Tuesday, November 6, 2012

How To Be a GREAT Guest Blogger

Guest blogging is one of the best ways to boost your online presence and increase your community. Whether you've invited someone to post or you're the guest, there are some basic guidelines that will help both of you.

Send A Finished, Formatted Post

I can't tell you the number of hours I've spent formatting posts. I've had people send their text in a variety of ways, all of which left me deleting spaces and various other junky hidden characters. Then I've had to insert images, add links and write bios, all of which are time-consuming tasks.

NO MORE. There's a much better way. In fact, I've seen several sites request posts in this format, and it's easy to understand why.

1. Format your post ON YOUR OWN BLOG. 

Create a draft and write your entire post, then add the images you want, insert the links where appropriate, and add your bio at the end. (Make your bio short, but include links to your blog and your Twitter account. This is mine:

Preview it, make whatever adjustments are necessary, and save (don't schedule) the post.

2. Send your host blogger the HTML code for your post. 

HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language, and it's the "programming guts" of your post. At the top of your editor, you'll see "Compose" and "HTML"

Take a deep breath and click the HTML button. You should see your text, but with some weird stuff.

Those are "tags" and are muy importante to the program that launches your post into cyberspace. You're going to highlight everything in that box and copy it.

After you've copied the ENTIRE BLOCK, open a Word document, and paste all that text/code. Save the document with a good descriptive name, and don't worry about the length. I usually title mine something like:

"Susan Stilwell - How To Be A Great Guest Blogger - HTML code.docx"

Email your host, and attach the Word document you just created. You might mention something like, 

"The attached file has the HTML code, so all you need to do is copy the text, click HTML in your editor, and paste. Feel free to change the formatting to suit your site."

They might have to do a few minor adjustments, but for the most part the post should be pretty close to perfect. They won't need to upload images or track down links, which will save them a LOT of time.

IMPORTANT: after you've copied the HTML code, go back up to the editor and click Compose. If you don't, Blogger will open your next post in HTML mode.

3. Promote your host when your post publishes.

Be sure to tweet and post to your social media sites (Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumbler, Digg, Google+, etc), but you might also consider posting a "teaser" on your blog, then share the link to your host's blog:

[The first paragraph or two of your post, and leave them hanging.]

Want to read the rest of the story? Join me over at [Host's] today and share your thoughts!

Guest blogging this way is a win-win. You share good content with your host, they introduce you to their readers and you introduce your readers to them! And the way to become a guest blogger is to invite a guest blogger. And be sure to send them this link!


I appreciate your comments and feedback - please leave yours below!


  1. Wow, Susan, I just guest posted for someone this week and never thought about submitting in HTML format- I can see how that would save valuable time. Thanks, as always, for the tip.

    1. You won't BELIEVE how much easier this is, Julia -- saves time for everybody!

  2. love this, short, sweet and to the point! Easy to read, easy to understand, and easy to do! thanks for the byline suggestion too! Susan, you rock! (yes, old ladies say that)

    1. So glad you found it helpful, Nancy. And THIS old lady is always telling people they ROCK :)

  3. You are just too smart!! :) I hope my guest post wasn't one that caused nightmares. :P

    Yes, you do rock!!!

  4. Never crossed my mind to do it in HTML! Great idea! You are just full of all kinds of information!!! :-)

  5. Well, I just sent you a list of things I'd like for a guest post, then as I'm hanging out on your other site I find this post link... and I'm enjoying the mental picture of how you're probably yawning at my list of guidelines :). Love the idea of HTML. How does that sending HTML differ from how posts are transferred from one content manager to another? I noticed a bunch of my blogger posts moved over to Wordpress and got all funky-looking. Spaces, strange type size at points... Ah, the mysteries of technology.


Thanks for the feedback!