How To Grow A Blog with $50k - 15 SEO Expert Answers

Let's say you had a budget of $50,000 and you wanted to grow your SEO Blog to make an insane amount of passive income, how would you plan to spend this money effectively. We asked a handful of experts 3 questions about how to spend $50,000 to grow a blog.

Question 1: Do you recommend spending the money on a team of freelance
writers that you have on payroll? If so, how do you find these
writers and would you pay them for their time or per article?

Question 2: Do you recommend finding writers off Upwork or Fiverr and
paying them? If so would you choose $2/100 words, $3/100 words...

Question 3: Would you use the budget to buy authoritative backlinks or
guest posts?

I am going to go through and list off what the SEO experts had to say.

1. Mark Webster - Authority Hacker

"Given we've kickstarted a number of various SEO blogs in the past with a similar budget to this (in fact, we just this past month sold our latest site, for a 6 figure sum!), I think I can certainly provide some insight on your questions.

1. Do you recommend spending the money on a team of freelance writers that you have on payroll? If so, how do you find these writers and would you pay them for their time or per article?
The first thing you'll need to decide on is the time frame. Is this a long-term investment or a quick turnaround?
For longer-term projects, it always pays to invest in a team of full-time writers, but that doesn't come without its drawbacks. You can expect to spend a good month or two hiring, training and bringing your writers up to scratch. While this can be a slow, painstaking task it'll ultimately pay off in the long run when you have granular control over every aspect of your content.

Freelance writers and content agencies certainly aren't without their merits, however. If you're looking to get content up by the end of the week, this is realistically the only way you're going to do it (unless you're drastically cutting corners during the writing recruitment process).
Of course, the main drawback is that you're bound by the writer/agencies terms in this case. Giving more granular feedback is almost impossible with an agency and you can't expect too much from these types of services.

2. Do you recommend finding writers off Upwork or Fiverr and paying them? If so would you choose $2/100 words, $3/100 words...
Upwork/Fiverr are decent sources should you wish to hire full time, but again, you need to understand what you're going to get from this type of work. It's great having a set rate (e.g x word for y price) but you'll also need to keep a very close eye on content. If your writers are targeting words rather than articles as a whole, you'll find its much more likely that they'll pad out articles in order to meet your desired work count.

For this reason, we much prefer to hire full time writers on a salaried basis where they get a set amount per article or per month.

3. Would you use the budget to buy authoritative backlinks or guest posts?
This can be done but it's important to be conservative with your vetting process to ensure you're only paying for links on high quality sites - never PBNs or link farms. Additionally, you should ensure you spend a lot of time negotiating (or training a VA to do so for you). In the long run you can generally reduce the costs of paid links by up to 50% if you negotiate correctly.

If you do pay for guest posts, again, it's important to pick your battles. Make sure you know exactly which pages you need links to and ensure you're only paying for these links and nothing else. That means ensuring that your valuable commercial pages are up top and that these are correctly targeted in your posts."

2. Matt Diggity - Diggity Marketing

"1. Building content is one of the most important parts of your SEO budget and finding qualified writers can be a difficult task. We recommend that you find writers and pay them per 1,000/words created. This is typically the best option for affiliate marketers compared to hiring an internal team of copywriters.. Facebook groups such as "Cult of Copy" or "Affiliate SEO Mastermind" or great places to find qualified writers who also have basic SEO experience.

2. From our experience, finding high quality writers on Upwork or Fiverr can be difficult and will require a long vetting process. For most of our affiliate marketing website we will find qualified writers from Facebook groups of vetted writers who also have SEO experience.

The price you pay for content can vary drastically depending on the experience of the writer, the niche, but it is also important to vary the price you pay depending on if the content is a supporting blog piece or a money page. The pages on your website that you expect to drive the most amount of revenue can be considered your "money page" and these will cost more compared to information supporting pieces. It is important to create the highest quality content possible so if you can find a more experienced writer that costs $3/100 words compared to $2/100 it will be more beneficial to go with the more qualified writer if they produce significantly better content.

