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15 Tips to Grow Your Business Online (Without a Lot of Money)

Editorial Note: We earn a commission from partner links on WPBeginner. Commissions do not affect our editors' opinions or evaluations. Learn more about Editorial Process.

Looking to grow your business online without a lot of money?

If you are just starting a business, then you cannot afford to waste money. You should look for ways to attract visitors, convert potential customers, build a brand, and make more money online.

In this article, we will share practical tips on how to grow your business on a small budget.

How to grow your business on a shoestring budget

Our goal is to help you compete with the big guys without spending a fortune. Since we will be covering multiple tips, here are quick links you can use to jump ahead to any section:

1. Choose the Right Platform for Your Website

The biggest mistake you can make as a small business is choosing the wrong platform to build your website. A wrong platform will not only cost you more money but will also limit your business’s growth potential.

We recommend using WordPress. It is the most popular website builder in the market, and it powers over 43% of all websites (including both small and large businesses).

When we say WordPress, we are talking about and not They are two different platforms. See our article on the difference between vs. for more details.

To start a self-hosted WordPress website, you’ll need a domain name AND a web hosting account. Yes, they’re different. Want to learn more? See our beginner’s guide explaining the difference between domain name vs web hosting.

Different hosting companies offer different plans suitable for small to large websites. This ultimately affects the cost of your website.

If you are just getting started, then we recommend using Bluehost. They are one of the largest hosting companies in the world and an officially recommended WordPress hosting provider.

Luckily, they are offering WPBeginner users a free domain name and discounts on hosting. Basically, you’ll be able to get started for $2.75 per month.

As your business grows, you will likely need more hosting resources. Hopefully, by that time, you’ll be making enough money to justify an upgrade.

Once you have a little more money to spend, you can choose a managed WordPress hosting provider like WP Engine or SiteGround.

2. Choose a Functional Website With a Simple Design

Themes directory

Many beginners believe that their customers will not take their business seriously if they don’t have their website professionally designed.

Getting a professional to custom design your website is expensive, and it’s not needed when you’re just starting out.

You can easily start with a ready-made free or premium WordPress theme for a fraction of the price.

See our expert’s pick of the best WordPress themes for some inspiration:

If none of the above themes suit your needs, then you can also use SeedProd. It is the best page builder for WordPress.


The best part is that SeedProd allows you to create a completely custom WordPress theme from scratch without writing any code.

You can also use Thrive Architect. It is a versatile WordPress page builder, and you can even use it with your existing WordPress theme.

3. Make It Easier for Users to Contact You

Make it easier to contact

If you want your website to bring you more customers, then you need to add an easy way for visitors to contact you.

The simplest way to do that is by using a contact form on your website.

By default, WordPress doesn’t come with a contact form. Luckily, there are WordPress contact form plugins that can help you easily add a contact form to your site.

We recommend using WPForms Lite. It is the free version of the popular WPForms plugin that’s trusted by over 6 million websites.

Once your business has grown, you can upgrade to WPForms Pro to create more advanced forms like surveys, polls, payment forms, and more.

4. Start Building an Email List From Day 1

Lead generation

Most people who leave your website will never come back again. This means that if you don’t get their email address, then you will have no way to communicate with them in the future.

The most cost-effective way to do this is by building an email list.

Email marketing is the most reliable way to communicate with your website visitors.

You can get started with Constant Contact. They are the top-rated email marketing service provider on our list.

WPBeginner users get a free trial for those who are just starting out and 20% off if they upgrade to their paid plan.

For more tips, see our beginner’s guide on how to do lead generation in WordPress like a pro.

5. Get More Organic Traffic From Search Engines


Search engines like Google are the primary source of traffic for most websites on the internet. There are a lot of things you can do to optimize your website for search engines by learning basic SEO.

SEO or search engine optimization is a set of guidelines and techniques that make your website more search engine-friendly.

It is not too technical, and you will be able to do it on your own by using All in One SEO for WordPress. It is the most comprehensive WordPress SEO toolkit on the market.

All in One SEO website

All in One SEO comes with an easy setup wizard, where you can answer a few questions, and it will set the optimal SEO settings for your business.

For more details, see our complete step-by-step WordPress SEO guide for beginners. We will walk you through the process of making your website as SEO-friendly as possible.

To get traffic from search engines, you’ll need content, which brings us to the next step in this guide.

6. Plan a Content Marketing Strategy

Content strategy

Content marketing is a strategy to create useful and relevant content to attract and build an audience. This allows you to get more targeted traffic from search engines without spending a fortune.

The easiest way to add useful content to your website is by adding a blog. WordPress allows you to add a separate blog page to your website and sort your content into categories and tags.

