Guest Posts – Unsolicited or Invitation Only?

A few weeks ago, an announcement appeared at ProBlogger (owned by Darren Rowse) that they are putting a halt on unsolicited guest posts. As soon as the news spread, it broke a lot many hearts. At the same time, the announcement came as a respite to those who were about to unsubscribe to ProBlogger’s email newsletters. Why did Darren make this change?

No Unsolicited Guest PostsBut this change in strategy, as far as content publishing is concerned, is not something new or innovative. Prior to ProBlogger, the Smashing Magazine also came up with a similar action-plan.

Around two years ago, Brian Clark of CopyBlogger embraced the same kind of shift in his content marketing strategy.

But the point is why do some A-list bloggers want to do away with unsolicited guest posts?

Most importantly, why do they begin to accept posts from just any old guest bloggers when they plan to stop it, after a period of time?

Going Unsolicited…
There’s little doubt that opening a blog up to guest bloggers has the potential to create a win-win situation for both the author and the publisher. By offering guest blogging opportunities, you do an excellent job of allowing other bloggers to voice their views while they help build the foundation of your own blog.

When you are just starting, trying to build up your blog, publishing guest posts from anyone who’s interested proves to be a boon. It not only allows you to offer your readers a variety of content consistently – but it also saves you a lot of time which you can devote to other vital aspects of your blog’s growth.

Publishing guest posts from other bloggers in your niche gives your blog instant exposure, builds traffic and keep readers coming. In addition to that, it helps you connect with other fellow bloggers, that’s vital for blogging success.

Allowing other niche bloggers to guest post on your blog makes you feel like an actively contributing member of the blogging community.

Turning to Invitation-Only Guest Posts

But why do many professional bloggers stop accepting unsolicited guest posts, after a couple of years? Yes, it’s really a bold decision which isn’t an easy one to make while you are still waiting to taste success.

When your blog grows in popularity, you start to receive tons of guest posts every week, consistently. It becomes awfully hard to deal with the flood of these submissions, most of which are poor in quality and irrelevant. Even when you decide to fix some of them up, it consumes a good amount of time. Managing the submissions, therefore, becomes a lot hard work. [box type="info"]Discover the secret of how Ms. Ileane took control of her in box and stopped the avalanche of requests from random guest bloggers.[/box]

As your blog’s content goes up and up, your readers mature too.

They don’t want to listen to the same kind of stuff that they can find in other places. As they grow, they look for more in-depth and enlightening write-ups. Accepting guest posts from just anyone then becomes a major hurdle for you.

That’s exactly when professional bloggers start to hand-pick guest authors, send them invitations to write, and publish.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with uninvited guest posting. In fact, it’s an excellent way of featuring a variety of content on your blog, engaging the blogging community, adding new sources of traffic and ultimately gaining more social exposure.

You can do away with publishing content from unsolicited guest bloggers only when reach the point of feeling – ‘I’m too successful now’.

Otherwise, it might become a huge risk!

What do you think about this?

Remember it took Darren around nine long years to come up with the decision of halting uninvited guest posts.

 

About 

Obaidul works as an SEO manager handling client projects. He focuses heavily on Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Social Media Marketing (SMM). He shares his insightful views regularly on HelloBloggerz. He has been successfully helping clients, hailing from various industries, achieve higher rankings in search engines and increase their online sales.

68 Comments (click here to leave a comment)

  1. Hi Obaidul,
    I think as your blog grows, the best way is to close up and only invite few to publish content on your blog. I do get a lot of mails from around requesting to guest post. I imagine what bigger blogs get.

    The issue again is that some of these guest posters don’t respect your terms. All they want is get their posts on your blog immediately.

    I will perfectly understand if one day Ileane decides to do same.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts

  2. I think it is really logical move – guest post only for people we actually KNOW somehow. It’s the same as with giving speeches at your house party – why should you let strangers talk?
    Best regards!

  3. Hello Obaidul Haque – if not ‘perfect’ article. Your writing style and positivity is inspiring. Not possible for me to add anything of value to your topic at this time. No experience here with submitting a guest post.

  4. When you start to receive too many, then it is a big possibility to close down any random guest posting request.

    I don’t blame Darren for taking action and stopping the flow of articles from all of the requests.

    Only large blogs have the luxury of picking and stopping any guest post they receive.