3. Content and backlinks will makeup the bulk of your SEO budget for affiliate marketing websites. The exact ratio will vary depending on the current state of your website. If it is a brand new website then you may need to invest more heavily in creating content in the first few months and then look at guest posts and editorial backlinks in the later months. However, if your website is already established but it is a competitive niche then you might be required to invest more heavily into backlinks compared to creating new content."

3. Garit Booth - Digital Honey

"I'm a full-time SEO consultant and blogger. I currently manage content marketing efforts for clients who range from publishing 15 articles per month (ie, have a much bigger budget than $50K/year) and am also starting my own blog on a budget. I also helped launch the corporate blog in 2018, which we scaled up very quickly.

1. If you have a website or blog with a budget of only $50,000, then you definitely need to rely on freelance writers. In-house writers are too expensive unless you're operating a 7 or 8 figure blog. Most freelance writers get paid by the article, not by the hour. Pricing really depends on the niche. There are many content mills that can hire writers and manage them for you. But I like to work directly with the writers that I hire, so that we can communicate about quality, editorial guidelines, and so forth.

2. I've personally hired freelance writers from ProBlogger and from a finance niche Facebook Group that I'm a part of. The cost of the writing depends a ton on many factors including the writer's skill level, how good they are at marketing themselves, and the niche that their expertise is in.

For example, writers in finance charge more than writers in sports. The more technical the niche is, the higher the cost will be. Generally speaking, you can find good writers for $0.25 to $0.35 per word. This means that a 1,000 word blog article would cost you about $300.
You can find writers much cheaper than this, even as low as $0.10 per word. In my experience, American writers that charge less than that tend to have quality issues, or they are unreliable.

3. I think that scaling content is easier, safer, and more effective than scaling backlink acquisition. Every blog owner doing SEO needs backlinks. But understanding the quality factors of a high value backlink is something that I've found most blog owners don't really understand.
Effective backlink acquisition is expensive, if you try to hire someone to do it. If you're paying a third-party service provider less than $250 per guest post or link insert, you're getting low quality links that could hurt your site.

That's why I think scaling content is easier. I have my own personal finance blog,, which I'm aggressively investing in for SEO purposes. I'm building a baseline of about 30 quality backlinks through guest posting and reaching out to people in my business network.

Outside of that, I'm investing everything into content. When you publish long-form content strategically around topically-related keywords with search volume, your site gains traffic. The topical authority of your website grows. A virtuous cycle begins where the more you publish, the better all of your articles will perform.

I recommend using 70% of your budget into content, 10% into links, and 10% into solid SEO advice. A good SEO professional can create a keyword content plan that will show you how to scale your blog to 100,000 monthly visits and beyond."

4. Adam Gingery - Majux Agency

"Having delivered content strategy for a number of startups, law firms, and ecommerce businesses alike on the agency side, this is an issue I'm confronted with often.

1. The most time consuming part is writing the content. And just because you're skilled at SEO does not mean you are an expert in the blog's subject matter. I recommend hiring on Indeed, ZipRecruiter, or posting on freelance writing job boards rather than using Fiverr and Upwork, and you should be prepared to pay upwards of $100 per blog. If you will be requiring blogs with a good bit of research, like 1,500 word legal blogs, that fee would be more like $150. Of your $50K budget, prepare to spend at least $35K on paying your writers (for about 350 blogs). I do NOT recommend paying writers hourly, as your goals will not be aligned with theirs.

2. Consider hiring a VA or a somewhat entry-level SEO freelancer to format the blogs once they're written, publish them on your CMS, insert internal links, and write your titles and meta descriptions. You can pay under $15 per hour for this, and it will save you a lot of time. Your annual cost for this should be $1,500-$2,000, since your VA should be able to publish at least three blogs per hour. You could even productize this by paying a per-blog fee ($4-$8 should do it).

