Blogging Myths. This series explores the common misconceptions that many bloggers and readers have about blogging. If you're new here, you can start from the beginning of the series here.
Myth #8: Linking Back Isn't a Big Deal
A great way to grow your blog's audience is to participate in blog swaps, publish guest posts, link to blog parties, and mention other bloggers' work. A great way to grow your network is to be a gracious blogger. I could easily argue that your network is just as important as your audience--they are the folks who will be supporting you, sharing with you, and promoting you.
One of the best ways to show others that you are a gracious blogger is to link back when you feature another blogger's project, join a blog party, or host another blogger's post on your own site.
Why should I link back?
It's surprising how many new bloggers do not realize that using another blogger's words, photos, or projects without linking back to the source is akin to plagiarism. To a blogger, copying a post/photo/project and displaying it on your own blog (without mentioning that it's not yours) is the same as copying words from a reference work and typing them up in a high school or college term paper. It would earn you an F in school, and it will earn you an F in the blogosphere.
But no one will ever notice if I "borrow" her content or photos.
It would be easy to think that way. But it's not "borrowing." It's stealing. And, yes, you might get away with it. But more likely than not, someone will realize that they've seen that photo or read that post elsewhere, and it can land you in hot water. ProBlogger wrote about different courses of action to take when someone steals your blog's content; everything from contacting the site in question's hosts and even taking legal action. Do you really want to risk your reputation to get a few comments, Followers or some ad clicks?
It's a sad thing to know that there are bloggers out there building their sites by taking advantage of other bloggers' hard work.
What does "linking back" mean?
Linking back is the same as providing a reference to a body of work or an author in a term paper. When you feature another blogger's photo or project on your blog, or when you link to a blog party on another site, proving a link with the blogger's name, the blog name, or the title of the blog party within your post is the most widely accepted way of acknowledging the other site.
(Rambling Side Note): I know that linky parties can be a very volatile subject in the blogosphere so I will just give you my own opinion and allow that other people may feel differently. I know that if I choose to link one of my posts to Sarah's Before and After party over at Thrifty Decor Chick, I will most likely get hits from her site, even if they don't all result in comments or new Followers. She's also going to be hosting my link from here to eternity. Wouldn't I want to return the same favor by directing my readers specifically to her party? I could list her blog's main url on a separate "link party page" on my site, but what are the chances that my readers are going to take the time to click to my link party page, randomly find Sarah's blog, and then scroll through months of posts on her blog to find the appropriate party?
Gracious bloggers endear themselves to hostesses when they read and follow through with the guidelines for each party that they opt to participate in. Adding your blog posts to numerous blog parties without properly recognizing the sources of your traffic is not plagiarism, but it is using another site for your own gain without acknowledging how your blog earned that traffic. If it takes you too long to link to each specific blog party, then perhaps you need to evaluate the number of parties you are linking to.
How to link back?
Linking back is very simple. I love this photo from Centsational Girl's recent post about her Master Bedroom Update, and I want to share it with you all:
I want to be sure my readers know where I found this photo so I will first copy and paste the url of the blog post I found the photo in:
Next, somewhere in my blog post I'm going to insert a text link back to Kate by clicking on the blue "Link" tab in my blog post editing dashboard:
A box will pop up for me to enter the text I want to appear on my blog as well as a space for the link's url:
After I click "OK" and move the text where I want it to go, this is what it will look like:
Just a couple of clicks and I gave Kate the proper credit for her beautiful photography!
Please be considerate when you browse the blogosphere. Bloggers are more likely to want to work with you when you make the extra effort to give credit where credit is due.
Have you ever experienced the frustration of seeing your work on another site without crediting you?
55 minutes ago