Accepting Content from Guest Contributors

Guest blogging has become very popular as a way to build traffic and inbound links since last year.

As a blogger, I am receiving a ton of requests from authors, marketers, agency representatives of big brands and other bloggers to feature what they have written on my blogs. Many of these contributions are of low quality and almost all of them don’t have a “voice” behind the writings. In fact, once you start reading, you will know that these articles are written for the sake of coming up with 500 words, or whatever word count that seems reasonable, so that the contributor will be able to get the much needed inbound link from your blog or website.

Here’s my question to bloggers/website owners:

  1. What is your policy for guest contributions and do you make these policies public?
  2. Do you have a strict editorial guideline (covering things like word count, number of links, etc.) for guest contributors?
  3. What is the reason that you normally use when you choose to decline an article or submission?

I am a website owner and have been thinking of accepting guest posts. However, I would also like to keep strict guidelines.

  1. I will make the policies public for everyone so no one feels a sense of discrimination.
  2. Yes, there will be strict editorial guidelines on both the number of words and the number of links. Not only that, the content that the guest will write in my blog should cater to and benefit my audience. In return, he or she will get a link back.
  3. The reason that I would use to reject a post would be irrelevant content, grammatical error and copied content.

Do you find having a strict editorial guidelines, on the links for example, turn quality guest bloggers away? My assumption is that many good bloggers often have great content themselves and linking to them actually benefits your readers, especially if they are relevant.

I am starting to accept the same “contributions” from guests on some of my blogs. My rules are, I review everything and make sure it is not offensive in any way and make sure it is not someone else’s work. Plagiarism is a big issue that I won’t be a part of.

  1. Yes, you have to make your policies public. You must inform them beforehand that these are your rules, and that failing to follow it their work won’t be published. By doing this, aspiring guest bloggers wouldn’t dare to submit low quality articles, which means, your email wouldn’t be bombarded with low quality contents. You can include these guidelines to your article submission forms. Or you can also set-up a program that would initially detect low quality content (just like the one in squido).
  2. Number of links, yes I think you should be strict with or else the article would appear like a spam. Word count, it should not be less than 500 words, unless, of course if it’s an inforgraphic. Content must be originally written and the should have a new angle when discussing a common topic.
  3. The only reason why I wouldn’t publish an article submission is it didn’t meet the standards and guidelines for guest post.

Having strict editorial guidelines on links may turn some good bloggers away; but in general if the content of the post is relevant and of extraordinary quality, then there might be some (to some extent) loosening of restrictions on the links. But that may not be always the case. It totally depends on the content quality and the guest post the site is linking to.

For me there is nothing worse than writing something and then having someone else pick it apart because I didn’t write it according to their guidelines. It is very important that those who offer guest blogging are clear to their guest authors. After all, it’s hard to play any game if you don’t know the rules. Most good websites will have a set of guidelines that let the writer know even the little things.—

  • Internet or internet? web site or website?
  • What line-spacing is acceptable to send in a draft.
  • Best format to submit in. (HTML, Office, Google Docs, PDF, plain text, or access to contribute directly to the blog?)
  • Content guidelines – what is not acceptable as to jargon and colloquialisms? Words that are not acceptable.
  • Language use: Acceptable Languages and variations such as English Spelling, US UK? Contractions, yes or no? Abbreviations & acronym guidelines.
  • Min-max length or the finished work and if pertinent, length of paragraphs.
  • Use of headings

Although this looks like a lengthy list, it will save both writers and blog owners a lot of time in writing, editing, and rewriting.

Err… This would be quite costly for a self-funded blogger, right? As of now, I still have to go through each of the guest post submissions manually. Often times, the first paragraph itself will tell whether the contribution is going to be a quality one or one that is just submitted for the sake of getting a link from my blog.

The list that you just shared is a gem, Linda. Definitely adding most of these into the “Write for Us” page that I am trying to come up with. I see how setting an expectation upfront will help to filter out a lot of submissions that are not up to par. Even if a shameless crappy submission comes through to my inbox, I’ll at least have a link that I can point the author to rather than spending time to craft a nice email to decline the submission. :slight_smile:

it is not easy to get people to write for you. it is not enough when you say “write good content for me and i will give you link back”. nothing is free in this world. i guess you are not much experienced. nobody will put enough time and effort and write a good content article just to get a link back from a website that is not very, i mean very popular. your site must be very good in ranking and a popular one before people will voluntarily start writing for you. people pay for this stuff, including me - to get good original content.

Well, if you are going to publish the guest posts, you should make sure that they are free from the plagiarism issues. Noticeably, the plagiarized content can be easily caught with the help of a free plagiarism checker software and it will not be any difficult to use it for keeping yourself away from any controversy.

Trust me, I’m experienced enough in getting about one article submission almost every week now, as the more popular blogs are closing down their guest blogging opportunities.

However, what you mentioned is true, most of these “authors” will not even bother to reply when I respond to their submissions asking for edits. I’m trying to come up with a canned response for low quality submissions too just to save some time.

I too am very curious about guest blogging… actually accepting guest blogging. I think i would like to limit it to one link per blog post… and just check the quality of the links before accepting. Who has done this with success?? Please share your experience!!!

You are confusing guest blogging with blog comments.