How to Create Guest Post Guidelines for Your Blog

It’s well known that one of my strategies used to rise to fame came from being everywhere, all the time. I used the power of guest posting and blog commenting tactics to reach people around the globe.

If reaching people is what you want, you’ll find plenty of advice on guest posting right here at Men with Pens, including great tips on accepting guest posts to your blog – like this post on submission guidelines from Ann Smarty. Enjoy!

You know there’s power in guest posting and that it’s mutually beneficial to both parties. You might even be thinking of accepting guest posts on your blog. (Check out this post for great tips on how to find great guest post authors.)

The next step is to create a solid guest post policy of guidelines.

Why You Need Clear Guest Post Guidelines

With a clear list of guest post guidelines, you can:

  • Cut down on low-quality submissions: If you state your criteria for approval, chances are that most people will adhere
  • Cut down on irrelevant submissions: Let people know what topics to cover in their posts
  • Cut down on poorly-formatted post – and save your time on formatting them)
  • Avoid any misunderstandings
  • Have solid grounds to modify or reject the post without offending anyone

What to Add to Your Guest Post Policy

Besides the obvious such as how to apply as a contributor or the process of submitting the guest post, you may want to include the following in your policy:

Your Quality Requirements

Some people (myself included) think that strict standards limit the author’s creativity. For example, a post shouldn’t be too long to be awesome. However, without standards, you’ll be flooded with low-quality posts, so clearly state the quality you expect in terms of word-count length, language, originality and uniqueness.

Your Preferred Topics and Subjects

List some specific topics you’d prefer for guest post content. You can suggest some areas that you don’t have expertise in and thus would like an outside perspective. Alternatively, you can share some post ideas, basing them on posts that you know are especially well received by your audience.

Your Link Requirements and Policies

It’s very important to mention what you’ll accept in regards to linking, because that’s usually what causes plenty of issues and misunderstandings. You might:

  • Ask the guest poster to link to other posts found on your blog, or make it clear you’ll add internal links yourself
  • Specify how many links guest posters are allowed to use in the content and byline
  • Specify your position on affiliate links within post content (normally forbidden)
  • Express your opinion on keyword-rich anchor text (like Daniel, you may be against SEOd links in guest posts)
  • Mention whether guest posters are allowed to link to their own content within the post

Your Post Image Requirements

Do you require an image sent in with the guest post to make it more attention-grabbing? That’s up to you. But keep in mind that if you do request images or the poster sends one in, you should know that image attribution is important. All images should be properly attributed and have been credited. Remember, the image is published on your blog: you don’t want stolen images there!.

Your Republishing Policies

Some blogs allow republishing of guest posts; some don’t. The traditional position is that the post belongs to the blog owner, is credited to the author and cannot be republished anywhere else. This protects from duplicate content issues. Some authors may be unaware that they can’t publish their guest post elsewhere, so it’s best to make clear whether you only accept original content and whether you expect your blog to be its ultimate home.

Your Editorial Policies

Do you edit guest posts? How many edits should a guest post author expect? Let people know to avoid misunderstandings. ProBlogDesign editors have worded it nicely: “Please don’t be offended if we suggest changes.”

Your Formatting Preferences

You may want to include a few lines about how you prefer guest posts be formatted, such as:

  • Using subheadings in the post body (I usually ask guest posters to include H2-H3 tags)
  • Whether you prefer HTML formatting
  • Using short paragraphs or bullet points (to make the post easier to read)
  • Now that you have a good idea what to include on your guest post guidelines policy, write one up! Don’t forget to make it easy to find on your blog, and give the link to anyone applying to be a guest poster.

    Do you have guest post guidelines? Share some of your favorite policies or guidelines in the comment section!

    Ann Smarty has been guest posting for the past two years. Her passion resulted in My Blog Guest, a community of guest post bloggers. If you want to submit to hundreds of high-profile bloggers or find quality writers ready to contribute to your site, come join!

Post by Agent X

Agent X is the name many mysterious and intriguing people take on when they guest post at our site. Their mission is to slip in like a thief in the night, leave you with entertaining, valuable and useful content, and slip away again - without getting caught.

Join the Discussion. Click Here to Leave a Comment.

  1. Hey Agent,

    Nice Post man. I think Guest Post Guidelines Page is very important. I created that page from my first day of blogging LOl :D !!

    Thanks for sharing this great post.

    ~Dev
    .-= Dev | Technshare´s last blog ..How To Professionally Conduct a Interview? =-.

  2. What a great guest post on guest posts! Guest posting is an easy way to really reach out to a new group of people you may have not reached in the past. Thank you for sharing this amazing guide on the topic!
    .-= Heather Villa´s last blog ..How to Take Your Business to the Next Level =-.

  3. So useful that I tweeted this. I’ve been thinking of hanging out a shingle calling for guest posters, but didn’t know where to start. I didn’t even think of rules regarding links.
    .-= Karen Friesecke´s last blog ..Hungarian Dogs Having Fun At The Beach =-.

