Here at WP Mayor, we’re always trying our hardest to be an impartial and ethical blog. Our main aim is to help WordPress users find the perfect product or service, and help owners and developers market their products.
As we disclose in our disclaimer, the blog also needs to make money to survive. We do this in two ways: affiliate marketing and paid services.
Which brings me to my question: Are affiliate guest posts ethical in the WordPress blog scene?
In this post, I’ll share my thoughts in the hope of starting a discussion for us all to learn through shared experiences.
We receive hundreds of emails from people wanting to guest post on the blog – many of which we turn down. As you can imagine, most are spammers, over-aggressive marketers, or simply people wanting to boost their website by receiving a backlink from a reputable site.
Accepting guest posts from these types of marketers will hurt your SEO. You don’t want to work hard to be a leader in your field, only to start littering your blog with ill-written articles linking to low-quality websites.
This is one of the reasons why we stopped allowing most guest posts on WP Mayor in the past recent months.
Writing articles is time-consuming and costly. As an affiliate blog owner, churning out articles every week takes up the majority of your time. If you’re writing about something as broad as we do, this means a lot of time is spent going through product updates, learning about new services, and figuring out what your visitor wants to read.
Guest posts can free up more of your time to help you focus on other important things in the business.
It might also be a good idea to have articles written by reputable writers who are not part of your editorial team. This shows that you have great connections, boosting your reputation.
Imagine having Brian Gardner write an article on your website. This would act as a testimonial in and of itself, social proof that your blog is a trusted resource.
Ethical Affiliate Marketing
This is where things start to get a bit tricky. Affiliate partners will sometimes reach out to post articles on your affiliate blog. This type of guest posting might well be seen as a sort of bartering, where they produce content and you add affiliate links to the articles. They benefit by gaining exposure to your audience, and you will hopefully earn a commission.
However, this type of content generation should be done with some serious thought. Firstly, I believe in strong connections and building a personal relationship with your affiliate partners. From our experience, once you trust the owners and developers, you’re more than likely to like their product. Secondly, try out the product yourself first.
For instance, here at WP Mayor, we always start off with a paid review. Through this review, we ask our affiliate partners to pay a fee for us to be able to write up an unbiased review before signing up to their affiliate program. Once we deem the product helpful and suitable for our audience, we’ll start a partnership.
This method helps us promote only those products and services we truly believe in. This mentality has helped us establish ourselves as an unbiased and trustworthy blog.
Your reputation is one of the key ingredients of any business. Don’t take it for granted.
So, what about affiliates writing guest posts on your blog?
Well, if a product owner is writing an article on his or her own product, you run the risk of publishing a biassed piece of content. This is where your role as content manager steps in. We always try our hardest to only publish impartial content that complies with our writing style.
In my opinion, as long as you are honest with your audience, and the writing is good, it shouldn’t hurt your blog.
What About Ghost Writing?
This brings me to my next point – ghostwriting. I’ve personally battled with this and after some soul-searching, I’ve come to the conclusion that ghostwriting is acceptable, only if the sentiment of the post matches the ghost author’s.
In most cases, we prefer having a guest author for any external guest posts. However, when it’s something news-related, a general roundup of products, or the like, we do make some exceptions.
Guest Posting Done Right
Your blog is your main form of content. Allowing just about anyone to guest post on it will surely hurt your brand and your readers’ trust.
One thing to keep in mind is that in general, ethical marketers don’t blatantly ask strangers for favors like this. Learn to sift through the requests and focus on those that will enrich your blog.
From our experience, make sure to speak with your writers and get to know them. Ensure that your principles are aligned and thoroughly review the articles you accept.