A by-line is that short concise paragraph that tells the readers who authored the guest post (yes, short and concise are two keywords here).
The by-line often contains links to the author’s sites and this is why too many guest bloggers put too much emphasis on that paragraph.
The rule of thumb:
! Don’t even think about the by-line until you write the post. The actual post is what you need to focus on, a by-line is a secondary, far less important thing, simply because without a post there is no by-line 🙂 So if you go too far to promote yourself in the by-line, the post has great chances to be rejected.
Now, I’ve seen quite a few guest posts throughout my blogging career, and here are a few types of a by-line to illustrate my point by examples:
1. The Bad By-Line: Author’s Biography (Literally)
I am not sure why some people think everyone may want to know when they graduated from school, which college they went to and what age they got married at.
I’ve seen guest posts where a by-line is like 3 or 4 paragraphs long (which often makes 1/3 of the actual post). The by-lines like this often make me feel stupid: how am I supposed to explain the author why I would like him to make the by-line shorter (it doesn’t link to any bad neighborhoods, it doesn’t break any rules but it just sounds completely off-topic)?
Frankly, I’ve always envied people who can endlessly talk about themselves. I am usually at a loss when asked to say a few words about myself.
2. The Ugly By-Line: Link Farm
Don’t be greedy: trying to stuff your by-line with links is just impolite. Being focused will both increase your chances to get approved and encourage more people to click (double win!).
Think about it this way: a blogger will find it easier to just ignore your pitch than to try to explain you the obvious thing: why he wouldn’t like to link to all your sites and social media profiles from his blog.
3. The Good By-Line: Short and Sweet
The good by-line contains no more than 3 sentences and no more than 3 links:
- Start it with your name and a short definition of yourself (Blogger, new mom,any words that best define you in your opinion ).
- Follow with your main blog (I know most of us run quite a few but you should choose one). I for one don’t mind keyword-based anchor text here but I often too humble to use one myself. I’d say, for a good work on a post, the author deserves one good link with the anchor text of his choice.
- Mention your area of expertise or your main interests and where readers can find all the necessary information about you (this can be your online resume, most complete social media profile or your portfolio)
- Invite readers to follow you on Twitter (or other social media network that matters to you most). Mention your tweeting style and topics (like “I tweet about search and SEO as well blogging in general”).
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