The following is a guest post by Kacie’s husband
As Kacie’s biggest fan, I’ve really enjoyed helping her behind the scenes at Sense to Save. The main support I provide is for WordPress theme design, post ideas, and feedback. In addition, her blog has steadily grown and I love to contribute to her success through online marketing.
There are many great frugal living blogs that deserve larger traffic. With these blogs in mind, here are some of my experiences with frugal and free advertising, and how to use them to their fullest.
StumbleUpon and Campaigns – Free / $0.05 per visit
1:37 average time on site / 6,668 visitors (Since November 18th, 2007)
How an article received 2,786 visitors over 2 days (and 50/day ever since).
StumbleUpon is a Firefox toolbar and social networking website that enables you to visit random pages on the net and share them on your Stumble blog. You can use the Stumble blog as a simple social bookmarking tool, but many bloggers such as Shana Albert are able to catch the attention of Darren Rowse and other bloggers by being the first to Stumble new blog content.
StumbleUpon offers excellent advertising campaigns that direct Stumblers to you for $0.05 per visit. You should create a viral post (especially a "Top 20" or "How-to" guide) such as my Web 2.0 article. After 10 or more stumblers give it a thumbs up, you can campaign $5 with a targeted demographic (age, gender, and location) and category to create a natural flow of traffic thereafter.
Entrecard – Free (time rather than money)
0:43 average time on site / 1,328 visitors (since January 27th, 2008)
Last Thursday, Sense to Save’s blog logo was featured on Moolanomy, Brip Blap, Generation X Finance, Frugal Dad, and Money Ning, as well as 13 other sites. And, it will be displayed on ProBlogger in a week!
EntreCard provides free advertisement between bloggers. You create a custom blog logo and drop your ‘EntreCard’ on other sites like a business card. Each time you drop or receive a card, you gain a credit to use toward an advertisement on any participating blog.
I agree with MoreMerchant that Entrecard is great for small bloggers to gain web presence. I have seen EJ Cooksey and MoreMerchant on social networks, but I finally visited them after viewing their logos on Problogger. Beyond the benefit of internet presence, I notice that EntreCard has brought Memes and other incoming links to Sense to Save that boost Technorati and Google PR ratings. Traffic quality is very low, but the indirect marketing effects are key.
For some great inside details of how it works, visit this interview of the Entrecard creator. Keep in mind that EntreCard is only 3 months old, so it will only become better over time.
Note: If you want something similar to EntreCard, but you would rather invest a little money instead of time, try Project Wonderful. I haven’t tested it, but EZ Money Online has written some reviews that are optimistic.
MyBlogLog and Blog Catalog – Free
1:51 average time on site / 818 visitors (since January 1st, 2008) and
1:42 average time on site / 281 visitors (since January 1st, 2008)
Bring interactive readers to your website (unlike many social networks).
MyBlogLog and Blog Catalog are social networks that allow bloggers to communicate with their readers and peers. Users can favorite the blogs they love, and discover other blogs that they might also enjoy.
MyBlogLog is more popular, but more "spammy", than Blog Catalog. I recommend that you join them both even if you don’t plan to interact. Many bloggers have widgets on their site to show the most recent visitors from these communities. They will see your images and often visit your blog in return. This is great networking and free advertising.
These two websites have brought the most interactive crowd of visitors to Sense to Save.
Google Adwords – as low as $0.10/visit
4:52 average time on site / 253 visitors (since December 14th, 2008)
Find quality, targeted readers.
Google Adwords is a service you can use to advertise through Google Ads. To sign up, you create your advertisement text and chose which search terms will show your ad. You may be able to find free signup bonuses for Google Ads through some website promotions (we received $50 through Bluehost).
Google Ads have never caught my attention, but the outcomes of advertising through them are surprising. On average, a visitor from Google Ads stays on Sense to Save for 5 minutes. Why is this the case? Each visitor searches for a topic relevant to your blog, and then is interested enough to click on your ad. The ads are therefore focused.
These have been the top 5 advertisement sites to bring Sense to Save traffic – now go give them a try! Note that social networking on multiple websites can build off each other; while I’m dropping EntreCards, MyBlogLog and Blog Catalog users see that I have visited.
If you want more blogging tips, two of my favorite blog resources have been ProBlogger’s beginner’s guide and The Simple Dollar’s build a better blog for 2007. Please contact me via Kacie’s email if you have any questions (I helped LJ fix her blog in Internet Explorer the other day – I am always glad to help with technical stuff).
As a final note, here is a "thank-you" to blogs that have sent the most traffic to Kacie’s site (ordered by most visitors):