A couple of weeks ago I talked about why you should guest post, but with that comes questions about accepting guest posts. Although some people think guest posting is dead, when done right it can be a great blogging tool. So, should you accept guest posts?
The short answer is yes, but there is more to it than that. Accepting guest posts doesn’t mean an easier workload, in fact, sometimes guest posts can be more work for less benefit.
Let’s start with why you should accept guest posts
Guest posts benefit both the blog owner and the post author. The post author gets the exposure for your established blog.
If you accept guest posts, you can benefit from having another voice on your blog. Readers often enjoy hearing from another person and discovering new writers and writing styles. You can also benefit from the authors following because the hope is that the guest author will share their post on their social media.
You can also benefit from getting a break from writing. You should aim to write every day, but life can get in the way. Personally, I like to have several posts scheduled in advance incase something happens and I can’t write a post one day. If you accept guest posts this can help you keep updating your blog on a regular basis. Sometimes you just run out of ideas and having someone else write a post can give you some time to fight the writers block.
You have to accept guest posts with caution though
You have to do your research. Make sure the person who is writing a post has their own blog or writes regularly for another blog. You also need to make sure that they have adequate grammar skills. If they cannot write properly in the language of your blog you will spend more time editing their post than if you just wrote a post yourself.
Don’t accept guest posts from just anyone. This goes with doing your research, but you want to make sure they are not just posting on your site to get their link on your site. You want to make sure it is relevant to your niche and will fit in with your blog. If you accept guest posts for link building reasons you can lose readers and be punished by Google.
Limit links and monitor the links placed in posts. You should limit links to no more than 1 per 250-500 words. Internal links are great for your blog, but you also want to watch the outgoing links. Don’t assume that since they only place one link in the post that it is relevant. You even have to watch links in the bio. I have had people write a great post about teaching your kids about internet safety, then try to link to a pornography site in their bio. You also want to make sure they are linking to relevant sites if they are linking to sources, and not commercial sites, meaning they are most likely getting paid to place the link in the post. They shouldn’t get paid for a post on your blog if they are not paying you. While we are on the topic of getting paid for posts, watch for affiliate links. People have also been known to try to slide affiliate links in their guest posts to make money. If anyone should be making money off your blog it’s you, not those who guest post for you.
It needs to be unique content. Take advantage of all the different free plagiarism checkers out there and avoid Google penalties as well. There are many people out there who don’t take the time to write a post like you do, instead they take the post from another blogger and “spin” it to make it look like it is unique. If it is a topic that has been covered over and over make sure there is new information included in the post.
Be picky about what guest posts you do accept. Just because you agree to look at a post doesn’t mean you still have to publish it. If you look at the post and you just don’t like it or it is full of spelling and grammar errors, I never accept the post. A couple of errors is fine because it happens to everyone, but if there are several it means the author didn’t take the time to look over their post.
Make sure they really do read your blog. I don’t know how many pitches I get on a daily basis where the individual claims to read my blog daily and they “really like what I write about” while never really giving specifics. To make sure that people are at least reading my guest post guidelines, I list a “password” that the individual must include somewhere in the email. I even explicitly state that if the email doesn’t include the password then I will delete the email without responding. Believe it or not, I delete more than half of the email pitches because of this.
Don’t give out author accounts. This is two fold. First off, giving out author accounts opens yourself up to being hacked. Second, if you insist on approving every guest post submission, which you should do, you will be bombarded with tons of submissions, most of which you will have to delete. This will cause you to have less time for writing your own content. If you don’t approve all the submissions, your blog will still be bombarded with submissions, but they will be live on your blog, causing you to lose readers and credibility as most of the submissions will be spam.
You need to own the content. If you don’t fully own the content the author can, and most likely will, use the post on other sites. This goes with making sure the content is unique. Even if it is published on your blog first, Google doesn’t like duplicate content and will punish any blog with duplicate content.
They need to contribute to the community. Most bloggers, myself included, blog because of the amazing community that forms. You develop friends and support systems with blogging and if you accept guest posts, the author should want to be a part of that community. They don’t have to respond to comments forever, but I would say at least for the first week or two. They should also share the post on their social media, and if they want, a link to it on their blog, like I do with all my guest posts.
Make the image yourself. If you use an image another blogger makes it can get confusing. For one, if they use their watermark, it can be confusing if someone clicks the link on pinterest and is brought to your site and not the one the watermark indicates. It also makes it easier for you to make the images match your blog and fit in so everything looks nice. Personally I like using similar colors that match my blog design and using images created by others can throw this off. You can also get into trouble if the post author uses an image that is copyrighted.
Limit the number of guest posts you accept. First off, your readers are coming to your blog because they consider you an expert or just enjoy your writing. If you are constantly posting guest posts and nothing you are writing you may lose readers. Also, this is another thing Google doesn’t like. They don’t like to see a bunch of posts by different people. I try to limit my guest posts to no more that one or two a week, meaning that most of the posts on my blog are my own.
I accept guest posts on my blog and I love writing posts for other blogs as well. If you are looking to start accepting guest posts on your blog let me know, I would be happy to be your first guest author!
Do you currently accept guest posts or are you looking to accept guest posts in the future?