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