From Oh My! Themes

Ethical Guidelines for Blogging

ethical guidelines for bloggers

Blogging seems simple enough! But did you know that you could get in legal trouble for blogging, or at least risk angering someone you admire? Consider some basic blogging ethics and understand the legal issues with blogging. Not only do you want to keep things legal, but you want your readers to trust and respect you. Here are some things to think about.

Copyright and credit

If you’re able to write all the content for your blog, and create all the graphics and take all the photos, you will be in the clear as far as copyright infringement goes. A great side effect of all this diligence is that your blog will shine for the hard work you’re putting into it.

Not everyone has the skill and the time to create every last bit of content from scratch. If you don’t, make sure you’re using images correctly. Your only legitimate ways to gather images for your blog are:

  1. Create the photo or graphic yourself
  2. Use paid or free stock photography with an appropriate license
  3. Get permission from the content creator to re-use their work

Just because someone posted an image on their own site or on social media doesn’t mean it can be posted anywhere. If you will be posting images that you didn’t create, you need to have the right to do that.

When in doubt, if you’re putting any kind of content on your blog that you haven’t created yourself, you should both ask the creator for permission, and credit that person in your blog post.

If you’re re-using written content, it’s usually okay to insert an attributed quote into your text (and even better if you link back to the source). It’s not okay to re-print someone else’s entire article without permission.

If your post is based off of the original idea of someone else’s, share the credit and mention the inspiration in your post.

Truth and opinion

You may not think of yourself as a journalist, but as a blogger, you are responsible for earning your readers’ trust. You need to be clear about what is fact and what is your opinion. When speaking of others, be sure that you’ve verified what you’re writing about them. Libel is a real thing that you can get in legal trouble about.

Be transparent with your readers about what is editorial and what is advertising. Are you sharing affiliate links? Did you receive payment or get free product to blog about a certain topic? Readers need to know if they’re getting your unbiased opinion, or if your writing is affected by a relationship with an advertiser.

Giveaways and contests

Before you go wild promoting your blog or business with giveaways and contests, read up on how to do these legally. Your innocent blog giveaway may be an illegal lottery in some states. If your prize is worth enough, there will be tax concerns you need to think about.

This article gives a brief overview of how to keep your contests legit:

But Everyone Else is Doing It: Why There are So Many Illegal Social Media Contests

Marketing and spam

When promoting your blog, make sure that you do so tastefully, and steer clear of anything spammy. This means not sending unsolicited emails, not posting inappropriately about your business in public forums, and not forcing advertisements on people who aren’t looking for them.

Even in your own spaces (your blog, your social media accounts), remember that people want value from you, not an endless stream of ads.

Privacy and policies

Always respect your readers’ privacy. This means keeping their email address private, and if you collect any data about them, you shouldn’t share this information with others, or use this information inappropriately. Your emails must be opt-in, and you can’t share your email lists with other people or companies.

Make some policies for your blog and be sure to share them with your readers! What is your comments policy, privacy policy, terms and conditions for use of your site? These don’t need to be pages and pages of legalese, but could instead be a few sentences by your comments box, or a promise next to your email opt-in that you won’t share email addresses with other companies.

Did you know that the comments people write on your blog posts are not yours to use? By default, they are copyrighted by the comment poster. If you want to use that wording elsewhere on your site or in your marketing materials, you’ll need permission. You can get this permission in advance by having a comments policy stated on your site.

More help with your blog

This is a brief overview of topics to think about. If you blog, I urge you to spend some time on Google learning more about blogging ethics and legalities.

This post kicks off a series on the Aeolidia website about starting a blog for creative businesses. Upcoming posts will discuss whether you should have a blog, share the steps to take to start a blog, give you a huge list of ideas of what to blog about, and cover common blogging mistakes I see.

Take a moment now to subscribe to my newsletter, so you won’t miss the next posts:

Get more tips on blogging

Since we’re talking ethics here, I had better mention that I will keep your email address completely private, and will not share it with others or use it for anything but to send you my newsletter!

