Guest posting on websites increases your own site or blog’s exposure. It gets your brand or name in front of people, raises awareness in your potential audience and brings in more traffic.
There are many ways to increase the traffic to your blog or website and posting articles on other people’s blogs and websites can help when it is done in right. It does this in two ways and by including a backlink to your own site, some people will follow it and you will receive direct traffic from the guest post. It gets your name, as an authority on a particular subject, and site name or brand name, in front of people.
The aim of posting on another site should not be simply to get a backlink with the minimum of effort. If you post a poor article then people might assume your site has more of the same and not bother visiting it. Write a great article and people might want to check out the author and their site in the hope of finding more great articles.
The idea is not simply to create a backlink and you should assume that any link in your guest post will be nofollow. It may not be, but assuming it is, focuses your attention on other things.
Why bother guest posting for nofollow links?
- People like great articles and great authors.
- Get yourself known in your niche.
- Write for the traffic the guest post could potentially send to your site.
- Write for the improved reputation and authority gained by writing a great article on a top website.
After seeing your name and your writing on various sites, people may come to associate you with being an expert in a certain topic and that helps to drive visitors to your own site.
How do you write a create article or guest post for a site. In fact, how do you even find and approach sites for guest posting?
1 Browse the website, check the subject
The first essential task when you want to guest post on a website is to find one that is in your subject niche. There are many benefits and one is that you are writing for the same audience as your own site and so people that visit the site you are guest posting on are your target audience. Hopefully they will be tempted to click through to any links you have pointing back to your own site.
You would be surprised by the number of people who obviously do not do this and this website, which only covers Windows PC, Apple Mac, iPhone and Android phone tech tips, gets offers of articles like ‘Best skateboard parks in LA’, or ‘Vegan meals for marathon runners’.
Quite clearly they have not even looked at this site because if they had, they would have seen that it is tech tips and reviews. Off topic guest post requests are immediately deleted. You will stand a better chance of an article being accepted by your target site if you choose one that is in your niche and pitch an article that is on-topic, not something completely different.
2 Find out if a website accepts posts
After finding a website that is in the same niche as you are, the next step is to see if it accepts articles from freelancers, writers and guest posters. The first place to look is the menu bar and ‘Write for us’ or something similar may be a main menu heading. However, it might be on a sub-menu so check out every menu you can find.
Another place where there may be obvious links for writers and guest posters is in the footer of the home page. Scroll right down to the bottom of the page and see what links and information you can find. You might get lucky and see a link or notice.
The final place to look for information about writing for a site is on the About page. There may be information or links in the main body or in the sidebar.
3 Find contact information
Don’t give up if guest posting, writers or submitting articles is not mentioned anywhere on the site because it is still worth contacting the owner or other senior person at the site. The site may not specifically state that it accepts articles, but if handed a good one ready-made it might just be tempted to publish it.
Some websites provide an email address to send writing submissions, but if not, use the general email address of the site. Find it, it should be obvious and sites that hide contact details are suspicious and probably not worth dealing with.
Find out who is likely to be in charge, such as the site owner or an editor and address an email to them. Many small sites are run by a single person and it is usually obvious who to address an email to. Large sites with large editorial teams may have section editors you can contact.
4 Generate ideas and email them
You may be tempted to send an email to the site asking whether it accepts article submissions/guest posts, or to email something like “Can I send you some article ideas?” Don’t. It’s just annoying to see these in the inbox. Just send your ideas in the first email. It cuts down on the emails and the guesswork on the part of the site.
When emailing the site enquiring about submitting an article post, include two or three ideas for topics. A headline and a one or two sentence description for each one is sufficient. This gets straight to the point and the site can make a decision there and then.
Always state what you want to write about and what you want in return. For example, you might want a link back to your own site in return for the post. State the link.
If you don’t say what you want, both you and the site can end up spending time and effort emailing each other and perhaps even writing a whole article only to discover late in the process that the site doesn’t want the link you need. Don’t spring it on them at the last minute because it wastes your time as well as theirs.
5 Find out article requirements
Some websites have detailed guidelines that state exactly what is required of a submitted article/guest post and this is perfect. Be sure to follow them.
