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Are You Making These Mistakes With Your Guest Posts?

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:

screenshot-12. Is this blog clean? (How many ad blocks are there? How often is the content being updated? Are the comments moderated there?)

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:

screenshot-2

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).

Hello Admin!

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.

Mistakes:

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:

screenshot-3

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:

screenshot-4And

screenshot-5It 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.

Summary

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.

Alex Strike is a passionate writer of Lifehack and a blogger who writes on the topics of education, content marketing, writing, and lifehacks. You can always find more of Alex’s work on .

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Comments

  1. Peter Mutiso says:

    I think being too general on your blog’s topic is a big mistake newbies tend to make. But me thinks that your target country plays a key role in avoiding/making these mistakes – like the issue of monetization

    • Alex Strike says:

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts here, Peter. Agree with you as for a country. And I think, that the audience plays a very important role as well, because as we all know, women, teenagers, people of certain profession, etc. have different needs and perceive information differently. So, the style of your writing, the vocabulary you will use, and a general tone of your article would be different as well.

  2. Dion Lynk says:

    I’m really into doing guest posts as a means to not only market, but to also spread my message to newer audiences, and right out the gate, I’ve had the pleasure of guest posting on some pretty high ranking sites. I’m really cautious not to be too “sales’y” and “link’y” throughout the post as these sites typically have a pretty loyal following because of the owner’s penchant for delivering really helpful and well written content. It’s also extremely important to find a blog that aligns very directly with your message as their audience is already conditioned to read information like yours, so what you write should stay the course and serve as an extension of the owners vision.

    • Alex Strike says:

      Thank you Dion. I must confess, that my content, its topic and its quality become of my first priority lately, though there were times when I thought about links only. To see my post published at cool blogs, read comments and understand, that the audience of this blog likes and finds my info useful and interesting – what can be a bigger honor for a writer? :)

  3. Nice article Alex, lately guest blogging becomes more and more difficult since bloggers get too many requests from spammy guest bloggers so someone has to stand out from the rest to get noticed and actually make sure that the bloggers will open your emails. To do that you need to make a connection with your target bloggers before asking for a guest post and that can be done in various ways like commenting on their blogs and sharing their blog posts via social media…

    • Alex Strike says:

      Hello Kostas!

      Thank you for your comment. Yes, I totally agree with you. When it comes to guest articles, many bloggers are very selective, and it’s clear why.Our main mistake, as guest bloggers, is to think that we are the best ones, and our posts are something of a real genius :) To understand a blogger better, we should imagine ourselves at his place and answer one question honestly: “Would I publish this article if I was the owner of this blog myself?”

  4. Thanx for article. Thats good.

    • Alex Strike says:

      Thank you Diyet! You are always welcome! Glad you find it interesting and useful.

  5. You make an interesting point about the niche, Alex. One of the things that I always say it to submit guest posts to blogs that are in your niche and also somehow related to your niche in a way that your guest post provides value to readers of the host blog. That’s the whole point, right?

    One mistake I see many guest bloggers do is they aren’t polite and do their part after their guest post is published. That includes: replying to comments, sharing on social media and with their online community.

    • Alex Strike says:

      Hello Delia!

      Yes, that’s the point! :)

      And I agree with you as for social media. I consider this a big mistake as well, and I always try to reply comments and share articles on my social media. For me it is not just about sharing links and getting more readers (though it is important as well), but also about being polite and checking people’s reaction to my writing, even if it is a negative one. It helps me change my writing and improve it in order to provide my readers with a better content in the future.

  6. Thanks for these tips, Alex. I have to say I would have thought sending a personal email using the person’s name would be common sense but I am always shocked at how many cookie cutter emails I receive that don’t use my name or mention my business.

    Delia, great point about participating afterwards and sharing on social media!

    • Alex Strike says:

      Hello Gabrielle!

      You are always welcome! I often recieve letters where I’m asked to write some article, but I am so often called “dear sir” or “dear mister”, that I am starting to forget my real name ;) Though people always have a chance to see my name, as I even have it in my e-mail address. For me it’s just a sign they do not care much about whom they write to, and unfortunately, they are not really interested in collaboration…

  7. Great article Alex. Sometimes I forget what I am trying to do, and this one has some good tips for me to keep in mind for when (if) I decide to get off my backside to do guest posts in the future.

    I think the first thing is most people are too afraid to talk to established bloggers and writers. When you revere people or think you’re being a burden, your pitches can become a bit to formulaic and “pitchy”. I just have to remember, much like everyone else in my position, that writers and bloggers are people too.

    Busy people, yes, but people all the same.

    • Alex Strike says:

      Hello Matthew!

