Guest Blogging Opportunities You May Want to Pass

Updated on October 8, 2017
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Heidi Thorne is a self-publishing expert, nonfiction book editor, author of 21+ books and eBooks, and a former trade newspaper editor.


Got an email from a blogger who wanted to interview me for a blog. Okay, I'm listening. But my intuition was getting really noisy. I ignored my intuition for the moment and read on.

From what I could tell, my answers would constitute almost a guest blog of sorts. Intuition was still droning on. I read on anyway.

I took a look at the site where this would appear. Every entry seemed similar to what I would be contributing, but from a variety of people, meaning that it didn't seem to have a lot of depth in terms of topic. And the site was "young," meaning it hadn't been around for too long.

Okay, intuition, I heard you. I've multiple invitations like this before. It's a guest blogging type of request which may not have much to offer me in exchange for my contribution.

Hosting a blog is usually a lot of work and some hard dollars, too. So some blogs look for shortcuts to build their sites big and fast, usually with others' contributions.

Getting Others to Blog for Them... For Free

If all guest posts on a host blog are very similar in nature and the host blog has very few original posts of its own, the site may be looking to quickly populate a blog with content by getting others to do the work—for free—that they're not willing to do themselves.

Backlink Gold

Guest bloggers usually promote links to their guest posts on their own social media channels, blogs, and websites. These links to the host site are usually referred to as backlinks, and the incoming traffic they bring is quite valuable. That's why these sites reach out to guest bloggers and other influencers.

Streams of authentic incoming traffic to a host blog could signal to Google and other search engines (and their web crawler bots) that this is a worthy site, which could propel it to the top of search engine results. Since top results are typically clicked and visited more frequently, this could help the blog gain traffic, which could mean more advertising revenue. That's the gold these host blog owners are often seeking. It's not a bad goal in itself. But if done to the extreme, it can be problematic.

Google is getting wise to suspect guest blogging schemes pursued simply to build backlinks (for both site owners and guest bloggers). Reason enough to be cautious when considering all guest blogging opportunities!

The host blog may also suggest that, as a guest, you'll get a lot of traffic from their blog to your own site or social media channels, essentially backlinks to you. From watching web analytics from my guest blogging experiences, I've found that this backlink traffic is negligible, even from the most legitimate sites, since the host site's visitors tend to read the post and bounce out.

How to Avoid Wasting Your Time with Guest Blogging

When approached for any guest blogging opportunity, ask these questions to help avoid wasting your time building someone else's site (or scam in some cases).

Look at the Site. This should be obvious, but look at the site that's inviting you to contribute as a guest. If all the posts look pretty much the same and/or there's little original content by the blog host, it might be a site that's looking for a shortcut at your expense.

Ask About Numbers. Ask about traffic to the blog, email subscriber numbers, and the age of the site. If it's relatively new, it probably won't have much in terms of numbers. You might be helping to build the site with your guest contribution. If their numbers aren't great, you have to then ask yourself what's in it for you since any genuine exposure will probably be minimal.

"How Did You Find Me?" I've found that a number of these invitations can come via LinkedIn. They've scoured LinkedIn and discovered you, either through search or by drilling down someone's list of connections. If I don't recognize the inquirer, or the inquirer doesn't provide a suitable explanation for the connection (i.e., referred by someone I trust), I likely won't accept the invitation to guest blog.

Don't Fall for "Exposure." Getting recognition in today's crowded Internet and blogging space is hard. Really hard. So when a blog invites you to guest post, especially for free, they may try to entice you by saying you'll get exposure online. Whoop-de-do! If you're coming up as a potential blogger in a search engine query or on social media (especially LinkedIn), you probably have a certain amount of "exposure" for your work already. It's unlikely that a newly established or low content host site could provide much additional and quality exposure.

When It Might Be Okay to Consider Guest Blogging

True, there may be times where you want to help out blogging friends with a guest post because, well, you're friends, and you want to provide your support to help them build quality blogs. Or there might be a really good fit between your work and the host site that's inviting you. Those situations are something different. What we're talking about here are random invitations that have no connection to you other than that they want your help and investment in their blog... for free.

Disclaimer: Both the publisher and author have used their best efforts in preparation of this information. No representations or warranties for its contents, either expressed or implied, are offered or allowed and both parties disclaim any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for your particular purpose. The advice and strategies presented herein may not be suitable for you, your situation or business. Consult with a professional advisor where and when appropriate. Neither the publisher nor author shall be liable for any loss of profit or any other damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential or punitive, arising from or relating to your reliance on this information.

© 2017 Heidi Thorne


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  • heidithorne profile image

    Heidi Thorne 3 months ago from Chicago Area

    Hi Lawrence! Sometimes opportunities are not for everyone. Glad you have the sense to know what's right for you. Thanks for chiming in and have a great weekend!

  • lawrence01 profile image

    Lawrence Hebb 3 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand


    This was interesting, seeing some of the pitfalls in 'cyberland'.

    There's a sense that I'm glad I'm not really in a position to do much of this at this stage.

  • heidithorne profile image

    Heidi Thorne 5 months ago from Chicago Area

    You're welcome, Linda! I appreciate you reading and commenting. Have a great day!

  • AliciaC profile image

    Linda Crampton 5 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

    As always, you've given some thought provoking and useful advice. Thank you, Heidi.

  • heidithorne profile image

    Heidi Thorne 5 months ago from Chicago Area

    Hi Dora! Glad you found it helpful. Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful week ahead!

  • MsDora profile image

    Dora Weithers 5 months ago from The Caribbean

    Thanks for sharing your insight on this matter. Never considered some of the issues you pointed out. Very helpful.

  • heidithorne profile image

    Heidi Thorne 5 months ago from Chicago Area

    Hi Mona! Glad you found the post interesting. Thank you for stopping by and have a terrific week!

  • grand old lady profile image

    Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 5 months ago from Philippines

    I have seen a lot of examples of guest bloggers when I surf several blogs sometimes. Your article is an eye opener on this practice. Thanks so much for the information.

  • heidithorne profile image

    Heidi Thorne 5 months ago from Chicago Area

    Flourish, sounds like your experience was similar to mine, except that this group had even less than the one that asked me! Wow. Like you, these days for me, too, it has to be a big win-win for both parties to make it worth my while. Thanks for sharing, as always! Happy Weekend!

  • heidithorne profile image

    Heidi Thorne 5 months ago from Chicago Area

    Bill, we are so on the same (web) page! I, too, just guest blog (or podcast) for only those I know, like, and trust. And isn't that interesting that your blog stats go down with guests. Hmm... Now that I think back to when I had my own self-hosted blog, I never did get any appreciable bump in traffic with guests either. Truly something to consider. Thanks, as always, for sharing your experience with us! Have a terrific weekend!

  • FlourishAnyway profile image

    FlourishAnyway 5 months ago from USA

    I was asked to be a guest blogger for a site that wasn't even built completely yet and they needed it fairly quickly. Um ... no. Time I spend on that means one less hub for me plus all the issues you mentioned. There has to be a very compelling sell to do this.

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

    These schemes are all over the internet these days. I'm always being asked about guest blogging. I only respond to people I know and trust, but even then I find my blog numbers dip considerably when I have a guest blogger on my blog. Makes me think I need to reconsider.

    Have a great weekend!