Blogging provides companies and freelancers with an opportunity to reach out to target audiences and bring in new traffic. By finely tuning written content, it’s possible to identify what brings in the most visitors and converts these leads into customers and subscribers. However, writing a blog post for one’s own website isn’t the only way to bring in traffic. It’s possible to drive traffic to a website by writing guest posts on other pages. While it may not provide instant financial gratification, this outreach method provides free advertising to a target audience instantly. To best take advantage of guest post writing though it is important to follow these different tips and suggestions.
Connect With the Right Website
In order for a blog post to generate meaningful traffic back to a website, the guest content needs to appear on a like-minded website. Posting an article related to antique car care would do little to spur traffic on an interior decorating website. There’s very little in way of crossover traffic and, as such, the posted content would offer little benefit for either the guest writer or the website it’s posted to.
Due to this, it’s imperative for the writer to identify website with not only a related target audience but also a similar brand line. For example, writing about camera bags for a website selling cameras. The two sites are related without competing with one another, so the post provides educational content for the hosting site while directing traffic to the writer’s website.
Very few websites take advantage of the guest post. There’s a number of reasons behind this, including website owners not understanding the importance to just not reaching out to other potential writers. Internet-based networking opens up a world of opportunity, yet according to Orbit Media Studios (2018), guest post networking remains limited. As the graph indicates below, 34.5 percent of blogs feature zero posts, while 28.8 percent have less than five percent guest post. This means over 63 percent of blogs have less than five percent guest posts. By connecting with the right website, it’s possible to take advantage of this substantial lacking.
Research the Blog
Beyond finding a website with a similar audience or similar products, it’s important to dig deeper into the blog of the website. The guest post will likely prove more successful if the hosting site regularly publishes content. By visiting the website, it’s possible to see if the hosting site publishes weekly, daily, or less than once a month. The more frequently the website updates its blog, the more traffic it has, which increases the potential traffic for a guest writer. Connecting with the right website is one thing. Making sure the website has a steady flow of traffic is another.
Monitor Guest Post Results
It’s difficult to know when traffic comes from a guest post or when it comes from another source. Tracking every single IP address coming in and out manually is not an effective way to spend time. Instead, there are third-party applications available to make tracking results easy.
The free service UTM Parameters gives bloggers and website admins the ability to instantly monitor traffic and pinpoint where traffic comes from. On the UTM Parameters website, all that’s necessary is to include the website URL and some other basic information. It will then indicate the kind of traffic coming in from the specific guest blog post.
It’s best for a writer to reach out with multiple guest posts. By connecting with several different websites and putting out a guest blog once or twice a month, it will identify some helpful points of interest. This includes what guest blog sites generate the most traffic, the topics generating the most traffic, and whether it’s necessary to continue on creating guest content for specific websites or if it’s a better investment of time to search for other websites to guest write for.
Turn Guest Posts Into a Story
Visitors to a blog or even digital storefronts don’t want to just receive a blurb of facts. They want entertainment. It’s why visuals telling a story behind a product work better than just the product in front of a white backdrop. The same holds true for blog posts. If someone’s going to spend the time reading a blog post they want to be entertained. The best way to do this is to make the content feel like a story.
According to Bluesyemre (2017), 92 percent of consumers want advertisements to read and feel more like stories than to just come off as a static ad. However, it is important for the content to provide a clear narrative. Including visual aids within the blog also helps. According to the same released study, the brain is able to process images 60 times faster than the written word. So while the visuals are used to supplement the writer’s story, in many ways the blog post ends up becoming supplemental material to the visuals in the eyes of a reader.
Remember to Link
One of the biggest blunders a guest writer will perform is a failure to provide links back to their own website. Offering a basic bio under a profile picture provides some general background, informing the reader as to why they should listen to what the writer has to say, but without an included link, they do not have any other option for connecting back to the site (outside of performing a Google search).
Even if the blog post proves less than helpful in generating traffic for a creator’s website, it still provides the site with a beneficial backlink. The backlink helps improve a site’s search engine optimization and may help push the site’s search engine result ranking up higher. These small nudges are the difference between a result appearing above the fold rather than below the fold, or on the first page instead of the second page of search results. Plus, the improved ranking associated with a higher search engine rank will bring about more engine-based traffic as well.
There’s always a positive to take out of any guest post, regardless of the amount of traffic generating success it brings about.
As The Social MS reports, by writing 44 guest blogs, the writer receives an average of 20 percent more website traffic and an increase in domain authority, all thanks to the additional outreach and backlinks included with the written content.