3. It doesn't hurt to pay for roughly 10 guest posts, but that will only cost you about $50-$100 apiece, and you don't want to overdo it here. So you'll spend $1K maximum on this. One of the most important things you will need to do if you want to start getting traffic is to build authoritative links. As the SEO expert and owner, you will need to identify strategic opportunities here: do you use the "skyscraper" link building technique, legitimate guest post outreach, broken link building, HARO, etc.? Then hire a freelance PR associate (separate from your publishing person) and pay them upwards of $10K to enact the strategy.

Lastly, you may want to consider paying another SEO freelancer to build your content strategy. They should be skilled at using Google's keyword planner tool, Ahrefs, Answer the Public, People Also Ask, Google Question Hub and other tools to create a list of topics based on keyword research. If you wanted to take this one step further, you could task them with outlining each topic in Google Docs with SEO-friendly sub-headings - this would expedite the writing process and make sure your blogs were written to rank. You should be able to get this part of the project completed for under $2K."

5. Nate Nead - SEO.Co

"With a $50K budget to spend, the proper allocation of resources is highly dependent on the existing authority, ranking, content, traffic and backlinks the site already has. A 50/50 mix between on-site content production and off-site backlink outreach may be the best strategy for a new site with both light on-site content and a minimal number of backlinks. But, an aged site that has a lot of great content already, but few backlinks could benefit more from spending a greater portion of the budget on link building outreach.

A mini on-site SEO, competitor and backlink audit should be performed to provide the best breakdown for the site in question. Only then can you confidently allocate budget based on the needs of the site. A one-size-fits-all approach is tantamount to ignoring what the data tells you should be the best approach. "

6. Jack - Think Orion

"We worked for a client who approved a $65k budget on SEO blogs. So here's what you need to keep in mind when spending $50k on SEO blogs.

This is the approach I followed:

$25k for SEO Blogs

$30k for Authoritative backlinks

$10k for paid marketing

1. I made sure to search for content topics and kWs which will derive me the most traffic. I would suggest using tools like ahrefs and SEMRush.

2. I made sure that we are staying relevant to the niche and came up with the top of the funnel to the bottom of the funnel kWs.

3. Yes we went with freelance writers but not just any freelance writers, we looked for those who wrote articles in the same niche as ours and who have made it to big publications.. The second round was to ask them to write test articles for us before finalizing them.

4. Yes you can go with Upwork and Fiverr but there is no set standard by choosing $2/100 words or $3/100 words. You need to see how much budget you are allocating for Blogs, what's your need, as it will vary from niche to niche.

5. Lastly, those SEO blogs need a huge push in the form of Authoritative backlinks. Here's what we did,

- We sent a PR campaign

- We approached all those Authoritative sites which our competitors got backlinks from.

-  We ran PPC (again you need to see if there is PPC being run on the kWs that you have researched.)"

7. Alan Katkick - Motoafflicition

"There's a saying in the blog world that content is king. I would definitely spend this money on a team of writers. I would pay the writers per article to start with. The ones that proved most valuable I would add to a team on payroll.

I would start with a reputable content creation agency. I would also see If I could find a couple diamonds in the rough through Craigslist and similar market places. I have had success in the past this way. The goal would be to build a team of approximately 3 excellent creatives.

I wouldn't use the money for backlinks. You can generate quality backlinks with quality content. At the end of the day it's what your readers want. If it's excellent content it will attract links.

The first 10k would go towards finding quality creators. The remainder would go the paying three of them until their work created income. "

8. Oscar Nowik - Esponow

"1. I recommend allocating half of this budget ($25k) into content at $100 per 1200-1500 word article. This way, you’ll end up with 250 quality articles to bulk up your blog. Some requirements for these blogs include:

I would then spend the rest of the budget on link building. The authority of your domain is an essential factor to build up, and your website will never reach its full potential without a good amount of quality backlinks.

$25k could be invested into 2 outreach specialists who can secure backlinks on other sites, a guest posting campaign, managed by a freelancer and a freelancer to respond to HARO queries.

