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How to Write a Guest Post (And Boost Your Website Traffic)

Looking for a free way to grow the traffic to your website? Guest blogging may be the solution.

Getting traffic to your website is no easy feat. Getting links from other websites is a big help, but that's tough to do—or is it?

Guest blogging, or writing a blog post for another website, is often seen as a win-win situation. The hosting blog receives content (usually for free), and the writer receives a link back to their own blog, typically in the bio section. Besides getting new readers (and sometimes social media followers) from those who liked your blog post, that link is good for SEO too.

So, how is guest blogging done? Here are the nitty gritty details on how to write a blog post successfully.

1. Identify your audience.
Who do you want to reach out to? I don't mean the websites you want to reach out to (not yet), but the people. If you are a mom blogger, for example, you don't want to reach out to teenagers. Before you can decide which websites to guest post for, you need to identify your own audience.

2. Identify websites to guest post for.
The best websites to guest post for will have a similar audience to your own. That doesn't mean you have to reach out to the same types of blogs, however. If your audience includes parents, you could guest post for a recipe blog or a coupon blog in addition to other parenting websites. Jot down any websites that you know of off-hand. Try doing a Google search for “_______ blogs that accept guest posts” or just “______ blogs,” filling in the blank with the type of blog that will reach a similar audience.

It's important not to write for just any blog, though. Search engines rank websites, and links from the best websites are more valuable than links from small websites. The websites with the most traffic offer the most value in terms of link building. You can still write guest posts for small websites, but don't send guest posts into websites that are fulled with spam or that aren't very reputable in their industry.

3. Find the writing guidelines and contact information.
Many websites that accept guest posts will have writing guidelines right on their website. If they do, be sure to save them and follow them as you write your post. If not, find the most recent contact information available—if an email isn't available, try a social media message.

4. Read some blog posts, and brainstorm your own ideas.
Every blog has a bit different style. Take the time to read a few articles from the blog you are hoping to target. What kinds of articles do they post most? Is there a related topic that they haven't covered yet that you have knowledge on? With that in mind, brainstorm a few ideas that are in a similar style, but on something the blog hasn't covered yet.

5. Pitch your post.
With a solid idea in mind, it's time to pitch the post (some blogs prefer sending over the entire piece, so be sure to follow the writing guidelines you found). Reach out to the blog editor in a brief email—just like you, they don't have a lot of extra time so they'll appreciate a short message. Say that you would like to write a guest post for them, your topic and then a sentence or two about your writing experience or your experience with the topic. The editor will usually respond with whether the idea is a good fit, or let you know that they aren't accepting guest posts at the moment.

6. Write the post—and don't advertise.
Once your idea has been approved, or if you are targeting a blog that prefers to see the entire post first, sit down and write out the article. The most important thing is to write an informative article, not an advertisement. Most blog editors will immediately toss out guest posts that read like an advertisement. They want posts that offer value to their readers—so offer tips, a humorous experience or something else of value. The only place to “advertise” is in the bio section, with a brief statement about yourself and a link back to your website. Guest posts aren't advertisements, but rather a way to gain new readers that enjoy your writing style or a way to build valuable links for SEO.

7. Send and share.
Once you have a well-written piece that offers value to the target audience (i.e. doesn't read like an advertisement), send the guest post in. You may need to revise some, so be flexible and work with the editor's suggestions. Once the guest post is published, share on your own social media outlets. The blog you are working with will appreciate the extra effort, and it will help send more traffic to your post.

Guest blogging is a great way to gain new readers on your own blog and improve the SEO of your own website. But, there are a few tricks to getting a guest blog published. Be sure to read the blog you pitch to and write in a similar style while offering something valuable and new.

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