Beware of Marketers in Bloggers’ Clothing

If you’ve ever started a blog or a professional website, you’ve probably also gotten some kind of communication from some expert offering to help you improve your web traffic/ad revenue/SEO.

Now, I have nothing against companies that offer to do these things.  I’m sure good ones can provide valuable services to established businesses that need to up their game.

But if you’re just starting out, you really don’t know if you have a product that people want or if you’ve got what it takes to succeed.  Spending money to chase after customers you don’t know if you can get, let alone keep, is not good business.  What it is, is a way to give your money to someone else to make their business successful.

Take what I am about to say with a grain of salt because I’m still learning this stuff myself.  But I think it’s good advice and sound business practice.

What startups need to do first of all is to build a small customer base or following by word-of-mouth and learn to promote themselves.  There are lots of free or low-cost ways to do that without sinking money into web designers and SEO experts.  Use free or nearly-free websites and blog sites.  Leverage social media and expand through the people you already know.  Follow successful bloggers who are willing to talk about how to do what they’re doing.

Once your venture has started to count some successes and you have an idea about how this social media stuff works, you’ll be in a better position to hire an expert to take you to the next level.

Have you found any free or low-cost resources that have helped you?  Please leave a comment and help somebody else.

P.S. I had intended to include a short list of some free Kindle books I have read, but they are either no longer free or I’m looking in the wrong places.  Amazon always has free titles available for Kindle users, but that list changes constantly.  All I can say is keep looking.

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