“No doubt one may quote history to support any cause, as the devil quotes scripture.” Learned Hand
A good quote atop the blog page entices people to keep reading. (You’re reading this introduction now, aren’t you?)
Writers have been using quotes long before the internet. You may notice in some novels, fiction and nonfiction, a common technique is to start each chapter with a quote.
Today, bloggers use famous quotes and sayings to add “oomph” to their posts.
Keep in mind, when you use a quote, it needs to be relevant and somehow enhancing the purpose of the post.
Here’s an example from my blog post SEO Search: Using Google to Find Basic Search Engine Optimization Secrets:
You can see how I used this quote about fear right off the bat, as it fit extremely well with the purpose of the post. SEO is a big topic with a lot of mystery surrounding it (for most people), so I thought the quote above helped ease the intimidated reader into the article. It feels helpful, letting them know that a little knowledge will reduce their fear of the topic.
Web Readers Love Famous Quotes and Sayings
No matter where they’re placed on the page–a good quote is a can’t miss as far as adding to your message in a way that appeals to many.
[tweetthis]A strong quote placed further down in your post can grab the finicky page skimmer’s attention. – Matthew Loomis[/tweetthis]
Quotes are fun. Effective. Memorable.
People love a good quote because…
* They work well as social media posts (Twitter. Instagram. Facebook)
* They make our articles more interesting
* They can help bring more credibility to our posts
* They sometimes go viral when fresh and presented effectively
You can quote me on that.
When the quote is by a well-known figure, this tends to grab more attention as well.
For example, what if the quote atop this page was attributed to Maurice C. Worthy? Would the quote still hold the same allure to you? Maybe so…probably not.
Now don’t get me wrong, a quote spoken by an unknown can also be powerful. It depends on the context of how and when the quote is used.
If you’re telling a story about someone not many people have heard of, a quote from the story can be powerful.
Generally though, it’s better to quote someone who is familiar to at least a segment of your readers. The more well-known, the better.
If the person you quoted is a hero within your blog niche (like a quote by Lombardi on an American football blog), you get bonus points.
Where to Find Famous Quotes and Sayings
There’s a website I’ve been turning to lately for good quotes called BrainyQuote.
BrainyQuote claims to be “the world’s largest quotation site.” I tend to believe that, because whenever I use Google to find a quote, I see BrainyQuote showing up on page 1 of the search engine results pages (SERPs). Often, they show up in the top two or three results.
Try it sometime (using Google to find quotes is my second tool of choice.) Google “money quotes” or “Thomas Jefferson quotes” and see if BrainyQuote shows up near the top.
A third source for good quotes is a website called Goodreads. As a literature based website, they have a solid storage of strong quotes available. They show up high in Google search as well.
So, to quickly recap, three great sources to find quotes for your blog are:
2. Google.com (Search however you wish)
[tweetthis]Google’s high ranking to both BrainyQuote and Goodreads is why I recommend them to find Quotes. – Matthew Loomis[/tweetthis]
Google wouldn’t rank them high over a long period of time unless they deemed BrainyQuote and Goodreads to be trustworthy sites. Authoritative. Fresh. Providing helpful content.
I have chosen to trust these sources based on Google’s trust, along with my own research. (In case you’re wondering, no, I have no affiliation with BrainyQuote or Goodreads. Both sites provide their quotes free of charge, anyway.)
Okay, let’s now look at what to do with your quote once you find it.
How to Format & Attribute Your Quote
Attributing your quote to the wrong person only hurts your credibility. And not attributing a quote at all is essentially stealing.
Give Lincoln and Einstein their due, and your blog readers will respect you more for it.
I always provide the name of the source for any quote I use. That’s the least you should do.
Sometimes, you may choose to include the source where you found the quote. This can be helpful when the person you quote is not a household name. For example, most everyone knows who Ben Franklin, Michael Jackson, Gandhi or Socrates is and famous quoters like these can stand on their own. But if I’m quoting someone that’s not a household name, like Seth Godin or Gala Darling, the way to attribute their quote looks like this:
“When life sucks, don’t forget to laugh and seek out things that will open your eyes to beauty.” – Gala Darling, 10 Ways to Jolt Yourself Into Happiness, galadarling.com
The formula for blog attribution here looks like this:
“Quote” – [name] [title of post where it is found with link] [website/blog name]
Now, what if the quote you want to use needs a word added for clarity, or you want to cut out a portion of the quote? Is that legal?
Yes, it’s totally legal. Here are two ways to edit your quote…
Cutting Out a Portion of a Quote
1. If you need to cut out a portion of a quote, you want to use an ellipses (three dots…) to show where the cut was made. For added emphasis, you can sandwich the ellipses with brackets like this: […]
Here’s an example of a quote where I cut out the middle to make it more focused:
“Bottom line is, I didn’t return to Apple to make a fortune…I don’t view wealth as something that validates my intelligence.” – Steve Jobs
Now let’s look at how to change a word…
When Your Quote Needs a Word Change
There are times when you need to apply context to your quote. This can be done by adding a word or two. Here’s how you do it.
In this example, I quoted President Obama. The quote taken from an article as is read this way:
“This needs to get done. It’s necessary to keep the American people safe and secure.” – President Obama
Naturally, the reader here doesn’t know what “This” is, so I revised the quote, and made it so the quote stands on its own:
“This [mass surveillance] needs to get done. It’s necessary to keep the American people safe and secure.” – President Obama
Simply put your added word/phrase inside a bracket. Make sure it’s not a parenthesis. Using brackets properly conveys something has been added not by the one who spoke the quote.
Now, you can put a quote or two in your next blog post. Let me know if you have any questions on using quotes. Just leave it in the comments below.