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Guest Blogging Opportunities You May Want to Pass

Heidi Thorne is a self-publishing advocate and author of nonfiction books, eBooks, and audiobooks. She is a former trade newspaper editor.

If you see these blog opportunities online, don't take the bait.

If you see these blog opportunities online, don't take the bait.

Got an email from a blogger who wanted to interview me for a blog. Okay, I'm listening. But my intuition was getting really noisy. I ignored my intuition for the moment and read on.

From what I could tell, my answers would constitute almost a guest blog of sorts. Intuition was still droning on. I read on anyway.

I took a look at the site where this would appear. Every entry seemed similar to what I would be contributing, but from a variety of people, meaning that it didn't seem to have a lot of depth in terms of topic. And the site was "young," meaning it hadn't been around for too long.

Okay, intuition, I heard you. I've multiple invitations like this before. It's a guest blogging type of request which may not have much to offer me in exchange for my contribution.

Hosting a blog is usually a lot of work and some hard dollars, too. So some blogs look for shortcuts to build their sites big and fast, usually with others' contributions.

Getting Others to Blog for Them... For Free

If all guest posts on a host blog are very similar in nature and the host blog has very few original posts of its own, the site may be looking to quickly populate a blog with content by getting others to do the work—for free—that they're not willing to do themselves.

Guest bloggers usually promote links to their guest posts on their own social media channels, blogs, and websites. These links to the host site are usually referred to as backlinks, and the incoming traffic they bring is quite valuable. That's why these sites reach out to guest bloggers and other influencers.

Streams of authentic incoming traffic to a host blog could signal to Google and other search engines (and their web crawler bots) that this is a worthy site, which could propel it to the top of search engine results. Since top results are typically clicked and visited more frequently, this could help the blog gain traffic, which could mean more advertising revenue. That's the gold these host blog owners are often seeking. It's not a bad goal in itself. But if done to the extreme, it can be problematic.

Google is getting wise to suspect guest blogging schemes pursued simply to build backlinks (for both site owners and guest bloggers). Reason enough to be cautious when considering all guest blogging opportunities!

The host blog may also suggest that, as a guest, you'll get a lot of traffic from their blog to your own site or social media channels, essentially backlinks to you. From watching web analytics from my guest blogging experiences, I've found that this backlink traffic is negligible, even from the most legitimate sites, since the host site's visitors tend to read the post and bounce out.

How to Avoid Wasting Your Time With Guest Blogging

When approached for any guest blogging opportunity, ask these questions to help avoid wasting your time building someone else's site (or scam in some cases).

  • Look at the Site. This should be obvious, but look at the site that's inviting you to contribute as a guest. If all the posts look pretty much the same and/or there's little original content by the blog host, it might be a site that's looking for a shortcut at your expense.
  • Ask About Numbers. Ask about traffic to the blog, email subscriber numbers, and the age of the site. If it's relatively new, it probably won't have much in terms of numbers. You might be helping to build the site with your guest contribution. If their numbers aren't great, you have to then ask yourself what's in it for you since any genuine exposure will probably be minimal.
  • "How Did You Find Me?" I've found that a number of these invitations can come via LinkedIn. They've scoured LinkedIn and discovered you, either through search or by drilling down someone's list of connections. If I don't recognize the inquirer, or the inquirer doesn't provide a suitable explanation for the connection (i.e., referred by someone I trust), I likely won't accept the invitation to guest blog.
  • Don't Fall for "Exposure." Getting recognition in today's crowded Internet and blogging space is hard. Really hard. So when a blog invites you to guest post, especially for free, they may try to entice you by saying you'll get exposure online. Whoop-de-do! If you're coming up as a potential blogger in a search engine query or on social media (especially LinkedIn), you probably have a certain amount of "exposure" for your work already. It's unlikely that a newly established or low content host site could provide much additional and quality exposure.

When It Might Be Okay to Consider Guest Blogging

True, there may be times where you want to help out blogging friends with a guest post because, well, you're friends, and you want to provide your support to help them build quality blogs. Or there might be a really good fit between your work and the host site that's inviting you. Those situations are something different. What we're talking about here are random invitations that have no connection to you other than that they want your help and investment in their blog... for free.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2017 Heidi Thorne


Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on November 26, 2017:

Hi Lawrence! Sometimes opportunities are not for everyone. Glad you have the sense to know what's right for you. Thanks for chiming in and have a great weekend!

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on November 25, 2017:


This was interesting, seeing some of the pitfalls in 'cyberland'.

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There's a sense that I'm glad I'm not really in a position to do much of this at this stage.

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on October 03, 2017:

You're welcome, Linda! I appreciate you reading and commenting. Have a great day!

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on October 02, 2017:

As always, you've given some thought provoking and useful advice. Thank you, Heidi.

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on October 02, 2017:

Hi Dora! Glad you found it helpful. Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful week ahead!

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on October 02, 2017:

Thanks for sharing your insight on this matter. Never considered some of the issues you pointed out. Very helpful.

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on October 02, 2017:

Hi Mona! Glad you found the post interesting. Thank you for stopping by and have a terrific week!

Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on October 01, 2017:

I have seen a lot of examples of guest bloggers when I surf several blogs sometimes. Your article is an eye opener on this practice. Thanks so much for the information.

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on September 30, 2017:

Flourish, sounds like your experience was similar to mine, except that this group had even less than the one that asked me! Wow. Like you, these days for me, too, it has to be a big win-win for both parties to make it worth my while. Thanks for sharing, as always! Happy Weekend!

Heidi Thorne (author) from Chicago Area on September 30, 2017:

Bill, we are so on the same (web) page! I, too, just guest blog (or podcast) for only those I know, like, and trust. And isn't that interesting that your blog stats go down with guests. Hmm... Now that I think back to when I had my own self-hosted blog, I never did get any appreciable bump in traffic with guests either. Truly something to consider. Thanks, as always, for sharing your experience with us! Have a terrific weekend!

FlourishAnyway from USA on September 30, 2017:

I was asked to be a guest blogger for a site that wasn't even built completely yet and they needed it fairly quickly. Um ... no. Time I spend on that means one less hub for me plus all the issues you mentioned. There has to be a very compelling sell to do this.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 30, 2017:

These schemes are all over the internet these days. I'm always being asked about guest blogging. I only respond to people I know and trust, but even then I find my blog numbers dip considerably when I have a guest blogger on my blog. Makes me think I need to reconsider.

Have a great weekend!

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