I have been guest blogging for almost 2 years now and within that period I have written several hundred guest posts, many of which have been featured on some of the biggest blogs in my niche. A lot of my guest posts were written solely for the sake of getting traffic and subscribers, and to improve my sphere of influence. Others were written solely for the purpose of experimenting and learning new things as far as guest blogging is concerned.
To say I haven’t learnt anything when it comes to guest blogging would be a lie. To say I can’t teach others how to do the same would be an even greater lie. I have decided to write a complete guide, giving the best and most practical information I can provide in a blog post. With time, I hope this guide will be the ultimate guide to guest blogging.
What is Guest Blogging?
The first question that will come to your mind when guest blogging is mentioned is, ‘what exactly is guest blogging?’ A lot of us know that forum marketing is the act of marketing our blog/website on forums. Most of us know that blog commenting is the act of commenting on other blogs. But what is guest blogging?
Guest blogging is the act of writing for another blog, with the hope of getting quality back-links, getting traffic, gaining exposure and building relationships.
Who Can Use Guest Blogging?
Guest blogging definitely has a lot of advantages, (which I’ll be getting into soon) but one major concern I have been getting from readers is that they only see guest blogging being used in the make-money-online niche. They ask me if it is really effective in other niches. Since guest blogging is based on you giving away free content with the hopes of getting link/traffic/exposure, it is really practical and effective in other niches.
The problem is that it might be a little difficult to find blogs to write for in niches other than the MMO niche. However, this also means that the blogs you’re after would’ve only had a few guest bloggers competing to write for them. This gives you the chance to get even more results from your guest posts.
Anybody can use guest blogging, in any niche: as long as there are blogs within your niche – guest blogging is possible.
Benefits of Guest Blogging
There are various reasons to guest post, and I’m a firm believer in the fact that your reason for guest posting will determine the kind of guest post you write, and the kind of blog you write for. I’ve written a previous post on some of the major benefits of guest blogging but I also think it will be better if I highlight some of the major reasons why I personally guest post below.
- To Gain Quality Traffic: In most cases this is the only reason I guest post. From my observation I have discovered that guest blogging is one of the best ways to get quality traffic that sticks and converts into subscribers. A recent guest post of mine on Problogger sent me over 1000 visitors in less than a week with very low bounce rate and quality time on site. So many of these visitors even go on to engage with me in other places. Guest blogging is by far my best traffic source.
- To Gain Subscribers: To me, this is the joy of guest blogging because there is no point in having traffic that doesn’t stick. I have gotten as much as 2000 visitors in one day from Stumbleupon alone, but you’ll find it difficult to believe that none of those visitors subscribed to my blog, and even though my guest posts on big blogs send me an average of 400-500 visitors I still get over 100 subscribers from each and every one of them. In fact, my recent guest post on Problogger (which is my highest-performing one ever) sent me over 400 subscribers in the first 3 days – and I keep on getting subscribers from it every day.
- To Build Backlinks: I once started an experiment (which has now been paused) to see how effective guest blogging is for link building. Guest blogging is the easiest and most effective way to build quality and authoritative backlinks to your blog. For this reason some of my posts are ranking on page one of Google for their desired keywords, most of my posts are indexed and ranked as soon as they’re published, and I now get over 4,000 visitors from Google alone every month. Guest blogging is definitely the best way to build authority backlinks to your blog and domain name – and the fact that it is also the easiest makes it the best.
- To Gain Exposure: Do you know that Problogger gets as much as 40k visitors every single day? Let’s say I was able to get a guest post published on Problogger. In a matter of one week the guest post would have been viewed by at least 10k people. This means that number of people have also seen my name. You might not see great value in this but considering the fact that people have to see a brand at least 7-8 times before they become really familiar with it, you will easily gain exposure and build your brand by repeatedly getting featured on the top blogs in your niche.
