When I first started making money online nearly 15 years ago, I was doing quite well in the free stuff and sweepstakes industry. This was way before there were a ton of networks out there and loaded up with email submit offers. Back then the free stuff offers were actually free, and you could get free mouse pads without having to complete an endless amount of offers and co-registration forms.
Nonetheless, many years later and the free stuff market is still killing it and making money for web site owners and affiliates like never before. The bottom line is, people love free stuff and promotions. Thankfully, so do marketers and they also create killer ad campaigns that convert well and almost always make money.
In this long post (guide) we are going to walk through the complete process of how to create a free stuff related web site and focus on how to start making money within a short period of time.
Best of all, there are minimal costs and investments needed to break into this niche and start making money in just a few days!
First Thing First… You Need a Site or Blog!
We are going to focus this post around the concept of running a blog. It’s now much easier to create and update a site through a blog, then a traditional HTML based web site.
If you don’t have a web site or blog, you can sign up for one free at Blogger or WordPress. When signing up for a free account with the services above, you will not have a custom domain name or your own hosting, it will all be shared and hosted under their servers.
It is recommended that you sign up for your own domain name and hosting. The cost is only $10 a year for a domain name and around $7 a month for web hosting. After you are setup with your blog hosting, you can then install wordpress on your server and be ready to go.
If you don’t currently have your own web hosting or looking to have someone install and setup a blog for you, BloggingTips.com us currently running a promotion for a free wordpress installation service, which offers you a premium theme for your site and also installs a bunch of the top wordpress plugins right into your blog for you.
It’s Time to Find Some Free Stuff Offers!
Now that you are setup with your own web site or blog, you can start applying to the many affiliate networks out there. Before applying, it’s important to have some quality content on your web site, as they will be looking at your site before approving you for the network.
The reason you are wanting to join an affiliate network, is because they have a wide selection of free stuff, contests and trial offers for you to promote through your web site. Every time someone completes one of these offers, you will earn a commission.
In addition to posting free stuff affiliate offers on your site, you will also want to list other free stuff offers found around the web. You can find these offers through other free stuff web sites, forums or on brand web sites.
Not everyone wants to sign up for free stuff offers with their email address or complete a survey. By updating your site content with free stuff offers and coupons found around the internet, you are providing real quality content on your blog that will keep bringing people back.
Create a Newsletter to Keep Them Coming Back!
Have you ever heard the saying, “The Money is in the List!”? Well it’s true, and it’s referring to creating a newsletter or mailing list for your web site.
Through the use of a mailing service like Aweber, you can create a free newsletter for your site traffic to sign up to for daily, weekly or monthly updates. The best part about having a newsletter for your web site, is that every time you send out a mailing, you will make money!
Setting up a newsletter for your site is very easy. All you need to do is create an account with Aweber and you will be setup with a subscribe form that you can throw onto your web site. Aweber is currently running a promotion where the cost is only $1 for your first month.
The only other thing you need to setup is a daily newsletter or mailing that you will send out as often as you like. Inside each of these mailings, you should include the top free stuff offers for the day. Make sure you mix in affiliate offers and real free stuff offers from around the web.
To incentivize people to sign up for your newsletter, you will need to entice them with something that isn’t offered somewhere else. This could be something as simple as bundling up the best coupons from around the web, or even offering a unique freebie of your own.
Adding Additional Sources for Revenue Generation
There are plenty of ways to make money and monetize traffic with a free stuff web site outside of just pushing affiliate offers and building a mailing list. It’s important to remember that your free stuff web site will only be as good as the free stuff offers you continually add to the site. As long as you are providing quality offers, people will keep looking through your site and content. Mixed in with the content you can add a nice amount of advertising to bring in addition revenue. Two recommended sources for revenue generation on free stuff sites is the inclusion of Google Adsense or Contextual Advertising to your site.
The majority of people coming to your web site are going to be looking for free stuff and samples offers. This is a very competitive market which is full of high paying advertisers. If you are going to place contextual advertising or Google Adsense on your site, you won’t have any issues with having your ad space being filled by high paying advertisers. Best of all, your free stuff related traffic will also find these links more relevant than other generic ads.
Grow Your Traffic and Branding Through Social Networks
The amount of people using social networks like Facebook and Twitter is just too big to ignore. Every web site must have a Fan Page and a way to connect and update social networking users. Just a simple search on Facebook will give you an idea of how many people actively search out and join free stuff and samples related pages. The examples below are minimal compared to some of the free stuff sites out there that have hundreds of thousands of fans.
When building a free stuff related web site, creating a Facebook Fan Page and a Twitter account is an excellent way to build a loyal audience that is actually interested and will sign up for the offers you promote. Since you are going to be adding fresh content to your site often, that means with each new update, a new status update or tweet will be sent out to your social followers. It is recommended that you build a large following on both Twitter and Facebook, as your latest offers and blog posts will automatically stream to each.
There is also a huge opportunity for niche sites that can be built around survey offers that promote “get paid for your opinions“, but have ad copy based around your site topic. If you have enough volume, you can approach your ad network and they may be able to create custom ad copy or landing pages for you.
Focus on Content, Backlinks and Becoming an Authority Web Site!
As you continue to add daily content your site, you will establish a sense of authority within the free stuff niche. Becoming an authority web site is not easy, and it’s very dependent on the amount of web sites that link back to you, in addition to the amount of content you are adding to your site.
Through the use of link building, you can increase your sites rankings in the search engines. The free stuff niche is loaded with keywords that people are searching for, such as “free stuff online”, “free samples”, “free samples by mail” and a million other combinations. Use the Google Keyword Tool to pull a quick report on what keywords are getting a lot of traffic, but also have a low level of competition. To get even more niche and direct, throw some product and brand names in there as well. When you are building your free stuff site, make sure you build category pages for all of these niche areas. Through link building, you may be able to rank your inner pages on the first page of results in the search engines. Again, this will take time and quality content, but it will pay off greatly as people are always searching for free stuff and brands name samples every day.
The end goal when creating any web site is to provide value and a long term source of revenue. In some cases, you can even build a web site with the focus of flipping your site for a big lump sum of cash. This is seen quite often in the free stuff niche.
Let’s Recap and Get Started!
Now that you have a pretty good idea how starting a free stuff web site can start making you money, it’s time to start the process. The majority of people will just read this blog post and think to themselves about how great the idea and concept is, but many will never take action.
Instead of having to read through the whole process again, a quick summary has been made below, along with links to help walk you through the process.