Blogging with Integrity – Building an Online Business You Can Be Proud Of
There was a movement aimed at blogging with integrity started in 2009 which laid out a basic standard that bloggers should follow. The website blogwithintegrity.com is now an archive site as “the personal and professional paths of the founders have moved in other directions”. However, the intent it encapsulates is still totally relevant today.
I love the idea, but then I would. At different times in my career, I have had to take personality profile tests and I always score almost off the scale for integrity! My belief in fairness and honesty shapes my total approach to business and always has.
So I think it’s worth taking a look at the principles behind the movement again, with thanks and credit to Blog with Integrity.
The Golden Rules of Blogging with Integrity
If you aren’t earning a million dollars yet, don’t tell people you are. It’s okay to admit that you’re learning too 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.The best way to ensure that your audience trusts you is to be honest about everything you say. Click To Tweet
Learn How to Protect Yourself
Copyright is legal protection of a created work, also called intellectual property (IP). It means your blog posts are protected as well as other content you create for your blog — like ebooks, music, videos, software, podcasts, and photos — provided that you’re the creator of it. Although ideas can’t be copyrighted, the way they’re expressed can be protected.
This article will provide you with some really useful information on Copyright and DMCA, which stands for the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, a US law that protects digital copyrights. Read more at: https://blogging.com/copyright-dmca/.
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, artwork, 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.
I was alerted to the fact that one of my links looked as if it had been taken down by Melissa Holmes, Content Co-ordinator at WhoIsHostingThis?. Thanks, Melissa! I’ve included a link to their student guide and also included the very useful infographic they’ve published on plagiarism in this blog.
Don’t Spam Anyone
You might send your blog automatically to email subscribers. Be sure to use a double opt-in form for newsletter subscribers and explain that they will receive blog updates. This way you’ll ensure that your blogs can’t be considered to be spam. Monitor the comments on your blog for spam to help protect your visitors from those who would harm them.Monitor comments on your blog for spam to help protect your visitors from those who would harm them. Click To Tweet
Disclose Financial Relationships
If you are paid to provide a particular review or will receive income if your readers click-through to buy something from that review, you should 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.Disclose everything and be transparent. Click To Tweet
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 realise 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.The more open you are about your imperfections, the more people will trust you. Click To Tweet
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.Delete spam, but let other people have their own views; it won’t take away from yours. Click To Tweet
If you’ve recommended a product that turned out to be a dud, and the owners won’t stand up and do what’s right, then 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 the wrong way, step back and admit it. Whether your blog is written by you, 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. This is at the heart of blogging with integrity.
Even though the Blog with Integrity movement is no longer active, I believe there are a lot of positive aspects to blogging with integrity. The main ones being that you will feel good about your business, be proud to tell people what you do, feel good about every penny you earn and every piece of content that you put out into the world. That has to be worth doing.