Offering free website business model?

8 replies
I posted this in the main internet marketing forum but it got deleted twice so I am bringing it here for help.

I am building a website with a package plan to install wordpress for clients for free given they sign up through my affiliate hosting. I will be offering more than just an install, such as themes, plug ins, seo tweaks. I also have a plan to upsell logo design and content writing in the case the client is not up for the task of making their own wordpress site.

Has anyone tried this? Is there something wrong with this biz model, as my thread keeps getting deleted?

I hope it does not get deleted here. It fits Offline Marketing strategies, techniques and ideas.
#business #free #model #offering #website
  • Profile picture of the author BarbaraP
    If you offer a website for free, I'm not sure how the client would then go from getting something of high value for free to becoming a client paying you fair market value for your work. They need to value what you do for them and a website's a high value to give. Perhaps show the high value of your package and results/benefits and then your pricing would be better. That's the model that's worked for me and is used in WSOs every day. If you're just offering to upload a Wordpress theme and then charge for customizing it, I'm not sure a business owner knows what wordpress is. Instead of focusing on your pricing, you might consider focusing your "sales" on educating the prospect about the benefits you deliver. That's always more successful than "selling" and being lumped in with ad sales reps. Cheers to your success!
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    • Profile picture of the author Zen Warrior
      What Barb P said above has value...but nothing wrong with your plan at all.

      It is all in how you present it and show your potential customer that it is worth it....just because it's "free" doesn't mean people will jumping off the hook to get it.

      I am actually doing something similar but I offer to make up a site and show it to them...they usually want it....if they do, I charge a monthly hosting & maintenance fee...most people know it is not going to be free--why would I do it if it was?

      So the main thing is giving them a good product and explaining the value of what they are getting.

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  • Profile picture of the author Steve Solem
    No worries, I'm sure it was just deleted because it really fits better in this forum.

    While I haven't done this myself, I know I've seen a successful WSO or two based around the "give it away for free and make affiliate $$ from the hosting" model. There are also long threads here (look for John Durham) about the "design it for free and host it yourself for $xx a month" model.

    Personally, I like the Durham model better as there's more long term profit in it for you if your clients stick with you for more than a few months. Based on the fact that hosting companies can afford to pay $75 - $100 on a $5/month hosting account referral, I'd say they know that most hosting clients will be with them for years, so I think it's safe to say they could stay with you for years paying $20 - $50 a month.

    I agree you certainly don't want your work devalued, but web design can be a great foot in the door to other profitable opportunities. I think if you position yourself more as a marketing coach, someone who can bring them more business using a variety of marketing tools, you can get a foot in the door with your web design then easily upsell them on other services to help them get more new and repeat business.


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  • Profile picture of the author momakmak
    I am mainly trying to use the technique as a foot in the door. I do have a hosting company that is going to pay me $100 commission which I will explain to the clients that I will get paid by the hosting company to do this service so it is free for them but not for the hosting company.

    I will be offering logo design for $50 and content writing for an extra $100.

    I have also bought developers license to premium wordpress sites to offer premium templates for free. Some sites may have a rule about this but I think I can get away with it as long as I am making money somewhere. If I do have a problem I will just cancel and sign up for commission for more money and offer these templates as an option.

    I do have many sample websites that I have already built to show so I hope it helps and I am willing to offer my personal support to help guide them in understanding how to use wordpress.

    All in all, I believe I am offering a great package that I can streamline and offer great value.
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    • Profile picture of the author nyk24
      Originally Posted by Jason Kanigan View Post

      Offer a demo not a free site. This is the thread for you:
      agreed....demo site is the way to go as prospect can see what they are getting before they stump up the cash.

      a free site only works when selling to skin flints on craigslist and gumtree
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  • Profile picture of the author b4boy
    We've tried something similar targeting used car dealers:

    We've made 32 websites, one per dealers in our city. (We used premium themes and preloaded database on cars, so creating each site wouldn't cause more than 10 minutes each)

    Send out direct mails with these website addresses and screen shots in it.

    We offer them monthly rate with no commitment for long term contract (charged $127 per month)

    Initially closed 4 deals out of them.

    Second and third mailings to the same leads, closed additional 5 deals in total.

    Out of the 9 deals we closed, 5 of them want us to customized their sites (we charged one time $495 ea.)

    Up sell all of them on other services that we offer (web related).

    We moved on to other different niches after this and repeat the process, but probably should just stay in the same niche, and just expand to bigger geographic area. The whole process was outsourced except sending out the direct mail and facilitate the whole thing.

    Hope this case study can help you in developing your own process.
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  • Profile picture of the author ksetu
    Offering free wordpress installation and making money from the hosting is a proven business model. I have seen many marketers making good money with it. It works like charm if you are targeting online customers who are not tech-savvy - may be using facebook ads targeting age 50+ and those who are not technology savvy.

    But if you are planning to use it to target offline businesses - I won't suggest. It's difficult to sell and difficult to make them understand. Local businesses are a totally different thing. You need to offer them what they need.
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