Although blogging has been around for more than a decade, it still remains one of the most popular mediums for communication on the internet. It has done much to democratize the production and communication of information for those who have interesting things to say. However, there are still a lot of things that a potential blogger must consider before taking on this worthwhile endeavor. Indeed, a little bit of planning in the beginning will go a long way in helping bloggers produce quality content on a shoestring budget while gaining access to many potential readers.
In order to grow your blog on a small budget, there are several things that you should consider:
- Changing Your Hosting Provider
- Use Social Media
- Work with Other Blogs
- Search Engine Optimization
Changing Your Hosting Provider
The website hosting market has become very competitive over the past several years as server prices continue to plummet on account of Moore’s Law. This has been a great boon for people who want to run their own blogs since they are able to reach a worldwide audience for just pennies a day.
Unless you already have a large, established audience, your blog can get away with a shared hosting solution at first. This is the cheapest way to go since the hosting provider will not need to provide you with a dedicated server.
There are a number of companies that will provide you with a complete hosting solution for less than $10 a month. Some of the most popular companies are listed below:
All of these companies provide a full complement of website hosting services, including database access and use of numerous programming languages to create a fully interactive website. Even if you don’t like to get involved with the technical aspects of your website, several hosting providers, including Dreamhost, allows for a one-click setup of WordPress, one of the most popular blogging platforms on the internet. By doing this, you do not need to worry about installation at all.
Of course, if you are really hamstrung for money, there are several free blogging platforms on the internet. Two of the most popular at the following:
These two websites will allow you to easily create a blog from among numerous templates. By going this route, you can be up and running in just minutes without paying a dime. Of course, there are some negative to going this route. You will not have your own domain name and customization options are limited. However, if you just want to test the waters of the blogging universe, it may be a good first step.
Use Social Media
Creating a blog is usually the easy part; the difficult thing is to actually get people to your website. The internet is littered with the remnants of long abandoned blogs, neglected due to their lack of traffic. Bloggers who were originally excited quickly become discouraged when they come to discover that no one is coming to read their brilliant insights. In order to find potential readers, you are going to need to do some marketing. One of the easiest ways to do this is by employing social media to bring people to your site. For one thing, you can employ social news and bookmarking sites like the following:
- Hacker News
These sites aggregate news articles from a variety of sources, which are then rated based on popularity. Although many of your submissions may not become popular, it only takes one great article to go viral, flooding your blog with new visitors. Websites like Facebook and Twitter can also be used to market your blog. By providing a Facebook “Like” button or a “Tweet” icon, readers at your site can become personalized marketers for you by spreading popular articles to their friends.
Work with Other Blogs
Unless you are writing about a particularly esoteric niche, it is exceedingly likely that there are already many sites discussing the same topics that you are. More likely than not, these sites probably have more visitors than you do. Instead of competing with them, you can work with them in order to help their blog while giving you ready access to numerous new potential readers. One popular strategy is to offer to write an article for their website. Many popular blogs struggle to fill their page with content that will interest their readers. You can offer to relieve that burden by writing something for their site. In return, they will give you a byline where you can describe your own blog.
Best of all, this strategy will not cost you any money but just an investment of time in order to write the article.
Search Engine Optimization
Other than various social media websites, the main way people will find your blog is through search engines. Indeed, companies like Google have created a business empire by connecting people to the information that they want. Since search engines have become so popular, an entire industry has developed, known as search engine optimization, in order to help small sites get to the coveted results at the top of the front page. You can hire people to do this for you, but the basics are pretty straightforward and can be done by yourself. Although Google’s search engine algorithm is strictly confidential, they do provide lots of information to website owners about how to optimize their site for their search engine, which handles more than 60 percent of all searches.
So if you are interested in doing this, you should definitely spend some time here: Google Webmaster Tools. Starting your own blog is an exciting adventure and a great way to spread your ideas to the rest of the world. Although it may seem overwhelming at times, by following some of the advice presented above, you will be well on your way to launching a successful blog.