I’ve been blogging for a little over 10 years and I honestly love talking about blogging. I’m always excited about doing our monthly blogging Questions & Answers because I get to do something that I love doing, and that’s talking about blogging.
I have learned a lot during that time from making money with sponsored posts, affiliates, advertising, and just finding creative ways to bring in income. I’ve been on different podcasts for other bloggers. I’ve been featured in some other magazines and other blogs and websites.
It has taught me a great deal about content creation, how to make your content more interesting, and how to branch out from blogging and do some other things.
What is the best way to market my blog without spending money on advertising?
I think this is a great question because getting traffic to our blogs is super important. You can pay for it as far as doing Facebook ads, Pinterest ads, Twitter ads, etcetera. There are also a ton of other ways you can do to get traffic.
Some ways aren’t really okay with Google, paying to get traffic to your website, so the nice free ways to get traffic to your blog is always a good question.
I’ll start with some of the things that I know that I’ve done on my blog to get free traffic.
The first thing that we all gravitate to is social media. My favorite places to get traffic as far as social media goes is Pinterest and Instagram.
Those are my top two social media platforms where I get traffic to my site. Pinterest is number one by far. I think a reason for that is because Pinterest isn’t really a social media channel. It’s more like a search engine.
Pinterest is closer to being more related to Google as opposed to Facebook or Twitter. I love Pinterest for that.
The main way I do that as far as getting traffic from Pinterest is by making sure that I post any new content that I have to my boards on Pinterest. And then, I also make a point to share my content with Tailwind.
Tailwind is a platform that I use as a tool to share my content on Pinterest. I share with Tailwind communities (formerly called tribes). Tailwind communities are these little groups where you can share other people’s valuable content and they share yours. It’s kind of like an exchange deal.
You can go into these different communities. And what they are is they’re labeled by different categories.
So, if you are a finance blogger, you can focus on the finance community. If you’re a lifestyle blogger, you can focus on the lifestyle community. It’s really good.
It’s not spammy because you get to actually pick which content you like and related to your actual blog. I think Pinterest and Tailwind are great ways to get free traffic.
Instagram is another great way that you may not think of because there are only so many places that you can click to go to your website on Instagram. Once you get to 10,000 subscribers on Instagram, you have the ability to add a link to your stories.
Those are two social media channels that I use for free traffic.
The other way to get really good free traffic is through SEO or making sure that you’re putting in good keywords in your content so that you show up for Google. You want to make sure you’re doing your research ahead of time.
Before you write the article, do some research to know if anyone is actually searching for a certain key term.
How do you get to join Tailwind communities?
You can join Tailwind for free. Just go to TailwindApp.com.
I joined Tapinfluence, Social Bluebook, Intellifluence, Share-A-Sale, Ambassad-HER. None of them seem to work. I have a beauty and skin blog. How do I find sponsors for paid blog posts?”
This is a good question because it seems elusive a little bit when it comes to getting opportunities for sponsored posts. I’m glad you asked that because that’s actually my specialty.
Until last month, sponsored posts have been the number one way I bring in income from my blog in Miss Millennia Magazine. What you’ll find is there are so many ways to get opportunities.
I think you’re on some good channels – Tapinfluence, and Intellifluence. I would like to mention that Share-A-Sale isn’t really a sponsored post channel. It is more of an affiliate channel. Not to say that you can’t find sponsored post opportunities there too if you’re actually pitching brands.
I’ll tell you my favorite ones that you should sign up for. One is Izea. They are probably one of the biggest ones. The secret to getting different opportunities for them is making sure you have your profile completed all the way.
Think about all the different tags you can have on your channel and all the different types of content that you’ve written before. Have all of that filled out so that you get accepted for more opportunities or just see them. You can’t see any opportunities on Izea until your profile is filled out completely. I think that’s a good one to check out.
Another one I love is Massive Sway. Massive Sway is a good one. Activate is another good one.
Honestly, I have a list of over 150 influencer networks that I give away for free. Go through them and check out the ones that you feel will work out for you. You do have to click through to look at what their platform is all about and what type of influencers they are looking for.
But yeah, I think there are plenty that you can sign up for different influencer networks.
In regard to if you wanted to pitch brands, I would recommend signing up for Commission Junction, also called CJ.com.