    Even I encourage only to allow only the best guest posts on your own blog.

    • Obaidul

      When you started to accept guest posts on your blog, you didn’t look at it as ‘random’. Now it becomes random for you!

      That’s cool.

  5. Hi,

    I always inspire and i learn something new with your blog. I think it is unique All they want is get their posts on your blog immediately.

    Thanks for share with me informative and knowledgeable post!!

  6. Hi Obaidul,

    Well, It’s great to see guest posts coming in but one guest post comes in the more guest post will also come in, that’s including not quality post, article already covered in blog, etc.

    Invitation to guest post on blog is one of the best ways for bloggers but newbie bloggers are really need to go around and ask for guest posting which means it’s important for bloggers to find a good chance for newbie bloggers to grow. In the end, the more work that puts on blog, the more blog will come to ask for contribution.

    Thanks – Ferb

  7. Guest posting works both ways. Its a two way street but as long as the relationship is between two bloggers and not “SEO agents” posing as bloggers. Sometimes their email gives it away, don’t bother even replying to them.

    • Obaidul

      You should never allow low-value spammers to publish guest posts on your blog. Every time you accept a guest post submission, it’s important to make sure it’s associated with a real, influential person as the author.

      Thanks for your comment, Shalu.

  8. Some of our regular news column sites stopped accepting guest posts mostly because of the volume of poor quality articles – it often took out editors more time to fix articles than it would have taken for some of our own writers to write the article from scratch! Also, we found some authors performed better in terms of comments and general user feedback – those were basically the authors we invited back to write more for us.

    Now that we have more of a blogger network established we can be more selective about who we invite – we didn’t have this when we started off though.

  9. Good post Obaidul,

    I was ranting about this earlier.

    There are a number of BIG blogs that are making a mistake in this area.

    People follow the blog to hear from the primary blogger not so much their guest posters unless they are lights out.

    Problogger does a good job of selecting really good success stories as guest posts I think these work the best.

  10. I read that Article on ProBlogger where they said that Guest Blogging is Dangerous as Google is Going to Penalize the Blogs in their next Update who offer Guest Blogging. So what is the Exact truth?

    • Guest blogging, in its truest sense, is never dangerous. In fact, it’s white-hat SEO at its finest. When done wrong, however, it’s going to be the biggest reason why most of the blogs will be penalized. If you want to contribute towards your blog’s growth, you should only allow established authors to write guest posts for your blog. In addition, you should make sure the content you publish is unique, detailed and relevant to the niche your blog caters to.

      Guest blogging spam is on the rise. Therefore, you need to keep your eyes wide open and accept only top quality guest posts from real and influential authors. If you are doing it right, you have nothing to fear.

      Thanks for your comment, Ravi.

      • So that Means that Guest Blogging Will Not be Dangerous if they are Totally Genuine Work. But what about the Blogs which accept Too many Guest Blogs, Will they be Penalized even if they are accepting all the Genuine Work?

  11. Hi Obaidul, is there any way google can detect if this is an unsolicited guestpost or not? Becuase MattCutts also gave the warning recently to link sellers. So this discussions brings up two questions how google can detect if it is paid link or natural one? This question also applies on Guest posts too.

  12. The problem actually is not from the true bloggers. It from the marketing agencies and companies who want to write something just for the sake of getting a link back to their website and rank well. Even bloggers look for link juice but at least there approach would be different and relevant.

  13. I believe that too many people believe that they can write and so the quality of the articles may not be that good as thought. Invite only works better for me.

    • Obaidul

      But, do you have the luxury of inviting hand-picked guest authors when you are just starting to build your blog?

      • Of course you don’t have this luxury at the begginning but also it doesn’t mean that you have to invite the first guy who ask you. My advice is that when you start the blog you should create most of the content to give your blog some personality, to educate the traffic to listen / read exactly what you write and get appreciate for that.

  14. I think we’re seeing the end of days for guest blogging. Darren Rowse, Brian Clark, and several others have already shut the door and you’ll see others follow suit shortly. In the days of post-Panda & Penguin Google, you’re not going to see bloggers with a lot to lose offer their sites to unknowns anymore. Just my 2 cents.

