4 Free Tools for Researching Guest Blogging and Advertising Opportunities

If you are looking for guest blogging or advertising opportunities on other blogs, you will first want to research your options so that you choose the best home for your post or banner ad.

What Makes a Great Opportunity

First of all, what should you be looking for in another blog? Two key metrics I check include:

  1. Traffic – It’s hard to get exact numbers, but you can at least compare the traffic of another site to your own.
  2. Engagement – Are people just visiting the site, or are they actually interacting with it?

My SEO friends might notice I have left out one thing – PageRank. Why? Because it really doesn’t matter anymore. Maybe it will give you an idea of how many sites are linking to the blog, but it doesn’t help determine traffic, engagement or if Google even considers the blog an authority. Let’s face it – in the last major Google update, it slammed the rankings of sites with PageRank as high as 7, 8, and 9.

So when it comes to determining the worth of a blog, I would worry more about traffic and engagement, and less about PageRank. The former two will be more important when it comes to getting your guest post or advertisement exposure to the right kind of audience.

Free Research Tools

Here are some informative, free tools to find and research other blogs that will give you what you need in both of the above departments!


If you’ve been following my writing for a while, you will notice I always find a way to throw in a mention for PostRank, and for good reason. This can be a great place to start if you are looking for the best of the best in your niche. Simply search keywords in your industry, and PostRank will give you a list of the blogs with the top engagement on that topic.

PostRank Top 10 on Blogging
Top 10 Blogs This Week on Blogging

You can use the down arrow (like I did with my own site above) to get a quick idea of what the most popular recent posts are on a site so you know what the readers of that blog are interested in. You can also click on a blog in the list or use the search box to find a particular blog by name or URL to get more detailed engagement metrics.

Engagement Details on PostRank

When you hover a post’s engagement score, you will see the number of comments, social shares, and social bookmarking for that individual post. Hovering over these stats for several recent posts will give you a good idea whether the blog is receiving more on-site engagement (comments) or off-site engagement (social media mentions).


Compete is a great tool for comparing one blog’s traffic with another’s. You can use it for free to compare up to three domains at a time, or register for a free account to compare up to five domains at a time.

Compete Compares Site Traffic

One interesting little tidbit about the traffic numbers themselves. I ran a little test of Compete’s unique visitors vs. Google Analytics unique visitors for three sites over the span of five months. Compete tends to have a higher number – anywhere from 1.2 to 3 times the number in Google Analytics.

Needless to say, I generally don’t use Compete to figure out exact traffic metrics. Instead, I use it to see a general trend of whether a site is gaining in popularity or has a lot of traffic during a specific time of year and to compare it to other sites.

Google Ad Planner

Google Ad Planner is an informative tool that you can use even if you do not have a Google account. Simply search for your domain of interest to begin.

Google Ad Planner Data

Ad Planner will show you traffic statistics for your website of choice, plus additional information such as the types of people interested in that site and similar sites. If you are specifically interested in advertising, some listings will include the blog’s advertising page and even details about their advertising options.

And if you’re a blog that offers advertising, you can update your listing (if you have a Google Account) to include additional details and a link to your advertising page. They even offer a badge you can add to your site that will link advertisers to your Google Ad Planner data. All for free!


Klout is not an entirely full-proof system for measuring a Twitter user’s engagement level in social media yet, but it is getting there. They are working to incorporate not only Twitter activity, but Facebook and LinkedIn activity as well.

Social Engagement Measurement with Klout

I find Klout will help you determine whether someone has a well-established and active social media presence, which is sometimes key when it comes to judging whether a blogger has built themselves (and their blog) as an authority in their niche. The more authoritative their site, the better the results you will have with your guest posting and advertising.

While you’re there, you should register yourself and link your Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn accounts together so you can ensure that when people search you, they get the best data possible.

Your Blog Research Tools

So those are some of the top tools I use when checking out other blogs for guest posting and advertising opportunities. What are your favorite free tools?

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  1. says

    Hi Kristi,
    I have heard a lost about postrank, especially by bloggers, but I never gave it a try. A good engagement score will tell how catchy a blog is.

    I used to like technorati’s authority rating, but now it has lesser importance, because it has made changes to its method of calculating authority for a particular blog.

