The Culture Of Free In A Digital Universe

Who among us doesn’t like getting something for free? Whether times are tough or not most of us appreciate not paying for something we want or like.

The world wide web has taken this to new heights. There are all sorts of sites with all sorts of content which we access for free.

Music, Art, Entertainment, Books, Sports, Games… you name it. In fact, how many of you when faced with a pay-wall for premium content simply decide to go elsewhere? I know – I’ve done the same thing.

You probably have to really want the content to decide to pay for it, because in most cases you can get what you’re after somewhere else for free.

But this “free” content does have a price. The creators of the content certainly incur expenses in order to produce the content. So, how is it that there’s so much content available for “free”?

There are several dynamics at play. In most cases the owners of large web site operations are able to monetize the traffic they receive by selling advertising, which allows them to offer content for free.

If you’re able to prove that you get millions of visits each day, advertisers find this valuable and are willing to pay for the privilege of being visible on the site. Or they pay for the clicks they receive on the ads displayed on the site.

In order to continue to receive millions of visits each day, these sites require new and interesting content all of the time. After all, if the sites you visit have the same thing each day, you probably won’t frequent them very often. So, how do you solve the problem of acquiring new and interesting content continuously?

If you’re a News site – you rely on reporters to develop and report on stories as part of the news cycle. This is a very expensive operation, afterall the reporters have to be paid for their efforts. Some News sites rely on donations from their visitors to support their operations and conduct periodic fund raising campaigns to keep their operations going. Other sites are owned by larger organizations which consider it valuable to maintain a presence on the internet and can afford the news gathering effort although they still tend to sell advertising.

A number of the large social media sites discovered the best way to acquire new and interesting content continuously was to allow their visitors to provide the content themselves.

Every photo, post, update, etc. is content provided for free by the visitors and then monetized by the sites. Now this may seem like a pretty fair arrangement in this context. The visitors (you and me) get a nice site with all sorts of fresh content, we’re able to connect and share with friends, and they don’t charge us anything. It’s FREE! Yay us!

You may not think of yourself as a content creator – but broadly defined, when you upload photos, or post videos of your dog or cat doing dog and cat stuff, or make a post providing some of your life lessons – you are a content creator.

However, let’s think of content creators a bit more narrowly defined. Let’s look at Writers, Musicians, Singers, Artists, Videographers, etc. In many cases these content creators produce their content at great expense to themselves. If they are unknown content creators then one of their first tasks is to find a platform or forum to gain exposure for their content.

There are many specialized web sites which cater to these specific areas – whereby the content creator is enticed to provide their content for free to the site with the carrot being that they will gain exposure for their content and gather new fans of their work along the way. Many of these sites even provide a means for the content creator to sell their content directly to the visitors of the site. This sounds wonderful in theory.

The content creator gets to have their content exposed to lots of people, far more than the content creator might be able to reach on their own. The content creator has a platform to offer their content for sale to those who are interested, with perhaps a small cut to the website owner. A win for everybody, right?

Well, not quite. There’s still the culture of free to overcome. We visitors have become accustomed to receiving our content for free. And while we might like some content, maybe even like it enough to give it careful consideration, but when it comes down to clicking the “BUY” button, there’s a tendency to move on, because we don’t have to have it. And there’s more free content available somewhere else.

It is still a win for the site owner – because they are able to monetize the visits and sell advertising. However, in this scenario the content creator is left trying to figure out what they need to do to close the deal with the consumer.

Of course it is the job of the content creator to make their content as compelling as possible so that a consumer will deem it worth acquiring. But the Culture of Free is a difficult hurdle to overcome in this context. Prior to so much content becoming digitized, it was necessary to acquire it via whatever means of distribution was available. Absent that, there were not many legal free means of accessing or acquiring content – beyond free broadcast radio or television, or in the case of print media – heading to the newstand or the bookstore.

Content creators are faced with an ever expanding landscape where everyone is vying for attention and so much is offered for free it has the effect of devaluing the creative efforts of content creators. Some would argue that the cream will still rise to the top, even in this environment. And that content creators simply have to be more innovative with drawing attention to their work, and produce more compelling content.

Ultimately, I believe that content creators are far better served by taking all the steps that they can to direct traffic to their own websites. Content creators may still choose to make some of their content available for free to their visitors – but at least any monetization would benefit the content creators directly.

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Top 4 Tips To Attract Visitors To Your Site

One of the common questions among clients is how they can get more visitors on their websites. While the website doesn’t have anything wrong with it as it is professionally designed but the problem is that it is not promoted well enough to get more visitors.

If you want your audience to pay attention to your work, you need to earn it. You cannot expect your job to speak for itself and accept that marketing is a part of your job.

Here are four ways which you can use to attract the right kind of visitors to your website.

1. Create and amazing blog.

You must not only post here when you have a new client or something new to sell, but you must make a blog that can grab people’s attention by giving entertaining and useful material regularly.

You can write about

• How you made the product – with pictures and videos.

• From what you were inspired – your audience will like it if you like it as well.

• How your viewers can make a similar product to yours

• Also about any gadget that helped you made your work better.

Instead of writing your opinions in a long paragraph, you can:

• Devote an entire blog for ONE idea.

• Make a compelling headline.

• Give solid examples.

• Invite comments that end by a question.

Also, don’t forget to ask for subscriptions. Repeat visitors should be kept close. Therefore, people an email option when subscribing so it is much easier.

In addition, make sure you’re encouraging them to comment and like and share your content. Engagement is essential and it’s a great gauge for you to discover what content your readers are seeking the most. When done properly, this can also give you a big boost from an SEO perspective.

