I recently had a run in with a couple of kind of insane bloggers who were asking for ridiculous things. One was trying to charge a few hundred dollars for a post, and you have to pay to keep the back links each year, not to mention send them samples for free and write a non promotional article. This same site was only a PR1, had an alexa ranking over 1.6 million and refused to send me a screen shot of their analytics to show traffic volumes. Then she started freaking out on me when I said if I can’t prove you have relevant traffic to my client I cannot do this, not to mention I wouldn’t buy or pay for links, especially with her insane policy. Needless to say I didn’t work with them.
Another one wrote back saying that in order to guest post I have to give them a blog roll, pay for the links and agree to do a media buy on her site. This was a PR3 site (which was good) and had 5K followers on twitter. The issue is that she was following more people than what she had as followers so the account wasn’t of much value and there was no traffic on the site, not to mention I would never make a deal like that for a guest post. That is just stupid! So how do I evaluate blogs and websites for media buys, seo, etc…? Here are some of the major things I ask for and look at before I move forward and buy ad space, try to get a backlink or see if they are a good fit as a partner.
First things to look at when evaluating a site or blog.
PR – What is the PR of the site. Having a higher Page Rank shows that they have a good amount of backlinks coming into their site and that they have some authority in Google’s eyes.
Analytics – If I can get a screen shot of their analytics, this is usually available in the media kit or advertising section, I can tell if they have traffic and not have to rely on third party data collectors.
- Unique Visitors – How many unique visitors are on their site.
- Returning Visitors – Out of those unique visitors, how many return because they are loyal.
- Total Hits – What are the total hits I the site gets so I can estimate a CTR and Conversion Rate.
Twitter Followers – Does the site have a following and is the following just people who follow and the site follows back? Having 1,000 followers and only following 50 people would be more appealing to me than someone who has 10,000 followers and is following 9,800. Those people who are following are probably genuinely interested and you can get a better click through rate. There are other things to look at as well on twitter to tell if they have a good following or not but that’s another post.
Facebook Fanpage Likes – Do they have a lot of likes or a lot of community participation on their Facebook page. Having 5,000 likes is great, but if no one is reading or commenting it could be a dead community. Then again they could be reading and just not needing to comment.
Keywords Pointing In – I always look at the keywords that the site gets and then compare them to the keywords conversion rates through other channels. This helps me estimate a CTR and CR (conversion rate).
How Often They Post – How often is the blog updated and does the traffic fluctuate with that.
Relevance For My Goals – How relevant is the site for a backlink, for sales for legit traffic that my advertisers would like or even to want to share my page and site to get it out to it’s target audience.
Secondary things to look at when evaluating a site or a blog.
- Comments – Does the blog or site have an active community and readership or are they just leaving random comments and thank yous so that they can get a do or nofollow link.
- ReTweets – How many retweets and tweets go out from each post on the Twitter sharing button.
- Shares – How many Facebook shares does the site get?
- Media Kit and Rate Card – What are their rates and can I work them down.
- Are They Sane or Insane – If they are crazy you probably don’t want them, even if they have great traffic because they can bash you and hurt you just as much. Instead you can outrank them with good SEO and drive them out of the SERPs.
- Sites Linking In – What sites are linking in and could it harm your site with an association.
Third round of things to look at when evaluating a website or a blog.
- Sell links – Do they sell links? To Google this is bad.
- Reputation – What is the reputation of the site?
- History – How many changes has there been, was it a spam site, did it ever have copy and indexing that could hurt your brand, etc…
- Age – What is the age of the site to help with the authority.
- Is My Competition There – Do I have competitors there and why or why aren’t they there.
- Do I write the copy or do they – This depends on the type of outreach I am doing.
- Do they provide images or do I – Images can be a pain to do so when a site provides their own it makes my life easier.
These are only some of the things that I look at when evaluating a site or blog for a media buy, to try and get a backlink from as well as having as a partner. There are a lot of other things to consider when looking at partner sites, but you have to also think about what your goals are. Are they branding, sales, traffic, SEO, exposure, etc… Then you can create your own checklist and help to determine what sites are the best potential partners for you and which ones you may want to pass on.