How to Admit to a Mistake on a Blog - dummies

How to Admit to a Mistake on a Blog

By Amy Lupold Bair, Susannah Gardner

If you make a mistake on your blog, admit it. Apologize, if necessary. Above all else, don’t try to deny it or hide it, that makes things worse.

Mistakes, big and little, are inevitable and upset people, but you can do a great deal to help yourself and your credibility by how you handle the mistake after you or your readers discover it.

In general, most bloggers try to avoid editing posts after they publish those posts. Sometimes, however, you need to correct the original post when you make a factual or grammatical error. Fortunately, bloggers have evolved ways to indicate corrections in blog posts, such as using strikethrough text on the original error and following it with the correction, like this:

President Bill Clinton played his saxophone on The Arsenio Hall Show.

Blogger Darren Barefoot uses this technique on his blog. He corrects a grammatical error that changes the meaning of a sentence. Other bloggers use italics or bold, or make notes at the top or bottom of the blog post, to make these kinds of corrections. The strikethrough style, however, has the advantage of letting you indicate the original error clearly.

An example of how to manage a mistake in the blog What do You Call This Stuff?

Making a correction while retaining the error is best (unless the error was libelous or is causing legal trouble). Try to avoid simply changing the text as though the mistake never existed.

You can handle updates that you want to make to a blog post in two ways:

  • Expand on your original post: If you change your mind about something, or simply need to expand on what you first said, you may want to do so in the original blog post, instead of starting a new post. Updating the original blog post ensures that readers see your original post at the same time as the update.

    For very important updates that change the intention or meaning of a post, Darren Barefoot posts the update at the end of the original post labeled UPDATE. In this case, the update expands on the original post by pointing out new resources. Some bloggers preface the new content with the acronym ETA (which stands for Edited to Add).

    A blog post with an update at the end to indicate any changes or mistakes that were made.

  • Start a new post: When you really mess up, you might also choose to add a new blog post that explains what went wrong and how you might be able to avoid similar mistakes in the future (assuming that’s possible!) or that just clarifies the whole situation.

    You don’t always need to go this far, but if it helps clear the air, why not? Plus, you can use the extra post to apologize if you need to.

    If you start a new post to explain a mistake, link to the old post and also go into the old post to create a link to the new one so all your readers get a chance to see all the details.