Do you have a blog? Are you thinking of starting a blog? What questions do you have about blogs for business, or blogs on ecommerce sites? Please share in the comments. I’d love to offer some personalized tips.

Be ethical inquirers this March with #OMHG

Ethics Explorers: OMHG's 5th Annual Ethical Inquiry

Every March OMHG explores ethics – from keeping our handmade community safe, reporting on the ethics of Pinterest, how to ethically pitch bloggersthe future of handmade, protecting your IPfighting infringement, registering trademarks, and so much more in the archive. Since it is now Ethics Awareness Month and National Craft Month, for our 5th year we’re becoming ethical inquirers digging into the ethics of handmade and the creative community.

No communities, companies, or creative folk act with integrity 100% of the time. Regardless of the person, craft or industry, ethics are a practice that take constant work, learning, and peer accountability. Unlike lots of industries handmakers and creative entrepreneurs don’t have a set standard of ethics, conduct or accreditation, or any real method of reporting ethical problems. This has left us often taking matters into our own hands and making things public in blog posts and social media, privately trying to figure out the best options, or just keeping quiet. The trouble with this is unless people are willing and able to speak up together all sorts of things might be hiding in the dark. So put on your headlamps and bust out the magnifying glasses – ethics don’t need to lack compassion or be painfully boring – looking at the hard stuff means we love our community and want to keep us all accountable when we make choices that cause harm.

This month we’re inviting you to help us find, and shine a light on, the ethical trouble spots in our industry and community. Fill out this simple survey, share your thoughts, invite your creative comrades to join in and become ethical inquirers together! 

*If you are reading this post by email or RSS be sure to visit OMHG to submit your survey*

Thank you for being willing to dig into the tough stuff and be part of our 5th annual ethics exploration! Join our community for the head + heart + hands to support our work, join us every Thursday on Twitter to talk ethics with #OMHG or check back during March to read all our Ethics Explorers posts.

{Match + Maker} Round 3: Australia – Italy – Tokyo

Match + Maker | Oh My! Handmade

It is time for the last round of Match + Maker! As a community we spent February pairing up makers and making matches to help us all connect and create. Meet friends from Hong Kong to Halifax in Round 1, San Francisco to Quebec in Round 2, & makers from all over the world today. Pack your bags, we’re visiting Moldova, Italy, Australia, Canada, Tokyo, UK, and the USA!

How to Play Match + Maker:

  1. Visit Match + Maker Round 1 and Round 2 to make new friends by following each other, reaching out on social media, or by email to say hi or arrange a meet up if you find a local match.
  2. Pair people up by suggesting a match in the comments or make an introduction by email or social media!

Match + Maker | Oh My! Handmade

Wanted Creative Partner in Crime to Take over the World!

Janet Walker | @best2KiS Email | West Midlands, UK

About: Creative designer. Affiliate marketer. Founder, editor of Best2KeepitSimple.com, A Handmade Business supporter. Multi-Passionate mom & a mean smoothie maker.

Seeking: A Creative person with big ideas, To discuss, share, build, grow, support, motivate all our projects|goals to make them happen. B Trustworthy, Honesty & Real.

Loves: My family. Building a great foundation for my sons. Reading, Meeting new creative people. Helping others. Being grateful and happy.

Makes: I make it easier for creatives | handmade’s biz owners to market their businesses online. I design paper products from greeting cards to flyers, booklets. I create websites.

Match: Support fellow creatives in business. Willing to collaborate. Wants honest real discussions.
Optional: A mom. Aged 35+. Shy Must: Luv a laugh. Crazy in a good way. Make Stuff.

New online marketplace for exotic handcrafts

Paige | FBEmail | Australia

About: Former jetsetter & now a new Mum aiming to launch a new online marketplace showcasing handcrafts from around the world.

Seeking: I’m seeking artisans who make crafts that are traditional or typical for their part of the world. Items should be handmade and materials should be sourced locally where possible.

