Posts Tagged ‘guest post’

How to Write a Killer Guest Post: The Art of the Clickthrough

Tuesday, March 11th, 2008

Now that we’ve figured out who we want to write a guest post for, the trick is to figure out how to get those readers to become your readers. By choosing an appropriate blog to write a guest post for, we know that their audience and your potential audience has a lot of overlap. But the get their readers to click through to your blog, we have to make them not only interested in what you have to say, but hungry for more.

Follow

Photo by The Hungry Eye via Flickr

Here are three suggestions for how to achieve the elusive clickthrough and potentially turn their readers into your readers as well:

1. Tell your story in your post, but not the whole story.

No matter if your post is fact based or personal, it still tells a story. That story should be something that you’ve explored on your own blog in more detail at some point, and this is where using links to your blog within your post is key. Inserting links at relevant points to provide more detail about points made in your post can get the reader interested enough to click through and read more. Don’t overdo this, however. Use a few select links and make sure they are to relevant and interesting articles of your own, that will encourage your new reader to delve even deeper into your site once they get there.

2. Relate your post to other posts/topics on the host blog.

The readers of the host blog are readers because the host is providing them with something of value. Don’t try to completely stand out and be unique – relate your topic to another that the host blog has explored successfully in the past. A perusal of their popular posts or categories, or simply asking the host what types of topics seem to do best on their blog, will really give you an edge when it comes to engaging their readers. And engaged readers are more likely to turn into your readers.

3. Write a great byline with relevant post links.

Most blogs will let you provide your own byline for the post, and instead of just linking to your front page, write a sentence about the main focus of your blog with a link to one of your best posts as well. One of my most successful guest posts in terms of driving traffic back to my blog, the host invited me to link to a few of my posts in my byline, and it really worked wonders as far as clickthrough to my blog. And subsequently my pageviews and subscribers both jumped significantly over the following days and weeks and stayed that way.

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Guest posting can be a great way to expose your writing to new readers, and to help your own readership grow, no matter what stage of growth your blog is in. You just need to be selective about your opportunities. That is not to say I discourage the writing of guest posts for any blog (and I still write guest posts for a wide variety of blogs myself), but doing a few specifically targeted ones may give you better results than you expect. Write a few great guest posts and soon you’ll have opportunities knocking down your door, and readers who will follow your blog anywhere.

Writing Guest Posts to Increase Traffic: Choosing An Audience

Monday, February 25th, 2008

One of the key ways to grow a new blog is to get noticed by the right people. A simple way to get this recognition is to write guest posts for other blogs related to yours. There are only so many avenues for people to find your blog, and links to your blog on other blogs is one of those ways. Especially when your blog is relatively new, you will most likely not have a lot of visitors via search engine traffic, so finding ways to get your name and blog out there in the eyes of those who might be interested in what you have to say is key.

Color Pencils

Photo by Drops of Ruby via Flickr

Not all guest posts are created equal however. And sometimes, it isn’t as easy to determine what blog would be most beneficial to yours to have a guest post appear on. Knowing your own niche, and your relevance to it, is key when choosing a blog to offer a guest post to. Here are three key points to consider when thinking about guest posting on another blog:

How is their target audience relevant to mine? How much potential overlap exists?

The most successful guest posts, by far, are going to be on blogs where you have a significant overlap in topic and interest with the host blog. Think about who their audience is – if it is composed of people who are generally interested in the same things you write about, you are more likely to capture their interest and garner visits to your own blog through theirs. This is another place where being a good reader makes you a good blogger — if you are reading the relevant blogs in your niche on a daily basis, it should be rather simple to identify at least three or four blogs where their target audience is your untapped potential.

How much reach does the blog have? Am I likely to find significant numbers of new potential readers there?

Guest posting on a blog that is just starting out, when you are the same, will not generally garner you the level of interest and attention the effort of writing a guest post is worth in terms of numbers and visitors. This is not to say that I discourage writing guest posts for smaller blogs than you are — in fact, I have written numerous guest posts for blogs much larger and much smaller than my own. Writing guest posts also builds relationships between bloggers, and I feel that this is an important aspect that can’t be overlooked. But in terms of increasing your own audience, thinking about the audience you are reaching through your guest post is important. Don’t write a guest post for a blog with 5 subscribers and then expect 1,000 visits from that blog and a 500 point jump in your own numbers. Be realistic in your expectations.

