Feb 11 2008

Frugal Ways to Build Your Blog

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.

Thanks to Lynnae, Glblguy, and Mrs. Micah for stumbling many of Kacie’s posts.

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.

Other sitesReddit and Facebook have also been worthwhile for us.


 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):

  1. Biblical Womanhood
  2. Paid Twice
  3. Handmade by Cole
  4. Be Thrifty Like Us
  5. Home Ec 101

 



25 Responses to “Frugal Ways to Build Your Blog”

  1. I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you.

    Chris Tackett

  2. Wow, thanks for the mention. Great article too. Been debating trying Entrecard and you just convinced me. Now to try and use my dismal artistic capabilities to create a catchy graphic…

    btw, excellent job on the “behind the scenes work”. Sense to Save looks really nice.

  3. Thanks GLBLguy, it has been some fun to create the site with Kacie.

    Many people debate whether Entrecard is worth it, but most of us keep coming back for more. It is kind of fun, and worth a try anyhow.

    -Kacie’s husband, Shane

  4. Thank you! I just emailed Kacie about advice on boosting blog traffic last night. This is exactly the type of information I was looking for. I will go through and look at each of the links you suggested!

  5. Thanks for the mention! You & Kacie always have good stuff to stumble!

    I never thought of Adwords. I still haven’t used my bonus from Bluehost. I’m going to have to look into that. And Entrecard, too.

  6. Thanks for the mention and I absolutely love the design of this blog.

  7. Yes! Shane did help me! And I am EVER SO GRATEFUL!!!

    Great Post, you guys are awesome!

    Thanks again and Take Care

    LJ

  8. Helpful article.

  9. I really like the way you and Kacie approach this as a professional team.

    As a hobby blogger, I haven’t explored any of these services except for Stumble. I like to keep my sidebars clean.

  10. Great article and great site in general. Thanks! -FFB

  11. I hear ya on the clean sidebars thing. All of my little “widgets” or whatever are small graphic things in the upper right sidebar. That declutters it some.

  12. Great Post! Thanks for the mention.

    I will have to give some serious thought to doing a StumbleUpon campaign.

    To Your Success!

  13. Thanks for mentioning me. :) I love how SU works and I love Stumbling my friends’ posts cuz I know how exciting traffic is. :) Kacie’s sent some good stuff my way too.

  14. Thanks for advertising on Frugal Dad last week! I plan to return the favor when I can build up enough credits – you are just too popular these days!

  15. I need to find one of these magical internet-savvy husbands! Thanks for the review of Entrecard – I joined because I saw it on Sense to Save, but I haven’t really started doing anything yet. Maybe that will be one of my goals for the month!

  16. I also wanted to add a thank you for this. I just got through how to add the stimble thing to blogger. I am also more of a hobby blogger but I would like my blog to be read by more people. I will bookmark this post so I can do some of the other things you mention as well.
    Thanks!
    Mercedes

  17. Another new way is for Bloggers to get paid for their TIME spent to read information sent to them if they so choose. There is a great need now for marketers to distribute their information out into the Blogosphere, and while it is not ethical, IMO, for Bloggers to get paid to post, it’s nice to finially be recognized as having one’s time worth money.

  18. I joined the mybloglog. Can you help me figure out how to get my page (or a picture of my page) to show up on homepage? All the other members I have looked at have a little square showing what their blog looks like. I don’t know how to save a copy of my blog. I found where you upload, but I can’t since I don’t know how to save it.

    Thanks!

  19. Hi Jessica.

    Thanks for joining Kacie’s community on MyBlogLog! There are a few ways to take a picture of your blog, but here is the easiest – open the following link:

    http://shots.snap.com/preview/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fbargainbanana.blogspot.com%2F&key=8055ceecf07902b83553b4a4b4c65a4d&src=&cp=&sb=1&v=3.19&size=large&lang=en-us&search_type=spasense&origin=shots_bubble&act=only_link&po=1&rp=null&tok=000147d077cc53e130838f5249e78e7367e2df44&has_img=0&ol=0&ex=0&ad=unknown&ip=24.3.132.172&ua=Mozilla%2F5.0+%28Windows%3B+U%3B+Windows+NT+6.0%3B+en-US%3B+rv%3A1.8.1.12%29+Gecko%2F20080211+Firefox%2F2.0.0.12+Flock%2F1.0.9&vid=2630edb31630378e6b94ddb6793e0a0c&nl=1&referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fsensetosave.com%2F2008%2F02%2F11%2Fbuildyourblog%2F%23comment-5493&svc=&view_id=2630edb31630378e6b94ddb6793e0a0c&goto=Go%20to%20%25URL&direct=1&sc=0

    Right-click on the picture and “Save Image As” a jpg on the desktop. Then upload the file through the upload button.

    Thanks,
    Shane

  20. Hey guys – great posts. I can’t reiterate enough how important Stumble is, you are sooo right. There are days I get over 1000 hits just from them.

    I just happened to notice Jessica’s question and while snap.come is good, here’s a slightly better way (you can capture anything on the screen, from a text doc, to your website)

    http://www.tysblog.com/2008/03/08/how_to_capture_whats_on_your_screen/

    Nothing special needed, any windows PC is ready to do it out of the box…

  21. Great ideas. I have a blog that I am trying to go, so this should be helpful. This is a great blog and I will be subscribing and adding to my blogroll.

    Cheers,
    Andy.

  22. Hi, I like your blog.. great ideas. I’m trying to add my entrecard widget to my wordpress.com blog and CAN’T DO IT. Ugh, so frustrating!!

    Lisamm’s last blog post..Book Club Meeting for Eat, Pray, Love: Wrap-Up

  23. Love the article, thanks for all the great tips for blogging on the cheap!

  1. 2 Trackback(s)

  2. Largest Entrecard Giveaway Ever | Sense to Save
  3. Back to you… | boogiemum

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

I hope I can inspire and encourage you to improve your situation. See disclosure.

I'm adopting a much slower-paced posting schedule, and treating this as a hobby blog now.

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