Guest-Posting and Guest-Hosting: Best Practices


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.

Definitions

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.

History

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:

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)

Summary

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! 😉

Wording Well logo with headshot of Lorraine Reguly
Lorraine Reguly is an English teacher-turned-blogger who offers both writing and editing services to anyone in need. She has been a guest blogger on various websites, is also an author, and is currently giving away a free blogging ebook. She can also help you turn your ebook into a print book! Visit Wording Well for more details.

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33 Responses to "Guest-Posting and Guest-Hosting: Best Practices"

  1. I was wondering what your thoughts were on if there is a time that is too early to ask someone to guest post. My blog is only a couple weeks old and only getting like 50 pageviews a day. I feel like asking now would be extremely self serving, but I do want to do it eventually. Any thought on when would be a good time to “pull the trigger”?

    Thanks!

    Neil Hess

    Reply
    1. Many apologies on the delay here Neil. There’s no perfect time to pull the trigger and I don’t think it’s self serving at all. On my very first blog honestcollege.com I asked a friend to write in the first month and he said no. He eventually agreed after another month and having two authors made a huge positive impact on the site. It eventually reached about 50 authors. But it’s really all about whether you want to position yourself as THE expert (especially if people want that) or if you’re trying to create a broader community of authors. Both are good. Make sure to give their guest posts as much attention (sharing, editing, linking) as yours. There’s really so much I could write about this great question, ha, but will let you handle the rest. DB

      Reply
  2. i think that the guest post is the most ethical way to get more exposure and get audience for the blog. it has 2 benifit,first is building online reputapion as a wrtter,promotion and traffic for blog and second is backlink as well. so i think we should go on writting guest post.thanks for sharing your views.

    Reply
  3. Hi,

    I just want to thank you for your wonderful blog. I have been reading your blog for more than couple of months and now i have learned a lot. It’s a tough job to keep a blog going and I truly appreciate it. I really like to submit my post on your blog (as guest post) with my website link. Please let me know your interest in accepting guest posts for free of cost and I’m ready to discuss my contents with you, I promise you with quality and 100% plagiarism free content.
    I am looking forward to get your reply.

    Thank You,
    Kevin P Stone

    Reply
  4. Dear,

    My name is Neha Vasandhani and i`d like to write a guest post for you.

    I have a team of skilled writers and we are ready to make a research and provide a quality article that will go down well with your readers and give them some useful information.

    It would be great if you could allow me to place a hyperlink in any part of the article (one link in article).

    Please let me know if you are interested.

    Reply
  5. One of the mistakes I made in the past is being lenient about my guidelines (well, I had strict guidelines..but often times, I let somethings pass by just to get an article in front of the audience).

    I truly regret that mistake, but it’s okay (that mistake is the reason why I now believe in writing for my audience and writing as I like. Sure, consistency is important, but don’t get obsessed by it).

    As for the other rules, I do agree with them..following the best practices makes guest posting an enjoyable and effective opportunity for both the host and the guest.

    Anyways, thank you for sharing this, Lorraine 🙂 Appreciate it!

    Reply
    1. Jeevan, I appreciate you stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

      I’ve broken a few of the “rules,” too; I think we all have at some point, but these experiences make us learn what to do and what NOT to do in the future.

      As always, the audience remains important in whatever you’re writing, with the exception of journaling, where anything goes. 😉

      Reply
  6. Super good post – well done, Lorraine! I second Ashley’s comment that Greg has found an invaluable helper here and you are turning to be a better blogger than you give yourself credit for 😉

    I think originality of the guest posts is implied – when guesting, write specifically for that blog. I hate it when bloggers approach other bloggers with readily written articles, often in bulk – without any proper research of the bloggers style, audience or scope of topics.

    If i may add something – for both guests and hosts – it would help immensely if you have a plan at hand. Sure, guesting is good and can bring you all those pros you listed and may occasionally have those cons you listed, too. But if you have a clear plan and schedule what to do, when to do it, how to do it, etc. – then guest posts will have more of the pros and less of the cons.

    I will open at some point my blog to guest authors and you, Lorraine, are on the top of my list of authors who have already approached me! And when i manage to make some time for guesting and make that plan for myself – i will certainly shoot you an email 😀

    Reply
    1. Thanks, Diana, for your wonderful insight, comment, and consideration! 🙂 You have made my day! It’s nice to be considered a good choice (I’m sure Greg will be pleased to hear that, too) and to be at the top of a list!

      I’m looking forward to that email. 😉

      Planning is definitely key. Thanks for pointing that out.

      Reply
  7. I’ve as of recently seen guest posting, not as a traffic technique, but as a way to display your work on a more established blog or website.

    Guest posting isn’t easy and it shouldn’t be since it as to be some of your best work!

    Thanks.

    – Samuel

    Reply
  8. Excellent job Lorraine. Having guidelines well established goes a long way in preventing misunderstandings or extra work for both sides. For me I find that I rarely except a guest post request. Partly due to the fact that they haven’t yet read my rules. Once they do, it makes it much easier all around and the process goes much more smoothly. When it comes to images. Many times they are of poor quality or haven’t been vetted with no attribution. When that happens I may reject the post. If the post is well written and high quality, I will inform the blogger that I will provide, create or find images that can be used in the guest post.

