Famous Quotes and Sayings Dominate the Internet for a Reason; Use Them Wisely and Your Blog Will Benefit

June 1, 2015

famous quotes and sayings

[blockquote source=”Learned Hand”]”No doubt one may quote history to support any cause, as the devil quotes scripture.” [/blockquote]

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:

famous quotes and sayings

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.

A strong quote placed further down in your post can grab the finicky page skimmer’s attention. – Matthew Loomis

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.

Every time.

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:

1. BrainyQuote.com

2. Google.com (Search however you wish)

3. Goodreads.com

Google’s high ranking to both BrainyQuote and Goodreads is why I recommend them to find Quotes. – Matthew Loomis

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.

 Your Turn

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.

Happy quoting!

Author Bio:

Matthew Kaboomis Loomis is the owner of Build Your Own Blog. Connect with him on Google+ and Twitter


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  1. Lenie says:    •   5 years

    I love quotes but they have to speak to me. I have a board on Pinterest which is dedicated to quotes but I never thought of adding quotes to my posts. Thanks for this suggestion and for where to best find quotes. I’ll be adding some to my posts very soon, maybe even next week’s post if I can find a suitable one..

    1. Matthew Loomis says:    •   5 years Author

      Ah, yes, when a good quote speaks to you directly, it is quite powerful. Glad you found this inspiring, Lenie!

  2. Ileane says:    •   5 years

    Hi Matthew,

    I get tons of engagement when I share inspirational quotes on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook so I try to make the most of them. I’m starting to pick up the pace on my blog too.
    My favorite tools for finding quotes are PostPlanner and Pablo by Buffer, with these two I never run out of ideas.

    Thanks for the tips Matthew.

    1. Matthew Loomis says:    •   5 years Author

      Hi Ileane,

      Thanks for sharing those tools for finding quotes! I’ll have to check them out.

  3. Phoenicia says:    •   5 years

    I use quotes now and again. Pinterest has a multitude of quotes supported by beautiful photographs.

    1. Matthew Loomis says:    •   5 years Author

      Hi Phoenicia,
      Pinterest is a natural fit for quotes when combined with beautiful photos. Maybe we can connect on Pinterest?

  4. Brent Jones says:    •   5 years

    Hey Matthew!

    I love quotes…! They offer such great bite size marketing nuggets… great for sharing, and great for illustrating a point quickly.

    Also, proud to report I just looked up what [sic] means the other day. I’d seen it used in quotes a million times, but never knew what it meant.

    Have a great day!

    1. Matthew Loomis says:    •   5 years Author

      I love quotes, especially “sic” quotes. As in, “dude, that’s sic.” 🙂
      I used to think that [sic] meant there was a sick spelling error in the quote. Ha ha ha

  5. Victor says:    •   4 years

    Hey Matthew!

    I lovo quotes too. Do you now a free wordpress quote template that I can use to build my quote and saying blog?

  6. swapna Thotapally says:    •   2 years

    wow…i love quotes and sayings…when i am in a bad mood i just read the quotes and sayings..thanks admin…