Develop Guidelines for Blogs with Multiple Contributors - dummies

Develop Guidelines for Blogs with Multiple Contributors

By Melissa Culbertson

If you have more than one regular contributor on your blog, having a style guide becomes infinitely more important. You want your content to match your blog design, but keeping that consistency becomes harder when you’re not the only person writing. When you have a style guide to share as a starting point for guest bloggers, you can bring new contributors up to speed faster.

Here are some extra guidelines to consider including for a blog with multiple writers: Some of these guidelines might not relate directly to blog design, navigation, or formatting, but they all contribute to consistency — and, in some cases, the reputation of your blog’s brand.

  • Title guidelines: Outline the length of a blog post title or any special ways that contributors should write them. You may even provide suggestions and examples for writing a strong blog post title.

  • Limits to linking back to the contributor’s own blog: Guest bloggers benefit from writing as a contributor partly because they can add links to their own blogs within their guest posts. So that your contributors don’t get carried away, though, you may want to impose limits to how many times in a blog post they can link back to their own blog (or at least mention to use good judgment).

  • Writing rules: These rules aren’t for you — you don’t need to be reminded — but they are for your guest bloggers because not everyone writes the same way. When working with multiple contributors, your styles should be mentioned so no one has to spend time editing all blog posts to be the same.

    For example, people who learned to type on a typewriter will often use two spaces after a period instead of one, so you might need to remind writers to use only one space. Or, you might mention whether to use a comma after “and” in a serial list (“red, white, and blue” versus “red, white and blue”).

  • Formatting tips for author bios: If your contributors need to stick to a certain word count for layout purposes, remind them to include links to some of their social media platforms and any other tips you want to provide on how to structure their author bios.

  • Original content rules: Tell your contributors whether you allow them to republish content already published on another blog or website.

  • Caution words: Outline certain words or phrases that you don’t want to be used on your blog. For example, you may not want bloggers to use profanity, or there may be expressions (or even entire topics) you don’t want used on your blog.

  • Do Not Mentions: Do Not Mentions are links that you don’t want contributors to include in their blog posts. You may not want them to reference a business that you don’t trust or a website that sells a product you wouldn’t recommend.

  • Recommended Resources: On the flipside of the Do Not Mentions, you can list trusted resources to link to or places to gather research. Having these resources handy might also encourage contributors to link to these sites.