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Why You Suck at Guest Blogging (and What The Pros Do Differently)

Why You Suck at Guest Blogging (and What The Pros Do Differently)

Confusing, isn’t it?

Everyone seems to have a different view about guest blogging.

Some popular bloggers claim it’s still a great way to grow your blog.

But others say it’s too much effort for too little reward.

Maybe you’ve tried it for yourself and had less than stellar results.

You may even believe that guest blogging is dead.

So what’s the deal?

The truth – guest blogging is still an awesome strategy for getting more traffic.

But only if you do it right.

And that means avoiding the mistakes that cause most guest bloggers – including you – to screw it up.

The First Big Mistake Most Guest Bloggers Make

Many bloggers start guest blogging simply because other bloggers tell them it’s a good idea.

But they don’t truly understand why it’s a good idea. They don’t have clear objectives. Or, worse still, they have the wrong objectives.

Of course, if you’re aiming at the wrong target, you’ll only hit the right one through sheer luck.

But most guest bloggers have completely the wrong definition of success. So they don’t stand a chance of becoming successful in ways that can actually help them.

Here’s why …

People think that a successful guest post is one that gets lots of comments and shares.

But that’s a huge mistake.

Because while comments and shares are nice for the blog owner, they don’t help you much at all.

Sure, you need to keep the blog owner happy. But if you don’t fix your definition of success, you’ll end up writing “successful” guest posts that don’t bring you any real success at all.

The Only Smart Measure of Guest Blogging Success

Your goal is to grow your blog, right?  So, getting tons of views, shares and comments for someone else’s blog isn’t really what you need. You need more traffic for your own blog.

But getting more traffic from a guest post isn’t a worthwhile goal on its own. Traffic is useless if the new visitors simply bounce straight off your site and never return.

Even guest blogging to get some juicy backlinks to your blog doesn’t make a whole lot of sense any longer, since Google is now slamming down SEO-focused guest bloggers.

This leaves only one truly smart guest blogging goal:

Getting more subscribers.

In other words, getting more people to join your email list because they trust you and want to hear from you on a regular basis.

Turning visitors into subscribers is crucial because most people will only visit your site once. Even if they like what they see, they’re unlikely to ever come back due to countless other distractions online. They simply won’t remember to check your blog for new content – these visitors become a lonely dot in your web analytics account that marks the happy day they dropped by.

But when they join your email list, you can build a relationship with them.

When you have new content or a product you want to promote, you can send them an email and invite them to check out what you’ve got.

And in the meantime, you can send them your latest blog posts. The lonely dots turn into repeating dots – thousands of them.

The Spoils of Guest Blogging Like a Pro

When you take the time to learn the art of effective guest blogging – not just “good writing” – getting more than 100 new subscribers per guest post is totally realistic.

Think about it. How long would getting 100 new subscribers take you simply by waiting for people to show up to your blog and then hoping they sign up for your list?

I personally average around 170 new subscribers per guest post. So, with every six posts, I get over 1,000 new subscribers. And occasionally when a post strikes gold and generates over 750 subscribers, the benefit is even more dramatic.

Once you have your sights set on the right target, you have the chance for some real results from your guest blogging efforts. You’ll no longer have to be satisfied with compliments on your literary ingenuity, grammatical prowess, and insightful thoughts – as comments left on someone else’s blog.

But even with the right goal, you can still fail to get results if you make any of the following dumb mistakes.

5 More Dumb Mistakes That Cripple Your Guest Blogging Success

Writing effective guest posts requires more than just avoiding dumb mistakes.

You still need to write well, provide value and engage your audience.

But when you do avoid these mistakes, you’ll start attracting subscribers – a lot more than ever before.

Mistake #1: Your Target Blog Sucks

Your chosen target blog can suck (from the perspective of getting more subscribers) in two ways:

  1. It doesn’t have enough readers to justify your efforts.
  2. The readers aren’t a good match for your own blog.

Pick the wrong targets and you could write a hundred guest posts and get no new subscribers – if too few people read the blogs.

Pick the right target and you could get hundreds of new subscribers with just one post – if a lot of the right people read it.

But how do you determine if a blog is big enough? It’s not always easy. Sometimes you get lucky and they display their subscriber or monthly-reader numbers somewhere on the blog. You’re generally looking for at least 5,000 subscribers or 100,000 monthly visitors.

But if you can’t find these, you need to get a bit more creative:

  • Check out their social media accounts. If they have tens of thousands of Twitter followers and thousands of Facebook page likes, they’re usually getting decent enough traffic to justify the time required to write a guest post.
  • See how many social shares and comments their posts usually attract. The more popular posts should have at least dozens of shares, preferably over 100. Some popular sites don’t get lots of comments, but if you see dozens of comments on many posts, it’s a good indicator of popularity and engagement.
  • Check the blog’s information at Technorati and Alexa. But be aware that both of their rankings can sometimes be misleading due to limitations around how the scores are created.

Remember to compare all numbers to the most prominent sites in your field; in other words, don’t compare a chess blog’s rankings and share numbers to those of Huffington Post – it’s not a fair fight and doesn’t help you choose target blogs.

But just writing for a big site isn’t enough to guarantee good results. You also have to be aware of who’s reading the site.

The qualifying question is, “Would people interested in this blog also be interested in my blog?” If not, don’t write for that site – it won’t help you get more subscribers. And consider the experience level of the blog’s readers. If you want to attract experts to your list, don’t write for a site that’s meant for newbies, even if the topic is the same.

Finding big enough sites in your field can take some time, but don’t settle for just any big site; if the audience doesn’t match the one you’re after, you’ll just waste your time.

If you don’t already know big sites in your field, try Google. Type in “gardening blog” (or whatever your blog topic is) and see what comes up.

You can also look for lists of sites that accept guest posts. Just be aware that they usually accept any sites to the list – even ones that are too small to justify the effort. Unfortunately, they don’t just list sites that are worth your time.

Mistake #2: Your Blog Post Topic Sucks

You can get this one wrong in many ways. But the result is always the same – people won’t end up subscribing to your blog.

