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We welcome any OurPatch member to join in the conversation by providing reviews, commenting in our forums, asking or answering questions or setting up an OurPatch blog. Here are a few guidelines regarding content on OurPatch.  If you're interested in becoming an official OurPatch writer, have a look at this page.

OurPatch’s principles and values

OurPatch is an online community network that is totally focussed on delivering content and services to regional and rural Australia. Our mission is to support independent, community-driven websites grounded in country and regional Australia. In that spirit, we ask that contributors to the site adhere to the OurPatch principles:

  • Integrity: We mean what we say, so we’re cautious about only promising what we’re confident of achieving.
  • Reward: We believe in building rewarding relationships for all contributors and visitors to the site.
  • Social responsibility: We believe in being a good citizen of our business community by sharing our experience, leveraging standards, partnering and working towards the greater good.
  • Inclusion: We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community.
  • Communal effort: Our community values creative cooperation and collaboration and we believe in the power of building social capital.

Our intention is for all content on OurPatch to reflect the ethos and underlying values of the OurPatch community, so we ask you to contribute content that is:

  • Positive, engaging, outgoing
  • Down to earth
  • Fun
  • Approachable/open
  • Respectful
  • Generous
  • Actively caring
  • Resilient
  • Honest
  • Focussed on helping business connect to customers

We will not be heavy-handed about this, but OurPatch reserves the right to amend or remove content that is considered to be offensive or which breaks the law or violates the above principles and values. For more on this, please refer to our Terms and Conditions. As your mother would say, be kind to others and they will be kind to you!

Reviewing businesses on OurPatch

Please make sure you heed the following advice when compiling reviews on OurPatch (adapted from Yelp):

  • Conflicts of interest: Your reviews should be unbiased and objective. If there's any hint of a conflict, please don't post the review. For example, owners shouldn't sing the praises of their own businesses or bash their competitors, and users shouldn't comment on their current or former employers.
  • Second-hand experiences and hearsay: For example, you can't give a milk bar a bad review because your co-worker complained about his meat pie. Your reviews must be about your personal experiences, not someone else's.
  • Personal attacks: We can handle strong language, but there's no need for lewdness, hate speech and other displays of bigotry. Your friends might know when you're being funny, but all the people who read your reviews may not.
  • Relevance: Reviews aren't the place for rants about a business's employment practices, political ideologies, or other matters that don't address the core of the normal customer experience.
  • Plagiarism: Use your own words to tell us about your experience with a local business, but don't lift something from another website (which reminds us, thank you to the Yelp website; we have adapted their advice for reviewers for this section).

Blogging tips for OurPatch

As well as following the guidelines above, here are some tips on how to give OurPatch members the best community experience, which means you will make the most out of your blog (These tips, which apply to all blogs, have been adapted from other successful blogging sites such as ProBlogger -see note below on acknowledging your sources):

  • Quality matters: Use a spell-checker and keep things clear and concise. Take a look at your blog after you’ve posted it to make sure the formatting is OK. One long paragraph riddled with errors is going to turn off potential readers.
  • Be interesting: Expose your personality – write about yourself, your family, movies, books and games; post pictures. But remember that your blog is a public place so try to avoid embarrassing your readers or others.
  • Be useful: While your blog may be about you and your experiences and views, if you want people to read it you also need to be aware of your reader and create content that will add something to their lives. Give them something useful.
  • Check your facts: Even though your blog postings will be primarily made up of personal opinion, do your research well and check that your facts are accurate. Make sure you have permission to post any copyrighted items (e.g. images) to your blog, and be careful about posting or linking to items that may contain viruses.
  • Write about what you know: The best way to be interesting is to write about what you know. If you have a deep understanding of something, talk about the challenges and issues around it. Try not to rant about things you don’t understand, as you’re more likely to get embarrassed by a real expert.
  • Link, link, link: The web is built around links. When you find something interesting and relevant, link to it. You’ll be helping your readers, and you’ll generate links back to your blog.
  • Reader attention span: The typical web reader has a short attention span when it comes to reading content online; it may be as little as 90 seconds. Keep that in mind when selecting a length for your posting.
  • SEO: Search Engine Optimization experts advise that both extremely short and extremely long web pages are not ranked as highly as pages that are of a reasonable length, which generally means between 250 and 1000 words.
  • Quantity of posts: This isn’t hard and fast, but it’s believed that shorter posts allow you to write more posts and that more posts are better for generating readership via search engines.
  • Comprehensive coverage: You should write enough to comprehensively cover your topic and then stop. Long posts for the sake of them are not a wise move - but so are short ones that don’t cover the topic well.
  • Take time over your titles: Your title is a mini-advertisement for your blog, so follow these quick tips: Keep it simple (there is a 40-character limit on OurPatch to help you with this tip!); grab attention; meet a need; describe well; and use keywords and tags to help search engines find you.
  • Copyright: Acknowledge your sources, use quotation marks when you’re writing something that is not your own words, link to those who inspire your ideas or whom you quote and if you want to publish something that is longer than a few paragraphs, ask for permission first. Use your manners and you’ll also probably be within the law.

Published: Sep 4, 2008 3:11pm by mrdavidbacon

Last updated: Jun 21, 2011 12:22pm

Tags: , , , , ,

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