5 Questions Every Blogger Should Ask Before Allowing Guest Posts

We are obviously brilliant writers, but sometimes we want to give our genius a rest. We know it’s a sad day for everyone when our blog takes a day off, but sometimes it can be so difficult to think of a new, fresh topic; especially if the blog is part of a small and specific niche. Have you ever tried to use an article you have written in the past to come up with a good blog post? Whether it be for your own blog or someone else’s blog, this can be extremely difficult. You look at the article and think: This is the absolute best article I could have written on this topic. Some may say this is the mark of a bad writer because they cannot find a different angle, but I say this is the mark of a good writer—you did it right the first time. Nonetheless, you are left with a feeling of frustration. In other words, I have found that the older and more popular your blog gets the harder it is to bring yourself to sit down and write. When put in those terms, it’s actually a little bit sad!

This led me to wonder: When is it too early to accept guest posts? Sometimes the best thing for your blog is a new perspective. Many well-known blogs started out as a one person operation (ever heard of Mashable?) and gradually grew to a blog full of guest writers. If you’re considering factoring in guest posts to your blog routine, but are unsure whether or not this is the right move, consider a few of these questions and answers:

The 411 of Guest Posting on Your Site

1.    When it is too early to accept guest posts?

In most cases, people will not want to guest post on your blog unless it is somewhat well established. If you have been postings an article at least three times per week, responding to visitor comments, and have remained active on other blogs (a way to get followers in the first place), then your blog is likely matured enough to accept guest posts. As long as you edit and monitor all articles going onto your blog, accepting guest posts is a great idea.

2.    Is it best to ask for ideas first, or ask writers to simply send over an article?

This obviously depends on the preference of the editor. Once again, there is no right or wrong way to ask for a guest post. However, it is worth the time to weigh some of the positives and negatives of each:

  • Asking for the article first:
  1. Advantages – You do not have to go back and forth with emails, so you gain more time at the start of the partnership (which is especially annoying if the writer isn’t what you’re looking for in the first place). You will also only get emails from candidates who are very serious. After all, it takes much longer to write an article than an introductory email.
  2. Disadvantages – You may spend your time reading over material that you do not like (even if you have a “guest posting guidelines” section on your blog). Think of a guest post like a business proposal—you wrote out what you expected in your guidelines, so you should expect an appropriate answer before giving someone your time.
  • Asking for ideas and discussing the guidelines first:
  1. Advantages – The articles you receive will likely be more to your liking, and you can get a feel for a writer and whether or not a guest posting partnership will work. This should save both of you time.
  2. Disadvantages – It takes more time to at the outset to email and get to know the author, and you may get a lot of emails from people who want to write, but then never actually follow through.

Once again, the decision is up to you. Both ways are professional and writers will love you either way! My advice: Try asking for the articles right away, and if you get too many low-quality articles, start asking for ideas first.

3.     Should you give authors a WordPress login?

My advice would be yes. Some editors prefer to work through email, but I am noticing many editors moving toward offering a WordPress login. If you give a WordPress login, there is still a feature that forces the article to go through a revision process (completed by you) before being published. This makes it easy for authors to contribute more than once and allows all of your articles to be neatly lined up in one place.

4.    How often should you post guest blogs right at the start?

If your blog was primarily just your writing, your visitors and fans will be surprised to see a guest author. You want to stay as true to your blog as possible at the start, so I would recommend bringing in guest posts gradually. Start by posting one per week, then two, then three, and so on. Remember that your blog gained popularity in the first place because of your writing, so always be sure you have an article or two being published each week.

5.    Should you require your articles to be unique? What if you see an article you really like and want to re-publish it on your site?

Google does not like duplicated content, so most publishers stay away from it. Asking for unique content is not something writers aren’t used to (as I’m sure you know!), so stay on the safe side and ask for only original content. This will help the overall credibility of your blog. If you see an article you really like, it will not hurt your blog to re-publish an article once or twice per month. However always remember, you must ask permission from the author and/or the website first!

If you decide that it is time to accept guest posts, make sure to create a tab on your website that outlines all of your requirements. Once you do this, you’re ready to put on your editors hat and start answering those emails. Your brilliant writing might be taking a break, but your brilliant editing skills will be needed.

Photo Credit: abnormalmarketing.com

Amanda DiSilvestro is an expert writer on small business grants based in San Diego, California. She writes extensively for an online resource that provides expert advice on purchasing and outsourcing decisions for small business owners and entrepreneurs such as HR management software. You can find more of her articles as well as vendors comparisons for your small business needs at Resource Nation or Business.com.

Originally posted on December 7, 2011 @ 11:07 am

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