What I’ve Learned From Guest Blogging

As I sit here responding to comments on Natalie’s post, I am reminded why I love Guest Blogging and Guest Hosting. For me, there is no better way to build community.

It all began with Jill Weatherholt’s blog. This past Spring, Jill extended an invitation for writers and artists to Guest Host on her site. Knowing absolutely nothing about Guest Posting, I raised my hand, took a leap…and wrote my first piece as a Guest Author. Shortly afterward, I received a request to write a Guest Post for ‘The Month of Happiness Series’ at Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond.

In both cases, Guest Blogging strengthened my relationship with the Host Author, brought out different writing than I would have written on my own site and gave my posts a broader reach. Hanging out in the comment section on Jill’s and Sue’s blogs was like being at a party with both new and familiar faces with whom to mingle. A light went off and my missing piece of blogging was found.

Two years prior to leaving my career, I began searching for information on the non-financial aspects of retirement. It was difficult to find what I was looking for. When I did finally stumble upon a couple of retirement bloggers who appeared to address what I was seeking, it took me a long while to find a community of bloggers with whom I could find inspiration, motivation and challenge. As soon as I found this, I wanted to extend it, and to share.

I’ve since gone on to write eight additional Guest Posts (two not yet published) as well as to host twenty-four Guest Authors. Some experts would argue that this equation should be in reverse. Ultimately, each host needs to determine what balance works for his/her site.

Those twenty-four bloggers helped to create a much richer and varied picture of retirement/lifestyle than I could have provided on my own. I am grateful that they have so generously offered their time and voices to share their different retirement experiences as a guest.

Why Should You Consider Writing a Guest Post?

• Networking.
• New audience.
• Challenge – writing outside of your comfort zone.
• Deepen your relationships with fellow bloggers.

What Should You Look for when Selecting Guest Bloggers?

• Bloggers whose writing is a good match for your niche.
• Those who have a track record of writing quality content that benefits readers.
• Writers who engage fully and meaningfully with comments.
• People who enjoy collaboration and working as part of a team.

Should you Consider Hosting Guest Bloggers?

Ultimately, it all depends on what you want to create for your blog. There isn’t a right or wrong. For me, I want my site to be like my favourite coffee shop where regulars and newcomers alike can browse, share, discuss, inspire, encourage and challenge. I want it to be a place where frequent commenters are recognized and missed in their absence. I also want it to be a dependable place that offers quality, thought-provoking content… which continues even when I am away without internet (another very helpful aspect of Guest Blogging).

What is your experience with Guest Blogging and/or Guest Hosting?

Featured Guest Bloggers for Round Two: Sundays at Six will include: Cresting the Hill, Deb’s World, Wagemadness, Adventures of the New Old Farts, Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond, The Glasgow Gallivanter, Second Wind Leisure Perspectives, Boots Shoes & Fashion, Snakes in the Grass, Retirementally Challenged, So What? Now What?, Travels with Fran, Easing Along, Encore Voyage, Hugh’s Views and News, Roaming About, Lisa Dorenfest: One Ocean at a Time, Grammy’s Grid and Shallow Reflections. If you would like to submit a first or second Guest Post for this series, please do not hesitate to let me know.

48 Replies to “What I’ve Learned From Guest Blogging”

  1. Guest posts are like a party. You can meet people that you connect with and some you don’t but it’s all good. When I talk to my local friends I refer to bloggers as my friend from Vancouver or Texas or Germany. My friends ask how I met them and it get complicated (and depending on the friend, kind of weird). I have some blogger friends from way back that rarely blog anymore but if I have a question in their area of expertise, I easily reconnect with them like an old friend. It is a community and you don’t have to dress up!
    Kate recently posted…Random 5 for December 10 – Cats, Christmas, boxes, snow, salesMy Profile

