What Elite Internet Marketers Do With Their Bylines That You’re Missing Out

Let me guess. Your author byline is probably full of sweet short facts about you:

  • Ericson is an avid blogger with passion in copywriting…
  • Tim is an online marketer who does MMA and strength workouts…
  • Nancy is a mother of two who loves cats and coffee…


You might also use your byline to link to your own website or Twitter account. But is this the best you can do with your author byline?

Think about it… Do readers really need to know that you love your cats and have 2 children?

Come on, that’d be a waste of your byline!

And should you even ask them to follow you on Twitter?

Rand Fishkin has 21K+ followers and his tweets average with 150-250 clicks. Now do you really think that 10 new people that will follow you on Twitter after reading your guest post will really make any difference?

Follow The Leaders

As the famous quote by Pablo Picasso suggests:

Good artists copy, great artists steal.

So me and Tim decided to analyze author bylines of world’s most famous bloggers and online marketers and steal all of their best tricks.

Here goes the shortlist of how can you benefit with your author byline:

  1. Get some traffic to your website (or individual articles)
  2. Use keyword-optimized links to make your pages rank better in Google
  3. Generate leads / email subscribers
  4. Promote your products / services
  5. Get some new followers on your social accounts

So let’s see how the pro’s leverage their bylines to maximize these benefits, then maybe we can start getting those sweet benefits as well!

1) Gain Traffic to Your Site or Posts

Here’s the most obvious way to use your byline. You really can’t go wrong with a simple redirect to your site or posts, after all, more traffic is ALWAYS good. Let’s go ahead and look at some of the ways to do this.

Brian Clark of CopyBlogger

Brian Clark's byline

Brian keeps things super simple: either check out his site, or check out his Google+ account. By “forcing” readers to click on only those two links, he guarantees the biggest flow of traffic towards them.

Simple, yet effective.

Corbett Barr of Think Traffic

Corbett Barr's byline

Corbett links to his blog, members only site, his about page, AND his twitter account. The thought process is that ONE of those is more interesting to certain readers than others, so why not let them pick the one they want to go to?

This will send traffic to multiple sources, and if that’s what you need then this method is for you.

Neil Patel of QuickSprout

Neil Patel's byline

Neil has his name linking to his personal blog QuickSprout and also references Kissmetrics, which is a company that he co-owns. I guess that gives him a huge social proof and differentiates him from the crowd of “avid bloggers”.

2) Get Rankings With Keyword-Optimized Links

I guess everyone knows this proven formula of getting high rankings in Google:

If you want your page/post to rank for a specific keyword – get as much incoming links as you can with this very keyword in the anchor text of every link.

And so almost every SEO company out there is now abusing guest posting with their low quality articles and keyword-optimized links like “buy cheap air conditioners” in author bylines.

That’s why most bloggers might not allow you to put any keyword-optimized links in your byline. Unless it sounds natural. Like Glen’s:

Glen Allsopp of ViperChill

Glen Allsop's byline

Glen keeps things subtle as he attempts to rank his blog homepage for the phrase “Viral Marketing” and one of his articles for the term “WordPress SEO.” It comes off very natural sounding and you wouldn’t even think he was optimizing unless you thought about it. That’s the “correct” way of doing it.

If you’re interested in ranking for a term better, make sure you follow in Glen’s footsteps when doing so.

3) Generate Leads

Building an email list is the best way to generate leads. If you can get someone’s email address, you always have the potential to convert them into a customer.

And the best way to get that email address is by offering them an awesome freebie (like an email course) in exchange for one.

And you can do it right in your author byline! Just check out some of the freebie’s offered below:

Derek Halpern Of Social Triggers

Derek Halpern's byline

Derek Halpern knows better than most the value of an email list, so he makes great use of his byline by adding a link to his newsletter. By pointing out the fact the you can get more of his useful advice by subscribing, he provides reason for you to do so.

Pretty smart, huh?

Danny Iny of Fire Pole Marketing

Danny Iny's byline

Danny uses an eye-catching “free download” link to great effect, almost makes you want to click on it, right? Clicking on it brings you to a landing page with an email opt-in form. There’s a free product that looks so good (over 240 pages of free content!), that it’s hard NOT to sign up for it.

