Guest posting. What is it, and why do it? What are the pros and cons? What qualities do great guests and hosts have? What are the rules? Who makes them up?
These are some of the questions you may have about guest posting and hosting and, whatever your experience with it – as guest, host, both, or neither – you will have answers to these questions by the time you finish this post. Guaranteed.
Today I will:
- Define guest posting and guest hosting
- Tell you some pros and cons about guest posting and guest hosting
- Provide you with some guest-i-quette and host-i-quette best practices (etiquette that guests and hosts should follow)
A Brief Intro
Guests don’t always follow proper guest posting etiquette, and hosts don’t always provide clear guidelines for guests to follow. As a result, more time is often spent emailing each other back and forth instead of on the post itself, trying to figure out what’s going on, what’s expected of them, and resolving problems.
How can this situation be rectified?
The solution is actually quite simple: Know what is required of you – whether you’re a guest OR a host.
The fact is that there are often many problems that arise simply because many bloggers have not developed their own set of guidelines for their guests to follow and many guests don’t know the best practices of offering someone a guest post.
Guest posting is defined as writing a blog post and having that post published on someone else’s website.
Guest hosting is when you allow someone to write something for you and publish that post on your website.
Guest posting is a practice that has been around for several years, yet people are still talking about it, writing about it, blogging about it, and doing it. Some people are even writing books about this! (I’m not kidding – I know one guy who is working on one right now, and is expected to have it ready sometime in the late winter or early spring of 2014, because his first super-short ebook on this topic just wasn’t enough, although he wrote a guest post that totally rocked, called How to Make Guest Blogging Your Most Effective Traffic Strategy). Then there’s Jon Morrow, an inspiring person who teaches a course on this topic.
This just goes to show you how much can be said about guest blogging!
Given that so many articles have been written about this topic, you may be wondering why I’m bothering to write another. Well, there are a few reasons, actually.
First of all, Dear Blogger is all about helping YOU and Greg doesn’t have a post about guest posting (he just has his own guidelines) so I thought I’d help him out.
Secondly, some of you may not have heard of this concept, may have only dabbled in it, or may want to know more about all it entails.
Thirdly, there is more to guest posting and guest hosting than you may think, and I want you to be informed so that when you decide to be a guest or a host, you will do so following the best practices possible.
Finally, I want to bring some awareness to bloggers about these “best practices” so that the whole overall experience of both guests and hosts is one of mutual satisfaction and serves the audience well.
What I’d really like to do, though, is create a set of rules for all bloggers to follow. 😉 (I’m winking, but I’m actually serious. I’m just wondering if I have to be elected into office or be considered a blogging goddess for this to happen. If any of you know, please tell me ASAP!) Instead, I have compiled a set of “best practices” to use.
Why Guest Post or Host? The Pros
Why guest post? Why guest host?
There are many positive reasons for each.
Guest posting allows you to:
- reach a different audience – the host’s. By doing so, the host’s readers may become interested in the guest and the guest may gain readers of his/her own.
- create backlinks to your site. Most hosts will inform their readers that the post was written by you, for them, and include a short bio at the end of the post with a link to your site.
- pass your message along to others and/or gain sales or get new clients
- write in a different way from what you may be used to, thereby helping you develop more skills
- work with someone else and be part of a team
- establish your credibility online and help you expand your network. First, however, you need to build trust. Ramsay Taplin, more famously known as the Blog Tyrant, made a video that exemplifies this point.
Guest hosting allows you to:
- take a vacation or a break from creating new content
- introduce your audience to someone new, who has a different or fresh perspective
- be exposed to the guest’s audience since the guest will likely tell their friends to read the post they wrote for you, thereby increasing your traffic
- give your readers a treat and mix things up a bit. Your guest’s voice and writing style is generally different from your own.
Why Guest Post or Host? The Cons
When guest posting, you may:
- Have trouble finding someone to host you
- Have to spend a lot of time emailing back and forth with the host
- Discover that it is more time-consuming that you think
- Realize that you won’t get a lot of traffic to your blog as a result
- Become discouraged from guest posting for others if you have a bad experience with it (read one blogger’s opinions on this subject: Is Guest Blogging All That It’s Cracked Up To Be?)
- Not know who to approach (but you can Find Guest Blogging Opportunities that are a Perfect Match)
When guest hosting, you may:
- Discover that it’s tough to find guests who can write a quality post
- Spend more time emailing back and forth with the guest than you had wanted to
- Find that your traffic may drop because you’ve featured a guest post and your audience wants only you (which is a compliment, when you think about it!)
- Have to edit the post and then deal with the negative feelings of your guest when you tell them about it (giving constructive criticism is difficult and receiving it is just as hard for some people)
- Have to deal with spammers who pose as someone wanting a guest post position
- Find that the links the guest included are not relevant or helpful to the growth of your website
- Find that the content of the guest post does not meet your expectations
Guest-i-quette and Host-i-quette: Best Practices
When you are a guest on someone’s website or blog, you should mind your manners and remember that you are a guest. Act like a guest. Be gracious, nice, friendly, respectable, courteous and helpful. You may be invited back if you and your post perform well!
Best guest-i-quette practices dictate that the guest will:
- Write the post
- Edit the post
- Provide their own images or include images with proper attribution to the original source
- Submit the post in the format of the host’s choosing (html code is often preferred)
- Include quality external links relevant to the post’s topic that will help the host’s page rank
- Include at least one internal link to the host’s previously publish posts
- Include a short bio for the host to include at the end of the post
- Avoid linking to his/her own website or blog since a backlink is generally allowed in the guest’s bio
- Promote the post using social media (and on his/her own blog where applicable)
- Be available on publication day (and a few days afterward) to respond to comments
- Subscribe to comment notifications and reply to comments left for the host in the future
Best guest-i-quette practices dictate that the host will:
- Provide the guest with a set of clear guidelines to follow
- Double-check all links included by the guest and include the best ones
- Double-check that the post is edited and free of typos
- Ensure that images are relevant and enhance the post
- Ensure that the post is formatted properly
- Will include a short bio of the guest at the end of the post, with a link to the guest’s website or blog
- Will keep an eye on the comments, moderate where necessary, and delete spam comments
- Will send notifications emails to the guest of new comments
- Promote the post using social media (and on his/her own blog where applicable)
Guest posting and guest hosting involve many factors, but they can both elicit a wonderful experience if executed properly, following the best practices.
If you’ve ever guest posted or hosted a guest, I’d love to hear any stories you may have (even if they’re horrible!) and if you haven’t, I’d like to know if you are now considering doing one or the other – or both. Share in the comment section (where it says to ask a question) and I’ll be sure to reply to you soon!
As Greg’s guest, I know the best practices! 😉