This year brought me to a crossroads when it comes to ways to build blog traffic by guest posting. Though I’ve both written guest posts for fellow bloggers as well as welcomed a number here at Word Bank, I’ve not been as strategic as I could have been. The coming year will see me re-refocus my guest posting efforts to focus more on my highlighting my editing and writing services, while I focus my creative writing on submitting pieces to magazines and journals. For that reason, I am reviving this past guest post by Molly Greene. She’s a blogger and author of the Jen Delacourt mystery series. Her super-helpful blog for writers offers great advice on building an online brand. A while back, I wrote a guest post for her on how to use MailChimp. Now I am happy to welcome Molly so she can offer insight on how to build your blog.
Official Bio: When I’m not writing, I’m busy blogging over at www.molly-greene.com about books, author issues, what I’ve learned during the publishing process, plus a bit about my life in the mountains. Stop by and say hello … and while you’re there, join my Reader’s Club for exclusive access to pre-published content (like Gen Delacourt companion short stories!), freebies, giveaways, and news about upcoming releases.
Build Blog Traffic by Guest Posting: Be A Great Host And Guest!
I’m honored that Jeri Walker so generously agreed to share her readers with me this week. As a regular blogger, I know the blessing and the burden of maintaining a good blog. It’s your baby. You nurture it, you care about your readers and the articles you share with them. But it gets a little overwhelming, doesn’t it? Good gracious, how are we supposed to do it all? So much to write and so little time. And there’s the promotion aspect – especially with a new blog. How do you build your readership?
Guest posting is a great way to leverage your writing time, enhance your blog’s SEO, cultivate relationships with other bloggers, and attract new readers. I know it sounds contradictory, but bear with me. According to Danny Iny, successful blogger and owner of Firepole Marketing, if you have a new blog that’s getting fewer than 200 page views per day, your focus should be on gaining more traffic. Okay, but how?
Build Blog Traffic via Guest Posts
Per Iny, guest posting is the absolute best way to steadily increase your blog’s visitors. The strategy is to seek out bloggers with solid, regular readership (where your target readers tend to hang out!) and pitch those bloggers. Guest posting is also a great way to build backlinks to your website and improve your credibility with search engines. If you can score a guest opportunity with a blogger in your niche, you can gain respect by association.
Not all traffic is equal, and not all sources that send traffic to your blog are equally valuable. Although you may have tried sharing your posts on bookmark sites such as Reddit and StumbleUpon (and you should), traffic from these platforms tend to have a lower conversion rate (people who stay and read your content, then subscribe) than traffic you’ll gain from a well-received guest post.
Guest posting on other blogs is a home run for a handful of reasons:
- Gain new readers. With each guest post, you get introduced to a new group of readers who may be so dazzled by what you have to say they’ll sashay on over and follow your blog, too. (hahahaha)
- Gain inbound links. You’ll gain another inbound link to your blog from your host’s website, which enhances your site’s credibility with search engines. When your website link is included with your post (like mine is below), an incoming link to your own website is created. This helps with SEO, and Google and Alexa will show you the love.
- Gain reusable content. I’m all about re-purposing all the material I write (note: NOT duplicating it online, see below, repurposing) and you can too. Create a plan to rewrite each guest post and re-use the content in a creative, pre-planned way, such as in an ebook to sell or give away, as a posting on a website that accepts articles for syndication (okay, so you can duplicate if you do this), or re-worked into a future post on your own blog.
Be certain you do not give your host duplicate content that’s been posted elsewhere unless they have specifically asked for it. Duplicate content is a Google no-no, in the sense that when search engines identify duplicated material that has been re-posted verbatim, they typically will not “offer” that link to searchers, they’ll only offer the link to the original article. So the second website will not gain any type of SEO for that post. Some bloggers and syndication sites won’t care, some will. I very seldom post duplicate content on my website because I depend on search engine results to bring new readers to me.
Build Blog Traffic by Hosting Other Bloggers
On the flip side, inviting other bloggers to visit your website once in a while is also a win-win, just like Jeri’s done here. Guest bloggers help defray the time and responsibility of writing every post yourself, and your readers hopefully benefit from the knowledge, insight, and expertise of others.
Just so you know, my guests’ incredibly informative posts almost always get more page views than my own. This is because their articles rock, and well-known guest bloggers share their content – a.k.a. their guest posts – across their own social media networks. Be sure to have written guidelines for your guest, such as:
- Word count range.
- Topic ideas.
- Content due/date or deadline range.
- Material to include, such as bio, blurb about their book, headshot, et cetera.