- It Helps Build Your Brand: Even though I get thousands of visitors from search engines every single month my blog name and my name are the most searched keywords readers look for. This is mainly as a result of my guest blogging (because I get the most searches when a guest post of mine is published on a big blog). I have also noticed that visitors who arrive from the search engines through my blog’s name (or my name) are those who end up spending the most time on my site. So, it doesn’t matter what people think works or not, guest blogging is one of the most effective ways to build a great brand.
- To Gain Credibility: What is the best way to start making a lot of sales when you launch a new product? Or what is the best way to get a lot of affiliates to jump on board? The truth is your traffic counts but the big players will only help you promote your stuff when they know they can count on you. There is no better way for people to know they can trust you than for them to repeatedly see your work on some of the biggest blogs in their niche. Guest blogging helps build your credibility and makes it easy for people to trust you and take your word for it.
I’ve done quite a job explaining the benefits of guest blogging and considering this isn’t the main area we’re touching on today, let’s move on.
Proof that Guest Blogging Works
Just so you know I’m serious when I talk about guest blogging (and that I get results from my efforts) I’ll show you some screenshots from some of my successful guest posts.
While you’re at it, I’ll also like you to know that even though my results might be mouth watering, they aren’t typical. I have seen people get more/fewer results than I do. This post will be based on my approach to guest blogging and I believe that by following my approach you will be able to get better results than I did.
Over 1K Visitors from Only One Guest Post
Guest Posts Contribute to My Top Traffic Sources
Over 400 Subscribers from One Guest Post in Less Than One Week (to my email list only)
The above are just some screenshots. You can do the maths and see if guest blogging is for you!
How to Get Started Guest Blogging
When I started guest blogging I made the typical mistake that many guest bloggers make. That mistake was writing a lot of guest posts on several blogs without thinking about the benefits or consequences. A lot of people will think that’s a great way to go, but I’d like you to know that it is not effective at all. You shouldn’t just start guest blogging because others are doing it or because you think it is the right thing to do. With blogging and internet marketing there is hardly anything called luck. Everything must be effectively planned from the beginning.
The first thing you need to know when you’re about to start guest blogging is your reason for guest blogging.
I have listed some of the major benefits of guest blogging above which include, traffic, links, subscribers, exposure, credibility and brand awareness. So take a look at these six reasons to know why exactly you want to guest blog, once you understand your reason for guest blogging you can then move on with this post.
Deciding Your Approach
When it comes to guest blogging you don’t just choose an approach and start to guest blog. Even though choosing an approach and working on it straight away might help you get results, it won’t be the best use of your time in the long run so you have to calculate everything you’re doing to ensure you’re getting the best possible from your time and efforts.
For example, if you’ve determined that your main reason for guest blogging is to get traffic and subscribers it will be a complete waste of time to guest blog on small blogs. And if your main aim for guest blogging is to gain backlinks it might not be the best use of your time to target big blogs.
Here’s how it goes. I will be giving you an insight into the value of guest blogging below so you can have a better understanding of what I mean. I’ll highlight the reasons for guest blogging and what results you can get.
If you take a look at the above graphic you will notice that the single best use of your time when it comes to guest blogging on small blogs will be to build backlinks. Yes, I know people will dispute that based on the fact that big blogs have more authority, and I’m not against that, big blogs have more authority than small blogs. However, a big blog like Problogger won’t give you the same results as 5 high-quality pagerank 4 blogs with varied anchor texts to the same page. I’m not saying this based on ‘guestimation’. I tried and tested this and it’s what works for me.
In the end, it doesn’t matter whether you want to try to get subscribers, credibility, exposure, brand awareness or traffic, spending your time guest blogging for big blogs will be the wisest thing to do.
My 5 Rules for Guest Blogging
I have rules for guest blogging, and my rules have never failed me. This particular rule has helped me get my guest post published on some of the biggest blogs in the blogosphere and I hope that by following them, you will be able to achieve the same thing.
My 5 guest blogging rules are Research, Writing, Proofreading, Submitting and Interaction and I’ll be explaining them below.
