3 Guest Blogging Myths That Haven’t Died in 2015

You may have heard the rumors, but guest blogging isn’t dead.

Many successful bloggers continue to use it as a strategy to gain credibility and attention for their own sites and online marketers believe it’s here to stay. Floating misconceptions about guest blogging halted its popularity last year, but with the right intentions, it is still an effective marketing tool.

Late January of last year, Google engineer Matt Cutts declared on his blog that guest blogging was over. He later revised his statement, clarifying that he was referring to ‘spammy’ posts written solely for SEO purposes. However, his post still created a hesitancy toward guest blogging in general, resulting in a steady decline in what was once a growing practice just a few months earlier.

The timeline below details Google searches for the term “guest blogging” over time. It spiked when Cutts wrote his post, and you can see the decline still continues today.

Guest BloggingDoes this mean guest blogging isn’t as effective as it once was?

The answer is of course not – when used properly, guest blogging is just as effective today as it ever was. In Cutts’ revised statement he said:

“There are still many good reasons to do some guest blogging (exposure, branding, increased reach, community, etc.). I changed the title of this post to make it more clear that I’m talking about guest blogging for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes.”

The reason guest blogging took such a hit in popularity is because many people were using it as a spam service or to get links for their own website. A rising number of spammers published generic or irrelevant guest posts to boost traffic and get links

To combat this problem and offer better search results to its users, Google updated its algorithm to weed out sites that misuse guest blogging. Joshua Steimle, CEO of the internet marketing agency MWI, wrote that he believes Google will only devalue low-quality posts that contain an abnormal amount of links and keyword-rich text.

If guest blogging isn’t good for SEO purposes, then how will it benefit my site?

 Guest blogging still offers plenty of benefits to publishers and writers, but only if they avoid reproducing the ‘spammy’ posts mentioned above. Links are still a valuable source of traffic, but that doesn’t mean your posts have to be full of them to work.

Marketing writer Louis Gudema was able to take his company’s website from being buried under millions of search results to being number one by guest blogging. He wrote for several authoritative sites and built connections with other site owners (and their followers), which generated a huge push of traffic to his site.

Guest blogging is a win-win scenario. For writers, it offers free publicity, added credibility, and social media shares from followers of sites that have a large following in your niche market. And with some editing and selectivity, site owners benefit from guest posts as they will have less to write each week and can easily curate diverse content for their blogs.

But won’t my site be penalized for guest blog posts on Google’s search rankings?

It’s a commonly held misconception, but Google has no intention of penalizing authors for gaining traffic from quality, original content they’ve written for a relevant site. However, it is possible for your site to be penalized if you’re writing for links or less-than-credible sites.

The easiest way to avoid being penalized is to stop thinking about how you can get links from other sites, and instead think of ways you could increase your website’s traffic through guest posts. More traffic will lead to more links in the long run, so don’t worry if your blog post is published with a “nofollow” link.

When asked about the role of guest blogging in 2015, founder Zac Johnson had this to say:

“If you are guest blogging on other sites, make sure the quality is there. Don’t worry about the link back, as you should always have a full author bio at the bottom of the post. Focus on article quality and always link to real resources and examples. Follow these tips and you will continue to see guest blogging be one of your best marketing and branding platforms.”

The Big Picture

Guest blogging isn’t dead, if anything it’s been revived. Guest posts will become more valuable in 2015 as they are chosen selectively by publishers, crafted by experts in their field, and are written for content rather than SEO purposes. If you want to increase your audience and outreach for your website, consider guest posting effectively. You can’t be punished for great original content, and your website will benefit from the added visibility of a site with a larger following.

We’d like to know your experience as a guest blogger – What did you learn from the experience? Any advice you’d like to share to fellow bloggers? Let us know in the comment section below!

Choosing the Perfect WordPress Theme: 3 Questions You Should Ask First

So you have a stellar idea for a website, your domain name is secured and all that’s left for you to do is to find the perfect WordPress theme. Just being “pretty” isn’t going to cut it. There are thousands of themes to sift through, so you’ll need to know the right features to look for to drive traffic and grow your audience.

If you’re hosting your own website, you won’t be able to choose from the premium themes WordPress has to offer. Other business owners and bloggers have spent thousands on paying a designer to build them a custom site, but there is a different route. You have the opportunity to find a theme with a unique design that will set your website apart from the competition – without breaking the bank.

You don’t have to settle for a theme that isn’t perfect. In this post, we’ll show you how to choose a theme that’s budget-friendly and right for your audience.

1. Does this theme relate to my business or industry?

Not all themes were created equally, so it’s important to understand what type of theme matches your industry before sorting through results. Take the two themes below for example. Though they both are visually appealing, the theme on the right focuses more on graphics rather than text, so it would be a much better fit for a photographer.


