9. Stay on Topic – Relevant content is critical to any blog. Avoid the temptation to use your blog as a soapbox for unrelated content. It will confuse your readers and lessen the value of your brand.
10. Set a Consistent Pace - All blogs have periods when they go quiet (Christmastime and summer vacations are two common examples). However, it becomes difficult to follow a blog that updates continuously, then goes quiet for long periods, then updates continuously, then goes quiet, etc. A good blog sets a sustainable pace just like a marathon runner knows to pace for a long race and not a short sprint.
11. Use More than Just Words – The internet is a multimedia source. Pictures and videos can speak volumes. Take advantage of it.
12. Mix it Up – Good blogs educate. Great blogs educate, enlighten and entertain.
13. Criticism is cheap - All online communities have their own dynamics and social norms. This loose affiliation of like-minded individuals does not want to waste their time and effort on ranting blogs. Controversy can draw a crowd, but it will not keep it.
14. No Copying - It goes without saying that over time readers will ignore sites that plagiarize content. We define plagiarism as any site that copies one or more contiguous phrases or sentences without proper attribution. By the way, taking a paragraph and mixing up the ordering of the sentences is still copying.
15. Provide Proper Attribution - Proper attribution includes mentioning the source. Providing a hyperlink back to the original content is very important, particularly if content is quoted from an online source. This also applies to newsletters, such as our GenealogyInTime™ newsletter. When in doubt, link back to the home page of a website.
16. Attribution is Not the Same as Approval - Copying entire paragraphs from another website or newsletter even with attribution is a sketchy practise. This should only be done if the blog has explicit permission from the original content provider (in which case it should say so). The preferred approach is to quote a sentence or two of the original content (in an obvious fashion to show that it has been quoted) and then link back to the originating website. One exception is for content that is expected to be copied, such as a press release or other similar material.
17. Disclose All Payments – Disclose all payments from third party products mentioned in the blog. Payments can take many forms, including cash, free products, services, travel, etc. In the United States, bloggers are now required by law to make this disclosure. Unfortunately, in the past too many leading bloggers in various fields were caught writing favorable reviews about products and services without disclosing to their readers that they had received payment in the form of free products, air travel, etc. from the companies they were reviewing.
18. Share Good Sources - Good blogs are not afraid to link to other websites that have useful content. Genealogy in particular is all about sharing and giving and educating others. Readers will discount blogs that do not share their sources. In calculating the ranking of a blog, Google also discounts blogs that do not link to related sources. You only hurt yourself by not linking.
19. Share Your Success – Others want to know what is in your special sauce. It helps people to learn and it also helps to validate what makes your blog special and worth reading.
20. Inspire Others – Blogging is fun. Reading a good blog makes you want to start your own. So what are you waiting for? Start blogging.
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