How does my focus and insight compliment theirs? Do I have a viewpoint to add that is complementary to their own?

This is another area where doing your homework is key. What posts of theirs have been the most successful? Can I relate my guest post to points they’ve already hit upon and expand those points with my own insight? The more value the readers of the host blog find in your post, the more likely they are to actually want to read more from your site.

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With a little thought and consideration as to audience, topic, and reach, a guest post on another blog can be a really rewarding experience, both in terms of growth of your own blog, and building name recognition for your particular “brand”. Look for opportunities, be bold and create a few opportunities by asking (and don’t feel bad if you get turned down, just try again somewhere else!) and generally, enjoy yourself and spreading the love of your chosen topic. Stay tuned in the future for tips on writing that killer guest post that will drive hoards of readers to your site.

How To Grow A New Blog Efficiently

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

This article contains some information and ideas that I have about how to grow a small or new blog efficiently. Unfortunately writing good content is not enough — there are so many blogs out there that you have to do some extra work in order to get noticed. These ideas are more effective on smaller blogs so as your blog grows then you can modify or omit items.

promote new blog
Photo by Mtchm via Flickr

Content

It’s been said before and I’ll say it again: without reasonably good regular content then your traffic growth will be sluggish at best. Write about topics that interest you and hopefully you know something about.

A few ideas about content:

  • Focussed or not? — Some people say that blogs with a narrow range of topics are more successful. Personally I don’t worry about it — if something interests you then write about it.
  • Length — When I started on a blog and was posting five times a week I decided to try to do posts that were 300-500 words in length. I didn’t want them too short and I didn’t want them too long. Because if they were, I’d rather split them up and post them over two days. Now that I’m sharing a blog I don’t worry about the length as much, but I do think that posts that are too long might be detrimental to growing traffic since most readers don’t really want to read a book when they are browsing their reader. On the other hand it can be a bit annoying when you check out a new post on a blog and they have written a two sentence reminder to themselves or something equally silly which I’ve seen many times.
  • Think up ideas in advance — It amazes me when I hear about bloggers who regularly sit down in the evening and think up an idea and then write a post on it. I suppose this has to do with individual style but I like to think up most of my ideas in advance and I hate writing last minute posts.
  • Avoid burnout – If you post twice a week for a year then you will have a much larger following then if you post seven days a week for three months. If you want to be a blogger for the long term then you have to pace yourself. Even taking a week off now and again (maybe not right in the beginning however) is not a bad idea.

Posting schedule

This is an interesting topic since not everyone agrees about how often a blogger should post. My blog posts five days a week which is facilitated by the fact that there are two writers so we only write every second day. My feeling on this topic is that you don’t have to post five times a week to grow your audience — two or three times a week should be sufficient.

I would however suggest that you follow a schedule — i.e., for twice a week then post the same two days each week. Avoiding burnout is a key goal of a beginning blogger so if posting three times a week feels comfortable then do three times a week. There is nothing gained if you struggle to post five times a week (or more) and then end up quitting the blog after a frustrating few months.

RSS Icon

See that orange square in the upper right side of the screen? That’s a FeedBurner icon and it allows readers to easily subscribe to your feed. This is very important because making it easier for readers to read your posts when they are published will increase your readership. Get one!

Carnivals

Carnivals are one of the best ways for a new blog to get new readers. I’ve found the Carnival of Personal Finance to be the best for my personal finance blog but Festival of Frugality is also quite good. Other PF carnivals to consider are Carnival of Money Stories, Carnival of Financial Goals, and Money Hacks Carnival.

Whatever your blog is about — there are probably carnivals covering that topic. If not then start one of your own at Blog Carnival!

Some suggestions regarding carnivals:

  • Don’t wait — I don’t care if you only have two posts up — start submitting now!
  • Submit often — Especially in the beginning you should be submitting every week.
  • Concentrate on bigger blogs if you don’t submit regularly — The most traffic the blog gets, the better your chances for some referrals.
  • Submit early — Putting in a late submission means the host may not read your post and will probably “bury” it at the bottom of the list. The higher up the page your submission is, the more referrals you will get.
  • Appropriate topic — Try to pick the best posts for the right carnival. If you are really keen you can even try to write posts with a particular carnival in mind but this is not something I do.
  • Match your post to the host — Take a look at the host blog and see what kind of material they are into. If a host looks like they are not into your favorite topic then try to find something else to submit. If you don’t submit regularly then try to submit a post when the host blog has similar topics to yours. If the host really likes your submission then they will often use it in their “editor’s picks” which will be (hopefully) featured at the top of the page where you will get the most referrals.

