This article is about how to write for a blog without stepping on other people’s toes. I generally use these guidelines when writing for this blog, and they are the guidelines I use when selecting from posts other people submit. If you want to submit a post for consideration, please make sure you:
1. Write an original article – and it must remain exclusive to our blog
2. Provide a title for the article
3. Write at least 500 words
4. As the last paragraph, include a little about yourself and a link to your web site
5. If you provide a picture, you must provide a link to where you got the picture
Writing an original article
To be an original article, the article as a whole must not exist anywhere else. That means you cannot submit to me an article that you used elsewhere. It also means that you cannot submit an article that was written by somebody else, even if you change some of the wording or rearrange the text. That is plagiarism and typically a copyright infringement. If you write an original article off the top of your head, you will be copying nobody. Usually articles you write are like fingerprints, your original writing will be different, so you will have nothing to worry about. To plagiarize is to go out of your way to use somebody else’s original work.
Using facts, quotes, or pictures from other online articles
Any media, whether writing, videos, or pictures, is subject to implicit or explicit copyright protection. It is implicit when there is no notice shown. Implicit copyrights are still subject to copyright law because it is evident that the material existed on their site before yours. So if you see no notice, you still have to be concerned with copyrights. More importantly though, explicit copyrights sometimes contain instructions for proper use of the material. For instance, it may say that material can be used with permission. Or that it cannot be used. I generally stay away from material with explicit copyrights with instructions.
If you are going to use material from another website, you must properly cite and reference the site where you retrieved your material from. I generally put the website where I retrieved a picture under the picture, and the picture links to the actual location on the site. For facts and quotes taken from another article, I tend to reference the article below mine. If I use a quote, I may quote and cite the article within my blog post, but if common language is used, I just use the quote without quoting it. For instance, if I said “The share price of United Airlines is $21.75”, I would only reference the article I took that quote from at the bottom of my article since I would have said the same words as if I had written them from out of my head. I think either way would be ok with the original article writer. I know it would be ok with me.
Please note that fair use of material that is copyrighted may not include using images from another web site regardless of how it is referenced. Please get permission from the web site owner prior to using an image.
On my blog I single space and start a new paragraph at the first character on a line. As far as I’m concerned, any writing style is ok for a blog. Blogs are your personal journal where you can format as you like and say what you want, as long as it doesn’t infringe on the rights of others. So go nuts.
Submitting to my blog
I would love to use your original blog article about small business here. To have your article considered, submit a plain text or Microsoft Word document of your article to firstname.lastname@example.org. I will let you know if there are any problems to fix and or when your article will be posted to the blog.