This is a guest contribution from Alex Strike, writer and blogger.
During my writing career, I’ve had the good fortune to have appeared on many cool and informative blogs and websites – but it hasn’t always been this way. Writing for blogs appeared to be not as easy as I at first thought, and I must confess that the more I learned the nuances of guest blogging, the more the fear ate at me. There were a few moments when I just wanted to give it all up despite the fact I liked the process of writing itself. But there are no results without trying, and I’ve improved over the years I’ve been guest blogging.
Now as I look back, I can see my mistakes were so obvious and easy to avoid. If you are a newbie to the world of guest blogging, or you are going to start it in order to get your name out there, you should know and remember some of the unwritten rules to follow. I am here to share my biggest mistakes and help you avoid the same traps.
Give me more! More blogs!
The first mistake: I wrote guest articles for everyone. Literally. I believed, that the more articles of mine were published – the better results they would bring to my websites. Every blog, even if it had low PR and DA, had a chance to get a guest article from me. Moreover, the majority of these blogs were full of ads, they had a bad content, awful (let’s be honest) design, and no social presence at all.
Remember: quantity does not mean quality. If you want to become a good and respectful guest blogger, you should always pay attention to blogs you are going to write for. The main aspects to pay attention to:
1. A blog’s traffic (it’s easy to check on SemRush): pay attention to all ups and downs, and the ideal variant is no downs at all (of course!). The great example of such a website is essay-all-stars.com:
3. A quality of this blog’s content (just take a look whether all articles have affiliate links and are built to sell something or not. Never write for those websites, as backlinks from them will bring nothing good to your own blog).
4. Does this blog have a niche? It’s better not to write for those blogs that do not have any specific niche: it means they do not take care of their content at all. Yes, it will be much easier for you to publish your article at such blogs, where one article is about blogging, and another one is about selling TVs or e-books, but such backlinks will not bring you any good reputation at all. When I speak about reputation, I mean both your reputation as a guest author and the reputation of your own website for search engines.
5. What are this blog’s Domain Authority and PageRank? It would not be a good idea to write for websites with DA less than 30. As for PR, we all know that the bigger it is – the better, but I can say from my personal experience, that a big PR does not guarantee a blog’s authority: if you see, that the content of this blog is not good, but its PR is still high, the big chances are that this PR was created falsely.
A Topic? Whatever…
My next and very serious mistake was writing guest articles on ALL topics, even if they had no connection with the niche of my own blog. Example: my blog is about essay writing, but I write an article for the blog about fashion or concept gadgets.
Yes, these tech or fashion blogs were really good and informative; they were clean, they had high ranks, they were authoritative, but… my link did not look natural there, and search engines found it artificial as a result. Yes, it was unfair, because I KNEW all my links were naturally created by me, but… c’est la vie. The more such backlinks you have – the bigger your chances are to be banned by Google.
Who Needs E-Mails?
I am sure you know that many blogs or websites have a Contact Us page. Yes, it’s good and logical of course, but very often such a page looks the following:
I must say, that when I contacted bloggers via such forms, only 1 out of 20 could give me a reply. Now I know that a good website will always share some exact contacts with its visitors (it may be e-mails of support teams, this blog’s founders, editorial teams, etc., but you will definitely find EXACT contacts there).
The very important moment of guest blogging is outreach and your pitches. And here was my BIGGEST mistake probably. Just take a look at the screenshot above, and you will understand what I mean.
1. Too general (a blogger receives 100 letters a day. Why should he pay attention to yours?)
2. No names (do not be lazy, and read About Us pages of websites, as you can always find bloggers names there). I think you will agree, that “Hello John!” sounds much better than “Hello Admin!” (moreover, big chances are that this person is not admin actually).
3. No information about yourself. Always tell them who you are (but there is no need to describe every moment of your biography), give them some examples of your previously published works (links I mean) to see your writing style.
4. No pitches. Take a look at a blog’s content and try to provide a blogger with some posts ideas that would work well for him. Try to offer something up-to-date, exclusive or unusual, that was not published at other blogs 100500 times before. Take into account the general style of this blog: if it is known for its “Top 10…” lists, it would be strange to offer them something like “Dos And Don’ts Of Writing A Paper” for example.
Here is the example of my outreach letter for today:
Certainly, you are free to create your own outreach letter that will work well for you. Just try not to repeat my mistakes described above.
By-line Is My Savior
Yes, some websites allow you backlinks only in your by-line (author’s bio). I do not want to say that it is bad, but you can always use a chance to put your link to the body of your text, where it will look natural, and it will fit the content of this article itself.
One more mistake of mine was the usage of keywords as an anchor. Please, compare these two by-lines, and try to guess which one looks more suspiciously for search engines:
It is always better to promote your brand and make it recognizable, than use keywords to please Google (it is not as stupid as some of us still believe). Moreover, you can always use keywords in the texts of your article itself where they will look good and natural.
If you want to become a good guest blogger, always pay attention to WHAT you write and for WHOM you write. Proofread your articles (my sin is spelling mistakes, and I am still trying to defeat them all), try to provide only interesting content to your potential publishers, be polite, look and write professionally, and never be in a hurry!
It is always better to spend more time on writing and publishing your article at one cool and respectful blog than kill your precious time on writing a content and building backlinks that will not bring you any profit at all.