  1. You pick a topic that has little to do with the target blog’s topic. If you make this mistake, most people won’t even read your post. Or rather, you won’t get your post published – in fact, you’ll be lucky to get a reply from the site owner. For example, don’t pitch a nature travel post to a marketing blog. (This might seem obvious to you, but the example comes directly from my inbox!)
  2. You pick a topic that doesn’t strongly interest the target blog’s readers. You can easily avoid this mistake (see tips below), but if you make it, only a few people will read your post. For example, writing a post here at Boost Blog Traffic about “advanced tracking and behavioral segmenting of leads” would likely flop because even though these tactics are related to getting traffic to your blog and making money, they’re just too expensive and complicated for the vast majority of bloggers.
  3. You pick a topic that isn’t clearly connected to your blog topic. If you write a post that fits the target blog perfectly, people will read it and might even love it, but they won’t become your subscribers if the topic isn’t also connected to your own blog. For example, you could write a post about the spiritual benefits of meditation for a self-development blog and get great feedback. But if your site is about productivity, you’ll be lucky to get a few subscribers from the post even though your topic fits well with the general theme of the target blog.

You can come up with a great topic for your guest post in many ways. And you’ll often get the best results when you take a well-evaluated risk. But unless you’re sure you know how to pick a killer topic that hasn’t been covered before, stick to what the pros do with most of their posts:

  • Look at the “most popular posts” list at the site you’re writing for. Which topics come up most often?
  • Go through the last 50 or so posts and see which ones have the most shares and comments. Again, look for the topics that seem to consistently get the best responses.
  • Pick a topic (from the ones that have done especially well before) that relates clearly to what your blog is about.

That’s not too hard, right? If the blog has no topics that have performed well before and would be connected to your blog topic, you might want to write for another site where the topics align better.

Mistake #3: Your Call to Action Sucks

People procrastinate. They avoid taking action whenever they can. As a guest blogger, if you can’t help them overcome that natural inertia, you won’t get results.

Most bloggers just include a link to their blog at the bottom of their post and hope for the best.

But more often than not, people won’t bother clicking the link because they simply don’t see a strong reason to do so.

That’s why your guest post should always include a call to action where you specifically tell the reader what the next step is and ask them to take that step. A call to action is usually a link in your byline (the short blurb about the author at the end of the post), its sole purpose being to get people to visit your site and subscribe to your blog.

If people don’t click your link, either your call to action sucks, or worse still, you don’t have one at all.

Can you spot the call to action in this typical byline?

Jack Jackson is a writer who writes about writing at jackjacksonwriter.com. His ebook can help you learn to write better.

Even if the post preceding that byline is great, few people will take action and get the ebook – because it failed to include a call to action.

You need to specifically tell people to do something. And you need to tell them why they want to do it.

So, if you model the pros, your byline could be something like this:

“Jack Jackson is a novelist who trains aspiring authors to finish their books, get them published, and make it to the best-seller lists. You can download his free ebook to learn the five most common reasons publishers turn down book offers, so your book finds its way into people’s bookshelves.”

Note the clear command to take action (“download his free ebook”).

Note also how explaining the benefit people get from the ebook makes the action more compelling. Similarly, the first sentence doesn’t just introduce the author; it also points out how he helps people achieve the results they’re after.

Mistake #4: Your Landing Page Sucks

Getting more traffic to your site is practically worthless if those visitors just leave. You need people to subscribe to your updates because if they don’t, they’re most likely never coming back.

So the cardinal sin of guest blogging is to only link to your home page from your guest post. Even if your home page is good, your conversion rates will be terrible.

The typical home page has too many distractions; it’s not entirely focused on the one thing you care about – making visitors subscribe to your list. And every distraction makes more people leave without subscribing.

Of course, you’ll never get 100% of the people who click your call to action to subscribe. But you can get at least 50% of them. And your “landing page” must make that happen.

It’s called a landing page because it’s the page new visitors “land” on. In other words, it’s the first page on your blog that people see (though often the term is used to describe any page that has a specific goal).

The landing page you link to from your guest post should be focused on compelling people to subscribe to your list.

Let’s look at an example to see why your landing page is so important.

Say you write one guest post and get 300 people to click the link to your site. If your landing page’s conversion rate is only 15%, you get 45 subscribers. If the conversion rate was 65%, you would’ve gotten 195 subscribers (which is 150 more).

And that’s just one guest post.

After 10 guest posts, you would’ve effectively lost 1,500 subscribers. Sure, you’d still end up with 450 subscribers, which is nice, but you could’ve gotten almost 2,000 with a better landing page.

So, what should be on your landing page?

Simply put, it should have three essential components:

  1. A headline, which highlights the greatest benefit of joining your list
  2. A list of further reasons why people should sign up to the list
  3. A clear call to action with a prompt to enter and submit an email address

Getting just those three basics right will do wonders for your conversion rate.

In practice, plenty of other variables could affect how many people subscribe, and landing page optimization is truly a huge topic on its own. So check out the following resources for more detailed information:

The most important takeaway is this:

Don’t expect your home page to convert visitors into subscribers.

Have a separate landing page that’s focused entirely on giving people good reasons to join your list.

And when you look at the landing pages the pros use, they’re rarely overly fancy. Rather, they focus on getting the basics right. So, don’t stress about brilliant graphics and cool functionality.

Mistake #5: Your Freebie Sucks

Few people will subscribe to your blog if you don’t give them something concrete in return.

So, don’t just ask people to “sign up for blog updates.”

Instead, create a focused freebie people can only get by subscribing. When you offer a freebie (a.k.a. giveaway, bribe, opt-in incentive, etc.), significantly more people subscribe.

The freebie gives people a clear reason to act immediately – getting the results that the freebie enables.

For example, if your site is about playing badminton better, you could give a short ebook titled, “5 Ways to Beat Your Opponent Faster” to everyone who subscribes.

But even if your freebie is extremely valuable, it might still suck. Because people won’t be tempted unless it’s a perfect fit with your guest post’s topic.

For example, just because your guest post is about marketing doesn’t mean people will automatically be interested in a freebie that’s also about marketing. The connection has to be stronger than that.

