Today I awoke and, as always, checked my email (as I ate my delicious Darwin mango at 6AM) – imagine my surprise at seeing a whole lot of pingbacks for my Totally Awesome Beginner’s Guide to Integrating Facebook and WordPress.
I wondered who had gotten a hold of it, and was very pleasantly surprised to see I was on the front page of Mashable!
Now, one of my friends tells me this is a pretty big deal, so I thought I’d wax lyrical on why this could have happened.
The Internet, to my mind, is a great big wellsink of knowledge that benefits (generally) the common good. Less paper, instant information, instant misinformation, transparency, connectivity, business teleconferencing; I could go on and on.
I think one of the best things about the net are people’s ideas. Information and knowledge is liberated for people to use and improve upon.
It is for this reason that things like my guide usually turn out to be popular (if the right person sees them). There is inherent value in this guide and people can benefit from it. I benefit from increased numbers on the site either via more subscribers, or affiliate purchases or AdSense (if enabled).
When you’re blogging to try and derive an income, it can be tempting to charge for anything and/or everything – I could have charged $3 for this guide easily. Even $10 might have gotten a good response.
I might have made a few sales. But you know what? It wouldn’t really have truly added value to the Internet.
By writing something that was:
- added value
- easy to read
- could be re-used, passed on, re-hosted etc
- made free
I’ve added value to the Net and in the end, that will surely come back to benefit me somehow.
It also would have been easy to “gate” this content; i.e. “sign up to my mailing list and get this free report”. This then would have then allowed me to pitch other things I did at the list. That to me feels more and more manipulative. I believe we’ve gone from that type of mindset to more of a “Freedom of Ideas” for many things (with some chargeable content).
In any case, this site is purely about cataloguing my journey out of cubicle madness, so any little things that I find or do along the way that will benefit others are worth sharing for free anyway.
This guide took me about 7 hours to finish from start to finish (publishing) so from that little effort, a whole lot of people win.
Next time you’re tossing up whether to charge for something, try giving it away.