Traffic Generation for Blogs on a Budget

Running a blog often sounds very appealing. You’ll have a place to share your thoughts, build a community, and also generate some much-needed cash. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

Well, the reality is it’s not as easy to achieve this as a lot of people make out. I hear the same old things time after time: “Just create awesome content” or “Build a social media following so that you can drive traffic back to your blog.”

It sounds obvious, doesn’t it? That’s because it is obvious.

Who in their right mind would start a blog with the intention of producing crap content and completely neglecting social media? Morons, that’s who.

The reality is you could be producing the most awesome content in the world, but if nobody gets their eyeballs on it then it all goes to waste.

I’ve been blogging for a fair amount of time now and have learnt a lot of tough lessons along the way. During my early days of blogging, the thing that I really craved was advice on how to generate traffic without having to spend a fortune doing it. Most bloggers don’t blog full-time, at least not at the beginning, so they don’t have thousands (or even hundreds) of pounds (or dollars) to be spending every month to get things off the ground.

Within this post, I’m going to show you some ways that you can generate traffic to your blog without breaking the bank. I’m going to mention some paid tools, but nothing that will cost you a fortune!

To kick things off, let’s look at driving traffic through from the search engines, and in particular finding some low-hanging fruit.

Long Tail Keyword Research

One of the first personal blogs that I set up was my travel blog. This became my testing ground for new link building methods and I was really keen on making a big impact within the search engines (all within a tiny budget – i.e. under $50 a month).

During the early stages of my campaign, I made some rookie mistakes on the keywords that I was going after and it really set me back. I decided that I wanted to rank for search terms like travel blog and cash in on huge amounts of traffic to the homepage. I spent massive amounts of time and resources in doing so, and I actually managed to reach the bottom half of page 1 for around 2 weeks. This then died down because I was going up against some of the big boys in the industry that were literally spending over 100x more than me.

It wasn’t the best use of my time, and to be honest, the reward wasn’t great. Most users that came through from this kind of search term bounced from the site and didn’t look at my articles, which is what I really wanted.

It was time for a change.

I shifted my focus away from short-tail, highly competitive keywords and moved to finding some low-hanging fruit in the form of longer, more specific search queries. The result? Just check out this snapshot of my Google Analytics from last year (it’s search traffic only):

melted stories traffic Blogging 101: Traffic Generation for Blogs on a Budget

This made me stand up and take notice. I’d increased traffic from search by over 450% – not bad. What’s more, the visitors were staying on the site because the content was directly relevant to the query they were searching for.

Now, you’re probably thinking, “That’s great, Matt, but I’m not an SEO expert and don’t really know where to start with keyword research.”

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