Should You Edit Guest Posts Others Send to You

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Karol K
Karol K. (@carlosinho) is a blogger and writer for hire. He has his work published all over the web, on sites like:, Six Revisions, Web Design Ledger,, Quick Sprout, ProBlogger, Writers in Charge, and others.
Karol K
Karol K
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The topic of guest posting is probably covered enough on the internet as it is, but there’s still one aspect that has slipped everyone’s mind a bit. I’m talking about some of the scenarios that are likely to occur when others send their posts to you (instead of you sending posts to them).

One of these scenarios is when you feel that the article you’ve received lacks something and yet, you still want to publish it. So, what to do? Should you edit anything? Is it okay to alter someone else’s work?

To give you a short answer, not that much. For a more detailed one, consider the following.

Typos and other language errors

These are the easiest to deal with. Of course, whenever you find something an outright error, you have all the right to make it correct.

Also, it’s an opportunity for you to learn what the most common language errors are. Something that can come very handy if you’re planning to send your own writing to other sites.

Style and flow of the article

And now we stumble upon the first no-no on the list. Even though the blog is 100% yours, I don’t believe you should modify the contents of the guest posts you get in any significant way.

However, if you really feel that the article needs a change before it can be published, reach out to the author and ask them to change it. If the author really wants their work published on your site then they will have no problem making the changes. That is, if you explain what the deal is exactly.

Actually, let’s make it a rule of thumb: Whenever something needs to be changed, ask the author to do it for you.

When you don’t like the links

This is probably the most common issue with guest posts and it shouldn’t be very surprising. In fact, most guest posting is done for link purposes. As much as we’d like to think that the “good” bloggers have other reasons (like community and stuff), they don’t. Now here’s the best part…there’s nothing bad about it.

Links drive most things that take place online. When we tweet, we link to something. Links are the things we click on when we like something on Reddit. Links are the things we send to our friends via email. The examples are endless and on top of these, links drive guest posting.

So what to do if you don’t like the link? Well, again, contact the author, tell them what the deal

is and suggest some solutions. In 90% of the cases, they will be eager to work with you. One more thing, please don’t think that you’re in a superior position to negotiate. They are doing as much of a favor to you – by providing free content, as you are to them – by allowing them to have a link.

To be honest, there was only one situation where I, the author, requested my post to be taken down because my link was altered without consultation. Obviously, I lost the possibility to guest post on that blog forever, but at least the owner agreed to leave my link intact (the article got popular so they didn’t want to lose it).

In the end, I believe that you shouldn’t sweat all that much about the links people feature inside their guest posts, as long as they are relevant and there isn’t too many of them. Of course, linking to gambling sites, “naughty” sites, hateful sites and so on, is a completely different thing.

Adding your own voice

Sometimes it’s good to add your own voice or your own tips in the article, especially if you rarely publish guest posts and your readers might be surprised that there’s someone else speaking to them on a given day.

One of the most common ways of handling this is to add your intro, like a foreword. The idea is to introduce the author, introduce the topic and explain why you’re even publishing the post.

Another approach is to add small tips within the article itself. You can indicate the tips with brackets and your initials, for example. You can take a look at this post at Tim Ferriss’s blog where he uses this exact technique to add some more value into one guest post. The main idea is not to confuse the reader but to help them distinguish your input from the original author’s input.

Adding your own links

As I mentioned, changing the original links is not okay and that is my humble opinion. But adding your own is definitely okay because, well, why shouldn’t you?

The rule is quite simple: if the links bring value, then by all means you should add them (and that includes product links).

I guess that’s it when it comes to my tips on this matter. To be honest with you, one of the reasons for writing this post was because I came across a situation in guest blogging that I didn’t like, so I thought that finding some consistent policy would be a good idea here.

Anyway, what do you think? What’s your opinion on editing guest posts that other bloggers send to you? Or maybe you are the one who has had their posts edited in a non-cool way? Either way feel free to share.