Welcome to lesson #12 of the profitable blogging course.
Today we’re going to round off the blog promotion aspect of the course, before we move on to the final two lessons, where we talk about how to turn all these visitors into cold hard cash!
We’ve talked about SEO in the past. At the time I mentioned that SEO consists of two different elements.
The first of these is “onpage” SEO, which we covered in a previous lesson.
The second is link building.
In short, if you want to get as many visitors as possible from the search engines then you need to be generating links to your blog.
But how do you go about building these links?
While there are dozens of advanced practices, possibly one of the easiest and most effective is guest posting.
Quite simply you write an article for another blog in your niche, and in exchange they include a link back to your site.
Consistently publish a few guest posts each month and after a year you’re going to have an impressive number of links pointing to your site.
The question is how you can achieve this goal most effectively?
Here’s the process I apply to my own blogs…
1) Locate Relevant Blogs
First things first you need to find some blogs that you can actually guest post on.
Possibly the easiest strategy here is to look for those blogs that actively encourage other bloggers to submit content.
So jump on over to Google and try the following searches. For each version simply change [keyword] for a broad phrase relating to your niche. So for Frugality Magazine I might try “money” or “personal finance” or “frugality” as examples:[keyword] “guest post”
[keyword] “guest blog”
[keyword] “submit an article”
[keyword] “guest bloggers”
[keyword] “add an article”
[keyword] “guest article”
Unless you’re very unlucky (or you’re operating in a tiny niche) you should quickly find a whole list of guest posts that other bloggers have published.
Make a note of each opportunity that you find.
2) Audit Your List
To get the best results possible from guest posting you don’t want your articles published just anywhere. Instead, you want to ideally choose the most suitable blogs – those with decent visitor numbers, with readers who might be interested in your blog, and with enough links themselves.
Remember that the more links there are to the blogs you guest post on, the bigger the impact is likely to be on your search engine traffic.
So how do we do this?
Personally I have found the easiest way is to set up a spreadsheet. Paste all the sites you’ve found so far, then add extra columns for “traffic”, “authority”, “updated” and “quality”.
Go through each blog in turn, assessing each element, and adding a number to the relevant column. Here’s how to find the data…
Traffic – Click over to Alexa, enter the URL, and record the number. Sites with more traffic have lower scores, so smaller numbers are better.
Authority – The higher authority a site has, the more it can boost your search engine results. Navigate over to Open Site Explorer and enter each domain in turn. Record the “Domain Authority” (or “DA”) score. Anything over 20 is decent, but the higher the number, the more beneficial the link will likely be to you.
Updates – Simply visit their homepage to see when the last blog post was updated. Bloggers that haven’t added content in months or even years probably won’t be in a hurry to publish your post.
Quality – Simply a measure of how good you feel the site is. Does it look nice? Does it have good articles? Do they have social media followers? Just have a browse, and rate it between one and five.
By the end you should have all the data you need. Just rank those blogs, looking for the ones with high traffic (low Alexa score) and authority, that are being updated regularly and look like nice blogs.
These are your most important targets.
3) Generate Title List
So you’ve got your list, now it’s time to start the grunt work.
Try not to approach too many blogs at once, in case they all say they’re interested in an article! I’d instead just pick the top two or three to approach.
Spend some time looking through any guest post guidelines that they have, and read the last few weeks of posts. Ideally you want to get a handle on what topics they cover, what audience they’re writing for and what tends to work well.
From here you’ll want to brainstorm a list of potential articles, probably 3-5 titles, for each blog on your list.
4) Approach Bloggers
Once you’ve got a list of article titles that you think would work for each blog it’s time to get in contact with your target bloggers. Drop them a line to introduce yourself, explain that you’re looking to grow your readership by guest posting, and include the list of ideas you’ve had.
In truth, not all of them will get back to you, but hopefully some will.
If you don’t hear anything back feel free to follow up a week or two later.
In time, you should get the green light on one or more guest posts.
5) Write & Send
Once you have your topics agreed, now comes the hard work of actually writing the article. Take your time here and produce something truly valuable. You’re not writing just to get a link – you want to add value to the blogs you’re writing for and to encourage their readers to click over and visit your site.
Once written, fire off your articles, together with a short sentence or two about you and the link to your site.
Now cross your fingers and wait patiently!
6) Thank & Promote
Assuming all goes according to plan, soon enough your guest post(s) should be live.
When that happens, be sure to help out in any way you can. I always like to email the blogger to thank them for accepting my post. I also check in to respond to any comments on my article, and share it on social media. Ideally I also like to include a link to my guest post from my own blog.
In doing so you’re helping to add value, and offering additional benefits for bloggers who accept your posts in the future.
After all, who wouldn’t say no to some extra promotion of their blog?
As you can see, while the process takes a little manual effort, it can be well worth-while.
After a few weeks simply go back to the list you generated earlier, select the new few blogs and repeat the process all over again.
While there are no hard-and-fast rules for how often to guest post, I think that a couple of articles each month can have a positive impact over time, helping to increase your search engine traffic in the coming months.
Your mission today is therefore to start growing that list of blogs that you can guest post on, then start the process of reaching out to these folks in the hope of landing a few new links to your blog.