Guest Blogging Etiquette: Do We Have One?

Guest Blogging Etiquette

Guest posting is an awesome and a win-win thing where both the host and guest bloggers are gietting many benefits, like traffic, exposure, content, promotion, SEO benefits and so on.

But it seems to me (and other blogging friends of mine) that spammers make use of this awesome tool.

Read the guidelines/rules

This one is a no-brainer isn’t? And a great time saver too! It could take you 1-2 minutes to read the guidelines to guest post on a blog. But if you are lazy or careless and just jump in and submit a guest post without reading it, you are wasting the time of host blogger and yours too.

If you miss an important rule, these are what could happen:

  1. Your post could be rejected just right off the bat. Of course you spent time to submit it to that blog (registering, filling up profile information, formatting the post for that blog, sending email etc.).
  2. The busy host blogger could have spent time working on it, finally to find out that your post violates something. That’s again waste of time.
  3. The host blogger publishes the post, and then later on find that you had been mischievous and takes down the post. This is waste of time for you and the host blogger.
  4. If (3) is the case, it is a waste of time for the wonderful visitors who took the time and effort to leave comments on your post. Their comments are also taken down, just because you didn’t spend 2 minutes initially.

(3) and (4) happened recently. I published a guest post and then read the same post by the end of the same week on We Blog Better. Ouch! I told Kiesha and she took the post down immediately.

To me, it was about a week already and the post had quite some comments (when Kiesha took it down, the post at her blog already had beautiful comments as well) – scratching my head, I removed the author links (thanks to Brankica for the suggestion).

We then had a loooong discussion that night on Google+ over this (that was sweet by the way!).


Do you know that it takes much much longer for me to “polish” a guest post than to write a fresh post myself from scratch? You might be surprised but that is the truth.

However, this is not the case with all guest post submissions I receive. I do receive very few top class guest post submission where the guest bloggers do all the necessary formatting.

When you are ready to submit a guest post to a particular blog, visit some blog posts from that blog and see how the posts are formatted. What tags do they use for sub-headings? How are the posts structured? and so on.

Some blogs publish posts without sub-headings. Some blogs (like this one) publish posts with sub-headings; so you have to make sure that you format your posts accordingly. This will speed up the publication process.

Very poor formatting can seriously lead to rejection.

Do not copy paste directly from word document since the apostrophes don’t convert well. You should use the “preview” option on the right side of the WordPress dashboard (just above “Submit for Review”). If you see that there are strange characters, you should delete apostrophes and put them again from your WordPress dashboard editor.

Are you in context?

It is pretty much common sense. Would I just submit a guest post titled “5 ways to make delicious chicken BBQ” to a blog that talks about “blogging tips”? You may be asking to yourself “Who would do that?”. But I am getting irrelevant submissions that are not even near to the categories in this blog.

How come people submit recipes, mortgage and real estate stuff to my blog? I get about 4-7 submissions a week!

Linking back or FREE advertising?

OK, every host blogger allows you 2 or 3 links back to your blog, normally in your byline or author bio. Most bloggers also allow links within the article body apart from the ones you use in the author bio; but only if the links are relevant.

So what is the point of adding those links within the article? It is great for your SEO, that’s true. But from the reader’s point of view and the host blogger’s point of view, you should be linking to your blog only if you are quoting something from your blog posts.

If you want to tell people about a concept or a method which you have already talked about in your blog post, then you can simply link to it instead of repeating it again in your guest post.

But you cannot use in-article linking as free advertising (to get more subscribers or sell a product) or merely for your own SEO benefits! For instance you cannot use a keyword anchor text and link to one of your services/products. That is free advertising.

You should refer to the blog’s “Advertise” page and pay for some banner ad instead. And it goes without saying about affiliate or questionable links. Do not include them.

Final words…

Guest posting spam is picking up momentum. For bloggers, it is another kind of new spam to deal with. For spammers, it is fun. Are you a spammer or a responsible guest blogger?

Don’t litter the blogosphere and don’t make it hard for the host bloggers, they already have too much in their plates! Know what is guest blogging first, and then start pitching your offers.

Don't forget to pick up your FREEBIES!

Blogging Success Foundation course (A 20-part e-course that lays the perfect foundation for your blogging success!) and FREE access to the ever-expanding PBS Library of e-books, workbooks and my exclusive newsletter!

Give me my FREEBIES!