What’s great about them is all the different affiliate programs that you see on there, they actually include the email addresses for all these different brands so you know exactly who to reach out to who works with influencers.
What I often do is pitch brands by sending them an email through CJ. I say, “Hey, I know that you have an affiliate program but will you also be interested in doing a sponsored post with me?”
I actually have gotten a lot of deals with brands where they pay me upfront for sponsored posts, and they’ll do some type of affiliate deal with me as well and continue to get paid for that article for the affiliate.
Those are the top ones I would say to-go-to when it comes to your overall getting picked for sponsored posts.
What is your advice on blogger platforms such as PropellerAds, etc?
I used to use PropellerAds actually and I know they are pretty much like an advertising network. I use PropellerAds along with some other advertising platforms you’ve probably never heard of before.
The big ones are Mediavine and AdThrive for advertising, but PropellerAds are fine. If you haven’t been accepted, you haven’t got to 50,000 followers or subscribers or sessions you need to have before you were accepted into Mediavine, I think they’re perfectly okay.
The difference between PropellerAds versus going with something like Mediavine is it’s not managed.
They pretty much say, “Okay. We’ll pay you this much for every 1000 views you get.” But you have to figure out where to put the ads on your site.
You have to make sure you’re paying attention to what are the best pages and then optimizing it along the way.
Whereas, platforms like AdThrive and Mediavine, they do that for you automatically. They see what works, and what doesn’t.
They give you all the analytics so you can make better decisions on how to improve your content.
I had to do things like PropellerAds until I got to the number of followers I needed for Mediavine.
But eventually, you’ll get to the ones where they manage it for you. Yeah, PropellerAds, I think they’re perfectly fine to use.
Another one I’ve used in the past is Ezoic. They were pretty good. I use, of course, Google AdSense. That’s another one that I’ve had on my website before I got accepted into Mediavine.
Media.net is another good one as far as different ad platforms. Again, all these ones, you have to manage it yourself. They’re not managed.
I think I had multiple of those on my website at once just because I’m like saying, “Okay. This one works better on these types of pages. And these, I have one of each on my homepage and just different things like that.”
It’s so much work, especially if you’re not getting a whole lot of traffic to your website. I actually would not recommend doing that.
I feel like it’s better to just focus on growing your traffic. Pick one of those to throw on your site if you want to bring in something but it’s better to just focus on growing your traffic so you can get to manage platforms like Mediavine and other ones because advertising isn’t a big way to bring in income with your blog.
Unless you’re getting millions of sessions and things like that on your site, you’re not going to see substantial income from advertising. I think it’s a good idea to just focus more on just growing your traffic and then go from there.
How do you know what people are searching for?
I use this tool called Keywords Everywhere. What it does is it shows you what people are searching for. Let’s say I searched for the word “blog”.
What Keywords Everywhere does is it tells me how many people per month are searching for the word blog. It also tells me how competitive that keyword is. It’s a super helpful tool.
I know you want to be modest when it comes to your spending. At least I know I was when I first started my blog. With Keywords Everywhere, you get charged by the search.
I paid $10 two years ago for 100,000 searches. It was just something crazy. I still have 70,000 searches left over.
So, I think as a tool, it’s just worth it. You just put a little Chrome extension in your browser and you can just search all day and do your keyword research that way. That’s how you know what people are searching for. At least that’s one way.
Another way you can figure that out is by going through your analytics and seeing what keywords people are searching when they get to your website. And then, another way you could is by going through the SEMrush tool.
It can give you a good idea of doing different keyword research there as well to figure out how many people are searching for a specific keyword and how competitive it is. So, yeah. There are a few places you can figure out what people are searching for.
What are some freebies people give in exchange for info?
This is a fun question because I feel like with blogging, you get to be creative sometimes. And then, you still have to go through the other side and look at your analytics and do some optimization here and compare and contrast. This side of blogging is very scientific. And then there’s the other side of blogging that is like, “Yay, creative, fun.”
I feel like figuring out a good freebie to give to people so that they sign up for your newsletter or your email list is a really fun thing to do. You want to make sure that you’re giving something good.
You don’t want something that anyone could have just done a Google search for and found it easily. Something unique may be nice, but I don’t think it necessarily has to be.
Even if you make something that someone else has done, if you put your own spin on it, I don’t think it’s going to be that big of a deal so long that it brings value.