You can save yourself a lot of time by searching for themes created for designated industries. For instance, let’s say you just started an online store. ThemeForest has more than 350 WordPress themes designed specifically for eCommerce sites. With these results, you’ll have an easier time finding themes with design features and page elements that suit your needs.

2. Is the design simple, responsive, and user-friendly?

Google’s recent algorithm change, also known as “Mobilegeddon”, caused a responsive web design revolution. Google’s mobile search now favors sites that adapt to smaller screens, so websites with responsive themes will display higher on search results. Businesses and blog owners are still scrambling to piece together their old websites into a mobile-friendly version, so it’s worth your while to invest in a responsive theme now.

Responsive-Theme-ExampleAnother aspect to consider would be simple vs. complex themes. The example below shows the difference between a clean, slick template compared to a “messier” or more complex theme. Generally, the cleaner the template – the less work you’ll have to do to maintain it and keep its features running, but there are exceptions:


This website’s blog started making millions after they redesigned their template (along with a few other major changes) and surprisingly, the complex theme on the right was much more successful in driving traffic. Even though the minimalistic theme on the left looks cleaner and easier to read, visitors spent more time on the redesigned page and social media engagement increased as well.

According to Ryan Deiss, founder and CEO of Digital Marketer:

“Our research suggests that a slick, minimalist site layout – like the ones virtually all major ad firms recommend – can drive engagement down and cause your readers to devalue your content and site as a whole. Would you rather have a high-traffic, high profit site or would you rather be ‘cool’ and win design awards?”

When it comes to the design of your template, don’t rule out the more complex themes. If you’re still not sure whether you need a simple or complex theme, consider buying from ElegantThemes. ElegantThemes lets you choose from their entire list of themes for less than $100 per year, so you can change your design as much as you want to find one that works for you.

3. Is this theme worth the cost?


Free themes may be appealing at first, but unless you’re a blogger who does not rely on traffic, there are many disadvantages. Free themes found from Google searches often contain malicious code and “spammy” links that will prevent visitors from finding your site. They are also rarely updated, making it difficult to avoid bugs and keep up with evolving search engine algorithms.

Premium WordPress themes are also more affordable than having a designer build a custom theme for your website. Custom blog designs can cost upwards of $1,000, while paid WordPress theme prices range from $30 – $100. They also offer plugins and features that you won’t find on free themes, with quality coding that won’t disrupt the performance of your website.

Where to Buy WordPress Themes

Searching for WordPress themes on Google yields hundreds of results, so it’s understandable if you are unsure of where to buy from. SmallBizTrends has this great list of websites that offer WordPress themes, sorted by the level of experience you’ll need to use them. Just make sure to read the reviews of the themes before you buy them – you can learn a lot more about the theme’s usability by reading other users’ experiences.

Which website do you use the most to find themes? Let us know in the comment section and thanks for reading!

Top Ten Best Places To Find Writing Inspiration This Summer

We’re all guilty of sitting in a room with our eyes fixated to the laptop while our fingers relentlessly tap away at keys, but is that really the best situation for writing great content?

There’s nothing inspiring about writing in the same place all the time, so one common method authors use to revamp their creativity is by simply changing their environment. New York Times columnist Carol Kaufmann wrote this piece back in 2013 on how writing outdoors can stimulate the senses and enhance creativity.

If you want to improve the quality of your content and find writing inspiration, try changing your environment. Not sure where to go? Here are our top ten best places to find writing inspiration for you to try out while you craft your latest blog post.

Where To Go To Find Writing Inspiration


Local Parks
This is one of the most relaxing and inspirational locations for writers. With a fully charged laptop, spend a few hours writing at a nearby park. As you observe all the activities and life happening around you, you’re bound to strike inspiration. Just make sure to leave your cell phone at home and be free of all technological distractions.



We all know libraries are a great place to write because they’re quiet and full of resources, so why don’t we write there more often? Pack up your laptop and head to your local library but this time, picture your work on the self. Is it enticing enough for you to pick it up and check it out? Bounce ideas off of librarians, more often than not they’ll be excited to help you find inspiration too.


Up In The Mountains
If you find it hard to resist the temptations of technology, next time you write try taking your computer up to your favorite hiking spot. The fresh air is guaranteed to inspire you and the workout you’ll get reaching your destination will help clear your mind. Take some water, bug spray, a chair, and whatever else you need to be distraction-free and in the perfect zone for creativity.


Public Transit

Many people find inspiration while writing on the bus or train, being surrounded by strangers picking up intercepted conversations may have something to do with it. The next time you find yourself riding public transit, treat it as an opportunity to find inspiration and get your thoughts down in writing.


