Blogging Best Practices – Blogging Rules, Ethics and Etiquette – Part 4

Abstract of my Pluralsight Course Building a Successful Blog Module – Blogging Rules, Ethics and Etiquette.

To have a successful blog, your posts should be interesting, you probably would like to have a large audience, and you want to provide quality content to the subject.  However, to be truly successful, you also ought to follow a few ethical rules, as well – your blog might be popular, but if you are just plagiarizing from a less well-known source, your success is not honestly won, and not truly your own.

Legal Issues

One of the biggest issues that bloggers ought to keep in mind is copyright law.  It can be very easy when blogging to get excited about an article, idea, or photo, and immediately post a glowing review of it to your blog – only to get in trouble when the author or owner stumbles across it.  Shouldn’t they be happy with your free advertisement?  Shouldn’t they appreciate the business you are sending your way?  Unfortunately, discriminating between a blogger who is trying to help and one who is trying to pass off this cool new information as their own can be difficult to determine.  If you want to post something someone else created – text, photos, videos, music – CITE YOUR SOURCES!  Provide links, and ask permission – they may be able to provide a copy of that photo you love, but with their personal watermark.

Right now it might be feeling like posting anything on your blog can be a dangerous proposition.  How can anyone post a picture on their blog without getting sued?  This problem has a flip side – freelance photographers will also have trouble getting their work out there.  That is where Creative Commons stepped in.  It is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to providing licenses and legal protections to artists’ work – any element, which includes designs, photographs, logos, you name it.  There are six different kinds of licenses, and they protect and restrict in different ways.  There are now hundreds of websites that provide Creative Commons images for free or a small fee, and they do the legal footwork for the bloggers.  Everyone wins!

Privacy

User privacy is a huge issue.  With the abundance of spam and spammers out there on the internet, all users are rightfully careful about protecting their private information.  Gathering private information about your readers without their knowledge is strictly prohibited, and you could be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.  Spreading or, worse, selling information given to you willingly – such as a form filled out to become a commenter – without the commenter’s knowledge or permission, is also strictly illegal.  Even if you are gathering e-mail addresses from readers to send out a weekly newsletter, please be sure to provide an opt-in or opt-out box, so that there is no question of whether your readers were spammed by you or received a desired e-mail from you.

Ethics and Etiquette

This is my favorite subject and there are so many to discuss. There are many does and don’ts to do for blogging. Online behavior of any person represents a lot about them. There are other rules to keep in mind while blogging, especially my “grandma rule”. It will be not possible to write about everything which I discuss in the course over here so I suggest you head over to Pluralsight course and read them in detail.

If you’re still curious about blogs and blogging, check out my course on Pluralsight!

Reference:  Pinal Dave (http://blog.SQLAuthority.com)

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