At CopyPress, we take quality seriously. Whether it’s brainstorming Sharebait ideas with the writers or putting in the time to write the perfect pitch email to a prospective blogger, a high quality net result is always our top priority. We know that this goal can be achieved by a number of things (hard work, critical thinking, experience, etc.).
In outreach, we apply the same rules of quality control that we do when we create great content and use the same expert care taken when curating blogger relationships. It’s simple really, our clients expect high-quality sites to host high quality content. This is why the QA process for target domains is so important. Style guides, second opinions and a rigorous approval system are set into place to assure the quality of every site we reach out to for guest posts.
What Makes a Great Blog?
A few months ago, Ryan wrote a great post about which sites to avoid in outreach. While she breaks down what makes a site low quality, I’d like to focus on some of the qualities that make a site great. Yes, page rankings and Alexa scores are important, but there is more that goes into QAing a quality site. Pay attention to these qualities if you really want to score a great placement.
Usability and Choice
Web design and user interface make a big impact on whether or not a site is considered “good” for outreach. Blogs should have a smart, user-friendly layout that let readers easily peruse and discover new content. High-quality sites are flexible, and give the user several ways to experience the site. Whether it’s the choice between white and black backgrounds, a mobile friendly, responsive design or even the option for parallax scrolling, giving users more options for how they want to experience a site shows that they care about their audience.
Truly Original Content
Of course, good blogs and sites will only post original content, but only the great ones will make the effort to really go above and beyond what’s expected of them to deliver truly engaging and original content. What do I mean when I say truly original? Great blogs will often opt to use in-house copywriters, designers and photographers to stand out in the blogosphere. Here are some marks of a unique blog:
- High-resolution, original photographs in lieu of stock images
- Unique artwork, copy and logos
- Feature work: weekly columns, contests, community spotlights, industry interviews, etc.
- An ongoing discussion or disclosure about content choices and how the community can help make it better
- A targeted audience and a clear direction
Transparency is an often-overlooked trait that contributes to a blog’s quality. In outreach, we get so wrapped up in hitting metrics and checking anchor text that it’s easy to forget to do the real detective work. Does the blog have a soul? Is there a purpose, expression or narrative beyond the pending articles sitting the WordPress queue? Oftentimes the best blogger relationships come from people that have a real passion for their editorial voice and integrity. Just like you can taste the difference between a delicious home cooked meal versus a processed fast-food burger, readers can tell which blogs are managed with love.
During the QA process, remember to ask yourself whether a site feels right to you. By all means, look up the Alexa, page rankings and social shares, but also take a minute to snoop around. Get a feel for a site’s essence and ask yourself if the content is truly original and cleverly curated. These are the building blocks of a quality site.