It’s a great practice to always include guest posters’ bios, headshots, social media links, and book blurbs at the end of their posts. As I said above, this creates an inbound link to their blog and enables them to attract readers and get more exposure. It demonstrates your appreciation to guests for taking the time to share great content with you.
How to Approach Guest Bloggers
Invite the right people to your party! My practice with guest posters is to observe via Twitter and notice which authors have mastered (or want to master) something specific – such as Jeri’s post on my blog about creating a gorgeous newsletter via Mailchimp, – and send them a message asking if they would be interested in writing a post about that topic for me.
Always be gracious, never apply any pressure, and always offer to help guests self-promote. That way you’ll get hands-on tutoring, the opportunity to network with another great author, and super content for your blog. Happy guest posting!
In addition, I will also be slowing down my guest posting efforts in the coming year. At times, I’ve written one or two a month. My new focus will be on writing around six a year with a focus on in-depth content. This also entails strategically pitching well-established blogs I have been following for a while now. As always, the effort toward finding 1,000 true fans and also submitting work to publications that practice editorial discretion continues. Please consider visiting those linked posts for more information,
What good or bad experience has you had as a guest post writer or host? How might you change your approach in the year ahead?
You can connect with Molly Greene and her social media sites via her website and blog.
Please share responsibly. Jeri Walker, 2016
Solid advice. Thanks for sharing.
As always I have much to learn. Thank you for this post.
Hi Molly – Very nice blog post. I’ve hosted one blog post, and been a guest poster on several blogs which were stops along the way on a virtual book tour that ended in December last year. The book tour was a month long and involved over twenty stops, so I was very busy writing guest posts, most of them in some way having to do with my novel A Bridge to Treachery.
So, in a sense these were not exactly what you had in mind for your post here. My guest posts were not instructive or inspirational, but one aspect of them had very positive vibes for me, and that was responding to reader comments engendered by my posts. Comments often take us far and wide, and open up aspects of the subject we hadn’t thought of.
In one such post, I broached the subject of using story material from one medium to create a completely separate story in another medium. This morphed into a fun exchange about my experience in having to come up with a 10 minute play from scratch over night so the cast and crew could stage it the next night – a 24 hour play festival.
Hi, Molly – great topic! I had a bad experience recently with guest posting for someone else, but since you asked for positive and since I prefer to stay positive, I will say about a year ago a blogger who produces a theme for small businesses asked for a guest post on his blog. I wrote it (it was about social media placement on a web page), and I got some good shares. I can’t say it brought much more traffic, but it was a good accomplishment on my part of writing a topic for a new audience and receiving positive feedback. I should do more writing on other blogs.
On my own blog, I’ve had some fabulous guest posters (in between the ones that I don’t even need to mention).
I agree that all of these things will help in growing traffic. Quest posting can certainly be one of them. But like anything else, it all depends on where you post and the that blogs reputation.
BTW: I really did enjoyed what you had to say. 🙂
This is great stuff! I’ve bookmarked the page so I can return and read it again. I’ve had a few guest bloggers on http://www.curiouswedding.com and it’s always been a great experience.
Good article. I used to guest post in the early days but not so much now. It can can help drive targeted traffic if you chose wisely.
Thanks so much to you all for your comments, and thank you Jeri for hosting me today on your wonderful blog. Yes, agreed, guest posting does take time and it’s really great if you can guest on high-traffic blogs.
I have not had a single bad experience as a guest OR as a host, so I’ve been lucky! Probably because almost all of my experiences have been with bloggers and writers I’ve *known* on Twitter and Facebook. Blog on, everyone!
Great post, Molly – and great hosting, Jeri! I wrote a post on my own blog about book promotion, encouraging writers to try this, and I completely agree with you.
And my comment here is proof of how it grows traffic, because I’d never visited the host blog before though I’ve been following Molly’s for a while, and it was through Molly’s tweeted link that I found it. So you’ve gained at least one extra follower today, Jeri!
One really important thing to add is that the guest ought to revisit the blog that’s been hosting them on the day their guest post goes live, and for a few days at least afterwards, so that they can respond personally to the comments, as Molly has done here.
Thanks for a great read!
Debbie, thanks for stopping by and thanks for the additional advice on guest posting.
As always you give excellent advice in a clear, concise format. This is clearly something I would like to do in the near future on my blog. Thanks again!
I’ve done a few guest posts and won over a few more followers.
This blog post is starting me toward the opposite — inviting a guest to post on my blog. This is definitely something for me to think about for the summer. Right now, I’m busy serializing a mystery (chapter-by-chapter on Fridays) so I’m not ready to hand over my other weekly post to a guest.
