Starting a blog is the ‘easy’ part. Getting people to find it and keep coming back is where things get tricky. To succeed, you need a combination of great content, marketing skills, free time, and a lot of patience.
The alternative is to pay for traffic to find you. However, that can get very expensive very fast. Another alternative is to combine paid marketing with organic traffic optimization, which is worth exploring.
In this article, we’ll go over the differences between paid marketing and organic traffic for blogs. Then we’ll break down some tips to improve your organic traffic, so you don’t need to spend money on advertising. Let’s get to it!
The Difference Between Paid Marketing and Organic Traffic for Blogs
There are a lot of types of paid marketing you can engage in to bring traffic to your blog. For example, you can pay for ads that appear on other sites or social media:
With social media, you can be as detailed as you want when it comes to targeting. If your favorite audience is made up of 40-year old single dads, that’s not a problem – social media can help you find them.
You can also pay for exposure on other channels, such as email lists. In most cases, though, you’re paying on a per-click basis. That means every time someone clicks on your ads, you pay a set rate. The thing is, those clicks can get pretty expensive, and companies pour a lot of money into ads. Here are some examples of average Pay-Per-Click (PPC) costs from different industries:
- Insurance: $54.91
- Loans: $44.28
- Mortgages: $44.12
- Lawyers: $47.07
Yes, those are costs per one click. To be fair, those PPC examples are outliers and, for most niches, you usually end up paying an average of $2 per click, depending on where you advertise.
In any case, paid marketing can get expensive really fast. Moreover, if you’re paying for traffic, then you need to see a return on your investment. Depending on how you monetize your blog, paid marketing might not be a viable strategy at all.
Fortunately, there is a budget alternative to paid marketing, and that is SEO to get more organic traffic. SEO is in stark contrast to paid advertising since it’s all about creating content that brings in traffic over the long term. For every blog I’ve run, SEO has proven to be a winning tactic – all it takes is patience and taking the right approach.
How to Get More Organic Traffic for Your Blog (3 Tips)
If you want to focus on organic traffic, then patience is the key. You will not see overnight results unless you manage to publish content that goes viral on a consistent basis. Hardly anyone can pull that off, so you need to focus on the long game.
1. Learn the Basics of SEO
If you know your way around SEO, you stand a better chance of success than someone who produces better content but doesn’t know anything about search engines. It’s a bummer when you put it like that, but it’s the way the internet works.
There’s a lot to unpack when it comes to SEO. However, if you’re starting your first blog, here are the basics you need to read up on:
- Keyword research and proper use
- How to format your articles
- How to learn which of your posts are ranking well
- Building links from other websites
I’ve written about all those topics in Leaving Work Behind, so we have your back. If you’re using WordPress, I also recommend setting up an SEO plugin such as Yoast SEO. With Yoast, you get a quick overview of how to optimize any content you publish in your blog, and it’s an easy way to make sure you’re not missing anything.
2. Focus on Link Building Within Your Niche
One of the most important factors – and perhaps the most difficult – when it comes to SEO is link building. That means getting other websites to link to your content.
That whole process is much harder than you’d imagine. In theory, if your content is engaging and informative, links will come to you in time. However, if you leave link building up to chance, it can take years to build the kind of metrics that search engines like to see.
What most proactive blog writers do is figure out ways to do outreach and get those links. Two ways you can do that include:
- Taking advantage of guest blogging opportunities
- Sending outreach emails to other website owners
There’s a lot of really shady advice when it comes to link building, so I recommend sticking to the basics (those two methods above). Some people, for example, recommend leaving links to your website in comments sections. Whenever I see that, my first instinct is to yell out ‘spam!’ so don’t be one of those people.
3. Use Social Media to Promote Your Content
A lot of blog writers balk at the idea of social media or do it half-way. In my opinion, it’s better not to have a social media presence if you’re not going to put some effort into it.
If you do put some heart into social media, it can become a fantastic source of traffic. The best part is, it’s much simpler to get a quick burst of traffic from social media than it is from search engines.
‘Using’ social media to promote your content involves engaging with other users, reaching out to influencers, building a follower base, and all that good stuff.
Just like growing your blog, growing a social media presence takes time, so if you don’t have profiles for your website, it’s time to start now.
If you have the budget for it, paying for traffic to your blog definitely works. The real problem is in converting that traffic into revenue so you can offset your marketing costs.
Organic traffic, on the other hand, is much more scalable over the long term. If you know the basics of SEO, all you need is time to produce content people want to find and the patience to wait for traffic to come to you. It’s a long game, but the payoff can be well worth it.
Have you ever tried paying for traffic for your blog? Share your stories with us in the comments section below!