    I have liked getclicky stats because they give you live insights. You can monitor your blog stats when you reach the digg front page or get more than 300 tweets.

    The first thing I am going to do is use postrank and monitor my blog’s scores
    gautam hans just posted Top 5 foods for Bloggers – Fuel for your brain

    • says

      When it comes to your own site, you can use PostRank two ways. You can use the free side and just see your latest posts’ engagement scores (your feed for BlogGodown is here: http://www.postrank.com/feed/71cd84829b0f7492c209ce6580ea4fa1). Or you can use their premium analytics service, integrate your Google Analytics with it, and get more in-depth social statistics. It’s a good service to try out, even if just for the trial period to learn more about your site’s engagement.

  2. says

    Hi Kristi, I’ve used some of these tools before and I really like PostRank and I use the WordPress plugin and widget on my blog. I’m curious as to why you didn’t include Alexa rank on the list – do you find value in looking at their stats at all?
    Thanks for the links Kristi!
    Ileane just posted StumbleUpon Tops My Traffic Charts

    • says

      Alexa is a little iffy to me. Compete gives you similar information, allows you to compare 5 domains at a time when registered for the free account, and is a bit easier to read, numbers wise.

      One thing I do use Alexa for over Compete, for the SEO side of things, is suggested keywords that a website is using. So if you’re looking to target keywords, you can find out what your competitors are using and see if you should be going with something similar.

    • says

      From the research side, all you have to do is enter the URL and it will give you the information. Some sites will even go more in-depth with actual demographics. From the publisher’s side, it’s relatively easy to update your own site’s information – it’s based on the verified sites you have registered in Google Webmaster Tools.

  3. says

    I also have a klout profile but it changes often without me doing much different things on twitter. One time I’m a explorer, the other time I’m a syndicator, then I’m a specialist, and explorer again, I don’t know yet if I can trust the rankings, seems they are still tweaking their system with more and more data to play with.

    • says

      Yeah, there’s a lot of stuff on there that I don’t get too focused on. But the overall number can be a good indicator, like if you find a person that has a score of 50 vs. someone with a score of 12, you know which user is probably going to be a stronger authority.

    • says

      Hi Princess. Not sure what happened to the pictures, but they should be showing now. May have been a little lag in the server at the time.

  4. says

    Hey Kristi,

    I swear it’s like the internet has tapped my brain! I’m just getting started with my guest blogging strategy today, I just launched my blog about 10 days ago, and so many posts I’ve been reading have been about guest blogging!

    These are great links and awesome tips. I was just looking into the post over at SocialMouths, and between the two of you, I feel like I’ve got a pretty decent plan!

    Thanks very much for sharing.
    Greg just posted How To Get Your Small Business Noticed Online

    • says

      I’m glad between, the both of our sites, that we have compiled some useful information about guest blogging that is applicable for new and experienced bloggers! :)

  5. says

    hey Kristi, thanks for the knowledge! Your post is a treasure. I was not aware of these tools. I do guest post often lately and I was always checking Page Rank and Alexa numbers, although I know that Alexa is not a very significant or a 100% genuine index. It’s good to mention the same happens now with Google PR.
    steven papas just posted Garmin GPS 60CSx Handheld Navigator Review

  6. says

    Hey Kristi, saved and bookmarked.

    I have one question though that I can not find the answer to anywhere. I tried checking post rank for my own blog. They have one URL for my blog that as far as I know doesn’t even exist on it. Some social widget that I am not using.

    I contacted them twice via their contact form asking about how do they include blogs in it and that I don’t have that URL on my blog, but got no response.

    Do you know how do you get included in Post rank and is there something I can do to fix that non existent URL?
    Brankica just posted 140 blogs worth hopping

    • says

      It took me a few tries to get my site updated in their general listing area as it came up with some different details. I emailed the last person I contacted directly there about your blog and link – hopefully she is still working with them and will get it taken care of soon!

    • says

      Hi Brankica,

      I’ve fixed your feed and pushed an update. It should start appearing correctly shortly: http://www.postrank.com/feed/367e70f33e9902b0ea07784842f15745

      No idea what whomever added it to our site was trying to do there.

