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”).
Post img by miyukiutada
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Codrut Turcanu @ Blo
Well done. You laid this out better than anyone else. The short bi-line would also be ideal to invite folks check out your FREE pdf report, or something related to your post
P.S. Is there any special software tool you've been using to craft the graphics?
Thanks, Ann. I copied format of someone else for my first guest post and fortunately it was the good format!
Cheryl from thatgirl
Thanks for clearing this up. Seems like a simple point, but I can see where I could get carried away with adding in too many links to my byline.
I'm glad you think that three links are an appropriate amount. I've hesitated sometimes to add a 3rd link that goes to my twitter because it felt like too much.
I love to include the twitter link because it's so easy for people to follow without investing too much – don't have to give your email and can happily ignore my tweets. My tweets are really good though. Some people don't know what they're missing lol! 😀
Cebu Tech Blogger
So that's by-line… I think I did right on my by-line for my very guest post on one of my regularly visited blogs. Thanks for this additional tip, Ann.
@Codrut, Photoshop 🙂
@Cheryl, I've been following you for a couple of days and haven't noticed there's anything missing 😉
@Cebu, @Bucksome, you are very mush welcome! I hope it'll help!
Ann, your article should be renamed in "How to 'sell' your self at best" :D. anyways good post!
I find the first two example a bit humorous but the point rings true. It's best to be modest on the by line. I usually include a link to my home page and one to my blog, but I suppose I could ad my Twitter which is something I haven't been doing previously.
So, you're from Ukraine? How surprising! (yeah, totally off-topic, sorry!)
Seriously, thanks for sharing, once again. I agree with you, there's no need to write a biography, just a few lines with your main site and twitter.
Getting ready to write a guest post and was researching what to write in my by-line. Glad to have come across this, as I was starting off on the wrong foot by trying to write it before my post. It makes sense that your by-line would change according to the type of post you're righting. Your audience will be different, so you would want to share different information and links.
The Twitter link is an excellent idea too. I would have never thought of it. Thank you.
This is a very good breakdown of an author byline. But I have to take exception to the notion that the byline should wait until after the post is written. The byline should be written separately from the guest post, but deserves just as much attention. IMO, it is the single most important SEO-thing that a blogger can do.
Now this sounds perfect!!
I have been contemplating having guests posts on my blog in 2011. You have certainly helped me think about their bios. I like the subtle red and green backgrounds that you used.
Asheesh Mani Jain
Ann: Great post! I was sick of seeing guest posts that read like adverts or blatant efforts to get as many links as possible. Most Bloggers and SEO guys dont understand that the link should be a byproduct and not the sole objective of blogging and writing guest posts. If you contribute in a constructive way and offer meaningful information, you are going to get links anyway. The more you run after links, the more difficult it will become for you to get them.
Thanks for this post! Very good instruction 🙂
I have bee looking at blog guest on and off for a couple of weeks since a supplier suggested it might suit my needs. I am an inveterate guest blogger on a whole range of subjects from bbw issues thru to disablity issues. Of course this helps link building for my sites but it is also great fun. I do get angry though at the number of blatant spam posts in strange versions of the english language. I hope that by using this site I will be able to blog in a spam free enviroment and still build useful SEO links.
I can digg it
Ann, thanks for this post…I always had this problem writing bylines, and was unsure what is the best way of doing the same…thanks for clarifying the same…
Very well said.
As someone who accepts guest posts, I get a bit annoyed by bloggers who write an entire autobiography along with their blog post. 😐