The Art of Guest Blogging: Preparing Your Blog

Filed as Features, Guides on August 9, 2007 8:15 am

One of the wisest things I’ve read about the art of guest blogging came from Blog Me Famous in “Five Guidelines to Guest Blogging”:

* Do not guest blog until you have content!
The first mistake I made was jumping into guest blogging too fast. Three days after my blog was launched I wrote an article on a high traffic industry leading blog only to loose all benefits that it would of brought to my blog. It’s not something I would like to see repeated especially after you’ve created such great content for the guest post. So please, at least wait until your blog has around 20-30 posts, and you are going strong with at least one post per day. If you don’t, the users will come but are unlikely to return.

…To conclude it’s important for a new blogger to ensure that they have enough quality content to back up their blog for the expected users coming through and to ensure that the quality of the post they are using reflects your blogs ideals.

Guest blogging is fun, as we’ve explored in this ongoing series on Learning the Art of Guest Blogging. It is a great way to promote your blog, and yourself, and invite a lot of new readers to visit your blog.

Ah, but that’s the point. They are going to come for a visit.

Are you ready?

Preparing Your Blog For Visitors

Graphic - Copyright by Lorelle VanFossen - Is my blog ready for visitorsThere are three things you need to look at on your blog to prepare it for visitors from your guest blogging gigs:

  1. Does it speak well for me?
  2. Is there enough content to let them look around for a while?
  3. Is there enough of the right content that makes them want to come back for more?

Does Your Blog Speak Well For You?

Imagine you’ve just wowed several thousands blog readers on a top blogger’s blog. They are so impressed with your brilliance, they are coming to visit your blog.

What does your blog say about you when they open the door?

I’ve found brilliant blog posts by guest bloggers, and couldn’t wait to check out what other brilliant things they had to say – and their blogs looked like their bedrooms when they were 14 years old with mother standing at the door enunciating, “Look – at – this – room!”

Does your blog resemble that description?

It’s more than a first impression. Your blog must speak for you. It must immediately tell invited readers what you blog about and why you blog.

Check out your blog title and header art. Are the two in tune with each other or does it say “Technology Blog” with a photograph of a sunset behind it? Does that mean you blog about dying technologies or past technologies?

What other graphics and visual design elements do you have on your blog? Do they complement the blog and its content, or are they clutter? Is the first thing they see ads?

Eliminate the distractions so the emphasis is on the content, the part that really matters on your blog.

Is There Enough Content To Let Them Look Around For A While?

How easy is your blog to navigate? Can they quickly find the links that will take them deeper into your blog to read more?

It’s important to help your visitor know more about your blog than the first post they find. Place navigation links in easy-to-see and find locations to encourage them to relax and stay a while.

Are your categories clearly visible, using keywords and search terms which define immediately what the posts within are about?

Are your Pages visible with a well-written About Page, contact, and other information that helps the reader known more about who you are and what you are blogging about?

Do you have the most recent blog posts, featured blog posts, related posts, or other post lists featured that help the reader access more content on your blog?

As you look at the front page and any page on your blog, let your eye scan the design to look for clues that there is more to this blog than meets the eye.

Is There Enough Of The Right Content That Makes Them Want To Come Back For More?

Besides opening the door to the deep content within your blog, do you blog about what they want to know?

When I blogged about blog writing for Problogger, I had a lot of requests for more articles on writing and blog writing. Luckily, my blog features a Writing category of posts, so those who arrived from the Problogger post might be very interested in what I had to say about writing in that category.

Having content on your blog when your visitors arrive from a guest blogging gig means having content similar to what you blogged about. If you blogged about WordPress tips and techniques and they come visiting expecting you to have more information on using WordPress – do you think they will be disappointed to find out that you blog about computer games with maybe only two or three posts on WordPress?

Take care in choosing your guest blogging topics. People expect you are the expert on the subject, which you might be, but if your blog says otherwise, do you think they will come back for more?

The Art of Guest Blogging Series

Tags:

This post was written by

You can visit the for a short bio, more posts, and other information about the author.


Submissions & Subscriptions

Submit the post to Reddit, StumbleUpon, Digg or Del.icio.us.

Did you like it? Then subscribe to our RSS feed!



  1. By pelf posted on August 9, 2007 at 9:15 am
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    Ahh.. So things that I was worried about are valid! :) I mean, I worried about a lot of things before writing that first post, but of course I’m OK now, and I plan to enjoy myself as a guest blogger :)

    Reply

  2. By Chris posted on August 9, 2007 at 12:11 pm
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    Firstly, let me thankyou for the mention.