    • Jane SheebaJane Sheeba says

      Jenni, yes it takes an additional step to screen the posts for duplicate content and then work on it. Just another pain to deal with these kind of spammers.

  1. Dr. Bob Clarke says

    Hi Jane,

    Since I am just starting out in the world of Guest Posting, and I don’t take Guest Posts yet on my blog, I had no idea of the things that you go through. I mean, Guest Posting spam? Really? Never would have guessed it exists, although it shouldn’t be surprising, I guess.

    I enjoyed my experience guest posting on your blog. This was my first guest post. I did some research beforehand, both on guest posting in general and your specific blog. I read that you should visit the blog on which you wish to post, and get the feel for the content. (This is also your advice).

    I think it goes much more smoothly if you do this. Then I would recommend getting in touch with the blog owner and running your idea by them. There’s no sense in working on a post that doesn’t fit into the blogger’s vision and getting it rejected on these grounds.

    Thanks for a great guest posting experience, Jane!

    • Jane SheebaJane Sheeba says

      Bob as I mentioned in the post I get some awesome guest post submission, like yours, who take the time and effort to be careful with every step and follow the guidelines. Publishing your guest post took less than 5 minutes for me.

      But not all guest bloggers read the guidelines and that’s the problem. Thanks for taking my advice on guest posting :)

  2. TrafficColemanTrafficColeman says

    Yea guest posting can be an headache but if yo just follow the rule then you may get a Ok. I say build that relationship first and then do a guest post..they will be more likely to show you if have any errors.

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

    • Jane SheebaJane Sheeba says

      Yes establishing (genuine) relationship matters a lot while doing anything online. guest posting is not an exception :)

  3. Darryl BurmaDarryl Burma says

    Hello Jane,

    Nice post. You are right, if some people would just put more effort towards reading the rules it would save everyone a great deal of time. Guest posting should be a fun and rewarding experience, not a hassle.

    Another point would be not to assume that all rules and guidelines are the same for all blogs. Each blog is unique and has certain rules, a certain type of audience, approach etc… Guest posters need to realize that what works on one blog may not appeal or apply to another blog. It’s common sense for most of us, but some are just too anxious or perhaps only in it to spam their links as you mentioned which makes it bad for everyone involved.

    It’s not like you are asking for someone’s first born, if they can’t take a few minutes to read the rules then they shouldn’t be guest posting in the first place.

    Either way, thanks for another wonderful post Jane!

    • Jane SheebaJane Sheeba says

      Darryl, oh yes that is a wonderful point you have mentioned here (and I forgot to mention it in the post). Most bloggers think that if they read the guidelines of one blog, they can go on guest posting on every blog they come across :). Thanks for the mention.

  4. Atish @ TechTricksWorld says

    Yes guest blogging is the best way to promote the site. I too have written few guest posts and getting good amount of visits From there. hey jane i have something to share and ask with you.
    Many people don’t wan to post on the sites have 0 PR. Why so? infact i have a blog on blogspot for testing purpose. It has daily visitors 10 to 20 only and it get PR 1. People are interested in guest posting there but I have my main blog which is new on wordpress. It was on blogpost but now before 2 months i moved to wordpress and i have a good number of visitors over there nearely 300+ but having pr 0. Most of the Guy don’t want to write for my blog. if any one intersted then they send cheap posts. So now I removed the page “write for us”. Because I have no PR so Good bloggers Don’t want to write. So what to do in this case?

    • Jane SheebaJane Sheeba says

      Atish, I understand what you think. When your blog is quite new, it is hard to get people’s attention for some days. It depends on how actively you engage with others and let yourself and your blog known to others. When your blog is new you have to give that initial push and let people know about it. Be an active commenter in other blogs in your niche, do guest posts and also engage genuinely in social media. The more people see you, they will come to you easily and be willing to contribute.

  5. Brankica@Blogging for beginnersBrankica@Blogging for beginners says

    Hey Jane, love the post. Can’t believe you linked to my Google+ profile, I so love it!!!

    So here is the question first, we used to link to people’s Twitter when mentioning them directly. Should I switch to Google+ links (haven’t thought of it, but seems like a great idea).

    I had my share of baaaad posts sent to me and I became very, very picky. I don’t run a social services blog that I would have to do favors for anyone, so I am not going to publish something just because you need it. And that is how most of those spammers think it is going to happen.