If a site does not specifically list what is required, look at other articles on the site that are similar to what you will be submitting and see how many words and pictures they have.
Look at the titles of several article and note the length and the style. See if there is a large intro image or a Pinterest style image. The site may well want to create these themselves but make a note of what is expected though.
Are there lots of articles with bullet points, lists of items, do headings start with a number, like ‘7 ways to…’
Sometimes a site will specify that there must be a certain number of internal links to other pages on the site, so make sure your article has them if they are required. Include at least one even if the site does not specifically ask for them.
Your aim is to write in the style of other articles on the site and to include all the same elements that are common in other posts. Don’t write something completely different or include or omit things that are expected because you didn’t check other posts for style and content.
6 Image sources and image sizes
Nearly all posts on websites include one or more images. It depends on the site and the article you are submitting, but you may be required to provide them yourself. It is surprising how many people don’t include images and simply providing 800 words of text is rarely good enough. The site then has to find images to go with it. It makes work for them and if you want to get your articles published, you need to make it easy for them.
See what images other posts on the site include and try to provide a similar number. If you supply images, and you should, they must be your own and preferably not taken from elsewhere. If you do take images from another site, state the source and provide a link, for example, a free photo library like Pixabay, Unsplash or another free source.
A site may not accept images from unknown sources or from sources where the usage is not clearly stated as free to use. It may accept images but make you liable for any copyright problems in the site’s terms and conditions. Avoid issues like this with your own original images or state the source where it says ‘public domain’ or something similar.
7 Use a grammar checker
Most word processors include grammar checking and will point out errors as you type. Microsoft Word has Microsoft Editor (see Improve your writing skills with Microsoft Editor), and the free Word web app is great for writing articles and picking up spelling and grammar errors.
It is still useful to get a second opinion from sites like Grammarly and Hemingway Editor. After writing your guest post article, copy and paste it into either or both of these services and see if any errors are picked up. Correct them if necessary. They are in infallible and they can miss errors and flag text where there isn’t a problem. Use your judgement.
8 Create a great headline
The headline is a very important part of the article and it is the thing that grabs the attention of potential readers first. As mentioned earlier, check posts on the site and make your heading similar in length and style. Here is a collection of online tools to help you create great headings 7 tools for creating irresistible headlines for your blog or website
9 SEO and keywords
Any article posted on the web must consider SEO (search engine optimisation) and keywords because they are important for gaining traffic from search engines. Focus your article on a word or short phrase that is popular.
Make sure the keyword or phrase (long tail keyword) is in the title and the first paragraph.
Lists, especially numbered lists are good ways to help with SEO. Articles that solve a problem or how to do something are also excellent for SEO.
Don’t link keywords in your guest posts and don’t include affiliate links. Neither are liked and could result in your article being rejected or they could be edited out.
There is a free course on SEO here: Increase search traffic with SEO.
10 Add an author bio
At the end of your article, include an author bio that describes you in one or two sentences. State who you are and what you do. Provide a link to your website or social media accounts, such as a Facebook page, Twitter or LinkedIn account. Include a small head and shoulders photo of you for the site to use. They may not, but it encourages them to use if you provide it.
11 How to supply a finished article
How will you send the finished article to the site? Microsoft Word files are a standard format that everyone can access, so it is a safe option. What if there are images? They should be supplied separately, even if they are included in the Word article. If you have a website or blog yourself you will know that images are uploaded separately from the text. Make it easy for the site to publish your post.
You could zip up the Word document and images and email it, but if the files are small they can be just added to an email as attachments. Files and folders on online drives like Google Drive, OneDrive and Dropbox can be shared and then you need only provide a link.
Hopefully, the site will tell you how to submit your article and images.
12 Monitor comments
Let’s say you go through the whole process of contacting a site, writing an article or guest post, submitting it and getting it published. That is not the end of the matter. For the next couple of weeks at least, you should monitor your post to see if you get any comments. If you do, try to answer questions or thank people for commenting.
Engaging readers will make you and your post more interesting and will encourage readers to click the link through to your own site.