  2. Hi, Kate – Thank you for often being the first to comment. You get bonus points for that! It is such a great idea to refer to your blogging friends as “my friend from Vancouver”…or simply as “my friend, Kate.” Please consider this idea stolen!
    You are right about the deep personal connections that can be formed through blogging. For me, Guest Blogging and Guest Hosting have served to strengthen these bond…often due to the ‘behind the scenes’ emails that go on. When an extra laugh is needed, I highly recommend that people email you or Marty from Snakes in the Grass (and many others). You both write very amusing emails!
    Retirement Reflections recently posted…What I’ve Learned From Guest BloggingMy Profile

  3. Thank you, Donna, for creating this welcoming ‘coffee shop’. As I’ve only been a blogger for about 14 months, my Guest Blogging experience is new, with both of my guest posts featured here on your site. What I can share about my experience is that:
    1) The first experience was so positive, it encouraged me to raise my hand again and take another leap of faith a few weeks later. Similar to my travel experience, I find that when I say yes to a new adventure and actually go through it, it affirms my thinking that there are thankfully a lot more good people out there than bad ones!
    2) My sincere thanks to all commenters who took the time to write and made my 1st guest blogging experience a great 1st and repeated again for my 2nd. Your words made a positive difference! It encouraged me to share my comments.
    3) Even though I have a lot of writing ideas in my mind all the time, committing to write a guest post by certain date is a challenge because I want to do it well. After I said yes, I wondered “what did I get myself into?”. I’m humbled to be selected twice, too. To bloggers who are still on the fence about participating as a guest blogger, I say Go for it! It makes you want to improve your writing.
    Looking forward to Round 2 guest posts!

    1. Hi, Natalie – Thank you so much for your detailed comment. I greatly appreciate you taking the time to share your Guest Hosting experience. I agree that it can be nerve-wracking to commit to submit a Guest Post by a specific date…and then panic about meeting that deadline! More often than not, I find that Guest Hosts are happy to negotiate this…and usually have built in some ‘wiggle room’ to allow flexibility where needed. For example, for Round Two, I already have most posting dates roughed in, but I also have back up plans incase any authors need more time. I’m happy to hear that you enjoyed your Guest Blogging experience. Your posts were excellent!
      Retirement Reflections recently posted…What I’ve Learned From Guest BloggingMy Profile

  4. What a great post, Donna! I’ve met so many wonderful people through guest posts, yourself included. Thank you for stepping up and writing such a lovely piece during my Summer Spotlight Series. In the end, blogging is about the connections, not the stats or number of followers. Have a great upcoming week, my friend!

  5. Hi Donna! Although I’ve never guest hosted, I do enjoy guest blogging now and then – it’s a great way to meet new people.

    To Kate’s point: I was having dinner with a (non-blogger)friend last night and was sharing a story about one of my blogging buddies. I struggled for a moment to describe our relationship, then just said “my friend ___.” It just felt right, even though I have yet to meet this person face-to-face.

    To Natalee’s point: it can be a little nerve-wracking to commit to a guest post because we all want to do a good job, but sometimes either time or inspiration (or both) are short. I find that having an overall topic or questions to answer from the host is helpful to get the creative juices flowing.

    I love your vision for your blog – I think that you have fulfilled that perfectly.

    I look forward to being a return guest on your blog in February! (Now, I just need to figure out what to write about 🙂 .)
    Janis @ RetirementallyChallenged.com recently posted…GratiTuesday: My healthMy Profile

    1. Hi, Janis – I agree with both you and Kate. It is often impossible to adequately express our friendships with blogging buddies to friends who do not blog. Very frustrating! If you remain stuck for ideas for your February post, you could take something that was frequently mentioned in comments on your last guest post (‘passion-ettes’ were very popular).Or you could expand on one or more of the blogging topics that we discussed in Palm Desert. Or….readers may have other ideas!😊

  6. Hi Donna, Just wanted to pass on that I really enjoyed being a guest blogger on your site. I really enjoyed the comments and responding to them. Wait….is that snow falling?