However, your freebie doesn’t have to be on exactly the same topic as your post. For example, if you write about the health benefits of raw food, your freebie doesn’t have to be directly related to raw food – e.g., a raw food recipe ebook (although it can be). Instead, it could be about other healthy habits or what you need to know about nutrition if you do switch to raw food.

The key question is, “Can you make getting your freebie the natural, compelling next step after reading the post?”

You can do it in a number of ways, but more often than not, you should use the simplest of them – explain why your freebie is a solution to the question or a desire readers are left with when they finish reading your post.

For example, if you write a post about the benefits of meditation, the readers are likely to be interested in a freebie that helps them try meditation.

But if you’re smart, you can make them want something else instead.

For example, you could point out that meditation is just one way to achieve the benefits you listed in the post. And your freebie could teach them other ways to get those benefits.

Or let’s say you wrote about using Facebook advertising to promote a business. Your freebie could then be a more detailed look into Facebook ads, or it could explain how to use other online advertising methods in combination with Facebook ads.

Sometimes you might want to write about a topic your freebie doesn’t have a clear connection to (maybe because you created your freebie for an earlier guest post). Even without an obvious connection, you can still sometimes create that connection.

For example, maybe you write a guest post about losing weight and your freebie is about procrastination. You can end your post by pointing out that your advice won’t help the reader unless they actually act on it, and by pointing out how procrastination is really the number one reason for weight issues. Your freebie then becomes the natural next step for anyone who has struggled with procrastination over weight loss because without solving that problem, they won’t benefit from what they learned from the post.

If you want to use guest blogging to build a big list of subscribers quickly, you must learn to connect your freebie(s) to the topics you write about.

When you learn to connect the post’s topic to your freebie, you’ll get significantly better results. And you won’t need lots of different freebies; you can just connect the post topic to the freebies you have.

The Huge Rewards of Guest Blogging – If You Do It Right

For the few smart people who take time to learn how to effectively use guest blogging to get traffic and build a significant subscriber list, the rewards are huge.

You’ll get an immediate spike in traffic and subscribers, and in many cases you’ll still see a steady trickle of subscribers months after the post went live.

You’ll also boost your expert status because of your association with industry-leading sites. This extra authority and credibility could lead to interview requests, more guest blogging invitations (from even bigger blogs), and extra sales of your products and services.

Your profile and reputation as a writer will rise and (if you claim your guest content using Google Authorship) you’ll gain authority in Google’s eyes too.

And perhaps most importantly, the relationships you build with the people who run the big blogs you write for can lead to more opportunities and they may even help you promote the content on your own blog.

But the most immediate result is seeing people subscribe to your blog. And when you do things right, you can get more than 100 subscribers with each post you write.

And each new subscriber brings more regular traffic to your blog.

Are You Ready to Go Pro?

The guest blogging landscape has changed, but if you have the right goals and avoid making any dumb mistakes, guest blogging is still an awesome way to grow your blog quickly.

While the amateurs are getting discouraged (and the spammers are getting punished), the way is clear for those who have been initiated into the circle of guest blogging pros.

The rewards are hundreds of new subscribers, more long-term traffic for your blog and valuable relationships with the power players in your niche.

So why not get started by picking a blog from my list of the 140+ best guest blogging sites and pitch them a post today?

After all, that’s what a pro would do.

About the Author: Right now Peter Sandeen is dodging icebergs while sailing with his wife and dogs on the Finnish coast. But you can download his short ebook “7 Key Steps to Guest Blogging Success” that shows you how to get 100+ subscribers from every guest post you write.
Why You Suck at Guest Blogging (and What The Pros Do Differently) by

96 Comments

  1. Alicia Rades
    Mar 27, 2014 @ 09:41:10

    Awesome, thorough post! You covered guest blogging so well I don’t have anything to add, but I just wanted to say I appreciate the incredible tips.

    Reply

    • Peter Sandeen
      Mar 27, 2014 @ 11:49:06

      Hey Alicia,

      Thank you, very nice to hear that :)

      Cheers,
      Peter

      Reply

  2. David Veldt
    Mar 27, 2014 @ 10:39:36

    Google has been doing even more strong-arming in the guest blogging world since Matt Cutts’ comments in January. They penalized MyBlogGuest, which was a leader in matching bloggers and publishers, and most recently, slapped an entire site for a single post they decided wasn’t relevant to the site: http://searchengineland.com/guest-post-google-penalty-187707

    There was an excellent discussion on this yesterday on Twitter if you search #SEOpub

    Reply

    • Jon Morrow
      Mar 27, 2014 @ 11:46:51

      I’m actually really encouraged by this. It’s getting rid of all the spammers who are giving us a bad name.

      Reply

      • David Veldt
        Mar 27, 2014 @ 12:20:27

        Very true, and anyone who guest blogs strictly for the sake of SEO and link building deserves to get penalized. My concern is in the Doc Sheldon case, in that they decided a post topic wasn’t in line with what they deemed to be the primary subject of the blog, and issued a manual, site-wide penalty. The whole thing just causes an unnecessary uneasiness about posting an occasional off-topic piece or linking to a site that might be under the microscope.

    • Peter Sandeen
      Mar 27, 2014 @ 11:52:03

      Hey David,

      Yep, they’re hunting down spammers. At they have always done. So, nothing new there. And this one is, as Jon said, great for those of us who aren’t after the links, but rather people who like our stuff.

      This time, as I think every time previously too, they’ve gone too far in some cases (as the DocSheldon one where one page made the whole site get slapped). Hopefully the rules get cleared up soon.

      Cheers,
      Peter

      Reply

      • David Veldt
        Mar 27, 2014 @ 12:22:28

        Agreed. From what I hear that penalty has already been lifted and there was quite a bit of backlash around it, so hopefully something good came from that.

    • Noufal Binu
      Mar 27, 2014 @ 23:10:55

      Facts about Guest Blogging
      ——————————————————
      # We know Guest blogging is dead, only SEO purpose.
      # Guest Blogging is little Down.
      # Guest Bloggers confused importance of about it.
      # Spammers are Stopped their Guest blogging :D .
      # A big Fact Guest blogging 40% or above Residue.
      ——————————————————-

      Reply

      • Peter Sandeen
        Mar 28, 2014 @ 11:34:34

        Hi Noufal,

        You confuse me. The general opinion is that the SEO purpose is on the way down. All other reasons for guest blogging are going up if anything (though many people have given up because they haven’t gotten good results this far).

