Have you been struggling with getting traffic to your blog? Are you thinking of paying to have traffic driven to your site? Either way, read on to learn from my six years of blogging experience.
When I wrote my first blog post here at ShoutMeLoud on December 1st, 2008, I never thought this deal will get so real. I was blogging for fun, and one day some kind of magic happened and I turned into a professional blogger!
I like the idea of being known as a “professional” in the field, as it sounds so cool. But deep down I’m still just a blogger at heart.
If you would have asked me this question 2-3 years back:
“Hey Harsh, do you think I should buy traffic for my blog?”
…I would have said no, and told you to focus on SEO, guest posting and driving natural, organic traffic.
But honestly, things have changed a lot over time, and a blog is not just about sharing your morning routine or your experience with the new gadget you just got. Blogging has become a real deal for many, myself included!
- Must read: 101 tactics to drive blog traffic
While organic traffic used to be the best way to obtain web traffic, these days we can’t ignore the importance of targeted traffic. In the past couple of years, the contribution of social media sites to web traffic is rising, and all of them (or almost all) have started offering various advertising solutions. You can use these to promote your social media property, or to drive traffic to your blog.
I’m not opposed to buying traffic from cheap sources in general, but I personally don’t trust them. I would rather spend some extra cents/clicks to get more quality and reliable traffic from trustworthy sites.
At the time of this writing, I’m testing many trusted networks to buy not-so-cheap traffic driven to my blog, and here I’m documenting all those sites.
If you have experience with any other sites apart from the ones listed below, feel free to let me know via the comments section at the end of this post.
In the end, I will share all of the places from which I am buying traffic. (Hint: It’s not only to the blog!)
I bought traffic from these 3 sites, and here are the results:
I believe it was in 2007 when I started using StumbleUpon, and since then I have seen them changing their strategy a lot. I have experienced organic traffic from StumbleUpon, which went up to 12K/day alone.
StumbleUpon offers a self-serving ad platform, where you can add your link and set a budget, and StumbleUpon will start sending traffic to your page. It sounds so simple, and it actually is. For major publishers or brands who want to spend over $10k/month, there are more features available.
What I like about StumbleUpon ads is that they help in driving organic StumbleUpon traffic, if your paid traffic voted for promoted content. Do note, however, that StumbleUpon ads won’t work with all types of posts.
For my blog, StumbleUpon seems to be a disaster. Notice the page views and time spent in the graph below (this is traffic from StumbleUpon):
Tricks to get the most out of StumbleUpon ads:
- Make sure your content is scannable
- Make your content visually appealing
- Place a StumbleUpon badge on the post, as it would work as a reminder to VoteUp.
- List posts like “Top 10” or “21 Best” work great.
- People who are using StumbleUpon are usually bored. Give them something interesting to engage them.
Update: Here is the result from the second promotion of $30 for my 100+ blogging tools post:
Reddit was mentioned here on ShoutMeLoud once, and it’s one of the biggest social communities on the web. Links which are naturally getting likes on Reddit, get huge traffic. Reddit offers an advertisement option which they call “Promote on Reddit“.
Creating your ad campaign on Reddit is easy, and you have the option to select targeting based on Sub-Reddit. In terms of targeting in general, you have limited options.
I would suggest you spend some time understanding Reddit, and then use its advertising platform to promote your content.
Reddit accepts payment via credit card only, and once you create a campaign it can take up to 12 hours to get approval.
Facebook is currently one of the top destinations for advertisers to buy traffic or advertise their product. I have used Facebook ads for buying Facebook likes and for boosting my page content in the past.
When I think about all the things I’ve done in the past in this regard, I feel kind of stupid. I should have used Facebook to drive traffic to my blog rather than buying Facebook likes!
Here is my take on my earlier action: I paid for Facebook ads to buy likes for my page. Later I paid Facebook for making my status updates reach out to the same audience. In the end, a Facebook page is still a property of Facebook.
Isn’t it better to drive traffic to landing pages, and then convert that traffic into an email subscriber or for getting likes via the Facebook “Like” box?
Lately I have started using Facebook to drive traffic to the blog, and it really is one of the best platforms to work with. I can be very precise with my targeting, and can get targeted users to my blog.
Here are few things which first-time users should know about Facebook ads:
- You can use your existing email list to target ads to only those people.
- You can use your existing email list to create a look-alike audience set. (That means your ads will be shown to people with similar interests and qualities to those on your email list.)
- Facebook also offers retargeting ads. This could be a great way to increase brand value or to target content to people who have visited your site before. You can learn more about it here.
Here is one video which will make it easier for you to understand retargeted ads via FB:
What am I’m promoting with this paid traffic?
At this point, my approach to paid advertising is to get more email subscribers and app installs. ShoutMeLoud is a niche blog, and one-time traffic is not so profitable for a blog like this. My advertising ROI is when traffic converts into an email subscriber or when someone installs my app.
Apart from driving traffic to my high-traffic pages, I’m focusing on promoting:
I see these two opportunities as the future of ShoutMeLoud after the email-list. 90% of my blog’s traffic is from search engines, but I would like to have the complete freedom to reach out to users without relying on search engine traffic. For now, that can be accomplished by my blog app and my YouTube channel. These will more than likely provide the next big move forward for my blog.
If your blog is ready to be marketed, you should have an advertising budget and buy traffic. You can either do it yourself or hire a company to do it for you. If you are doing it yourself like I am, be prepared to fail at first (or maybe the first few times!), but soon you will discover your own secret recipe for success!
Let me know what other mediums or sites you have used to buy traffic for your blog.
How you are utilizing that traffic?
As always, feel free to share this post with anyone who might benefit from the information!