Guest Blogging Guidelines
Guest blogging can be a great way of not only relationship building for your business, but also an excellent tool of adding high quality, relevant content to your own website that readers will get value from and the search engines will rank you for. However, it’s crucial to establish some rules when allowing guest bloggers onto your website.
With a clear list of guest blogging guidelines, you can:
- Cut down on low-quality submissions: If you state your criteria for approval, chances are that most people will adhere
- Cut down on irrelevant submissions: Let people know what topics to cover in their posts
- Cut down on poorly-formatted posts – and save your time on formatting them
- Avoid any misunderstandings
- Have solid grounds to modify or reject the post without offending anyone
Some people incorrectly believe that strict standards limit the author’s creativity. For example, a post shouldn’t be too long to be excellent. However, without standards, you may be flooded with low-quality posts, hence our advice is to clearly state the quality you expect in terms of topic, word-count length, language, originality and uniqueness.
As a general rule we advise that you never accept content that isn’t detailed or unique. Seek posts with a minimum of 400 words.
Your Preferred Topics and Subjects
List a few specific topics you’d prefer for guest post content. You can even suggest some areas that you don’t have expertise in and thus would like an outside perspective, providing those subjects still relate to your business offering. And always try to focus on topics you know are well received by your audience.
Your Link Requirements and Policies
It’s very important to mention what you’ll accept in regards to linking, because that’s usually what causes plenty of issues and misunderstandings. You might:
- Ask the guest poster to link to other posts found on your blog, or make it clear you’ll add internal links yourself
- Specify how many links guest posters are allowed to use in the content and byline
- Specify your position on affiliate links within post content (normally forbidden)
- Express your opinion on keyword-rich anchor text
- Mention whether guest posters are allowed to link to their own content within the post
- Strictly for SEO purposes, we advise against outbound links from posts, the author should however be offered the opportunity to include a short paragraph about themselves and/or their business.
Your Post Image Requirements
Do you require an image sent in with the guest post to make it more attention-grabbing? That’s up to you. But keep in mind that if you do request images or the poster sends one in, you should know that image attribution is important. All images should be properly attributed, and credited where required. Remember, the image is published on your blog: you don’t want stolen images there.
Your Republishing Policies
Some blogs allow republishing of guest posts; some don’t. The traditional position is that the post belongs to the blog owner, is credited to the author and cannot be republished anywhere else. This protects from duplicate content issues. Some authors may be unaware that they can’t publish their guest post elsewhere, so it’s best to make clear whether you only accept original content and whether you expect your blog to be its ultimate home.
Our recommendation here is that all content must be unique and no republishing is agreeable. Newpath WEB will check all content for its uniqueness, and confirm this prior to making the post live.
Who Owns The Content?
It doesn’t matter who writes the content, you need to own it. If you don’t own it, people will start publishing the same piece of content on their own site or even on other people’s sites.
Owning the rights to content decreases the likelihood that the contributor will spin it. Or if a journalist wants to cover or republish the piece, which happens more often than you may think, you can give them authorisation without having to reach out to the author.
Your Editorial Policies
Do you edit guest posts? How many edits should a guest post author expect? Let people know to avoid misunderstandings. We recommend wording it in a friendly manner such as: “Please don’t be offended if we make slight changes.”
Your Formatting Preferences
You may want to include a few lines about how you prefer guest posts be formatted, such as:
- Using subheadings in the post body
- Whether you prefer HTML formatting
- Using short paragraphs or bullet points (to make the post easier to read)
Who Replies To Comments?
Blogging helps build not only solid SEO results, but also a community. It is a community that reads the content published on your blog, learns from it, and contributes by commenting. In many cases, its members’ contributions can teach you things that you never knew before.
If you want to continually build your community, you need your guest authors to contribute to it. They need to contribute not just through blog content, but also through replies to comments. Any time someone comments on a post they write, they need to respond to the comment. It doesn’t matter if they write just a simple reply as long as they acknowledge that someone has commented and respond to it.
By doing this you will encourage more people to come back to your blog, which not only helps with social sharing and traffic, but it also helps with creation of brand evangelists.
This of course only applies if you have allowed comments on your blog.
Now that you have a good idea what to include on your guest post guidelines policy, write one up. Don’t forget to make it easy to find on your blog, and give the link to anyone applying to be a guest poster. And lastly, don’t forget to specify how you would like them to submit their Guest Posts to you, and in what format.