Is Your Guest Post a Waste? 5 Ways Bloggers Can Tell

5 Tips Reveal if Your Guest Post is Worth It. Makealivingwriting.comGuest posting can be a superb way to collect email subscribers. But it can also be a huge waste of time, as you write a compelling and well researched guest post perfectly targeted at the blog’s readers — and get no engagement or new subscribers.

Maybe you know a couple of blogs you think would make a perfect fit for you, because their readers are the people you want on your list.

But how can you tell if it’s really a good site to pitch? Is there any way of predicting how many subscribers you can get?

Many factors are in play, and you can never predict your results for sure. Still, I have done my fair share of guest posting, on sites including Write to Done, The Write Life, Boost Blog Traffic, and many others.

Over time, I’ve found these five factors help me decide whether to pitch a guest post or move on:

1. Not enough commenters

Probably the most important indicator you have is the number of comments the posts on the blog get. Comments mean engagement: Readers really like the blog and interact with it. They might be ready to invest a moment into finding out who is behind that guest post — you — and what you have to offer.

Look out for blogs with at least five different commenters (not comments) per post. If you find a blog with 10 or more commenters per post, it should be great hunting ground. Don’t count comments by the author of the post or by the blog owner, though.

For example, if you count like that, you’ll see that most posts here at Make a Living Writing have 25-40 different commenters per post or more. That’s an excellent number.

2. Little or no direct traffic

Direct traffic means readers who explicitly typed the blog’s URL into their browser or clicked its bookmark. Those readers are most valuable for you as a guest poster, because again, they care about the blog, and they engage. Any visitor who reaches the blog via a quick google search is less interested in the blog itself and its posters.

The website is your best friend to find out about traffic numbers. The basic version is free, and it’s all you need. Type “” into the search field and scroll down to “Traffic Sources.” The blue bar “Direct” will reveal to you how much the audience cares about the blog and its guest posters.

In my experience, below 20% direct traffic will give you poor guest posting results. 20%–30% is good to very good, and anything above 30% is stellar. MALW currently has almost 30%, which makes it a very interesting guest post target.

3. The blogger won’t link or introduce you

Some blogs, especially smaller ones, will introduce you above your guest post with a link. They might also allow you an embedded link in the body of the text.

Both of these opportunities are golden, because you can place your link in front of the reader early, before he gets distracted.

If you see an engaged community and a blogger introducing his or her guest posters or allowing embedded links, pitch that blog! Here on Make a Living Writing, as you’ll see below, I get up to two links in my tagline.

4. Not much total traffic

To find out a blog’s traffic numbers, again use Notice that total traffic is only number 4 on my list though. The three indicators above are by far more important.

I have written for a blog with 300,000 views per month and only got 25 signups. I have also written for small blogs and seen a much higher percentage of signups. Don’t fall for traffic numbers alone.

5. The topic isn’t a good fit

Obviously, the more similar the topics of the guest blog and your own blog (or your email goodie) are, the more subscribers you will get.

Keep in mind that the topic of the blog you post doesn’t have to be an exact fit — if the blog is big enough and its readers are highly engaged. For example, my niche is fiction writing, but I’m writing a guest post on MALW, which is all about freelance writing. It will hopefully pay off, because MALW is huge and readers love and trust Carol.

Other factors to consider

Once you’ve gone through these five criteria to decide whether you should pitch a blog, here are a few more things you can look at.

First, how many hyperlinks does a typical post on that blog include? Every hyperlink means an additional chance of distracting the reader before she gets down to your bio. The fewer hyperlinks, the better.

Also, how frequently does the blog publish a new post? The longer your post stays in the top position, the more attention and subscribers it will attract. Here at MALW, most posts stay up for a week these days, so that’s an advantage.

I hope this post helps you find a promising blog to guest post on. If it did, then what are you waiting for? Get pitching!

Have you guest posted before? Tell us how it went in the comments below.

Alex Limberg blogs about fiction writing at Ride the Pen. Create intriguing stories with his free e-book 44 Key Questions to test your story or check out his writing exercises.

How to be a Well-Paid Freelance Blogger

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35 comments on “Is Your Guest Post a Waste? 5 Ways Bloggers Can Tell
  1. Great advice, Carol. Trouble is, if everyone chases the best blogs based on this, that leaves the rest of us even further behind. And if we don’t fit the bill ourselves, then who would want our guest posts? Bit of a “catch 22”?

    Maybe the answer is to revese engineer these tips and find ways to get more engagement, get more direct traffic, be more helpful to our own guest bloggers by introducing them …etc.


    • Alex says:

      Hi Steve, I wouldn’t worry too much about whether there are spots left for you or not. For the good ones, there will always be room, and that’s true for any field.

      Many professional bloggers told me that most of the pitches they receive are written carelessly and sometimes aren’t even on topic for their blog. Maybe Carol can chime in on this.

