Guest Blogging Opportunities You May Want to Pass
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.
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.
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© 2017 Heidi Thorne