Being a Credible Source

Can a Blog Be a Credible Source of Information?

Last Updated on by Michael Brockbank

How often do you base your knowledge of a topic on something someone wrote in a blog post? Are you certain the blog can be trusted as a credible source of information? Unfortunately, not all outlets are based on facts.

Yet, a lot of websites out there are often more trusted than mainstream media. In fact, the vast majority of people will read reviews when shopping online before making a purchase. A large portion of those reviews come from blog posts.

Using blogs as a credible source of information is an exceptionally common practice. And it’s why Google puts so much emphasis on quality information for search results.

The more credible the source, the more exposure the blog receives.

How do you work on building a website with a strong sense of credibility?

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Providing Information Based on Facts

If you want people to trust the content and for Google to place you higher on the totem pole, hard facts are necessary. This means providing information that is either undisputed or otherwise supported by evidence.

How you “feel” about any topic doesn’t make it true. Feelings are subjective, and real data is objective. For instance, I could say that I feel like I could breathe underwater. The fact remains that I cannot, as based on simple human biology that we need far more oxygen to breathe than what is provided in water.

The point is that when you write about a topic, basing the information on fact and evidence is far more credible than saying “I think it’s this way.”

When you don’t have the evidence to back up a claim, it can hurt your reputation as viewed by both humans and search engine bots alike.

Don’t Focus on a Narrative

Too many people focus intently on narrative rather than actual fact. This often leads to omitting certain things to make something look better overall.

You see this a lot in the health and fitness industry. A lot of influencers will tout information or talk about “studies” that support their claims. Yet, a lot of those studies they cite were actually done on rats without human trials.

They don’t tell you how much of an impact rodents make on their viewpoints.

If you get curious one day, research all of the ingredients in any energy drink and find the scientific studies on each one. You’d be amazed by some of the procedures that go into the studies influencers talk about.

It’s often difficult to avoid following a narrative, especially if you’re website is hyper-focused on a niche. But avoiding sticking with a certain narrative lends more credibility to your blog.

Sure, you’ll probably get fewer sponsorships. But at least people know that you are looking out for what’s best for them.

Citing Credible Sources with Backlinks

Citing a credible source where you received information not only gives people breadcrumbs to follow but also shows Google you’re serious about providing quality content.

When I say a “credible source,” I mean a website that has an established presence for offering information or sharing undeniable evidence regarding the topic.

In other words, don’t use someone as a source if they cannot provide evidence for their claims. And even then, it’s best if you vet their sources to ensure they are accurate as well.

When I wrote full-time for Textbroker clients, I was constantly evaluating sources before linking. That’s because I want to provide the best information possible. Sometimes that meant going down a rabbit hole of links that would lead to nowhere.

Always make sure you’re using sources that are credible with backlinks. And keep in mind that just because they are at the top of a search result, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are the best source. This is especially true when you consider paid sponsorships.

Ads make the world go ’round.

Demonstrating Authority and Expertise

Demonstrating authority and expertise can take quite a long time, in the grand scheme of things. Think of it like this; would you trust a blogger who has 10 posts published over someone who has a thousand?

I suppose that would depend on the topic and the reputation of the blogger. Still, for the most part, those who have more content usually demonstrate they are more knowledgeable about the niche.

Or, at least they have more time to write.

When it comes to pleasing the Google algorithm, you also have to focus on making sure the content is “helpful.” Otherwise, your entire blog could be penalized and you could lose half of your traffic in mere hours.

Delivering an Authoritative Tone

An authoritative tone is one that is confident and written in a way that is more “matter of fact.” In reality, confidence plays a massive role in gathering and keeping an audience.

Think about the term, “con man.” The “con” part is short for “confidence.” That’s because generating confidence can give you a great deal of power and control over others.

Now, this doesn’t mean that everyone who is confident is trying to take advantage of you. It’s merely a demonstration of how an authoritative tone can build trust in your readership.

Never take advantage of your audience’s confidence.

Showing You’re an Expert in Your Field

Being an expert today doesn’t necessarily mean you need to hold a degree from some college. Expertise can come from several years of experience regarding the topic about which you’re writing.

If others experience a similar outcome due to the information you share or if you’re able to duplicate what you claim, your reputation becomes more credible.

Keep in mind that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with getting a degree in your field. It can help improve how others perceive you online, not to mention that I am a strong proponent of learning in any form.