Loves: Travel and learning about this diverse world we live in. Meeting people from different places. Helping those less-fortunate. Freedom to educate my children outside the typical classroom structure.

Makes: New friends & creative connections across the globe, a community for like-minded artisans.

Match: Co-operative, interesting, open to new ideas, fresh, fun, helpful.

Retired Teacher Seeking Crafty Friends

Marsha Roy | Email | Lake Placid, NY, USA

About: I am a retired family and consumer science teacher of 34 years – now I spend my time sewing, quilting, scrapbooking, card making, and many other crafts. I also teach children and adults to sew.

Seeking: Anyone who shares my love of sewing and crafting.

Loves: Family, church, quality crafting, traveling.

Makes: I tackle most anything that catches my eyes – I am always up for new projects. I have a long arm machine and have not learned to use it.

Match: Someone who has time to craft and share with someone else that love of crafting.

Lonely Creative Seeks Engagement and Inspiring Folk

Hannah Teej | @lemonhive | FB |  Email | Ontario, Canada

About: Loves pens, creating and making stuff in rural Canada. Sounds you’ll hear from me: scribble-scribble, click-click and swoosh-swoosh (paint brushes make that noise!).

Seeking: Engaging conversation and creative connections. Those open to becoming part of a blogging circle of friends and brainstorming. Always brainstorming!

Loves: Vaguely: Creativity, potential, efficiency, improvement, social change. Specifically: Etsy, stationary, micron pens, assisting others, knitting.

Makes: I make illustrations. Whimsical images and details with swooshes and embellishments. I want to make collages, stationery, and do a craft show.

Match: Someone creative, or not. I’m open. Must like tea.

Chicagoan designer trying to break into the urban maker scene

Liz Clark | Email | Chicago, IL, USA

About: Hi! I’m a graphic designer who specializes in branding and packaging. I also take on lots of free-lance projects and the occasional pro-Bono for causes that are close to my heart.

Seeking: I would love to find a maker mentor! Someone who can show me the ropes, introduce me to a community, and be a sounding board for my project ideas.

Loves: My sweet husband, friends, fam, & faith! Doing work that matters is important to me. I especially love working with non-profits or creating projects that speak to social issues. Also eating & Paleo!

Makes: I make all sorts of print & web graphics, but I want to expand my skills- I am currently taking ceramics classes & want I to get into that big time! My other fave hobby: photography- critics welcome!

Match: An experienced maker or potter willing to share their expertise, or anyone wishing to collaborate! I know I can’t be the only maker-wannabe in Chicago 🙂

Looking for friends to share about craft

Maria Gomes | @bunnycrafterEmail | Pergine Valsugana, Italy

About: Hi, I’m Maria and I’m a crafter and blogger at Bunny Crafter. I love everything about craft but it’s a little bit lonely when I don’t find other people near me to share.

Seeking: Everyone who is interested in sharing about craft and make friendship, near or far.

Loves: Family, animals and nature, respect, and knowledge.

Makes: I want to open my own little studio where I can gather with my group of craft friends, make workshops, and sell my creations.

Match: Someone friendly and willing to talk for hours about craft and more.

Easily distracted beadaholic seeks chatty crafter pals

Helen | @KittyBallistic | FBEmail | Cheshire, United Kingdom

About: Hello, I’m Helen. I live in Cheshire in the United Kingdom. I mostly make jewellery which I sell on Etsy, but I dabble in other crafts. I used to make felt characters but have lost my sewing mojo.:(

Seeking: I would love to chat to local jewellery makers, maybe even meet up at some point. However, I am happy to chat to crafters from all over the world.

Loves: I am mad on animals, particularly cats, goats, alpacas and giraffes. I am also developing a bee obsession (I neeeed my own hive). I have a daft sense of humour, so love to share silly jokes.

Makes: I make bead jewellery at the moment, but am starting to work with gemstones and metal (hit it with a hammer!). I also want to get back into making my felt characters. And I make chocolates too…

Match: I’d like someone who has a similar daft sense of humour (see my FB page and blog), and who I can share ideas with. Must be chatty and an animal lover.

