Accepting Guest Posts - Boost Your Blog with Guest Posts

Boost Your Blog with Accepting Guest Posts: The Complete 2024 Guide

When I began blogging six years ago, guest posting was already a well-established practice. At first glance, it appears to be mutually beneficial – you receive free content for your audience while the writer receives some SEO link juice and exposure. What’s there not to love?

Well, many of these guest bloggers are simply craving fresh backlinks to enhance their rankings. As for the site owner’s viewpoint? Yes, obtaining “free content” appears great in principle when you’re overwhelmed.

But, here’s the real deal – I used to blindly accept guest posts on my site until I got burned one too many times. I didn’t realize all of the potential pitfalls that can come with it if not done properly.

Beyond the sketchy, spam-filled requests from questionable individuals, there are problems with guest posters lacking SEO knowledge and not properly optimizing content. It can be even worse when dealing with plagiarized or poor-quality content that adds no value. This defeats the purpose of saving time if you have to heavily edit or rewrite everything!

What Are Guest Posts

Guest posts are one of the most effective ways to grow your blog’s authority and reach. But exactly what are guest posts, and how do they work?
A guest post is simply when a writer creates content for another site and receives payment in the form of a backlink.  Typically, you guest post in the same niche or a related one. For e.g., bloggers passion  may choose to guest post related to blogging.

It’s similar to freelance writing, but instead of receiving payment in money, you receive a backlink.

“You might be thinking, ‘Nina, why would I give away my writing for free?'”

Well, it’s not really free.

A high-quality backlink can cost anywhere from $300 to $900 per backlink insertion.

I’ve tried a link-building service where one link costs about $500.

Meanwhile, with guest posts, you can write one post that is around 1500 words. You’ll get two links and technically have been “paid” more than most freelance writers on the internet. I don’t know any writers who get paid $1,500 for 1.5k word article for a blog post with two backlinks!

In addition to obtaining backlink authority, you also have the opportunity to present yourself before a new audience and establish trust, potentially acquire additional followers or even generate traffic if user’s click on your website through the included backlinks in the guest post.

What is the benefit for a blogger to post your content?

Accepting Guest Posts - Boost Your Blog with Guest Posts

When it comes to creating content that Google loves, showing real personal experience and expertise is key – that whole google “E-E-A-T “ factor they harp on. But let’s be real, you can’t possibly be a bona fide pro on every single topic under the sun. That’s where tapping into other subject matter experts through guest posting can be clutch.

I will provide you with an example from my personal experience. Some time ago, I was a guest writer for a social media marketing blog. I wrote about how to use platforms such as Instagram and TikTok to earn extra income. As someone who has successfully made money online, I was brought in as an authoritative voice to offer practical advice and insights to their audience.

On the flip side, I have also been on the receiving end before, accepting guest contributions on my own blogs for the same reason – filling in gaps in my expertise with fresh voices and perspectives. The idea is that it’s a win-win situation. The guest poster gets exposure to a new audience, along with those sweet backlinks. The site owner gets quality content from a credible source without having to create it all themselves.

At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work in theory. However, as you hinted, I’ve had enough negative experiences with guest posting over the years that I eventually stopped accepting them on my sites altogether. I’m sure you have some juicy tales to tell about what went wrong and why you decided it just wasn’t worth the hassle anymore. I’m all ears!

The core concept of guest posting makes sense from an SEO perspective. However, there is clearly a wide gap between that ideal win-win scenario and how it often plays out in reality for many bloggers and site owners. I am curious to hear the full story on why you became disenchanted with the whole practice.

You know the deal with guest posting – it’s supposed to be a sweet trade. You get free content, they get that tasty backlink. But here’s the thing, you gotta make sure it’s an actually fair deal for both sides.

We’re talking quality stuff that’s relevant to your niche and audience, not just some spammy garbage with shady links stuffed in. It can’t be as simple as “Yo, write me whatever and I’ll publish it next month for a link!” That’s a one-way street.

To guest post properly, there’s real work involved. The blogger has to sniff out relevant, reputable sites accepting posts in their niche. Then they gotta prove their expertise on specific topics that’d be a good fit for that audience. Just phoning it in ain’t gonna cut it.