  4. In my opinion, its finding a good fit with subject matter that really counts.

    There are some great sites that feature guest posts with highly relevant content. Copyblogger, The Art of Manliness and this blog (of course!) are great examples of doing it “right”.

    I have stumbled on a few blogs where theres a guest post that just seems off topic and more focused on the author’s interest, rather than the readers.

    This is a great guide – also valuable advice for crafting guest post submissions. By aiming to check all these boxes, I’d guess a that a guest post would be more likely to be approved and published.

  5. Very interesting information, I’ll open my own blog and think that it is useful to me.
    .-= Michael´s last blog ..Will government cutbacks curtail recovery in the construction sector? =-.

  6. Excellent. I’m planning on creating a “write for us” page on the blog and was actually thinking on how to organize the page and what requirements I should include. Thanks!
    .-= Alice´s last blog ..Reasons Android Mobiles are Outselling iPhones =-.

  7. @Peter – Heh, I wrote this right after receiving this post:

    http://menwithpens.ca/guest-post-guidelines

    And yep, this post was a great checklist on what not to forget!

  8. What a great idea. I haven’t had a guest post guideline, but will definitely be making one today.
    .-= Todd´s last blog ..The nutritionist chronicles – Part 7 =-.

  9. Great post.

    I have been working on finding more places to guest post, but haven’t thought on accepting guest posts yet. I do look specifically at what the blog is looking for and try to keep my post to their standards. It floors me to hear how so many don’t have the guidelines as well as those that don’t abide by them.

    Thanks again.
    .-= George Passwater´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday: What Words Does Your Business Paint? =-.

  10. Thanks for this great post! It’s timely, as my business blog is in development, and I’ve been thinking about how to approach content, etc and in particular about guest posts. You’re a great resource!

    However, what’s up with the very bottom of the post? An entire section hyperlinked and it looks as if the text cuts off at the end (“Her passion resulted in…)?

    Otherwise, good stuff! :D

  11. PS It’s only fubared in IE8, looks fine in Firefox and Safari.

  12. @Briana – Thanks for the heads up on that, and for checking with multiple browers. I’ll get that fixed up today!

  13. Very useful guidelines
    It would be just great if every blogger had such a manual on his or her blog. It would have made guest blogging much easier/
    .-= Edward´s last blog ..One Million Dollar Sandwich =-.

  14. Good set of tips. I know that I need to get my arse off the couch and start guest posting myself.

    Speaking as a reader of hundreds of blogs, there are a few things I’ve noticed about the traits of ultra-fabulous guest posters, and ultra-sucky ones.

    One thing that I would definitely add would be to encourage the writer to write in a voice that is similar to the feel of the post.

    If you are in a place that likes to drop a lot of F-bombs like Ittybiz or Johnny Truant, then write with all your momma gave you, but if you are on a more conservative site and you think that a big, bag of witty potty jokes might liven the mood, then you could end up losing readership for the blog that you posted upon.

    …not a win-win for anyone.

    Watch your voice and make sure that you are info-taining your audience.

    -Joshua Black
    The Underdog Millionaire
    .-= Joshua Black | The Underdog Millionaire´s last blog ..Small Business Owners: Total Screw Up From British Airways Leaves a Critical Marketing Lesson for All of Us =-.

  15. So many thanks for accepting and publishing my post!

    I am glad you hear it prompted you to create guest posting guidelines of your own :)

    I also see some folks from here joining MyBlogGuest – I hope you’ll enjoy it there!

  16. Ok, ok, you convinced me. I’ve just created and posted my guidelines. Thanks for the little push. :)

  17. We have our guest blogging in place for quite some time, which really helps to get good submissions. But this article really provides some valuable insights to improve our post.
    .-= QOT´s last blog ..How to Add Background Image to Google.com =-.

  18. This is a really helpful guide on guest posts. It certainly saves wasted time on both sides writing and reading posts that don’t fit the website’s style and content.
    .-= Frank´s last blog ..Copyright 3 =-.

  19. I host guests once a week, and I provide them with basic guidelines. I also posted my own observations after a year of playing host, for both the guest and the host. Not sure how links work in comments here, but if this doesn’t work, type “Reflections on Blogging” into the search box in the sidebar.

    http://terryodell.blogspot.com/2009/12/reflections-on-blogging.html
    .-= Terry Odell´s last blog ..Sex and the Single Mother =-.

  20. I’ve haven’t used any guest post yet but I would love to use it. It gives me interest of having one on my site. Thanks for sharing this wonderful and informative post.

  21. Guest posting is definitely a powerful way to get more people involved in your blog and build up a strong community. I need to go back over my “Pop” Post guidelines again and see about making a few changes myself. A lot of great ideas here and I like how you mentioned linking to an article in your blog and making sure the writer doesn’t go overboard with words.

    Great advice here! :)

  22. There is a lot more to think through in creating a set of guidelines than I realized.

  23. Lots of great information here! I already have guest posting guidelines (here: http://wp.me/PXw7h-4w) but you’ve brought up some considerations I missed. Thanks! I’ve gotten a favorable response from people asking to guest post. They seem to like knowing what’s expected, and as you said, I like heading off misunderstandings right from the start.