You don’t want to spend too much time creating a freebie because it just shouldn’t take that much time for you. I can’t remember what blogger I learned this from, but you never want to spend more than 30 minutes creating your freebie.
If it’s something that takes more than 30 minutes, it’s not a freebie. You probably need to be selling that thing. That’s a good rule of thumb as far as knowing what to create.
Here are some ideas I think of when it comes to a freebie:
A list of something. I know that when I first got started blogging, I was searching for things all the time.
So, you can make a list of the top 10 income reports for bloggers, if you want a blogging target audience, for example. Lists are always good because you’re doing that research for people and putting it together. I would definitely give someone my email address if they did some research and put a list together that’s relevant to your niche.
A worksheet is always a really good something to give way to people. I know one worksheet that I give away is a blog goal worksheet. It’s just a list of different questions that I like to ask people so they can think about what their goals are when it comes to their blogs.
I think it’s a useful tool because a lot of people just don’t think about this. They know what they want to do but they don’t really do a lot of research or think about why they want this. Why do I want to hit this number with my blog? What does that mean for me and my family and my future?
So, having a worksheet is a really good one.
If you can put together a mini-course in 30 minutes, I think that’s great. A video series is always good. Or a video just teaching someone something very important. That is a good opportunity too for something free to give away.
If you know how to put a little tool together, that’s always helpful. Something that is not a freebie for me, it’s something I sell but I put together a calculator for people to know how much you should be charging for sponsored posts, which I know some people there are some tools you can pay for to do this.
They charge you every single month to get the pricing. I don’t even think the pricing is all that accurate so I created a calculator. So, once you pay for once, it’s yours. Just have it.
So, calculators. If you know how to do that in a Google excel sheet, that’s something that’s really cool to give away for free.
Honestly, just think about things that you want or things that you needed when you first got your blog started or when you guys started your journey for your niche. You first got into this because you overcame something, right? You had this problem and you probably overcame it.
And now, you want to teach other people how to overcome it. What are some of the things that you were searching for that didn’t exist?
That’s when you want to start thinking more about, “That can be a freebie. That could be a blog post. That could be a video.” And really just thinking through the timeframe it takes to make that and that’s how you determine if it’s a freebie, a blog post, or some other piece of content.
How can I get people to engage in my posts?
Some of ours reach thousands yet nobody interacts other than like a post, like our page, or leave a comment. My biggest advice when it comes to engagement of any kind is to engage them. Ask them questions.
Well, I think a lot of us forget when it comes to blogging that we’re talking to people. We’re writing about ourselves. We’re doing all these things. It’s a conversation.
That’s the reality of it. If you want more engagement on your social media, start asking questions.
Tell the story about yourself and say, “This thing happened to me when I was a kid. Has it happened to anyone else? Let me know in the comments if this has happened to you?”
Or, “What do you think about this story? Do you believe the same thing or do you disagree with what I’m saying?”
I have had so many emails that I’ve sent out to people and I receive replies and we have a healthy debate if they don’t agree with something that I say, or they completely agree with what I said.
But it’s nice to realize that there is a person on the other side, whatever content you’re putting out there. And as long as you think about that, and you know that that’s a reality, they’re a real person not just a number, I think that’s the way to get more engagement. You got to ask them questions and talk to them.
One big part of that too is making sure you’re addressing them properly. On social media, people realize that she’s not talking directly to them. Instead, she’s talking to a group. Otherwise, it would be a private conversation.
But in an email, for example, I try to stay away from saying “you guys”, or “hey y’all” because I’m talking to you. I showed up in your inbox so I’m going to address you by your name and I’m going to say, “So, tell me about yourself (name). What is going on with you?” And you know, we have a private conversation where I reply back to my emails.
Sometimes they’re a little late but I try to reply back. So yeah, just keep your audience in mind, keep the atmosphere in mind as far as like other people around. Can other people see this conversation that we’re having? Just treat them like people and you’ll get more engagement for sure.
How do you grow your traffic?
We talked about getting traffic, but growing traffic is another story. When it comes to growing your social media, it depends on the channel that you’re working with. My personal favorite social media channel is Instagram.
The way I grow my traffic there is through consistency. It’s good to make sure that you’re trying to post on each social media at least once a day. I’d say when you’re first starting out, start on one channel at a time, master it. And then after you master it, go on to the next channel.
