Performancing Metrics

How to Reward Your Guest Authors and Build a Strong Community

Reward your guest authors

The best (and I’d say the only) way to create a strong community of talented guest authors around your blog is to offer incentives. You want your guest bloggers to be sincere in their desire to provide quality – so you want to be sincere in your desire to pay back.

No, it is not about money. Guest blogging is about benefit exchange: the authors give your blog high-quality content (and thus traffic and leads) and you give your guests exposure.

So do you promote your guest authors enough?

Rewarding with Backlinks

You may not really like that but let’s face it: most (even awesome) guest authors contribute content for links. Being generous in linking is the sure-fire way to get plenty of active guest contributors.

Important note: your linking policies are up to you. My own take is that if the author provides awesome content, he 100% deserves at least two or three keyword-rich (or “SEOed”) links. But that’s up to you, your niche, your experience and what you belief in. I absolutely believe there is no right or wrong way to do that.

Let me make it clear that you really should be careful with linking (at least to some extent):

  • If you are too generous and let your guest authors link back to whatever they want, you have good chances to attract plenty of spammers;
  • Links are not just for search engines, they are primarily for users: make sure the links are useful for your blog readers in the first place.

Here is what I can recommend:

  • Always find out which web pages your guest blogger is willing to link back to (before letting him write the post for the first time);
  • Maintain high standards in your linking policies and make it clear that backlinks are NOT the hugest benefit your guest bloggers are getting.

(Personal) Brand Awareness: Author Boxes and Profiles

Another great way to give your authors more exposure is to work on your blog author boxes:

  • Demonstrate that your blog has the diversity of voices;
  • Let your authors build their (personal) brand awareness (and thus encourage them to contribute more often).

Make sure to read this post on WordPress customizations that requires no plugins. The very first tip mentioned there is actually about creating a cool author box without any plugin needed – which may ultimately mean more freedom and customization available. Here’s another great article by Franky describing how to optimize the author pages with the description, info and Gravatar photos.

If you prefer to use a plugin, here are a few options (tested and found compatible with the most recent WordPress edition):

Author Exposed is an absolutely clutter-free nice-looking plugin that can be used in combination with any design hacks you have at your site. With it, the author info is visible only after a click: by clicking on the author name the layer pops up with author info generated from the profile page, plus gravatar photo:

Author exposed

If you are concerned about the link love you are giving to your authors (which you certainly should be), the box is JavaScript-driven (so not really search-friendly), so you’d better use another way (probably, in combination with this one) to reward your guest authors with well-deserved links.

Cool Author Box: This plugin creates an author box below the post displaying:

  • The name and the bio of the author of the post or page
  • Gravatar of the author
  • Link to other posts by the same author
  • Link to author’s website

I wish it were a bit more customizable in terms of look and feel:

Cool Author Box

Author Spotlight: This plugin works as the sidebar widget. It automatically detects the author of the current post (which means the widget is hidden on the home page and category pages) and displays the following author information:

  • The author’s name;
  • The author’s website;
  • The author’s bio (with the link to the full bio);
  • The link to the author’s posts.

The plugin text can be customized:

Author Spotlight

Rewarding with the Words of Appreciation

Tangible incentives (like links and author photos) are great but no community is strong enough unless its members feel welcomed and appreciated. So don’t forget to express you positive feedback in public:

  • Always comment actively at your guest authors’ posts. Make it obvious you are proud of their contribution;
  • If you tweet your contributor’s post, credit him publicly (by including “by @author-username” part);
  • If you share at Facebook, tag your contributor for him to receive it and appreciate the credit.

Building the solid and active community of guest bloggers around your blog takes time and effort (and you obviously need to pay back) but the outcome is priceless!

Do you reward your guest authors well enough to encourage them to provide high-quality content in exchange?

This is a guest post by Ann Smarty building an ethical community of guest bloggers at – join and enjoy if you are serious about guest blogging!

Categories: Guest Posts, WordPress Plugins, WordPress Tips
Tags: , , ,

This post was written by . You can visit the for a short bio, more posts, and other information about the author.

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  1. Stephen TBA ) says: 6/25/2010

    I have recently created a policy for guest posting and I have set it up inline with your recommendations. There has to be something in it for the author, so I am happy to allow dofollow SEO friendly links in return for quality content.

    In the long term, and in a world where links are difficult to come by, links are probably more valuable than a financial reward.


  2. Joe Boyle ) says: 6/25/2010

    To start this comment off, let me say, great post!

    It is important to treat the authors who guest post on your blog like children of your own. If they do something good, you credit them and congratulate them. If they do something wrong, however, you give some tips and inspiration, thus allowing a great result.

    If you treat guest posts as your own blog post, and do everything – promotion included – the same way, you will encourage them to come back.


  3. Robyn from Sam's Web Guide ) says: 6/27/2010

    This is an awesome guide Ann and I agree entirely about rewarding guest authors. This is something that I have been thinking about for my blog since I receive a few guests there. I’ve just been trying to come up with the most attractive incentive for quality work.

    I’ve thought about having a monthly post that features all guest authors with quality backlinks to their work.


  4. Curtis ) says: 6/29/2010

    Thanks a lot for this. My blog is really new and doesn’t draw much traffic yet. I’m wondering if people would ever be interested in guest blogging for a new site if offered a link in my blogroll as well as links in the article itself. Thoughts?


  5. safakaka ) says: 8/3/2010

    That is a good way to reward authors. The authors can drive traffic from there. I have done and thank you for your advice…


  6. Sandeep Singh ) says: 1/24/2011

    I agree ann !! Guest authors must be rewarded with a backlink and some other goodies . This will surely create a strong bond. I think blogging pro allows it , aint it ????