Avoid a massive guest blogging fail, learn from our mistakes
So, you started your blog, created it, filled it with valuable content, followed these best practices… and now you’ve started reading on how to promote your blog and stumbled upon hundreds and hundreds of blogs telling you to guest post on other blogs. But have you come across an updated lists of blogs that are actually accepting guest posts? If you have, tell us what search term you used because we haven’t been able to find a list that isn’t at least 3 years old. If you’re having our same problem read on, because we did the research and we have the answers.
Ok so, The Social Us is not really an old player. We’re newcomers and as such we’ve been doing what most newcomers do: We’ve created valuable content to educate our readers, spread our content through multiple platforms, and accompanied all of our efforts with woke designs, and copy as strong as Rihanna’s attitude.
The thing is… we haven’t really seen that big of a difference in our community’s growth so we turned our collective eye to one of the most invaluable blogging best practices most newcomers forget: Promoting our content.
Of course we’ve revamped our social media strategy, and headed over to Medium (Both of those are showing the results we were expecting, which we’ll of course be sharing in the future). But we also decided to give link building a try, which ended up in us following the typical advice from the more seasoned players. I.e: Skyscraping, guest blogging, making a sex tape, getting Donald Trump to fight us on Twitter, etc. We’ve only tried two of those so far, and we’re going to share our results with one.
Source: Jeff Sheldon | Unsplash
Making your desk look suspiciously instagram ready will take less time, effort and tears than trying to guest blog.
Guest blogging is a great idea… on paper. After all, you have the opportunity to create links to your blog, have your information shown, and it helps increase traffic to your blog, and even allows you to make money blogging (some blogs offer money in exchange of blog posts, ain’t that crazy AF?).
But when it comes to actually doing it, things are a little more complicated than expected:
- Consider yourself lucky if you find a list -That’s not 1000 years old- of blogs that accept guest bloggers, please let us know, and we mean it. The one you’ll find below was created while doing this. We couldn’t find one, which meant spending a lot of time searching in individual places and contacting specific people. So right off the bat, guest blogging is not as easy as most SEO experts would have you believe.
- You’ll need as many resources as you would when writing your own blog. So this means if you were spending 4 hours a week working on your blog posts, you’ll be needing just as many for guest posting because most -if not all- want original content. Yeah, you can argue that is an investment, but nonetheless that’s a lot of time you’ll be spending with no direct or immediate reward.
- It takes more time than you think. Not only in terms of writing, chances are not every guest post friendly website you find will have a landing page with a submission form ready for you, so you’ll be sending a very large amount of emails trying to get the specifics of what any given website needs in terms of guest blogging. All in all, it took us about 8 hours to gather all the info and send all the right emails (and that was with Ahrefs and lots of other stuff to help us out), and about 12 hours to write pitches or whole articles to send.
- You’ll feel like part of a very special club… of rejected writers. Getting an answer is not as easy as you think. You can take this as utter failure or just feel like you’re living a very standard part of the ‘’I’m officially a writer’’ experience. Either way it’s annoying and soul crushing, at least editorial houses send rejection letters… for example out of 10 blogs we only heard back from 1 and it was to tell us how much it costs to be featured on the website.
Ok, so let’s get down to business this is what we’ve found, as of 2017 when it comes to websites that accept guest bloggers:
- Write To Done : they feature fictional and nonfictional stories, so grab that ol’ D&D campaign you played during your teenage years and give it a go!
Pros: With a lifetime visitor’s count of over 300K, you bet your message will be read, they have some good content on tips about growing as a professional and their rules and guides to write “for them” are not that pushy.
Cons: “No freelancers or staff-writers, please.” so, money is not an option here, and agencies are not welcomed.
Our experience: Haven’t heard back (We are staff-writers though, so…)
- Blog Go Down: This Blogging resources website is always up to letting people write for them, that is, if you fill their rules.
Pros: The rules are pretty standard, and at a 500 word count per article, they aren’t too hard to follow. They’re also visited by people in India, with with an average time on the site of 2:12.
Cons: No links in the articles, but you get to put two links in your bio, and you’ll need to stick to their subject matters which is mainly Digital Marketing. And well, their design is not very attractive, makes you want to shoot yourself after 5 minutes of scrolling, very visited by
Our Experience: Radio Silence.
- Daily Blog Tips: this blog has a lot of categories and makes you feel like 1999, no design was applied there.
Pros: They cover more topics than the standard blog, like: Blog design, content writing, video Posts and web tools.
Cons: they have a single contact email, it’s their editor Daniel Scocco, which means his inbox might be a little crowded so…
Our Experience: After a week of waiting, we haven’t got news from them.
- Preneur Digest: They’ve been online less than a year and what they do is writing about business and how to become more successful.
Pros: There’s no writing an email you need to create an account, ask for verification and wait at least two weeks for approval, but maybe they’ll eventually change it once they become more popular (we can only hope)
Cons: They reserve the right to modify your piece as they see fit, but I don’t think that’s going to be an issue here, just follow the guidelines and everything will be fine.
Our Experience: We’ve followed their guidelines and haven’t heard back.