PRO TIP: Did you notice how he just called himself the “Freddy Krueger of Blogging“?

First of all, this smart-ass is using the power of associations to make your brain remember him.

And once you later recall his nickname and google for it – the first result in Google will be a website of Danny’s premium online course “Write Like Freddy“.

How smart is that? Good job, Danny!

You can easily come up with a nickname for yourself. Use it in your byline to make people remember you for it. And monopolize the search results in Google for that nickname with your products and services.

Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income

Pat Flynn's byline

Patt Flynn starts things off with an impressive “rags to riches” type story. This creates an “if I did it, so can you” feeling within the reader, pulling them in. Once in, they’re much more likely to check out his blog and subscribe for his free ebook.

Not too shabby Pat.

Jon Morrow of BoostBlogTraffic

Jon Morrow's byline

Jon uses his byline to link to his guest blogging videos. Rather than including a link to his newsletter, he shows you why you should subscribe through video. And right next to that video is an email opt-in form so you can easily subscribe for more of the advice the video provided.

Pretty smart!

4) Promote your product/service

If you’ve got a product or service available, then plugging it into your byline is a smart move. If you can strategically select a blog to post for (one with potential customers), then you can really benefit from using this approach.

Seth Godin of sethgodin.typepad.com

Seth Godin's byline

Seth Godin summarizes the ENTIRE book in his byline. He’s not concerned with promoting his blog (it’s already popular after all), he’s looking for customers. If that’s what you’re also looking for, why not give this method a shot?

Kristi Hines of Kikolani

Kristi Hines byline

Kristi’s byline comes off very professionally and is subtly aimed at gaining customers more so than readers. She doesn’t link to her services directly, rather, she just mentions what she does and leaves the rest up to the reader. It comes off very “non-pushy,” and just might work for you as well.

5)Grow Your Social Media Following

Linking to your social media profiles is another great way to use your byline. Plenty of people already have these profiles, so adding you as somebody to follow wouldn’t be hard at all. This is a great way to take advantage of a guest post, especially when the blog your posting on has a big readership.

(Keep in mind that links to social media is just an ADDITIONAL benefit you can plug into your headline. You shouldn’t ever treat them as your primary benefit)

Darren Rowse of ProBlogger

Darren Rowse byline

Darren links to all of his major social media profiles (including his major blogs). By casting a wide net, he is able to get the most possible readers to follow him. And by showing that he has all of those accounts, it serves as a sort of social proof, making others more likely to click and follow.

James Clear of JamesClear.com

James Clear's byline

James has his social media profiles at the forefront of his byline, ensuring a quick and easy follow. He even has them in button form, making them a little more “clickable.” This approach really gives his byline a “clean” feeling since it’s not bogged down with too many links.

If that sounds good to you, give this method a try!

Now the takeaway

As you can see, there’s a variety of approaches you can take with your byline. When you’re making it try and keep in mind what you want your audience to do.

Do you need more email subscriptions? Add your newsletter. Need more Twitter followers? Add a link to your Twitter account. Want to promote your services? Make sure to link to it.

There’s no “right” way to make a byline (as you can see from this post), so long as it accomplishes what you want it to. So short, long, link-filled, two-links only, etc., it’s all okay. Just make sure that it works FOR YOU.

So there you go

Now you know the how’s and why’s of crafting awesome bylines based on how the pro’s do it. It’s now time for you to start making awesome bylines yourself!

But it wouldn’t be fair if you were the only one who knew how to do this, so why not share this post with your friends? Because I think your buddies would love to be able to leave their marks on the online world like the pro’s do as well :)

Tim Soulo is the Chief Marketing Officer and Product Advisor at Ahrefs, a leading tool trusted by hundreds of thousands of SEOs and marketers worldwide. His SEO-related data research studies have been cited by media giants, including Inc, TechCrunch, and VentureBeat. He's also a regular speaker at some of the largest industry conferences around the globe, such as PubCon (US), BrightonSEO (UK), and the Digital Marketers Australia Conference (AU).