    Guest Blogging is something i jumped straight into without considering the points i made in that post. The biggest mistake was of course guest blogging on Harpzon.com – I’ve never revealed where i took my research from until now!

    I made a post, ‘Why loyal readers are worth 20x more than casual readers’ that was my first major article now with only three relatively short posts on my blog when this article went on harpzons blogs i lost every benefit it could of brought.

    I’m going to stop now as it’s becoming an overgrown comment – i should probably compiled it into a followup post. Anyway i just hope people learn from my mistake and i wish you all the best for guest blogging. I will make a return to my quest of blogging relatively soon at the moment it’s just news ect..

    Reply

  3. By Deelip posted on August 10, 2007 at 4:50 am
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    I wonder how does one get chance to do guest blogging without having a good number of articles on his/her blog? I mean who let a non-famous, not a frequent and not already established blogger to do a guest post on their blog?

    Reply

  4. Should You Team Up? : The Blog HeraldAugust 10, 2007 at 4:59 am
  5. By Lorelle VanFossen posted on August 10, 2007 at 9:19 am
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    Deelip: You get a chance to guest blog just like you would try to get anything. It’s who you know, not just what you know. :D

    Actually, with guest blogging, it is a combination.

    I would not permit a guest blogger on my blog unless they had a blogging history. I’m not talking about 10 years (I’m one of the few who can claim that), but more than six months of steady, self-improvement driven blogging. How else would I know they can write?

    It’s like a resume. You have to prove you can do it. Get known by those who do it, too. Become friends. Exchange information. Show respect. And then gently let it be known that you would be interested. I cover much of this in The Art of Blogging: How Does Guest Blogging Work?.

    Non-famous is a relative term. I have several guest bloggers on my blog right now who consider themselves total unknowns and newbies. There are many forums and blogs which are open to new contributors, places where you can “cut your teeth” on blogging on other blogs and gain exposure.

    It isn’t about being famous. It’s about being known by the right people for the quality and reputation of your work.

    A long-time editor and publisher of a famous technical magazine once told me about how all these kids come to him at conferences and shows, fresh out of college with eager faces, telling him that he needs to hire them because they will “change his magazine” and how invaluable they are.

    He looks at them sincerely, in his curmudgeon way, and says, “Get away from me, kid. Come back and see me when you are about 40 or 50 and have been around the block of hard knocks. Then I will know you really have the experience to do this job.”

    While he semi-jests, his point is very clear. When people expose their blogs to a stranger, that stranger better 1) know what they are doing, 2) know what they will write about, 3) have the qualifications for that trust, and 4) be a friend.

    It’s a scary thing to have guest bloggers, trust me. And the ones I have on my blog have earned my trust, not lust for their fame or mine.

    Reply

  6. Learning the Art of Guest Blogging : The Blog HeraldAugust 10, 2007 at 9:53 am
  7. The Art of Guest Blogging: What Do I Blog About? : The Blog HeraldAugust 10, 2007 at 10:27 am
  8. By Chris posted on August 13, 2007 at 4:40 pm
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    To be a Guest Blogger you do not even need to have a blog all your doing is writing content and that can be enough.

    To get a guestblogging gig on a popular blog all you do is mail the person telling them you have an article, once they seem interested you mail them the article – if they approve they will put it on their website.

    Reply

  9. By Lorelle VanFossen posted on August 13, 2007 at 7:22 pm
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    Chris: While it might be that simple, it isn’t for most. I won’t have someone on my blog who isn’t a blogger and doesn’t have some blogging experience and evidence under the belt. And those who want me to guest blog have the evidence that I will do a good job.

    Contacting someone “cold calling” is not a good idea. You have nothing to base your reputation on or for them to know more about you.

    Now, this doesn’t apply to editorial blogs or ezines or online magazines who hire professional writers – that’s a different subject. But bloggers like bloggers and prefer to work with bloggers they “know”.

    Reply

  10. A Virtual Interview With Lorelle About Guest Blogging « Lorelle on WordPressAugust 30, 2007 at 4:01 pm

    Your words are your own, so be nice and helpful if you can. If this is the first time you're posting a comment, it might go into moderation. Don't worry, it's not lost, so there's no need to repost it! We accept clean XHTML in comments, but don't overdo it please.

    Current ye@r *