2. If you’re unable to hire in-house and would like to work with freelancers then Upwork is a great place to find them. It’s essential to invest in the best writers who have a good understanding of SEO, particularly paying attention to a writer experience and portfolio. SEO Writers on Upwork typically cost $15–$35/hr. I recommend spending around $50-$100 per 1200-1500 word article.

3. As you only have a limited budget, I suggest working with freelancers on outreach and guest post campaigns as this will be much more effective than paying for extra link placements. If you pay for each link, you’ll likely run out of budget very quickly. "

9. Shivika Sinha - Veneka

"My name is Shivika Sinha and I have 10+ years and a masters degree in digital marketing. I grew the SEO and affiliate initiatives of brands like Alex and Ani, Oscar de la Renta, Gap Inc/Intermix and advised Fortune 100 companies via Epsilon. Today, I’m the Founder of Veneka. I was named among Direct Marketing News’ 40Under40 “most accomplished, high-level superstars” in marketing and on Forbes Next 1000 list of ‘bold and inspiring entrepreneurs’. I’ve been featured in TechCrunch, Huffington Post, Brit+Co, etc and would love to share insight for your upcoming article.

  1. Pay freelancers for their time. When you launch a blog, start with a content strategy that has a healthy mix of SEO-focused articles. These will be around 2,500 words as that’s the sweet-spot to rank for Google’s first page.
  2. Create a backlinking strategy that’s aligned with your brand, PR, affiliate and influencer strategy. For example:
  1. Work with your brand team to identify content most useful to your customer base
  2. Partner with brand-aligned influencers to feature them on your blog. This will amplify your reach and foster backlinking.
  3. Find niche experts within your company and have them write content for your blog. Then,  have your PR team leverage that content in their outreach.  
  1. My general budget breakdown:
  1. $25k - content development
  2. $15k-  influencers and partnerships
  3. $10k - miscellaneous bucket for technical work, graphic designers, etc."

10. Jared Garner - Kind Seeds

"My name is Jared Garner and I am the CEO of Kind Seeds which is an online media publication in the cannabis growing space. I started this company in 2016 and have since grown to a team of 12 writers, product researchers, and journalists.

SEO and organic traffic is our main source of traffic to our website so we completely understand what it takes to utilize an SEO budget to grow a business.

1. We recommend hiring freelance writers and paying them in the range of $30 / 1,000 words and $50 / 1,000 words. We have found that this is the perfect range of affordable but high quality content. Finding an experienced writer in your niche can be difficult and will most likely require a vetting process but we recommend hiring 5-10 freelance writers at one time and then only continue forward with the top 3 writers after you have reviewed the quality of their content. Content should be one of the main investments for an SEO strategy when building your online business.

2. Finding high quality writers off Upwork or Fiverr is possible but will require a vetting process. We recommend you hire nearly 10 writers upfront and then review the quality of content they send you and then only continue working with the top 3 writers out of that group. We typically recommend paying in the $30 / 1,000 words and $50 / 1,000 words range. This seems to be the highest quality content for the most affordable price from writers on Fiverr or Upwork.

3. Backlinks and guest posts are vital to the growth of your online business but should only be done once you website is established and has a large amount of content on the website. We typically wait roughly 6 month before buying backlinks or guest posts to a new website. During the first 6 months we will try to build up anywhere from 100k words to 500k words of content on the website to help establish topical relevance in the niche in the eyes of Google. If you start buying backlinks too quickly then it can be suspicious in the eyes of Google.

11. Niamh - Whichwatchnext

"1. I recommend that you pay your freelance writers per word they write. I pay from $0.06 per word. I only hire writers who have experience writing in my industry. I want great content, and to get great content you need to plan the content your writers will write, and you need to pay them well.

2. I recommend that you avoid both Upwork and Fiverr. Both have lower quality of writers in my opinion. I have had success hiring writers through ProBlogger instead.