You need to plan your content strategy by finding the keywords your users may seek. This is where you can take advantage of WPBeginner’s free keyword generator tool.

WPBeginner keyword generator demo

Simply enter your main topics or keywords and click the ‘Analyze’ button. Keyword Generator Tool will then generate hundreds of related keyword ideas for you.

For more details on this topic, take a look at our guide on how to do keyword research for your blog.

Do you need ideas on how to use those keywords in your content strategy? Here is a massive list of blog post ideas that you can use on your blog.

Content marketing is a highly effective and proven strategy to market your business on a small budget. To learn more about it, see this guide on how to create an effective content marketing strategy for your business.

7. Make Data-Based Decisions With Google Analytics


Many beginners use their best guesses to plan their growth strategy. You don’t need to do that when you can use actual data to make those decisions.

This is where Google Analytics comes in. It allows you to see how many visitors are coming to your site, where they are coming from, and what they do while there.

See our guide on how to install Google Analytics in WordPress for step-by-step instructions.

Google Analytics comes with a lot of information. Even though it is neatly organized and beautifully presented, it could still be a bit overwhelming for new users.

To make the most out of it, install and activate the MonsterInsights plugin. It is the best Google Analytics plugin for WordPress and allows you to easily view your most important traffic reports inside the WordPress dashboard. If you run an online store, then MonsterInsights can also help you track WooCommerce customers using Google Analytics.

You can also download the free version of MonsterInsights. It works great, but you won’t have access to some of its most advanced features.

8. Leverage Social Media to Drive Traffic

Leverage social media to grow your business

Social media platforms have highly engaged audiences. Facebook alone has over 2.9 billion monthly active users, which is more than one-third of all people in the world. Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and other social media platforms also have highly engaged users.

With so many users, social media platforms bring great opportunities for business. You can start by creating your business’s social media profiles and automatically sharing your blog posts.

Next, you would want to make it easier for your users to share your content on social media. For that, you will need a social media plugin for WordPress. These plugins add social sharing buttons to your WordPress site.

There are tons of other things that you can do to engage with audiences on social media. The key is to keep your profiles active, grow your following, and bring traffic back to your website.

9. Be an Active Participant in Online Communities

Online communities and forums

Online communities include forums and question-answer websites. These are the places people go to post their questions, socialize, find content, and explore. Top communities on the internet include Reddit, Stack Exchange, Quora, TripAdvisor, and more.

These communities provide you with access to people interested in topics associated with your industry. You can join them for free and invest your time in building authority.

First, you need to find out which communities are more relevant to your business and where your potential customers may go looking for answers or content. For example, if you run a travel website, then you may find TripAdvisor more helpful than other communities.

Don’t spam these forums with links to your website in each post. Build authority by genuinely participating with helpful content, and mention your business or website when it is appropriate.

10. Convert Abandoning Website Visitors Into Customers

Conversion optimization

Did you know that more than 70% of people who visit your website will never find it again? It is not your fault. It’s just that the internet is so huge, and there are so many websites out there.

Each visitor who leaves your website is a potential customer that you are losing. To grow your business, you need to focus on converting those visitors into paying customers.

This is where OptinMonster comes in. It is the best conversion optimization software in the market, which allows you to convert casual website visitors into loyal customers.

How does it do that?

It comes with a drag-and-drop campaign builder where you can create different types of campaigns to collect user emails, displays special offers, shows exit-intent popups, countdown timers, smart popups, slide-in optins, and more.

For more details, see this beginner’s guide on conversion rate optimization.

11. Start an Affiliate Partner Program

Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is a referral arrangement in which an online retailer (advertiser) pays a commission to a referrer when users purchase a product using their referral link.

If you sell products online, then you can use affiliate marketing to partner up with skilled affiliate marketers. You will pay a sales commission to these marketers for promoting your products and bringing you sales.

You will need an affiliate management system to track referral activity and payout your affiliate partners. Here is our list of the best affiliate management and tracking software that you can use.

You can also promote other people’s products or services to make extra money from your content. See our affiliate marketing guide for tips and tools you’ll need to get started.

12. Use Pay-Per-Click Advertising


Contrary to popular belief, you can run Pay-Per-Click advertising campaigns on a small budget. With programs like Google Ads and Facebook Ads, you can set your own pricing, target keywords, audience, and more.

In fact, Google Ads even offers free advertising credits to new advertisers. Bluehost, a trusted WordPress hosting company, also offers free Google AdWords credits with their hosting plans.

You can use these credits to experiment with PPC advertising and get some paid traffic to your website for free.

