Like many popular bloggers, you probably rely on external contributors (usually unpaid) to help create the quality content your audience has come to expect.
Sometimes those contributors write simply for fun, or to gain experience, but more usually they do it to get some free publicity for their own site.
And the unspoken deal is: You get free content; they get free advertising.
That's right; it's essentially advertising.
Because whether you've thought about it in those terms or not, that's how you "pay" your writers for their hard work - by giving them a little free advertising on your blog.
That advertising usually comes in the form of the author bio you publish along with the post - a sentence or two that tells your readers about the author and links back to their site.
And while that bio gives the author credit for their work, that's only a small part of the equation. Every guest author hopes that if your readers enjoy their post, some of them will visit their own website via the link in their bio.
But what many popular bloggers don't realize is that the placement and prominence of the guest author's bio on the web page has a huge effect on the benefit the author receives from it.
A simple change in position of the bio could mean the difference between getting thousands of visitors to their blog and getting almost none.
Which, when you think about it, is really the difference between the writer getting fairly paid for their work and not getting paid at all.
And here's the thing. Without knowing it, you could be sabotaging the hard-working writers who create your content, simply because the way you happen to position and format the author bio on your blog. Who knew?
The Little-Known Factors That Make an Author Bio Next to Useless
Popular bloggers can severely impair the results their writers get from guest posts in the following ways:
- They detach the author bio from the bottom of the post and push it further down the page where most readers won't ever see it (e.g., below display ads, links to popular posts, etc.)
- They put the author bio at the top of the post, where readers may see it but won't click it (because they haven't read the post yet).
- They put the author bio on a separate page linked from the author's name. (In reality, readers almost never click those links.)
- They put the author information in the right-hand sidebar. (Readers tend to ignore anything in the sidebar because it's where ads normally appear.)
- They make the author information inconspicuous by using the same font style and weight without any other highlighting.
So what's the ideal way to do it? Actually, it's like this:
- Put the author information directly beneath the body of the post, so that it's the very next thing readers see when they finish the post.
- Highlight the author information so that it stands out from other content — e.g., put it in a bordered box, use a different background color, etc.
If this is such a big deal, why don't writers complain?
Honestly? Most guest writers are too scared to complain - they don't want to rock the boat and risk getting a reputation for being "difficult.” (Many of them even imagine that popular bloggers are constantly swapping notes with each other and if they upset one, they could be blacklisted by them all.)
And truthfully, many writers don't actually understand the importance of the bio either - they just put poor results down to bad luck or assume your audience just isn't interested in what they write about.
But just because nobody's complaining, it doesn't mean there isn't an issue.
Okay, but why should I care? I'm not forcing people to write for my blog!
That's true. But the best and smartest writers will measure the results they get from appearing on your blog. And if the results are poor, chances are they won't want to write for you again.
They may not even realize that poor bio placement is responsible for disappointing results - they'll just shrug and try their luck elsewhere.
But it doesn't have to be that way.
Why Optimized Author Bios are Best for Everyone
When writers get great results, they'll be eager to write for you again. That gives you a better selection of quality content for your blog and means you get to work with writers who already know what your readers like.
Your writers will also feel that you genuinely care about their success. So they'll work harder and produce better-quality posts - we all perform better for people that have our backs.
Giving your guest authors a prominent and well-positioned bio is not just the right thing to do; it'll help you out too.
So take another look at the list of risk factors above that sabotage an otherwise effective bio, and see how your blog measures up. And if it falls short, consider making some simple changes. We promise you won't regret it!