Listen to this podcast throwback of the Mompreneurs in Heels Podcast, 2019.
Once upon a time, I was looking for ways to grow my blog without breaking the bank. Maybe you also have just begun blogging and need to find ways to grow it while using your budget for other business needs.
So, if this is the case, there is good news for you! If you want to grow your blog, it doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, you can get away with barely spending a penny on marketing and advertising. I’ll show you how I was able to grow my blog on a budget. In all honesty, it doesn’t have to cost you a fortune to grow and maintain your blog. I can’t wait to help you with that in this post. (And don’t forget to listen to the podcast audio linked at the top of this post!)
Since I first began blogging (in what seems like the dinosaur ages of blogging and web tech- back in the mid-2000’s), I have found loads of shortcuts to saving money on blog advertising. In fact, once I overcame my business fears, I bootstrapped my way from humble blog startups with barely any pageviews to thousands of visitors monthly. (As a mompreneur on a budget, these pageviews meant more potential customers to buy my services and products- which is exactly what I was counting on!)
Back in 2006, I didn’t have access to any of the following social media resources I’m about to share with you. What I had access to back in those days was the bare minimum for getting started with marketing online: article directories, link exchanges, banner ads, and directory listings for my ezine, website, and podcast. That was pretty much it, besides SEO.
But today? Things are so different, and you are at a great advantage when it comes to positioning yourself out here…if you do things right on your end, that is. SEO and content strategy are important.
Another thing that helps today is that there are just so many more ways to spread the word about your blog nowadays, thanks to social media. I don’t rely completely on social media to spread the word about my business as I much prefer a content strategy. But it’s important to use social media to my advantage, so I do. And I recommend you do, too. It’s available and it’s free.
Here are just a few ways I have been landing visitors and learning to grow my blog without spending a penny.
Five key ways to grow your blog on a budget
1. Write what your readers want to read.
This is the easiest way I’ve gained readership in order to grow my blog: write what my readers love reading about.
No doubt, this may seem like common sense- and really, it is. If your readers want to know about a topic, they will likely search for it on Google. If your blog happens to be in the search engine results (especially if you have a high ranking for the keyword), your reader will have found an answer to their question. If you are answering their question, you win!
The key for blog growth is to continue attracting readers with great content that answers their most pertinent questions and solves their problems. For this, you really have to get to know your audience. Once you’ve laid down the groundwork for your blog’s purpose and your niche market, you’ll begin to write content specifically for them.
And guess what? Writing content is free. (It just takes some time on your part). But, it doesn’t cost you a cent.
You just have to keep finding topics that you know your audience needs answers to and address their questions by giving them the answers they’re looking for. One way to see how your audience needs their problems solved is through Facebook.
2. Join Facebook groups.
Not on Facebook yet? Do you have an aversion to Facebook and all the chaos that can seem to transpire as a result of being tied down to too many groups or being bombarded with notifications?
I know, and I get it. I gave up on Facebook a few times…but I always came back for a specific reason: it really helped to bolster my business by giving me ideas for content and involvement with a community in my exact niche. I couldn’t say no to that!
If you’re not that into Facebook then maybe you could start to think of it a bit differently. Even if you’re not using it for personal uploads of family pics and keeping up with your high school classmates, you might want to at least have a business presence there.
Here’s why you should consider using Facebook: Facebook groups provide awesome engagement.
If you really want your readers to find you and dig into deep discussions about your main topic, then starting a Facebook group can be quite helpful. On the other hand, starting groups take a lot of work, so you may just want to join a group that someone else started. This way, you can chime in discussions, lend a listening ear, and be of help to others who have questions about your area of expertise.
One way I’ve grown my blog is to contribute to user discussions in groups. If someone has a question about setting up their WordPress blog, I usually chip in and give my two cents worth. I also invite them to download free resources at my blog in order to help them meet their goals.
This is the way social media becomes an excellent referral tool for your business.