Umm… summer guests without having to make up the sofa with the guest linens. Sounds like a good idea.
Great information! You can never get enough advice (especially from those who really know the blogging world and make a career out of it) about gaining readers and increasing traffic. All very useful stuff, thanks!
This is a great topic, though difficult one to put in to practice. Yes. Speaking from experience…
I heartily endorse the points in this guest post. Relatively early on in my blogging career (which I still consider somewhat nascent), I posted a comment on another travel blog. The blogger reached out to me to see if I’d be interested in a doing a guest post that concerned the content of my comment. This was a well-established blog and right after my guest post appeared, my Google PR rank jumped to 3. I can only attribute this to the link juice from the guest post. I also agreed to post a guest post by someone who reached out to me on a subject I thought would be of interest to my readers. I ended up doing more editing than I would have liked, but the topic of that guest post has indeed brought in search traffic.
Through my first guest post, I developed a mentor (her)-mentee(me) relationship with the blogger for whom I guest posted which has bolstered my confidence and my visibility in the community of Boomer travel bloggers.
Congrats to Leora and Charles! Your names were drawn as winners of Molly’s Blog It! eBook. She will be contacting you shortly.
I’ve met some really great people, and discovered some awesome blogs and very talented writers through guest posting.
It is annoying when the guest author doesn’t come back to share their content or respond to comments – It’s like being the guest of a great host and not sending a thankyou card!
Those are some good tips. I am working on building more traffic. I think guest posting is my next move.
Jason, if you haven’t visited Molly’s blog before already, consider doing so. She offers lots of great tips.
Good information to ponder. I’ve yet to write a guest post or have a guest post to my blog. Part of that has been me working to more clearly define the point of my blog. While “musings” in general is the best fun, it doesn’t help a traveler find me!
This post will help me further define who I would want to ask to be a guest on mine site. Thanks.
RoseMary, guest posting is definitely a great way to expand the reach of your blog and vice versa. I try to do at least one if not two guest posts a month. Each one always brings a few new subscribers my way.
It’s always a work in progress. One can pick up useful information at any point in our blogging lives.
Truly interesting, Molly… Guest posts might help not only to get more traffic (which is not only good, but desirable).. but also to reach different readers, meaning diverse profiles, interests and maybe expectations too. I guess it is a matter of quality and quantity at the same time. Thanks for sharing Jeri!. Happy week. Aquileana 😀
Great tips! I typically fail in the guest blogging section, mostly because I struggle to think up enough for my own blog. I think if my blog was more writer-professional specific, then I’d probably do better with the guest posting.
Great information. I have not yet written a guest post nor hosted a guest blogger. Something to think about.
I need to get more people to guest post on my blog. I know.
I’m still waiting for Lady Gaga to answer my request.
Thank you! x
Great advice, Molly. I have done both. I’ve hosted guest writers and I’ve written for other bloggers. For the most part, it’s been a great experience. I find that guest writing gets me to write in a different way than I normally do. That’s always a good feeling, to break out of a writing pattern and change topics even. The very first blogger to invite me to write for her site rejected my piece after I spent hours editing it. She simply said it wasn’t ‘suitable’. It sort of scarred me as far as dealing with people I don’t know. I must know the writer quite well before I host her/him or I write for them. I will check out your site as it sounds like a fabulous resource for writers. Thanks, Jeri for sharing this valuable writer with us.
Good information on the world of guest posting. This is definitely something I should add to my schedule next year–both asking to be a guest post and having guest writers. I like the guidelines you included.
I haven’t really paid much attention to this so I appreciate the advice. On a couple of occasions I have entertained guest posts from people who approached me and the one tip I would offer on this is to be very specific about what you will use as a guest post.
Great advice. I’ve had about 5 guest blog posts on my site this year. For my organizing blog, it’s easier to get guest blog posts. For my admin blog, it isn’t. In the coming year, I hope to schedule a few times a year for guest blogs on my organizing site so I can stop creating or modifying and focus on promoting the blog and communicating with others.
Jeri – your posts are always insightful. I have picked up several tips from your guest poster.
Blogging well can take a lot from you. I limit one blog per week as this suits my lifestyle.
I have guest posted on a handful of occasions. It brings exposure to your blog and develops your writing style.
Great suggestions that all increase blog traffic. Personally never have guest posts on my blog for two reasons: 1) it’s all about me and 2) it’s more work than writing something yourself. If the silly name of my blog would have been different maybe I would have had guest posts. Get asked all the time but turn them down.
