Is it Worth Your Time to Participate in Interviews?

Interviews are popular across all major media. You will find interviews in newspapers, television, and on websites.

The concept behind an interview is simple. Someone asks questions. Someone answers those questions.

An interview should be beneficial for both parties. The website owner gets content for their website and the interviewee gets to promote themselves and their product or service. The interviewee will also get a few links to their website and online ventures.

Setting Up Interviews

Video and audio interviews require some preparation as you need to do a lot of research beforehand so that you can interact with the interviewee. However the most difficult part is getting someone to agree to be interviewed by audio or video.

The reality is that many people do not feel comfortable being interviewed through audio or video. Even if someone does agree to be interviewed in this manner, you still need to find a suitable time that fits into both your schedules.

People are more likely to agree to an email interview as they can answer questions in their own time. And from a website owner’s perspective, email interviews are easier to set up.

All you need to do is send several questions to the interviewee and, hey presto, you have an article of around 1,000 words. Undoubtedly, the interviewee does most of the work in an email interview as a short one line question can generate a response of three or four paragraphs.

Good Morning Vietnam

I see many aspiring bloggers post a high volume of interviews because they are such a quick and easy way to add content to a website. This is a mistake. From a content point of view, I believe you should only publish interviews on your website every now and then. For example, one interview every 10, 15, or 20 posts. You give people little reason to subscribe to your blog if you only publish interviews.

I have published many interviews on this blog in the past and hope to publish more. However, there is no denying that in many ways, publishing email interviews could be considered as “Lazy Blogging”; as the interviewee is doing most of the work.

Is it Worth Taking Part in Interviews?

The question is, as a website owner, is it worth taking part in interviews on other websites?

Since I have been blogging and making money online for so many years, I get approached for interviews frequently. It is not uncommon for me to receive three or four interview requests per week.

Most approaches mention the fact that by participating in the interview, I would be getting exposure and generating links back to my website. Though the truth is that referrals from interviews bring me next to no traffic directly and very little SEO juice.

I am quite accommodating to those who approach me for interviews; however I am getting more and more frustrated by how lazy some website owners are about the whole process. Too many people are simply creating a generic list of questions and firing them off to 30 or 40 people.

I do not agree with this technique as interviews are supposed to be personal. It’s lazy blogging. All they are doing is copying and pasting the answers into a blog post. Some are not even taking the time to insert related links and photographs into the article.

Over the last week, two issues have annoyed me about the whole interview process.

The first was with young Indian blogger Divyansh Peswani. He sent me a long list of questions for an interview on his blog Find Web App. The website gets little traffic, but I wanted to help out a young blogger, so I agreed to the interview.

I spent a long time giving good answers to all of his questions. The total length of the interview was over 1,500 words.

After emailing me the answers, he thanked me for taking part. He thanked me in his reply and asked me if I would give away premium memberships to Rise Forums through his blog. I advised that I do not want to offer any memberships to Rise Forums in competitions as it devalues the membership, it is unfair to members who do upgrade, and because those who win memberships in competitions do not even participate in the forum.

He replied a couple of days later and apologised and said that he had sold his blog. He then asked if he could publish it on a new blog he published; a bizarre blog of random topics that appears to focus on wrestling, business, Bollywood, technology, shopping, and the ebola virus.

I was annoyed about this as he clearly knew he was in the process of selling his blog when we were communicating via email about the interview.

I asked him to publish it on the original blog as that was our original agreement. That was a week ago and it has still not been published on the blog; therefore I am going to offer the interview to a friend and have them publish the article.

The second issue is in regards to group interviews. Group interviews have become very common over the last year or two. The premise is simple. The website owner poses one simple question to as many as 100 different people. Their responses are then collected and displayed in a large interview post.

The website owner then emails everyone who took part in the interview and asks them to share the post on Twitter and Facebook. Most people are happy to share an article in which they have been referenced; so the article gets shared a huge amount of times. It’s like linkbait in a can!!!

I participated in a group interview article recently on Healthy Wealthy Affiliate; a blog by affiliate John Gibb. The interview was organised by Codrut Turcanu. A quick look back at my emails shows that he contacted me about doing an interview back in 2008 and sent me a generic list of questions in Word format. Ironically, the website he was promoting at the time was entitled “Lazy Blogging” (I’m serious – that was the name of his product!).

He comes across as an ok guy, but he is very pushy in his requests. I answered his interview question in August for one of his many group interview posts (Codrut makes a living by arranging these interviews for people). I gave a response which was three paragraphs long and he responded that it was a bit short and needed a bit more. Stupidly, I wasn’t dissuaded by him being pushy and I gave a long response that was nine paragraphs long.

Codrut contacted me again this week for another “Expert Roundup” (as he put it). He reminded me that I had recently participated in an interview.

The group interview he was referring to included answers from 60 bloggers in total. I decided to check the source of the article and noticed that he had added a nofollow link to the single link to my website. They had added nofollow to the website link of every blogger who took part in the interview.

This was a very sneaky and very scummy thing to do in my eyes. In response, Codrut said:

Does it really matter?

Me and John don’t care about do follow/no follow, still, we get traffic and rankings to niche sites…

I noted that I would not take part in any further interviews. Codrut then insinuated I didn’t understand “The Game”.

Kevin, I thought you know the game better, no offence.

I did NOT remove the SEO juice. There may be a plugin which makes
all external links no follow… and which John can disable anyway…

John knows from personal testings (he owns hundreds of niche sites/micro blogs)
and do follow/no follow is a myth… actually, do follow may hurt
as it’s an over optimization thing — everybody does it.

Think about it.. why not get both do follow and no follow links? Mix them..

The truth is that he was not using a plugin to make all external links nofollow. I checked other articles on their website and no other article was attaching nofollow to links. They had clearly went out of their way to assign nofollow tags to each website link in the group interview.

I tweeted about this issue to Darren Rowse and Ramsay Taplin; both of which were part of the same group interview. Darren was straight to the point in his response when he said that he would only reply once if someone did not give a link back.

Codrut later relented and made sure all links in the interview were dofollow. Though I am reluctant to take part in any further interviews with him or that blog due to the way the whole thing was handled.

Adding nofollow to website links when someone has taken 30 minutes to answer questions free of charge is poor form. We need something in return and everyone should be aware of the fact that an interview is quid pro quo.

Final Thoughts

I do not want the experiences of the last week to discourage me from taking part in interviews in the future. Though it does highlight the fact that I am too accommodating. My time is valuable and I don’t see the point of spending 30 minutes answering questions for an interview if I get little in return.

I need to be more selective as to who I help out with interviews as the benefits from taking part in interviews are rarely as good as the website owner makes them out to be.

What’s your view on this issue? Do you partake in interviews? If so, what is your criteria for participating in an interview?

Please share your opinion below.


I am an experienced blogger who has been working on the internet since 2000. On this blog, I talk about WordPress, internet marketing, YouTube, technology and travelling.
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