There is no such thing as a license to blog. Perhaps if there was a license, people would be more aware of the ethics and complications in running a blog, but that’s likely never to happen. Sometimes it can be a daunting task to determine what exactly is good to do, and what isn’t such a good idea. Outside of the obvious things, there are some not-so-obvious ethics and rules in the blogging community that should be followed. Of course, a lot of these depend upon the situation, but for the most part, the following are just some of the things, which should almost always be observed.
Credit Where Credit is Due
A blog is a place for people to post useful information about themselves, their lives, specific subjects, or many other different topics. Also, businesses have developed blogs to amplify and promote their efforts, as a marketing tool. A blog can also be a place for information or just entertainment. Having a blog though, doesn’t mean that one can simply put everything they find directly on the blog. Copying and pasting another blogger’s content because it looks interesting is considered plagiarism. Instead of posting someone else’s content on a blog if it does look interesting; consider posting a simple link with a summary of what the content is about. That way, users can read the content at the other blogger’s web site, and the other blogger can receive the traffic and credit for their work – which is a win-win situation.
Copyrights largely depend on a country’s laws and the way in which the content is used, as well as how much information is actually taken and used by someone else. The best course of action, as mentioned above, is to simply use a link. Alternatively, a simple email to the other blogger asking to use content, would also be acceptable. It’s always better to stay on the cautious side, as stealing other’s content can permanently damage a blog’s reputation in the community.
Keep Controversy at a Minimum
Nobody likes to read dull, dreary content. Blogs can be useful to get political opinion and perhaps more controversial viewpoints on various issues out to the world. As a blogger, anything at all can be published and available to the masses without any editorial review. Like the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility. While controversial blog entries can certainly create a stir and generate some traffic, from a business standpoint, it is best to avoid anything that could be considered too controversial. A reputation is something that stays with a blog for quite some time. Having a blog associated with content that offends a majority of its readers, would not go over well – and generally won’t help a business. It is important to make sure the “line” between controversial opinions and outright offensive ones, is not crossed.
Fact Checking is Essential
While a blog is generally not a major source of news, sometimes people can take what entries say quite literally. Especially when stating controversial opinion, there are those around who want to refute it. While going through and checking every word line by line to ensure accuracy is generally not needed, making sure statistics are valid and in order, and the information conveyed in a blog is correct, can go a long way to preserve a blog’s positive reputation. There are those that will leave comments and attempt to argue against a point that is made. Perhaps they’ll even post their own contradictory argument in another blog. Either way, people are quite quick to point out inaccurate or false information. Being one step ahead of the game, can save some trouble or explaining down the road.
Not fact checking can also get a blog in trouble (including the web host). Blogs are a premiere place to rant about daily life or particular incidents. While it’s perfectly okay to complain, it’s not okay to tell lies about people or companies. This can fall under the category of libel, and can incite a lawsuit. For example, suppose a certain company was mentioned in a blog entry and it was stated that Company XYZ was a fraud and rips customers off. Unless there is factual backing for this, Company XYZ may be able to sue, or at least have the entry taken down unless it was completely based on fact. Most of the time, web hosting companies don’t want a legal battle and will settle on the side of caution and ask that the entry be taken down. The easiest way to prevent this is to stick to the facts as much as possible. If there’s nothing inaccurate mentioned that could damage a company or person’s reputation, then there is nothing to worry about.
Patience is a Virtue Worth Adopting
Perhaps the most important unwritten rule of blogging is to be patient. There is a misconception that every blog will succeed, and installing some software and adding some content will immediately make a blog popular with a dedicated reader base. This is almost entirely false. With very few exceptions, most popular blogs got to be where they are, because of a steady flow of interesting content as well as promotional techniques to increase traffic. Being patient doesn’t mean sitting around and waiting for readers to come, but it does mean that even with a lot of time and effort put into a blog, it won’t automatically translate into instant success. During slower times, it is much better if the blog writer genuinely enjoys writing in the blog. If the writing is enjoyable, it makes waiting for the readers to come much easier.
When readers do come, they might not always be the kindest people. The Internet is a large place â€“ sometimes people with the sole intent of leaving nasty comments or emails will find a blog to victimize. Sometimes they disagree with content; other times they just want to create trouble. Either way, the best method of dealing with them is to just ignore it. Any comments that aren’t appropriate can easily be deleted (depending on the software used on the blog). A blog’s worth is what is put into it and the amount of enjoyment received from it, not necessarily what others say about it. In fact, sometimes, a little controversy can spark a debate, and make the blog more interesting.
The above details just some of the cautionary information that is good to know about, before choosing to become involved in hosting a blog. Another important issue for anyone considering the blogosophere, is to choose a professional web host, to ensure that all of the mechanics are attended to. In this way, the blog writer or producer can be concerned with content, instead of dealing with the distraction of technical issues.
As one of the better blog web hosting plans available, Lunarpages pricing often includes various specials. Generally, the plans begin at $6.95 per month, and include 1,500 GB Storage, 15,000 GB Bandwidth, and a Free Domain Name for Life (plus 10 Add-On Domains), with free CoffeeCup Software, valued at approximately $700.
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