    1. Hi, Fran – I greatly appreciate that you have agreed to Guest Host twice! I look forward to reading your March Guest Post. Yes, that’s fancy snow falling on my blog. That’s one of the (small) advantages of being self-hosted…you can pick and choose through a variety of plug-ins!

  7. I want to thank you for having me as a guest in your coffee shop and showing me a new way to interact with other likeminded bloggers. You’ve opened up new connections and I’ve loved meeting everyone. It was so good to have you in my new series as a guest host and get to know you better thanks for opening new doors. I agree wholeheartedly with everything you’ve written here!!
    Debbie recently posted…Our awesome photos will make you want to playMy Profile

    1. Hi, Deb – I ❤️ the two Guest Posts that you have written for me (the second one is scheduled to go live on December 24). I also had a blast guesting on your site! It’s so interesting discovering where each of our blogs take us! Thank you for your kind words.

  8. I’ve guest blogged a few times (including here) but I don’t see myself guest hosting as my blog is specifically my own travel diary. But as has been pointed out, different things suit different people! Picking up on the comments about how to describe “blogging friends”, after reading a discussion on another site I try very hard to avoid that phrase and use “friends” without qualification. Connections made here can be just as valuable as those made in what some people unattractively call “meat space”!
    Anabel Marsh recently posted…Glasgow Gallivanting: November 2017My Profile

  9. You sum it up very well, Donna! Guest posting and hosting opens many new doors and provides a social network, where, just like in real life, you choose your friends and invite new acquaintances to get to know them better. Especially when creating these connections in real life seem to become harder as we age, the virtual version is (almost) just as fun!

    I have never hosted guest bloggers. The main reason is that I have so many ideas, stories, experiences and information to share myself, that I fear I will never run out of material. It might happen in the future, as I like the concept you have created on your blog, but I would have to become more of a blogger and allow a schedule where more weekly posts happen. As a guest blogger, I have only written a post for you so far. I have been interviewed elsewhere, but not by “normal” bloggers. 🙂 I’m glad you are continuing the tradition and love the name “Sundays at Six”.
    Liesbet recently posted…IWSG Writing Update December 2017 – Finished First DraftMy Profile

  10. I’ve enjoyed being introduced to new bloggers. I first started reading this because I follow Janis at Retirementally Challenged, but I’ve enjoyed many of the other guest bloggers. I also like the snowflakes – we saw some real ones this weekend.
    Karen recently posted…One hike, two daysMy Profile

  11. I loved guest posting on your site, Donna, and would welcome the opportunity to do it again some time. I have enjoyed guest blogging on several sites and it has been a terrific way to meet other bloggers. I have not had others guest post on my site, but reading this and thinking about my own experience has me considering it. Thank you for all you do, to help us link up with other bloggers.

  12. Hi Donna! I totally agree that being a guest writer can bring a whole new dimension to your writing and your connection with others. I also don’t think it a problem that you have had more guests writing for you at this point. To me it is all about supporting each other and if I can promote a blogger I feel has something worthwhile to say then I will. I have been honoured to be part of your Sunday Series and also included in the second round! You have raised some good points about being a Guest Writer and I look forward to having you join me over the course of 2018.
    Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond recently posted…Slow down and take time to enjoy the Festive SeasonMy Profile

  13. I love how you extol the benefits and virtues of guest posting, and there are so many. Maybe I will think about a summer series on leisure interests. You are becoming the epitome of the guest post blogger, Donna! I have been proud to be part of your guest bloggers and look forward to it again in 2018! Thanks for having me!

