Guest Articles

rejecting guest articlesAs will be obvious to regular readers, I have used  more guest articles recently because of an increase in offline work and my move from London to Norwich – a semi-retirement.

So I've been very lucky to have had an influx of articles from guest authors that's kept me with a publishing schedule full for a good few weeks and saved me a lot of time wondering what to write.

To simplify matters I have come up with a list of guest article requirements, to save me having to make the same reply to aspiring authors.

In doing this I have clarified what are my triggers for rejecting guest articles.

But first let's look at the positives!

Guest Article Requirements

  • I ask for original articles plus copyright free images (or permission to “lift” from the author's blog)
  • They should be accompanied by an author's bio and a headshot (or company description and logo)
  • Any link should be to a service that's of interest to my readers, relevant to the article, and something I consider honest! (See below)
  • Most of all, I look for interesting content that I think my readers will enjoy and find valuable.
  • When you contact me please suggest a few topics relevant to my blog's target market – small entrepreneurs looking to make money online, part-time or full-time. Many of my readers are looking to supplement a poor pension provision – before or after they retire – and welcome tips that will help them start an online business.
  • Quality is better than quantity… but articles should be at least 900 words long. Or should they – see below? I'm open to persuasion if your article meets all the other criteria.

That is what “to do”. Here are a few examples of what “not to do”.

Recent Guest Post Request

Mr X, the owner of product Y, asked me to review his product on my blog. The honest truth is that, much as I enjoy reviewing products, I just can't allocate sufficient time to test a product that I don't already use and write a comprehensive review.

I explained that to Mr X but offered him the option of writing an article about his product and paying me to publish it. His product cost $99 a month, so if he made even one sale (clearly the purpose of requesting the review) that could be worth over $1000 a year – assuming the product was high enough quality to retain a client for a year.

Originally he said he couldn't pay – then he came back and said he could pay $100 and would send the article “soon” so I told him I had allocated a slot for him.

The planned publication date came and went, with no article, so I rushed another scheduled article out instead.

Finally the “article” arrived, followed just a few days later, by the author chasing me to publish it!

I reminded my budding author that…..

Lack of planning on your part, does not constitute an emergency on my part! Click To Tweet

So, quite apart from the missed deadline, and the cheek of hustling me, what was the article like?

Rejecting Guest Articles – Example 1

Well – it was effectively a 305 word advert, probably just copy/pasted from the product website.

I protested that the original arrangement had been that he would supply 900 words and images. To which he replied something along the line of “Copy more from the website”.

For a few minutes, I will admit, I was tempted to just publish it and take the money. Then, Ryan Biddulph (of Blogging From Paradise) sent me his most recent article for my blog – about tips to get a guest article published. You can read it here.

Receiving a high quality guest post from Ryan left me feeling more than a little ashamed that I'd even considered accepting a 305 word advert as a paid post.

I commented as much to Ryan, saying:

“I was tempted to publish and take the money but my pride says ‘Reject the article / advert' and stick with quality. I can live without the $$$ 🙂

Here's what Ryan said:

“Yes Joy; I see it as even being beyond pride, but clarity on the value of your blog. Plus posture in that you only accept aligned posts, with no thought to money. 305 words is kinda thin too LOL.”

So – I sent Mr X and product Y packing!

How Long Should A Guest Article Be?

I initially asked that guest articles should be a minimum of 900 words, or longer, thinking that longer articles are preferable to Google.  However a recent event (detailed below) took me by surprise and started me researching the optimum length of blog posts.

Nevertheless, I did a bit of research to find out if I was being unreasonable asking for 900 words. It seems not!

Credit goes to the CoSchedule blog for the information below.

The post below reveals that the top 10 most shared blog posts were an average of 4066 words long, and the top two most shared posts were over 5,000 words long.


A specific length doesn’t necessarily mean more social shares. Take a look at our 5th most shared blog post. It’s only 299 words long.

So… quality can outrank quantity – for social sharing anyway.

How Long Should a Blog Post Be to Get the Most Traffic and Shares?

It really is a fascinating article with lots to learn, including the fact that in 2017 the average blog word-count was 1142, and the scary fact that if you want your post to rank in Google, it should be at least 2500 words.

So…. back to the main topics of when to reject guest author posts and what is a reasonable article length to request.

Conclusion On Length Of Guest Author Posts

Although I probably won't ask potential guest authors to provide me with 2,500 words (as discussed above) I shall no longer feel embarrassed to be asking for 900 words minimum.

Certainly I have no regrets whatsoever about rejecting Mr X's 305 word “advert”.

Rejecting Guest Articles / Links – Example 2

Next I had cause to consider what is an appropriate link?

Hot on the heels of Mr X's “article” came Miss Y's request which made no mention of the fact that she would be including a link. so I naively assumed she was promoting her writing services. (I'm still such an innocent abroad.) Although I have no problem giving a link away in return for an article, I now realise that I have requirements and standards for links too!

Her article was good, and of a decent length. However in a paragraph talking about a customer service tool she included a link to something that has no relevance to the Internet Marketing / Home Business niche and I cannot imagine it would be of interest to my readers. In fact they would be totally bemused if they clicked from that paragraph to the link supplied. Worse still, I consider the service it offered “cheating and dishonest” so I rejected that article too saying I wouldn't link to such a service.