Maybe they just decided an email wasn’t personal enough and went with a more classic reply
- Read Write: Has been acknowledged by Forbes as one “one of the top 100 websites for entrepreneurs” that says a lot about a website (It’s like being liked on Instagram by a famous person)
Pros: The design is quite colorful, and Trevor Curwin who is its Editor-in-Chief has an impressive cv, this is the kind of blogs you want to be a part of.
Cons: Your topic has to match their editorial line, you’re better off if you just stick to these, so, read+write.
Our Experience: Come on, guys, sing along with us: No response. We won’t hold it against these dudes since they do tell you right off the bat they’ll delete your email if your pitch doesn’t meet their standards. Maybe we’ll just try again in the future.
- Famous Bloggers:They promise to make you an authority on your business, but hey, is the internet… we wouldn’t judge you if you took that claim with a grain of salt.
Pros: There’s a lot of other contributors, so if you manage to get yourself in there, you’ll be in the perfect place for some serious networking.
Cons: You have to register in order to star even reading or seeing the web as it is, thus it’s not that famous anymore, similarweb shows a decrease of over 40% of their reach! And once you’re in, chances are you’ll find yourself surrounded by other people trying to get the same results as you so in terms of organic reach or link building we don’t think you’ll amount to much. still want to give it a shot? Their join us page will guide you through the process and give you the guidelines you need to know.
Our Experience: No response.
- iTech Code: Is the place to go, when talking about technology, you do (yes, it’s a Star Wars reference) Its target is mainly in India, but it’s growing in the US as well.
Pros: Their Guidelines are pretty easy to follow, and since they are pretty strict with their duplicate content policy is safe to assume they have a solid reputation. And they promise permanent do-follow links so long as you keep your account active and reply to comments.
Cons: You have to pay to be featured. Also it isn’t visually appealing, their thumbnails don’t show pics, but we guess that’s going to change soon (Maybe applying for a Designer position would be more profitable than trying to guest blog for them) .
Our Experience: A response telling us their fee, and a permanent headache for the writer assigned to reaching out to these blogs.
- Blogger Sentral: is a good place to write about SEO and general Blogging.
Cons: Doesn’t the world “Sentral” kinda makes you want to give up your faith in humanity?
Our Experience: No response. And a heartbroken SEO writer...you can always unbreak his heart by inviting him to post on your blog.
- FromDev: It has a design that has been seen in like 50 zillion other sites, the only thing though, is that they’re using “Greenery” as their main color, and it’s the color of the year
Pros: they’re keeping their place up-to-date with this year’s tendencies, it’s easy to navigate and has the “guest post” button on the top left of the page, their guidelines aren’t hard, but are hard to read, they have a picture saying “We love guest authors” photoshopped so badly that is actually kind of nice.
Cons: the design is way too old fashioned, it doesn’t add up anything to today’s trends and kind of speaks of the same topic all the time, we get it, it says From Developers but, couldn’t we write about something like the human interaction with technology.
Our experience: They’re liars, they say they love guest authors, but they never reply.
In spite of most guides, don’t even try in...
- Pro Blogger: They’re not accepting guest posts anymore.
- Search Engine Journal: They’re not accepting guests posts anymore.
- Men With Pens: They’re not accepting guests posts anymore.
And the winner is La La… wait, no.
There’s no “best” way to go about link building without wasting precious resources, and coming the other side empty handed. But, here’s what you can do:
- Stick to what you know. This is awful advice for innovation, but when it comes to guest blogging is the best you can do. See, if you try to go for a spot on a blog that’s outside of what you normally write about you’ll be spending lots of times researching and comprehending a topic that’s completely new to you and again, the odds of you being accepted are not great. So just stick to blogs that handle topics you know well and focus your time on coming up with a great way of presenting your idea.
- Build relationships first. If you’ve been interacting with a blog for awhile, you already know what they expect and either the editors or the writers will be familiar with you so your pitch won’t be coming out of nowhere which can give you better results. Sure, all these sites say they are open to guest bloggers, but based on the answer we got… we are just not so sure it’s that helpful for beginners.
- Writing in Medium might be a better use of your time. Honestly Medium has been much more effective when it comes to exposing us to new readers. Sure, we haven’t been able to capitalize those connections into something more but at least Medium has left us with more than just a bad case of burnout.
- Don’t put all your eggs in the same basket. Just like you shouldn’t be using every single social media channel out there (Just the ones you need to reach your Buyer’s Persona), you shouldn’t be using every single link building strategy out there. Specially if you have a small staff and want to avoid burning out your team too fast. That doesn’t mean that you have to forget everything else that you’re doing and just trust that guest blogging will give you everything you need, just choose something that’s been proven to work in tandem with whatever strategy is being praised at the moment.
- Guest blogging, as advertised on most link building guides, is completely useless. We might try some niche targeting in the near future.
- Just building and curating the database along with sorting through all the blogs we had something in common with, took us about 10-12 hours so it’s not a painless or fast process.
- Contacting the editors, filling out all the forms and profiles, and preparing a pitch, took us about 20 hours… and we got no results whatsoever, so it was a lot of pain and no gain.