        Cheers,
        Peter

  3. Collette Cameron
    Mar 27, 2014 @ 11:19:44

    What a tremendously helpful post! Thank you.

    Reply

    • Peter Sandeen
      Mar 27, 2014 @ 11:54:11

      Hi Collette,

      Thank you, that’s very nice to hear :)

      Cheers,
      Peter

      Reply

  4. Edward Beaman
    Mar 27, 2014 @ 12:28:53

    Wonderful post Peter. It’s all too easy in the heat of enthusiasm to pick a bad blog post topic. Passion and talent can get you far. However calm calculation and planning is also required to really get it right. Loved your examples too. They were very helpful to fully understand your points.

    Reply

    • Peter Sandeen
      Mar 27, 2014 @ 17:08:12

      Hey Edward,

      Yep, the calculative part is the one people often forget because no one talks about how important it is :)

      Cheers,
      Peter

      Reply

  5. Lauchlan Toal
    Mar 27, 2014 @ 12:31:08

    Peter,
    I’m slowly building up a plan of attack to redo my blogging and monetization strategy, and this article is a great resource. As with all the posts on Boost Blog Traffic, the writing is easy to understand, valuable, and ended with a great call to action. No doubt your own site has terrific content as well, I subscribed immediately after reading this.
    Thanks,
    Lauchlan

    Reply

    • Peter Sandeen
      Mar 27, 2014 @ 17:09:28

      Hi Lauchlan,

      Thank you :) Part of the credit should go to the editor and another editor, though. They polish the writing very nicely.

      And thank you. Let me know if you have any questions.

      Cheers,
      Peter

      Reply

  6. Kerry Russell
    Mar 27, 2014 @ 13:29:46

    We’ve just been discussing guest blogging in brainstorming hour. Mainly about MyGuestBlog being slammed by Google and most of use agreed that despite this, we’d still go ahead and guest post, even if it means using the nofollow tag.

    Why? Because we’re not doing it for SEO purpose, we are doing it to get in front of our target audience with a post that adds value to the readers.

    I’ve not actually had any guest posts published yet because my site is fairly new and I’ve been investing my time building relationships with other bloggers in my niche.

    Thanks for the awesome tips shared in this guest post, they’ll be a great help when I am finally ready to create one of my own.

    Have an awesome day. ;)
    Kerry

    Reply

    • Peter Sandeen
      Mar 27, 2014 @ 17:11:03

      Hi Kerry,

      If you’re the one writing the guest posts, I wouldn’t specifically ask for a nofollow link. But I wouldn’t mind it either.

      But when you start publishing guest posts on your site, just make sure the posts are actually a great fit to your blog :)

      Cheers,
      Peter

      Reply

  7. Susan Spence
    Mar 27, 2014 @ 13:49:12

    As a writer of fiction, I don’t yet know how much guest blogging will help me ultimately sell books. I am committed to learning how to guest blog to see where it will take me.

    Reply

    • Peter Sandeen
      Mar 27, 2014 @ 17:12:02

      Hey Susan,

      I don’t know about your books, but if they fit into a specific category, there are likely some blogs about that category. People who read those blogs are very likely to be interested in your books :)

      Cheers,
      Peter

      Reply

    • Carter
      Apr 01, 2014 @ 12:40:08

      How about publishing short stories that get people invested in the characters, so that readers will want to see what happens to them next?

      Reply

  8. Carol Mortarotti
    Mar 27, 2014 @ 14:10:11

    Really great post Peter. I think the CTA and freebie are the two most important things to do right (in addition to writing a helpful article of course) otherwise what’s the point. Thanks for sharing this helpful information!

    Reply

  9. Jevon
    Mar 27, 2014 @ 14:16:02

    My problem is just as you said, not enough subscribers from a guest post. I always figured it was related to my poor landing page. That’s why I’m doing a redesign.

    But I didn’t realize the call to action could be in the bio of the guest post. I always thought it was the last couple of lines in the post itself, and blogs don’t like it if you try to promote yourself there. Good stuff.

    And 750 subscribers from one guest post??? wow. I never even dreamed. I’m definitely going to start checking the social status of blogs I’m interested in guest posting from now on.

    Reply

    • Peter Sandeen
      Mar 27, 2014 @ 17:14:16

      Hey Jevon,

      A redesign can help. But usually that’s not necessary (as long as the landing page gets the right ideas across) :)

      As for the link in the last lines of the post, that doesn’t always work out. And even now, the actual call to action is in the byline—not within the post. The CTA in the post was an editorial change—I didn’t even ask for it :) So, some blogs don’t mind giving their authors more credit, but some would never allow even a topical link to the author’s site…

      Cheers,
      Peter

      Reply

  10. Kevin
    Mar 27, 2014 @ 14:34:50

    Thanks for posting this. I am looking to begin guest posting, so this is very timely. Now, I had heard that when you guest post, you should link to your Google+ account, so Google knows to give you credit for the post on someone else’s site. Do you recommend this as well? If so, do you have a recommended template to follow for that?

    Reply

    • Peter Sandeen
      Mar 27, 2014 @ 17:16:31

      Hey Kevin,

      I haven’t really looked into Google Authorship because SEO just hasn’t seemed a consistent tactic to get people to my site. The conversion rates are low, so even though I get some tens of thousands of visitors from Google, the number of subscribers is comparatively low. I’d rather get people straight to my site :)

      But this is something I’ve been looking into lately because the search engine traffic has been increasing, so maybe putting a bit more fuel to the fire would make a difference.