3. Pin your posts for maximum viral effect.
Every blog post you create needs an opportunity to go viral. It’s no guarantee that it will, but at the very least, it should be positioned for sharing success. One of the best ways to do this currently is through a wonderful little tool called Pinterest.
The reason I love Pinterest is that it truly is a straightforward sharing system. I write my post once and I pin it once to my main Pinterest board. Afterward, I set up my post to be pinned to different, relevant boards. By joining Pinterest groups and pinning to those boards as well, I’ve opened up my opportunities for virality in a massive way.
After pinning to each board just once, I can then just sit back and wait on my pins to be engaged. This means, other pinners stop and see my post image, like what they see, and repin it to their boards.
And, of course, once pinners are truly hooked on my image title and graphics, they typically click over to my blog from Pinterest, and land right into my corner of the world. Many times they join my mailing list from here and become part of my tribe.
And just as you’ve guessed, using Pinterest is a quick and inexpensive way to grow traffic!
If you want to put a little money into this you can purchase Tailwind to make your pinning life easier, but it’s definitely not necessary. I love Tailwind and without it, my pinning would be a much, much slower process, but I have gone years without it and my Pinterest account and blog traffic have still grown regardless.
4. Grow your blog by guest blogging.
By far, contributing to other bloggers in your niche is a profound way to grow your blog on a shoestring budget.
I love this method because it means you can have a zero-following, a baby platform, and come away with a boatload, or just a few more followers you didn’t have before. And you do this all by posting to someone else’s blog and gaining readership through their platform. (When I first began my homeschool blog this was one of the major ways I was able to grow my blog.)
I guest-posted on several other more prolific homeschool blogs and boosted my following by sharing my posts to readers at these other home education blogs. This, in turn, gave my blog a much larger platform, boosted my SEO ranking, and referred traffic back to my site. A win-win, and completely free!
5. Invite guest bloggers.
One way to get more readers to your blog while adding more content at the same time is to invite guest bloggers. You might be surprised at how many writers out there are itching to provide content for your blog for free in exchange for the writing experience and credit back to their site.
How does inviting guest bloggers help you?
By encouraging your guest writers to share your blog with their audiences and promote to their social media and fan base you can expand your own audience. Remember, it’s not just an opportunity for your writer to expand their audience, but a chance for you to expand yours as well.
This is free advertising for both of you and is essentially another win-win.
During my 8 years of blogging at my education blog, I created many spaces for my audience to become involved. I wanted my blog to feel like a community and not just a website with a bunch of listed resources. I also didn’t want it to be a one-way street with only my voice being the main encourager of home educators. I knew that there were many other homeschoolers around the nation and globe who would have something valuable to add to the conversation I was providing. So, I opened up my doors for guest writers and bloggers. I made room for guests on my podcast and invited feedback constantly through my blog “voicemail” (which at the time was Speakpipe).
It was super important for me to make sure that my online community could give back through guest blogging on my site. This, in turn, grew my blog quicker! Anytime you offer up your platform to let others shine, you open up your world to their world and as your worlds collide, you both gain more from the transaction. You add their contacts, they add yours, and you basically help each other out. So, yes…I believe that inviting guest bloggers is a definite win-win for you both (especially if your guest has a larger or equal to size audience as yours.)
The same works vice versa when you are asked to guest blog on someone else’s platform.
How will you grow your blog on a budget?
You don’t need to have a large advertising budget to expand your blog following. You can grow your blog without huge startup expenses and you can do it minimally. I hope that I’ve encouraged you on this post that it is, indeed, possible for you to grow your blog on a budget and not worry about having to spend a lot of money on tools and assistance that you might not need in the beginning stages of setting up and growing your blog.
All you need is time, commitment, and a desire to help others with your content.
I hope these five action-packed ideas will get you moving toward starting to grow your blog on a bootstrap budget. Let me know how these tips have helped you.
Listen in on the podcast episode featuring this article (at the top of the page), and leave a comment.