First off, before I get anyone’s feathers all ruffled, I would like to say that I know there are huge benefits to guest blogging, article marketing, and writing for user content generated sites in terms of generating traffic, gaining new readership, and of course, building valuable backlinks.
But there are a few disadvantages that are often overlooked. Depending on why you produce content for other sites, the cons may not outweigh the pros, but they are something to consider when you are submitting your article to be published on any site that you do have full control over.
Whenever you submit your content to another site, you are sometimes (unknowingly) giving the owner of the site permission to alter your content. This can be as simple as adding extra information or images to enhance your work, to having someone else fully modify anything they see fit. There are sites that will accept your article and publish it as is, sites that will not publish content if it does not meet certain standards, and sites that reserve the right to edit your article as they see fit.
Know the Policies
Is it important to you that your content stay exactly as is? If so, you may want to review the site you plan on submitting it to and see what their standards are. Read any terms and conditions that you agree to, as these may state whether your article will be modified or enhanced. If you are sending your writing to a blog, be sure to specify what can and cannot be edited before it is published. Also, make sure to check out your work after it is published, with careful attention to anything important that may have been changed to alter the meaning or message you meant to convey.
Some sites, such as HubPages, Squidoo, and eHow, are setup to share revenue with content providers. They will place Adsense, Kontera, Amazon, and other ads into your article, and if someone clicks on those ads, the revenue will be split between you and the site. But what about other sites that will place ads in your article without sharing the profit? This kind of thing has been known to happen all the way down to the comments you leave on blogs that are infused with text link ads. Are they ads that you will want associated with your article? Will the ads make it look like you are promoting something in your article that you do not intend to? Are you ok with someone making money off of your hard work?
Review the Ads
Again, if you have to agree to certain terms when you submit your article, be sure to go over them fully. If you are guest blogging, look at other ads on the site, and ask the blog owner whether they will be mixing your content with their ads or even affiliate links. If you are not comfortable with any income generation that will be linked to your article, you should keep it to your own site, or at least on a site that has a revenue sharing program so you will be rewarded for your work.
Reputation by Association
Take a look at the site you are writing for. Is it known for having quality content? Or is the content sub-par? Could your article be linked to others on the site? As an example, I was viewing a post that had a collection of great nature pics by a talented photographer. At the end of the article, there were thumbnails for more posts, and some of those images were quite offensive. Imagine that you were the photographer, and you sent that link to your friends and family. Would you be a bit embarrassed if they saw the offensive content attached to your post, even though it wasn’t yours?
Protect Your Image
Before writing for another website, take some time to view other content on that site. Will your articles be linked to others? Is it clear to someone who found your work that not everything on the site is yours? Does the site have good authority? Do you know the other writers in terms of their style and ideals? Just a few things to consider before sharing your thoughts and ideas.
Loss of Content
It’s simple. Any site that you do not run could change, or no longer exist, in the blink of an eye. If you write for another blog, article directory, etc., that site owner has the right, at anytime, to change their site and remove content. So if they decide to go in a different direction or that they no longer have the time to run the website that you have contributed to, you may find that your hard work has disappeared in the blink of an eye.
Backup Your Copy
Just like you (hopefully) backup your PC and your own website content, you should keep a copy of any articles you submit to other sites. If those sites change, vanish, or for whatever reason no longer use your work, you may want to publish your article elsewhere, assuming you did not give up your rights to that content.
Have you run into problems with writing or sharing articles on sites that you do not own? What other ways do you protect yourself and your content?
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