As a blogger, you have some level of expertise to share with your readers. Many of your post topics might come from your own personal experiences. But sometimes, bloggers might want to write about something outside of their knowledge. Whether it’s information that you’ve studied or statistics that you couldn’t have come up with on your own, you might need to use someone else’s expertise to help fill out your entries.
There’s nothing wrong with using an outside source in your blog posts. In fact, that’s the reason why bloggers and writers share their knowledge in the first place – so that you, as the reader, can find something useful from it.
So go ahead and use other articles and posts in your blog post. Just be careful that you aren’t plagiarizing.
How Do Bloggers Plagiarize?
If you’ve been a student in the past few years, you’re already very aware of the dangers of plagiarism. Students who copy the work of another published source are severely punished. Plagiarism has become one of the biggest crimes a student can commit.
Plagiarism is generally defined as passing off another person’s ideas or work as your own. Copying and pasting text is absolutely plagiarism. For a blogger, using someone else’s recipes, crafts, parenting techniques, or opinion on news and current events and pretending that you came up with them is plagiarism.
Why is Plagiarizing Bad?
Plagiarizing is the height of poor netiquette for bloggers. If you are caught plagiarizing on your blog, it could ruin your reputation in the eyes of your audience and your fellow bloggers.
If you aren’t worried about the morality of stealing from another person, worry about this: Google looks for pages that are too similar to each other and only gives SEO credit to the page that was published first. Google wants to reward only original, valuable content – if you plagiarize, your posts will fit neither of those two criteria.
If you steal someone else’s work, you’re also robbing yourself of a networking opportunity. A well-cited link to another blog can create a relationship and SEO credibility for both of you.
Bottom line: plagiarizing is not worth it for bloggers.
How Do Bloggers Avoid Plagiarism?
The best way to not plagiarize is to cite someone else’s work. Reference the blog post and add a link to it. Create citations at the end of your entries to your sources.
Unfortunately, there is no uniform way that bloggers can cite their sources. For many bloggers, simply adding a link is enough. APA (American Psychological Association), MLA (Modern Language Association), and the Chicago Manual of Style all have formats for citing blog posts; these three citation styles are generally used by professionals or students. Bloggers can choose to follow those citations, but are not required to.
The most important part of citations, no matter how you decide to give credit to your sources, is consistency. Use the same format in each blog post. You can update how you source information every so often, but try to decide on a method now and stick to it.
Another idea to avoid plagiarizing is using guest posts. If you need another blogger’s expertise on your blog, invite them to write a post that you can publish. Search FreeGuestPost.com’s directories for guest posts by experts on every subject.
Bailey, Jonathan. “Why Plagiarizing On Your Blog is Always a Bad Idea.” http://performancing.com/why-plagiarizing-on-your-blog-is-always-a-bad-idea/. (3 Dec. 2013).