  15. This for sure is a topic of discussion. I have seen both, positive and negative aspects of guest posting.
    To tell you a story, one of the guest post on my blog brought me a hell lot of traffic and also helped me to earn around $900 via Adsense, and at the the same time my blog is flooded with pending guest posts, which are nothing but merely copied articles.
    So we need to be very careful about this guest blogging thing. :)

    • Obaidul

      Being careful is good. But halting guest post submissions altogether is not a good idea because by doing that, you’ll only make even real author pay the price for what a handful of low-value spammers are doing.

      Thanks for your comment, Sushain.

  16. No doubt Darren took a bold decision but i think the guest blogger lost a platform.Mostly the new blogger who wants to starts blogging as a carrier.I know there are a lots of blogging sites but they also can do such like that.May be its just a beginning. Though its really hard to maintain the quality when thousands of guest posted everyday.

  17. Only popular blogs like ProBlogger can take this kind of decision. As they know they can easily get number of quality posts through invitations. But new or semi-popular blogs won’t be able to do that.

    I think it’s the good decision by Dareen to maintain the quality of the blog plus also keeping inbox free from low quality guest post requests.

  18. Hey Obaidul!

    Last year, when I sent a guest post to Problogger, in December, I got a positive reply from them and the content manager of Problogger wants me to make little changes and send back, so as to get published. And in January, when I read that Problogger will no longer accept guest posts, I was depressed. I got a personal mail too, with the same message. Not just Darren, even DailyBlogTips and other sites have stopped publishing guest posts from new bloggers.

    I think, invite-only access to submit guest posts to a blog is a fine strategy for every blog. It helps in choosing the best and quality content, for blogs.

    I really love the way you explained!

    Thanks for the share.

    • Obaidul

      Are you ready to apply the invitation-only strategy to your own blog? :)

      Thanks for your comment, Koundeenya.

  19. Guest posting makes your writing styles good. And for getting readers you should do it. Problogger is a great site so whatever decision they take it will good for all bloggers.

    • Obaidul

      Google is also a great search engine. But are you happy with each and every decision that Google makes, in the name of enhancing user experience?

      Thanks for your comment, Prakash.

  20. With the introduction of panda and penguin guest blogging has become common in our trade and I feel it should not be invitation based and all blog should entertain guest posting

  21. Guest posting has now become fashion to gain quality back link from the other top resource. Every blogger gets so many requests each day from various other bloggers to get blog post published on his blog. That I think is the reason why many bloggers invite guest post from invitation only.

  22. Howdy Obaidul – I recently updated the guest posting requirements on my own blog due to these recent changes. One big change I made is that I now require contributors to add me on Facebook, Twitter, or G+. I’m doing this to try to weed out fake authors and get real writers only on my blog.

    I’m not going as far as invitation only, but I’m not CopyBlogger either.

    • Obaidul

      That’s recently a good move, Brett. :)

      But I don’t think halting guest post submissions altogether is a good idea like many A-list bloggers are doing.

  23. I personally prefer blogs where blog owner himself/herself writes all the posts. If it is not a bit possible, then I expect, at least the owner hand picks the posts that’s suitable to get published.

    It won’t matter much whether it is unsolicited or invited guest posts. At the end of the day, all it matters is the reader’s experience and that is quality posts.

    This morning I was reading Kevin’s post – Why We Should Not Write Guest Posts for Free at kevinmuldoon.com/should-not-write-guest-posts-free and it has really moved much. Don’t know if we can follow it the way he argues, but truly think its worth thinking about it.

  24. Hello Obaidul – I am sick of getting spam asking for guest posts to email addresses that have nothing to do with the blog. I’m seriously thinking of setting up an address just for guest post requests and checking it once a week. Those that are inappropriate will be told so – for crying out loud, I run writing blogs, I am not going to pay you for a guest post about auto parts unless you find a way to tie it in as a writing inspiration. Do a little research…

  25. Realistically, WordPress is not the most flexible membership platform and easily get spammed, just because it is leaving too many footprints. Emails will always goes backwards and forwards (regarding guest posting), if some major change doesn’t really happen in development of WP core. I am running a social network which is powered 90% on user content and guest posts and I don’t have any problem with registrations and SPAM posts.