Thx so much for introducing us to Molly, Jeri. I am very interested in the subject of Mail Chimp as I know I am not using it to its full ability, so I will drop over to her site and check out your article on that.
Doreen, my guest post was written before MailChimp overhauled the look of their site, so the screenshots will not match their new look exactly, but the general content still mostly applies.
I have had good and bad experience with guest posts – I’ve written posts for others which was positive, I’ve had a guest post from one of our BHB members which was also positive and I’ve had a guest post from someone (I did research the guest poster) who used material that wasn’t hers to use so I had to delete that post.
Not sure if any of it added long-term traffic and since I basically post for the fun of it, don’t think I’ll be bothered again unless I know the blogger.
I love having guest bloggers to my site. It provides an opportunity to get to know other writers better and to share new ideas with my audience. Thanks for the informative read here! A guest post about guest posting = great idea, Molly and Jeri 🙂
I have only just started doing the occasional guest post and really loved the experience. It’s great exposure and you’re also doing someone a favor by providing content from another viewpoint that they don’t have. Win-Win!
In the hosting realm, I’ve had mixed luck because some posters have tried to slip in paid links that pull readers away from the content into very salesy and scammy promotions. I’ve had to turn posters down after having an amazing dialogue and getting almost to the point of posting their work. I’ve had to up my disclaimer game and be a bit more firm but at the end of the day, it’s all about the reader who comes across my site. Have you ever had any problems like this, Molly or Jeri?
Thanks for the great post. I totally agree that guest posting will help your traffic!
Groan … every month I have “pursue guest post opps” on my task list and every month I push it to the bottom. I regularly write guest posts for various groups I belong to, but for some reason can never seem to get around to approaching individual bloggers. Part of it, I know, is that I tried hosting guest posts by fellow bloggers on my website a couple of years ago and it was a NIGHTMARE. Seriously, bad, b-a-d experience that I swore I’d never repeat. Obviously, this is an issue I need to face up to one way or the other, so I really appreciate the advice and reminder!
Marty, thanks for being so honest about your experience with guest blogging. I am cautious about who I have guest post because it seems like almost every time I have said yes to a guest post from someone I don’t know well they will either simply not produce the post or turn in something that is so off the promised topic as to be unpublishable.
Always good advice. I’ve done guest posts and had a guest blogger–Jeri. She brought in the most traffic, but neither has brought me new commenters. I’m using signups to start building an audience, and keep following other diverse blogs. Maybe in time, I’ll get a following, but I doubt it. I’ve been blogging for too long not to already have a huge following.
This is great information. Personally, I related most to your point about having good guidelines set up ahead of time when you’re hosting on your own blog. I now have a policy that I will only accept guest posts by invite, because I was getting so many requests that were just thinly veiled advertising ploys. But having a good fellow-blogger contribute is invaluable!
These are good advice! I meant to try to do guest posts, but my blog is still somewhat new and trying to find the right people to pitch them can be tricky!
I’ve done guest posts before but I’ve never had a guess post on my website. Having said that, it is something I’ve often considered as A) I don’t always have time to write a post ever week and B) I think my readers might enjoy some more diverse topics within the general category of my blog and C) it seems like it helps build good relationships.
It is good to hear that the person who originally publishes the material gets the google link. A popular health & wellness website often re-posts my blog which helps send people back to my website. However, I’ve secretly wondered if this will ruin my SEO long-term. So hopefully I’m getting the google link because I’m posting it on my site first.
Thanks for all the great information!
I have never written a guest post before nor have I had a guest post to mine yet either but I think guest blogging is beneficial to all three parties; host blog, guest blog and the readers as mentioned in this post. It may be something I should consider doing in the future.
Great advice as well as post! I have never written a guest post have never received the opportunity to host seems like a win win situation. Looking forward to it!
I have wanted to do this, but did not know the specifics on how to accomplish it. As always, your post is very informative to me. Thanks for sharing how to get a guest host to increase traffic.
William, guest posting would be a great way to get word out about your work. Plus, you have the added edge of being extremely well versed when it comes to all the Renaissance Faires and Comic Con type events you attend on a regular basis.
This is great Jeri. I agree it is good to switch it up from time to time. You do a great job on your blog and staying on top of it. 🙂
Jeri — I’ve hosted guest bloggers and been a guest blogger. It’s very discouraging, though, when you receive an inquiry offering a guest blog that beings “Hey, Jeannette…” The pitch most likely is poorly written and often syggests topics totally unrelated to the subjects i write about. Then, they do not leave any contact information. I received one today. I don’t respond well to an email pitch that begins with, “Hey…”