Blogging 101: Traffic Generation for Blogs on a Budget


Running a blog often sounds very appealing. You’ll have a place to share your thoughts, build a community, and also generate some much-needed cash. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

Well, the reality is it’s not as easy to achieve this as a lot of people make out. I hear the same old things time after time: “Just create awesome content” or “Build a social media following so that you can drive traffic back to your blog.”

It sounds obvious, doesn’t it? That’s because it is obvious.

Who in their right mind would start a blog with the intention of producing crap content and completely neglecting social media? Morons, that’s who.

The reality is you could be producing the most awesome content in the world, but if nobody gets their eyeballs on it then it all goes to waste.

I’ve been blogging for a fair amount of time now and have learnt a lot of tough lessons along the way. During my early days of blogging, the thing that I really craved was advice on how to generate traffic without having to spend a fortune doing it. Most bloggers don’t blog full-time, at least not at the beginning, so they don’t have thousands (or even hundreds) of pounds (or dollars) to be spending every month to get things off the ground.

Within this post, I’m going to show you some ways that you can generate traffic to your blog without breaking the bank. I’m going to mention some paid tools, but nothing that will cost you a fortune!

To kick things off, let’s look at driving traffic through from the search engines, and in particular finding some low-hanging fruit.

Long Tail Keyword Research

One of the first personal blogs that I set up was my travel blog. This became my testing ground for new link building methods and I was really keen on making a big impact within the search engines (all within a tiny budget – i.e. under $50 a month).

During the early stages of my campaign, I made some rookie mistakes on the keywords that I was going after and it really set me back. I decided that I wanted to rank for search terms like travel blog and cash in on huge amounts of traffic to the homepage. I spent massive amounts of time and resources in doing so, and I actually managed to reach the bottom half of page 1 for around 2 weeks. This then died down because I was going up against some of the big boys in the industry that were literally spending over 100x more than me.

It wasn’t the best use of my time, and to be honest, the reward wasn’t great. Most users that came through from this kind of search term bounced from the site and didn’t look at my articles, which is what I really wanted.

It was time for a change.

I shifted my focus away from short-tail, highly competitive keywords and moved to finding some low-hanging fruit in the form of longer, more specific search queries. The result? Just check out this snapshot of my Google Analytics from last year (it’s search traffic only):

Organic search traffic to my travel blog

Screenshot taken 11/06/2014 of

This made me stand up and take notice. I’d increased traffic from search by over 450% – not bad. What’s more, the visitors were staying on the site because the content was directly relevant to the query they were searching for.

Now, you’re probably thinking, “That’s great, Matt, but I’m not an SEO expert and don’t really know where to start with keyword research.

Don’t worry, I’m hearing ya!

This is where I’ll suggest a tool. The tool in question is Keyword Eye and it costs £9.99 per month (~$16) for the Pro package, but there’s also a free version.

The reason why I’m suggesting this tool is because it uses data from SEMrush, an awesome tool that costs a significantly larger amount (the top package is $149.50 per month).

The Process

The thing with Keyword Eye is that it’s really simple to use. It has a ton of advanced features, but the main feature I want to talk about is the Question Finder feature.

Question finder feature within Keyword Eye

Screenshot taken 11/06/2014 of

In a nutshell, the tool allows you to plug-in a general topic and it will gather a number of informational queries related to it. In the example above, I’ve searched for blogging. This has returned a long list of questions that people regularly search for related to blogging, along with the search volume and competition scores. This is perfect for finding some opportunities.

There’s a post on the Keyword Eye blog that goes into a little more detail about this feature – you give it a read here.

My approach, on a basic level, is to pull off a list of broad topics that are related to your niche and then plug them into the Question Finder. From here you can start creating content focused around them to drive through organic search traffic over time.

This is exactly what I did with my travel blog and the results were a dramatic and sustained growth in traffic. Here’s a small snapshot of my Webmaster Tools from the past couple of weeks:

Melted Stories search queries

Screenshot taken 11/06/2014 of

As you can see, the vast majority of these search terms that are bringing through traffic to the blog are very specific, long-tail queries.

Extra Reading: I recorded a full review and tutorial of Keyword Eye last year that goes into some of the other features of the tool. One thing to note is that there’s been a TON of new features added, but this should give you an insight into what else it can do.

Social Media Scheduling

I can’t stress the importance of growing a social media following enough. For bloggers, it’s a hugely powerful resource to have when you’re looking to build traffic to your content.

Having said that, it’s not always easy when you’ve got a minimal budget at your disposal. This is where you have to make the most out of what you’ve got by being smart with your social sharing.

I’m not going to go into the details of choosing the right social channel to pursue because there are tons of articles out there that you can read which directly focus on this (if you’re interested, check out this, this or this).

Matthew Barby

Matthew Barby

Digital Strategist at Wyatt International
Matthew Barby is a UK-based digital marketing consultant. Alongside this, Matt runs the Find My Blog Way blog that gives advice, resources and tutorials on various aspects of digital marketing.
Matthew Barby

Comments are closed.

33 thoughts on “Blogging 101: Traffic Generation for Blogs on a Budget

  1. Blogging is one way how we increase traffic on our website. Implementing long tail keywords is definitely something we use.
    Thank you for the other tips, we might implement them in our strategy as well.

  2. Great Tips.. Have tried Stumble Upon and it did gathered some healthy traffic. However, facebook seems to get some clicks with average visit time as 0 seconds. Tried the crazy egg tool to review what these clicks from Facebook are resulting in and i do believe the results is some fake bots. Don”t wanna a downgrade Facebook Ads they have worked wonders for my client campaigns. But just an experienced that took place 😜

    1. Yeah, like I mentioned, it’s really easy to waste through budget on Facebook Ads (like any paid platform), but once you spend a little more time using them you’ll get to know how to get some quick wins. Remarketing to web visitors has been something that’s worked particularly well for me.