    In the end it is our reputation that we put on the line when we accept or do a guest post, so it behooves us to take care. Just my thoughts. 🙂

    Reply
    1. I agree with you, Susan, and while I have your attention, I’m going to use this opportunity to point out one of my personal weaknesses, which I’m currently improving upon: low quality pictures/images. When I started blogging, I used pics from my camera-phone, which is kinda old, and definitely not great.
      In fact, I think that one of the reasons my brownies post was not published or accepted by you is due to the poor image quality of the pictures I provided, as I do believe that I followed all other guidelines! If I’m mistaken, I’d like for you to set me straight.

      It is true that we should not sacrifice our integrity for anyone.

      I am with you one hundred percent on this.

      If you have any other thoughts, I’d love to hear them!

      Reply
      1. It an ever evolving process to know what kind of guidelines one needs, don’t you think?

        As far as your Brownie post is concerned; as stated in the guidelines, I always test a recipe prior to posting and I usually photograph the results. I’m usually at least six months out on posts because of the labor intensive nature of my process. Because of this, readers have come to trust my recipes. That is the reasons that my food posts are so popular. I had planned to test your recipe in the new year and then find an appropriate place for it to launch. As a side note; I have six others along with my own features that are also in process at the moment.

        Doing a food post is not easy when you do it right, but the rewards a very much worth it. 🙂

        Reply
        1. Hey Susan…

          In my opinion, production quality is definitely something that needs to be cooked just right.

          Awesome that you’re known for long-term prep.

          I’ve done posts with zero images and posts with lots; seems like relevance is most important, then quality.

          Reply
        2. I read the guidelines and your emails very carefully! I understand that food posts take a lot of time. As it has only been about five months, I didn’t mean to rush you. Sorry.

          I also understand you are busy. Aren’t we all? 😉

          Reply
            1. You know, that would be really helpful, Susan, especially since you ask in each post for people to contact you anytime with a guest post idea. Giving people a heads-up will make them realize that things don’t happen instantaneously!

              Reply
  9. Kudos to both you and Greg—for practicing what you preach. Great guest post. Perfect for Greg’s blog. I belong to a closed FB group called “Boomer Travel Bloggers”. I will share your post with them.

    I had/have a great guest blogging experience with Donna Hull of My Itchy Travel Feet. She reached out to me to ask if I would be interested in doing a guest post after I left a comment on her blog. I’ve done 3 guest posts for her and I think it has been a positive experience for both of us. I’m sure she checked out the writing on my blog before she asked if I wanted to guest post. I haven’t seen that she has had to do any editing of my guest posts, So, IMHO, she gets quality content from me and in return, she has been a very helpful mentor to me. Her blog is a PR 4 and my page rank went up to 3 quite quickly when I started my blog—probably at least partly because of the back-links from Donna’s blog.

    My experience as a guest blog host has not been as spectacular. I’ve had to do heavy editing–or even total re-writes of guest posts, so I am now very picky. I receive emails offering to provide me with “free” (or even paid) content in exchange for a link back. If I’m comfortable with the product or service, I might enter into a commercial relationship, but I do the writing (or expect to heavily edit) myself.

    Reply
    1. Suzanne, first and foremost, thank you so much for leaving such a great comment and sharing some of your experiences! Also, thanks for sharing this post on Facebook. Both Greg and I appreciate it. 🙂

      I think anytime you can get quality backlinks to your blog, you have cause for celebration! I know that, with my “free” blog, some bloggers have issues with giving me one since it my domain name has wordpress.com in it. However, most people don’t seem to mind, since I produce quality articles that don’t have to be edited. (Being a freelancer sure helps me in this area!) It’s too bad that you have had to do so much editing; I know it can be a pain when you are not expecting the extra work. (Yes, I can commiserate with you!)

      I just may have to check out your blog since my curiosity has been piqued. 😉

      Reply
  10. Haha… Host-i-quettes and Guest-i-quettes – what a creative style of writing! I am also following you on twitter. You’ve an excellent attitude to motivate other fellows like me. I have bookmarked this post for the time I’ll be guest-posting.

    Reply
    1. Hey, Abdul, you’ve just made my day! Thanks for the compliment! I like to be different. 😉

      Good to hear that you’re following me, too! Greg has a Facebook page for Dear Blogger. Not sure if you’re on Facebook, but if you are, I’m sure he’d appreciate a “Like”. That way, you won’t miss out on other great posts of ours! *wink wink*

      I’m glad you found this to be helpful!

      Why do you need motivation?

      Reply
  11. First Lorraine, thank you for mentioning my blog post for finding the perfect match.

    One thing to add, maybe in etiquette (could be something else like, standing out from the crowd) include a couple of links to samples of your blog writing on other blogs WHEN you ask a host to consider your writing. It should show how your tailor the work to a particular audience and the quality of the style of your writing.

    Reply
    1. Excellent point, Patricia. (Which is why I’m so happy that people like you decide to leave comments!) Adding to or enhancing the post’s content is what commenting is all about.

      Proof is everything!

      Another thing I forgot to mention is that, when emailing, the email should be free of errors, too, as should all other correspondence, since when you are writing to someone, you should be demonstrating your skills at all times — not just in a guest post but in all other areas as well.

      Wouldn’t you agree?

      Reply
  12. Awesome job Lorraine. Great has got the right person helping out with his blog for sure.
    You are turning out to be more of a pro blogger than you realised!

    have a great xmas and new year
    ashley

    Reply
    1. Thanks, Ashley! I think Greg appreciates this comment as much as I do! LOL (Don’t you, Greg?)

      I have certainly found one of my “callings” in blogging. I love it! (I even provided images for this post, too!)

      Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you, too! 🙂

      Reply

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