And for the site owner, you can’t just copy past any ‘ol submission that comes in. There’s vetting to ensure it’s coming from a legit source. Editing and revisions back-and-forth. An whole process of actually putting in work on both ends to make it high-quality before hitting publish.

Now, you mentioned we’re specifically talking about hosting and accepting guest posts on your own website here. I’ve got a totally different take when it comes to being the guest author contributing to other sites, which I’m a big fan of. We can circle back to that side later though.

For now, let’s dig into those key pros and cons that made you say “hell nah” to keeping the guest post pipeline open on your blogs. I’m keen to hear the real nitty-gritty details on what turned you off from it as a strategy, despite the potential upsides. The war stories from folks who’ve been there are always invaluable.

The Pros and Cons of Accepting Guest Posts on Your Site

The Pros

Ever feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day to pump out all those amazing posts, especially when you’re juggling a real job on top of it? Guest posts are like hitting the fast-forward button on content creation.

Free Content Boost

Here’s the real kicker: you get awesome, fresh content for your blog, absolutely free. Hiring a freelance writer can put a dent in your wallet, especially if you’re still growing your blog. Guest posts are like finding a magic money tree for content!

Build Credibility

But it’s not just about saving cash. When big names in your niche write for you, it gives your blog some serious cred. People see all these different experts sharing their knowledge on your site and start to view you as a go-to resource.

Expand Your Network

Plus, guest posting is a fantastic way to meet other cool bloggers in your field. You can swap ideas, learn from each other’s experiences, and maybe even team up on something awesome in the future.

Diverse Perspectives

Don’t feel like you have to be an expert on every single topic. Guest posts let you offer your readers a variety of perspectives, even on things you might not have personal experience with. Think of it as inviting a guest speaker to your blog party! For example, I wouldn’t write a post about brain surgery, but I could invite a doctor to share their expertise with my readers.

The Cons

Low Quality & Spammy Content: Accepting guest posts can make you vulnerable to low-quality or spammy content. Publishing poorly written posts full of errors or lacking value reflects badly on your site. Many guest posters cut corners, have no understanding of SEO, and don’t prioritize quality.

Not Actually Faster: The main drawback of guest posting is the amount of time it takes to search for and evaluate potential guest posters, establish guest post guidelines, edit their content, manage significant revisions, and format the material. Personally, I find formatting to be the most tedious task, but accepting guest posts means more of it and less of the writing that I enjoy.

Plagiarism, Duplicate Content, and Copyright Issues: If you don’t conduct careful checks, you run the risk of plagiarism or copyright infringement if a guest poster uses someone else’s content without permission. It is crucial to ensure that posts are 100% original with proper citations. When I accepted guest posts, I used Copyscape to verify uniqueness.

Losing Control Over Voice & Tone: Allowing others to write for your website can pose a challenge in maintaining a consistent voice and tone. Guest writers may use varying language, craft clickbait headlines, or delve into off-brand subjects, ultimately impacting the overall coherence of your site.

Link Exchange & Unnatural Links: Accepting guest posts can lead to link exchange or unnatural links on your site, which can harm your rankings. Ensure that any post you accept adheres to Google’s guidelines and does not include spammy links. To maintain link value, avoid reciprocal guest posts.

Broken links can occur if the guest poster removes content or changes URLs, or if they abandon their site. Deleting earned links can be a challenging task, resulting in additional administrative work.

Fact-checking is necessary for guest posts on unfamiliar topics. Incorrect claims can damage the trust of your audience and the reputation of your site with Google. This can add to your workload.

People Steal Outlines and Keywords: Some guest posters may use the approved keywords or outlines for their own websites. As this material is not copyright-protected, you are out of luck. Without contracts, there is no recourse beyond relying on basic decency.

Issues with Accepting Guest Posts

Low Quality and Unhelpful Content: Some guest posts lacked substance, were hard to read, and didn’t provide value. Additionally, they often contained too many backlinks or links to competing content, despite clear guidelines against this, leading to time-consuming revisions.

