There are a number of ways to find guest blogging opportunities and this guide will provide you an illustrated tour of how you can get great exposure through guest posting. Whether you search for blogs that publicly accept submissions, approach blogs directly, use a guest blogging site or a combination of all those methods, there are plenty of opportunities to be found.
Assessing the Quality of the Opportunity
There are a number of factors to consider when deciding whether or not you want to write for a particular blog. While you may have other considerations, the factors we cover in this guide include targeted audience, traffic and community interaction. How much weight you add to each factor is completely up to you and depends on what is most important for you.
Quality Assessment Method #1: Targeted Audience
Before you write your first word, make sure the audience is truly targeted for you. Would they make good readers of your blog and customers for your products? While there may be plenty of blogs who write on the same subject matter as you, they may not be the right fit.
For example, if you write on political subjects, writing for a blog that doesn’t match your ideology may not be the best idea.
Or if you have a cooking site that features “from scratch” recipes, you may not find the opportunity to write for a blog that promotes quick and packaged fixes for meals a good fit for you either.
Ultimately, it’s up to you decide if the target audience is right for you, but do your homework first.
Quality Assessment Method #2: Traffic
There is no sure method of knowing a blog’s true traffic, unless they tell you. If the blog accepts advertising or requests content submissions, you might be able to find this information published on their website. If you can’t find that, you can use a tool like Alexa.com to assess their traffic.
[note_box]TIP: Never base your assessment on traffic alone. The higher the traffic, the more competitive it likely is to get posted. Use your judgment accordingly.[/note_box]
Here is an example of estimated traffic ranking of mashable.com. Below, you can see the average traffic rank worldwide (in green) and in the US (you can customize the data for any country, if you prefer). The lower the number, the more popular the site.
In this case, Alexa says that mashable.com is the 222nd most popular website on the web. The ranking is based on users who use the Alexa toolbar and is often skewed in providing website with web savvy audiences higher rankings. However, any site that ranks in the top 10,000 or so is very likely to have a large volume of traffic.
To get a better picture of the popularity of a site, instead of relying on the single ranking from Alexa, you can compare the ranking to other similar sites.
First, you can click the “Related Links” tab to find related sites:
Because some of these are social networking sites, rather than targeted blogs, that mashable.com tends to write about, we’ll disregard Twitter, Twitpic, Tweetmeme and FriendFeed. In this case, TechCrunch, Reader/Write/Web, Wired, Search Engine Journal and/or Lifehacker seem to more closely suit our needs for comparison
[note_box]TIP: You can compare any related sites that you want. You don’t have to only compare the ones Alexa suggests.[/note_box]
We can compare traffic ranking by clicking the “Traffic Stats” tab.
Then you’ll see a traffic graph and below that, you can enter sites to compare. We have decided to compare Techcrunch, Wired and Lifehacker and clicked “traffic rank”.
From the graph above, we can see that Mashable and TechCrunch have comparable traffic, but Mashable seems to come out the winner more consistently. Wired and Lifehacker appear to have lower traffic levels.
If you want to see specific numbers of any of the sites you are comparing, you can simply search for that site in the Alexa search box.
Quality Assessment Method #3: Community Interaction
If interaction is important to you, you may want to look at how people comment and interact on the site. However, realize that commenting doesn’t always give an accurate reflection of a blog’s traffic. Some blogs are more interactive than others and most blog visitors will read and never post a comment.
That said, understanding the vocal audience of a blog may give you an idea of whether or not this is the type of audience you want to write for. Some blogs may be more controversial than you were bargaining for or may not moderate or control their community in a way that you are comfortable with. On the other hand, you may find a lower traffic blog with a very tuned in and thoughtful audience of people you would like to connect with. In that case, the guest blogging opportunity might be a good one for you.
Some blogs you come across may include guest post submission guidelines. If so, always make sure you follow the guidelines to the letter. If there is no submission information, don’t let this stop you from submitting a post for consideration. To find submission guidelines, always look in the website menus (top, side and bottom) of the page or search on Google for “websitename.com submission guidelines”, “websitename.com submit post” etc.
Whatever method or methods you use to find blogs, make sure you do a quality assessment before jumping right in.
Finding Method #1: Google
A Google search is simple. Enter your topic plus “blog” and browse the results. In the example below, we’ve looked for “basket weaving blog”:
Finding Method #2: Technorati
Technorati is a large directory and search engine for blogs. You can browse through categories, by selecting from the top of the page:
You can also use the search box at the very top of the page to either search for blogs OR posts on certain topics. In the example below, we are searching for “stamp collecting” blogs:
Technorati lists the blog according to their own ranking algorithm:
Finding Method #3: Alexa Related Links
When you already have some sites in mind or ones you’ve already submitted to, you may want to find related sites to consider.
We already talk about Alexa’s Related Links feature and it will come in handy for finding additional blogs to potentially submit to. In this example, we have searched for sites related to comicsalliance.com:
In addition to the list above, if you scroll down a bit, you can search sites by category as well.
Using a Guest Blogging Site
There are sites and communities popping up where you can collaborate with other blog owners.
One such site is MyBlogGuest.com. It’s a free site where you can connect to find guest blogging opportunities and even to find guest bloggers to write for your site. Let’s take a quick look at how this site works.
You can sign up for free at MyBlogGuest.com. When you sign up, you will be prompted to complete your profile, including your social networking accounts, a photo of yourself, your websites, your blogging experience and more. This will make it easier for a potential blog to evaluate whether or not they want to work with you.
Once you’re all set up, you can navigate to the Forum and find the “Looking for a guest for my blog” forum. There you can find blogs who are looking for people to post.
You can also post your own offers in the “Looking for a blog to guest post”, so other blogs can view your information.
As you can probably see, once you start finding site to guest post for, it becomes even easier to find more. You can also use your experience on certain blogs as leverage to get other blogs to readily publish your posts. Finding opportunities isn’t hard, if you know how to look.
Next week I will be sharing some very useful guest blogging tools like byline tips and templates, and example email you can use to submit your post to a blog, and a checklist so you cover all your bases.