    @Atish, it is the best thing to guest post on an up and coming blog. Why, because it will become PR 2 or 3 in few months and your post will be ranked great too, I have a blog to prove it :)

    • Atish says

      Hey brankica, I agree with your points but I think my blog is running good too but good bloggers don’t post on my blog yet… . Just because of PR. But I am sure i will get PR3 or 4 in the next PR update. in this Update my this domain is too new to get Pr. just 1.5 month old. because it was on blogspot earlier. any thanks for replying.

    • Jane SheebaJane Sheeba says

      Bran, I am just experimenting to linking to people via Twitter and plus. Plus really seems to work well. But I wouldn’t completely switch :)

  6. Kiesha @ WeBlogBetter says

    Hi Jane,
    I’m glad you are addressing this issue and highlighting the time loss factor. Time is probably a blogger’s most valuable commodity, I was very irritated that I had spent so much time making that post readable only to have to take it down.

    At the same time, I also noticed that my inbox was filling up with a lot of those irrelevant posts you were talking about. This makes it really hard to distinguish between the posts that are good and causes a major delay in response time. I used to try to respond to those people and let them know why I wouldn’t be publishing their posts – now I’m just going to ignore them.

    I never wanted to get to that point, but here it is. Thanks for helping me fight guest post spam one post at a time! :)
    Kiesha recently posted..5 Tips to Get More SubscribersMy Profile

    • Jane SheebaJane Sheeba says

      Kiesha, I certainly thought this thing needed a mention – a strong mention. It seems that almost all bloggers are getting hit by this kind of spam. While we are already dealing with so many other (unpleasant) things, this is just an addition to it. I hope, things will improve a bit, if not they change completely :)

  7. Dave LucasDave Lucas says

    OK – but I don’t quite understand what happened between you and Kiesha?

    By the way, you’re welcome to write a GUEST-POST for my blog anytime!

    Blog on!

    • Jane SheebaJane Sheeba says

      Dave, long story short – we had a person submitting the same guest post to Kiesha’s blog and mine. I published it first and then read the same post in Kiesha’s blog by the end of the week. We both didn’t know about it until the posts were published. When I informed Kiesha about this, she deleted the post (and the lovely comments as well). I removed the links to the author bio in the post.

      Thanks for the invitation Dave. I’ll have you in my list.

  8. Justin@Coaching says

    Hey Jane,
    Bravo, Bravo, You did an excellent job of proper etiquette when it comes to submitting guest-posts.

    I get at least one guest-post a week and I will definitely publish it if they are regular readers of my blog.

    • Jane SheebaJane Sheeba says

      Justin, thanks. Since you have recently opened up guest posting, it seems that you are going so far so good. Hope you won’t get spam submissions in the days to come :)

  9. gracegrace says

    Guest blogging has its own advantages but it has its share of disadvantages, too. So, I think we should just be responsible in accepting guest posts and if we guest post to other blogs, we should follow their rules.

  10. Rachel Lavern@San Francisco Results CoachRachel Lavern@San Francisco Results Coach says

    I appreciate your post. I have heard bloggers complaining of not having success with another blogger publishing them and I hope they find this article. It sheds some light and help us get more exposure.

    Guest blogging seems to be a mainstream tactic; however, more people are abusing the concept. Thanks for outlining the “quality” approach to guest blogging.

    • Jane SheebaJane Sheeba says

      Glad that you liked the post Rachel. Complaining bloggers won’t succeed unless they follow the “quality approach”. Thanks for mentioning.

  11. Anna says

    I understand that to choose a good and inspiring guest post is very hard. I am amazed how lazy some people are and how careless they treat hosts! Thanks for reminding us what we should never do.

  12. AdrianAdrian says

    I never try it guest posting and one of the reasons is that i’m afraid about what people may think about this method to promote my blog. I never hear about guest post spam and i’m really disappointed about that.

    • Jane SheebaJane Sheeba says

      Adrian, you should never be afraid or worried about using guest blogging as a promotional strategy for your blog. It is one of the cool and highly effective methods to promote your blog to people and search engines. You should try it – that is my solid advice :)

  13. Mavis Nong | Underground Blogging SecretsMavis Nong | Underground Blogging Secrets says

    Hey Jane,

    Excellent job with sharing this guest posting etiquette. Guest bloggers should really take time to study the rules and guidelines set out by the blog owners to avoid disappointment.

