A steady supply of fresh, original content is critical to online marketing success, and a big part of your web design strategy for your Calgary business. Content is a huge part of SEO, as Google prioritizes websites that offer timely, relevant information connected to the user’s search query. It’s also one of the best ways to attract people to your website, and good content is also easy to share through social media, email marketing and of course your blog. Creating content allows you to share your expertise, and build on the expertise of others as you create something new.
Building on the expertise of others is what I’m going to talk about today, because the difference between plagiarism and proper attribution can get fuzzy online. Stealing content is never worth it, and attribution benefits everyone involved.
Creating Original Content: How to Cite Sources You Find Online
Let’s start with the big one. You should never, ever copy/paste content from another source, unless you quote it and provide clear attribution. Otherwise, copying and pasting is plagiarism in its purest form. The good news is that with proper attribution, you give credit where it’s due while also strengthening your own content.
- Name, Link, Source – If you provide these three things while quoting or paraphrasing from another source, you’re in great shape. When citing outside information, include the name of the author (or company), the title of the article you’re citing, and a link to the original article.
- Direct Quotes – If you wish to quote a source directly, there are some additional considerations to add to the mix. Try to limit quotes to a few sentences at most, and be sure that you transcribe the quote accurately. The source of the quotation should always be prominently mentioned, right next to the quote itself.
- If You Don’t Know, Ask – Most people are happy to see their content cited elsewhere, because it means that they’re doing a good job creating it. If you want to cite a piece of content but are concerned by attribution or copyright issues, sending a message to the content creator is an easy way to clear things up.
- Building Authority – Yes, your content is the place to showcase your own expertise, but citing reputable sources actually increases your authority on the topic. It also works as a great opportunity to build relationships with other content creators in your niche. Citing sources makes your argument stronger, not weaker.
How to Cite Images: The Trickier Side of Content Attribution
Asking for permission is not something you’ll have to worry about too often with text, but for images it is always better to be safe than sorry. Copyright rules for images tend to be very strong, and owners of images defend their copyright vigorously. It’s worth learning how it works, because vivid, relevant images add a ton of appeal to your website.
- Establish Contact – Most people who post images online enjoy seeing their work be used, as long as you provide the right attribution. If you find an image on social media, you’ve got a ready made way to contact its creator. If you find it elsewhere, you can usually find the creator in the image properties or description, or within the image itself.
- Creative Commons – Many images available online are shared with a creative commons license, which means they can be used as long as you adhere to certain preconditions, which vary by image. Play close attention to the usage demands of the image’s owner. Images in public domain are also typically free to use, but again it’s always best to ask if you don’t know for sure.
- Copyright Matters – The big difference between images and text is that you can’t just share an image with attribution, then expect to be in the clear legally. Owners of images have more control over how their content is shared, and breaking copyright law – even without any ill intentions on your part – can quickly become a very expensive headache.
Content Creation By Emphasize Design
This may all sound a bit scary, but in my experience it’s not hard to follow the rules once you get a grasp of the basics. It’s really not so different from writing a paper during your school days. Always cite your sources, and when in doubt, ask permission. You might even make a new friend in the process!
Don’t want to worry about web content? Emphasize Design of Calgary has you covered. Our experienced online marketing team offers website design, content development, and comprehensive online marketing packages to help grow your Calgary business.