Grab The Reader’s Attention Immediately
Most Hollywood movies begin with a relatively big event. From car chases to fight scenes, there’s a reason why movies place major storytelling elements in the first 10 minutes of the film: to gain a viewer’s attention. If a movie does not grab the attention of a viewer early on, it risks never connecting with the moviegoer at all. The same holds true with articles online. If a reader does not feel instantly connected with the content, they will not stick around to read it. Reading a blog post represents a time investment.
According to HubSpot (2018), 43 percent of blog visitors will skim the post. Additionally, according to Buffer Social, 55 percent of visitors will read an article for 15 seconds or less. This gives the writer one or two sentences to connect with the reader and to grab their attention. If they fail to do so within this short window, the visitor will not continue on with reading or skim the blog post.
Understanding the demographics of the blog will help with identifying the best way to grab their attention. As MOZ points out39 percent of women prefer a number in the headline, while 32 percent of men prefer the same. Men are two percent more open to a reader addressed blog post (“You Need This” as opposed to “A Person Needs This”). By knowing more about the demographics, a guest blogger can formulate content more specifically tailored to connect with the reader.
Place Author Bio at the Top of the Post
As many websites and blog visitors fail to make it all the way through the entire blog post, it’s important to ensure the reader still has all the necessary contact information available for returning to the writer’s own website. One of the best ways to do this is to request having the author bio information placed at both the bottom of the post and at the head.
Many websites have started placing short author bios at the top of the page and a longer bio at the bottom of the post. This provides an increased level of exposure, no matter how far through an article a visitor makes it through.
Much of this is up to the website hosting the guest article. However, making this simple request of the site can help increase the traffic generated from writing a guest post.
According to the Nielson Norman Group (2018), only nine percent of website visitors who come to the page through search engines make it all the way down to the bottom quarter of a page. 46 percent of website visitors who make it to the site through a search engine read just the top page of the website. This means even if the visitor stops above the fold on the website, they are 37 percent more likely to view the author bio at the top of the post than if it appears at the bottom of the post.
Focus on the Headline
The quality of a headline often determines not only the readership but how well it will perform on social media platforms, such as Facebook. The hosting website will promote the post through its social media outreach, the same as it would with any other blog post. Due to this, it behooves the guest writer to take advantage of top performing headlines in order to increase this exposure and traffic. The better the blog performs with the host’s readers, the more exposure it brings to the writer and the greater the chance a writer will be requested back to write future posts.
According to Buzzsumo (2017), the top headline phrases for average Facebook engagement is “will make you,” as this receives nearly 9,000 engagements through the social media platform. The next highest performing phrase in terms of Facebook engagements is “this is why,” which receives just over 4,000. As the graph below indicates, the quality of the headline and the keywords and phrases used to play a major role in the overall amount of engagement and traffic it generates from social media platforms, which impacts the amount of traffic a writer receives from the hosting site.
Create Evergreen Content
When writing blog posts the content splits into evergreen and seasonal content (also referred to as topical content). Seasonal blog posts are used at a specific time for a specific purpose. This includes posts for current affairs or something happening in the news. These kinds of posts generate the most immediate traffic but after a few days or weeks, traffic more or less comes to a stand-still. At this point, the blog posts no longer provide many benefits to the blog.
Evergreen content, on the other hand, does not bring in a large amount of instant traffic, but instead, the content provides useful information for years to come. This way, whether a reader arrives by the content on the first day it’s published or a year after it’s published, it provides them with helpful information. This is the kind of blog post a guest blog needs to be. An established website does not require topical content. The website creator can focus on this. The main benefit of a guest post is for it to continually send traffic back to the writer’s website. For this to happen, the content needs to remain beneficial to the blog. Once a blog post no longer provides any benefit to the host site, there’s no reason for the host to keep the blog up.
As the graph from Cognitive SEO points out below, evergreen content begins slowly. However, the longer it remains up, the more traffic it generates as other blogs and websites link to the content. Evergreen content receives a large amount of immediate traffic, but over time, it begins to fade away. For maximum exposure and traffic drive, a guest writer must produce evergreen posts.
Guest blogging has the potential to substantially drive traffic back to the writer’s website. However, it’s important to first identify the best website to guest post to, focus on creating attention-grabbing headlines and openers while also including author bio information at the top of the blog. By following the tips listed here, any writer will begin to experience a boost in quality traffic, which in turn can eventually lead to an increase in subscribers and customers. All of this makes guest blogging a critical staple in any website’s outreach marketing.