Guest Posting vs Social Media which is best for traffic?

Guest Posting vs Social Media which is best for traffic?

Guest Posting vs Social Media

It’s time to settle this Guest Posting vs Social Media debate for once and for all.

The biggest problem I’ve noticed is the fact that people don’t conduct their own experiments.

Most of the information out there on important topics like this comes from articles someone wrote repeating what someone else said.

They might use a fancy infographic or some cool video to make their point appear more valid but it’s all just theory until you prove it for yourself.

This is why I don’t understand these new college degrees in social media.

What can a college professor teach you about using social media effectively?

Listen folks, what the colleges and universities won’t tell you is you only learn one WAY in this life and that’s by doing. 

If you’ve been following me you know what I’m about is 100% real.

You’ve probably been watching me grow my blog for the last six weeks in a row one step at a time.

Everything I’ve learned comes from studying the best bloggers in the world and conducting my own tests.

Now I want to share with you what happened when I compared my Guest Posting vs Social Media efforts year to date 2013.

YouOnline traffic YTD mar 13

I’m excited to have over 1000 referral visits in the first 72 days of the year.

Let’s take a closer look at the two types of referral traffic.

First lets take a look at my top ten referral sources year to date:


Notice how the only source in the top ten from guest posting is ShoeMoney.com.

If you’ve been following my 5M reports you know that I’ve written two guests posts for Jeremy’s blog so far this year.

This referral traffic source ranks #4 for my blog, behind GooglePlus, Twitter, and Aweber.

What about the rest of my guest posts?

I write for 3 other blogs too, Comluv, shoutmeloud, and IBlogZone.


They all finished in the top 20 referrers to my site.

Now lets take a closer look at my results from social media:


What’s interesting here is even though I still don’t know how to use Facebook worth a dog fart but it generated more traffic for me than stumbleupon which I actually like more than Marky Z’s Facebook.  Don’t worry, I’ll get my act together soon don’t miss #SoMeSa for the latest FB tips.

I’ts also interesting the remarkably low amount of visitors that YouTube is bringing me, anyway that’s a side point.

Who wins this Guest Posting vs Social Media competition?

It’s easy to say that social media wins the competition here are the pros:

  • Social media generated nearly 300% more visits than Guest Posting.  
    • 297 social media visitors versus 110. (Google+ alone generated more visits than all the guests posts combined.)
  • Social media visitors stayed around much longer than referral visitors from my Guest Posts.
    • Comluv and iBlogZone referred visitors that stayed a little longer than 2 minutes on average.
    • Google plus and twitter referred visitors that stayed 4 minutes and 3 minutes on average.
  • Social media helps build connections with people.
    • People who re-share your content or follow you are much more likely to read and share your content on social media.

Here are the cons for the social media traffic:

  1. It’s temporary.
    No matter how impressive it may seem I’ll have to duplicate my promotion activities for the next 72 days if I want the same results.  No tweets no clicks.  Social Media Publishing is all about temporary short term benefits.
  2. The context based content is disposable.
    It can’t be easily re-purposed and used again.  Social media works best in context while topics are trending real time.   If I re-posted something today that I originally shared in January it would make me look like a clown.  This remains a challenge social media marketing pro’s.
  3. The social media connections can be fleeting.
    It’s like “meeting” someone at a summer festival or a parade or something.  There’s so many people out and about that you don’t really feel like you’ve formally met anyone.  It’s more like saying hello and getting a hi and a smile in return.

It would be hard to say that Guest posting wins this comparison based on the stats above but here’s the pros:

  1. Credibility.
    The truth of it is I could have posted all of my articles on my blog instead of sending them out as guests posts and I would probably still be where I was last year.  If you want to know how things were going for me back then just imagine how things were before the original 5M 001 report when I started taking my performance seriously.
  2. Recognition. 
    When people see you writing for a popular blog they recognize you later when you post articles on social media or comments on other blogs.   This generates a compound interest type of effect that I have been noticing.   This means the more guest posts I write the more people will recognize me which will increase the response rate and effectiveness of my promotions.  Adrienne Smith was right consistency is important.
  3. Permanent. 
    I only write a guest post once and then it generates referral traffic, subscribers, and more for weeks at a time.  Social media requires me to post everyday for best results.  Very few people click links on old social media posts.
  4. Email subscriptions.
    From the chart below you can see that my email subscriptions have been pretty steady over the past several weeks.
    I always notice a spike in subscribers whenever a guest post is published.


In summary guest posting vs social media, who wins and why?

In my opinion I would have to say Guest Posting is the winner.

Here’s why:

  1. Time.
    If you spent all your available time on social media your online business would flounder and fail.
    If you spent it on guest posting your online business would prosper like a MOFO.If you think I’m joking search Google for ‘by Paul Krugman’.This economically challenged hack makes a decent living writing guests posts all over the place.  Do you think he could get the same results from Twitter and Facebook?No. But I’d like to see him try.
  2. Relationships.
    The real relationships are made when you actually do important stuff with other people.I’m sure you’ve heard the term he’s in bed with them or they’re in bed with that company.  This metaphor works because it describes the highest level a relationship cat get, sleeping together.  This cliche term is popular because everyone knows once you’re sleeping with someone you can’t get any closer.When you write a guest post you are collaborating with another successful person.You’ve helped them provide content for their audience.This is what they call a “good look’ where I’m from.The universal deal of forever is Quid pro quo, that means something for something.When you start to collaborate, and then to scheme for product releases or mutually beneficial special promotions with other bloggers, NOW YOU HAVE A RELATIONSHIP.   Retweets?  They don’t mean sheet.

