Do you want to be known as being an honest and transparent blogger? Or do you want to build a reputation that people don't trust you? While unethical blogging may not get you caught right away, it will eventually catch up to you. I know of bloggers who regularly steal others work or write reviews for items that they did not actually try. These bloggers have been caught and even been ousted on public forums. Others have been quietly removed from the blogging world by Google. There are some bloggers have not been exposed yet but their day is coming and unfortunately it can be embarrassing for the blogger and discouraging for their loyal readers. Here are a few tips to avoid looking like them or coming across as an unethical blogger. I have also included a few reasons why people do not choose to blog ethically.
1. As a deal blogger if you saw a deal or coupon on other person's blog, give credit! Unless the coupon arrived in your mailbox or you actually came across it yourself - give credit! But what if the coupon is on coupons.com for all the world to see? Did you find about the coupon all on your own without reading another blogger's post? If you didn't - give credit. If you don't get credit, you come across as stealing others work especially when your readers other blogs.
But...it gives traffic to other blogs and could take my readers away. Actually, I have been giving credit for over a year and just topped 10K readers a month in February. It didn't hurt me and according to my demographics survey - it was people appreciate the most about my site.
2. If you are a review blogger, post pictures wherever you can. This shows your readers that you actually reviewed the item. DVDs, bath items, and other things are harder to do pictures of but in those cases make sure you really give your honest opinion. If you post pictures on your other reviews, your readers will still trust that you reviewed the other things.
But....I don't have time to take pictures. Then take on less reviews. This is such an important part of blogging and will set you apart as a blogger.
But...I'm not a good photographer. You don't have to be. Your readers will appreciate the extra time you spent actually spent capturing the item. My Oxiclean review with its before and after pictures has been a favorite review due to its pictures and it wasn't hard to take pictures of.
3. Never copy another blogger's work. I have seen full paragraphs taken from other bloggers blogs. Don't do this! Not only will Google slap your Page Rank for this but you shows that you are not an honest blogger.
4. When posting deals, reword the great coupons or deals that you are posting. If you found this on another blog, use different words even if you are giving credit. Google is not happy with bloggers who copy and the bloggers who have their words copied are not thrilled either. Give credit for the coupon or deal and then rewrite the post.
5. If you decide to write about an idea that you saw on other bloggers site, give them traffic also. Let's say that you saw a great article about creating a niche and want to write something like that for your readers - do it. Then after you have written the article, be kind and add something like this to the article - "if you would like a different perspective or more information on this topic, see "post blogger's name" great article. It inspired me to write this article and I think you will enjoy it as much as I did." The link juice helps the other blogger out and builds your credibility.
6. Admit when you made a mistake. It might be embarrassing but it goes a long way to building trust. Just apologize once and then go one with life. Your readers will love you for it and keep on reading because you are human just like them. Oh, and if you lose a reader or two, you might gain three or four. Honestly really does bring readers!
These things will help you stand out as a blogger. You will build a great relationship with your readers and other bloggers. The blogging world can be a hard place to be sometimes so let's support one another instead of tearing each other down.
Do you have some ethical blogging tips? Have you written an article like this that has some great points? I would love you to share your thoughts or articles. Do you have questions? You can either post them in the comments or you can send me an email at rachael @ empoweringmommy.com (just take out the spaces).