Guest posting is a technique some bloggers use to increase their traffic. Today, as part of the Beginner’s Guide series I’m writing here on the BlogWorld blog, I thought I’d take some time to talk about what guest posts are, why you should or shouldn’t write and accept them, how to be a guest poster, and other information you need to know about guest posts!
What is Guest Posting?
A guest post is a post you publish on someone else’s blog. Most blogs do not pay guest posters, but it depends on the blogger. Guest posters typically write about a topic that has a relation to your their blog, but that also fits with the other blogger’s niche as well. For example, if you blog about getting out of debt, you might guest post on a food blog about budget meal planning. You can also guest post on “competing” blogs – blogs that are in the same niche as your own.
Before or after the content of the guest post, the blogger will post a one or two sentence bio, where you can link back to your own blog. Some bloggers will also add a paragraph or two of their own, usually at the beginning, telling their readers that this is a guest post and explaining why it is an important topic.
Advantages to Guest Posting
When you guest post, you have access to new readers to share you opinions or knowledge, since the blog in question already has its own fans. The hope is that they’ll like what you write so much that they click on the link in your bio to read more of what you’ve written on your own blog and, hopefully, become regular readers there too.
Another advantage to guest posting is that you get a link back to your own blog, which is good for SEO purposes. This is especially valuable if you guest post on a blog with a PageRank of 3 or higher. When you write your bio, keep this in mind and consider using link text that makes sense. For example, if you want to rank higher for you blog’s name, use that text to create a link, but if it’s more important for you to rank higher on search engines for specific keywords, use that text as well. For example, on a guest post, I might use the bio:
Allison writes about blogging and social media on the BlogWorld blog.
Or, instead, I might use:
Allison writes about how to blog for BlogWorld’s blog.
The first will help me rank better if someone searches “BlogWorld blog” while the second will help me rank better is someone searches for “how to blog” – make sure to do a little keyword research when considering your options so you get the most benefit from your link.
A third advantage to guest posts is name recognition. Even if people don’t click through to read your own blog, if they start seeing your name pop up on lots of other blogs in the niche, they’ll start to remember it. Eventually, they may look you up. The name recognition also helps you get accepted as a speaker for events like BlogWorld, as well as get offers for not just speaking gigs, but also other types of jobs, like consulting and contributing – and these are paying positions in many cases.
Of course, it should be noted that some blogs will pay for guest posts. The down side to guest posting in these blogs is it is harder to be a guest poster because they usually have very specific requirements and accept a very limited number of guest posts per month.
Guest Posting – A Little Overrated?
Although the advantages of guest posts haven’t be overstated in the above section, keep in mind that writing a guest post – even for an extremely popular blog – is not going to lead to a million new readers on your own blog. Even if your guest post is beyond awesome, readers on other sites as not super likely to click bio links. They’re more likely to click on links within the post itself, but these links are generally discouraged in guest posts unless they are SUPER relevant to whatever you’re writing about.
A few months ago, I wrote a post on my personal blog called “I’m Calling BS on Guest Posts” that I highly recommend you check out before spending lots of time seeking out opportunities and writing posts you could instead use on your own blog. Yes, there are advantages, but don’t believe guest posting is the best use of your time if you’re looking for a huge amount of new readers. Even the spike you get initially will be just that – a spike, rather than long-term traffic.
So, do guest posts…but understand the advantages first!
How to Guest Post
Ready to start guest posting? Awesome! I have a group of posts especially for you to help you get started, even if you’re completely new to the guest posting concept:
- Guest Posting 101: Penning the Perfect Post
- Guest Posting 101: Link Like a Champ
- Guest Posting 101: Pitching Your Post
- Guest Posting 101: After Your Guest Post is Live
And if you have additional questions about writing and placing guest posts, just leave them as a comment and I’ll be happy to answer them!
Accepting Guest Posts
Before closing out this post, I thought I should also cover the flip side to writing guest posts – accepting them. There are both advantage and disadvantages to publishing guest posts on your blog. Here are the advantages:
- Guest posts can keep your blog active when you need time off.
- When you publish someone’s guest post, you build a relationship with them.
- Guest posts bring search engine users looking for posts about that topic to your site.
- You can publish guest posts about topics in your niche that you don’t know much about, which adds value to your blog for regular readers.
- The guest poster will likely promote their post on social media sites, so you’ll get traffic from their connections.
There are some disadvantages as well:
- Since it’s on your blog, you’re liable for what a guest poster writes.
- Advertising that you accept guest posts (or even publishing guest posts) will open your inbox to an influx of post offers. Some of them will be amazing. Most of them will be complete crap.
- Publishing tons of guest posts waters down your brand. Experienced bloggers can get away with it somewhat, since people already know them (though I’m still not a fan of tons of guest posts personally). If you’re a new blogger, posting more guest posts than you write yourself can be really confusing to readers.
- Guest posts might be optimized for search engines using terms that you want to rank for with other posts. You don’t want people searching for something to find a guest post before they find your own post.
- You’ll be linked to that person, which could be problematic if they’re involved with any kind of scandal or drama in the future.
If you are going to accept guest posts, I recommend having a page on your blog where you can list any requirements you have (beyond “high quality” of course) and tell people how to contact you. Make sure you review submissions carefully before agreeing to publish anything. You want to post only the best on your blog!
A final note: If you’re interested in publishing a guest post here on the BlogWorld blog, shoot an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your idea and I’ll make sure your information gets passed on to the right person!