- Research: When getting ready to guest blog the first thing I do is research. And when I refer to research I’m not just talking about researching the post idea or anything of that nature – but researching the blog itself to be familiar with it so I can get my first submission published. I know my first efforts didn’t get me published on most big blogs and that is exactly why I formed this rule. Effectively researching before submitting your guest post makes it easy for you to understand how a blog works, who is the key person behind the blog, what kind of content is allowed, and what you must do to easily get published on the blog. For example, if I’m just trying to get published on a big blog for the first time I will take a look at the last 30 posts published on the blog (both by the blog author and guest bloggers), because that will give me an idea of what is accepted and published there. I’ll also read the most recent guest posts to have a better idea of what is common among the guest bloggers. For example, I see writing completely different, specific and unique posts works best on SmartPassiveIncome. Highly informative list posts work well on DailyBlogTips. And looking for new ways to effectively present your ideas work well on Problogger. By researching, I have also noticed that DailyBlogTips don’t accept SEO’d anchor texts, and Problogger has no problems with links within the content of your guest posts, as long as your links are highly relevant. Every blog host is different. They have different rules and beliefs and you have to understand that before trying to write for their blogs.
- Writing: Even though I have a standard for writing when it comes to my blog, I try to raise my standard when it comes to my guest posts because I know there are a lot of people competing for the attention of my potential host, so only the best guest posts will stand out. I try to research effectively when it comes to my writing. I also do my best to ensure my guest post is unique, detailed and informative. As a result – every one of my guest posts on big blogs are thousands of words long. This is not because I am specific about the length but because I try to do my best to make my content as detailed, informative, practical and as presentable as possible. Another thing I have noticed is that the more unique and informative my guest post is, the more results I get from it.
- Proofreading: I always fail whenever I try to submit a guest post to a blog without proofreading it. What this shows is that my writing isn’t perfect – none of us are. Proofreading your guest posts makes them as clear and as presentable as possible – thus making them easy for your host to read. I have published guest posts on this blog just because of how effective and clear the grammar is, and I’m sure a lot of bloggers will do the same. I often take more time proofreading my guest posts than writing them because the secret lies in proofreading. Your guest post is never complete without you proofreading it.
- Submitting: This is one of the most crucial aspects of guest blogging. Some people believe in pitching before writing but I believe in writing before pitching and it has always helped me. So many bloggers prefer it too because it is a time saver. If you tell me you have a guest post for me and I tell you to go ahead and write it, you will be more disappointed if I don’t accept it. But if you send the post along with your first query email I can easily give it a quick scan to see if it is right for my blog or not. It is also important that you do your best to make sure you’re as polite as possible in your email. Bloggers hate rude guest bloggers so they won’t even bother replying you if you’re rude. Just to give you an idea of which kind of email works I will be attaching two of the emails I have sent to bloggers below.
Sample Email for DailyBlogTips Guest Post
Sample Email for Problogger Guest Post
- Interaction: I know some of you who are familiar with my guest posts on Problogger and DailyBlogTips will say I don’t interact in the comments section. This isn’t because I don’t want to, but because my IP has been blacklisted by Akismet and these blogs get a lot of spam comments every day. It will be very difficult for me to constantly disturb the bloggers to fish out my comments from their spam section. Otherwise, I always interact in the comment section of my guest posts because a lot of my readers told me that’s how they found me. It is a good thing to get your guest post published, but interacting in the comments section of the blog that published your guest post is really important because it tells the readers of that blog you really care and are not just there for the link or the traffic.
It’s that simple, the above are my five rules for successful guest blogging and I’m so optimistic about them working for anyone who tries to use them effectively.
We’ve talked about the process of guest blogging so it’s now time to visit some other important aspects.
How to Find Blogs
Depending on how you want your guest blogging to be, finding blogs can be a pain in the ass but it should be a little bit easier by the time you finish reading this blog post.
