Guest Posts Increase Your Odds Of Having a Successful Site

Written On Day: 298

A little birdie told me that I have a guest post on Problogger.  This is great news.  With over 15,000 visitors a day Problogger is the biggest blog for bloggers.  And with a Page Rank of 6 this website will receive a great backlink along with the exposure.

Exposure and a great backlink should give this website a much needed boost.  Unfortunately ‘should’ is not good enough.  What if I get a traffic boost for a couple days and then things settle back to normal – back to 60 visitors a day.  I want proof that a guest post on Problogger provides a long term benefit for this website.

Without a bubbling cauldron and a dash of bat wings it is difficult to determine with certainty whether the guest post will help in the long run.  The best I can do is figure out statistically whether sites with a guest post on Problogger are doing better then sites without a guest post on Problogger.

Question: Do people who have done a guest post on Problogger have more success with their sites then those who have not done a guest post?

Most Sites Fail

In a previous post (What Are The Odds Your Site Will Fail) I tried to determine the success rate of sites by taking the URL’s of Problogger commentors 3 years ago and seeing how their sites are doing today.  The current state of the sites where put into three categories:

  • Dead (0-500 visitors/day)
  • Serious Injury (500-2000 visitors/day)
  • Alive and Well (2000+ visitors/day)

The results where humbling but promising.  Popular lore is that 99% of sites fail.  But according to the results things are not that terrible.  Here is the current state of site owners that commented on Problogger 3 years ago:

What percent websites and blog fail
Dead: 72%
Serious Injury: 12%
Alive and Well: 16%


Instead of 99% failing only 72% are dead three years later.  Grim, but better then expected.   Commenting on Problogger does seem to give you a statistical advantage.

Most Guest Posters Succeed

A commentor on Problogger has a 72% chance their site will be dead in three years.  But now I am guest poster.  I have advanced from commentor to guest poster, what are the odds that my website will fail?

Determining the answer is simple.  Thanks to the great archive on Problogger I can go back in time and gather the URL’s of all the guest posters.  Then run them through a traffic estimator and see how the guest poster’s sites are doing today.

So with Vivaldi blasting out of the speakers I spent the day going through the Problogger archives gathering guest posters URLs.  From January 2007 to June 2009 I collected all the guest posters and put their URLs in a table.  If the post started off with something like “this is a guest post from…” I grabbed the URL.

After a few hours I accumulated 63 distinct guest posters.  Then I ran each one through a traffic estimator ( and noted how much daily traffic they currently receive.
With all the data collected I broke the results up into the same three groups – dead, serious injury, alive and well.  Here are the results (download table):

What percent guest posters sites fail
Dead: 24%
Serious Injury: 22%
Alive and Well: 54%

54% of Problogger guest posters have a successful site.  And only 24% ended up dead.  This is a big difference compared with people that only comment on Problogger.  I have drastically increased my odds of success with my guest post.  Now it is a coin toss – heads I win, tails I lose.

Why Does Guest Posting Increase Your Chances Of Success?

Answering this question bumps against the classic problem of causality.  There is no way to tell what causes what.  Do people with guest posts on Problogger end up with successful sites, or do people with sites that become successful guest post on Problogger?  Do people who smoke end up with cancer, or do people with a cancer gene end up smoking?  There is no way to tell.

All that can be argued is that if you belong to the group that smokes then you have a greater chance of having cancer, and if you belong to the group with a guest post on Problogger then you have a greater chance of having a successful site.

How much of the success can be credited to the guest post and how much can be credited to your site?    Again, no way to tell.  Most likely it is a tangled combination of the two.  Here is how it works:

  1. You create a site. You think it is good but are uncertain because with little exposure not enough people have seen it to judge it.
  2. You write a guest post for Problogger. It gets accepted – this confirms your suspicion that your writing and content is good (at least Problogger thinks it is good enough for his blog).
  3. Your guest post goes live and exposes your site to a lot of people. Because your site is good, the visitors stay and tell their friends.
  4. Your site becomes a success.

Your site becomes a success for two reasons: it is a good site and exposure.  To get the exposure you need a good site.  You cannot have one without the other.

It is not the guest post by itself that increases your chance of success, it is the fact that you have a good site and you get exposure.  It has been said a million times, in a million different ways – before anything else, before thinking about SEO, social networking, promotion, backlinks etc. make sure you have a good site.  Without a good site you are simply digging a hole to China – you will drown in a pool of hot lava.

Will This Website Become A Success Because Of A Guest Post?