      Cheers,
      Peter

      Reply

  11. Tam Francis
    Mar 27, 2014 @ 14:39:29

    Great post again! Thanks. One of my biggest problems is the freebie thing, a good give-away. I’ll keep working on it. Thanks for the kick in the pants. I’ve done a couple guest blogs on “writer sites,” but my target audience is vintage, dance and WWII people. I haven’t found a guest blog yet for that, but it was great fun and felt good to be “asked” to guest blog :)

    ~ Tam Francis ~
    http://www.girlinthejitterbugdress.com

    Reply

    • Peter Sandeen
      Mar 27, 2014 @ 17:18:20

      Hey Tam,

      As long as your target audience reads the site you write for and the topic is close to yours, you can get really good results. I’m sure you can find vintage, dance, and WWII blogs, though… Did I misunderstand what you meant?

      Cheers,
      Peter

      Reply

  12. S.Khan
    Mar 27, 2014 @ 15:38:34

    TBH, the tips are applicable to a very very small niche … In most niches, you won’t really find active blogs with 100 subscribers of their own, let alone getting 100 subscribers for yourself … For a big majority of online businesses or ecommerce stores, the only thing guest blogging can provide, was the SEO benefits, which is not the case anymore.

    Reply

    • Peter Sandeen
      Mar 27, 2014 @ 17:20:30

      Hey,

      That really depends on how you look at it. Sure, if your blog is about “growing an ant farm,” you will struggle to find big blogs in the same field. But in most cases, there are big blogs in the same field—not the same niche, but the same field. E.g., someone running a site about gluten-free food could write for general food site or a general health site. And then they could get lots and lots of subscribers at once. So, look at the general field rather than the specific niche :)

      Cheers,
      Peter

      Reply

  13. David
    Mar 27, 2014 @ 16:45:55

    I didn’t enjoy this article. By the time I had scanned my way past the all the edgy uses of the word “suck”, I found myself at the bottom of the post and without having gained anything of real substance.

    Reply

    • Peter Sandeen
      Mar 27, 2014 @ 17:23:51

      Hey David,

      Sorry to hear that. But did I misunderstand or did you really mean that you only “scanned” the post and didn’t learn much? Maybe I didn’t get your point, but I wouldn’t be all that shocked about missing the value if you don’t actually read the post or if you get stuck on the specific “angle” of the post instead of looking for ideas you could use.

      Cheers,
      Peter

      Reply

  14. GUEST BLOGGING ON BOOMERPDX | BOOMER PDX
    Mar 27, 2014 @ 17:30:54

    […] Today a blogger guest posted for him. He said all the right things, but the one that hit hardest was the number of people who subscribe to his blog after each guest post. […]

    Reply

  15. Martin Bader
    Mar 27, 2014 @ 18:02:19

    Thanks for the angle you use to look at guest posting.

    It goes without saying that nowadays you can’t guest post for links only. Well, it was never a good idea but now it’s just really lousy. In case you guest post on 3rd party blogs for exposure, then it’s A-Ok.

    Reply

    • Peter Sandeen
      Mar 28, 2014 @ 11:35:49

      Hey Martin,

      Yep, finally the SEO stuff might start to go away. But still, even I get a lot of guest post pitches from SEO people (and I don’t even publish guest posts, so I can’t imagine what it’s like for sites that rely on guest authors).

      Cheers,
      Peter

      Reply

  16. Dave Nordella
    Mar 27, 2014 @ 20:16:11

    Hi, Peter:

    I have used your advice to improve my byline, so thanks for that!

    I took a look at your list and discovered DumbLittleMan.com, which looks pretty interesting. I will get to know them better.

    I had never thought of PsychologyToday.com as a personal development blog but agree with your assessment after scanning their headlines.

    Thanks for the useful tips, Peter!

    Reply

    • Peter Sandeen
      Mar 28, 2014 @ 11:37:58

      Hey Dave,

      One not about DumbLittleMan. I haven’t written for them myself, so this is second-hand knowledge… I can take them a looong time to publish something or even to get back to you about a post. So, expect to stretch your patience muscle. Hopefully you don’t need it, but it’s good to prepare.

      And as for Psychology Today… Well, maybe “personal development blog” doesn’t cover it, but it seems like the closes category for them in my list :)

      Cheers,
      Peter

      Reply

  17. Joseph Dabon
    Mar 27, 2014 @ 21:19:05

    Setting you as the standard for blogging success is a hard ball to play. So I won’t aspire to be like you, but of being an improved me.

    I currently have more than 1,600 subscribers to my blog and I am averaging 30 subscribers a day. I am constantly noticed by google, occasionally by yahoo, bing and other search engines.

    Is my blog doing well?

    Reply

    • Peter Sandeen
      Mar 28, 2014 @ 11:39:56

      Hi Joseph,

      I don’t consider my self the “standard for blogging success” at all. I get good results with most of my guest posts, but that’s it :)

      30 subscribers per day is good. Much, much more than most blogs. Then again, it depends on what you compare yourself to. I don’t know about Boost Blog Traffic’s numbers, but I assume they get quite a bit more than that. But really, compared to most (99% of) blogs, you’re doing great!

      Cheers,
      Peter

      Reply

  18. Corey Pemberton
    Mar 27, 2014 @ 21:32:07

    Hey Peter,

    Great post, and a timely one for me as I’m just getting into guest posting myself. Thanks for putting it together. I’ve done quite a bit of research at different blogs to pick out potential good fits for my content. One thing I’ve noticed with a lot of guest posters is that the quality of their writing is good, but their lack of attention to the details that could benefit their businesses is mind boggling.

    it’s a shame so many people take the time to pitch an idea and write a quality post, but then they get sloppy with calls to action or landing pages. Seems like a lot of work to miss out on a ton of subscribers.

    This is a great checklist. I’ll have to make sure I’m avoiding all the mistakes you mentioned when my opportunities start coming through. Thanks,

    Corey

    Reply

    • Peter Sandeen
      Mar 28, 2014 @ 11:41:33

      Hey Corey,

      Great to hear that :)

      And yep, a lot of people forget some of the things that aren’t all that often discussed regarding guest blogging. Somehow, for example, landing page conversion optimization stuff is usually a completely separate topic to guest blogging, even though it affects your results a lot.

