As a full time blogger I write guest posts every month for a variety of blogs. Some of these posts are free and some of them are paid however I ensure that the quality of all articles I write for others is high. Unfortunately, the majority of others don’t share this view.
I also accept guest posts on my own blogs which gives me an insight into the quality of articles that other bloggers submit. At the moment I probably get around 15 submissions and guest post requests every month (popular blogs probably get hundreds of submissions). I reject around 99% of these submissions. Whilst I appreciate getting an article from a writer for free, I will not allow the standard of content on my website to drop.
Generally speaking, the guest post submissions I have received have been very poor. The three main problems are:
- Grammar: Most articles that are submitted seem rushed as there are lots of grammatical mistakes and basic errors; mistakes that would have been picked up if the author proofread what they wrote.
- Content is not suitable: My WordPress blog is targeted towards WordPress users who modify their website. As such we publish tutorials and post reviews of themes and plugins. Most guest authors submit articles that are not targeted towards my readers. For example, at least a quarter of submissions are on topics such as ‘Why you should use WordPress’ and ‘Why WordPress is perfect for bloggers’; topics that are too simplistic for my own blog.
- Keyword Stuffing: Authors stuff articles with keywords and links to their own blog, even when it has nothing to do with topic they are writing about.
Guest Posting Myth
My main inspiration for this article came from a friendly blogger who emailed me 3 days ago. He wanted to submit an article about the subject of ‘WordPress membership sites’. He showed me 4 articles he had written about the subject for other blogs and I was happy with the quality of them. I advised him that I was happy for him to write a guest post for the site and asked if he could write a round up of the best membership plugins available for WordPress.
He replied that:
I’d rather submit an article about why WordPress is a great as platform for membership sites, because a round up of the best plugins will compete directly with our content and in fact it will do us harm.
I thanked him for his offer and explained that I wasn’t looking for an article of that nature as it’s not the sort of topic we publish on the site. He stressed that I would be happy with the article and he submitted a post. The article was completely off topic and was very poor. It was rushed, it was much shorter than his other submissions and it offered the reader nothing.
He was very polite throughout our email conversations and there were no hard feelings on either part for me not accepting the post, however his reply really surprised me. He wanted to promote his website through guest posting however he was concerned about writing good content for others as it would harm his own website (I assume he means through search engine rankings). This is the wrong way of looking at things.
Why Your Guest Posts Have To Be Great
Guest posting is used as a means of self-promotion by a lot of top bloggers and the one thing they all do is deliver great content. Most write about similar topics that appear on their own website. Not only does this ensure that the traffic they receive from guest posting is targeted, it also helps them build themselves up as an authority on the subject.
You don’t have to always write about the same topic your own blog covers though at the very least you need to submit an article that is appropriate for the site you want to guest post on. Check previous articles to get a feel for the type of articles they publish (top ten posts, list posts, tutorials, news etc). Remember, you’re writing the article for their readers not yours!
When a guest post of yours is published on another website it gives readers a preview of your writing style and an opportunity to get to know you better. Why would someone want to find more about you or click on your website link in your author bio if your article was poor?
I also think it’s a waste of time writing poor articles for other blog owners as there is a higher risk that the article won’t be accepted. I would prefer no articles to be published on my website instead of a poor quality post as I know that that all it takes is one poor article to make a reader unsubscribe.
Great posting is a great way of promoting your website and promoting your own profile but if you are going to do it, do it right and ensure that the quality of your guest posts are great. Don’t just think about the link or two at the end of the guest post, your real aim should be connecting with a readership that hasn’t been exposed to you or your writing yet.
Kevin Muldoon is a webmaster and blogger from Scotland who currently lives in South America. His current project is WordPress Mods; a blog which focuses on WordPress Themes, Plugins, Tutorials, News and Modifications.