Depending on what you blog about, the creation of certain policies on your blog may not have occurred to you. Darren Rowse, the author of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog and creator of ProBlogger, points out that oftentimes bloggers do not think about creating policies until some sort of incident brings to light that they have been missing. This week’s assignment in our 31 Weeks to Building a Better Blog Challenge will, hopefully, help us all avoid that mistake.
The Types of Policies Your Blog May Need
Every blog is different and, therefore, has different needs, but the policies below are some of the “standards” described by Rowse in his book that are among the most common needs among all bloggers.
A Copyright Policy
Bloggers can have some copyright notice on their blog (using a free Creative Commons license can help readers know how to attribute your work to you), but the “policy” we are discussing this week is more about the types of material you will post on your blog. If you accept guest posts on your blog, perhaps you want a policy that states that you will be checking the originality of the work on a site like Copyscape before accepting it for publication. Another policy you may want to consider is how you attribute the images you post on your blog.
A Comments Policy
This is a great example of the type of policy no one thinks of until they need one. Every blogger who allows comments wants their readers to interact, but there comes a time in nearly every blogger’s career when an unwelcomed, unfriendly comment makes them think twice about their open door policy. What types of comments do you want to see on your blog, what kind would you like to delete (or not approve) if they show up? This is where your comments policy comes in: think about your feelings about swearing in the comments, self-promotion or product promotion and how commentors treat each other. Don’t wait until the problem arises – write a policy today!
An Email Management Policy
If you are new to blogging, you are probably just answering every reader email you receive, but as those contacts start to increase, you will probably want to set some guidelines. Maybe you’ll still answer every email. but you’ll need more time (i.e., all emails will be answered within seven days), or maybe you’d prefer some questions or comments were made directly in your comments section, rather than privately through email. Every blogger has their own timeline and style for dealing with this. Think about what works best for you and let your readers know, but remember, nothing is permanent – you can change your policy if you find it is not working for you!
Other Policy Considerations
- Content Acceptance Policy – for those who accept guest posts, you should definitely consider a submissions policy on your blog – what content are you looking for, what formats will you accept, how and when you will contact the contributor in reference to their submission, et cetera.
- Advertising and Promotional Policy – If you have ad space up for grabs on your page, then you’ll definitely want to create a policy allowing readers and possible clients know what types of promotions you are willing to display on your blog and under which circumstances.
- A Review Policy – This is similar to the content acceptance policy. If you are a reviewer, you need to let people know what kind of content (books, movies, products, etc.) you are willing to do reviews of on your blog as well as how you wish to be contacted and what type of review they should expect (in terms of time frame of posting, length and exposure of the post).
If you already have policies in place on your blog, this is the week for you to review them. As you do so, consider the following:
- Do these policies reflect my current philosophy?
- Can people find these policies easily?
- Are they useful and easy to understand for those that need them?
- Are these policies in line with my current goals?
If you are new to the world of blog policies, then think about which one(s) you need to implement and find a place to post them on your blog that is easy to find (i.e., a separate page for policies, the sidebar). As you are designing them and deciding on the wording, search around the blogiverse for a little bit to see how some of your favorite bloggers approach this.
NEW YEAR’S SPECIAL!!!
Darren Rowse is in the Holiday Spirit! Up until Jan. 1st he is offering up all of his blogging books for 50% off including 31 Days to Build a Better Blog! So, if you’ve been waiting for a price cut before investing in your own e-copy of the challenge we’ve been going through, then this might be your chance!