      Cheers,
      Peter

      Reply

  19. Aqilah Norazman
    Mar 27, 2014 @ 22:17:20

    Hi Peter. Great post and I appreciate the tips, especially the one with a specific call to action, so thank you! When I do guest posting, I normally create a separate landing page which greets the visitors from the target blog before opening up with a heading. Example – “Welcome Boost Blog Traffic Readers…”. It has been converting well for me for the past few guest posts I’ve made, I just need to write more. :)

    Apart from that, I believe too that at times it’s great to step out from your niche to meet other target readers. I write about health and fitness and I like writing guest posts for self-development blogs because there’s some sort of an overlap there. It might work for some, but for others it’s tricky. What are your thoughts on this?

    Reply

    • Peter Sandeen
      Mar 28, 2014 @ 11:43:55

      Hey Aqilah,

      Thank you :)

      I haven’t tried that myself, but I’ve heard of many people doing it. But I’ve never heard of anyone actually testing it. Have you tested it against the same page just without the “welcome text?” Did it create an increase in conversions?

      Venturing into other fields is great as long as your target readers read the other blog and your topics overlap (and you have a topical freebie to offer). So, yep, I think it’s a great thing to try every now and then!

      Cheers,
      Peter

      Reply

  20. maxwell ivey
    Mar 27, 2014 @ 23:47:22

    a very thorough post with lots of good suggestions and examples. My niche is the amusement industry so finding other sites to approach for guest posting is not easy. My guest opportunities have been on personal development and online marketing sites. as a blind blogger i have ben encourage to write to inspire others. however, i know the point of any activity is to promote your site and make sales. thanks for sharing, max

    Reply

    • Peter Sandeen
      Mar 28, 2014 @ 11:46:03

      Hi Max,

      You’re working in a very tight niche, so I understand the issue you’re facing. Have you looked for sites that are about collecting or maybe even vintage and/or history? You might find likeminded people from there :)

      Cheers,
      Peter

      Reply

  21. Timo Kiander
    Mar 28, 2014 @ 03:39:54

    Hi Peter!

    As always, your guest posts are top-notch!

    But I yearn for more: How to keep those subscribers on your list – in other words I’d like to hear how you keep your subscribers engaged.

    Building a list and having a converting landing page is just one part of the equation, but perhaps you could write a sequel about engagement as well.

    Cheers,
    Timo

    Reply

  22. Bobbie Ann Cole
    Mar 28, 2014 @ 09:57:01

    Jon Morrow talks about insanely useful content and that is exactly what you’ve provided here, Peter. Thank you. You know, it’s taken me a year, almost, to realize what I need. Will be rebuilding my site this April and then watch out! I’ll be out there.

    Reply

    • Peter Sandeen
      Mar 28, 2014 @ 11:48:28

      Hi Bobbie,

      Nice to hear from you :)

      And really great to hear you’re moving forward. Let me know how the site project goes.

      Cheers,
      Peter

      Reply

  23. Why You Suck at Guest Blogging (and What The Pr...
    Mar 28, 2014 @ 12:58:26

    […]   […]

    Reply

  24. Blogger insights this week: Surviving the Facebook marketing apocalypse
    Mar 28, 2014 @ 16:05:49

    […] Why you suck at guest blogging (and what the pros do differently) via Boost Traffic […]

    Reply

  25. Caroline Jones
    Mar 28, 2014 @ 18:11:31

    This is really useful information.
    Can you tell us how to determine which subscribers actually sign up from a specific guest post?

    Reply

    • Peter Sandeen
      Mar 31, 2014 @ 07:05:14

      Hi Caroline,

      Glad to hear that :)

      And yes, you can figure it out if you set up tracking for it. I use Google’s URL extensions, a piece of custom code, and a hidden field in the sign up forms. Not the simplest solution, but it enables me to keep track of results in the long term, too :)

      The simpler way is to just look at your Google Analytics. Setting up a “goal” for the subscription makes it far easier to figure out the number of subscribers from different sources, but you can technically segment the numbers to figure out how many people subscribed from a guest post. (This way the numbers won’t be super accurate, though.)

      Cheers,
      Peter

      Reply

  26. Stuart
    Mar 28, 2014 @ 19:02:40

    I’ve had a couple of big spikes in traffic when guest posts have been published. As you say, it’s definitely a viable strategy if done properly (even if Matt Cutts says it isn’t!).

    Reply

    • Peter Sandeen
      Mar 31, 2014 @ 07:06:08

      Hey Stuart,

      Great that you’ve got good results :)

      And yep, definitely a great tactic regardless of what Matt says. Besides, he’s only been talking about the SEO stuff—not subscribers.

      Cheers,
      Peter

      Reply

  27. Bree Brouwer
    Mar 29, 2014 @ 00:07:36

    Good to see your post on this site, Peter! It fits in well with your email marketing strategy post on your site (yes, I read it, and it’s awesome).

    Do you manifestos are good freebies? They seem like something that could easily transfer to all blogs you guest blog on (as long as you choose the sites carefully, of course).

    Reply

    • Peter Sandeen
      Mar 31, 2014 @ 07:07:44

      Hey Bree,

      Thanks :)

      If you mean manifestos as in “opinion pieces about your topic,” then yes, they can work. But unless you can tell people that your manifesto gives them very concrete answers to specific questions, they most likely won’t work as well as more specific freebies.

      Cheers,
      Peter

      Reply

  28. Peter Mutiso
    Mar 29, 2014 @ 01:02:44

    I was penalized for ‘thin content’ – and mark you my content was over 800 words – I think Google is being mean on guest blogging because bloggers are using it to manipulate search engines rankings

    Reply

    • Peter Sandeen
      Mar 31, 2014 @ 07:08:47

      Hey Peter,

      Sorry to hear that. Don’t know what to say since Google does what Google wants… Is there any way to ask them about the penalization or to make changes to the content they thought was too “thin?”

      Cheers,
      Peter

      Reply

  29. David McSweeney
    Mar 29, 2014 @ 11:27:33

    Really great post Peter and echoes a lot of my sentiments about the benefits of guest blogging when done right. I wrote up a post on my blog yesterday about successful guest blogging (post MyBlogGuest slap etc) and I ranked what should be (in my opinion) the goals in this order: -

    1) Reaching a new audience
    2) Gaining referral traffic
    3) Goal conversion (i.e. new subscribers/sales from that referral traffic)
    4) Building your authority within a niche
    5) Building your social media following
    6) Strengthening relationships with other sites/bloggers
    7) SEO

    Those who have that list the other way round (i.e. SEO at the top) are not seeing the wood for the trees and missing out on the real benefits of guest blogging.