Mastering it means that you’ve gotten to a healthy point where you’re sharing at least one post a day and it’s kind of happening on autopilot. There are plenty of tools you can use to make it happen on autopilot. I think consistency is a good way to make sure that you’re growing your social media traffic.
Another thing I like to do is make sure that I am focused on growing my followers. It’s different for every channel that you go on. I know for Instagram and Pinterest, for example, if you follow other people’s followers, there’s a high likelihood that they’re going to follow you back.
I know for Instagram I typically find people who have a similar blog to mine. For example, I focus on bloggers who blog about blogging. And then, I’ll go and I’ll follow their followers until Instagram tells me to stop.
I do that a little bit every day. That’s a really good way to grow my followers. I can almost guarantee that you’ll get followers doing that consistently every day because some people are always going to follow you back.
I know, we talked a little bit about that as far as SEO. That’s a really good way to grow your blog traffic, boosting your social media followers, so it’s still kind of relevant there.
The more people you have on your follower list, the more people will see your content when you share it there. I think one underrated way to get traffic to your blog that people don’t talk about is your email list. You should be collecting email subscribers from day one with your blog.
If you do not have an email list, I highly recommend you sign up and get one ASAP. The email platform that I use currently is ConvertKit. I love ConvertKit because when I originally got started, they said, “Hey, we are an email platform for bloggers.” So, they’re always paying attention to different trends and stats and things that bloggers want to know.
And they update accordingly to make sure that you have all the tools and functions you need to hit your goals when it comes to blogging. Whenever I have a new blog post, I make sure that I’m sending it out to my email list in my newsletter. So that way, I’m getting traffic to my blog post when they get published.
And of course, that means you have to continue to grow that email list. The bigger your email list gets, the more traffic you’re going to see to your blog so long as you are consistently emailing them and letting them know about your new content. I think building your email list and contacting them with your new content is a really, really good way to get traffic to your blog.
So, just going back to what we talked about so far, growing your blog traffic, you do that by growing your social media followers. And then, of course, post your content on your social media platforms.
SEO, we’ve talked about that already. That’s a really good way to get nice free traffic to your blog. And then, of course, growing your email list. Another really good way to grow your blog traffic and get people to consistently come back to your content.
How do you improve your current content?
In improving your current content, there are a few things that you can do to do that. I have a couple of different layers to this.
I have old content that I improve. I’m talking like years old it’s still on my website. I saw this article and said, “Oh, this needs to be fixed.” And then I have my content that’s fairly recent.
It was probably published within the last month or two but I want to see better results from it. Whether it be like more traffic because it’s a sponsored post idea for a brand or I want to get more sales from it because it’s an affiliate article. So, those are my two categories when it comes to improving my current content.
I’ll start with the older content first. When it comes to older content, you do want to make sure that you’re spending some time periodically going through your site and removing content that’s not relevant anymore or just outdated just because the more content you have on your website is being counted by Google on what your site is about.
If you want Google to recognize you as a blog that’s about food, you may want to get rid of all the 50 articles you have that are about money or fitness or whatever. It just helps build up your traffic when you have that content that’s more related to what you want to rank for.
That’s one reason why I would improve my older content. Another reason is just getting more traffic. I was not always good at SEO at the beginning of my blogging career.
So, now that I know what I know, to get more organic traffic to my blog, I like to go back to my older pieces of content and update them just so that I get more traffic. So yeah, that’s one reason why I would do it.
How I would go about improving them? I will update my social media images. Meaning, my Facebook and/or Pinterest images. I’ll make sure they’re up to date with my brand colors, and my brand fonts, and that they look good.
Another thing I do to older content is I go through and make sure I have good keywords in it so that is ranking on Google for more traffic. Sometimes, I just need to change some stuff out. Like, what was I even trying to say in this paragraph? I swear.
Every year, I look at my old content from a year ago and I’m like, “Eww. I hate this. This is just awful. I can’t believe I wrote this and it was just a year ago.”
If you’re a regular blogger, you will be surprised at how different your style changes.
Overall, you’re getting better as a blogger so it makes sense to go back and change things.
Those are some of the things I change in my current content. On the other side, when it comes to recent content that I update it’s usually because I want to see more of an outcome.
