Nobody likes plagiarized content when it comes to writing. Or even in general, any content that is plagiarized is never welcomed with open arms, be it anything. But when someone does plagiarize today, it isn’t just about people liking it or disliking it. In the world today with copy and pasting so easy, it is crucial for content anywhere to be ‘original’. Any sort of plagiarism for any website at all can potentially harm its business, trust, or even both. So let’s look at how to avoid this- ‘How to avoid plagiarism in writing?’.
In the world of online publishing, writing, and blogging, plagiarism refers to directly copying content from another site and publishing it on another site. The reason why this is harmful these days is because of the web tools available on the market today. SEO also plays a role when it comes to plagiarism, but it essentially comes to trust. Let’s take an example:
Plagiarism in Blogging
Consider you have a blog. Now if you’re getting a lot of readers on your blog, you want to make some money out of your blog. So you decide to apply for an ad network or an affiliate program. Most of the top ad networks like Google Adsense have some simple rules if you wish to apply for it- one of it is… ‘site shouldn’t contain plagiarized content’. Even if your entire blog with hundreds of posts has a single paragraph copied from elsewhere, you become ineligible to apply for these ad networks. The same applies to affiliate programs.
There are times when you write an article and feel there is ultimately nothing new in the content from another article on another site. There starts a temptation to copy a couple of lines from that site to make your work easier. But never do it! Also, don’t encourage anyone to do it either.
Apart from trust, the other factor I mentioned earlier is SEO. When it comes to ranking your site, if your content is found to be plagiarized, Google can penalize you. Fun fact: It can work both ways. If someone else plagiarizes your original content, you still can be penalized! But that’s a deeper part of plagiarism. (You can read about it here)
Ways to Avoid Plagiarism
With all that in mind, here are some ways you can avoid plagiarism… and all that trouble.
Paraphrase with a little bit of creativity
In this generation of millions and millions of content sites, everyone follows the technique paraphrasing at one time or the other.
Paraphrasing is where you rephrase a source’s content and bring it all into your own words. Now, since everybody’s doing it, it is difficult to stand out. So the best way to do it is to keep finding new ways to rephrase. But, a better solution to keep the content unique – is by adding your bit of knowledge to it as your rewrite. Even if it doesn’t count much, the tiniest bit can make a drastic difference.
That way, not only do you avoid plagiarism, but you also add more value to your content. But be careful when you do this. There are times when your rephrased content can also be termed as plagiarized. For a safer side, you can make use of citation of the content you referred to and also make use of a Plagiarism checker. I’ll explain in detail about this further.
Adding citation or quotes
When you really wish to take parts of a source and include it in your own works, it’s best to quote the parts. The best example when you might want to do this is when mentioning a quote of a famous person. I use it occasionally myself.
If you’re adding quotes, here is an article on TheWriteLife that might help you.
Another way to take parts from the source is with citations. Along with the citation, mention the source you referred to, the date on which it was published, and whatever else that can be considered as an element for it.
Use a plagiarism checker
Plagiarism checker is a tool that lets you know if any part of your work is plagiarized. An online plagiarism checking tool technically scans your article and tries to find out if its content matches any of the other millions of sites it checks. If the article matches just a couple of lines or a single sentence, the tool will point it out. These plagiarism tools vary a little from one to one.
Some of them offer an ‘exclude’ option where you can exclude a particular page on the web from being checked. This helps if you’ve published the content once before and wish to publish it elsewhere again. Some tools offer to scan a whole site for plagiarism.
As I mentioned before, there are a lot of plagiarism checkers out there that offer this service for free. Even Grammarly has its own plagiarism checker – with a pretty neat design if you ask me!
Make original content!
The most suggested way to avoid plagiarism? Make your own content! Ultimately, there isn’t a chance of getting your work considered as plagiarized when you put in all your own perspectives and knowledge in your own words when you write on a particular topic. If you keep a habit of doing this from the very beginning, you probably won’t hear the word – ‘plagiarize’ around anymore!
But there’s a hitch to it. There are writers that have a habit of using the style and their way around words everywhere they go. It sometimes so happens that they can actually be caught plagiarizing their own work. This generally occurs when you keep writing on the same topic and you become tempted to take up some content from your previous works.
Depending on your publisher or your boss, this can turn out to be just as bad as plagiarizing content from another source. With that said, it is best to keep improving or changing the way one writes. If that sounds fairly difficult, another way to avoid it is to see if you’ve used similar wordings in your previous articles.
So that concludes on the ways on how to avoid plagiarism. This post mainly aims to help people in the freelance writing and blogging sector. Here are some other works of mine on writing that might interest you:
*This post contains affiliate links where I receive a small commission at no additional cost of the products to you. Also, I only recommend products that I completely trust.