2. Give (some of) your best work for free.

Give people something valuable to share with their contacts.

• The first chapter of your novel

• A free report filled with important information

• High-resolution images

• A series of tutorials

Make sure whatever you give out, and it is valuable otherwise, no one would get excited about your products. Also, make sure you have plenty more in reserve for the people who want to buy from you.

3. Borrow someone else’s audience.

Write high-quality guest posts for famous blogs in your niche and get yourself on the radar so people want to reach to you. This could potentially get you hundreds of new subscribers without trying that hard.

Essential Tips to Get Your Website Quickly Indexed in Google

Whenever we create a new website, our prime target is to get indexed by Google as soon as possible. Though there is no time guarantee as when your site will be indexed by the search engine, but there are certain steps that can help you to avoid the worst case scenario and get the search engines working for you. According to Google, crawling and indexing are processes that may take time and often rely on various factors. Predictions and guarantees cannot be made as when the URL will be indexed.

So, in this article, we will take up some factors that should be considered for quick indexing of your site in Google.

Understand what is indexing

Most of you may not be aware of the term indexing. In SEO, it refers to the search engines that keep a record of the web pages of your site. When the search engine bots starts to crawl your site based on index and no index meta tags, it continues to add pages with index tags. In simple words, it is the spider’s way of processing and gathering the data from the pages during its crawl, which helps to improve your search results. The spider notes the new changes and documents and adds them to the searchable index that Google maintains. Google’s algorithm goes to work and decides where to rank the page among all others based on the keywords.

Enter your URL on the Google’s URL submission page:

Once your new website or pages are created, you can visit Google’s Submit URL page and then type the URL in the box, check the captcha and hit the Submit Request button. But for this, you need to create an account on webmaster tools by using your Google account. Once it is done, you can wait for your website pages to get indexed on Google.

Create a sitemap of your site:

The next thing that you should consider is to create an XML file that stores all the links and the pages of your site so that it helps the crawlers of Google to quickly find your whole website. Whenever there are any updates or you create a blog on your site, include the link of the HTML site map on every page so that the search engine bot can index your site even if it starts from any corner of your site.

Use Google Search Console to track your site:

Google often recommends logging its Search Console once a month to check if there are any errors or dips in traffic. The site offers a variety of indexing-related tools and you will be able to confirm if Google is able to access your pages or not. You can even notify the search engine for a domain change or any changes in the address and even issue urgent blocks on your content that you want to take out off your site.

Use Robots.txt

In case you are not a developer or a coder, you might have seen a file, robots.txt in your domain files. This is a plain text file that resides in the root directory of your domain. It gives strict instruction to the spiders of the search engine about which pages they can crawl and index. When the spiders find a new domain or a file, they read the instructions before taking any action. So, your first step for your new site is to confirm that the site has a robots.txt file. This can be done by checking the FTP or by clicking on the File Manager via the CPanel.

Submit your site to blog directories:

This is another means of getting your site indexed very quickly on Google. Most blog directories allow submission of your site’s content for free. They also give links and traffic. Also ensure to create social media profiles and use sites like Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter and etc. to create pages for your site and submit any new posts regularly on them.

Source of Site Traffic That Can Help You Get Past Google

Are you willing to invest in a more long-term and reliable organic traffic source for your website? Then let’s look at a search engine that can assist you in increasing your traffic.

Interview an Influencer or Get Interviewed by a High-traffic Website

Have you heard of Tim Ferriss, the author of the Four-Hour Work Week?

His podcast is nowadays a staple content type that he provides to his viewers. Tim’s show has world-class performers who share their insights on a variety of topics, and he is well-liked on social media. Do Tim’s fans enjoy the show? So far, the show has received over 50 million downloads. On most days, it’s the most popular business podcast on iTunes.

Interviews, whether on video or audio, are inherently conversational, lively, and engaging. The great aspect is that it’s a win-win situation for both sides. The interviewer is exposed to a new audience, while the interviewee is able to provide his website visitors with new fascinating and authoritative information. You can ask an industry influencer to share your interview with their followers on social media if you interview them. Consider the organic traffic you’ll get from their social media followers, which number in the hundreds of thousands. Consider the level of interest generated by a prior Derek Sivers interview on the Tim Ferriss Show. Derek shared the show’s URL with his 283K followers on Twitter. It won’t hurt if you establish a relationship with the influencer as a result of the interview.

Similarly, being interviewed by a high-ranking website can result in a significant increase in search engine traffic. Harsh Agrawal’s blog, Shoutmeloud, received 35,000+ views in a single day after he was profiled by YourStory. That was the blog’s most popular search engine traffic source (with 600,000+ monthly visitors). Because interviews provide consolidated value, they can be used as a long-term lead generating source for your company. Consider how many bloggers you’ve learned about through interviews on YouTube and other high-authority websites.

You may also conduct a Reddit AMA if you have a very compelling storey to tell. Mateen’s AMA got about generating $85,000 in profit by selling TeeSpring shirts/hoodies received 2000 page views. He also boosted the number of visitors to his website on a daily basis.

By registering as a source with HARO, you can also answer queries from journalists. On HARO, Christopher from Snappa came across this question from Inc Magazine about the future of content marketing. He swiftly responded with a thorough response. He was mentioned in Inc a few weeks later as a result of this. HARO is an excellent strategy to have your brand mentioned on authoritative news sites such as Entrepreneur and Inc. Those backlinks will enhance your search engine traffic and increase your marketing strategy by improving your reputation in Google’s eyes. Contact an SEO agency to find out how you can do this and how they can manage it for you while you work on the bottom line of your business.