Should You Accept Guest Posts for Your Blog?
The internet, like any social place, is full of fads and trends. Some of these (certain viral videos, memes, email chains) are, thankfully, quick to move out of popular culture and onto the great inter tube in the sky. Others stick around, for better or for worse.
From its inception, those who participate in blogging have given and taken suggestions from each other in order to perfect their methods of communication and blog maintenance. They experiment with different types of advertising, formats of posts, photos, and content scheduling. A fast growing trend in this community is the practice of guest blogging.
Guest blogging is exactly what it sounds like. One person writes a post for another person’s blog. While this started as a way to share knowledge and highlight blogs of friends, it has become a useful tool for boosting SEO rankings. Guest authors will often link back to their websites, giving them not only increased traffic, but link juice as well. The hosting blog owner gets new content for their website, and the possibility that the post will draw viewers that their usual content does not.
With over-usage, however, a few downsides of gust blogging have become apparent. Many people have started guest posting only for the links. These posts fail to add to the community because they come from an outsider who will never stop by again once they have their link. This has also has a negative effect on content quality. Where guest posters used to out the same amount or more care into guest articles as posts on their own blogs, they now have nothing invested. If they don’t get a blog posted, they will just find a blog with lower standards where they can get their post.
Now that you know the pros and cons of guest blogging, how do you decide whether you accept guest posts for your blog? You must consider whether you are willing to put the work into maintaining your blog quality. Yes, where accepting guest posts used to be a way to take a break, they now cause blog-owners more work. Here are some steps to ensure that guest blogs have a positive effect on your website.
Make Your Content First Priority
Make sure that you have established a definite tone for your blog. This will not only make readers more invested in your blog, but give guest posters an idea of what kind of posts would fit your style. Don’t let guest posts become more frequent than your own posts. If you post every day, then maybe a couple guest posts a week will work, but if you only post once a month, posting a guest post every day will cause your blog to lose your identity and become more of a community free-for-all.
Decide Your Approach
There are two common approaches to accepting guest posts. You can take them occasionally, when you are on vacation or need a break, or you can accept them on a regular basis. If you only want the occasional article, it might be best to approach friends and bloggers you trust to write your posts. You may be approached by strangers wanting to be posted on your site. Do not be afraid to say no or ask for writing samples. You can always reject an article even after it has been submitted to you. If you are not satisfied with the quality, don’t accept it.
Make Specific Guidelines
If you decide to take submissions on a regular basis, you need to make rules. This will give you justification for rejection of sub-par posts, and also hopefully reduce the amount of bogus emails you get. Make it clear that you will only accept posts relevant to your niche. It will not benefit your readers or your rankings to post unrelated information. If you have topics you would like people to submit, list those along with word count and photo preferences.
It may be a good plan to set your email filters high and write that guest authors should put a certain line in the subject header. This will make it easier for you to sort through and discern who actually followed your guidelines. Make it clear that publishing is never guaranteed, and that you have the final say on what goes on your site.
Only Post Things You Would Be Proud to have Written
If a post is poorly written or just isn’t your style, you don’t have to post it. Think of your readers; do you think they will benefit from this article? If the answer is yes, great, post it. If the answer is no, don’t feel bad about asking the author to make changes or suggesting they find a site that is a better fit.
Make It Fun!
The point of your blog is to impart information to your readers. Hopefully they are enjoying themselves. Hopefully you enjoy yourself. If something isn’t working, figure out how it can be made better. You can solicit guest posts in a contest format to foster some competition. You can also request reader suggestions for future posts. Make sure that your motivation for every decision is reader enjoyment, and you’ll stay on the right track.