Excessive Formatting Work: Even when the writing was good, I spent a lot of time formatting, a task I dislike. Accepting guest posts meant outsourcing writing, which I enjoy, and taking on more formatting, which I don’t.

Missed Deadlines: Contributors often missed deadlines, creating frustration, especially when these posts were part of my content schedule. Since unpaid guest posters didn’t prioritize timely delivery, I didn’t chase them, as their rushed articles likely wouldn’t meet my standards.

Reluctance to Edit: Many guest posters didn’t want to make necessary edits, pushing this work onto me and consuming more of my time.

Inaccurate and Plagiarized Content: Some posts contained blatantly wrong facts or stolen images. I even received a post that was 99% plagiarized, despite the author’s denial. Ensuring originality and accuracy required significant effort.

Inconsistent Tone and Style: Guest posters struggled to match my tone, style, and writing quality. This inconsistency detracted from my blog’s overall voice.

Fluff for Extra Links: Offering one link per 500 words led to fluff-filled articles aiming for more backlinks. Editing these down to the appropriate length often upset contributors.

Guest Post Guidelines

Niche/Audience Alignment

The sections focusing on clearly defining your niche, blog pillars/values, target audience, and their specific needs/wants is critical. It aligns guest contributors with your foundational direction and voice from the outset. Too often, guest submissions can miss the mark by not nailing the essence of what your site/brand represents. These guidelines leave no ambiguity.

Style & Optimization Rules
The level of detail provided around preferred writing style (formal vs. casual), along with the explicit SEO content guidelines, is excellent. Specifying things like using a tool like Content Assistant, target keyword density, FAQ schema requirements, desired length, etc. eliminates guesswork on the optimization front. It sets guest writers up for SEO success from the jump.

Terms & Process Transparency
I can’t overstate how important the transparency is around terms like submission timelines, your editing rights, rules on backlinks/affiliate links, image requirements, and plagiarism policies. Leaving zero gray areas here protects you legally and establishes you as the definitive editorial authority. The guest writer knows exactly what’s allowed and what’s not permitted from the start.

Bio & Examples
Giving guest contributors the option for a bio section optimized for E-E-A-T is smart. And providing actual examples of your site’s content exemplars and preferred voice is invaluable. It allows them to genuinely embody your brand’s style versus just blindly guessing. Such a great reference point.

Overall, these guidelines are a masterclass in setting the right foundation for a high-quality guest blogging program. They touch on all the key checkboxes needed for a consistent experience that yields content that meshes perfectly with your site’s goals. The thoroughness and forethought put into this is truly impressive. It’s the kind of intentional upfront work that separates good guest programs from the subpar ones. Bravo!

Guest Post Guidelines Examples

Here are a few websites in different niches along with their guidelines for guest posts/writers:

Benefits of Providing an Outline For Guest Post

The benefits of providing an outline to guest posters are numerous.

Learning Opportunity for New Bloggers: Providing an outline to guest posters is a fantastic educational tool. It allows new bloggers to learn from more experienced ones, gaining insights into how seasoned bloggers approach content creation.

Quality Assurance: As the blog owner, providing an outline ensures that you receive high-quality content that fits your blog’s style and format. It sets clear expectations and helps maintain consistency across your site.

Preformatted Structure: If your blog utilizes specific formatting, such as distinguishing between H2s and H3s for lists, an outline can preformat these elements. This saves time for both you and the guest poster and ensures that the post meets your standards.

Content specifications: Outlines can include specific content requirements, such as a 100-word introduction or particular types of content placement. This clarity helps the guest writer deliver exactly what you need.

SEO Optimization: By including secondary keywords and following other SEO guidelines in the outline, you can maintain control over the final product’s optimization. This will ensure that the guest post not only matches your style but also performs well in search engines.

By providing a predetermined outline, you, as the site owner, can exert more control over the structure, flow, and composition of the guest content from the start. You can incorporate your preferred heading structures, introduction length requirements, section breakouts, and more, ensuring a seamless stylistic fit with your existing posts.

