We all know the importance of maintaining a blog on a business website.
Apart from having search engine optimization benefits and improving website traffic, blogs also help create a strong brand identity and build credibility.
However, running a blog is a huge commitment. You need to ensure you constantly publish fresh, engaging content that attracts visitors and imparts value to readers.
If you do not have the budgets to hire content writers, a great way to keep posting new content is by running a guest post program on your website.
As we know, guest blogging has been around for quite some time and proves to be a win-win situation for the webmaster and guest bloggers.
As a webmaster, you get a steady flow of new content pieces while guest bloggers get exposure, build their writing portfolio and earn backlinks to their pages.
Still in two minds about accepting guest posts?
Here are 4 main benefits of accepting guest posts on your blog that will make you rethink your decision,
Allowing guest posts will ensure you have a steady flow of content at all times. You won’t have to ideate about new blog topics and can leave that to the guest bloggers. This saves you time and lets you focus on other important tasks.
Get Untapped Traffic
Guest bloggers open doors to new, untapped traffic.
When people write for your website, they are bound to share it on their social media pages which will give your website visibility and generate traffic.
Running a guest post program lets you connect with influencers and experts in your domain. This is a great way to network and build relations.
When you start getting traffic and earn a high domain authority rank, you can also consider monetizing guest blogging and earn money for placing links in the articles.
Once you open the floodgates for guest posts, you are bound to receive multiple pitches. While you might be tempted to say ‘yes’ to everyone, it is important to be extremely picky while approving guest posts.
In your quest to get new content, don’t forget the real purpose behind your blog.
Ultimately, the content you choose needs to be valuable to your readers and of superior quality.
The buck stops with you so have your guards up and don’t allow any posts that can ruin your brand’s reputation.
It is a good idea to set CLEAR guest post blogging guidelines for writers to follow. Any post that does not comply to those guidelines should be rejected.
So, here are 8 factors you must consider before accepting guest posts –
Past Writing Experience
There are lots of guest bloggers in the market. While some have a portfolio of work to showcase, there are a few fake ones who are just in it to spam you with links.
Hence, determining author credibility should be the first step while reviewing guest post pitches. Someone with lack of writing experience is more likely to submit poorly written content.
It is advisable to ask guest bloggers to share links to their previous work within their pitch and assess their work and the kind of websites they have written for in the past.
The idea is to choose someone who can deliver quality content that does not require much editing.
If you run a home décor blog, you cannot be selecting articles surrounding relationships, travel or any other unrelated niche.
Featuring unrelated articles in the name of ‘content’ speaks poorly of your website and repels your valued readers.
A good way to save both you and the guest blogger time and energy is to have them pitch article titles before getting down to drafting.
Have them outline the points they wish to cover under the article titles, so you get a gist beforehand.
You can then go ahead and select a title that hasn’t been covered on your blog and the one you think will interest your readers.
One of the factors that can hurt your SEO rankings is duplicate content. As the name suggests, content that appears in more than one place is referred to as duplicate content.
While Google does not penalize you for it, it does identify content that has been copied or spun and prevents it from appearing in the search results.
Hence, before you publish guest posts, do remember to check for plagiarism. You can use tools such as Google Search Console, Siteliner or Copyscape among others to identify plagiarized content.
Sometimes, in spite of clearly mentioning this factor, guest bloggers tend to submit content that has been posted elsewhere.
It is in your best interest to audit all posts before you give them the green flag.
The last thing you want is to be accused of copyright infringement over using someone else’s images without permission.
Being the webmaster, you will be held responsible for the use of copyright images.
So, it is important to know where your guest authors have sourced the images from. They should not be sharing random pictures off Google Images as that is strictly prohibited.
So, what are their options?
Encourage them to use FREE stock photos from Pixabay, Pexels, Flickr: Creative Commons or Unsplash among others if they don’t have access to paid stock photo sites like Getty Images and Shutterstock.
Even though your blog comprises of posts by multiple authors, it needs to be bound by the same tone of voice, style and quality.
Your blog needs to have a consistent voice while speaking to your target audience. In order to maintain consistency throughout your blog, set a content guideline for your guest authors which outlines the style of writing, grammar, punctuation and formatting rules.
Speaking about content, don’t restrict your blog to just long-form content.
You should be open to receiving different content formats like videos, listicles, how-to pieces and infographics to keep your blog engaging and informative.
Let’s face it – the main purpose of guest blogging is to generate traffic by building links but how do you decide which links get to stay and which don’t?
There are 3 kinds of links that you are likely to come across in a guest article – citing original sources, linking to internal pages and links to the author’s website.
While the first two are pretty straightforward, it’s the third type of link that can be tricky.
If you allow links to the author’s website, it’s important that it adds value to the article and is in context.
You should also consider setting a limit to links in the article, so the author does not go overboard.
Encourage Social Sharing
Isn’t the whole idea of guest blogging to make way for new sources of traffic and reach out to a wider audience?
So, once the article goes live, encourage guest authors to share it on their social media platforms and have them tag you.
This gives your website and social media pages more visibility and attracts new visitors to your page.
Avoid Giving Dashboard Access
Many websites tend to give authors a WordPress account and have them publish articles directly.
By doing this, you may think you are saving time but having multiple author WordPress accounts also poses to be a security threat. Why take that risk?
What you can do is grant them temporary access and assign their role as ‘Contributor’ instead of ‘Publisher’.
This means that whenever they submit an article, it will be labelled ‘Pending Review’ till you approve and publish it.
You are the editor of your blog and your decisions will define your website’s quality and ranking.
So, don’t be afraid to reject posts that are NOT in line with your writer guidelines as that dilutes the whole purpose of having a blog.
Adela Belin is the Head of Digital Marketing at Writers Per Hour. She creates content surrounding marketing with a focus on social media and digital marketing. Feel free to contact Adela on LinkedIn.