Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Blogging Myth #8: Linking Back Isn't a Big Deal

It's time for another round of 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?

27 comments:

Christina said...

I really appreciate this whole series...but especially this post. I didn't realize the importance of linking back until I was blogging for a few months, but now that I have hosted my own linky party for almost a year, it's something I've really realized is crucial. I appreciate your honest words about this subject...thanks!

Yvonne@StyleBurb said...

Thanks for the great information, Amanda. The times when I have been linked back to have been so exciting for me that I instantly liked that blogger - it's a "win, win" situation for all of us!

Meri @ twofive365 said...

Yes, once. But it was words and not photos. The blogger had copied and pasted almost exactly what I said (changed a couple of words, but if you read mine and then read hers, you could see that she copied) I laughed it off in my blog, I mean, I am not litigious, and like 5 people read my blog regularly and 2 of those people are family members, so it wasn't a big deal to me. lol So I made a little joke of it and linked to her blog. She sent me a scathing email claiming that she didn't copy off of me, and then made her blog private. I mean, really? Whatev. I wasn't terribly worried about it, but I might feel differently if I had a more commercially successful blog for sure.

I am a "rule follower" so I like to be absolutely sure that people get the credit when credit is due. Great post today :)

Mrs. Williamson said...

I'm a new blogger and this is a great advice!I have been linking pictures and recipes back the originals but I do type out the recipes and advices in my blog.Is that still ok?

Holly said...

I haven't been copied that I'm aware of, but I sure know the frustration of hosting a party and the participants not linking back! The street runs both ways, people!

Beth@The Stories of A2Z said...

Wonderful information Amanda and a hardy Amen!

Kim @ NewlyWoodwards said...

Yes, yes, and yes. I always feel a little perturbed when people use my images and don't give credit. It takes so much time to complete projects and blog them that it just kinda hurts. I think Pinterest is actually making this easier, as you can just embed the Pinterest code on your blog for an original link.

I try to make sure that I always link back, but my question is, do I have to get permission to do it in the first place? I hardly ever have time to do so, and I don't expect others to contact me for permission if they are giving proper credit. But, I've heard rumblings of this. Just wondering your view.

I also wonder if I can use the image URL from the host blogs or if I have to save the image and host it myself. I don't know, maybe I'm overthinking it.

Richella said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dawn said...

i've never had anything taken from my blog but it amazes me how many people do have this happen to them-great information-definitely agree-doesn't take long and it's just common courtesy-i link back whenever i use an idea/tutorial that i found on someone's blog too

staci @ lizard n ladybug said...

I always try to give proper credit. Even if I can't remember where I saw an idea/picture/recipe, I will say I can't remember. I feel like you get what you give. I'm always giving props - hopefully it translates into me getting props back :)

April @ Sewing Novice said...

Thank you for this. I just started using linky parties and was adding the links to my post. And actually, just last night I posted on FB and Twitter asking if I should be linking to the main page or the actual linky party page. Now I know the answer! Thanks again for this whole series!

Kadbury said...

Great post, Amanda! As a newer blogger, I am constantly learning new things, but this is a BIGGIE. I definately always link back and am glad it was one of the first things I learned in blogging.

~Kristin

Life In The Thrifty Lane said...

Great post Amanda! I always link back, it is the least to do!

The Mommy Therapy said...

I am really enjoying this series Amanda, such great information to keep in mind.

I too have found that linking back is vital for a lot of reasons like you mentioned, but most importantly just the right thing to do.

I love that bedroom by the way so thanks for sharing that too! :)

Prudently Painted Vintage said...

I always give credit in my post even if I was just inspired by an idea or even a part of the idea. It's just the right thing to do.

Didn't know that the link party page bothered some bloggers. I have it on my blog with a link on each post directing you to the party button page. Since reading this I will be adding the buttons to the bottom of my post. I wouldn't want to upset anyone.

Thanks for the great info!

Catie @ Catie's Corner said...

Another great post in this series Amanda! I've really enjoyed all of them. I was soo happy to finally figure out how to "embed" pics from Pinterest onto my blog. Before I'd have to do A LOT of work to do up a post with lots of pictures from there. Some times I'd just mention, at the end of my post, that all photo sources could be found on my Pinterest page and I'd have it linked up. But this is soo much better. I like that the proper people are getting credit for their work AND it's a lot less work for me! Win, win. : ) Can't wait for next week's myth!

Jennifer S. said...

I have never had anyone (that I know or) steal any content or photos, but only a few people read my blog regularly. I always try and link back when I join a linky party. I would not want anyone thinking that I am dishonest. There is almost nothing worse! Also, what are your thoughts on copywriting your blog? Is that something people just put there on the sidebar or do you have to take proper legal measures to do so? Does that make sense?
ps....Hope everything is going ok down there and that there is no damage :)

Paula said...

I've found my work on a few sites and happily, they were linked back to me. I did find it odd that they didn't contact me to tell me they liked my project and were linking to it but I guess that's not a rule, just courtesy, imo.

Posts like yours have really made me realize how important to the host linking back is. I've always done it, I just didn't quite get why it was important until you explained it in your other series.

I think this series is really offering great tips to a lot of bloggers!

Mr. Goodwill Hunting said...

I am late to the party, but I have went back to see your other 7 myths.

Linking back is very very important.

Even though there are many blogs there are genres of bloggers. So if someone fails to properly quote or link back I think most people will call them on it...in the comment section.

Now some people do it to be catty, rude, smart or the like. Others do it to be helpful and may perhaps send an email to let the blogger know.

Me I try to use my own images so that my readers can have fresh content.

But I am NEVER opposed to showing off a great project and giving props where they are properly due.


Rashon aka Mr. Goodwill Hunting

DebZorn said...

I go back and forth about starting a blog. I'm not sure I have anything to say and I am really afraid of doing it wrong. I (obviously) have seen link parties and blog references but really didn't understand how to do it. Your explanation is so easy to understand. Thanks for doing this.

Randi~Dukes and Duchesses said...

I'm a firm believer in linking back, whether it's to a linky party or to a project that you copied or a project that inspired you. I think sometimes people just get lazy and I hate that.

Laura said...

Oh Amanda! You are so right! It is simply common courtesy to give credit where it is due and to extend the same kindness you have received by linking back.

I loved what you said about what to do if you find it too time consuming to link back to all of the parties you are joining...don't join so many parties! Yup!

For the most part, the people I have come across in the blogging world are wonderful, kind, creative, fabulous people. I hope that the rest can grow to be as wonderful, and I think your series is helping!

Rica said...

I'm so glad you shared this info and for your series as i'm very new to blogging, it's been a great help. Little by little my blog is getting better thanks to your tips.

Erin @ Two Story Cottage said...

Awesome post! Enough said. :)

Deepak - Tuubol Blog said...

Why would some one link to a post if the content was not to their liking?

But linking back using some one else's creative content, for example photos maybe infringement of their copyright (especially for professional photographers and graphics designers). So, it is better to ask for permission from the owner of the content you want to borrow and link to before doing the linking.

Did you check out the : - Top 10 Blogging Myths that bloggers fall for.. . These are points I came across during my more than two years of blogging experience.

Centsational Girl said...

So right on my friend! I don't understand the hesitation to link to your source of inspiration, that's my favorite thing about this blog world! There are so many great ideas, you can put your own spin on it but still link to your source. Straight up theft is so uncalled for, but it happens all the time. I see people's feed's harvested and completely reproduced on other sites, shame shame. Link link link is the moral of the story. I love this series!! Thanks so much my friend for the linky love too!
xoxo
Kate

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