      Also, there are a lot of blogs to choose from, you don’t have to get every single one of your pitches accepted.

      So just focus on writing an awesome pitch, an awesome post and having the right guest post bio and landing page.

      • Carol Tice says:

        LOL, I wrote my comment before seeing this – but yes! Really, the competition is…mediocre. Go for it!

        • melissa says:

          Hello Carol I read a few of your posts and was wondering
          how do you start? I have wrote articles, and seem to be
          stuck at every turn, I enjoy writing. I just seem stuck a
          lot. any tips will be appreciated.

          • Ravi says:

            I’m from a non-native English speaking region. But I can say that your comment have many grammatical errors. I do enjoy writing, but it’s not enough to go up. We should take any advice of our seniors without giving up.

            I thought my English fine. Of course, I know my English better than my friends’. But after started participating with native speakers/writers, I learned my English needs more improvement. And Carol advised the same.

            After taking her advice in positive way, my English started improving day by day.

            On other side, I can share you one big tip that I really love. It is questioning ourselves. The questions are like where we stuck, why…?

            • Ravi says:

              Sorry, if you’re feeling bad for my comment. Of course, we can correct our mistakes if we look back and verify our writing either in grammar or style department of our writing. I could find that I forgot “is” at the line, “I thought my English IS fine.”

          • Carol Tice says:

            Not sure where you’re stuck, Melissa — on finishing the articles, or on where/how to pitch them? Either way, you might want to take a look at my ebooks tab up top — lots of useful resources on there. 😉

    • Carol Tice says:

      Here at MALW, we HAVE discussed how we used to do top bylines and now don’t in our style…maybe I should go back to doing introductions. 😉 I’ve disliked that because then instead of the keywords of the post, on Google search what’s visible is something fairly non-useful like, “This is a guest post from X person, enjoy!” So it’s a challenge.

      But I hate when people get tips and that just depresses them and makes them feel ‘further behind.’ Don’t take it that way!

      There are MANY popular blogs out there, in many different niches. If you’ve done your research and have a strong topic for them, they’re going to be interested. Trust me, 95% of the guest post pitches major blogs receive are complete junk — not even remotely in the ballpark of what would be acceptable or useful to that audience.. There’s always room for one more gem.

  2. Williesha says:

    Thanks Alex, this is a really informative post. I was about to start looking for a site to check traffic, so I will definitely use

    I have done guest posting and have also experienced some highs and lows. Guesting here was fun, because I got a lot of comments and shares. Other blogs are great for getting me web traffic.

    I’m probably going to start to re-check sites’ traffic after 6 months or a year. They may have increased or decreased for some reason.

    Thanks for this!

    • Alex says:

      Awesome! I found traffic numbers way less important though than the number of comments a blog gets.

      And you need an email list and get readers to subscribe – because traffic comes and goes, but your list stays.

      • Carol Tice says:

        I totally agree with that — some folks SAY they have a big list…but if there’s no comments, they have a highly disengaged audience. And that means nobody clicks on your link and comes and subscribes over on your site.

    • Carol Tice says:

      I hadn’t used similarweb before this and I looove it! I love learning from my guest posters. 😉

  3. Stephen says:

    Hi Carol,

    I have been following you for a few days, since I did a Google search for Big Bloggers and found a post you wrote.

    I am enjoying reading your posts that are helping me to understand the business a little better. Thanks for that.

    I am actually writing a couple of blogs and starting to wonder it I should just focus on one.

  4. As a relatively new blogger this is wonderfully informative.

  5. Holly Bowne says:

    This is great! I’ve been contemplating launching a blog and love the actionable advice as well as the similarweb tip. Thanks, Alex!

  6. Lem Enrile says:

    Great read! I love the part about

    I have a friend who works in an SEO agency before, and asked her on what kind of websites should I guest blog on.

    She said that if I would like to improve my blog’s ranking, I should look for websites with at least a domain authority (DA) of 20 and a page rank (PR) of 2, so that my guest posts won’t be wasted.

    To check a website’s DA, you can use the MOZ toolbar. And for the PR, there are a variety of PR add-ons or extensions for your browser.

    I hope this additional information helps.

    • Alex says:

      Yes, and just to clarify for all readers: Choosing guest blogs for SEO is a different topic. Sheer blog size matters there.

      My post is just about finding the blog that will give you the most email subscribers. And there, it’s not about blog size, but about reader engagement.

      • Lem Enrile says:

        Oh, yes. I completely understand the topic of the post. Sorry for not making my previous comment clear.

        I thought that it would be great to achieve one’s goal of having lots of email subscribers while considering the tips stated in the post, and at the same time, improving your blog or website’s rank while considering some SEO tips in mind — so I shared an additional information. It’s like killing two birds with one stone, to get the most value out of your guest post.

