No matter the purpose of your website, it should come as no great surprise that having a blogging element is a fantastic way to increase traffic, encourage repeated visits and show viewers that you’re staying on top of of current topics and trends. And, according to Tyree Nelson of Website Muscle, “lending credence to other reputable sources can actually boost your own credibility as well. It shows that you’re educating yourself and staying abreast of new developments in your industry, as well as providing value to your audience, regardless of the source.”
That said, there are some absolute must-dos if you’re considering reposting or sharing a column or article, important considerations aside from the obvious no-no of copying and pasting other people’s work, which, as Nelson is quick to point out, can not only get you in legal hot water but also get you penalized by that behemoth of search engines Google, which disciplines sites that duplicate content.
Here are some key points that Nelson shares with readers and clients.
• Certainly resist the urge to go verbatim and repost the entire article. Rather, Nelson suggests, “write your own brief synopsis of the article, highlighting some key points and why you found it valuable. Then cite and link back to the article.” This can also be accomplished by writing something along the lines of a “click hear to read more” hyperlink or simply mentioning the source at the beginning of your post.
• If you do use word-for-word copy, Nelson advises that you limit the duplicate content to two paragraphs or less. “If it’s more than that, you’re better off just paraphrasing the article or rewriting it in your own words,” she notes.
• Make use of block or break-out quotes, which show the reader in no uncertain terms that you’re directly quoting from another source and author. Nelson also suggests “indenting and italicizing the content, or both.”
• Always, always ask permission if you plan on reposting the entirety of someone else’s article. “Don’t simply cite the source and link back to it. And definitely don’t just post it as though it’s your own,” she cautions. Reach out to the author via email or on the comment section of their site (if they have one), be gracious and ask nicely. And, as Nelson adds, “when you do get permission to repost an article, cite the author and link back to the article, but also provide language that says you have permission to use it.”
Of course, your first priority should always be to create quality original content that is engaging and relevant. But, as Nelson also says, it’s okay to “draw inspiration from other relevant and valuable articles,” which can boost said quality and provide a nice connection between your site and others with similar themes and goals.