In my opinion if you are paying writers $0.02 or $0.03 a word you are going to get low quality content. You need to pay double that to get high quality content that will rank well on the SERP.

3. I hired someone through ProBlogger who answers HARO emails for me. That is a great way to build backlinks to your homepage. I pay them an hourly rate. You can also pay for a writer to write guest posts on industry specific sites."

12. Rob Delory - SEO RTP

"For a one time budget of $50,000, here is what I would recommend.

If you do not have the ability to write the content yourself, you will need to utilize part of this budget on writers. Do not go to Fiverr. Upwork is a possibility. Find subject matter experts rather than writers that can create on any topic. You want the content to speak to the audience. Quality over Quantity.

You will need research on keywords and competitors for the writers. Find someone who is experienced in SEO for publishing the content to make sure on page optimization and internal linking is done well.

Once the content is started, creative will become a requirement. We need to provide a budget here as well for graphics and possibly videos.

Since backlinks are a necessity, you will need to have research done and even hire someone with experience in gaining those.

There are companies that specialize in HARO for instance. This will increase the authority for the website home page.

Once you have the research done, this next part is more tedious than it is difficult. For the backlinks to specific sub pages, you will need someone to do the outreach.

Caution, do not hire a company that conducts bad practices like buying links. This can do more harm than good.


SEO Professional - $10,000

Content Writing - $15,000

Creative Service - $10,000

Backlinks - $15,000

If you are able to do the bulk of the writing yourself because of your expertise on the subject, I would adjust the writing line item and reallocate funds to the backlinks."

13. Jessie Newburn - Atigro

"With any marketing endeavor, particularly an SEO one, knowing where one is heading, and why, are key. That's why I'd recommend the first investment be on a thorough SEO audit to identify the long-tail keywords for which you have a chance of ranking. I'd set aside about $5,000 for this. The investment in an audit to go deeper than can go with the tools you have available is invaluable.

The audit will uncover technical issues with the site, perhaps from well-intended SEO strategies from years past now flagged and dinged by Google as spammy. Set aside another $3,000 to address and fix those issues. There will be some likely design tweak recommendations from the audit and someone will need to implement those. Set aside $3,000 for that.

From the SEO audit team, get a year's worth of content briefs planned out wherein your writers know who the blog post audience is, what pain points the blog article is addressing, what long-tail (and possibly chunky middle) keywords this post can possibly rank for. Set aside $18,000 for this. The rest can be used for freelance writers, reporting and analytics, ongoing site changes to improve SEO and more. "

14. Danavir Sarria -

I run Rooftop, a men's personal care blog that I'm growing completely through SEO.

1. Having a small, but great team of freelance writers is the key behind every successful blog. So yes, I would put most of my energy into finding really great writers. Personally, I've had success using aggregators like Upwork and the Problogger job board. I always pay per article.

2. I'm a fan of finding writers on Upwork because it doesn't cost anything to search for writers and they have a big database of potential hires. The actual cost per word depends on the niche though. Right now, I'm spending 5 cents per word or $5/100 words. If you're in a more specialized niche though, expect to pay 2-3X more.

3. I would spend about 50% of my budget on "Digital PR", especially if it's a new blog. Guest posts would fall under this, but also anything else that gets you featured on real and relevant websites. Backlinks help build distribution for your current articles, so it's worth the investment.

15. David Miles - Returngo

1. I would suggest you do not overcomplicate things and start hiring a team of writers before having a full plan by mapping out all the content you want to write and the topics based on your keyword and market research.

2. You can find some really good writers on UpWork and I personally like hiring there for writers I want to give ongoing work. For more general articles I like to use they have plenty of writers waiting to write for you at a reasonable rate and you don't need to hire writers one by one.  

3. The simple answer is NO, I am not a fan of paying cash just for a link. That being said you should spend time doing outreach to other blogs related to your topic and pitch guest posts on their site. You might not be paying for the link but if you are not writing the blog post you will still need to pay for a writer.

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