      Interesting point of view… Yes, I think there is such a moment, when a guest blogger feels uncomfortable a bit talking to established bloggers. But if you are sure, that your content may rock, why not to try? The advice to all newbies: be more confident, because if your text is worth publishing, it will definitely find its home online

  8. Writing for quality, targeted blogs only kills that oh so common mistake you’ve noted. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Frederik says:

    really valuable article. these are the common mistakes most of the guys do. this will advice them as well as to newbies the way you should do things properly. thanks for this. cheers!!!

  10. metz says:

    You actually remind me of one IM page that asked me to write an article for them and that I have to contribute to them.

    But as what I can see, the page isn’t updated, it is kinda’ poor, I have to admit.

    The questions are some questions that was bothering me that time, and I must consider it. It is very important to take note and shun these mistakes as a guest blogger.

    Your post has been shared on Kingged.com, IM social bookmarking site, enabling me to find this good piece.

    • Alex Strike says:

      Thank you Metz!

      Poor pages with lots of ads have always been the first sign for me to ignore a blog and not to write guest posts for it. And it was not because I was an arrogant writer, I just understood that such blogs would not work for my reputation as an author.

  11. Nikhil says:

    Hi Alex,

    Great Post, I agree with all the points you shared and all the mistakes you mention in this post. We have to think about this seriously and have to avoid for future benefit of guest blogging.
    Thank you for sharing this great post with us.

    • Alex Strike says:

      Hello Nikhil!

      Thank you for your comment, and I am glad to know you find it useful and interesting to read. I’ve just tried to mention common mistakes of guest blogging, because even experienced writers make them sometimes. It’s a pity, when your content is rejected just because you were not attentive or polite enough…

  12. Ion says:

    Thanks.

  13. I wanted to know everything related to Blogging and Guest blogging before I start officially. This was a one good piece of information that I will remember all the time. And please help me in picking topics for best best blogging….! Have A Nice Day. Thank you for sharing…!

  14. Hi Alex, I just stopped guest blogging. Google is going to strict day by day.. I fear one day they will stop back linking method for ranking too.

    • Alex Strike says:

      Hello Frederick!

      Yes, we all know this story. But I believe, that guest blogging will live anyway. Guest bloggers should just become more strict as well, and be very selective as for the content they offer. Quality is a king now, not a quantity.

  15. Krishna says:

    Hi Alex,

    Great Article, I appreciate all the points you shared, you mention in this post. We have to think about this seriously and must have to avoid for future benefit of guest blogging.
    Thank you for sharing this great post with us.

    • Alex Strike says:

      You are welcome Kristina!

      Glad to know, that my post was interesting and useful for you to check.

  16. Carolyn says:

    I get tons of pitches for guest posts where it’s clear the person didn’t take the time to even look at my home page and figure out what the site was about. The topics they are pitching aren’t anywhere near relevant. And you’re right — they usually don’t get even a polite “no thanks” as I figure they’re sending out blanket inquiries.

    Follow the site for a few days — or weeks — before pitching them and make sure you really have something to contribute!

    • Alex Strike says:

      Agree with you Carolyn.

      When guest bloggers behave like this, it’s not surprising their pitches are always rejected. We (guest contributors) should understand and remember, that bloggers don’t owe us anything, and they should not accept all our pitches just because we’ve sent them.

  17. Matt C says:

    Great post, I made quite a few of these mistakes with my first guest post, but you live and you learn. Thanks for sharing!

    • Alex Strike says:

      Yes Matt, Rome wasn’t built in a day. We learn, and the main point is to remember and use what we’ve learned to avoid the same mistakes in the future. :)

  18. Rachel says:

    Great post – thanks!

    I would add to this – if there are guidelines for guest posters, flippin’ well read them before submitting. The number of people who email me asking if we accept guest posts when it says so on the blog homepage… grrrr!

    • Alex Strike says:

      Yes, they send lots of the same letters to many bloggers automatically, and I doubt if such guest bloggers can become successful writers. And sure, it frustrates when you get a letter and you understand that a person did not even check your blog carefully before writing you.

  19. David says:

    Great stuff, I hope to get into Guest Blogging in the future and writing them can be a pain with no returns! Great tip with the PR question.

  20. Luke Guy says:

    The greatest blogs you will ever reach are those you follow everyday. You know the writer’s name, where they’re from, their niche, their favorite books, everything. These are the potential targets.

    Also guest posting for those within your niche was a GREAT point. If you write a blog about app development and you have 1 million readers show up to make candy, it’s not exactly going to help you. You want readers who eventually buy your webinars, eBooks, and etc.

    We share the same weakness here, SPELLING! I had a major blog contact me today about a guest post and they’re going to publish it this month, if I fix some spelling… So yeah, I need a editor for sure. :)

    • Alex Strike says:

      Oh, spelling is my problem as well. Even when I proofread my articles several times and can’t see any spelling errors anymore, I sometimes find them in my post when it is published! :)

      I am so thankful to those editors who tell me what I should change or improve in my article to get it published at their blogs, because when your post is rejected with no reasons you will never understand how you can improve your writing.