The Mall

It’s crowded, busy, and smells like pretzels, but it’s also a place to be inspired. There are hundreds of people who traverse through the mall every week, put yourself in the middle of that and contemplate. Among hundreds of very different people, what makes you the most different and unique? What do you stand for? Think about what you want to project in this world and find creative gold.


Waiting Rooms
When it’s nothing but you, your thoughts, and a couple complementary magazines, there’s nothing else you should do but find inspiration to write. Take whatever is around you and brainstorm for story ideas. See a woman trying to quiet her rambunctious child? That’s a blog post waiting to happen! Take your creative expertise and put it to the test the next time you’re stuck in a waiting room, it’ll pass the time faster than Candy Crush we promise.


At A Market

Whether it’s a market for farmers, crafters, or fleas, you’ll meet some talented people with stories that will help you find inspiration. Every vendor at these fairs has a story and will enjoy the opportunity to tell it to someone. It’s a great opportunity to take photos and connect with the community – thus inspiration is bound to be found.



It may sound crazy, but where else can you go to find creative inspiration that you can (1) be distraction-free and (2) be in a comfortable, new environment? If you can’t escape the distractions of everyday life, the best thing you could do is to invest in your idea and spend a night in a hotel room immersed in thought. If you’re not getting work done anywhere else, it could be a good way to force yourself to catch up.


Historic Districts

What better way to find inspiration is there other than traversing through history? Visit your town’s historic districts and think about how much has changed. Think about the stories there are to learn and the stories that were lost. What does it take to stand the test of time? Is your writing timeless and unforgettable, or is it something that will be remade into something better in a few years?


Headlines, Billboards, and Advertisements

Okay, so maybe this one isn’t a place – but still a good way to find inspiration nonetheless. Headlines, billboards, and advertisements show us things that are emotional, trending, or newsworthy. These are all core components of a quality blog post, so rather than ignoring them, look for an opportunity to write something great.


We hope our list helps you find a perfect place for inspiration to strike! Where is the strangest place you’ve found inspiration? Let us know in the comments and thank you for reading!

Self-Hosted vs. Free WordPress Sites: Pros and Cons

So you’ve got a website, or at least great idea for one – now you’re faced with two options. Will you:

Create a Free WordPress-Hosted Site or Host Your Own Website?

Each has its own advantage, so it’s important to understand the differences between the two to choose the best option for your site. You won’t want to miss out on the great features and customization that self-hosting has to offer, but you also don’t want to pay for more than what you need!

In this article, we’ll go through the pros and cons to free WordPress-hosted sites and compare them to self-hosting. Skip right through the headaches and use this information to help you determine the next course of action for your site.

Free WordPress-Hosted Site Pros

  • It’s free!
  • No need to download extra software
  • Great for simple, basic blogging

Free WordPress-Hosted Site Cons

  • WordPress places ads on all free sites
  • No advertising until your site hits 25,000 views – after that, you’ll split your revenue with WordPress 50/50
  • You can’t use plugins
  • Less themes to choose from
  • Your site can be deleted for violating WordPress Terms of Service

Self-Hosted Website Pros

  • Most shared hosting plans are inexpensive, ranging from $3.95 – $10 monthly
  • WordPress sites are easy to migrate, most hosting providers offer one-click WordPress installations
  • Fully Customizable – you’ll have access to analytics, hundreds of themes and plugins, and be able to modify your website’s code to add even more cool features
  • Ad campaigns will be entirely in your control and you’ll make 100% of the profit
  • You OWN your content, everything that’s published on your site belongs to you and you no longer need the “Powered by WordPress” label
  • Your hosting company should provide a support team to help you with technical issues and custom email addresses for your site

Self-Hosted Website Cons

  • Requires the extra step of signing up with a hosting provider
  • Recurring monthly or annual fee
  • You have to buy a domain name first, which can cost $8-$12 per year

The clear answer here is that if you’re not a beginning blogger and want more freedom with your site, self-hosting is the way to go. There are thousands of hosting companies to choose from, so don’t feel limited in your options.Choose a hosting provider that offers services that suit your needs and has a good online reputation.

NetHosting-Affordable-Web-Hosting-ProviderNetHosting is a great choice for those with WordPress sites that want to get started with an affordable shared hosting plan. Unlike other hosting companies, you’re guaranteed 100% uptime and your price won’t increase when it’s time to renew.

NetHosting is popular among WordPress users because setup only takes about 10 minutes if you have a preexisting site. Creating a new WordPress site with NetHosting is as easy as a single mouse click, no technical degree required.

Although free WordPress hosting is great for beginners, choosing a reliable hosting provider and switching to a self-hosted site can have numerous benefits. We hope this article helps you determine whether free hosting or self-hosting is the right option for you.


Let us know what you think in the comments below, and thanks for reading!