I do not know.  But I have dramatically increased my odds by being a guest poster for Problogger.  Now I am hanging with the right crowd.  Mingling with winners.  Chess club is great for playing chess, but if you want the cheerleaders you need to join the football team.  Of course, there is still a 50% chance of failure – high, but a lot less then 84%.

  1. October 26th, 2009 at 13:20 | #1

    I recently had a guest post on Problogger:
    I will say that the post generated quite a bit of discussion and comments. It also generated some new traffic and the occasional curious blogger checking things out. However, it certainly wasn’t the huge boon I had hoped for. But…is that really all that important? After some thought I decided what was important was the fact that I took a chance, Darren actually liked what I wrote and it got published. This gave me a nice boost in confidence that has made an impact on my writing and my site. I’d love to hear what your thoughts are after your post is live for a bit.

  2. October 26th, 2009 at 14:29 | #2

    I’m pretty sure I could score guest post slots on a number of higher traffic blogs. I’m willing to put the work in, and willing to be rejected until I get it right.

    I am not, however, willing to let the traffic escape! =)

    Serious redesign of website first.

  3. roman
    October 26th, 2009 at 16:17 | #3

    @Todd – Home Construction Improvement

    Hello Todd,

    It has been exactly 24 hours since my guest post went live. I have received 160 visitors from problogger.

    This is about what should be expected. Problogger receives approx 15,000 visitors a day. This means what approx 1% of the readers clicked on my link. Around the same percentage that click on ads.

    Not a tsunami of visitors, but the major benefit for this website is the backlink. I create guest posts for the backlinks. Darren was kind enough to use the keywords ‘how this website makes money’ for the introduction. Because it is a high quality backlink, it should help with my search engine rankings for these keywords. The traffic is nice, but the backlink is more valuable in the long run.

  4. roman
    October 26th, 2009 at 16:25 | #4

    Hello Dave,

    I am not sure I understand your comment – not familiar with the concept of visitors ‘escaping’.

    Are you saying that you need to make your website prettier so that when people arrive they are hypnotized by its design into staying? Or are you planning remove all outlinks from your website so that only way out is via back button or ad click?

  5. October 26th, 2009 at 18:07 | #5


    Heh… yes… I will mesmerize my visitors!

    Seriously, I do want to make it a lot more visually compelling first, then get work on converting visitors onto my list, THEN go for guest posts.

    Long time readers know I outlink _excessively_. I’m 1994 Old Skool on that point. I simply don’t worry about “SEO,” only about entertaining and providing value to readers. I have no fear of people clicking away on an outbound link. If my stuff isn’t compelling enough to bring them back, that’s my problem, not theirs.

  6. October 28th, 2009 at 23:38 | #6

    I actually belong to the ProBlogger forum and go to the blog often. I don’t see anywhere that says “Write for us” or “Write for ProBlogger” so this begs the question “How did you submit your guest post”? Did you just click on “Contact” and send an email with the post? I have done three guest posts on popular blogs and I agree wholeheartedly with you on guest posting.
    I would appreciate if either you or Todd could answer this question. Great post by the way. By the way, I am a subscriber to your blog.


  7. October 30th, 2009 at 09:34 | #7

    @Bob Bessette
    Hello Bob,

    You are right, Problogger has no specific ‘submit guest post’ section.

    In submitting my guest post I was a little lucky. Darren had left a comment on this blog, so I had his direct email address.

    I sent him an email asking whether he would consider my guest post. I included the entire guest post in the email. A day later he sent me an email stating that he will use it.

    It was a painless experience.

    I know this does not help you too much, but this is all I can offer.

  8. November 5th, 2009 at 21:51 | #8

    Congratulations on your guest post! That’s certainly a great boost in confidence. I didn’t realise you had one there, since I don’t read ProBlogger anymore. But I have seen some fantastic guests posts there, and I do know that when I used to read them those guest posters always had some kind of ‘authority’ in my mind, which should also help to boost your site’s success.

  9. November 7th, 2009 at 16:39 | #9

    Do you have to write about a specific subject at problogger or can it be any topic?

  10. roman
    November 10th, 2009 at 16:27 | #10

    Hello Nobi,

    Problogger is a blog for bloggers giving advice on how to be a better blogger. So if you want to submit a guest post then it should help bloggers with their blogs.

    But almost anything can be turned into advice for bloggers. For example, my guest posts described how bloated bladders, not showering in the morning, and smoking can help make you a better blogger.

    I am certain you can figure out how to turn a topic you know a lot about into advice for bloggers.

  11. January 5th, 2010 at 03:51 | #11

    I was lucky enough to submit my idea to Darren via Twitter and he accepted my draft….he’s actually written another post with a link to my site as well.

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