Why You Need Your Own Website: Brand, Narrative, Creativity

One of the main reasons you should own your own website is because you want to be rewarded for your creativity and hard work. Instead of LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc gaining all the views and potential revenue, it is your website that should benefit. The smartest sites in the world are able to get thousands of people to produce content on their respective platforms for free.

Let me share with you a clear example of how Financial Samurai's work was used to help promote someone else's website over LinkedIn without Financial Samurai getting full credit through a link back. Links are the currency of the web.

Finally, I'll share with you five steps all creative people should take to own and grow their work.  

Using Other People's Work To Promote Your Own

Cedric Jenkins on LinkedIn used a graphic I created for my post, How To Make Six Figures A Year And STILL Not Feel Rich,” to promote his own website which sells solutions to financial literacy problems.

I have no issues with anybody using the charts and graphs I've produced to help promote their work if they link back to the original article.

Instead of hyperlinking the graphic to the original source of the article, he provides a link in the LinkedIn's post description about his squeeze page on a video for people to watch and sign up. That is very smart of him as it keeps the engagement on his platform.

If you look at the graphic below, there are over 5,500 likes and almost 2,500 comments as it's getting virally spread around LinkedIn!

Financial Samurai on LinkedIn being used by Cedric Jenkins

Partial Credit Is Better Than No Credit

Let me be clear: it is better to get partial credit for something than no credit at all. At least I had the foresight to write “Source: FinancialSamurai.com” in my graphic, and at least, Cedric didn't cut that part out to claim the graphic as his own.

But once I approached Cedric and his ally to see if he could hyperlink the graphic to the original post I wrote, he refused.

Cedric wrote, “I am the original author.”

Then a Ramon Garcia wrote, “The site is referenced on the actual chart, so I fail to understand what the big deal is. Please see the lower left-hand corner and see my message to you from about 8 hours ago. No one has taken this away from the image. If you have an issue with sources being cited correctly, no offense, but you have work cut out for you in this new digital world.”

Perhaps Cedric and Ramon don't fully understand what I'm asking. And perhaps Ramon does not have an online business that depends on traffic to survive. Can you imagine spending hundreds of hours writing and creating charts, and nobody came to visit your site because they were all going to another site who used your products?

It's one thing not to link back to the original source if you haven't been asked and have the source's signature in the graphic. But if you are asked by the creator of the content to link back to their site and still don't, that's not cool at all, especially since Cedric published my content on LinkedIn for commercial use.

Give Credit To The Creators Please

As a marketing consultant for several startups, I know from experience that to be able to publish content on LinkedIn that gets this many likes and comments would probably cost over $10,000.

LinkedIn usually charges advertising clients anywhere from $1-$3 a click. In other words, Cedric is not only getting at least $10,000 worth of free benefit, my graphic is helping drive numerous clicks to his website.

Of course, part of the reason why there was initial interest in the graphic was due to Cedric's initial following on LinkedIn. I do not fault Cedric for taking the initiative to be creative and publish my work to his following. But the post has spread far beyond his network now, and I'd love to get credit for the graphic with a link back to my article.

So why does Cedric refuse to link to the source? The reason why Cedric is refusing to link my graphic back to the original article is because it will divert some traffic away from his commercial landing page.

Financial Samurai On LinkedIn = getting copied with no attribution
Here's another version on LinkedIn with some of the 2,300+ comments

Lessons Learned About Why You Need Your Own Website

1) If you have any sort of creativity in your bones, start your own website to own your brand, image, product, and potential traffic that could flow your way. The website is your platform where you can leverage for countless things that could change your life.

2) If you find someone hasn't given you full credit for your work, fight like hell to make them give you full credit. It's your right as an artist. If you just ask them, most people will simply link back or take down your work. Most people don't intentionally plagiarize other people's work.

3) There's no reason Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other similar sites should be the sole beneficiary of your work. If you find yourself constantly posting on these social networks or writing reviews for free, create your own website about the very things you are constantly writing about AND maintain your existing profile on FB, LI, Twitter, etc.

4) Post on your website first, and then post a snippet of your work on your favorite social networks and link back to your website. Again, you should get the credit and the traffic, not the social network or the review site.

5) Always add an imprint or a line that says “Source: XYZ” or “By: XYZ” so you can at least get some credit for the work.

Have Your Own Presence Online And Control The Narrative

My biggest failing is not having a larger presence on the largest social networks. If I did, I'm sure I could generate more traffic to my site. However, with limited time each day,  I would much rather spend it writing on Financial Samurai and interacting with readers in the comments section than working on someone else's site.

Besides, I trust that if a reader likes one of my articles, they will simply social share the post via one of the many social sharing buttons at the end of each article.

If the author who produced the work you used asks to receive credit, please honor the request. It's just the right thing to do. Otherwise, it's called plagiarism.

Below is an example of blatant plagiarism by a woman on LinkedIn named Tengku Badariah. She copied my article, Are You Smart Enough To Act Dumb Enough To Get Ahead. When I reached out to clarity I wrote the article and link back to Financial Samurai, she refused.

You must not only have your own website online to build your brand and control your narrative, you must also fight to protect your work as well!

Tengku Badariah Plagiarism of Financial Samurai - why you need your own website

Questions And Suggestions

Creators, have you ever had your work used commercially by someone else and not received credit, even after you've reached out? 

Listen and subscribe to The Financial Samurai podcast on Apple or Spotify. I interview experts in their respective fields and discuss some of the most interesting topics on this site. Please share, rate, and review!

For more nuanced personal finance content, join 60,000+ others and sign up for the free Financial Samurai newsletter and posts via e-mail. Financial Samurai is one of the largest independently-owned personal finance sites that started in 2009.