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


  1. Ahmad Ben

    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!

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

  3. Joshua Lisec

    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

      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.

    • Joshua Lisec

      Sweet, thanks for the heads-up Carol! I did see that on your Facebook page 🙂

  4. Sample Essays

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

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