- Technorati: One of the best ways to find the top blogs in your niche is by making use of the technorati blog directory. Even though this isn’t a great way to find smaller blogs, it is one of the most effective ways to discover the big blogs in your niche (should you decide to start guest blogging on big blogs).
- Alltop: This is also one of the best blogging directories. Alltop is a site which displays links to the latest posts on some of the best blogs online. This directory has links to blogs in almost every niche. It also has links to thousands of blogs, and it doesn’t just accept any blog (so you can be sure of finding only authority sites there).
- Google Blog Search: Another great way to find the top blogs in your niche is by making use of the Google Blog Search Engine. All you need to do is type the name of your niche (considering the fact that this search engine only indexes blogs, you will find it easy to discover blogs in your niche). Once you’ve found a list of some top blogs you can then check to see if they have a guest posting page. If they don’t, you can get in touch with the blogger to ask if they accept guest posts.
- MyBlogGuest: There are a lot of blogging communities and I prefer quality over numbers. MyBlogGuest is the best guest blogging community EVER (in my honest opinion) and what makes it even better is that it isn’t just one small quality blogging directory but a great blogging community with over 10,000 members. It also has a lot of features that almost automates guest blogging. It doesn’t matter what niche you’re in, my blog guest is right for you!
- Search Engines: It could be Google, Yahoo or Bing, it doesn’t matter which one it is, search engines are one of the best ways to find targeted blogs in your niche. All you have to do is use some search engine operators and some common guest blogging key phrases to find blogs accepting guest posts, below are some examples (make sure you replace “your niche” with your main niche):
Your niche + submit guest post
Your niche + write for us
Your niche + contribute
Your niche + submit post
Your niche + guest blogging
Your niche + submit your post
Your niche + submit an article
Your niche “submit post”
Your niche “write for us”
Your niche “guest blogging”
Your niche “guest posting”
Your niche “submit an article”
You should know that there are a lot of other effective search terms that can be used in cases like these but the above should give you enough blogs for you to guest post on, and as you keep on writing for more blogs you will become aware of the most common terms used so you can easily modify those terms to get more results.
How to Develop Content
A lot of people call me a content machine whenever they hear that I wrote over 300 guest posts in 2010 alone. Even though almost all of my ideas come naturally I also have resources I use whenever I’m stuck and I will be giving you some of those resources below.
- Top Blogs in Your Niche: Whenever I’m stuck of ideas on what to write for both my blog and my guest posts what I do is visit some of my top blogs (especially Copyblogger, Viperchill, Problogger and SmartPassiveIncome), I’ll then visit the sidebar of these blogs to see which posts are the most popular. I’ll also read some of their recent posts. These actions give me enough ideas to write at least 10 quality guest posts.
- Yahoo Answers: This is something I started using recently and it is one of the most effective tools for generating blog post ideas. Why? Because it is full of questions people want answered. Search effectively through it you will be able to note a common question asked by users there. You can even copy the question directly as a blog post title and then answer it as a blog post. In most cases the people (asking the questions) would have tried search engines but might not have found the answer to their questions. Your blog post will be one a lot of people want to read. It would also increase the chances of your blog/guest post getting more traffic on the long run.
- Social Media: Another effective way to get more blog post ideas is by being alert on Facebook, Twitter, Delicious, Stumbleupon and some of your favorite social media sites to read the latest posts shared by users there.
- Blog Comments: You can also get blog post ideas by taking a look at the comments section of your favorite blogs to see what questions are being asked the most on the latest posts. This will also give you ideas on what to write about.
- Forums: If you’re subscribed to one or two top forums in your niche, that is also another potential content generation hub for you. All you need to do is look through some of the most recent threads to see what people really want to know more about. Use this to come up with blog posts and you’ll have created answers to the problems a lot of people have.
There are countless ways to generate blog post ideas but the above are some of the most effective ways. By making use of them you will have enough tools, resources and ideas to generate thousands of blog posts.
Even though I have written a lot about guest blogging, the best way to truly get results is by getting started right away. Stop reading now, follow the tips in this article and get something done.
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