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Citing Your Sources:
You Get What You Pay For

by Linda Jenkinson |

To get credibility you have to give credit where it is due.

citationIn fact, whether you are writing for online visitors or offline readers, if you are writing non-fiction properly citing your sources is critical. While citations are a small detail of writing that are often overlooked, citations can save you from being labeled as a plagiarist and they also advance your credibility.

In the Albert Einstein book of essays, Ideas and Opinions, we find, "Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters." (1)

Because the web can be a very informal means of communication, you may view citation as an unnecessary, time-wasting extra with links to external content that leads your readers away from your web site. However, cited resources build your credibility with your visitors.

Citing your sources adds punch to your content.

While your opinions may be valid, they are only your opinions unless you can back them up with solid facts. Besides improving your credibility, citations can increase your recognition as an authority on your topic by showing you are not afraid to bring the ideas of others into your conversation.

Give your readers access to your research.

When you cite your sources, you enable your readers to explore your topic as fully as you explored it. They can also see that while well-researched, your content is original and not just a copy-paste version of someone else‘s idea.

Although different methods of citing sources apply to different types of content, the most often used traditional methods come from The Chicago Manual of Style(CMS), which offers acceptable solutions for citing most types of documents, online and off.

If you have trouble getting the hang of correctly citing resources you can get started with the Son of Citation Generator.

For those who prefer desktop applications, Zotero is a one-click way to add citations to your writing. In addition to the CMS, Zotero also lets offers a choice of APA and MLA styles.

Theodore Roosevelt is remembered for saying,"Speak softly and carry a big stick."(2)

In freelance writing, the combination of research and citation is a bat that turns soft opinion into hard-hitting content, which builds trust in your writing expertise and adds credibility to your content.


  1. "Whoever Is Careless with the Truth in Small Matters Cannot Be Trusted with Important Matters." Albert Einstein at BrainyQuote. 2014. Accessed October 2.
  2. SparkNotes: Theodore Roosevelt: 1901–1909: Big Stick Diplomat and Peacemaker. 2014. Accessed October 2.

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