You will have to be if you want to succeed in blogging.
A recent post cited you have a whole blogosphere full of competition.
However, there are ways to stand out.
Your referral traffic will go up, your organic traffic* will go up, your SEO will rise, your readership will increase, your reputation in the blogging community will be enhanced, and odds are you will make some friends along the way.
All that can be accomplished with two simple words: guest posts.
This article is not just going to give the advantages of guest posting.
If you want to discover the protocol involved in guest blogging, because there is an etiquette, keep reading.
A Guide to Guest Posting
Consider this comment from a reader:
I’m newish to blogging, and recently started following you. A follower just asked if I do guest posts, and I’m so green to this, I have no idea how to even have this conversation lol I think I want to try, but no idea where to start… help?
- Do your research.
If you want to guest author, find a blog with an audience like yours. Sometimes the bigger blogs are not always better. The best blogs for you are the ones with readers like yours, or at least blogs with readers that you want to to be yours.
You can use any search engine for this. AllTop has some bigger blogs. The important criteria is that the blog has more readers than yours does and has the kind of readers you want to attract.
I have guest authored for several big business blogs with lukewarm results. The majority of my readers are not business people. I have had much greater success guest posting for blogs that were bigger than mine and had the kind of readers who were interested in my writing.
As an experiment for this article, I went to Google and typed into the search bar, “Who in the blogging niche has guest authors?” I am in the blogging niche, so I used that as a test. Articles filled with lists of blogs that accept guest authors came up.
When you find a blog you might like to write for, I recommend checking out their Alexa ranking. Go to Alexa.com and type in the site’s name to see its Alexa score, the lower the better.
Look over the blog’s articles to see the kind of posts they publish. As you look, try to come up with several ideas for posts to publish on their blog.
It is a double-edged sword. For example, if you want to write an article that they publish a lot of, believing they will be interested since that’s the kind of articles they feature, they may feel they already have a lot of that, so no one would be interested in your article.
On the other hand, if you try to find something novel for that blog, they may say they don’t publish that type of post.
When I wrote for Basic Blog Tips, I was selected because I had done my research. I could tell the blog had many articles explaining that infographics were valuable. However, I could not find any recent articles in the blog explaining how to make them. That was the idea I pitched Ileane Smith, the admin blogger, and she accepted me as a guest writer.
Send the admin blogger at least two headline ideas. This way they have choice which doubles your chances of getting selected.
Know your deadlines.
Generally, the admin blogger will ask when you can have it for them. Give yourself a cushion of time. I heard recently a reputable blogger has been disappointed by writers not keeping their word about when they’d have the post for the guest host.
Know the rules of the host blog.
Many host blogs have a word minimum. Having longer blogs make sharing and a rise in Search Engine Optimization more likely for them. What do they consider a “longer” blog? I know bloggers who think 500 is a long post and others who think 2000 words is a long post.
It is imperative you find out if you are allowed to link back to your site. The goal is to get new readership.
Are you allowed to embed links to your older posts to generate interest and traffic to them? Most host bloggers consider this form of self-promotion rude on their blog.
Does the host care about the content of the post? Several bloggers approached me about guest posting on my site, but their content has no connection to blogging which is why people come to a blogging tips site, so I now have a page stating the criteria for guest posting.
When you send in the post, ask if you can be apprised of when it goes live.
This way you can add it to your About page.
When the post goes live, thank the admin blogger in the comment section.
Etiquette insists you thank the admin blogger for hosting you. However, the proper place to do it is in the comment section.
If you thank them in the post, according to Jon Morrow, you end up looking needy. You are trying to boost your reputation by guest posting, not mar it.
Respond to readers. Answer questions, reply to comments, thank the readers just as you would on your own site. Check off “Notify me of new comments,” so you don’t have to keep returning to the blog to see if any new questions or comments came in.
Promote the post on your social media.
It may be their blog, but it’s your article. You help both of you by promoting the post. You both get exposure.
Feature the post on your own blog.
Consider this comment from a reader:
I’ve never done a guest post before. Do I post it on my blog as well for the same day?
You can feature the post on your own blog. However, do not put the article on your blog before the guest host publishes it. If they publish it, they will then risk getting penalized by Google for double content. It will be like you are plagiarizing their article even though you wrote it.
If you want to feature the article on your post after they publish it, be sure to give a disclaimer that it appeared first on somebody else’s blog. That way you are not trying to pass off the article as original content.
I like featuring guest posts I’ve written on my blog if I need a “shelf” post. Over the summer, my daughter was home from college. Wanting to spend time with her, it was at times more convenient to use previously written guest posts than create new content.
I wrote Everyone’s Always Looking at Their Smartphones for Lifehack. Bloggers had been expressing concerns over lack of time. I took excerpts from the piece I wrote for Lifehack and incorporated them into a post on my site about how to have more time–stop looking at the smartphone so much.
So you have three choices–don’t reprint the post on your site, reprint it in its entirety with the disclaimer that it first appeared on someone else’s blog, or use portions of it in your post. In this case, you should still give a disclaimer, so it does not look like you are copying from an article on someone else’s blog.
Results of Guest Posting
- You get exposure to the admin bloggers’ readers which gives you a chance for new readers yourself.
- Your SEO goes up since by linking back to your blog, you have a link into your site.
- Your credibility goes up since you are an expert about whatever topic you guest posted about.
- You get another “credit” for your About page which is like a resume.
- You make a connection of a blogger with a bigger blog than your own. Ileane Smith has retweeted my links for me on Twitter and has participated in my expert interview when I needed an expert.
- You also have the chance of making a friend. Lysa Wilds and I guest posted for each other and have remained good friends to this day.
In conclusion, you may feel guest posting takes time, and you barely have time to write and respond to readers on your own blog. However, if you ultimately feature the post on your own site after the initial publication, you will be saving yourself time on a day you’d normally be writing.
In addition, there are so many advantages, the greatest is that you break out of the bubble that is your own blog. Expand your reach, and your blog will grow.
There are 450 million other blogs out there. However, there is an expression, “If you can’t beat the competition, join them. You are not going to beat the competition; you are going to join them by guest posting for them.
Readers, please share this post, so readers’ know the advantages of guest blogging, and especially the protocol I discussed. For example, many are shocked to hear it is considered bad form to thank the host blogger within the post.
What do you think? Have you guest blogged? Did your readership grow from guest blogging? Did you have a good experience? Will you try it again? Do you have any additional advice you can offer for bloggers just starting to guest post? I look forward to your views.
*Organic Traffic comes from search engines