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Wendy Buckingham / Creator, Life Coaching Professionally
It's easy to assume that the benefits of guest blogging is automatic traffic or followers. And writing or commenting on someone else's blog can be a great way to raise your profile, build your mailing list and get new clients. But there are also lots of traps so here's how to go avoid the traps so you really get the benefits.
Wow! You've been asked to comment on someone's blog post or website page. Or better still, they've invited you to be a guest blogger 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 time to write that guest blog, there are a few things to be aware of so you get the best results.
1. Be Original:
If you receive an invitation to be guest blogger on someone else's website or blog, write something original or at least rewrite a piece you already have, with a new title, so it is not an absolute copy.
Material that is substantially the same as something else you have published will not fare well with the search engines and they will most likely display the original material in the results.
Also it's not a good look if you are presenting yourself as a professional life coach just to keep using the same material!
2. Blog commenting with power:
When posting a comment on a blog post, make it of value to the reader. NEVER just say "nice article Fred" or "I agreed" 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). Something that gives you authority as an expert. This is important for your own credibility as well as adding value to the original poster.
3. Check out the host website:
Before you agree to be a guest blogger do a bit of research on the website or blog. Is it 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 . Ask yourself: are the posts constructive or do they criticise or belittle? Not only do you want to be found where you will be seen in a good light and you also don't want to discover that a troll is bagging you.
4. Is the blog or website current and up-to-date?
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.
5. How many subscribers does the host site have?
This could be a bit of an honesty game as there is 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. Unless you are really keen to be on a new blog because of its quality and relevance, your guest blog could be a waste of effort and time. So check with the blog host on the number of subscribers.
The book Guest Blogging Master Class by Mike Fishbein has some excellent reviews and is one of many on the subject on best-practice blogging on Amazon.
In this site – which I think of as an online business, I regularly get offers from people who want to contribute. I have a system through my web platform, Solo Build It!, that enables visitors to create their own page as a link from the page they are interested in having input to. I can then approve or edit.
They aren’t required to write an article as such, although they can, but to contribute material that relates to the subject of the page. You can see an example on the Becoming a Life Coach page here.
The advantage for them is that the material is relevant to the page and they can link to it because it is an authoritative environment. For me, 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 wanting to develop a profession as a Life Coach.
Whatever platform you use, it's important to set up a system so you can moderate any blogs or comments 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.
Whatever you do, insist on originality. The first tip at the top of the page applies in reverse and will strongly support you get the best benefit from the contributions.
If you invite someone to post content on your blog or website, insist it be original 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.
Expect and demand exclusivity. Duplicate content will definitely not help your own online presence – or theirs - and the first few paragraphs on the explainer page from Google (above) will explain it better than I can. Exclusivity takes it a step further in that you need to ensure they are covering a subject in a way that others are not also delivering for you.
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 photo from a library or pinched from the internet! Name the image with the name of the person and the subject of the article. Images called 1234.jpg will not help your site’s wellbeing.
4. Link to their site:
Provide a "do follow" link back to their site. All links are naturally dofollow (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 dofollow link.
5. Link to your site:
Ask the contributor to post a link to the posted article on their website or social sharing pages.
6. Sales page etiquette:
If you are sending readers back to a sales page, ensure any link is "nofollow". This tells the Search Engines to not treat the link as adding quality value to the site. You must always use "nofollow" with any sales link!
7. Check out the contributors own site: Check out the author offering the post. If you are linking to a poor-quality site, or one that is not in line with your values, you may want to reconsider using material from the author.
8. Does the contribution add value:
If the topic has already been covered on your site, make sure it adds information rather than repeats what you have already said.
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 ensure that the contributions you are giving and receiving are good value.