Review, Edit, Format, and Publish Guest Posts on Your Site

When you receive content from a guest poster, it often needs a few tweaks before it’s ready to go live. Here are the steps I follow to ensure the content is top-notch:

  • Plagiarism Check: Run the post through Copyscape or your preferred plagiarism detector. If the plagiarism score is too high, send it back to the guest poster for revision.
  • Grammar and Style: Use Grammarly (even the free version works well) to catch any grammatical errors. Alternatively, you can use ChatGPT to proofread the document for issues.
  • SEO Optimization: Ensure the main keyword is used appropriately throughout the post. This can vary depending on the keyword, so adjust as needed.
  • Edit for Tone and Style: Edit the content to match your blog’s tone and style. This might involve some rewriting to ensure consistency with your other posts.
  • Image Handling: Rename all images using the format “[title]-[guestposter’ssite/name]” to avoid confusion or accidental reuse.
  • Monetization and Engagement: Add affiliate links and calls-to-action (CTAs) to the post.
  • Publishing: Schedule the post and inform the guest poster when it will go live.
  • Promotion: While you can ask the guest poster to share the post on social media, I usually don’t since I don’t heavily rely on social media for blog promotion.
  • Avoid Link Swaps: Do not request the guest poster to link back to the post from their site. This practice can be seen as spammy by Google and might devalue the links, making them less beneficial.

By following these steps, you can ensure that the guest posts on your site are high-quality, consistent, and beneficial for your SEO strategy.

F.A.Q

Q. What are the benefits of guest posting?

Guest posting allows you to tap into new audiences, build authority and credibility in your niche, earn backlinks to your site, and showcase your expertise. For site owners, it provides fresh content without having to create it all themselves.

Q. How do I find guest posting opportunities?

Search for blogs in your niche that accept guest posts, join Facebook groups for bloggers/writers, use tools like Gmail plugin Guest Post Tracker, and leverage your existing network and connections.

Q. What should I include in a guest post pitch?

Your pitch should have a catchy subject line, a brief bio establishing your credibility, a few compelling post title/topic ideas that fit their site, and a clear call-to-action asking to guest post.

Q. How many backlinks can I include in a guest post?

Most site owners allow 1-3 contextual backlinks in the body content. Avoid excessive self-promotion or link-stuffing. Follow their stated guidelines.

Q. Do I need to provide images for guest posts?

Some sites require you to source and provide images yourself, while others will add images. Check their submission guidelines ahead of time.

Q. Can I republish a guest post on my own site later?

Generally no, republishing a guest post word-for-word is considered duplicate content. You may be able to repurpose it significantly or rewrite it as a new post later on.

Conclusion

Guest posting can be a solid way to mix in some fresh content on your site without you having to write every single piece yourself. We all know how time-consuming that content grind can get. But here’s the thing – you can’t just treat it as an easy shortcut or time-saver. If you want to reap the real benefits of hosting guest contributors, you’ve got to put in the work upfront.

When done right though, an amazing guest post can drive new traffic, expand your readership, and even spark content ideas you may have never considered. The potential upsides are huge, but only if you take the time to get it right.

Follow the whole vetting system and guidelines I laid out earlier – defining concrete submission criteria, providing detailed stylistic preferences, creating content outlines and templates, checking for plagiarism, and maintaining high editorial standards. It’s a process, but that’s what separates the high-quality guest features from the lazy ones.

If you’re just looking to save time on writing though, you may honestly be better off exploring AI writing tools these days. Because let’s be real – facilitating and overseeing a true guest posting workflow the proper way is still a heavy lift in itself in terms of time investment.

Between formatting submissions, corresponding with writers, reviewing multiple drafts and giving feedback – that’s all work you’ve got to put in, on top of your regular content duties. No cutting corners if you want pro-level guest posts.

So guest posting can absolutely be worthwhile for adding authority and fresh perspectives. But thinking of it as a pure “shortcut” is misguided. Put in the effort to do it right, or just stick to your usual content process if hosting guests starts feeling like more trouble than it’s worth. No half-measures here.

You could just ask for small quotes for experts to beef out of a post that you don’t have the full qualifications to write on, like something about medicines or finance.

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