Warning: Avoid the 7 deadly sins of blogging

Do you rant about others? Covet your competitor’s Klout score? Stop it. Read on for tips to right your wrongs.

Being human, bloggers have a propensity to commit blogging sins. But as a blogger, you have a responsibility to your readers, fellow bloggers and the public. While there’s no professional certification, bloggers have an implicit agreement to act within ethical guidelines.

Here are the seven deadly sins of blogging.

1. Wrath: Thou shall not rant about other people.

While blogs provide an easy-to-use publishing platform, you shouldn’t set up a blog for the sole purpose of complaining about an individual or business. Before you let the words stream straight from your brain to your fingertips, consider the long-term impact.

If you want to rant, put your ideas on paper and let them sit for at least 24 hours before you revisit them. Ensure there’s a foundation for your complaints because you don’t want to appear hot tempered on social media platforms. It’s much better to err on the side of caution because once it’s on the Internet, it’s there forever.

2. Greed: Thou shall not be a company shill.

Today’s savvy consumers can smell false advertising or an endorsement a mile away. This means your blog shouldn’t be a channel to push your firm’s product. While the allure of a few quick hits seems worthwhile, what will happen to your online influence once your audience sees you as just a company or affiliate mouthpiece?

3. Sloth: Thou shall not post only when the spirit moves you.

As a blogger, it’s important to have a consistent publishing schedule so readers know when to show up for new content. While you have the freedom to blog whenever you wish, you’ll miss the free spirit segment that doesn’t want to commit to RSS and email. Here’s input regarding blog post frequency.

4. Pride: Thou shall not blog only about yourself or your organization.

Get over yourself. Your readers don’t care about the minutia of your life or business. With limited attention spans readers ask, “What’s in it for me?”

It’s fine if you decided to write a personal journal focused on the details of your life, but understand that unless you’re a celebrity, chances are the public won’t be interested in your content. To be a successful blogger, you must focus on your readers’ interests and needs.

5. Lust: Thou shall not steal other people’s content or ideas.

In addition to being wrong, it’s illegal. You must attribute any form of intellectual property—including but not limited to text, quotes, photographs, video, audio, research and other content—to the creator.

This also applies to other bloggers’ designs or graphic elements. Further, linking to the source of the idea or content is at the heart of blogging and can cause influential people to notice you.

6. Envy: Thou shall not covet other bloggers’ social media sharing numbers, quantity of reader comments, or social media influence scores.

Every blogger wants recognition on social media platforms. Strong content and engagement across social media helps you build a following.

One way to encourage comments on your blog is to comment on other people’s blogs and to respond quickly to comments on your own. The challenge is interacting with your readers and responding to their comments so they know you appreciate their input. “Good comment” isn’t enough. You must think about your response just as your readers did about theirs.

7. Gluttony: Thou shall not stuff blog posts with empty content and marketing-speak.

On blogs and social media in general, it’s important to have a human voice. Consumers don’t want to read posts that sound like they were written by a voiceless computer. To increase your credibility and engagement, make sure that your blog posts and related content sound like something a real person would say.

Whether you are explicitly committing any of these sins or not, it’s useful to go through your blog to determine where you may not have been as good as you could have been.

Are there any other blogging sins you would add to this list?

Heidi Cohen is president of Riverside Marketing Strategies. Follow her on Twitter @HeidiCohen.

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