Why Guest Blog?
If you’re wondering about the “what’s?” or “why’s?” of guest blogging then they’re going to be covered here. To begin with, let’s explain what guest blogging actually is. In it’s simplest form, guest blogging is the exchange of content from one blogger to another, for a site which the author does not own.
In essence, someone (you, perhaps?) writes content for another website and this act makes you a ‘guest blogger.’ If you’re wondering what you get in return with more specifics than the typical “exposure” response then let me give you a run-down:
- Links – Links control the web. If you want rankings on Google, you need links. If you want authority in your niche, you need links. If you want traffic from other blogs, you need links. Guest blogging is a fairly easy way to get custom anchor-text, high quality one way backlinks to your website. There are few other techniques so effective.
- Traffic – There are millions of webmasters out there and they’re all competing for targeted eyeballs online. Guest blogging is not only a way to get one fundamental of the web – links – but also another fundamental: traffic. The difference between someone who makes money online and someone who doesn’t, is generally because one has a website which gets traffic. It’s that important, and guest blogging provides it.
- Subscribers– Not everything is about web spiders and the big G of course; the readers of a blog are more important than anything else. This, of course, is why so many bloggers care about their feed count. Subscribers are the life and soul of a blog and if you can get in front of an audience on another site, it’s likely that they’re going to subscribe to your feed. (More on this later).
- Branding– Research suggests it takes someone eight views of a brand name or logo to have it stored in memory. On the web, your name and your blog are your brand, and guest blogging helps you get them out there in your industry. My own activities with guest blogging have sometimes found me on 3-4 sites all on the same day. This massively pushed my brand around the niche and put my website on the map.
Guest blogging is a great situation for all parties involved. Blog owners win because they get excellent, free content for their site and bloggers win because they get more links and more subscribers on their blog.
How to Find Sites
If you’re going to guest blog on other websites in your niche to enjoy some of the benefits that guest blogging has to offer, then you need to actually find websites to write for. After guest posting consistently for over a year, I now have quite a few tactics for helping with this process.
- Google Search– Google is always the place I start with my internet research because it gives quick, accurate results. Depending on what you know about your niche, you can use Google for two things. The first is simply to help you find sites in your industry by searching for things like “niche blog” (changing niche for your industry). Alternatively, you could search for things like “niche blogging” or “niche guest posts” to find sites that want your content.
- Niche Browsing– Many sites in your industry will make it clear that they accept blog posts on their site. Therefore, all you have to do is simply browse around the top sites in your niche and see which one’s do. Look for text like “write for us,” “become an author” and “submit your article”. These are all indications the site wants guest posts so click on these buttons or send the blogger an email.
- Google Blog Search– Google blog search, if the name doesn’t give too much information away, is a blog search engine. Because of this, we can easily find blogs that are accepting guest posts. If you type something you may have typed into the regular Google search box such as “niche guest post” or “niche article by” then you should find some interesting results. If you remove the niche section it’s possible you’ll find a lot of sites that offer guest posting, but few will be relevant.
- Contact Authors– Every blogger should know at least 10 other writers in their community very well. If you don’t, then start finding them now. Most of the guest blogging opportunities I have had did not happen because I found ‘write here’ buttons on a website, but because I simply contacted the author. Get in touch with the influencers in your niche and simply ask if they would be interested in your free content. If they say “No” is that really so terrible? Giving them a chance to say no, also gives them a chance to say “Yes!”
There are other more complex ways to find people to write for in your niche then this should be more than enough. If you think that every article for someone else can take you up to 2 hours to research, write and edit then even just 10 guest blogging opportunities is going to put a lot of work on your plate.
Writing Publish-Worthy Posts
Although bloggers who accept guest posts also ‘win’ because they get free content, they still want great content. On that same note, guest blogging has so many benefits because you get to show a new audience the kind of awesome content you’re capable of writing, not to slip in a link and hope to get hundreds of subscribers.
