By Paul Olyslager
As we all know, there are several ways to generate extra traffic of visitors to your blog: great content, the use of social networks, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but there is one tip which is often overlooked – publish your articles as a guest post. Writing for hours, days or even weeks on a perfect article and publishing it on another blog may seem as a huge waste of time, but it could generate more traffic than you think. And that’s what the concept of guest blogging is all about, mutual benefit. You get publicity and the website has a brand new article. Your benefits as a guest publisher depends on several factors:
#1 Which website will publish your article
The most important aspect is your choice of website. It speaks for itself that well-known blogs will generate more referrals but have higher demands in terms of quality and lay-out of your article, so take your time to find a suitable website. Keep in mind that it is better to contribute within your own niche or a neighboring niche. The reason is that you look more trustworthy to your readers because of your experience and know-how on the subject at hand. This brings us to a second point.
#2 The content
Another important aspect is the subject of the article. Just think about it: it doesn’t make much sense to write an article about the latest iPad applications and get it published on a blog about spices and recipes. It is easier to write about something that you understand and could easily explain to your readers. If you’re interested in web design, I would recommend you this summary on usability and webdesign related guest blogs.
Not only the subject of your article is important but its quality should meet some pretty high standards as well. Avoid grammar and/or spelling mistakes in your article. Use a spell checker or hand it over to someone else who can proofread it for you. Mistakes like these don’t look professional and your brand’s reputation is not something you should mess around with. (not take lightly.) A last aspect is the lenght of the article. Some webmasters prefer to publish articles of 800 to 1200 words, others are looking for shorter articles. Whatever the preferred amount, choose your words carefully and don’t ramble about the topic.
One of the reasons behind publishing guest posts is to increase traffic to your blog. To get this started you have to know how to integrate links to your blog and more importantly how often you should mention them. Too many links will not be accepted by the webmaster and too few will not generate enough traffic to your blog. Finding the right balance is absolutely necessary and it will take some trial and error before you’ll find a working solution. Personally I think it is fine to mention one of your blog posts in the first paragraph, again somewhere in the middle of the article and a short (2 to 3 sentences) bio at the end. Of course it all depends on the length of the article.
Publishing articles on websites other than yours has more advantages than you might think: - you will increase your brand awareness, - attract potential buyers or subscribers, - build links to your site and increase PR, - get to know other bloggers, - find new partners to work with, - share your story to a wider audience, - earn some money.
I wrote a kick-ass article, now what?
Before you hand in your article you have to read the terms and conditions of the website. You need to know what’s going to happen to your article once it is accepted.
- copyright: what happens with the ownership of the article?
- original: most of the webmasters are looking for articles which are not published somewhere else, not even your own blog. While some people will not budge from this rule, others allow a small introduction on your website which includes a link to the full version.
- biography: write a short text about yourself so people get to know you a bit better.
- payment: will you receive money for the article?
- sending: can you send it by email or do you have to use a template? - use of images: dimensions, quality, format, placement
- minimum requirements: amount of words, links, images, headlines and sub-lines can be predetermined.
- extras: will they use social networks to advertise your post? Will they publish your article with the RSS-feed?
Posting your killer article on website other than yours is so much more than just generating traffic; you’re building a network of contacts with who you share your ideas. Try it out and see if it works for you.
Paul Olyslager is a web designer and usability consultant at Corelio, a Belgian based newspaper publisher. He is the creator and editor of paulolyslager.com, a blog about UX (User Experience), interface design and web usability in general. To learn more about these and similar subjects follow his tweets @paulolyslager.