      Typically sites get added (if we don’t already have them) as soon as someone types or pastes the URL into the search field here: http://www.postrank.com/main — the issue with what was entered for your site is that the info didn’t include your site URL or RSS feed, so our system didn’t know what to do with it.

      Which contact form did you use? I’ve checked my records and have never received email from you, which is a concern. In the future, this is the best place to report issues or ask questions: http://help.postrank.com/.

      • Brankica says

        Hey Melanie,
        thanks so much.

        I heard about PostRank for the first time the other day when I started reading Kristi’s book. So I went to check if my blog is there and saw that link.

        Here is the form I used blog.postrank.com/about/contact/

        Thanks for the info, both to you and Kristi, you gals are awesome!

  7. says

    At the risk of making a comments nuisance of myself, Kristi has really nailed it with the two-part goal of using tools like these, i.e. getting traffic AND engagement, or what we call on- and off-site metrics and the 360-degree view.

    Certainly when you’re getting your feet wet, there are some great free tools that can give you more data than you know what to do with. :) And it’s the crux of why we built Google Analytics and FeedBurner integration into our PostRank Analytics service.

    We were as surprised as anyone when our research showed that 80% of engagement with content now happens on the social web, as opposed to on the originating website.

    Nowadays it’s a lot more obvious, though, and it’s stuff like the different cultures and communities of various social networks that are really fascinating. (Especially for bloggers looking to build relationships and audience with their “right people.)

    • says

      You’re no nuisance! It was funny, when I was writing this post, I came to that conclusion – advertisers will want to see sites with a lot of on-site engagement (particularly comments) because that means people are on the blog and exposed to their ad. Guest bloggers will probably want both, but especially off-site engagement as that means their content will be shared with an even larger audience.

      Thanks for sharing your observations! :)

      • says

        These days, too, ads are just one aspect of online marketing. We’re building our Connect service because brands and agencies want more effective access to publishers for lots of reasons — advertising, campaigns (sometimes mode-specific), contests, giveaways, consulting…

        Information on bloggers’ whole social presence is paramount to those companies, since they want the full picture about folks’ online activities and brands. That includes all the places you write — including your own site and guest posting or group blogs — as well as your activities on various social hubs.

        It’s definitely not just about A-listers anymore, and slowly the biz is evolving so it’s not a firehose approach, either, e.g. “Dear Blogger…” to 10K people. Relationships and results are SO much better when the data can be used for smarter decision-making and connections.

  8. says

    Kristi, aloha. Thx so much for the info in this post. I especially appreciated reading your comments on Page Rank as I had recently been watching a hot and heavy debate between some bloggers on that topic. Your comment makes sense to me.

    Your book is fantastic. With all the highlighter in it, it looks like a yellow book.

    Thx for so generously sharing your knowledge and putting it in such easy-to-understand terms. Aloha. Janet
    Janet Callaway just posted Pablo Picasso The Art of the Question by Janet Callaway The Natural Networker

    • says

      I’d be interested in where that debate is happening – I’ve been enjoying “spreading the word” about PageRank.

      Also, glad you’re enjoying the eBook. :)

      • says

        The PageRank as we see it is only for entertainment purposes and isn’t really the real PageRank that Google uses in their algorithm, I wish I could find the documentation Google published about this. They also have more of a quality score thing going on, heck, they give you the quality score for landing pages when you advertise with them using Adwords, so why wouldn’t they have them for their organic results too. You could argue that the PageRank we see may indicate what the real PageRank could be but then, as you pointed out Kristi, why have sites like EZA with such high PR’s been so effected in the recent algo update? Basically, the little green bar in the bottom of my browser doesn’t mean squat to me anymore.
        James just posted Start Your Online Business With A Clear Vision

  9. says

    Hi Kristi!

    I’ve started reading your blog with a pen and pad of paper next to me, so I can keep track of it better and build sort of a small rolodex of your best material that I can use for my blog. =) I’m still a bit old-fashioned that way.

    I hadn’t heard of Compete before, but I’m off to check it out!

    Delena Silverfox just posted epc Belfast

  10. says

    Thanks for sharing these sites. I hadn’t heard of these before so it was very useful. Unfortunately, PostRank did not have much in the way of options trading but did have many posts on investments. I think it is just a matter of working with the tool and figuring out how it might be useful for your specific topic.