13. Use Social Proof to Win Customers

Social proof numbers

Social proof is a psychological phenomenon where people follow the actions of other people because they believe those actions are the correct behavior.

Marketers use this phenomenon by showing their customers that other people already trust a product or business. This is done by sharing their statistics, subscriber counts, customer testimonials, and more.

Here is a list of clever ways to use social proof on your website to increase conversions.

14. Effectively Use FOMO to Boost Sales and Conversions

Using countdown timer as FOMO technique

FOMO, or ‘fear of missing out,’ is a psychological term used to describe anxiety about missing out on something exciting and trendy.

As a business, you can take advantage of this human behavior and use it to boost sales and conversions. Basically, you need to build anxiety by adding scarcity to your offers. Here is a great example from using scarcity to build anxiety.

Using scarcity to create FOMO

For detailed instructions, see our article on how to use how to use FOMO on your WordPress site.

15. Improve Your Website’s Speed and Performance

Studies show that from 2000 to 2016, the average human attention span dropped from 12 seconds to 7 seconds.

As a website owner, this means that you have very little time to show users what you have to offer and convince them to stay on your website.

Another study found that a 1 second delay in page load time can lead to a 7% loss in conversions, 11% fewer page views, and a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction.

Strangeloop case study

This means that you need to optimize your website to make sure that it is fast and performs well even under high traffic.

Follow the instructions in our step-by-step guide to improve WordPress speed and performance for beginners. This guide includes all the tips we use on our very high-traffic websites for reliable speed and performance.

We hope this article helped you learn how to grow your business on a shoestring budget. You may also want to see our expert pick of the most useful tools to manage and grow your website and the best live chat software for small businesses.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

Disclosure: Our content is reader-supported. This means if you click on some of our links, then we may earn a commission. See how WPBeginner is funded, why it matters, and how you can support us. Here's our editorial process.

Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi with over 16 years of experience in WordPress, Web Hosting, eCommerce, SEO, and Marketing. Started in 2009, WPBeginner is now the largest free WordPress resource site in the industry and is often referred to as the Wikipedia for WordPress.

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Reader Interactions

32 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Syed Balkhi says

    Hey WPBeginner readers,
    Did you know you can win exciting prizes by commenting on WPBeginner?
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  2. Ahmed Omar says

    actually number 4 ” Start Building an Email List from Day 1 ” , saved my site
    my site started during the pandemic and at that time I collected thousands of subscribers who became my base to my all work now days
    Thank you

    • WPBeginner Support says

      You’re welcome, starting an email list is most definitely important to help drive users to return to your site :)


  3. Dina Sultan says

    As a new beginner on wordpress, and I am starting my new website
    I found your site is a treasure for all the related things to achieve a powerful site.
    I am working on improving my SEO skills to have a good rank on search engine to get traffic through search.
    Thank you for the post

  4. Gos says

    Thank you for the article! Actually I am planning to open my own small business online. Nothing special. Just a shop with products for children. To be honest I am not very organized person, and I am afraid that can be real obstacle. That is why I am searching for some agenda online, that can help me to put everything together. All professional tasks. For now my site looks good. Good enough for starters. It is simple and intuitive.
    Thank you very much for your well written article. That helps me to have a base for what I am planning to do.

  5. Mike Morrow-Chestnutt says

    Thanks, the detailed explanation is appreciated and will help supercharge my business.

  6. Munachimso Charles says

    Hello ….the article is so educating….am in to fashion…so I want to learn more on how to grow my business online…I want to reach at The international level……thank you so much

  7. Nirmit Shah says

    The blog is really neat. It has indeed helped me to find a way about how to go about starting a new business. I was stuck in the middle of the ocean and did not know where to go. This blog has really helped me a lot.

    Thanks and Regards
    Nirmit Shah
    Marketing Analyst

    • Editorial Staff says

      Hi Ajay,

      We are planning on establishing an Instagram account, but yes you’re right we’re behind on our Instagram game right now. I look forward to improving it in 2019 :)



  8. Duane Egan says

    I am a regular reader. Some times I like to print and article but have to use Windows 10 Print function. Could you consider adding a “Print” function to your articles, preferable “Print without Advertisements” capabilities.

    Also, your dropdown box below this text box is defaulted to “Don’t Subscribe”, which is not my normal choice and the other options do not allow me to comment “without any action”, I’m not sure what to select for “no action”. This is just an observation.

  9. Sheldon Payne says

    #4 and #7 are two of my favorites on this list. In today’s world of growing a following on social media, I’m often surprised by the number of businesses who forget about the importance of growing an email list. After all, as business owners w,e don’t ‘own’ any of the following on any of the social media accounts we manage but we do own our email list.

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