  3. Wow this is a great article Matthew! We need more of these on SEJ. I have used a lot of keyword research tools and never even heard of Keyword Eye… signing up as we speak. Keep up the great posts.

  4. Summary only increase traffic facebook is currently the most effective, if you run facebook ads, you have the flexibility of your traffic sources

  5. Stellar post Matthew. I found some great ideas to try/test out on some projects. I have also been looking for another keyword tool to play around with and will definitely be giving Keyword Eye a spin.

  6. Mathew, nice post, thanks! Curious if you have found any big difference between the search data on Keyword Eye vs using Google’s Keyword Planner Tool?


    Auctus Marketing

  7. Great advice Matthew,

    I find that Stumbleupon and Reddit are both great for generating visitors to my blog. Social media does great as well as does my email. I think your point is that there should be no reliance on any one way to get people to read our outstanding articles. It takes work and effort, and even engagement on our part with other sites and people on social networks. It cannot be a one way street!

    1. You’ve summed it all up well there, Don. Once you start relying on one channel, you’re doomed to fail because unless you’ve got ownership of the channel then there’s always a possibility that it can be removed from you. i.e. if Twitter ceased to exist tomorrow, would you have an alternative traffic source? If the answer is no… start finding one now.

  8. Awesome post, Matt, thank you! Speaking of building your email list – I went over to your website after reading ( and wanted to signup for your newsletter but the signup form doesn’t seem to work for me!

      1. I can put in my name and email, but when I click on the “Aw Yeah!” button nothing happens. Just tried again and it’s the same as yesterday!

  9. Thanks for this, encouraged by the last point about the email list being slow at the beginning. Never focused on building it until the last few weeks, and know where it should/could be just going to take some work to get there. Greatly appreciated this post.

    1. Yeah, a good email list is always the toughest to build. I’ve spent years building mine and I still regard it a way off my goal – persistence is vital and creativity will quicken the process :)

  10. Hi barby!
    Thanks for the nice Article. It was very useful for me. Keep Such sharing ideas in the Future. Thank you for your good information.

  11. Hi Mathew
    Doing blogging in a budget is heck of the task especially in this era when everybody is suggesting costly premium products to boost your blog traffic. We can’t get quality keywords with any free keyword tool nor we can share massively at social media manually. For this purpose we must have any software with quality of service to make our task easier.
    You pointed great tools for this purpose which are not very much costly and can reduce the burden of post sharing at social media and also the one which is not high cost and can give us quality long tail keywords to create contents which ultimately bring huge traffic at our blog.
    Thanks for sharing this wonderful resource that has great info for us.

  12. I’ve used Reddit in the past to market my personal blog and each time I do it I have misgivings. Bloggers get a lot of backlash on some sub-reddits as basically a lot of people see blog articles as nothing but spam. I’ve posted a few things before only to receive derogatory comments back about being a spammer (even though I am very active on Reddit as a commenter.)

    The downside to posting in sub-reddits with few active members is that there are also less people to upvote your content. So it can easily get buried if only a few people downvote it.

    I also feel like Reddit content is getting more and more dumbed down. People are less likely to upvote good written content because they prefer to just spend a few seconds looking at a humourous photo, gif or meme. Writing is very much dead in a lot of ways on the site.

    Having said all this, it’s a great way to generate traffic however I’ve noticed that it often just creates views and not really much in the way of subscribers or comments, not like Facebook seems to have done for you. This might just be my content though which is often not comment worthy.

    1. P.S. Just signed up to the Keyword Eye site and your video for it is a bit out of date. Some of the features either no longer exist or they’ve changed name since you made the video.

    2. Hey Dan,

      It all depends on the subreddit. Each has its own etiquette and rules – some don’t mind self-promotion, others hate it. The most important thing is relevance.

      If they don’t like self-promotion then you should spend some time building relationships with the influential members to see if they will share it. If the content is good enough then you’re half way there.

  13. Hi barby!
    Nice to meet you again.Great post.Personally, I think building your list of email subscribers is slow. This takes time to develop.
    Thanks for sharing.

  14. Well, This is the best article I’ve ever witnessed!
    I a newbie in blogging & I am waiting for you to post more stuff like this. :)

    Thanks man.

  15. I tried using the KeywordEye Tool (free version) for simple keyword usage. Every time I entered any keywords (product brand keywords, specifically for ecommerce sites), it did not return any results, saying “No keywords found.”
    That was my project of the day. Disappointed that it yielded no useful results. .

  16. I think participate in blog commenting is also another way to gain traffic.
    Not blog comment spam but participating by voicing out your views whether you agree or disagree. I can’t deny that this word always appear wherever people ask how to comment. It is the word ‘Value”

    By adding more value to the topic you will get notice and people will follow you too. :)

  17. Wow this is an incredible resource! Amazing work, Matthew! Thank you also for the great Buffer mention! :) This definitely seems like a resource I’ll have to bookmark and share with folks again and again.

    Community Champion at Buffer

    1. We’ve started using the key word program as outlined and it has increased traffic to our site. Another program we are doing with outstanding results is posting outstanding scenic photo’s and asking facebook people to identify the location. Shares, likes and people clicking to our site have grown each week. Thanks for a well thought out article.

  18. Thanks once again for such nice and ready to use stuff. My concern is with Reddit. Its really hard for me to continue with Reddit. Please suggest some good tips for Reddit. What type of content I can post other than NEWS updates?