How To Request A Guest Post

If you can meet all the above requirements, please send me clear suggestions / article titles that you are proposing and PLEASE include in the subject “Guest Post Request” – in the past “tempting headlines” have led me to think people are trying to sell me something and I have completely ignored them.

Sorry – I am getting so many guest posts requests I spend longer dealing with those than writing myself 🙁

You should contact me here.

Link Exchanges

I will consider requests for link exchanges, but I NEVER insert a link exchange in an article that has been contributed by a guest author.

Also, please see above my notes on why I would reject a link.

If you are looking for a link exchange, PLEASE use the form above and include in the subject “Link Exchange Request” and:

  • Give a concrete proposal of which of MY posts you want your link included
  • What you want to link to
  • What link you are offering me.


Joy Healey

I left it too late to plan for a financially secure retirement. Don't make my mistake. Start building an extra income with a part-time (or full-time) business online. Think you don't have time? Can't afford the start-up cost? Can't meet sales targets? Contact me for free advice (no obligation) on the best fit for your circumstances. Exciting retirement business opportunities here.

Hassaan Khan - March 7, 2018

Hi Joy,

I second the idea of long, in-depth blog posts to provide value and beat the competition in search. My only fear is that someone out there might not take away the length (of an article) as the only indicator of success.

I’m very cautious when it comes to the content length, not that I dislike the idea of long-form content, in fact, I vouch for that, but I have had an experience of ranking a 700-word blog post at the top on the first page; yes it blew my mind too.

So I learned that as long as you’re delivering value and solving a problem, the numbers of words won’t matter. It doesn’t mean I’m saying “go ahead and publish a 250-word blog post,” in fact, all I’m saying is that if you can produce results in 600 words, don’t go for 1,600 words.

    Joy Healey - March 7, 2018

    Hi Hassaan,

    Good point! No use waffling on for a long post that people may lose interest in, when you can give a short and relevant answer to people’s problems.

    Thanks for your input.

    Joy Healey – Blogging After Dark

Enstine Muki - March 10, 2018

Hey Joy,

Good to be here again this weekend.

Let me quickly start by stating that Ryan has been a huge help to my blog. As you know I have been off for over a year, doing more research and studies on Cryptocurrency (Just got certified as Cryptocurrency Expert). Ryan has always been around with highly consumable content 😉

I get tons of guest post requests but most of them are some SEO firms or advertisers of some crap who are unable to provide relevant content or pay enough for me to write their content. You did a good thing by kicking off that thin content. When I think your blog, I have an image and that kind of content on your blog would have kept me thinking something is wrong 😉

About content length, I set mine to 800. For SEO purpose, content length is relevant if topic is quite competitive. For longtail keywords with less competition, longer length is not necessary, from my personal experience.

I think if we focus on solving specific and pressing problems in the content with provide, we will end up attracting the right audience. Content marketers often focus on Google and what attracts bots but fail to understand that what we need after all are human readers who value our content.

Fill your contents with what Google loves. If people don’t show their love for the content, Google will finally hate it.

People show their love by sticking on the post, sharing, liking, linking and mentioning. Length may tell Google to index and rank. But readers’ reactions will tell Google what to do next.

I’m glad I was able to be here this weekend. May you find more success as you move to the new location.

    Joy Healey - March 12, 2018

    Hi Enstine,

    Congratulations on becoming a Certified Cryptocurrency Expert – but it will be good to have you back blogging!

    Yes, I have no regrets at rejecting that guest post.

    Thanks for your further tips on length of post – I always thought 800-900 was long enough, so very glad you stick with that. After all, I don’t want to make my posts so long that people give up!

    Ryan has been great helping me too, as this house-hunt/house-sale just seems to have taken over my life 🙁 Hope it will be worth it when it finally happens.

    Joy Healey – Blogging After Dark

Lisa P Sicard - March 17, 2018

Hi Joy, I’ve also rejected articles from others and for money too. If it does not match or provide any value to readers why post it?
I try to post at least 900 words now per article. I do require that of my contributors now as well. It used to be 500 but Yoast SEO increased it to 900 and I trust their guidance on that.
It is awesome to have great contributors that can fill in the gaps for you from time to time. It can help them and you both. A true win-win!
Thanks for sharing about this topic Joy and good luck on your move. You will not be too far from where I live in RI. 🙂 Have a great weekend!

    Joy Healey - March 18, 2018

    Hi Lisa,

    I’m glad we agree on when to reject guest posts. Thinking about it, I was also first prompted to increase the length of my posts by Yoast SEO. They used to say 300 words, but increased it recently.

    It’s good that I have some excellent guest writers as this move is proving rather trying. My move is to Norfolk UK 🙂

    Joy Healey – Blogging After Dark

Maria Tayler - June 13, 2018

Hey Joy,

Such a great share. In my perspective, The guest post should be instructional that gives value to the readers and to the site where it will be published. Unnecessary or irrelevant stuff have to be rejected.

I outreach for guest posts actively and my primary purpose it to write briefed article with at least 1K word count which gives values to the readers and resolve their query.

Thanks for sharing this useful post.


Comments are closed