The Benefits of Using Citations
The written rules of grammar can be flexible. There are times when you can end a sentence with a preposition, use contractions, and use slang, and it is perfectly acceptable. And it makes sense. These rules change depending on the context and placement of what you are trying to accomplish. However, there are some rules in grammar and by extension, blogging that is absolutely sacrosanct. You always start your sentence with a capital letter, and you always end it with a punctuation mark. So, where does the rule of citing your sources fall on the basic rules of writing and grammar?
When it comes to blogging, citing your sources is not only common courtesy, it is considered an absolute imperative. Especially if you are trying to create content that is both relevant and accurate. Penalties for copying and pasting other people’s content can range from being buried by search engine algorithms to possibly getting sued by the original content creator.
However, there is more to citations than simply protecting your website and dodging legal trouble. There are some actual benefits that come with citing your sources and giving credit to other contributors.
You Appear More Credible to Others
Have you ever gotten into an argument with someone at 3 AM on Facebook over something that was clearly in the wrong with their political information? Have you ever needed to write a convincing essay or blog post about something you were passionate about? What would be the one thing that you could do to solidify an argument? You cite a source.
People spread useful information for means of survival. When people spread certain information to other people, they are trusting that information to have a benefit for everyone who is able to hear it.
So, when multiple people point to a single source of information as something reliable, they are giving it credibility.
When you point to where you can get your information, and combine it with an authoritative tone, you are far more likely to win the trust, or at the least begrudging respect, of your opposition. That is because you have clearly shown that you took the time to research and understand your position before you try to establish it in an argument. People don’t respect others who don’t know what they are talking about. Especially when it comes to debate over serious and controversial topics.
You Can Make Connections
When you are crediting the people who research the topic you are writing about, you are essentially doing them a couple of favors. For starters, everyone loves recognition. Everybody, in some way, shape or form, likes the idea of their work deserving credit That sort of recognition gives people a little ego boost, and who doesn’t need that from time to time when it comes to their own accomplishments?
Also, it helps reinforce the credibility of the source you just cited.
The one thing that people love more than a small amount of recognition, is a larger amount of recognition. When you reinforce the credibility of another person’s research and hard work, you are elevating them to a standard of important knowledge. So, people will feel more than flattered when you cite them as a source.
If you get in contact with the people you cite, it can also give you a chance to establish personal connections over something you are both passionate about. Who knows? Maybe if you keep crediting and contacting your sources, you might very well land a career out of something you blogged about?
It Boosts your Web Visibility
Getting your blog/business website indexed on a search engine is the fastest way to getting it seen. However, there is a laundry list of rules and regulations that these search engines go by that determine what is relevant, and what is not. There are a few things you can do to your site to make it count towards your favor. For instance, you can format your site so it is mobile friendly. Or you can blog at least once a day for five days a week to increase your activity count. And while that alone might work, that does nothing to draw other people towards your site.
This is where citation will help you out the most. When you link out to other sites and have them link back to you as a citation, more people will naturally find your website.
Not to mention, the algorithm for search engines like Google or Yahoo will reward you for it. When it sees you linking out to other pages both outside and inside your website, that gives them a trail to follow. When you give them a trail to follow, they will take notice and see it as credibility.
How To Cite a Source
Citing a source is ridiculously easy. All you need to do is create a link to what you are talking about. So, If I was talking about Huntsville, Alabama, I would link it and it will send you to a page that will talk about the city in length. Just make sure you keep it relevant and occasionally talk about the experts who you researched in the first place, and it will be smooth sailing from there.
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Also published on Medium.