    Reply

    • Peter Sandeen
      Mar 31, 2014 @ 07:11:07

      Hey David,

      Good list—puts things into perspective for people who think that Google rankings and PageRank equal business results :)

      However, I’d put the #3 to the top and used #1 and #2 as sub-points for #3 ;)

      Cheers,
      Peter

      Reply

  30. Why You Suck at Guest Blogging (and What The Pr...
    Mar 31, 2014 @ 13:08:59

    […] Ever wonder why other people have so much more success with guest blogging than you? It's because they're avoiding these common but deadly mistakes.  […]

    Reply

  31. Sheeroh
    Apr 01, 2014 @ 10:04:38

    Hi Peter,

    This post has come at the right time! My blog is relatively new and I’m actually working on some guest posts as well as relationship building as we speak. The tips you have written here are priceless and I am now even more convinced to come up with a freebie. What I’m taking home is the importance of providing value for the readers through my guest post [not just aiming for the link/SEO] as that equals to even better things, yes?

    Reply

    • Peter Sandeen
      Apr 05, 2014 @ 07:03:47

      Hi Sheeroh,

      Yep, the link/SEO angle should most likely not be the main goal. The SEO results can be nice, sure, but that can change rather suddenly. So, instead of keeping it as the primary goal, just let that happen naturally as you write guest posts (that provide great value for the readers) :)

      Cheers,
      Peter

      Reply

  32. info network computer
    Apr 01, 2014 @ 12:43:21

    nice info bro… this is very helf full

    Reply

  33. Kaloyan Banev
    Apr 02, 2014 @ 03:02:49

    Personally I don’t have any problems with guest bloggers on my social network, but when they are bloggers. The trouble starts when pseudo SEO’s and link builders start submitting junk on regular basis.

    Reply

    • Peter Sandeen
      Apr 05, 2014 @ 07:04:55

      Hey Kaloyan,

      I agree. More than 100% :) The SEO companies are usually just annoyances. I’m sure there are good ones too—companies that write really good articles. I’ve just never come across those.

      Cheers,
      Peter

      Reply

  34. Mohi Shafee
    Apr 02, 2014 @ 08:01:59

    Thanks great buddy.

    I always consider guest blogging as the best branding method. But I was so afraid because of Matt Cutts recent prediction. But now I think this won’t be a problem in your given way.

    Reply

    • Peter Sandeen
      Apr 05, 2014 @ 07:06:12

      Hi Mohi,

      Yep, I wouldn’t worry about it. That said, I have no idea how well guest blogging will work for SEO purposes later on. Maybe Google will throw a complete tantrum about it and ban guest posts from its search results. No one knows. But as long as SEO isn’t your primary reason for guest blogging, you’ll be fine :)

      Cheers,
      Peter

      Reply

  35. Mohi Shafee
    Apr 02, 2014 @ 08:03:37

    That’s great buddy.

    I always consider guest blogging as the best branding method. But I was so afraid because of Matt Cutts recent prediction. But now I think there won’t be a problem in your given way.

    Reply

  36. Jakes
    Apr 02, 2014 @ 08:35:59

    Hi Peter,
    Nice post. It’s definitely intriguing.

    I am someone who started guest blogging at an early stage and as you pointed out I couldn’t gain much benefits as I was doing mistakes #4. Being a naive, I never actually understood the real benefits of guest blogging. In my life I have written 3 guest posts. All of went viral and I did gained some visits on my blog. But, my blog was not prepared for it. My own blog was not optimized to translate these visits to regular customers.

    And, now with Google’s taken on guest blogging networks, people are really intimidated and that’s exactly why this very post is so relevant in the current context.

    Thanks for sharing your views on this.

    PS: I found your article from Kingged.com where I have Kingged and left comment.

    -
    Jakes

    Reply

    • Peter Sandeen
      Apr 05, 2014 @ 07:08:03

      Hi Jakes,

      Thanks :)

      Good that you now noticed what went wrong, so you can get better results in the future, right?

      Cheers,
      Peter

      Reply

  37. Winifred M. Reilly
    Apr 02, 2014 @ 18:32:54

    I must admit I was skeptical. I had been told by a social media consultant that having a landing page wouldn’t make all that much of a difference in gathering followers. I had also been told by Jon and Glen Long that it would.

    After reading this piece I decided to heed your collective advice in points 3 and 4. After having several highly successful guest post I raked in…nada when it came to new followers. Lots of traffic and a dribble of takers.

    I knew that I was going to have a guest post on the Huff Post going up this week so I set up a quicky landing page and a “download this free list of 75 Ways to….” and I have picked up 50 new followers in the last 24 hours.

    Okay. You win. And I am deeply grateful.

    I currently have a wordpress.com blog and yes I am now going to move it over to a .org so that I can really customize what I’m doing. Dreading it because I am minimally tech-y.

    For now, I’ve set up a simple (invisible) page that links from the post.

    Here’s a link to the post — for any of you wordpress.com users who want to follow my lead, write to me and I’ll tell you how I did it since there’s no widget to make it easy.
    http://t.co/SxnOMc8U74

    Again, many thanks.

    Reply

    • Peter Sandeen
      Apr 05, 2014 @ 07:10:15

      Hi Winifred,

      Great that you now saw good results. That’s really what makes the difference: going to the right direction and changing things as you move forward :)

      And good that you got the page up quickly. A lot of people get hung up on design details when they’d be better off with a quick page even if it’s not the prettiest and fanciest.

      Thanks,
      Peter

      Reply

  38. aceclue
    Apr 03, 2014 @ 00:17:49

    I like tips you presented here on guest posting. The approach is fantastic.

    You give us a good sense of direction. A good approach, not SEO motive. It’s like using webmasters blogs directly to initiate call to action.

    The points 1 and 4 summed them all.