    PS–I like the haircut.
    kidgas just posted Introducing My New and First Website!

    • says

      True, they may not have everything yet, but they are growing. I should have mentioned that you can add blogs to their directory if you know of some good ones (and even your own). Just enter their URL in the search box, and if PostRank can’t find it, they can add it and email you to let you know.

      And thanks! :)

  11. says

    Hi Kristi,

    Thank you for sharing these, I hadn’t heard of any of them. I’m looking forward to trying out these new tools! I enjoy finding new tools to use and comparing them with the ones I already use, sometimes the new ones have features that really stand out!

    Stacy just posted How to Build Your Blog into a Success

    • says

      You’re welcome Stacy! I enjoy messing with new tools every day and sharing the ones that will really help out with blogging!

  12. says

    As far as Analytics having lower numbers than compete, I’ve actually had a growing suspicion for a while that Analytics doesn’t track every visitor. I don’t have concrete evidence, but certain metrics make me wonder (like the search terms that appear with 0 visits). I’m guessing it has to do with the fact that Analytics is javascript based. Any thoughts or insight from the rest of you guys on whether you’ve seen Analytics miss visits?
    TJ McDowell just posted Effective Marketing With Direct Mail

    • says

      I know that people can block Analytics cookies in their browsers, so that might be one reason. Another thing is that Analytics installs a cookie that says if you’ve been to a site recently, you’re no longer a unique visitor. I would guess Compete doesn’t know that for every site so they assume more people are unique. That’s just a theory.

  13. says

    great post Kristi. Guest posting on more popular blogs will definitely help. However, I found when starting out that it was often easier to get a few guest posts on low level blogs, so that I can refer to those posts when approaching the more popular blogs about a guest posting Idea.

    Also, just because a blog isn’t getting much traffic today doesn’t mean it won’t later. Sometimes looking at a blog’s potential can get you into an up and coming blog early on, before they get too big.
    James Pruiit just posted Guest Posting Contests Rock Your Site TO the Top of the Radar

    • says

      Very good point James. If you’re just starting out, you have to build your rep from the ground up. I mostly wanted to point out the importance of traffic and engagement. I think with some blogs, you can tell if they are just starting and have potential to grow vs. ones that have been going for awhile but getting no where.

  14. says

    I haven’t tried using most of the tools that you have mentioned, except for Compete, and thanks for sharing those, will definitely play with those toys! I’ve actually heard about klout before through Gail, but I never paid attention to it, I guess it’s time to really check it out. Tools that I mostly use in determining good sites for guest blogging are Opensiteexplorer and Compete, I think with those two I have everything I need.

    I also have to agree with your belief when it comes to standards of sites, since I don’t believe in Pagerank anymore, given that the value of the site’s traffic is more important in this aspect of marketing.
    Jason Acidre just posted 40 SEO Strategies and Optimization Tips for Ecommerce Websites

    • says

      Klout has it’s inconsistencies. Today I found someone with a score of 43 even though they had only tweeted once and only had 12 followers. Aside from the occasional odd result though, it is a good indicator of social media influence.

  15. says

    I’ve been privy to Postrank for a while but this is the first time I’ve seen mention of Klout. What a cool site/service! I mean, even if you’re not looking for guest blog spots its great fun just to type in random celebrities and colleagues’ names and see what number they’ve got!

  16. says

    Hi Kristi,
    I have been using Postrank for the past few months and I find it pretty good since it really gives us an idea as to how our posts have had an impact. I have never thought about using Google ad planner for guest blogging and advertising opportunities but thinking about it, it seems it too can be a good place for finding good places to guest blog. Thanks a lot for the post Kristi.

    Shiva just posted Free And Premium WordPress Link Cloaking Plugins

  17. says

    Guest blogging although time consuming is truly a simple way to build links and to bring traffic to your site. I mostly focus on getting guest authors for my new blog and spend more time writting posts on other peoples blogs because thats a win-win of sharing links and viewpoints. Of course, the only thing that you need to consider is the quality of the guest authors article(s). Great Post!
    Brian just posted Choosing The Right Logo For Your New Business