say, so i guess my blogging isnt the center of my universe. *being a wife* is! 🙂
i like to stick to my niche for my blogging, which is sewing, and i do mostly post sewing related posts and mostly what i made not someone else’s.
i really enjoy your post! 🙂
Great tips! Something that as bloggers we should all know but it’s nice to be reminded of : ]
Krista Low says
I found this post on pinterest today and really enjoyed reading it. It is good to reframe everyonce in awhile. I am still pretty new to this blotting world but I relish all the wonderful advice I get from blotters like you who give me something to shoot for! Krista @ A Handful of Everything
Terri Ball says
First I need to clarify I am a reader of- not a writer of- the wonder world of blog. lol I like your rules for the readers and searchers- get ohhhhh so tired of the same old. I have found several I have joined and request the post sent via e mail (so I don’t miss anything). When I open my computer and find 6 new posts, my biggest disappointment is the new trend of link parties. Yes it is nice to see alot of stuff at one place, but I find the same link on 6 or 7 different blogs. The next is being excitied to see a post for the week (on many) and it is the same old link party. To me this is not your post, it is more of a pinterest stop off. Can we limit link parties or at least how many time one can link the same item on different blogs lol. I am so greedy I want to hear and see new stuff about the blogger, blogger family, blogger booboos, blogger brags. I do appreciate the effort it takes to write and post a blog as we are computer (network end) people But as so many bloggers have made this into a paying position (job if you would) I wouldn’t pay for the same magazine once a month for a year, I expect a different one every month. This is in no way meant to be a personal Criticism but maybe a way to alert several blogs to notice this happening. Sorry for the Rant. I Really Do Enjoy The World of Blog.
Thanks for the feedback Terri! Our blog niche has been over-saturated with link parties for quite sometime now. I’ve had mine in existence for years and years now and don’t plan on stopping it anytime soon, but I completely understand your point. I would just hit the delete key on those emails if they bug you :).
Thanks for this thoughtful list! The 4th commandment really hits home with me. I’ve been blogging for about 1 1/2 years and have to constantly remind myself not to compare mine to someone else’s.
Deb Hrabik says
Thank you, Beth.
I have been blogging for one year and I love to learn from you all that have been on the journey longer.
Thanks so much. Glad you found it helpful Deb!
Leslie Stewart @ House on the Way says
Thank you so much for this post. So many things I need to remember…especially the “take a day off!” Have a great weekend!
You and me both girl :). I try to take Sundays off but it rarely happens. I need to manage time better.
Megan (Honey We're Home) says
Love this Beth! Very well said- pinning!!
Thanks Megan! And thanks for spreading more good bloggy Karma :).
Thanks for your timely reminder not to compare myself with others. As usual your posts are well written and thoughtful and I always enjoy reading them.
What a sweet comment to wake up to Traci :). Thanks girl!
Maryann @ Domestically Speaking says
Great reminders… I need to re-read this often. Each week I’m sure I’m struggling with one or two of them. Have a great weekend!
Thanks so much Maryann!
Awesome information! Thank you so much for sharing:)
Kelly @ View Along the Way says
Great points. Especially love the one about not making an idol of your blog. Blogging can so easily suck your time and attention away from things that are so much more important. I have to be intentional about this one myself so it doesn’t run away with my life!
Blogging is indeed addictive isn’t it? I can see over the years how most of my friends and the people I spend time with are online. My “real-life” friends now are few and far between which probably isn’t the healthiest. It’s so hard for me to put boundaries on “work” and learning the trick to “balance” is forever a struggle!
Krysta - KrystaSteen.com says
These are awesome! Thank you for putting this together – love it!
Little Bit says
Awesome tips/commandments Beth!! Little Bit
Thanks girlie :)!
Great post and reminder about the blog commandments!
Thank you for sharing! Your thoughts are awesome! Thanks for the awesome commandments.
You’re welcome! Thanks for stopping by!
Abby @ Just a Girl and Her Blog says
What great reminders! Thanks so much for sharing your blogging wisdom, Beth!
Thanks Abby :).
Love this post, Beth! Lots of great advice, especially number 10 🙂
#10 is the one I need the most reminders on :P!
Great reminders! My favorite one is the comparing, the grass always looks greener in someone else’s yard. We should do it purely for the joy as you said!
Totally agree :). Blogging brings so much joy! No need to kill it with the no-win comparison trap.
I love em Beth and love you. Thanks for being an example of all of it!
Love you too Beckie! Thanks for being such an encouragement to me and so many others!!
These are amazing tips to live by in blogging! Awesome list!
Just kidding! You have great “commandments” here and I will take them to heart! Thank you!
Especially # 4 – it’s kind of hard NOT to…
Ha! Completely agree :).
Kara K says
Amen sister! We can’t all be Young House Love and the Pioneer Woman!
Fabulous post Beth!! So many little reminders about things that we really know but often forget! 🙂
Yes! I needed reminding myself :).
Steph @ Crafting in the Rain says
These are great, and always good reminders even if we feel like we’ve been doing them already. I also often have to make–sure for me–that I don’t compare my middle to someone else’s beginning! I’ve been blogging a little over 2 years and have seen several totally awesome blogs pop up since mine. Some of them already have a way larger reach than I do, and I’ve discovered I’m ok with that. They have fantastic ideas, projects and probably spend more time blogging than I do as well 🙂
I so agree. Comparison steals joy. And blogging should give us JOY! I fall prey to the comparison game as well in my weaker moments and it’s never fun and never helpful to anyone. Being happy for others’ success and opportunities has been very freeing.
At first I thought this was going to be a post all about the tiny, silly little things that some bloggers think you should do and not do. But I am pleasantly surprised to see that your tips are actually more of etiquette type tips that should be plain common sense, but I am sure they aren’t always. Thanks and I’m sure it’s why you’ve been so successful with your blog.
I think I wrote a post like that several years ago, LOL! But tips on just keeping it positive are so much better and easier to live by.
Whitney Jones says
Aww! Thanks for these; I love this post! I lot of us new bloggers struggle with what TO DO and what NOT TO DO. I’ve been told by other new bloggers that it gets a bit discouraging.
I really like your blog; I’m following and have dropped by a bunch of times!
The Decor Chronicles
I’m sure it must be so frustrating to learn all of the “unspoken rules” in blogging! The learning curve for new bloggers these days is so overwhelmingly steep and doing something to offend without realizing it is the worst. Even after 5 years, I sometimes step on toes without meaning to. But for the most part, bloggers are such beautiful generous souls and just want to share and inspire!