Guest Posting vs Social Media which is best in YOUR opinion?

One thing I have to add to this discussion is the fact that recently I changed my mind on an article that I started writing to send as a guest post but then I didn’t at the last minute.

I wanted to see what would happen if I published it on my site instead and well, let’s just say I’m glad I published it on my site.

However, this makes me wonder what would have happened had I sent this post about the 5 ways your blog should say thank you to a very popular blog like those in the #IBCT.

I guess we’ll never know.

That’s why I think the best strategy is to do both but I recommend prioritizing and placing an emphasis on guest posting.


Because “hey, check out my new guest post” is a much better ice breaker than “Yo click this link” even if you are an experienced #HashTagHijacker like myself.

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What's up! I'm Darnell the founder of Your Online Biz. I believe "We come from absolute greatness. Accomplishing the extraordinary is the least that we should expect from ourselves." In 2012 I launched TruckLicense.net which redefined how to get a CDL without expensive trucking school. I also created the #IBCT - International Blogger Championship Tournament which features the top 64 blogs worldwide in a competitive comparative analysis. When you support me you help #PayItForward as I contribute 10% of my online income to help children in need.

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7 comments on “Guest Posting vs Social Media which is best for traffic?
  1. sunil says:

    hi darnell,
    Quality alway matters, you have tackled two broad topics in a informative ways. I believe if one will wisely use social media and guest post, then it will improve in traffic and sort of alexa ranking as well.

    sunil recently posted…Link AssistantMy Profile

  2. Ileane says:

    Hey Darnell, one of the cool things I like about this post is that you didn’t just look at the number of visits. You took things a step deeper by looking at how long they stayed on the blog.
    Did you also track exactly who subscribed to your email list?

    In the end, we don’t really need to make a choice between the two. They both have different goals and there’s nothing stopping us from taking advantage of all of them – especially since we and automate a lot of the social sharing process.

    Thanks for sharing the stats.
    Ileane recently posted…Want Me to Delete Your Guest Post? Just Make These 7 MistakesMy Profile

    • Hey Ileane, I’m trying to figure out a way to track exactly where the subscribers came from.
      I haven’t figured out an easy way to do that just yet.

      I agree with you both are needed in the end guest posting and social media.

      I’ve found that people run out of interesting things to say on social media.
      There’s nothing better than saying check out my latest guest post. (Especially if it’s a good one.)

      Glad you enjoyed the post.

      Your feedback means a lot, thank you.
      Darnell Jackson recently posted…Link Building: You’re Doing it Wrong pt. 3My Profile

  3. Adrienne says:

    I don’t think you can compare the two Darnell because although both are really part of social media (blogging is social media), guest posting is your content and social media is how you’re sharing your content.

    Nothing is permanent online, nothing. Not traffic from your guest post or any other platform you’ve shared. Sure, it will always be there for people to see even years down the road but the majority of what internet marketers share will be outdated in six months so who wants to watch a video or read a post and take advice from old information?

    Guest posting is a great way to get yourself out in front of new readers but social media is the best way to share that over different platforms.

    I really don’t think there is any comparison in my opinion.

    Adrienne recently posted…How To Start Living With Purpose TodayMy Profile (dofollow)

    • Good points Adrienne,

      Yeah I was motivated to write this post after a discussion in a Google+ community.
      The idea was to compare the two types of referral traffic more than the platforms or activities themselves.

      Regarding old information as I research so many blogs for the #IBCT one of the things I do is search popular keywords.
      Actually in my post yesterday I linked to an article on BasicBlogTips that I found by searching for alternative RSS readers the post I found was from June of 2011.

      and it was a guest post, I don’t think the same could happen for any social media content, I guess unless someone uses the facebook timeline search or something.
      (Some times I notice people giving some of my old posts on Google+ a plus one.)

      Thanks for checking out the post Adrienne, I appreciate the feedback.

      PS I Linked to my post from yesterday below:
      Darnell Jackson recently posted…The Google Reader Alternatives Roundup The Best RSS AppsMy Profile

  4. Enstine Muki says:

    Interesting topic Darnell and thanks for sharing your stats.

    Personally, for short term results, I vote for social media referral traffic. You already detailed the cons and pros but for long term and steady traffic, guest posting wins. It generates both referral and search engine traffic. In addition, it helps in building more solid relationships which leads to more traffic and sales.

    However, social media really helps in boosting and giving power to a new post isn’t it?
    Enstine Muki recently posted…How to transform your blog to a veritable cash machine ~ ThirstyAffiliate ReviewMy Profile

    • I agree Enstine they go hand in hand.

      It’s interesting though the types of visits that I get.

      In summary I would say:
      The social media crowd is interested and curious.
      The guest post crowd is motivated to take action.

      The traffic that I get from social media doesn’t seem as motivated to subscribe as the visitors I get from writing guest posts.

      I agree social media does a decent job of getting the word out but I should compare this to comment posting in order to really have perspective.
      (coming soon.)
      Darnell Jackson recently posted…Social Media Saturday #SoMeSa – ep. 8 – Chorão.My Profile

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