Crushing It: A Blogging Ethics Guide

blogging ethics guide

There is a lot to learn as an avid blogger! You need to be well versed in certain ethical rules (written or unwritten) before you decide to jump in. These rules are basically certain ethics that every passionate blogger must take into consideration. This will help them to avoid any legal troubles and will also be welcomed by the blogging community with open arms. Some of the ethics related tips can help you to become a fair blogger in the community-

Consider Copyright Law

If you use information on a topic that you came across on another website or blog, you must cite the source with a mentioning of the link. A blogger must give credit for information, ideas, images, or concepts that are gain from another source. Copyright law requires that bloggers post original content and avoid plagiarism. Publish your original ideas and words, but if you conduct research to support your content you are required to cite the source.

Use of images in the blogs

Many bloggers use images in their blog posts. The original owner of an image is protected through copyright law just like music or words. Many people create a particular blog and link it with the pictures that are readily available on various sites, but this can be a violation of copyright law. An exception is linking to a product for sale when an affiliate agreement is in place. Also, images with clear permissions may be used.  There are many sites that offer images for use through a Creative Commons license. It’s best to create your own photographs and images to provide unique creative content.

Avoid becoming a spammer

Many bloggers go overboard and earn a reputation as a spammer when they unintentionally or intentionally break some blogosphere rules. The social web is the perfect platform for promoting a business or yourself, but bloggers do not respect shameful self-promoters. Be mindful of emails, don’t add people to your list who do not voluntarily sign up.  Also, make your emails meaningful, informative, and helpful as they are branding and marketing tools for you.

Create a policy that suits you

Blogging is an activity that helps you unleash your creativity and at the same time allows you to write whatever you want to. Many bloggers use their blogs to develop their writing, artistic, business, and marketing skills. Creating blog policies can help set expectations about the content you are generating. You can let your readers know that you’re developing your voice and experimenting with different formats.  Guest posts should adhere to your policies. Common guidelines include avoiding profanity, insensitive, rude or offensive comments, and creating content appropriate for all age groups.

Comments Policy

As your blogs start getting comments, there may be instances when some minor changes are required before the comments are posted online. Having a comment policy will help in avoiding hateful comments or obscenities that needs to be controlled and sometimes, deleted. Though, free speech must be promoted, but care should be taken that hurtful comments are not entertained. Most blogging platforms have features to blog spam, and tools that allow the blog owner to approve comments before posting.

Blogging is a creative, inspiring, and expansive activity.  Ethical guidelines exist to provide a positive experience for all readers.  Post original content and images whenever possible. Be respectful, professional, and articulate. Create a welcoming environment that does not offend anyone, avoid spam emails, excessive self-promotion, and guerrilla sales tactics.  An upbeat blog helps build your reader following, builds your fan base, and will help provide opportunity for branding and monetization. 


Dr. Liz Musil

I'm a shadow ally to creatives, entrepreneurs, coaches, and teachers. I create actionable content to help anyone interested in growing a sustainable, profitable virtual enterprise. My videos, articles, eBooks and courses are about business, design, entrepreneurship, and technology. What is super-satisfying to me is achieving (and helping others achieve) self-reliance and financial independence.

An online entrepreneur since 2002, I work as a coach, consultant, designer, web developer, author, and professor. I teach entrepreneurship, leadership, and design at the university level and have completed research studies on virtual leadership.

I work out of my seaside villa located on a peninsula outside of Los Angeles, with my rescue dog, Zoe.