Are you making the most of the opportunities from your blog?

When you start your blog it’s likely that you’ll have specific goals in mind that you’d like to achieve. But sometimes along the way new opportunities come up that you didn’t expect. Some of them will excite you and feel right so you’ll be comfortable to follow them through.  Then there are other opportunities that you’re reluctant to turn down, but not really sure if they are a good fit for your blog.  

Once you start blogging about a topic that you’re passionate about, and attracting visitors from your target audience, all sorts of opportunities can be presented to you.

Opportunities like:

  • writing guest blogs for other bloggers
  • accepting guest blogs from other bloggers
  • hosting paid advertisements on your blog
  • being paid to add a link or a sponsored post to your blog
  • partnerships with businesses who have a similar target audience
  • swapping reciprocal links with another blog.

Serena and I get lots of emails detailing potential opportunities for this blog, and I get quite a few for my personal blog about grand slam tennis:

In the beginning I considered all requests carefully, regardless of what they were. Then I learned to be more discerning. If my gut instinct was that an opportunity wasn’t right I would say “no” instead of spending time to consider it.

Accepting guest blogs

Writing guest articles for blogs with a similar target audience is an excellent way to reach new people and build inbound links. Hence savvy bloggers are always looking for opportunities to write guest blogs.

The quality of each and every piece of content that you publish on your blog is important.  You need to make sure that articles written by others fit with the tone and style of articles that your subscribers like to read. Although accepting a guest blog can seen like an easy way to get a new piece of content, if it’s not the right style, you may find that you spend more time editing it than you would have writing an article from scratch.

When asked about accepting guest blogs now, if I don’t know the guest blogger* I ask them to:

  • Send links to other articles on relevant topics that they have written
  • Confirm that the article has not been offered to any other blogs, and will only be published on my blog
  • I also reserve the right to give final confirmation that I will publish the article after I’ve read it.

*When the guest blogger is someone that you know, and whose blog you read regularly, it’s likely that you’ll be comfortable with their style of content and will able to say either “yes” or “no” straight away.

Advertising requests

For advertising requests, if you agree to accept payment for banner ads then you need to work out how much to charge. This topic is covered in this ProBlogger article on How much should I charge for my advertising space.

Link building requests

Buying or selling links that pass PageRank is in violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and can negatively impact a site’s ranking in search results.

Source: Google Webmaster Tools

Because it violates Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, as quoted above, I have a policy never to accept money for adding a link to a blog.

If the request is for an unpaid link from a blog that I read regularly that I’m comfortable to recommend then I accept it. If it’s from a blog that I’m not familiar with then I would subscribe and read the blog for a while before making a decision. In all cases I would ask the other blog to link back to me, so that it is a “reciprocal link”. And I look to see that a link to my blog has been added before I add a link back.

There is a lot of discussion over the value of reciprocal links, which aren’t as valuable in terms of search engine optimisation as a one way link. I asked an SEO expert at a conference last year whether or not it is good practice and he advised that it is OK, but should be done naturally, ensuring that you only link with quality websites.

Also be aware that Google’s guidelines are against:

Excessive reciprocal links or excessive link exchanging (“Link to me and I’ll link to you.”)

Partnerships with businesses who have a similar target audience

In my experience partnerships opportunities can be the hardest to define initially, but can become the most exciting and valuable in the long run. The relationship might start with an email along the lines of “can we discuss ways that we could work together for mutual benefit”.

Provided that they have a similar target audience and appear to be an honest and ethical business, I am always open to meeting with these businesses, either in person or via Skype, to kick around ideas and see what we can come up with. Not once have I been disappointed in the results.

If you decide to go ahead and work together, follow good business practices such as putting the details and time frame in writing etc.

Book publishing

From her blog, How to Retire in 12 Months, Serena got asked if she would write a book. She says:

It was pretty exciting when I first got the call. My blog gave them a clear idea of my writing style and they liked the idea of the challenge. What they had also considered was my reach through various databases and social media, this is pretty important to publishers when they sign a book.

I am confident that the book offer would not have happened without the blog. If you are interested in publishing through traditional means make sure that you produce great content! A blog is like a portfolio of your writing over time. Also work on building your community size and engagement, this will really help make you appealing to publishers.

What opportunities have been created from your blog that wouldn’t have happened otherwise? Please leave a comment and let us know.