A few days ago, I wrote a post titled “7 Reasons to Accept Guest Posts on Your Blog.” In case you missed it or don’t feel like reading it right now, I’ll summarize: I’m a strong believer that accepting guest posts can make any blog better. It benefits everyone involved—the blog owner, guest author, and readers.
But not all guest posts are created equal. In fact, some of them just flat out suck, and if you accept them and post them, everyone will suffer. Your readers will turn their back on you, and your blog will start failing because no one wants to read low quality content. And of course, the guest blogger will harm his (or her) reputation by making a bad first impression with your readers.
The question is: What constitutes a bad guest post? What criteria should you use for turning posts away?
Here are some basic guidelines you can use for turning down posts.
- Posts that are overly self-promotional—A guest post should never read like an advertisement. If the post has affiliate links or is a blatant sales pitch, you should reject it.
- Content that is factually incorrect—Even though you aren’t writing the post, you’re still accountable for the information it gives your readers. You can’t allow guest posts that steer your readers in the wrong direction. Guest posts with bad information reflect poorly on your blog.
- The post is a really short link grab—Perhaps the biggest benefit most people see in guest blogging is the link building aspect of it. Whenever you accept a guest post, that blogger customarily is allowed a couple of links back to his website. As a result, some bloggers get so caught up in link building, they crank out low quality posts of a couple hundred words just so they can grab their links and run. I’ve never been a huge fan of word counts, but in the case of accepting guest posts, instituting a minimum word count helps prevent this from happening.
- It’s duplicate content—Believe it or not, there are some guest bloggers out there who will try to pass off content they’ve already published elsewhere. Some people really will take any shortcut they can to build links and get their name out there. So, make sure you take the time to check the content for originality.
- It doesn’t match the theme of your blog—Extreme example: If you maintain a blog about sports, you obviously wouldn’t accept a guest post about gardening. Your readers don’t want to see it, and it just doesn’t make sense for your blog. Strong blogs have a clearly defined niche, and all content published fits within that niche.
- Post is riddled with typos—I’m not saying the blog post has to be written in the King’s English, but you can’t put out content that is full of misspellings, awkward phrasing, and other mistakes that make your blog look amateurish. You can either turn the post down outright or ask the blogger to correct it with some good proofreading and editing.
What are your guidelines for guest posts?