This is me doing the AB testing, optimizing, and how can I get more sales. I have a few articles that bring in regular income for me for affiliates. I’m used to seeing a certain number of sales a day.
If I notice a decline in any of those sales, what I started doing is saying, “Okay. Time to get this going and make sure that I get more sales.”
So, a lot of times, what I’ll do is I’ll do more keyword research, see if there are any new keywords that are showing up, and add those to the article. So, that’s one thing that I do to make sure that I’m up to improve my current content so I’m getting more traffic to it and getting more sales because of that.
What else do I do to my current content? I think the keyword part is probably the most important. Also, if there are any changes to Google where they’re saying, like, “Hey, you’re not allowed to do this anymore.”
That’s something you definitely want to go in and make sure that you’re updating on your high-quality content so that you’re doing it properly. Or if there are any cool new things that Google says can help you rank higher.
For example, I recently found out that adding a YouTube video, and embedding it in your blog posts helps you with your SEO overall. So, I started going back through articles and adding a video so I can get more traffic.
I have a question related to both Facebook and Twitter. I have noticed that when I share a blog post from my own blog or from almost any other blog, the image doesn’t pull over anymore. Have these two social media platforms changed something? Is there a workaround? Shares look much better when an image pulls over automatically. I noticed that this problem only happens with blog post shares. If I share, say, a news article, pictures pullover with no problem.
I’ll admit. I’m still not really a tech person. I have a tech team that helps me, which is just a Godsend.
They’re called WP tech support. If you’re interested, I’ll share the link with them as well.
But what it sounds like to me is just my idea of what’s happening here is something has changed on your website. I don’t think that there’s been a change on Facebook or Twitter about pictures showing up.
I think that maybe something has shifted on your site when it comes to the images associated with your blog posts. It may be worth giving it another look and seeing if you have a section on your blog that shows the image.
It’s hard because if you have a WordPress blog, I know it’s different for everyone depending on how you use your blog and what plugins and things you have. My suggestion would be to get some type of social media sharing plugin because a lot of times what those do is they have a specific section for you to put in. Here’s the image that’s going to show up on Facebook.
Here’s the image, it’s going to show up on Twitter. And you can put your image there so you’re not wondering why is it not showing up. It pulls from the same place.
So, I know the tool that I currently use is the Grow plugin from Mediavine. It used to be called Social Pug and Mediavine purchased it. That’s what I use.
I love this one because it’s the only one I’ve seen where it lets you hide your Pinterest images in the background of the article. So, if someone has a Pinterest Chrome extension, it automatically shows all the pictures, even the ones that you’re hiding for them to share on Pinterest, but it won’t take up space on your blog. I love that one for that but there are a ton.
I used to use Jetpack. Jetpack has social sharing elements in their plugin and that one’s free. I think the one I use is $30 a year or something like that but I love it. I think it’s a really good tool.
So yeah, that’s what I would do as far as making sure that you have your images pulled over from your website. But again, I’m not a tech person. So, you can take that advice with a grain of salt.
How long are you moving to Costa Rica?
We’re moving to Costa Rica indefinitely. We are looking at getting our permanent residency in Costa Rica actually.
We’re moving supposed to be next month. Maybe early July. We’re just looking for a change.
We still have our family in the States so we’ll definitely be visiting on a pretty regular basis but we will be living in Costa Rica. We’re excited about it.
If you’re interested in our journey, we have a whole series on YouTube where we talk through why we’re moving in the first place. And then, we’re doing month-by-month updates on where we are with packing and getting ready to go and all that stuff. It helps to have a blog because I feel like we have a good outlet to talk through all the different experiences and all the changes that we’re going through just getting ready to go to Costa Rica.
If you don’t follow us on Instagram, I recommend you sign up too because we have some little things there too. Just little things that we’re doing around the house. And just pictures of us packing. Yeah, just some random thoughts along the way.
I’m super excited to go to Costa Rica. We’ve only been there one time before but we loved it and hope that it’s going to be a good chance for us.
Are you blogging about it?
Yeah, for sure. We’re definitely going to blog. We’re definitely going to blog about Costa Rica once we launch our new blog. We haven’t launched it yet but there will definitely be more content about blogging as well as Costa Rica on the blog.
Talking about blogging is one of my favorite things in the world to do. I can do it all day long. I hope you learned a lot. Let’s do this again next month.