    Thanks for sharing your insights, Jane.

    All the best,

    • Jane SheebaJane Sheeba says

      Thanks for your comment Mavis. If guest bloggers bothered to read the guidelines, it will all be great!

  14. Natalie says

    Hi Jane,

    as someone who has not yet explored the world of guest posting, I was very curious to see your take on it. Thanks for the valuable advice – I will be keeping it all in mind when I start approaching bloggers and writing guest posts!

    • Jane SheebaJane Sheeba says

      Natalie, glad that you found the information useful and good luck with your guest posting campaign :)

  15. Lou says

    Hi Jane,

    There’s a lot of great information in your post. I especially like the point about trying to guest blog in a appropriate place. As you know, my blog is primarilay fiction and anecdotes. But, most of the blogs I read are about internet marketing and traffic generation. So, for me to guest blog, I have to find the time to read a number of blogs that are similar to mine. Sounds like somkething to put on my to-do list. Thanks, Jane.

    Lou Barba recently posted..The Bitter EndMy Profile

    • Jane SheebaJane Sheeba says

      Lou, sure I can understand what you mean. It is necessary that we keep track of blogs in a niche that we want to guest post on. Jumping into a blog all of a sudden will make us fail.

  16. Marquita Herald says

    Hi Jane,
    Your guidelines sound like common sense to me – sorry to hear it’s becoming a problem. I have yet to get to the point of allowing guest bloggers so this is good information for the future, but I’m such a control freak, I have a feeling I’ll probably require something like being able to see at least a couple of references or at least articles posted elsewhere – I’d never accept a blind submission. Only time will tell how realistic that is :-)
    Marquita Herald recently posted..Hawaii’s Forbidden IslandMy Profile

  17. Catarina Alexon says

    Great article Jane. Had no idea that spammers are also into submitting guest posts. Thank God I neither accept nor write guest posts:-)

    You are so right about people not understanding what would be appropriate to publish on a blog. In my case because I write about current affairs and international relations I don’t wish to be associated with articles by people with extreme beliefs.

    But telling people you write all articles yourself can be a problem as well since sometimes they get upset. One man got really angry because I have no interest in guest posts. He started a vendetta against me on Linkedin, but he didn’t succeed. All because I nicely told him that I write all articles myself and hence don’t have any guest posts…
    Catarina Alexon recently posted..Ever heard of emerging generosity?My Profile

  18. Jeanine Byers Hoag @DressingMyTruthJeanine Byers Hoag @DressingMyTruth says

    Great post, Jane! I write a monthly post for two different online magazines and I guess those posts count as “guest posts.” So I really thought through your advice and considered if I have been doing anything inadvertently that might not be good guest blogging etiquette.

    I don’t think I am, but it was good to think that through and I appreciate this post for prompting me to do so.

  19. Amit@Forklift TrainingAmit@Forklift Training says

    It’s easy to make mistakes as a guest blogger, even if you’re not a spammer. You could just be new to blogging. That’s why it’s important to keep a tight relationship between bloggers and discuss ideas and projects.
    Every guest blogger can run wild if not supervised.

    • Jane Sheeba says

      Hey Amit, you make a good point. Yes it is usual and common to make mistakes like not following guidelines, formatting etc. when new. But submitting duplicate posts is something serious :)

  20. HajraHajra says

    Hi Jane,

    As a person who loves doing guest posts, I am pretty surprised by how some people take it. Every blog has certain set of rules and even if they don’t please ask. Yes, I love how well connected each blogger is and how they are always ready to respond, so why not just ask than make a silly blunder and wham… get caught up in the process!

    Loved the way you bring out such crucial points here!

  21. Cyndi says

    I ran into something odd this week. It’s kind of the reverse of what you’ve covered here.

    Someone said he was new to blogging and asked me to do a guest interview. He posted up his questions and the answers I typed out.

    The issue I have is that he used the post with my name to add all manner of spam links to products. A lot of words were highlighted and are purchase links that I don’t endorse. Since it’s my writing and words, I’m guessing it looks like I’m the spammer.

    Sigh. Thought I was helping out a newbie blogger. Got burned.

  22. SandipanSandipan says

    Just the other day I received a guest post request (the person wanting to guest post on my blog) from an individual with the subject line “Write for Us.” Apparently the person was using the same draft both for sourcing and securing guest posts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge