Why I Stopped Accepting Guest Posts, and Why You Should Too!

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About three months ago, I stopped accepting guest posts on MrRyanConnors.com. From two to three per week, to zip, zilch, nada. In a move that seems counter-intuitive, I took a stand against prior assumptions and am now refining the brand I started slightly over a year ago, which includes ending guests posts. If you’d like to know why, and learn how my reasoning may apply to your blog or website, continue on…

The guest blogging shop is closed

The guest blogging shop is closed

When I started MrRyanConnors.com, I was looking to differentiate myself from the sea of recent college grads in the big scary real world. I wanted to draw a line in the digital sand and showcase some of the skills I’ve learned in marketing. From social media to content creation, I grew my website into a personal beacon that I could stand on.

Over time, my brand evolved from just a twitter handle to an embodiment of the professional I’m aspiring to become. My dreams are too big to be just another fly on the wall, and I find them to be a strong driver of personal success. It’s why I spend a lot of time networking and learning about whatever I can to better myself.  This concentrated focus personal brand awareness led to personal and professional success, like blog articles being published on Social Media Today  and getting a kick-ass agency job. Not bad for a guy in his early 20-somethings.

Moving forward, I wanted to get the most share of attention for myself I could by utilizing inbound marketing. It’s what I’ve done for companies my whole career and I wanted the same for myself. Though blogging, the posts I created drove traffic to my site and I figured I could keep the ball rolling by accepting guest bloggers. Whether they were from free resources like My Blog Guest or solicitations from my site’s contact form, I was open to any value-adding topics related to marketing, business or technology, and thankfully there’s a lot of content out there waiting to get picked up.

The way I saw it, I was trading exposure to my network and moderately page-ranked do-follow backlinks for content and both ends of the equation were happy (Are there any missing pieces in said equation? I’ll get to that in the next paragraph). Theoretically, I was helping bloggers to meet their demand for exposure while raising their SEO value. Likewise, they were doing the same for me. My assumptions, however, were somewhat misguided.

Mismatches are bad for business

Mismatches are bad for business

For starters, you get what you pay for. Though many of the pieces on my site are value-adding, the free posts were often rehashes of beaten-to-death topics that were covered in much greater detail elsewhere. I focused on the fact that some readers were satisfied, while choosing to ignore those who weren’t. My shortsightedness in this respect resulted in devaluing of the brand I was trying to build. My website visitors (“customers”) were expecting to learn more about me or the topics being marketed, and for the former, the quality on my site wasn’t on par with similar results from a Google search.

Because of those reasons, there was actually little SEO value being added to my site.  The analytics showed a general dissatisfaction with the content, and if anything, the poor content weighted down the good content and overall site analytics. Traffic seemed to plateau and eventually slid downward. As this trend materialized, I foolishly continued with the same tactics and got the same results. Something needed to change, and thankfully today, I am much more comfortable with saying nothing if there is nothing to say.

Finally, the value mismatch wasn’t just limited to my site and the visitors- it also effected the guest authors themselves. Most of them were commissioned writers trying to build backlinks to various companies and increase the organic traffic and visibility. On one hand, the backlinks within the articles and bio sections were do-follow links from a moderately ranked site, yet on the other, the individual article pages had poor analytics and low individual PageRank’s. From a strategic marketing point of view, it didn’t take an SEO expert to know their efforts were for naught.

Taking into account the lack of value across the board, that’s why I’ve decided to stop accepting guest posts on mrryanconnors.com. Today I’d much rather have less, quality content on my site and focus my blogging efforts on bigger strategic goals, like helping the inbound marketing where I work at Verndale. I think I’ve had a few good ones recently, listed below,so take a look and let me know what you think.

Hopefully, you can take away some wisdom from my experience and know that I’m not at all saying guest blogging is bad, (it’s actually great).The golden nugget here is to always keep your customers at heart and realized the role you play in delivering value. If there’s a mismatch between producers and consumers, something has to change, otherwise the system breaks down and nobody wins.

What are your thoughts on guest posts? Share in the comments down below.

Images via Flickr and Flickr

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  • Rohan Ayyar

    Ouch! When it was my turn at the booking counter, the clerk pulled out the “Out for Lunch” sign! 😉

    “I focused on the fact that some readers were satisfied, while choosing to ignore those who weren’t.”
    << Fantastic! Reader satisfaction should be the primary, if not the only, reason behind such a decision.

    "…the poor content weighted down the good content and overall site analytics."
    << All said and done, you do need to figure out a way to post regularly. Otherwise, traffic will continue to slide and subscribers will drop out (they have a poor memory). Folks will come (and come back) to the good content every now and then, but you can't hang a coat on a pin.

    • Thanks for your feedback Rohan. I’m shifting focus from traffic generation to having my blog serve as a brand hub for other channels of communication. While there will still be blogging from time to time, I think I’ll be able to deliver more value through guest blogging myself and helping to build other brands.

      • Rohan Ayyar

        I’m intrigued – could you please elaborate on “a brand hub for other channels of communication” and how you plan to turn it into one?

        And welcome to the other side. 🙂

        • I don’t want the site to be the focus, merely a launching point for people to learn more about my personal brand. I’m shifting the value for visitors towards great content that’s already been created through LinkedIn, Twitter ect., and focusing my content creation on more high impact channels where I can be part of something greater, whether it’s blogging for where I work or a group I’m part of.

          I think I can reach more people that way. As much as I love to have a website that’s a focus, I care more about spreading great content and reaching farther and wider with the content I can create. The traffic isn’t nearly as important as the brand equity and I want to find a new equilibrium for the two. Since nothing is being sold here, I want to make sure any content added serves a real purpose and not just feeding my ego and love for website hits.

  • Hi Ryan, Google have been over the top with guest blogging and especially penalizing MyBloGuest. There is no problem with publishing guest blogs on your website (you had one of mine on your site!).

    As long as the content is of high quality, the outgoing links are trustworthy (add “rel=nofillow” to be on the safe side) and you remove any author boxes or mention of guest authors there wont be a problem. How would Google know a guest post or your own post if you do this? People are panicking over nothing with this!

    • Guest blogging isn’t inherently bad (it’s great for brand building) but Google has really thrown down the gauntlet for exchange networks like MBG. I took it a bit too far by only publishing guest posts regularly and was deindexed for a while as a result.

      • If your showing google big signs saying this is a guest post and having a different author all the time then it will cause problems. My post you published on your site had high social shares and a good discussion. Can’t understand why Google thinks this is a bad thing!? Your right about MBG being great for brand building. Just need to make sure it has no reference to MBG!