“Should I spend money on ads to promote my Christian blog posts?”
I get asked this question quite often by new (or struggling) Christian bloggers.
My answer is almost always a big, fat NO because there is absolutely no reason to pay for something that you can get (and get more of) for free!
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Questions to Ask Before Paying for Ads
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a newer blogger complaining that they just aren’t getting any traffic and are thinking of paying for ads to help promote their blog. The truth is that if you aren’t getting traffic with what you currently have, paid advertisements for it won’t help much. Yes, it will get the blog to show up where more people see a link for it, but I’m pretty sure you are already sharing that link (for free) and no one is clicking on it.
I promise I’m not trying to be mean!! I’m trying to make a point.
When you pay for ads, it should be for something that people have already shown an interest in. This should be a bonus option for (more) traffic – not a last-ditch effort to get (some) traffic.
So, before you begin spending what little money you do have (because let’s be honest – most Christian bloggers have very LITTLE money to spend on blogging stuff!), let’s dive into why you feel the need to pay for ads and whether you’ve laid a good foundation for ads to even benefit you.
What is Your Goal in Paying for Ads?
The first question I have for any Christian blogger considering paying for ads (Google, Facebook, Pinterest, or other) is this:
What is your end-goal?
9 times out of 10 the answer is simple; they are trying to get more traffic to their blog so people will read it.
Now, every once in a while, the answer might be that they’ve plateaued with organic traffic and are simply wanting a traffic boost. Or, they may already have great organic traffic and are planning a product or book launch. In these 2 scenarios, then paying for ads might be in order because they’ve already invested in the foundation of getting organic traffic.
But if you are just getting started or have been at it for a while and just aren’t getting organic traffic – paying for ads is a complete waste of time and money!
Ads are meant to bring bonus traffic. They shouldn’t be the primary means of getting people to your site.Are you paying for ads to promote your Christian blog? Ads are meant to bring bonus traffic. They shouldn't be the primary means of getting people to your site. Click To Tweet
Do You Have a Clear Target Audience
With most things in life, you want to know that you are spending money in a way that matters. That you will get something in return for the investment. With paid ads (Google, Facebook, Pinterest, etc), it should be no different.
Unfortunately, many new bloggers don’t yet understand the importance of having a defined target audience and, as a result, their content doesn’t speak to or serve the needs of a particular segment of the population. When you create an ad, you have to put in population parameters to show who exactly needs to see the ad. The point of ad targeting is to make sure your ad gets shown to an audience of people who may have actually been seeking what you are offering.
You may get a couple of random passers-by from your wide targeting, but you won’t see any long-term growth in the way of site visitors or blog subscribers without having a clear audience in mind.
Is Your Content Optimized for SEO
Are you writing blog content that serves your target audience and is optimized for search engines? Or are you just sort of writing whatever comes to your mind each morning?
If you write SEO-optimized content focused on your target audience, you WILL see organic traffic from search engines (and won’t need to pay for ads to get them to your blog).
The Skinny on Paying for Traffic
When you pay for ads, you are essentially paying for people to (hopefully) visit your site. Regardless of whether you are paying for ads from Google, Pinterest, or Facebook, you are simply paying for your blog post to be shown more often in more feeds. There is absolutely no guarantee that anyone will click on them!
Truth Bomb (again, not trying to be mean) – If people aren’t already clicking on your links when you share them naturally (on Facebook, on Pinterest, etc) then just maybe it isn’t yet worth clicking. Sending more people to it won’t necessarily present a win.
Your goal should be for your content to show up naturally in the places people are actually searching for it.
Paying for Google Ads to Promote Your Blog
Paying for Google ads to promote your Christian blog is simply a waste of money!
It is safe to say that the majority of Christian content creators do not understand or implement SEO on their blog posts. Because of that, if you do implement SEO, you can easily get your content ranking for a variety of keywords for absolutely free.
Don’t believe me? Kingdom Bloggers launched in December of 2018. Every post was written with SEO in mind from the start. A year later, we are receiving 20,000 monthly visits to the site! Over 60% of that traffic comes from Google. We also get organic traffic from other search engines such as Yahoo, Bing, and DuckDuckGo. (The image below reflects a single month of traffic from different sources.)
I did not spend a single dime on ads last year. This was all organic growth from SEO (and a smaller amount from Pinterest and sharing on social media)!
Most Christian bloggers don’t have a ton of money just laying around to spend on stuff so it is crucial that you spend your money wisely. You can get significant organic traffic absolutely free by investing in learning and implementing SEO. Whether you learn it on your own or take a course, SEO will continue sending traffic to your blog long after the day you publish a post.
Paying for Facebook Ads
Oh, Facebook! It is no secret that Facebook wants you to pay to play as far as promoting content on your Facebook page. And even then, you aren’t guaranteed actual clicks to your site. You are simply paying for them to show it in the feed.
But you know what? Your Facebook page isn’t the only page you should be sharing your blog posts! Share it (for free) on your personal profile and in Facebook groups. If you have a private Facebook community for your blog, you’ll get much higher engagement there than on your Facebook page – completely free.
Paying for Pinterest Ads/Promoted Pins
This is one of my biggest frustrations – seeing new Christian bloggers paying for promoted pins or ads on Pinterest. Why? Because more often than not, they
- don’t have a target audience
- aren’t writing content people are searching for
- don’t have Pinterest-worthy pin images
When you pay for promoted pins, you are paying for Pinterest to show your pin in the feed of your target audience (based on keywords). So if you haven’t figured out that audience or understand keywords – or have pins that stand out you are basically paying to promote a pin that no one is ever going to click on!
Truth Bomb – If people aren’t already clicking on your pins in the feed, what makes you think that paying to have them in the feed more often will help? Chances are they aren’t currently clicking on them because they simply don’t stand out from the rest (or they have no point).
You can easily get more (free) traffic with your pins (if they are properly optimized) by sharing them in Tailwind Tribes and sharing to Group Boards (and creating new boards on your own profile to share them to).
Your Time and Money is Valuable so Spend it Wisely!
The goal of every Christian blogger is to get more traffic to their blogs so more people will read it, right? WRONG!!!
The goal should be to get more Christ-filled content out there on the Internet where people can find it. The goal is the content, not the traffic. Traffic is a secondary effect of great content.
The recipe for great content starts with having a clearly defined target audience, followed by implementing sound SEO practices – all of which are completely free to do!
Instead of paying for ads, save your money for things that will actually impact the growth of your Christian blog ministry. Things like self-hosting, a premium theme, scheduling tools, and training on SEO and all things Christian blogging.
Again, this post is directed to the new blogger – or the not-so-new blogger – who isn’t yet getting actual organic traffic. Paying for ads shouldn’t be a strategy for simply getting traffic. Paying for ads should be for things like a product/book/course launch or something like that. Your blog content will get plenty of organic traffic (for free) with the write foundation.
If you are struggling to get traffic to your Christian blog, be sure to also hop over and join us in the Kingdom Bloggers Facebook group where we have weekly live training and discussions on all things Christian Blogging!
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