Andrew on free

Andrew from Web Marketing & Design writes in:

Hello Seth,

I just read the letter from Acland Brierty on your blog. As a
successful website-publisher (as well as someone who sells-paid
content) I’d like to share my opinions.

Because I never saw her "free" site I don’t know exactly how they
approached using Adsense. Was a sales letter offered? Was the entire
book converted to HTML and split up on many different pages? How much
search engine traffic where they receiving?

From reading the post, it sounds to me like she was making people
sign up to read the free e-book — and then supporting it with
Adsense. That is a very counter-productive way to run a
advertising-supported website (and yes, a lot of newspapers are doing
— and losing out on a boatload of revenue.)

I think its a huge mistake if any of your readers dismiss the Adsense
model — and here is why:

This is a direct quote from MarketingSherpa

"Tim Carter of actually made the move from a
subscription site to an ad-supported business. Although he made over
$9,000 in the first nine months as a subscription site, he ended up
with a deficit of $8,800. “Then, I started the AdSense program with
Google. Suffice it to say I can average $1.35 per page per day and
I’ve got something like 1,400 pages,” he said."

There is a good reason his advertising pays off — he has a lot of
"free" how-to articles which will require the reader to purchases
products and services which make the advertisers big money. That, and
he correctly implemented Adsense onto his site.

When running an advertising-supported website the technical aspects
are critical. A good clickthrough rate easily can mean the difference
between losing money and being very profitable. This Adsense Webinar
transcript describes changes Tim made that increased his clickthrough
rates dramatically (it’s near the bottom): link

"Free" advertising-supported sites work because there is a profitable
product paying for the advertising (or an advertiser who isn’t
calculating his ROI.)

If you really want to make a lot of money then you need to tactically
use free content to sell your own premium content/product/service.

That is *the* key to successfully using free and paid content.