The Pros and Cons of Writing for Other Blogs

One of the best ways for new bloggers to get some valuable exposure is to write guest posts for other blogs . A few months ago I was writing 3 to 5 posts each week for other blogs. While I think it is one of the best free promotional methods available, there are certainly some negatives to writing for other blogs. I’d like to list some of my thoughts on the subject and get your feedback as well.

Reasons to Write for Other Blogs

Exposure

As I already said, the exposure gained from guest posting can be priceless. This is especially the case for newer bloggers who aren’t well-known yet. Publishing a post on a popular blog in your niche can help you to show your knowledge and expertise to a large, targeted audience.

Reputation

If you continue to write for other blogs in your niche, many readers will recognize your name and begin to recognize you as an authority on the subject (assuming the articles provide quality content of course).

Links

When you write for other blogs you will have the opportunity for a brief statement about yourself with a link to your own blog. Additionally, many bloggers will allow you to include relevant links to your other posts within the article. All of these links are valuable for click-through traffic as well as for search engine rankings.


Money

Writing for other blogs is a source of income for some. Authority bloggers such as Chris Garrett have plenty of opportunities to make money by writing for others. An increasing number of blogs are looking for writers, so these opportunities are out there.

Networking

Some of the best contacts that I have made since I started blogging were initiated by writing guest posts for others. I found that it’s a great way to introduce yourself to others and the connections that are made can be very beneficial.

Help Others

Other bloggers are looking for articles for a reason. In most cases they don’t have the time to be able to provide the content that they want to publish. Writing guest posts is really a win-win situation.

Improved Writing

One of the biggest benefits I’ve gained from writing for other blogs is the development that has resulted from the added pressure of writing for someone else. Ultimately, your guest posts will not get published unless someone else thinks their readers will appreciate what you have written. This doesn’t only develop your writing skills, but it also helps tremendously with idea generation. You’ll be forced to come up with new and original topics for posts. Many of us tend to get careless with idea generation for our own blogs and we wind up publishing the same recycled thoughts.

Push Yourself

When you’re writing for other blogs you’ll be motivated to show your skills and knowledge for a brand new audience. Hopefully this will push you to reach your potential as a writer. You’re reputation is at stake each time you guest post (actually, it’s at stake each time you post on your own blog too, but many times we forget), so you better bring your A-game.

Variety

Depending on what blogs you guest post for, you may get the opportunity to write about topics that you don’t cover on your own blog. Maybe there is a subject that you really enjoy, but you’ve been avoiding writing about it on your blog because it is a little bit off-topic.

Reasons Not to Write for Other Blogs

Time

Of course, writing for other blogs takes time. Most of us struggle to find time to write for own on blogs, so additional writing can be a real challenge. Any time that you spend writing for other blogs is time that you don’t have to promote and grow your own blog. For this reason, many established bloggers don’t write for others unless they are paid. It’s just simply not worth the time that they are losing.

Use of Ideas

If you’re using all of your best ideas for posts on other blogs, what are you going to use for your own blog? If you’re overflowing with ideas, this really isn’t an issue for you. The rest of us are forced to decide which ideas to use for our own blog and which ones to use for other blogs.

Building Someone Else’s Blog

When you’re writing for other blogs, whether paid or unpaid, you really are helping someone else to grow their blog. Of course this isn’t a bad thing, in fact I listed helping others as a good reason to write for other blogs. But what you have to remember is that those ideas and the time that you have spent writing could also be spent developing your own blog. Once your blog’s value reaches a certain point it may be counterproductive to write for others.

Out of Your Control

Whether your writing gets published or not is out of your control. If the blog owner decides not to post it, you may have spent a lot of time that isn’t going to bring any results. The good news is you can still use that post somewhere else, including your own blog.

As you can see, I’ve listed more reasons to write for other blogs than I have listed reasons not to write for other blogs. I think it’s an excellent way for all of us, especially new bloggers, to reach large audiences quickly. However, I also think it’s important that we realize what sacrifices we’re making by spending the time and effort this way.

What are your thoughts? Have you written for others? Are there any pros or cons that you would like to add?

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21 Responses

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  • Michael Martine, October 21, 2007

    Good overview of the pros and cons, but I certainly note the cons are fewer. I can only speak for myself, but guest-blogging has helped me quite a bit. I write at the same level of quality for others as for myself, because each guest post is a calling card. For same reason, I never hoard my “best” ideas. Building up others is one of the best ways to build up yourself, so I don’t see that as a disadvantage.

  • pelf, October 21, 2007

    Well, the only thing holding me back from going all out guest-blogging for other bloggers is the lack of time. The heart is willing, but the flesh is weak, or rather, the time is limited, LOL.

