Remember when you were in high school english class and spent hours listening to lectures on the importance of citing your sources?  I absolutely hated writing research papers for the simple fact that I had to use parenthetical references after every idea that I found on a book or website. If there was a direct quote, immediately I had to give credit where credit was due.  If I summarized information that wasn't my own, I had to cite it.  And if I didn't follow these rules, if I fell into the trap of plagiarism, I was told my whole academic career was in jeopardy.

Perhaps you have long forgotten the rules of citing sources as it has no relevance to everyday life, but if you happen to live in a world of online publishing you might want to dust off your freshmen english composition skills.

When To Cite a Source?

  • Are you quoting somebody else?
  • Is this information that isn't common knowledge?
  • Was this thought inspired by somebody else?
  • Are you borrowing an image created by somebody else?

Why Does This Matter?

Does anyone really even read your blog; why does it matter whether or not you give credit, especially when it has just vague inspiration for your thoughts.  In short, it matters because Google matters.  Anytime somebody writes an article, links to my webpage, and I generate traffic because of that article, it improves my ranking on search engines.

Suppose by chance a prolific blogger like, Chris Brogan, read something he liked and quoted me in a post.  The more that people are referred to my website, the higher on Google my page shows up.

For a great in depth post about handling someone else's intellectual property (ie: blog posts), Adam McLane has a great article entitled, "How To Blog, Write, and Speak With Integrity."

Photo Credit: Chris_Perez23