The basics of all good blogging applies to guest blogging so because they’re so important, I thought I would jot down a few of them here:
- Write content that is unique and hasn’t been used elsewhere previously
- Break posts up with images, bullet points and headings
- Write your best work. Blog posts to a blogger are like paintings to an artist. They’re your portfolio and show you off.
- Keep the piece relevant to content the blogger has published in the past
- Provide as much value as you can to the new audience you’re interacting with
If you write good content for other sites, you’ll have your posts approved and you’ll receive the benefits that guest posting has to offer. If, however, you put in minimal effort and product sub-par content, then you will have done nothing but waste your time. Even if your post gets published, nobody will take the time to check our your website and they certainly won’t subscribe for future updates.
The process that you go through with guest blogging very much depends on the website you are writing for. For example, in almost all cases, bloggers will say that they want to see your article idea before you get to work. However, these same bloggers will say that if you want an interview with them, send questions with the request so if the answer is “Yes, I’ll do it” then things get done.
Based on this, I decided to send a number of guest posts without saying anything. I simply sent my content and said ‘I really hope you enjoy it’. Now, these were people that clearly accepted guest posts, but they were also people who said they wanted to know the idea before the article is written. This is usually just a measure so that the blogger doesn’t waste his time, but when I was writing these things so frequently, the only time being wasted with the process was mine.
I don’t recommend you going ahead and relying on this, but it goes to show that people like to do business without much fuss. If you know your work is up to standard, you just might get away with this like I did. Otherwise, the process typically goes like this:
- You find blogs accepting guest posts or contact those who you’re unsure about
- You tell them what you would like to write about and see if they would be interested
- They get back to you with any suggestions or thoughts
- You write the article and make sure to include a link back to your website in the bottom
- You send it to the author
- They publish the article if you like it, and you receive the rewards
As far as publishing time goes, I’ve had one blogger who published my post the next day and one who took almost four months for an article to go live. A handy rule to remember is that generally, the bigger the blog (in terms of subscribers), the longer the wait.
Guest Blogging Examples
I’m certainly not the only guest blogger in the world so there are lots of examples out there of it’s benefits. Some of the most prominent guest-bloggers (and people I count as friends) include Ali, Jade, Mary and Dirk. This means that I can give examples about each of the points mentioned earlier and show how things work out.
As you know by now, guest posts give links to the authors website. These links in-turn send traffic which could then become subscribers to this persons blog. The links don’t just send direct traffic but they also help with search engine traffic. If you want more traffic from the likes of Google, Yahoo and Bing, you need more links.
The image above shows a Yahoo backlink count of links to PluginID. The tool seems to be a bit ‘off’ lately as PluginID has around 15,000 backlinks but this screenshot should show proof that guest posting can get you a lot of links. Also highlighted in the image is an article that I did for ZenHabits.
As I am working a little on getting the name of GurmeetsDigitalWorld out there, I have already written a few posts to both help people and build this audience. Notice how I don’t think of guest posting as just getting something in return, but also doing a good service to the readers of the blog I write for. Because of this promotion, I recently posted an article on Problogger about the lessons I’ve learned from blogging over the last 12 months.
The article ended up getting me almost 700 highly targeted visitors from the site which I believe resulted in around 200 feed subscribers through watching my stats closely around this time. This clearly shows more proof about the benefits of guest blogging and what 1-2 hours work can do for you.
Traffic and links are great, but they’re only second compared to the potential of getting new devoted blog readers. Devoted readers talk about you, they share your content, and they buy your products. If you want to make a living blogging, then you must realize your subscribers (the real people behind your site) matter a lot.
My guest post for Pro blogger went live on November 15th when I had 2,646 subscribers. On November 17th the site had 2,848 subscribers. That is an increase of 202 subscribers in just two days.
Guest Blogging Email
Instead of just showing you the benefits of guest blogging, I also thought it would be useful if I provided a sample email of what I send to bloggers after I’ve written an article for them. Note that I send all of my posts in text (.txt) files because I send bloggers the HTML code of my post, and not just the text version. This allows us to keep links intact and make the post far easier to edit.