  • Vandelay Design, October 21, 2007

    Michael,
    Thanks for your feedback. You’re a great person to hear from because I know you do a lot of this. I agree with you that building up others is a way of building up yourself and I didn’t mean to say that is a negative. What I was trying to get at is that if you spend ALL of your time writing for others you will not have time to properly manage your own blog, which is doing a disservice to you and to your readers. Of course this is partially offset if you’re being paid for your writing, then it is a form of income. But I think most bloggers that guest post are doing so to help promote themselves, in which case will do no good if their own blog is not given the proper attention.

    Pelf,
    Time is definitely limited. I wish I had time to write more guest posts myself.

  • Michael Martine, October 21, 2007

    if you spend ALL of your time writing for others you will not have time to properly manage your own blog, which is doing a disservice to you and to your readers.

    I absolutely agree. Sorry for any misunderstanding! :) Guest-blogging will certainly backfire if it causes you to neglect your own blog. What I do is write posts in advance and choose to publish some of them on the other blogs I write for (PureBlogging and BloggingTips). That’s how I maintain quality for both my own blog and for guest posts. I write the post I want to write, and find a home for it. Deciding that is often based on what else has been published on the other blogs. I don’t want my posts to be redundant or a poor follow-up from the previous blogger’s post.

  • Vandelay Design, October 21, 2007

    Michael,
    Writing in advance is the biggest help for me. In fact, I’m in the middle of writing for another blog and I’ve written several other posts tonight. It gives me the best chance for a successful week if I’m ahead. I know your approach is working because I’ve seen it first hand.

  • pablopabla, October 21, 2007

    I’ve just been asked to co-author for a fee. I guess that pays off whatever time I invest over that blog.

  • Vandelay Design, October 21, 2007

    Pablopabla,
    If the price is right go for it. I write a few articles for money and I find that it helps to supplement the income that I make in other ways, and I enjoy doing it.

  • Domtan, October 21, 2007

    From the cons, the “Use of Ideas” and “Building Someone Else’s Blog” are pretty valid points, and significant. Especially the latter. It’s similar to those blog networks where they pay naive new bloggers a small flat fee to create their own blog on their network, and post away. Those posts published on those network blogs will remain forever, and are far more valuable then its author has been led to believe.

  • chipseo, October 21, 2007

    I try to write some posts in advance as well in case I don’t have time on a particular day. I would like to get into more writing for other blogs but I just have had any good opportunities come up yet. My blog is relatively new so I am sure those will come up as time goes on. Thanks for the pro/con post. Scott

  • Etienne Teo, October 22, 2007

    you shoudl always schedule your blog post ahead, that is the right way to do it. If there are any urgent post you want to release then delay the other rest and post the one you have on hand first.That is how i do it.

  • pablopabla, October 22, 2007

    The price seems fine by me. And you are right, it does supplement my income one way or the other. In any event, since I don’t make as much money from my own blogs, I might as well make more getting paid to co-author another site.

    That said, it must be mentioned that without the publicity garnered from my blogs in the first place, I would not have been noticed to have been given this blog writing opportunity.

  • Amrit Hallan - HowToPlaza, October 22, 2007

    I have just recently started guest blogging. The greatest benefit that I have observed so far is the exposure my blog posts get on other blogs. I agree that you might be using your best ideas on other blogs but I think for a newbie blogger it is a better bargain because it is not about how many great blog posts you have on your blog it is also about how much exposure you can initially generate. And I think if you keep thinking about ideas you are never going to run out of them for your own blog.

    A better way of preserving your good ideas for your own blog is to write for those blogs that although cater to your expertise, do not compete with your blog directly. This also provides you a diversification. It doesn’t mean that if you are used to writing on web designing than all of a sudden you start writing on dating blogs but you can write on the blog that can, despite being different from your blog, send you some valuable traffic and earn you the much-needed exposure.

  • Wayne Liew, October 22, 2007

    I am just starting to write for others without asking for anything back in return. I somehow felt dumb because the site is new as well but something in my mind tells me to continue with it.

    I am starting another blog soon and this might be the reason I don’t feel like helping others to build up a new blog but as your list puts it, the benefits are more than the bads.

  • Vandelay Design, October 22, 2007

    chipseo,
    Yes, I think opportunities will come up with more time, but if you are interested in finding opportunities I would encourage you to be proactive and approach others about writing for them. That’s how I got 90% of my articles published.

    Thanks everyone for the great feedback on this post.

  • Tay - Make Money Blogging, October 23, 2007

    This was a fantastic article, Steven. I devoured every word! I think writing for other blogs is 100% beneficial. After all, that’s how I came to know who you are as a blogger – you wrote for my blog, and I also saw you on many other blogs. Otherwise I might not be a subscriber and reading your site on a daily basis! Writing for other blogs is a great form of exposure and, like you said, it builds up your authority in the subject.

    I’ve only guest written for one other blog but I plan to increase those numbers very soon. Thanks for the inspiration. :D

  • Madhur Kapoor, October 23, 2007

    Nice points you have mentioned Steven. Even i have written for a few blogs before . They bring you a lot of exposure and it has worked well for me so far.