  7. Hello Carol,

    This post was an eye opener I never really get much signups which puts me under the “Not Enough Traffic” category you mentioned above. I now fully understand my mistakes and I will fix it when I come up with my next guest post, thanks once again for making the time to write on this topic.

  8. Ravi says:

    These are my comments on 5 factors you wrote:

    1) I observed that some super popular site posters don’t respond to the readers’ comments. Actually this is also an important point. If authors don’t care of their readers comments, the readers will stop commenting in future posts even if they wanted to. (I am not talking about spam, hate or fake comments.)

    2) Yes. Direct traffic clearly shows the value of a site. I usually come to this site directly typing your web url. (Yes, I cannot say if you ask me how many times I came to your site through a search engine.)

    3) If there is no info about the guest author, that post would fulfill this post title! (Yea, total time waste.)

    4) There is a huge difference between real traffic and accidental traffic. We should be care of unique and regular visitors’ count, not the traffic count.
    If a website has the less number of bounce rate, it could be a real popular site. But which site is willing to provide the bounce rate publicly? Maybe no site.

    5) Not much related guest post about the niche would not get subscribers when the readers are serious at the niche. Another point I can point out is I didn’t subscribe or follow the guest post authors—yes, I am talking about some guest post authors of this (MAWL) site—if they are not directly related to writing, even if I liked the guest post so much.

  9. Larry says:

    Really interesting post. It definitely will impact where I try and guest post. Thanks for the tips.

  10. Mickiyas B. says:

    Hi Alex,

    Nice post, it takes a lot of time and hard work to write a guest post. Instead of guess work, try to gauge the type of result you’ll get by submitting content to a particular site. This will help you to get the most of of your guest blogging efforts.

    I’m relaunching a guest blogging campaign and I’m sure this information will help me to obtain better results out of it.

    Thanks for sharing!

  11. Awesome collection,I think this is very helpful for every blog has to need this useful info.

  12. Joshua Lisec says:

    Hello Carol and company!

    Since there are several folks in this comment feed struggling with confidence — as I did for years — I wanted to share with you the 5-step process I used to land my first major / huge / big guest post spot.

    So, here you go, Introducing the 1-2-3-4-5 Punch. Here’s how…

    1. After identifying the blogs and websites that discuss topics I have ideas to write about, I left comments on the blog that jumped out at me as the best fit. Real comments with actual feedback. Not throwaway “This was real nice!” crap.

    2. After I left comments, I hung around the blogger’s social media, sharing my own experiences and being a positive voice there to add fresh ideas to the blogger’s content.

    3. After I put myself on the blogger’s radar, I found he was actually responding to comments I left on his blog! We have CONTACT, ladies and gentlemen! That’s when I shot over an email to introduce myself — NOT to pitch a topic, but to just say thank you for the value he adds to readers like me. He responded in less than 1 hour. As a note, I used this exact phrase in my email to tell him I planned on pitching a guest post, “I’ve got something cooking up that’s in line with your XYZ article, but it won’t be ’til later this month. For now, I wanted to pop in and share my gratitude.” I did that to show I wasn’t desperate for a link to my site.

    4. Now, it’s pitch time! In the guest post idea pitch I sent him, I did not write the article himself. Rather, I explained how the article he wrote (that I loved) is “the left shoe,” and my idea is “the right shoes” — a perfect companion piece his readers will love. I closed the email with a series of short bullets explaining the high points of the post I’m proposing, but more importantly, what his readers would *gain* from those points. The key life-transforming takeaways, if you will. In 1 hour, he emailed back with “BRING IT ON! Write the full article, send it over, and I’ll tell you what I think.”

    5. So, I then wrote the article and got some feedback from my personal accountability group, then sent it over to him in a Google Doc. Of course, I made sure to include photos with Creative Commons license so he wouldn’t have to use new ones himself — basically, I did the heavy lifting for him already.

    And voila! I landed subscribers out of the guest post! Not 100’s, but it’s a nice start on the building of an audience.

    Looking back, I could not believe how stupid-easy this was, and I’d put off guest posting for nearly 2 years!

    • Carol Tice says:

      Thanks for sharing your win, Joshua — I’ve actually learned some tricks for converting more subscribers off a guest post that I’ll be sharing in my upcoming Small Blog, Big Income e-book. 😉 I had the same problem when I started — I got few subscribers off my guest posts.

  13. One more amazing article on this blog. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Ahmad Ben says:

    Hi Carol,

    Thanks for writing taking the time to write this post! I’m actually just starting one of my guest blogging campaigns where i’ll be pitching a few niche blogs for guest posting opportunities. I didn’t think about direct traffic or the number of comments on each post at all so this has come in very useful for me. I’ll be implementing these helpful tips going forward!