    1. Hi, Ally – I don’t think that there is a different between Guest Bloggers and those who choose not to Guest Post (yet)! Blogging connection happens in so many different ways. I find that comments (yours are exceptional) are a big connection piece.
      I would love for you to Guest Post anytime that the urge strikes you…there is still plenty of room! 🙂
      Retirement Reflections recently posted…What I’ve Learned From Guest BloggingMy Profile

      1. Thanks for the offer, but I bowed out of guest blogging long ago. I feel more comfortable offering comments, than being the focus of a post on someone else’s blog. I’m an introvert through and through. 😉

  14. Hi Donna – I don’t know if you knew this, but I was a guest blogger virgin before you! Yep, you were my first! And it was a fabulous experience! So it’s really timely of you to have written all of the detailed steps involved in hosting and guest blogging! I, too, refer to you as “my blogger friend from Vancouver.” But now that we’ve had this shared experience, I guess you are just “my friend in Vancouver! Thanks again! ~ Lynn
    Lynn ~ Encore Voyage recently posted…Retirement Learning – I Can Take Off Your Head!My Profile

  15. Donna, I’ve been blogging nearly 8 years now and have guest-posted several times (don’t know the number offhand) and enjoyed it very much. Now you have me wondering what sort of post I’d come up with for *your* blog! As others have expressed, I feel a real connection to my readers and to the bloggers I visit regularly–just one of many things that surprised me about blogging.
    Jean | DelightfulRepast.com recently posted…Earl Grey Eggnog – A Delightful Twist on the ClassicMy Profile

    1. Hello, Jean – Thank you so much for stopping by. I would be honoured if you would like to write a Guest Post for this site. There is a terrific audience here, many of whom you already know…and some new names who I think you would greatly enjoy. If you are interested, please send me an email and we can discuss what would work best for you.

  16. I’ve loved being one of your guests Donna – I don’t use guests much at all because I tend to always be miles ahead of myself and don’t think to ask someone to write two months ahead! I’m looking forward to hosting our new linky with Sue and that will engage me even more with other Midlifers – we are an amazing bunch aren’t we?
    Leanne | http://www.crestingthehill.com.au recently posted…LOOKING BACK AT MY WORD FOR 2017My Profile

  17. This is a beautiful post on guest posting, I love your positive take on the benefits. My first guest post was on a site that received over 1 million hits a month. It was obviously an honor, the next two were forgettable with the posts changed and manipulated to benefit the host.
    Then I was privileged to write for Sue, Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond and Leanne, Cresting the Hill. Two very good experiences. The difference, the first three were on sites reaching for blogging numbers and success. It made me realize that I do not want to compete in that field.

    In contrast bloggers like you, Sue, Leanne and many others here value friendship and coffee over numbers. There is nothing wrong with numbers and analytics it is how we get there that matters. Thanks for emphasizing the awesome aspects of blogging.
    Blogger’s Pit Stop

    1. Hi, Kathleen – Thank you for your very insightful comment. I agree that different bloggers are sometimes looking for different things. I am fortunate to have found a very generous community of bloggers who are focused on sharing and connecting (and putting ‘relationships’ over ‘statistics’). Thank you for being part of that community. Thank you also for hosting Blogger’s Pit Stop. I look forward to participating further!

  18. I take being asked to write a guest post as a huge compliment to both me and my writing, Donna. You are right in what you said that it makes you write differently because I don’t think I would have written those guest posts and published them on my own blog. Those posts would have still been lost, hoping to be found, and may never have actually seen the light of day.

    I’ve recently invited some writers to guest blog over on my blog and it has gone on to benefit all of us in different ways. I’ve also taken it upon myself to give those new to blogging, and who regularly leave comments on my posts, a chance to write a post and publish it on my blog so that it gives them even greater exposer to the blogging world. I know how much I wanted the same thing when I first started to blog and I see it as giving them a helping hand.
    Hugh Roberts recently posted…The Last ChristmasMy Profile

  19. Hi Donna. I have enjoyed your guest blogging series, and have discovered many bloggers that I regularly read via your site. It was fun to write a guest post for Retirement Reflections in September, and I would be happy to write another one. (This despite being in my first year of retirement/avoid all commitments phase 😝). I would look upon it as an honour.

    Dr Sock recently posted…Berlin!My Profile

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