If you look around, you’ll find hundreds of blog posts that talk about the benefits of writing guest posts for other people. Few people seem to talk about the pros and cons of actually being the publisher the guest posts.
It’s worth noting that certain blogs thrive on guest posts, and regularly utilize guest bloggers. Other blogs seem to rarely publish guest posts (like me). Then of course, you have the blogs that are somewhere in the middle, and periodically publish guest posts, but not on any regular schedule.
But can it be bad to be the one who actually publishes guest posts? I’ve decided to dig in a little bit deeper on this topic…
Some Interesting Data
Let me start by first saying that I don’t regret the recent guest posts on my blog by Sunil and Spencer. I respect both of them, and firmly believe that their writing brought value to my blog. In fact, I wouldn’t have even thought about writing this blog post if I wasn’t checking my RSS feed stats recently.
What I decided to do was graph the past 4 months of my RSS feed subscriber stats, taking a look at percentage change in subscribers for each day (rather than total subscribers, which has trended upwards at a fairly steady rate since I started this blog). What I found was actually pretty interesting, although I don’t necessarily believe the data is significant. Here’s the graph:
As it turns out, the two lowest points over the past four months, where my RSS subscriber count decreased the most (in terms of % of total subscribers) were the days immediately following the only two guest posts I published on my blog.
To put it in words, in case you don’t like reading graphs, my RSS subscriber count decreased 5% after Spencer’s guest post, and decreased 18.2% after Sunil’s. It’s worth noting that in both cases, the RSS subscriber count bounced back within the few days that followed each drop. It’s interesting nonetheless, especially since we’re talking about 4+ months of data.
I can’t say with any real certainty that these drops were caused by publishing the guest posts, but it has inspired me to write about the reason why publishing guest posts can be a bad thing.
Okay Then, Why Can Publishing Guest Posts Be a Bad Thing?
There’s one primary reason why I think publishing guest posts can negatively impact your blog, even if the impact is brief:
The posts aren’t written by you.
This is probably the biggest reason I can think of. People generally come to your blog to read your writing. Unless your blog is in a very unique niche where there aren’t many other blogs, or you have something else significant that differentiates you, your voice is most likely the “unique” aspect of your blog.
Therefore, when you remove your voice, you’re essentially removing the reason why many people visit your blog. This isn’t a problem in most cases, because it’s temporary. But I can almost guarantee that if I stopped writing and replaced my weekly posts with guest posts from different writers, there’s a good chance I would lose some of my regular readers.
Obviously there are some blogs that make this work, and then of course you’ll always have SEO traffic, which is mostly blind to the author of an article. The blogs that publish guest posts frequently, however, can do so for one main reason – they’re already very popular! After all, why would there be so many people willing/wanting to write guest posts for them? By this logic, it makes perfect sense that they can publish guest posts with a greater frequency and not damage their following.
The Benefits of Publishing Guest Posts
With any decision, you need to weigh the benefits vs. the negative points. Given the fact that guest posts are popular all over the blogosphere, it makes sense that there are some benefits to publishing guest posts. Here are a few of them:
1) They give the blog owner a break.
Depending on what you do for a living, blogging may not always have a place in your schedule. If you don’t write with any sort of regularity, this isn’t a big deal, but if you try to write once per week or more, you may need a break at times. Whether you’re going on vacation, busy with work, or just feel lazy, guest posts can give you a bit of breathing room.
2) They offer a different perspective or “expert” insight.
Different perspectives are generally a good thing, and this is one advantage of guest posts. Depending on your niche, there are probably people who are more knowledgeable than you about a particular topic, and guest posts allow you to share that knowledge with your readers.
3) They provide more content for your blog, which has lasting SEO benefits.
In general, more content on your website looks better to Google, provided it’s unique and not riddled with ads and spam.
4) They allow you to network with other bloggers, and open doors to future opportunities.
To me, this is the #1 benefit (so ignore the fact that I listed it fourth). By publishing someone’s guest post, you’re doing something that’s mutually beneficial – you get their content, and they get a link on your blog and whatever exposure comes along with it, which they will definitely appreciate.
This strengthens your relationship with the guest writer, which could give you opportunities in the future (being able to guest post on their blog, working with them on a joint venture, etc.). In the “business world,” everyone preaches the benefits of networking and building relationships, and a lot of that applies to the blogging world as well.
It’s clear that, in most cases, the benefits of publishing guest posts outweigh the primary disadvantage (the “loss” of you). Even so, it’s worth considering the negative impact of publishing a guest post, especially if you’re a newer blogger with a limited following.
Remember, people started reading your blog for a reason. Don’t take that reason away.
What do you think? Are there any other reasons why publishing guest posts could negatively impact your blog?