Anyone who is anyone when it comes to blogging knows that one of the best ways to grow your business is to offer to write guest posts for other sites.
While guest posting doesn’t directly make you any money (at least not if you’re one of those shady sponsored post authors I ignore in my inbox), it can give you and the brand you’re trying to develop plenty of qualitative value. And, as you might guess, that qualitative value can lead to things like more traffic or better search ranks results that will eventually yield you more income (more on that below).
If you really think about it guest posting is a win-win for both parties. The host blog gets free, awesome content that will stay on their site forever.
Not only does that save time and money as far as coming up with new content, but it can also mean providing the host audience with new knowledge and supporting research that probably wouldn’t have normally been produced.
You, the guest poster, get to leverage the host site’s audience and authority. Everyone who normally reads that blog will see your name and the links to your website and potentially click over to it. Plus, when done correctly, the links you place within the article will get some awesome SEO benefit.
I Wrote Over 30 Guest Posts Last Year:
Though you’d probably hadn’t noticed, I had over 30 of my guest posts published on other blogs last year (in 2014). That’s almost 3 per month.
Though there were many things I learned throughout the process, here are 12 highlights I wanted to share with you.
Lessons I Learned from Guest Posting:
- You can make money at it – but indirectly. Money is always a big motivator in things we do, especially when you treat your blog like a business. Though you may not realize it, guest posting can and will 1) increase traffic to your site and 2) help your regular content to rank better for certain keywords. After guest posting I’ve had certain pages on my sites go from 500 to 5,000 impressions per month because now it suddenly ranks better for a particular search phrase. And as you can guess, the more eyes on your site, the higher the potential that people will click on your ads and you will make more income. So while there may not be an immediate monetary benefit to guest posting, there is PLENTY of residual benefit that can end up lining your pockets.
- You have to give to receive. Unless your stuff is really that outstanding, no one is going to make you guest post or ask if they can link to your site. If you want some attention and the benefits of linking, then you have to be proactive and make the effort to reach out to other bloggers to make it happen. It’s all on you.
- A guest post on the right blog can really make a difference. While I appreciate every blog that hosted the things I wrote, I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that some sites had a much larger impact than others on my traffic and SEO. If you really want your guest post to make an impact, make sure you reach out to an established blog that has the kind of audience or niche that you’d like to attract.
- Don’t worry about what Matt Cutts said. In January 2014, Google rep Matt Cutts made some public statements about how “guest blogging is done”. For the rest of the year a ton of bloggers misinterpreted his message to mean that they should no longer write or contribute guest posts whatsoever. That wasn’t what Cutts was trying to tell us. What he was actually speaking to were the spammy paid guest post offers most of us bloggers regularly receive and ignore. Guest posting with white-hat intentions can be (and was for me throughout 2014) a very effective way to gain all the right kind of attention you’re looking for.
- Be strategic. What do you hope to get out of this guest post? More traffic? Building authority to certain pages? Don’t just guest post and “hope” that it will improve your site. That’s just spinning your wheels. Have a specific goal in mind before you even get started (such as linking Remember afterwards to evaluate whether or not you accomplished your goal to see if the effort was really worth it.
- Networking is fun. Who doesn’t like making new friends? Reaching out to other bloggers one-on-one and offering to give them something goes far beyond leaving a short comment on their latest article. Through email you get to connect and find out more about how they really are, how they talk, their attitudes, etc. In the long run it can be a great way to form a long-term relationship.
- Networking is critical for survival. Remember that if part of your motivation for blogging is to make some money, not only do you want your new connections to be friends but also strong allies. They can help open up behind-the-scenes opportunities you probably would have never even known about like advertising referrals, link opportunities, and master-mind groups.
- The quality of your guest post should be as good or better than what you would publish on your own site. Think about why anyone should consider allowing you to write for their site. I’m willing to bet it would be because they’ve read your blog before and love the way you write. So if you send them some sub-par article you wrote (or worse had a cheap VA write) that you would probably would never publish on your own site, how is that going to look to the host site’s owner? As a personal measure of quality, never send another blogger an article that you wouldn’t publish on your own site. It’s the least you can do as a thank you to the person hosting your work.
- Rejection makes you better. There were a number of times I sent posts to other bloggers and had the first draft rejected. When that happens, don’t cry. Rise to the challenge! I went back and re-worked those posts a second or third time adding as much meat and personality to them as I could. And as I did, it made me realize something – that my first draft probably really wasn’t as good as it could have been! This not only helped me to produce better guest posts later on, but it also forced me to really think hard about the method and quality of the articles I publish here on my own site, and what I can do to really take them to a much higher level.
- Some people are a**holes. Even though I’m sure you’ll be surprised to hear this, not everyone is pleasant to work with. In business, that’s just how it is – you win some and you lose some. A small fraction of bloggers I reached out to ended up being some unpleasant folks that I will probably never work with again because they were just plain rude or their terms were one-sided. When that sort of thing happens don’t be afraid to take the high road, say “thank you for your time” and just move on.
- Taylor your posts for the audience. This is your time to shine! The audience of one site is not necessarily the same as another or even the people who visit your own blog. Writing guest posts for other sites will really force you to think about how you’re going to structure your article and who it will be speaking to. Be sure to do a little homework by looking back at what posts on the host site are popular and what kind of topic you believe their audience would get the most reaction.
- Think about your links. Like we said: Guest posting by itself doesn’t make you rich. But it can send link equity your way. When you link back to your site in a guest post, don’t just do it to random articles or always to your homepage. Really think about which posts you want to rank Number 1 in Google. These might be high volume keyword search terms or posts which have strong affiliate potential. Remember to give consideration as to what kind of anchor text you will be using for those links (do NOT always use your exact keyword). And one last thing – don’t overdo it! 1-2 links is about as many as you should include.
Readers – What have your guest posting experiences been like? What kinds of lessons have you learned from the process?
Image courtesy of Mike Licht | Flickr