  24. I am new to blogging and just received a request from someone to guest post and I wasn’t sure what that was!?! Then I found your post …..Thank You for such an informative post. All my questions are answered now I just have to create the page

  25. Nice tip. It’s more like being unique. Since guest posting trend is increasing, It’s always a good advice to Do something out of box and enjoy traffic via Guest posting.

    Is it hard to get accepted as a guest poster or are most blogs open to it?

  26. Thanks for this post! Found it when I googled “Guest Post Guidelines” as I’m making mine! Should make life simpler! :-)
    Lori

  27. I found your blog while googling “guest post rules.” I’m a girl, hope you don’t mind. I am developing my Guidelines after a very disappointing guest post. I had a guest blogger; at the time I had no “rules.” I re-posted a blog of hers. She’s not mentioned me, tweeted me, FB’d me, nada. I was extremely disappointed and a little p.o.’d. So now I’ve developed Guidelines, and I also outline how I want guest blogs presented/written (no huge paragraphs but with small paragraphs and lots of white space), bolded headers, easy to read, word count min and maximum, etc. AND, if I use you as a guest blogger, you will link to me somewhere – your FB, your Twitter, your blog.

  28. Thank you for this information. I was just invited to write a guest post so I thought I’d better look up guidelines used by others just in case someone wanted to write a post on my site as well.

  29. Thank you for this post. I am recently receiving an increasing number of requests for guest posts, and I was thinking about setting some kind of criteria for these. Your post helped me in this.

  30. I am beginning to accept guest posts on my blogs. It sounds like my guidelines for guest posts was about right on track. Thanks for the tips, it has given me confidence to stand firm on my guidelines. :) Now I need to go and write up a page on guest posting for the rest of my blogs…

  31. Awesome tips Ann. I am going to create a landing page for guest authors and these tips will surely help me.

  32. Thanks for this. I went through it step by step to create my Guest Posting guidelines.

  33. Perfect information! I just had this awesome idea to add guest blogging guidelines to my contact page and the good old men with pens folks deliver the goods. Love the blog, the fired-up call-to-action attitude, and the constant stream of actionable content like this. Keep up the good work!

  34. Good post….. a few things i like to remember is when guest posting think quality not quantity, If you going to post on someone’s site, make sure there worthy of linking yourself up to, and if people are guest posting on your site make sure they include their Google+ profile link with rel=author, if they don’t know why, give them the heads up.

  35. I liked where this post was going, and considered sharing it, until I saw “15 minutes to write…..” I agree with Patrick, and others, who say that writing a blog or article post takes much more than just fast typing, creative thinking and a glib tongue..err pen… ugh… word processor. My posts can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 3 hours depending on the amount of research I need to do. Honestly, saying such things is almost counterproductive to your overall message because there is always that client who wants to learn (he gets online and reads just enough about SEO, content marketing, and blogging to make him an “expert” in his own eyes) and who will take that statement and run with it, saying something like, “see- ‘they’ say it only takes you 15 minutes. It must be easy. Why should I pay so much for just 15 minutes of work?”
    Nonetheless, you make some great points here and I agree absolutely that blog writing is much more complex and brain-energy consuming than site content for static pages.
    My rates are based on value first and vary depending on client type, length, subject matter and complexity. Most of the writing I do is ghostwriting for client’s blogs under the client bi-line (a bummer for my portfolio, but it pays well); that also entails the ability to emulate, or create, and maintain a voice. Many times I am given a specific subject to write about, as well as links to include, but must also consider the client’s message or product; that takes a certain kind of blogging savoir-faire that not everyone is capable of. Finally, for some clients, I am also expected to write with SEO in mind (title, tags, anchor text, keywords, LSI variations and density) and upload to the client’s CMS (usually WordPress, but this can vary) along with an image, as well as tag and categorize the post, and add the description.
    The bottom line is that my clients understand the value of a writer who can bring more to the table (SEO, CMS) and who takes the time to understand their brand, voice, objectives, products and philosophies, as well as to research and create posts that are relevant, entertaining and valuable to their readers, AND serves their SEO goals.
    If a potential client is not willing to pay my rates because he does not understand the value of those things, he is not the kind of client I want or need. Fortunately, I have been blessed with a number of clients who get it. Nevertheless, it does make it difficult when blogging experts write things like “15 minutes” is all it takes… your audience may be broader than you think.

  36. Great post! I like the way you covered every possible snag that could arise. I hate telling people no, and these guidelines will help me avoid that.

Trackbacks

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  12. [...] How to Create Guest Post Guidelines – This article covers everything I could possibly think of to put into your site’s guest post guidelines. I’ve been meaning to create some guidelines for submission and this article let me do it! That being said, if you’re interesting in guest posting on this site, please see my Guest Posting Guidelines page for more information and to submit a pitch! [...]

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  18. [...] It’s important, though, to keep the tone of your guidelines positive. The point isn’t to scare contributors off but to give them a helping hand. Good examples of clear but encouraging guidelines can be found on Copyblogger and ProBlogger; sound advice on how to write them is offered by One Stop Blog and Men with Pens. [...]

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