Blog posts are a form of writing where it can easily fall prey to plagiarism. You need source references to show where the information came from.
Source references are necessary to give credit to the source. It also helps to be able to provide some information but not have to go into great detail. It also shows the reader that you did your research. You need to reference or cite the other writer’s work for both of you to flourish.
You can get fired for plagiarism if you are a professional writer, which means you need source references. This article may pique your curiosity if you want to know more about blog posts and if they need source references.
Why Do You Need to Cite Sources?
The main reason why you want to cite sources in your blog is that you do not want to be a word thief.
Plagiarism is a big deal, and if you cannot come up with your original writing, or do not cite your sources, then maybe you are not much of a writer. The words may sound harsh, but it is a tale as old as journalism itself.
If you plagiarize another writer’s words, it can come across that you do not know how to put your research into your words. You need to cite sources because not only is it the right thing to do, but citing sources gives both the writer and you credit.
Using information from another source is all well and good, but you need to make sure you use source references because you need to be a truthful writer.
You need to be clear that the information you are using is not your own, and you cannot just ignore that the words came from another writer. Another reason is that plagiarism is just not classy.
There will be many situations in which you will be quoting someone else:
- Taking thoughts or ideas that you did not come up with
- Putting in an image you didn’t take without proper credit
- Quoting another writer
- Using statistics, you did not determine yourself
- Inserting a visual graphic, you did not create
If it did not come directly from your brain, you want to make sure that you use source references. Citing sources is also a great way to let the reader know that you have done your research and that you are not just making stuff up.
Citing from another source also allows you to remain objective in your writing. You state the other writer’s research, speculation, or opinion and note that it came directly from that source. This way, you do not need to explain your feelings on the matter.
Using source references in your blog article also allows you to contribute information without going into great detail. You can reference the other article and hyperlink as to say this is the basic gist of it, and you can learn more information from so and so’s article.
Also, if you are in a professional setting, you can quickly be fired for plagiarism. Plagiarism can even result in legal trouble, as you may need to pay a fine.
In certain circumstances, if you earn money by plagiarizing material, you can even get a felony guilty verdict and a jail sentence of up to ten years. You need to be careful about plagiarism, as it is a very serious matter.
There are also different ways you can cite sources in your blog.
How Do I Cite Sources in My Blog?
One of the most prevalent ways to cite a source is to paraphrase and hyperlink back to the page where the information came from.
You need to write the information in your own words and tip your hat to the other writer by highlighting a relevant word and then hyperlinking it. You can think of it as “white hat” journalism, as it is the right way to do things. Even in something like a buyer’s guide, for example, you need to cite sources if you pull from reviews.
When you include a direct quotation, you want to use quotation marks, the name of the author, and the link to the original source of information. If you are citing from a book, you should include:
- Title of book
- Their statement in quotation marks
- Page number from where the information came from and hyperlink
Whenever you borrow information that comes from another source, you must not only paraphrase but also hyperlink because if you fail to do both, it could result in you being busted for plagiarism.
How to Cite Photographs and Other Images
The way that you cite photos and images featured on your website depends on where you obtained them. You can purchase the imagery from a website like shutterstock.com. When you do this, your images become yours because now you own them.
However, while there are many free stock photo sites, if you use a source like Google Images, there are different levels of permissions on each one.
It may be OK to use certain photos, but not all of them. You may need to email the image owner to see if it is OK to use. If you are using it in a blog post or website, put the creator’s name and the link to their website.
Should I Be Using Footnotes?
Whether you use footnotes or not is up to you, but it can be helpful to the reader. Footnotes are notes at the bottom of a page that reference text pieces. Writers can use footnotes for several reasons:
- Parenthetical documentation
- Outside sources
- Copyright permissions
- Background information
Footnotes are great because they allow you to reference important information without disrupting the flow of your article.
You cannot spend all your time writing out each component contained in a source, as it would simply make your reader incredibly bored. Footnotes are in the main text with a small number beside them.
There are also places you can look to learn how to make source references more appropriately.
What About Formal Citation?
If you are interested in a more formal citation style, you may want to look at different style guides to see how it is done. It is not a requirement to look to these style guides for writing a blog post, but they can be helpful in other areas of writing, such as a research paper.
“The Chicago Manual of Style” uses footnotes quite a bit. It is a style guide that directs writers on how to reference sources. It uses footnotes for citation purposes.
“The Modern Language Association” and “The American Psychological Association” use footnotes and endnotes to refer credit to sources of any borrowed, summarized, or paraphrased material.
Both MLA and APA discourage the use of lengthy footnotes or endnotes. However, they can be used to give the readers a way to find more information concerning the subject at hand.
Whether you use any of these guides is your call. Again, using MLA, Chicago, or APA format for a blog article is unnecessary. However, these guides can be helpful when you want to learn how to give credit to a source correctly.
All blog posts need source references because they credit the writer from whom you got the information. It gives you objectivity as a writer and frees you of some responsibility for opinions or speculation.
You also need to be vigilant when it comes to plagiarism, as it is a dishonest practice and can lead to serious trouble. Using source references in your blog is the right thing to do.