Accepting guest posts is one of the great and time-tested ways to boost traffic on your blog. When you open up your blog to guest bloggers, you let your blog breathe in fresh ideas, diverse viewpoints, expertise, and editorial styles. The beauty of guest posts is that they are natural, and no monetary transaction is involved. These days, almost every second popular blog is open to guest post submissions. But there are a lot of factors that must be considered before you accept a guest post pitch for your blog. In this post, I would like to highlight 7 important things everyone should consider before accepting guest posts on their blogs.
Benefits of accepting guest posts on your blog
Let’s talk about the key benefits of accepting guest posts on your blog:
- Regularly pushing yourself to write fresh content can result in burnout or writer’s block. As a blogger, you also need time to relax and rejuvenate. Guest bloggers can therefore prove to be of immense help in such breaks. They help your blog keep running with fresh content and ideas.
- Guest bloggers can help you bring in diversity to your blog. Fresh ideas, viewpoints, and different writing styles – they all help contribute diversity to your blogging content. Your blog readers and subscribers are likely to be more engaged and interested in a diverse form of content.
Things you should consider before accepting guest posts on your blog:
1. Blog Value attracts guest bloggers
By value, I don’t mean how much is your blog worth? By value, I mean how much traffic and scale of online presence your blog has achieved. Guest bloggers pitch you for visibility. They want their writing and business to be seen, recognized and appreciated by your readers.
If you have just started blogging, and yet to achieve any significant traffic/online visibility milestone, it’s not a good idea to open up your blog to guest bloggers. So, first, work hard on your blog and build some considerable authority and traffic.
2. Define your guest post guidelines clearly
Before you start accepting guest posts on your blog, it’s important to publish your ‘Guest Post Guidelines’. This is a page on your blog where you write down your terms and conditions for guest bloggers.
Write down clearly what you expect from your guest bloggers: How long the articles must be? In what tone? What’s your policy for internal and external links? What kind of images/videos are acceptable? And so on… Have a look at my Guest post guidelines page if you need some idea. This way, your guest bloggers will have a fair idea of what you expect from them, and they are more likely to deliver work that matches your expectations, without bothering you!
3. Accept guest posts from the same/similar niche
Only accept guest posts from a blogger or freelancer who is sharing the same/similar niche as yours. For example, a guest post written by a wedding photographer on a photography related blog looks more natural and makes better sense than a guest post written by a car loan provider on the same photography blog.
Moreover, guest posts written by off-niche bloggers are sometimes questionable with irrelevant outgoing links. Your readers will not appreciate it. Moreover, this might have repercussions from SEO point as well. Your Google rankings might suffer, and in view of unnatural external links, your blog might even get penalized by Google. So, it’s better to stay safe and accept guest articles from the same niche only.
Unlike an article directory that accepts loads of article from several niches and looks spammy, accepting guest posts from the same niche gives your blog an overall clean and professional look.
4. Review previous works of guest bloggers (if any)
Reviewing previous writing samples or, even better, a writing portfolio is a good way to judge the writing quality of your guest bloggers. Moreover, this gives you a fair idea of how proficient your guest bloggers are within a particular niche. So, if their previously published work matches your expectations, it’s good to accept their guest blogging proposal.
5. Check for plagiarism in the submitted work
Before publishing the guest article, make a thorough check for any possibilities of plagiarism in the submitted work. Everyone hates duplicate content, and so do the search engines.
Two ways to check for duplicate content:
1.) Google Search:
Copy a bunch of sentences from the submitted article, one by one, and put them in Google search within double quotes “like this”, and hit the search button. If any page shows up with the exact matching query, then it is obviously copied content.
Do this for every paragraph of the article.
2.) Online tools:
You can also use various online tools to check plagiarism in the submitted content. It saves a lot of time and efforts that goes in checking plagiarism manually.
You shouldn’t skip this practice and should do this with all the due diligence to stay safe from issues of copyright infringements in the future. Similarly, for images, ask your guest contributors to use royalty free images in the post with appropriate cc license/link back to the source or unless they are using their own images while creating the post.
A strong moderation over all the outgoing links in the guest post is very important. Make sure that you stay away from bad neighbors by not linking to any suspicious link or service.
Additionally, the links in the author byline section should be moderated as well. Make sure that the outgoing link is not penalized by Google and that it adds some value to your blog readers!
To check if the site you are linking to is not penalized by Google, do a quick Google search by using the search operator – site:abc.com. If the site homepage and internal pages are well indexed, then the site is in a good relationship with Google. If its pages are not indexed, then it is more likely that the website has been penalized by Google and you should stay away from linking to it.
Guest bloggers usually anticipate one backlink to their own blog or website from within the article that they write for you. They need this for recognition, visibility, and obviously some SEO benefits. So, you have two choices here: Either allow them one natural external link within the main article, OR allow it from the author byline (usually towards the end of the article).
While you can allow links to be added from either of these positions, it’s even more important to review what anchor text is being added. Following Google quality guidelines on links, you should allow only natural anchor text or branded keywords for external links. Anything which looks overly optimized, or something which just doesn’t feel natural while reading, should be avoided at all the costs.
What has been your experience with guest bloggers? What additional things do you check while accepting guest articles on your blog? Please share in the comments below.