Guest posting is a great way to help spread the word about your own site and get some additional traffic. And as a site or person that accepts guest posts it is a great way to get free content for your site, and potentially build relationships with other sites. However, many people go into guest posting with ideas and actions that not only make their guest posting strategy ineffective but also may hurt their site in the long run. From both parties involved in guest posting there are some common mistakes you should avoid.
Let’s start with the person that is writing the guest post and trying to get it published on another site with a link or two back to their own sites. One common mistake people sometimes make is being a little too excessive. This particularly falls in with new guest posters that may send successive emails regarding the status of their post. These excessive emails only make them seem annoying and will only create a bad name for them as a guest poster. There’s nothing wrong with a follow up email, but only if it’s been a substantial amount of time and you still haven’t gotten a response.
Then there is the issue of guidelines. Many sites that accept guest posts will offer guidelines as to what guest posts should include. They may lay out the potential topics, word length, picture requirements, and their policy on linking. As a writer it is your obligation to meet these guidelines. For example, many sites will only allow links in the author byline. If you submit your post with links in the actual article it not only shows that you didn’t care enough to look at the guidelines, but also that even if you did you just disregarded them. This does not put you in a good view of the site and will likely get any of your guest posts rejected. On the same note, don’t overestimate your writing ability. Higher quality sites demand higher quality posts, so if you want to guest post there you will need to put in the extra effort.
Now let’s flip things over to the site that is receiving and publishing these guest posts. One of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen sites make is having hypocritical standards and guidelines. Don’t ask that guest posters write 600 word articles when the articles you write yourself are only 400. There’s nothing wrong with wanting quality posts, but make sure what you are asking for is reasonable and sensible.
Sites also often make the mistake of asking for guest posts too early in their life span. If you have a new blog or site, don’t ask for guest posts. It makes it seem like you are just trying to get free content since a backlink on a brand new site really isn’t worth anything in terms of SEO and traffic. Instead wait until your blog is established, has an audience, and a good amount of content. This is the time where you can ask for guest posts and offer relatively valuable links in return.
As a guest poster I have only run into this issue a couple of times, but I still can’t believe that some sites do it. Some sites will charge you to guest post on their site. This means that after you write them the free piece of content you need to pay the site in order to get posted. This is the equivalent of painting someone’s fence and then paying them for doing so. This completely turns away many guest posters from your site as they can’t afford it or just simply don’t think that it is worth the money.
If you are thinking about getting involved in guest posting don’t fall to these common mistakes. Remember to be respectful and courteous and never ask for or write something that you would not accept yourself.
Kayvon is in charge of blogging about all tech-related personal finance news for CreditCardForum.com, which is a forum where consumers can discuss everything from the best cash back credit cards, to which issuer has the worst customer service.