Looking for a Guiding Hand

Charlotte | Email | United States

About: I am just starting my journey to begin a site and selling. I enjoy working with a variety of material but my favorite is paper crafting followed by fabric.

Seeking: Hoping to find a match to guide and advise. To exchange creative ideas. To support and encourage each other.

Loves: What I value most is family and friends.

Makes: I enjoy creating paper and fabric projects centered around holidays, especially Christmas.

Match: Is willing to share, laugh, and enjoy crafting.

Tree Huggin’ Artist in the Southwest

Simona LaMotte | Email | Hereford, AZ

About: My art business is in its infancy although I have been a creative pretty much my whole life. I am an artist and an entrepreneur who lives conciously and values the environment in all its forms.

Seeking: Artists, carpenters, metal smiths. Anyone who is brave enough to put their creative visions out there for the world to see.

Loves: My yoga practice, environmental practices, & relationship with my family shape the person I am on a daily basis. They feed my passion &lift me up to pursue my purpose. ❤️ interior design & Starbucks.

Makes: I create home decor pieces (hand painted sings, wall hangings, etc.) using reclaimed materials. I also paint on canvas. My style is anywhere from shabby chic to Buddhist-inspired pieces.

Match: I’d like to talk with others about their business practices. I really just want to surround myself with those who live conciously and are living their passions.

Tokyo Food & DIY Blogger Looking for Creative Friends

Alyssa Wiegand | @alyssaandcarla | FB |  Email | Tokyo, Japan

About: I’m an American expat living in Tokyo. I’m a food and DIY blogger, currently writing a cookbook and teaching cooking classes in English.

Seeking: Creative people who love crafts and/or food. People who are open to taking classes, craft dates, grabbing lunch or coffee, and just looking for inspiration in the everyday.

Loves: Creativity, collaboration, friendliness, open-mindedness, desire to learn new skills and teach others.

Makes: Paper crafts, general crafting, interested in learning to crochet/knit and expand my limited sewing skills, love cooking.

Match: English speaking (doesn’t have to be perfect English!), free time during weekdays.

Giving in Vancouver

Ashley G Johnson | @ash_is_magical | FB |  Email | Vancouver, BC Canada

About: Founder & Curator of The AnthropologyOf Giving, colour lover, maker in many mediums, adore fresh ocean air & amazing coffee. I believe in connecting through mindful giving.

Seeking: I’m open to supporting, collaborating, brainstorming, guiding, making, dreaming et cetera.

Loves: People; learning who they truly are, what they are passionate about & what they value. Community & helping build a healthy one and&supporting it the best I can. History, culture & traditions.

Makes: I love making a myriad of things. I would like to start a line of greeting cards and one day write a children’s book.

Match: Open minded, fun, supportive, common sensical but creative, always willing to learn.

Mail from Minu

Natalia Andreev | @nataliaandreevEmail | Moldova

About: My name is Nata. I am a journalist from Moldova. In ’14 I started a mail project, which I truly enjoy. I find the writing process a good meditation and sending a parcel of art, quite challenging.

Seeking: For someone who would like to exchange creative letters every month.

Loves: I have a strong interest in Art History. My favorite artists are Frida Kahlo and Gustav Klimt. And yes, I am a cat person!

Makes: I make “art” parcels that I send every month #aroundtheworld.

Match: Someone who would like to become my pen pal.

We travelled the world through our screens this month to meet diverse makers of all kinds! It has been a wonderful reminder that our community is global and we can connect + create with people from all over the planet without going anywhere. Don’t forget to reach out to everyone who submitted this month and say hi, ask a question, invite them to collaborate. Visit Round 1, Round 2, and Round 3 to meet our makers, expand your network, and be part of making a community where finding friends is as easy as saying hello!

If you’ve loved Match + Maker and want to make kind, creative connections all year give what you can to become a citizen of OMHG and support our community for the head + heart + hands