However, you can still demonstrate great expertise without spending the money for tuition. I became an expert freelance writer (and quite successful, I might add) armed with nothing more than Google to learn everything I could.

Sure, it had taken me almost two years to build momentum to quit my full-time job working for the school district. But I was able to make it happen without stepping foot in a classroom. Well, outside of my job as a network technician, anyway.

Sharing Anecdotal Experiences

One of the reasons why this blog was the go-to spot for Textbroker content back in the day was because I shared every experience I had with the platform. In fact, this blog was first built to document the process of turning myself into a freelance writer.

Although a lot of what I shared wasn’t based on scientific research, I did provide facts of my experiences. In many cases, I provided screenshots and delivered as many facts as I could to help others along in their own writing journey.

The bottom line is that a big portion of what I shared was anecdotal – based on my personal experience. However, the way I delivered that information built trust within my readers.

Since then, I’ve built a bit of a reputation for being honest and forthcoming.

Not Purposely Misleading Your Audience

To be considered a credible source, the last thing you want is to mislead your audience. However, there is a big difference between doing so purposely and accidentally.

For instance, an accidental case of misleading would be to reference something that had become obsolete shortly after writing your post.

What if someone stumbled over an older article that touted how 802.11a was the new gold standard for wireless technology? It could be that no one had thought to update that article. It wasn’t done intentionally but is still misleading as 802.11a hasn’t been the standard in almost two decades.

It’s instances like this that I often talk about updating older content. You want to provide the most accurate, relevant, and current information possible if you want to be credible.

Unfortunately, too many people purposely mislead their audiences, mostly for some kind of financial gain. It’s why clickbaity titles are so common on social media.

You don’t want to mislead readers on purpose as it will: a) hurt your reputation when called out with facts, and b) Google will judge you quite harshly.

This is aside from the fact that you don’t want to be a douchebag.

What About AI-Generated Content?

I am very anti-AI-generated content. To me, it’s exceptionally lazy writing and creating. You can’t call yourself the creator if the program is doing it for you.

Most people want content and art from an individual. It’s the personality and humanity to which they are attracted. You just don’t have that same level of connection when AI creates junk for you.

With that being said, using AI is often viewed as a misleading element when it comes to creation. Ideation, on the other hand, is a completely separate issue.

For instance, using AI to crunch the numbers of your YouTube videos and then provide ideas of potential videos you should make to engage your audience isn’t viewed the same way. It’s merely helping you along in the ideation process for something that YOU will create.

Besides, AI isn’t the most credible source in its current state. You’ll still have to read through the text and verify what it’s sharing is accurate. At which point, you might as well just write the content yourself.

Case in point (this is anecdotal), when I first started using Atticus, Google’s AI told me that the writing app had a free version available. Well, it didn’t. The Atticus Mental Health app did, but Google’s AI didn’t distinguish the writing app from the mental health app as both were named, “Atticus.”

Google has fixed that issue since then, but the point remains that you’ll need to sift through AI-generated text to ensure accuracy.

At the end of the day, AI-generated content can easily mislead your audience if you’re not paying attention.

Covering a Slew of Topics in Your Niche

The more topics you cover in a blog, the more credible the perception is of you as an expert. As I said earlier, this could take quite a long time, especially if there is a lot to cover in your niche.

It often comes down to the sheer volume of content that is produced.

For example, one of the reasons why this blog generated so much traffic for Textbroker content is because I covered a variety of aspects regarding the service.

At one point, I even surpassed Textbroker itself in Google and YouTube.

Those days are long gone as I have shifted more toward blogging and self-publishing. Still, it goes to show that delivering a variety of topics covering the niche will work to demonstrate credibility.

Unfortunately, there is no quantifiable number of posts you’ll need before Google views you as an expert. But with each addition to its algorithm, it gets more difficult to gain momentum.

Nonetheless, providing a wide scope of topics for your human audience can keep them coming back for more. This solidifies your expertise with them, which is far more important than trying to appease algorithms.

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Is Your Blog a Credible Source of Information?

Perhaps the most important element of turning your blog into a credible source is time. It could take months if not years before humans and search engines view you as an expert based on your content.

Blogging, especially when you’re focusing on search results, is all about playing the long game. Don’t assume that you’ll write a viral post and see 10,000 visitors overnight. Unless you already have that much of an audience on other platforms to guide them to your content, it’s not going to happen.

Do your best to provide the best information possible and let the cards fall where they may.

Michael Brockbank
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