There is a movement to “Blog with Integrity” which establishes a basic standard all bloggers should follow. You can learn more at blogwithintegrity.com where most of this list was found. You can even grab a badge for your own blog after signing the pledge.
Here is some advice for those who determine to blog with integrity.
If you aren’t earning a million dollars yet, don’t tell people that you are. It’s okay to admit that you’re learning to and struggling. If you have a food blog and didn’t actually try a particular recipe, don’t say you did. The best way to ensure that your audience trusts you is to be trustworthy and honest about everything you say.
Some people still don’t understand what plagiarism is. If you aren’t sure, and don’t assume that you know, please read more about what plagiarism is. It’s simply not okay to use other people’s work without asking, crediting, and/or paying for the privilege. That includes photographs, art work, blog posts, articles on the news, and so forth. When you write something or have it written, run it through a plagiarism checker like Copyscape or Grammarly.
Don’t Spam Anyone
Many blogs are often sent automatically to email subscribers. Be sure to use a double opt-in form for newsletter subscribers and explain that they will receive blog updates, and then ensure that your blogs themselves can’t be considered spam. Monitor the comments on your blog for spam to help protect your visitors from those who would harm them.
Disclose Financial Relationships
If you have been paid to provide a particular review, or you will receive income if your readers click through to buy something from a particular review, it is important that you disclose it openly. There is nothing wrong with earning money on your blog and there is no reason to hide it. Disclose everything and be transparent.
Be Willing to Admit Mistakes
It happens. You try out a product or service and love it, but maybe you didn’t dig deep enough and did not realize they had terrible customer service, or were unscrupulous in other ways. It’s okay to come out and say so later and admit that you made a mistake. The more open you are about your imperfections, the more people will trust you.
Even if you are calling out another blogger or business owner about something you disagree with, it is important to do so in a professional, respectful manner. There is never a reason to be nasty or rude to anyone. If someone makes a comment you do not like on your blog, remember – people are watching to see how you will react. Keep it respectful even when others don’t.
Allow Contrary Comments and Feedback
Receiving criticism is hard. It can hurt very badly and for some of us, even make us cry. But, it’s important to allow disagreements and contrary opinions on your comment streams. Delete spam, but let other people have their own views; it won’t take away from yours.
If you’ve recommended a product that turned out to be a dud, and the owners of the product will not stand up and do what’s right, it’s up to you to do something to make it better. Take responsibility for your words, too. If you said something wrong, or that was taken wrong, step back and admit your part in any problems. Whether your blog is written by you only, ghost written, or you have rewritten PLR on the blog, it’s your responsibility to fact check, check for plagiarism and ensure the truth of all the content you distribute.
Even if you don’t want to sign the pledge, there is something to be said about blogging with integrity. The main point being that you will feel good about your business, you’ll be proud to tell people what you do, and you’ll feel good about every penny you earn and every piece of content that you put out into the world.
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