  26. Hey Obaidul! Thanks for sharing this interesting post! I believe, as you also mentioned, the reason why Problogger decided to be more selective when it comes to guest posting on their site is that they were flooded with low quality content- they have a better position now, they can’t afford loosing authority due to some not so interesting posts. Guest posting is great, but there has to be a limit!

  27. I think invitation only is good thing especially for established bloggers, A-listers and the like. Having a high quality blog is challenging to manage and the task of sorting through ton’s of articles submited by unknown bloggers can be very time consuming and throw off the benefits by a large margin. Having a handful of skilled guest bloggers posting and then gradually increasing that base is a better way to go in my opinion. It is just much easier to manage.

  28. A blog is all about quality view. Actually a good blog is all about that. If you want your blog to rise above average, you have to be wise while choose who and what goes onto your blog…

    Great eye opener!!!
    Thanks

  29. Guest posting isn’t what it was. It is far better to have a handful of skilled bloggers posting high quality content rather than have guest bloggers with content that might not even be related. Having said that, sometimes the guest posts are better than the rest of the content! Therefore this may not be the best change for the reader, but it is probably easier to manager and regulate.

  30. I go to a site to read the words from the person who owns the site. With guest posting, the plus is you hear from someone new. The negative is the person may not have much to say of any substance. So you have wasted 5-10 minutes reading times how many posts you read.

  31. In my case, I accept guest post form other writers as long as they adhere to my rules. One of the rules is to create an informative and quality content which nowadays are very scarce. So if I find the content to be useful on my blog I accept it if not then I give it back.

  32. Minimizing guest posts may be ideal when it comes to managing content and junk email but it’s also limiting. For whatever reason you started accepting guest posts (ex. alternate views, fresh persceptives, broaden topics) that is diminished and you hinder your ability to connect with new, up and coming knowledgable bloggers. This could put you out of touch with your community/niche.

    I’m not saying low quality posts should be accepted, guidelines should be in place. But readers can view you less as an authority if you are not keeping up with your arena.

  33. Hello Obaidul,

    Your article and the points you made as to why some blogs have steered away from accepting guest post offers is intriguing!

    I feel for the most part it may have to do with the ‘flood’ of requests and having to take the time to ‘weave’ through them!

    In either case there is no doubt the ‘field’ of guest posting has only become more competitive!

    I like the idea of getting others to create the quality content you want and need for your blog! On the other hand if it takes as much time to find reliable contributors as it does to create something on your own, what’s the point?

    Thanx for your efforts and the great share!
    TJ

  34. I always appreciate guest bloggers because it is a good way to get more information on different topics. If a guest post has nice content then there is no problem to accept them but always be careful about spamy content.

  35. Hadley

    It doesn’t surprise me really, people invest a lot of time and effort in their blogs and at the very least only want people that are going to appreciate that and deliver quality.

  36. Yes I have read about that policy of problogger that They are inviting only guest posts. So it’s time to prepared for some of the great posts.
    Nice posts.

  37. I have thought about putting a halt to unsolicited guest posts because I find that although they normally produce good content, once it is published they will then disappear and never return to answer any comments left.

  38. Hi Obaidul,
    The thing is It has become the new trend, seeing problogger many other popular blogs has also stopped these type of guest posting.

    Thanks for the post.
    Regards,
    Anurag.

  39. I’ve been pondering over some of the points you’ve mentioned here but by the end of the day I think it’s all about the quality of the post, although I’ll prefer to discuss topics with the guest writer but there are times when a particular unsolicited article might just be the one you need

  40. Thank you for sharing your opinion on why do blog owners shift to invitation only guest posts from accepting unsolicited guest posts. Blog owners also need to ensure that the quality of posts in their blog. Because their credibility and reputation as a blogger can be jeopardize by guest posters who submit low quality and boring posts.

  41. Hi Obaidul – thanks for an informative post. I found an interesting way to manage guest posts for some of my sites – using gravity forms I allow people to submit their post and simply review them each week – the best posts make it into my site with limited editing and have created a system to filter out spam. After I received regular high quality submissions from a small group I closed off the open invite for guest posts and use my shortlist to request regular columns… worked great in my news niche.

  42. This is why I believe writing blog or article needs to be creative. You cannot just use the same old formula to do all the blog messages. In the luxury products case, the consumer wants to see some high-end products and not so boring. If the bloggers are going to use the same formula over and over again, it cannot be attractive.

    Tony