Creating content for your blog or business website is one of the hardest tasks for many people. What do you write about? Why not let other people write for your site? Here’s how to make guest posting easy.
When you have to create all the content for your website yourself, sooner or later you will run out of ideas. It is easy to begin with, but you might face burnout from writing too much or writer’s block and cannot think of what to write.
Guest posting can solve that problem by allowing other people to post articles on your website.
To be honest, ‘guest posting’ is a term I tend to avoid using these days because it tends to attract a lot of spammers who want to post a poorly written article on your site with backlinks selling to a site or products you are not interested in.
Contributor or writer are better terms. People can contribute or write articles to your site.
Why would they want to do this? Sometimes they simply have an interest in the niche you cover, but most often they are looking to promote their own site and hope you will let them include a link to it. If you include an author bio at the end, this is a good place to include a link, such as “John Smith is interested in sport, writing and gardening and can be found at www.somewhere.com”
Email an article
One way for people to contribute articles to your site is for them to write it in something like Microsoft Word and then to zip it up, perhaps with some photos, and then email it to you. This is OK, but it involves you in some work:
- You must check your email
- Save the attached file
- Unzip the file
- Open the Word document
- Copy the text
- Create a new post on your website
- Paste the text in
- Upload and add the images
It is a bit of a pain, but it is worth it if the quality of the article is good.
Make writers contributors
Is there an easier way for people to provide you with articles for your website? Yes! Create an account for them.
WordPress is designed to allow multiple users to create content for a website and people can be assigned roles that limit what they can do. Just create an account for them.
- Go to Users in the sidebar
- Click Add New at the top
- Create a new user account by entering the person’s name and email address
- Before clicking the Add User button at the bottom, set the role to Contributor
The user will get an email asking them to complete their account setup. They can then login to your site and create a new post.
A contributor account is quite limited and the user can create a new post, write it and save it, but there isn’t a publish button. Only you as the administrator can publish posts, which acts as a safety system because nothing gets posted live on your site without your say so.
A contributor cannot change anything in the admin interface. In fact, they can’t even see some parts of it. This makes it safe and stops them fiddling with stuff in the back end.
Allowing people to write the post directly in WordPress lightens your workload when other people write articles for your website.
Posts created by contributor accounts appear on the Posts page in the admin interface as Pending, but they do not appear live on the site. All you need to do is check it and if it is OK, hit the Publish button.
User Submitted Posts
Is there an even easier way to let people post on your website? Yes! With User Submitted Posts. This is a WordPress plugin and it can be installed by selecting Plugins in the sidebar and then Add New. Just search for it and install it.
This plugin enables you to turn any post or page into a place where people can submit articles for your website. They can write it, submit it and it appears on the Posts page as a Pending item. It will not appear on the website until you check and it click Publish.
User Submitted Posts works in a similar way to a contributor account, but there is no need to create an account, people don’t need to log in, and they can simply write an article and submit it.
To enable people to write articles for your site, you just create a new post or page and type this in:[ user-submitted-posts ]
That’s it. Well, almost. You will probably want to add a heading and some text explaining what it is. You can see an example of this on my Publish Your Post page.
Configure User Submitted Posts
The User Submitted Posts plugin has a lot of configuration options that enable you to fine tune what features are available and what people can do.
Go to Settings, User Submitted Posts and click the Toggle all panels link to see everything. Here are a few of the options:
The list of options goes on and on. For example, you can choose whether to allow people to upload images, whether they can access the WordPress media library, what WordPress category posts are assigned to, whether to show a plain text editor or the WordPress post editor, and many more items.
I won’t go through all the options because there are so many, but the defaults are sensible and you won’t need to change much.
There is even an option to use Google reCAPTCHA or add a simple challenge question that keeps out spam bots, but is easy for real people to answer.
The best features of this plugin are that you don’t need to create accounts for writers, and a lot of the work involved in creating posts is done by the writer. There is a lot less work for you.