In trying to follow trends and best practices, as we aspire to build a successful web presence, it is easy, even unwittingly so, to copy others. Branding and marketing strategists tell us what words to use to get the most hits on our websites. Keywords help us achieve statistics, but make sure you don’t use them at the risk of sounding cookie cutter or contrived. The best place to share from is your authenticity and your vulnerability.

When I am working with a client on their website, I ask if there are other websites out there that they like and why. I think it’s valuable to be inspired by what you like that’s already out there, but figure out why, and then take that and make it yours. You want your website to match your personality and voice, not just to look like something that you think someone else has that’s cool; That’s merely being a copycat.

Don’t be afraid to be you. What colors do you gravitate toward? What font do you love? What unique way do you have of talking about your passion, or supporting your clients that are looking to bust out of their cages? Why put yourself into a box that someone else has already created? Using someone else’s material is a crutch. You’re better than that. “Do you.”

The SEO “spiders” that “crawl” the internet looking for your keywords and content in your website and have you rank higher in search engines love unique content. Even if you are sharing your blog to multiple social media outlets, then share a comment catered to your audience in each place. Don’t steal people’s catchphrases and taglines, even if you like them.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, however, and one of the best ways you can support content that you read out there online is by sharing it. I recommend not only sharing an article, but saying why that article is important to you, or what is significant about it for you individually. Make it personal when you share someone else’s stuff, and always attribute.

Here are some great tips here from Hootsuite on how to “curate” content. They say you should apply the 80/20 rule for sharing other people’s content, versus your unique content: Find out more here.