Guess what? My lenses aren’t all original. Of COURSE not!
My “How to Get Your Lens Found” tutorial includes some tips I learned from PotPieGirl and Spirituality and Fluffanutta, and I used to cite Mr Lewissmile, before I decided I disagreed with some of his tricks and changed my recommendations. My CSS Codes Tutorial includes something I call CSS Kung Fu, which I learned from Glen. On baseball lenses, I’ve got links to forum discussions on MLB boards.
And ya know what? I thank these people for their help, and pay them by sending them traffic. It’s only fair!
On a pragmatic level, those links represent a large part of the clickthroughs for my lens. Repeat after me, squids: clickthroughs boost lensrank; lensrank determines payout tier.
There are several other ways that being honest about your sources can actually benefit your bottom line.
If you’re sending traffic off to Amazon buy that book you used as a reference source, you and Squidoo are getting a commission. If you’re sending traffic to another Squidoo lens, you’re giving Squidoo another chance to collect ad revenue and/or royalties from that visitor. That supports Squidoo — and all of us.
I’ve been pondering lately how Squidoo’s business model promotes helping other lensmasters, because we all profit when one profits. That’s true more abstractly on other sites, where success breeds success. But think of CafePress for a moment (if you can without steam coming out of your ears). For the most part, each shopkeeper works in isolation and is competing with all the rest.
What about citing your sources on pages not hosted by Squidoo? Yes, it still helps! Linking to content closely related to your topic — preferably using your keywords — can boost SEO. Other sites often have ways to monitor where their traffic is coming from, and may follow the links back to your webpage or lens. Other sites may even list “Trackbacks” at the bottom of their pages, posting links to pages talking about their page. Then, woo hah, you’ve got a free backlink.
Finally, citing your sources helps establish you as trustworthy.
Visitor trust and respect is one of those intangibles that can be your longterm key to online success or obscurity.
Earn that trust.