Hosting carnivals

This is a lot of work but it can really raise the profile of your blog because:

  • You will get a lot of traffic and will get noticed
  • Getting links to your blog raises your profile with Google which will help you in the long run

Try to pick carnivals that are appropriate to your subject manner and look for smaller carnivals in the beginning because the more popular ones tend to choose more established bloggers to be their hosts. I have yet to host a carnival but I’ve signed up to do three in the next few months so I shall see how it goes.

Comments on other blogs

This is a great way to market your blog. Some suggestions for leaving comments:

  • Correct info — Make sure you fill in the name of your blog and the correct URL.
  • Usefulness — Write a meaningful comment on the post. Things like “great post” are not going to get you any traffic.
  • Relevancy — The more relevant the post is to your blog then the more likely it is that a good comment will get some referrals. Someone who is reading the comments is definitely interested in the topic so if you look like you are interested in that topic as well then they might check out your blog. On the same idea — focus on blogs that are similar to your own.
  • Blog size — Comment on medium sized blogs. Commenting on large blogs is often a waste of time since there are too many comments and it seems like nobody reads any of them! By the same token, a small blog will not have enough traffic to make it worthwhile commenting if it’s traffic that you want. I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t comment on very small or very big blogs if you want to but the traffic potential will be less.

Link to other blogs

This is a key tool and is part of networking with other bloggers. Bloggers love to get recognized and praised (at least I do) so if you write a post and include a link to one of their posts then they will often come and check out your blog. Ideally if they like your blog and hopefully start reading it, then they will put some links to your blog in one of their posts which can be an excellent source of traffic. As I mentioned with the comments, medium sized blogs will probably provide the best results for this strategy.

Read other blogs

If you want to comment on, link to and network other bloggers then you have to know what they write about so make sure you read at least a few blogs regularly.

Network with other bloggers

This usually takes the form of emailing other bloggers — you can comment on a post, tell them you like their blog, ask for advice etc. This won’t work with every blogger but it can serve as a great learning tool and can also lead to more links — and you might even make some good friends.

Guest posts

This is another area where I will be venturing for the first time in the next few weeks. From discussions with other bloggers this can be a good source of new readers. Guest posts take time so this shouldn’t be done at the expense of your own content. Again, try to match the subject content of the blog you will be guest posting on to your own for maximum benefit.

Here too I would say try to go for medium sized blogs — they are likely to be receptive to a guest post and if their content is similar to your own then this strategy could be quite beneficial.

Advertisement on your blog

I would suggest that you not bother with any advertising when you start a blog for the following reasons:

  • No money — You need traffic to make money with advertisement on your blog, so until your blog has a chance to grow there is no benefit to having advertising.
  • Aesthetics — Advertisement on your blog almost always has a detrimental effect on the way a blog looks. This is an acceptable trade off for an established blog but for a new blog you are better off without ads. It’s kind of like a first date — you want to look as good as possible!

SEO

Search Engine Optimization is a fascinating subject but for a new blog I would completely ignore it. You will have plenty of time later on to get into this topic. Time spent on SEO is time not spent on content or marketing which is a mistake for a new blog.

Social Networks

Social networks are a great way to generate traffic and new readers. StumbleUpon in particular has been pretty effective for me. I would say that this might not be the best route for a brand new blog but keep it in mind and maybe after a few months, start looking into it.

Summary

If you try to do all of the above items in a big way then that would take a lot of time which doesn’t fit with the “efficient” theme of the post. I would concentrate on the following items for maximum benefit:

  • Content — This has to be the top priority.
  • Carnivals — These don’t take much time to enter so this will help grow your blog efficiently.
  • RSS icon — This doesn’t take long to set up.
  • Link to and comment on other bigger blogs.
  • Networking – It’s hard to go wrong with getting know other bloggers.

None of these suggestions are “all or none” propositions. If you want to enter three carnivals a week then go ahead. If you only want to enter one carnival every three weeks then that is fine too. Whether it’s entering a carnival, adding an extra link to to a post or emailing another blogger — every little bit counts.