  21. thanks for the tips on the writing to those blog owners, it helps a lot. make sense why they are not responding now, Thanks Alex.

  22. David says:

    I’ve really backed off of the guest posts as of late. It’s great to collaborate and link share for sure, but sometimes you really need to focus on your own project. For me, that time is now.

    • Alex Strike says:

      Yes David, everything has its time and place. Sometimes it’s difficult for us to understand when the right time comes to change something and go further, and it’s great when you get this moment.

  23. Gagan Masoun says:

    I have stopped accepting guest posts on my blog. Because someone said that Google can harm your blog for guest posts. But now I am thinking to start it again. Can anyone give me exact answer please?

  24. This article is so enlightening. I finally know what I should do when it wants to be a guest writer. Apparently a lot of things to consider.

    Learn from the mistakes of others into something extraordinary for me.

  25. thanks for sharing the information on blog.it is really helpful for us.

  26. Pete Boyle says:

    Hey Alex,

    Thanks for these great pointers. I’m planning to get on to my guest blogging game sometime in the next few weeks and will definitely be stopping back here for a refresher before I do!

    Thanks again!

  27. Yare Thomas says:

    thanks for sharing the information on blog but now guest post is going to dead.

    • Alex Strike says:

      They are still alive, and my post at this wonderful blog is the best evidence of this fact :)

  28. Great post Alex, Thanks for sharing your experience.

  29. JithinC says:

    You Strikes again!!!

    But how you feel these days after Matt Cutts said no to guest blogging ?

  30. Harry says:

    Interesting post Alex, but I think this post takes on guest posting as just a link building strategy.

    But I think all that take on this view is missing a trick.

    That is simply to reach a wider audience gain new readers and more!

    In this case most the stuff you mention like Pr and DA does not matter, the only think that should matter is reaching targeted readers and getting social shares.

    So in this case whether the link is dofollow or no follow it does not matter :)

    ReGgards,

    Harry
    Bloqs.net
    Sponsorship Marketplace

  31. Anil Thapa says:

    I agree with almost points. Its great tips for me. thanks for sharing your experience

    • Alex Strike says:

      You are welcome, Anil!

      You said “almost all points”. Which ones do you disagree with?

  32. Stan Lee says:

    Hello Alex,
    First of all let me tell you that you have a really nice blog. secondly I would like to thank you for posting such a post . As being a new blogger I and many other are unfamiliar with several things which should not be done in order to make the blog successful but after reading the post I got an idea of what to do and not to do.

    • Alex Strike says:

      Thank you for your comment, Stan!

      It’s a big honor for me, as an author, to know that readers like my work and find it useful!

      All the best!

  33. Rajan says:

    Nice article for pitching guest posting. But with current penalization of popular blogguest by google, how effective do you think guest post will be taken upon for acceptance?

  34. Rahul says:

    I have heard that Google will start punishing the Guest posts too with its next update? Is this true and how will it impact the search rankings and traffic.

    • Alex Strike says:

      Hello Rahul!

      I have not heard anything about this update yet. I am sure, that all bloggers will mention that once the news has appeared.

      Good luck!

  35. How can guest post because i have face problem when i make it ? please anyone can suggest me to do this

  36. Peter says:

    Hi Alex!

    Very nice article, really enjoyed reading it. I was most interested about the outreach and how different it was from the contact us screenshot. There’s a huge difference, the outreach is more formal and has previous work and also has information about you which is nice for the blog owner as they know what you do and if you could help them out.

  37. Alex Strike says:

    Hello Peter!

    Thank you for your comment, Yes, the outreach plays a very important role in guest posting indeed. And certainly, it can’t be the same for every blog owner: after you’ve examined their blog, niche, audience, writing style, and guidelines for guest authors, you will see what exactly you should mention in your outreach to “catch” their attention.

    But some examples of your previously published works are always fine to mention, because it is always better for a blog owner to see your work than just listening your stories about what a good and really cool writer you are.

    Cheers!

  38. Debarpan says:

    This is such a great post of you.I was just looking for some way to become a good guest author,your tips help me lot.I appreciate the time and research you’ve made behind this wonderful post.

    • Alex Strike says:

      Thank you Debarpan!

      I am glad to know that my article and tips described in it help you much with your guest blogging.

      All the best,
      Alex

  39. Laura says:

    I get a ton of spammy guest post inquiries, and one time, I accepted one that seemed to be legitimate and did fit with my brand. However, I was really dismayed to find that the poster included several affiliate links, and the whole thing was clearly them trying to make money off MY blog. Not cool. As a result, I won’t touch guest posts unless it’s someone whose blog I already know well.

    I’d suggest including in your email that the only links you’ll include will be those to your own blog, and that you won’t be pushing any products. No one has made that offer in a guest post inquiry email to me, but that would definitely make the inquiry stand out and I might consider posting it.