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Wendy Buckingham / Creator, Life Coaching Professionally
Wow! You've been asked to comment on someone's blog article. Or better still, they've invited you to be a guest blogger and write an article on their site.
How good is that? A chance to raise your profile and get some free publicity for your coaching practice.
But wait - there's more!
Before you post that comment, or take the time to write that guest blog article, there are a few things to be aware of so you get the best result for your efforts and don't waste your time with unproductive blogging.
If you receive an invitation to write a guest article, write something original or at least rework a piece you already have, with a new title, so it is not an absolute copy.
Material that is substantially the same as another article you have published will not fare well with the search engines and the search results will most likely display the original material.
Also it's not a good look just to keep using the same material on different blogs.
When writing a comment on a blog post, make it of value to the reader. Never just say "nice article Fred" or "I agree" or "you'll find more about this on my site". Write a paragraph adding some information that may have been missed or even make a correction (politely of course). Write something that gives you authority as an expert. This is as important for your own credibility as well as it is for adding value to the original post.
And, of course, there will be occasions when you just want to agree and compliment and that's fine.
Before you agree to be a guest blogger and spend time writing, do a bit of research on the website or blog. Is this somewhere you would like to see your name as a professional? Is the site's design and focus likely to bring you visitors to your site? It will also be useful to check out the quality of existing comments and interaction. Are the posts constructive or do they criticise or belittle?
You don't want to post comments on a blog that has had little or no current activity, so check when the last blog or comments were posted. A site that has been dormant for even a few months with few comments is not worth the trouble.
Ask the the blog host how many subscribers there are. This could be a bit of an honesty game as, unlike on Facebook, there is really no way of checking. For your guest blog to be seen and have any benefit for you, there need to be at least a few hundred subscribers or your article could be a waste of time.
However you may be really keen to be seen on a new blog because of its quality and relevance, so use your judgement here.
Whatever platform you use, it's important to set up a system to moderate any comments or articles before they go "live". Your good work shouldn't get devalued by poor or offensive comments and so you need to create a set of guidelines for written contributions to your site.
I regularly get offers from people who want to contribute to my website. My web platform, Solo Build It!, enables visitors to create their own web page as a link from the page where they are interested contributing. I can then approve or edit before it is published. My blog posts through usually lead the reader to a page on the Life Coaching Professionally site with more information. On some pages, where it is relevant, they they are invited to contribute. You can see an example of how this works at the bottom of my page on Bartering or swapping your coaching services.
The advantage for the contributor is that the comment or article is on an authoritative website page they can link to from their site. The benefit for me is that it contributes to the search health of my website – something I am very protective of and most importantly, adds value to the visitors who are interested in the subject on the page.
So, let's look at these six important rules to have for potential guest contributors to your blog.
Do insist on originality. This applies not only to your contributions to other blogs but is really important when accepting guest blogs for your website.
If you invite someone to post content on your blog or website, insist it be original and exclusive and not just something lifted from their own site without any significant rewriting or rewording. This is because if it is not original, the Search Engines will most likely downgrade the page because it is "duplicate copy". in other words it just won't appear in the search results in any meaningful position. You can check Google's policy on duplicate copy here.
Also, if the topic has already been covered on your site, make sure it adds information rather than repeats what you have already said.
Expect and demand exclusivity. Something the potential contributor has already posted on another site as a guest will definitely not help your own online presence – or theirs. - The first few paragraphs on the explainer page from Google will tell it better than I can. Also make sure they are not covering the subject in the same way as has already been done by you or another guest contributor.
Needless to say, if you do discover that an article that has been submitted is also online elsewhere, then remove from your blog or website immediately. I use and recommend regular checks using Copyscape for this.
Ask for an original image – not a stock photo from a library or pinched from the internet! Though stock images can be made original with the addition of text. Name the image properly with the name of the person and the subject of the article . Images called 1234.jpg will not help your site’s wellbeing.
One of the biggest benefits to a guest blogger is a do follow link back to their site. All links are naturally do follow (it’s a way of telling the Search Engines that you value this contribution and you are happy for the author's site to also receive some search credibility from you.) However many blogs only deliver nofollow which means the Search Engines give less value to the author's own site. A quality contribution deserves a do follow link.
However, If you are sending readers back to a sales page, make any links a nofollow. This tells the Search Engines not to treat the link as adding quality value to the site. You must always use nofollow with any sales link or Google will penalise you site!
Ask the contributor to post a link to their guest article on their website or social sharing pages. This will be of extra benefit to you as those clicking on the link will visit your site and see what your are about.
Research the compatibility of the author offering the guest post. If they turn out to have a to a poor-quality website or blog, or one that is not in line with your values, you may want to reconsider using material from them.
So there you have it! Comments and guest blogging can be great marketing tools for a life coach if you keep these things in mind and make sure that the contributions you are giving and receiving are authentic and good value.