If you can’t read all of that text clearly then don’t worry too much about the specifics. Instead, the two most important tips I can give you when sending emails like this are simply: be friendly and to get to the point. Bloggers are busy and they don’t want you rambling about your life story but neither do they want you to be robotic, so be personal in there. As long as your content is good, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about this email.
Getting the Most from Guest Blogging
Everything I have told you so far has hopefully given you a clear understanding of what guest blogging is, how to get blogging opportunities and how much potential this ‘method’ has. Before I leave you all to start getting in touch with bloggers in your niche, I want to share some tips from getting the most out of guest blogging.
- Write Awesome Content– I know I covered this earlier in the post but I believe it’s worth repeating due to how important this step is. Remember: even if you get your article onto the site of someone else, it doesn’t guarantee any results. The best way to make sure you reap the benefits of guest blogging is to write the best articles you can for other websites. This means that they’ll a) want you to write again and b) you’ll get traffic and then subscribers from their site.
- Leave an Optimized Link in the Byline – Guest blogging has been around for a while, and there are hundreds of people who do it. The biggest mistake I see these people make, however, is that they just leave a normal link in the footer of the article to their site. While it’s obvious that you should leave a link to your own site in the bottom of your post, you can get more ‘use’ out of the link if you change the anchor text to something you want to rank for in Google. I’ve received thousands of visitors from this tactic and it means that the benefits of guest blogging on each site will be with me for a long time to come (search engine rankings).
- Vary Where You Post– Generally, the way to maximize the benefits of guest blogging is to write for bigger blogs. If a site you write for has a large audience then that means there are more visitors who can click through to your website and subscribe to your feed. I have noticed a few people trying the guest blogging ‘tactic’ just on a few websites and constantly using the same ones. They had great results at first, but this quickly died down. If you keep writing for the same site, the people who want to subscribe will, and those who haven’t already probably won’t. I have wrote for sites with 200 subscribers and I’ve wrote for sites with 150,000 subscribers. I’ve enjoyed both and received the rewards for varying where I place my content.
- Respond to Comments– Because guest blogging is about writing on relevant websites, it’s important to stay professional and friendly with the influencers in your niche that you interact with. Not only should you try to keep in email contact with the blogger you’re writing for, but respond to as many comments as you can once your guest post goes live. This will show the blogger (and their site readers) that you genuinely want to give people genuine advice on whatever it is you write about.
- Make Subscribing Obvious– If you want people to subscribe to your blog after they click through to your site, at least make it easy for them. The amount of sites I go to and struggle to find how to subscribe to them is actually amazing. Remember that most of your visitors are probably not as web-savvy as you are so you need to make your RSS and email subscription options very clear. As you can see, I have mine in a bright yellow box at the top right of a page (for those who are web-savvy) and then sections in both the blog sidebar and single post footers for those who need a little push.
- Have Excellent Content Waiting– People won’t judge you just by what you write on the site of someone else, but what you have waiting for them when they arrive. If visitors don’t like what they see and don’t feel like missing your content is missing out then they just won’t subscribe. For example, I once promoted my personal development site on an internet marketing blog (where I wrote about internet marketing) and as expected received links and traffic for doing so. However, I only gained about 20 subscribers from 500+ visitors because only a few people were interested in both topics.
A lot of these are common sense suggestions, but I do see them being ignored on a daily basis. If you can write great content and stick to these tips to maximize your rewards, then you’re going to have a lot of success with guest blogging.
If you can’t tell, I have put hours upon hours into this article. My aim with GDW is to write more in-depth and value giving articles than anyone else in the industry so I try to deliver that goal on a weekly basis. If you do enjoy this article, I please ask that you share it on Twitter (link below or top left), Facebook, Delicious or even just email it to a friend.
Source : Guest Blogging