The number of websites online is always growing, and blogs make up a huge number of them. As of 2018, there were approximately 1.6 billion websites, of which around 500-odd million are blogs. While it may be true that many domains are parked instead of active, that still means there are a massive number of competitors for you as a blog owner.
Irrespective of whether you intend to run a commercial, personal blog or revamp your website, the challenge is always to find ways to increase the number of visitors you get. While trying to do so may be helped by using some tools available, your options are more limited if you’re on a budget.
Today I’m going to look at three key ways you can grow your blog on a budget.
1. Be Active on Forums
Forums are a good source of traffic and can also serve as a guide to giving you some ideas for content or improvements. Ideally, look for a forum which has active discussions on a niche you are involved in and jump right in.
The important thing to note is that forums are often seen as impartial sources of information. There is generally a dislike for self-promotional activities, so how you go about sharing your content on those channels is important.
There are often etiquette rules which are both common and forum-specific, so before you go around randomly sharing your content on them do make sure to read up on these guidelines! Failing to do so may get you banned or otherwise ostracized from useful platforms you were counting on.
Some forum guidelines include;
- Reading and following the rules
- Build relationships
- Be active on hot topic
As an example, I was using this method to do some research when I noticed a relatively high number of questions and comments revolving around a company called Endurance International Group (EIG). This led me to my own research and I did an article on EIG that was related to my niche.
The result was a success and not just in terms of traffic. Because of the popularity of the topic, the article was quite widely shared on several various forums, increasing my organic reach exponentially.
A forum can be immensely powerful place to share the right content and your traffic can grow by leaps and bounds. It is also very engaging for users there since there are often topic votes or the like where users can show their approval and bump up topics which are popular.
Again, it is important to remember that relevance is key here. Find threads in the forums that are directly related to the topics you want people to discuss or things might go south for you very quickly.
Quick forum tips;
- Summarize / repurpose your existing content
- Use Google to find more relevant forums in your niche
- Understand your audience better and create the right content
2. Build Evergreen Content
In the world of content, there are basically only two main kinds to consider. One type is current content, which depending on the topic, can draw large numbers of visitors quickly over a relatively short time period.
This content is what you normally see on news websites such as CNN or the website of your local newspaper. Current content is mostly only valid for the period it is new (hence the term ‘news’) and after a while loses its relevance.
Unless you’re running a news website or have a large number of resources at your disposal, it isn’t usually wise to try and compete with news sites for traffic.
Evergreen content is always better as strategic long-term assets to your site. Normally, evergreen is what we consider content that will be relevant for longer periods of time. Take for example a topic such as ‘How website hosting works’. No matter how long a topic like this is up, you will always get visitors seeking to learn this very thing.
This type of content also works very well for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes. Search engines are robotic, meaning they are programmed to do things in specific sequences. First, they will crawl (to find content) and then they will Index (rank based on analysis).
Since evergreen content is … well, evergreen, there is no real expiration date and search engines will recycle those terms over and again. In fact, if your content is comprehensive enough for their liking, search engines are likely to keep serving up your page in variations of related searches.
Coming up with the right content to produce can be a challenge, so I recommend you shop around for ideas. Remember, it isn’t about content duplication you’re after, but to find popular topics that you can reproduce better than others.
Where to find content ideas
Because of the popularity of videos and the transparency of the YouTube ‘views’ numbers, it is easy to look for popular topics there. In fact, by skimming those topics and the (usually) large numbers of comments, you have the perfect guide on both a popular topic idea as well as feedback from users on how to improve on the delivery!
Quora is also an excellent source of ideas because many people ask questions there and are provided answers by the community. It is another ideal case of learning what people want to know or learn and them improving on the deliver through collective commenting.
Patreon is popular as well, but honestly, I myself have found it more difficult to source ideas from here. This is because Patreon is ‘Pay to Play’, meaning that content developers are supported by payments from their fans here. However, it serves as a good indicator because you will know what content people are willing to fork out their money for.
To further expand on the evergreen concept, try to include some key elements in your articles. This includes;
- Having a FAQ section
- Share user testimonials from other users
- Cover instructional content
- Offer detailed explanations of concepts
3. Write at Medium.com
Medium is a bit of an odd duck since it is very popular but doesn’t fall into any of the major categories such as Blog, Social Media Platform or the like. It does still however, work as a community. The closest I can relate to it would be a community-driven content aggregation platform like Flipboard.
In the old days it used to be enough to have a platform of your own to share on, but thanks to the massive number of sites online today, avenues like Medium are becoming invaluable. People can gather at known sources of excellent content to find the best of the best there.
Because of the huge amount of great content shared on this site, it has drawn immense traffic (Ranked 176 in World and 103 in the United States based on Alexa numbers). Even better for you, as a publisher, is that you can share your content on Medium for free.
It is a hands-off experience. Once you share your content on Medium, the platform will automatically showcase it to people who are interested in the topic. This can help drive a lot of traffic to your site if done correctly.
If you’re thinking of just dumping your content verbatim there, I recommend that you put a little more thought into it. I have seen Medium prove to be an invaluable source of traffic and it has the numbers to back this up.
It should also be noted again that Medium is very much community-driven, which means that it is a good idea to interact with your readers. By working with people who comment on your articles, you can fine-tune them for the benefit of future readers.
To take advantage of Medium, try some of these strategies;
- Target the right feeds to share on
- Ensure you have high-quality content
- Remember to include links back to your site!
Summary: Focus Strongly on Your Content
Although this article is mainly on how to grow your blog through some basic ideas, by now you are probably realising a very consistent theme. That is the fact content is king. Choosing the right content and writing it the correct way is a rock-solid path you shouldn’t deviate from if you are aiming for any kind of success as a content publisher.
Look past the numbers and aim to build content which you can realistically say people want and need. Topics do not have to be totally original, but by doing it the right way and presenting it to the best of your abilities will convert readers to your site.
As always, relevance is also important. No matter how widely you share your content, you will have limited success if you aren’t doing what people want, or if you do a slapdash job of it. It is also easy to go off track even if you have content that you know people want but are sharing it on the wrong channels.