When it comes down to it there are only two ways to grow your blog.
Growing a successful blog requires time and/or money. This is a fundamental principle of marketing that every blogger needs to understand to avoid unrealistic expectations when starting a new blog.
The #1 challenge every blogger faces is, “How do I increase traffic to my blog.”
Traffic to your blog is what makes you money (if it's good traffic). Whether you are blogging for business, or blogging for fun, it's nice to be able to earn some money for your diligent work. You can earn money in a variety of ways, but if nobody is coming to your blog you won't make anything.
It's vital that we understand the two fundamental principles of growing your blog, because these principles will help us set goals and expectations for our websites.
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Grow your blog with Time
Time is money.
You've heard that before.
It applies to every facet of life. You spend your own time doing things that you don't prefer to pay for. If you'd rather NOT spend your time doing it, you pay someone else to do it.
I usually think of “time is money” in the service oriented businesses like landscaping. You pay someone $20 to mow your lawn because it's not worth your time to do it yourself (or you're lazy…).
Every day we ask ourselves the question:
“Would I rather do this myself or pay someone to do it?”
Now let's think about how this applies to your blog.
There are a lot of daily activities that you could be doing to promote your blog. With each of these activities comes the question, “Are you going to do this yourself or pay someone to do it?”
You either spend your own “sweat equity” doing the daily tasks to grow your blog or you pay for it.
Mark Cuban said, “Sweat equity is the best startup capital.”
As new bloggers, we probably can't afford to spend thousands of dollars promoting our blog. We have to put in our own time to work towards the results we want.
Spending time to grow your blog also applies to the long term aspect of growth.
It's going to take a long time to grow your blog if you want to do it organically. It could take months or even years to build up a readership that will allow you to earn a significant income.
If you don't want to wait that long you'll have to open up the wallet and spend some money to grow your blog.
Grow your blog with Money
The fastest way to grow your blog is with money.
Going back to the idea of Time is Money let's look at another example of how money saves us time.
We pay for flights across the country because we'd rather spend money to get from A to B faster.
We also eat out at fast food restaurants because we'd rather pay someone to make our food to save time.
When it comes to growing your blog, the more money you are willing to spend, the faster your blog will grow – depending on how you spend it.
You're probably thinking of paid advertising in this instance.
Paid advertising is a great way to grow your blog, but you need a strategy behind it…
I HIGHLY encourage people who want to implement a paid advertising strategy to consider an immediate ROI implementation of some sort. Whether that's an EBook, course, program, affiliate product, etc… You NEED an immediate way to cover some of the costs of advertising if you want to be sustainable.
DO NOT waste your money on Facebook ads to your most recent blog post just because you are looking for more readers… That's the fastest way to go broke. You need a strategy behind it.
We'll talk a little more about strategic advertising and funnels in another article…
For now I want you to think about spending money to grow your blog in ways other than paid advertising.
What does that include?
Automation and Education.
I actually recommend spending your money on these two assets before ever spending a dime on paid advertising. Remember time is money, and automating your repetitive tasks will save you A LOT of time.
If you are doing outreach to build relationships or you are looking for opportunities to guest blog I'd recommend a product like Ninja Outreach.
There are also a host of automation services for your social media marketing. Social Drift is a great platform to automate your Instagram growth. I use socialbee.io to automate all my Facebook and Twitter posts. And there's Tailwind for Pinterest.
All these programs make it a lot easier to manage your marketing campaigns and they save you a lot of time.
Education is my next recommendation if you are looking to spend money to grow your blog.
It's worth it to buy a few good books to help you learn more about blogging, SEO, marketing, business, or whatever topic you're interested in.
I've never spent hundreds of dollars on expensive courses so I won't lend my advice there… But please be smart if you do decide to invest in a course. There are a lot of spammy courses out there to make a quick buck, so do your research and ask around before dropping the big bucks on a paid course.
Education is important though so don't overlook it.
If I could recommend a couple good books I've read recently they are:
Both of those are great SEO books that will help you boost your organic traffic from Google. They also come with great online resources and videos. If I had to pick one of those two I'd start with the SEO Fitness Workbook.
Should you spend more time or more money?
That's obviously up to you, but I do recommend you spend both time and money.
Only spending time to grow your blog will take A LOOOOONG time to see any results, and it will take a lot of daily hard work from you. If you don't want to spend any money on blogging I get it, and that's totally fine! Just have realistic expectations for yourself.
Ideally you should be spending some of your own sweat equity as well as a little money. If you treat your blog like the business it is, you should see spending money as an investment into your business that can return a profit down the road.
Never be afraid to invest in yourself.
Your blog is an extension of you. Invest in it just like you would for any other type of business.
Determine a budget that you can afford for your blog, and allocate your finances accordingly.
Automate and educate. Those are keys to success early on.
Visit my Blogging Tools & Resources page to see the tools I use to automate and grow my blog. It's a great place to check for programs to consider using!
Leave a comment below with some of your favorite tools, books, or services that you've used to grow your blog!