    Choosing tge right blog that can do the job really and making the landing page on the guest blog as optimum as possible to initiate convertion.

    I believe anyone that follow your hints will have better experienced with guest blogging.

    Thanks for the informative article.

    Reply

    • Peter Sandeen
      Apr 05, 2014 @ 07:11:00

      Hi Aceclue,

      Thank you for the very kind words :)

      Cheers,
      Peter

      Reply

  39. Adeel
    Apr 03, 2014 @ 23:43:48

    Dear Peter Sandeen. I read your article and realy i m thank full to you for emailed me. its very importnet Post for new bloggers.

    Reply

  40. From 0 to $100,000 per Month: 20 Lessons for Building a Profitable Blog | Hair Open
    Apr 06, 2014 @ 17:45:08

    […] You’re far better off serving a little time as a “guest lecturer” first. In other words, write guest posts for someone else’s audience, impress the hell out of them, and siphon off a portion of their […]

    Reply

  41. Stan
    Apr 07, 2014 @ 03:31:17

    Tragic, but those are mistakes all of bloggers make sometimes. Though I have to admit I never thought there are so many of them… Those additional 5 mistakes though a bit harsh, make perfect sense and I think they will be inside my head for awhile.

    Reply

  42. Nine Top Blogs to Follow – Which Are You Missing Out On? - Zen Optimise
    Apr 07, 2014 @ 06:20:51

    […] Why You Suck at Guest Blogging (and What The Pros Do Differently) […]

    Reply

  43. Brandon
    Apr 10, 2014 @ 01:02:03

    Hello. Love the articles here on Boost Blog Traffic. Always helpful as I’m still learning everything day in and day out.

    I recently started up a site and I’d appreciate it if any of you checked it out. I want to help people out and I have a lot to say. If you have an helpful tips I’d also appreciate that as well.

    http://www.conquerandkill.com

    (Catchy title huh? Aha )

    Thank you !

    - Brandon

    Reply

  44. Late Snows and The Best of the Web
    Apr 11, 2014 @ 08:16:02

    […] Why You Suck at Guest Blogging (and What The Pros Do Differently) (Boost Blog Traffic) – Peter Sandeen is a master of great content. Here’s another great post from him that teaches you how to be a better guest blogger. […]

    Reply

  45. Damien
    Apr 12, 2014 @ 21:09:29

    Awesome article, as usual Peter.

    What would you say is a good conversion rate for your landing page? I know it depends on a lot of factors such as audience alignment with the offer, etc, but assuming you have a relevant offer and a good landing page, what sort of conversion rates have you seen from your best guest blogging landing pages?

    Also, what do you think are the pros and cons of using something like LeadPages or OptimizePress vs something with the same branding/design as the rest of your site?

    Reply

  46. Linda Chow
    Apr 24, 2014 @ 04:10:43

    Hi peter, I agree with you that it’s too much effort for too little reward when doing guest blogging especially for those people who are not good at English like me. Before reading this blog post, my main aim to do guest blogging is to get high quality back links and if lucky, to get some quality traffic. However, Google is now slamming down SEO-focused guest bloggers like you said and you told me that the real goal for guest blogging should be getting subscribers. Thank you Peter for writing this useful blog post. I will still using guest blogging to promote my website but I need to follow your advices to be a better guest blogger!

    Reply

  47. The Ultimate Guest Blogging Guide For Small Business Owners | Iris Signals
    May 08, 2014 @ 11:31:47

    […] salespeople think. It does take some time to learn the ropes (and you’ll probably make some common mistakes), but once you understand the design and flow of a powerful guest blogging campaign, the entire […]

    Reply

  48. The Definite Guide To Guest Posting For Traffic - Self Made Businessman
    May 18, 2014 @ 15:04:12

    […] yet, so many people are doing it wrong […]

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  49. 5 Tips for Effective Guest Posting
    May 30, 2014 @ 15:01:49

    […] call to action that brings readers to your site. Peter Sandeen wrote a great post recently called Why You Suck at Guest Blogging. In it he gave two examples of bylines: one weak and one […]

    Reply

  50. Are You Damaging Your Email List with These 11 Rookie Mistakes? | Real Prosperity 4 LIfe
    Jun 05, 2014 @ 09:58:23

    […] can also add your sign-up URL to tradeshow banners, business cards, and in the byline of any guest posts you […]

    Reply

  51. PYS UK
    Jun 16, 2014 @ 20:09:41

    Keep up the great works guys I’ve included you guys to my personal blogroll.

    Reply

  52. How to Write an Effective Guest Post that Converts - blogsetter
    Jun 21, 2014 @ 10:32:12

    […] credit, many guest bloggers make this mistake, I don’t have a lot of experience in this field but this post will help explain this further. I’m just going to share what I have based on the research I’ve […]

    Reply

  53. rishab panchal
    Jun 26, 2014 @ 09:29:15

    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

  54. Mike
    Jun 28, 2014 @ 02:12:34

    Good article, I honestly thought I was ok at guest posting, but now I know I really suck and need to work on it.

    Reply

  55. Swayam
    Jun 30, 2014 @ 07:25:51

    I liked your “Landing Page” concept. It was new to me! Thanks for the update :-)

    Reply

  56. Ferienhaus in Kappeln
    Jul 17, 2014 @ 04:24:02

    You Wrote the good information. One thing i want to tell you that in recent more accurately in 2014 google had strictly announced that guest blogging could penalize your website.

    Reply

  57. 9 razlogov, zakaj bi Aleš Lisac sprejel gostujoči članek
    Jul 31, 2014 @ 05:03:22

    […] Why You Suck at Guest Blogging (and What The Pros Do Differently) […]

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  58. How to Run a Simple Contest and Add 500 New Subscribers to Your List | Real Prosperity 4 LIfe
    Jul 31, 2014 @ 18:39:11

    […] guest posting is hard work, but it can make a huge difference to how many entrants you get. Since you’re doing this […]

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  59. Manish Agrawal
    Aug 12, 2014 @ 08:48:13

    Thank you for this article! It is so incredible helpful and thorough. I will definitely be using your suggestions and appreciate you taking the time to put this together.

    free guest posting site list

    Reply

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