It seems rare these days to come across a blog that isn't using WordPress as a platform. The most popular program around, it is a great way to get professional features and apps for free, or for a low cost if you decide to pay for a theme. Even those are rather inexpensive, and there is such a wide choice of complimentary layouts that you probably won't have to buy one anyway.
For those of us who are running a blog that needs constant fresh content, it can take up all of our time finding it. Good writers who work for a byline are very hard to come by. Not because they are not looking for opportunities to guest post, but because the web is a big place and connecting can be a chore.
Some sites have made it easier, and so have guest blogging plugins for WordPress. Here are a few great ones for accepting guest posts.
If you are a current user of MBG, you might have heard of this earlier this month. They have created a simple plugin for WordPress that allows you to search for, request use of and publish guest posts from their article gallery in your WP dashboard. If you don't have an account, get one here. For those who do, it works like this: go to My Menu > Add/Edit Sites and Tags and click on the WordPress icon. This will take you to the verification page where you will select the blog you want to install it on. Each blog has to be installed individually, as there is a unique verification code sent for each request.
Once you have authorized the blog's plugin install, you can find it in your dashboard on WordPress. Search articles like usual, using tags or keywords. Once you find one you like, select 'Make Offer' and write a message to the writer telling them where you want to publish their article and when you would do it. If they accept, you will get a notification under the blog header in red. You simply hit the notification, review the post and publish it with the author's byline and details. Then hit the button to alert them to the new post.
2. Role Manager
If you trust the writer to create their own posts and publish, you can always change their 'role'. This plugin allows you to limit or open access to each user on your blog, based on their management level. You can them specify their capabilities, as allowed from WordPress. It is very easy to use, with a four page format in Roles, Capabilities, General Information and Statistics. To install it just download the plugin from their page then go to WP-content/plugins. Make a directory titled "role-manager" and unzip the downloaded plugin files to that directory. Go to the plugins tab and hit activate.
I have a confession: I am really bad at notifying guest posters that their article is up. I always mean to, but I get side tracked and before I know it I have an email asking me when it will be published. Which leads to me sending an embarrassed reply with a link and an apology, stating that it has been up for days.
While I have gotten better, I still slip up on occasion. Or I did until I got this plugin. It notifies the writer for you the moment the post is up, so I don't have to worry about it. To install download the file and go to /wp-content/plugins/directory, and upload "status-notifier". Find it in the Plugins menu and activate, and customize or edit the plugin through the admin area of your dashboard, under Options > Status Notifications.
More users than ever are relying on posts written by readers themselves, regardless of writing experience. If you want to take advantage of this trend, this plugin works by creating a simple form that shows on your website, where users can write a story and submit it to you to edit and publish. It also allows an optional feature for image submission, which is a great touch. Just download the file and create a new directory titles "user-submitted-posts", then activate it via the Plugins menu.
Then go to Settings > User Submitted Posts and edit the categories and customize it via your own tastes. To control where it is displayed on your blog, use the short code or template tag. To keep submissions from showing up in your RSS feed until they are published, use the Simply Exclude plugin.
Do you know of any good plugins for accepting guest posts from users? Let us know in the comments!
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Ann Smarty is a blogger and SEO consultant and professional blogger. Check out Ann's personal project My Blog Guest - the forum meant to connect guest bloggers to blog owner for plenty of mutual benefits. Ann also provides guest blogging services.