By now, many of you know I have this thing about guest posts and the people who request to leave one on my blogs. Even though I’ve had some on this blog (I think 14) over the course of 9 years (my anniversary was on the 12th; yay me!) and I accepted them for a while on my finance blog, overall I’m not a great fan of them across the board.
Why? Well, instead of just talking about it I think I’ll turn this into a list post of why I probably won’t share guest posts and, well, what might get me to share one somewhere on social media or even to link one to a blog property I own. I think that’s fair; let’s have a conversation about it.
1. Why did I come to your blog in the first place?
Why? Because I liked you, your writing and what you wrote about. That’s usually how the majority of blogs start; we create them, write all the content in our own words, hopefully add a bit of personality and engage with those people who deign to comment on them. That’s the true part of purely blogging; you as the owner creator, the rest of us as the commenters.
2. Why did you start accepting guest posts?
This one is probably twofold.
All but one of the guest posts on this blog over the years came because I asked someone to write about something they had better knowledge of than I did. These were people who were participants on the blog and whose blogs I visited as well, and I’d gotten to know them a little bit and knew that I could trust them to not only deliver something special, but to come back and respond to any comments those posts received. In this case, I did it for my readers; ain’t I magnanimous? 🙂
For my finance blog, I did it to generate traffic so that my advertising would generate income via affiliate links and banner ads. It worked really great I must say, to the extent that at one point it was one of the higher ranked financial blogs online.
This is probably why so many people start accepting guest posts, along with the fact that so many people start requesting to have a guest post that it alleviates all the pressure of your having to keep coming up with content ideas. For me, I started traveling a lot for work, so this helped a great deal.
3. Where does accepting guest posts go wrong?
This one has a lot of answers, but I’m only going to mention three of them; two under this header and the last one under a separate header.
The first issue is the quality of the posts. So many of them read horribly, to the extent that they’re really boring. Just yesterday I came across 4 blog posts talking about content marketing that pretty much said the exact same thing, and two of them were written poorly. I can’t imagine why anyone would want that type of thing on their blog as a guest post unless they’re just being lazy and don’t care about quality.
The second issue is that it’s hard to get those people to come back and respond to comments. Sure, some people are good at it, but more than half of what I see has comments without a response from the writer (although sometimes the blog owner will step in) and that’s an abomination in my eyes.
That was a major problem I had with most of the posts on my finance blog; the people who contacted me about the guest post turned out not to be the people who wrote the article, and the people who wrote the articles didn’t understand what they were writing about enough to come back and comment on it. Those few that did gave one line comment responses of thanks because that’s all they could muster; how engaging does that sound?
4. The #1 sin of allowing a lot of guest posts is…
The blog owner stops writing their own posts… which leads back to #1 on this list talking about why I was coming to your site in the first place. I mean, look at the ratio on this blog; over 1,730 articles with 14 guest posts; that’s 99.2%. On my finance blog, the ratio started out at 25% guest posts, but once I started traveling it probably jumped to around 33%, as I made sure to keep writing at least one post a week while posting 2 articles from someone else.
Frankly, that started to bother me because no one else could write in my style, and other than the editing I had to do I can’t say that I understood what everyone else was writing about at least 60% of the time. Almost none of it was either engaging or fun; at least they were educational… if anyone cared to read any of them (which rarely happened).
5. When will I share guest posts on other blogs?
I did say I do it from time to time, right? There are two instances where I’m known to do it.
The first is if I know the writer of the guest post because I’ve visited their blogs previously and know them. In those cases if I’m interested in the article I have no qualms about sharing them, and I might even comment on them because I know they comment back. That’s what I did on this post by Lisa Sicard on Ileane Smith’s blog (okay, I happen to be in it, but still… lol).
The second is if I happen to read an article on Flipboard and decide to share it. I don’t always know if the writers there are the blog owners or not until I click on the link later on to verify the post (I always send these articles to myself via email so I can track down the person’s social media profile) site, since sometimes Flipboard gives you a link back to their site rather than the original source. I also like to give credit to the writer as part of my Twitter strategy; who doesn’t love knowing that something they wrote is being shared?
Yeah, I know; some of my standards seem a bit rigid to some people. Yet, I share a lot of content and promote a lot of people every day, mostly on Twitter but occasionally on other platforms as well. There’s only so much I can consume and decide on its worthiness to share with my audience that if I didn’t set some rules for myself I’d never have any time to write or make a living. Those of you who comment and know that I’ve shared some of your articles can tell the others how fair I am. 🙂
Is this a mistake you’re making with your blog? Have you forgotten why your visitors started coming to your site in the first place? Just something to think about. 😉