The overwhelming reaction was that there are no real rules and that you can do what the hell you like on your own blog - as long as you don't harm anyone else. I was left feeling somewhat bereft. No real rules? I went to a Public School for girls, I'm Jewish, I'm a teacher, I'm a Virgo for God's sake. What is my life if not a collection of rules and regulations to live by?
Mummy from the Heart has come up with a Blogging Charter and tagged (read challenged) me, amongst others, to come up with my own. As I think it's about time someone (or someones) took charge around here, I am only happy to oblige.
The Blogging Charter - A set of rules to blog by for the individually and independently challenged
1. Blog Content - Most blogs have two purposes, to record the lives of you and your family for future enjoyment and to fulfill your dreams of being a writer for fame and profit as well as entertaining the masses. Therefore your blog must be first and foremost of interest to PR reps, literary agents and, ultimately, film producers. Never let the truth get in the way of a good story. Potty-mouth always seems to succeed as does a lot of sexual reference, preferably under the influence of alcohol. The most successful bloggers are those who sell their family, boss or colleagues up the river in the hope that their husband can give up his job in order to manage their multi-million pound blog empire.
2. Dedication and Frequency - Try to blog at least once a day, more if you can. The idea is to keep your blog at the top of everyone's 'latest posts' blog list. If you've nothing to say post a cute picture of your child (wipe its nose first for Gawd's sake) or a flower from your garden (if possible with one perfect dew-drop). In addition you must spend a few hours daily reading other people's blogs and leaving comments. Sooner or later they will feel it rude not to visit you and leave similarly inane remarks at the bottom of your posts. Remember - traffic is money. If you're worried about the adverse affect on your family as you neglect them in favour of your beloved laptop, keep in mind that no child ever died from too much Blue Peter and eating fish-fingers and oven chips for supper.
3. Advertising - Google Adsense will pay you tuppense ha'penny for messing up the aesthetics of your blog with irrelevent and obscure plugs that no one reads. Far more impressive is to bag real companies that your readers patronise anyway such as John Lewis, Lego and Next. If a company offers you affiliate advertising rights, this means that you advertise them for free and if someone remembers to click on the ad on your blog when they order, you get a payment - if they bother to tell you. Bottom line: a blog filled with adverts is ugly, irritates your readers and compromises your credibility as a serious writer. So what? You also have bills to pay.
4. Reviews and Freebies - Many bloggers receive freebies in the form of toys for their kids, personal gifts (cosmetics, bags, etc...), household appliances, and even holidays. In return they have to use the freebie and write about it favourably (including a disclaimer swearing that they are impartial). Why shouldn't you get these too? As soon as you have a follower on your new blog, google PR reps and directories and send every one an email begging to review anything for their clients. You can also contact companies directly. You will officially be called a Blagger. Yeah, so? Precisely. And don't worry about driving the PRs mad as they will get you back by clogging your email with offers to delight your readers by telling them all about their products - for the warm, fuzzy feeling of it all.
5. Memes and Tagging - Memes are basically blogging chain-letters which you pass on by tagging a few blogs at the end of your post. There is usually a nice badge which makes it all look terribly smart and official, and 'says' - I'm part of a whole blogging thing. It's not just me indulging my ego with journal entries online, it's a whole professional movement with conferences and awards, and stats/rankings and memes with badges. And it's terribly important to be involved otherwise you're just not blogging right. So if you like someone telling you what to write in your own blog or if you are yourself a control-freak, memes are the way to go.
6. Statistics and Ranking - Blogspot has it's own built-in stats. They bear no correlation (directly or indirectly) to the number of visitors to your blog. The 'All Time' pageviews actually go down as much as they go up. If you're bored you can sit and click on 'Home' at the top of your blog 200 times and smugly watch your stats rise. Be sure to display your all time pageviews prominently on your blog. The people who claim not care about the stats as they write only for themselves (what does that mean anyway? That I'm positively altruistic?) usually also advertise their Wikio rankings (in three different categories), Klout Score, Tots100, and any other website that will play the numbers game (expats, travel, professional dog-walking clubs, life coaching, etc...).
7. Comment Etiquette - You comment on my posts enough times and you'll shame me into commenting back. It'd be rude not to. That's the name of the game. Did I mention that traffic is money? Sometimes you do have something of great interest to add to a particularly informative or entertaining post. Don't bother - if you know so much why waste it on a comment for someone else? Better to write your own post.
8. Publicity - Facebook for your real friends, friends of friends, and anyone else within six degrees of separation who's not savvy about newsfeed and privacy settings. This could run into the thousands. Twitter is good for reaching total strangers, befriending them (following) and infiltrating their already functioning community. With the nifty application of RT, #ff, reply, #anyandeverythingremotelyconnected, etc... you can become a minor celebrity in the blogosphere. Try to tweet a link to your posts on an hourly basis.
9. Sharing and Crediting - In publishing and academia it's called plagiarism. In primary school it was called copying. On facebook it's called sharing and, it seems, in blogging as long as you credit your source, you can nick anyone's ideas as much as you like. In fact, if you link back to their original post on the subject, they will be positively flattered and eternally grateful. All in all an essential tool for sourcing content for your blog.
10. Guest Posts Carnivals and Linkies - Think about it... group publicity for your blog. Duh! A no-brainer, it'd be rude not to.
So there you have it. The Blogging Charter. You don't have to stick to the rules and I fully appreciate that there are those who revel in anonymity, shunning any form of praise or even recognition.
I'm tagging the following people for this meme:
Clever Clogs over at the Biggest Best Blog Ever
I've never read her blog but she is the World Top Blogger with thousands of readers and, if she does it, she'll have to link back to me.
Anyone else who sees the need for a bit of decorum in the blogosphere.
This post has been featured in The Boy And Me's ShowOff ShowCase as an example of a post that did better than expected. The link will take you to other posts that surprised the author. It has also been linked to the Blogaholics Blog Party by Here Come The Girls. Again. the link will take you to other Blogaholics at various stages in their recovery programme. Thank you to both of these blogs for providing the opportunity to link.