Thursday, December 27, 2007
Make Money with a Site by Offering Free Services
Before I answer that, I'll digress into a little history. I started my Internet income journey in 2000 with a simple site containing hard-coded affiliate links in a directory format. Over time and as my programming skills advanced, I moved to dynamic sites pulling from databases stuffed with vendor datafeeds.
These sites were fairly successful, until the big search engine affiliate purge in early 2006. First Google, then Yahoo, then MSN.... my network of sites quickly dropped off the search results pages and my income plummeted by over 90%.
With the advantage of hindsight, I can see the error of my strategy. I was building sites to make money, not to attract users. My sites didn't provide any real, repeatable service. People dropped in via an organic search result, clicked through my site to the product they wanted, and bought at the destination site.
I didn't see them again until they did another search for that product. Once I lost position in the SERPs, I was doomed. I wasn't getting any repeat traffic. One by one, these once profitable 'traffic direction' sites fell out of the search results, leaving me with a network of over 60 sites that went from 3,000 visitors a day to around 50.
Now you're asking: I thought you were going to tell me how I can make money with a free site? What does that story have to do with anything? Here's the lesson:
Don't build a site to make money. Build a site to get traffic. Specifically, build a site to get repeat traffic. Once you get enough traffic, making money is easy.
So what kind of service should you offer? Look for popular sites right now that offer a service for a fee, then build a site that replicates that service for free.
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