If you want to make your website popular in a short span of time offering free downloads can get you there. Almost everybody, however rich loves to get something for nothing, and downloading is as old as the Internet itself. Free downloads are one thing which most of the users cannot resist.
Screensavers and Wallpapers- An ideal thing to offer as a download: it's popular and also easy to offer as it takes up very less space. However, the most popular kinds of wallpaper (stars and cars) show characters and images that you are not suppose to show (license issue), but, still you can create amazing wallpapers using geometric shapes and figures and interesting colors. You can use PhotoShop to create newer and original wallpapers. Also, be sure to probide the wallpapers in various screen sizes.
Screensavers are harder to produce than wallpapers, but they have the advantage that the user is likely to spend longer looking at them. If you can create them using Flash, you should have a relatively easy time.
Demos and Trailers- Demo versions of Softwares and Games and movie-trailers are very popular downloads on the web, with literally millions of people searching for the latest ones every day. And since they help in marketing the products for the companies that produce them, they're typically freely redistributable by anyone who has the bandwidth and the inclination.
The important thing to keep in mind here is the bandwidth limitation. Realistically, the only way to earn on high-bandwidth items is to use the queue ruse- force people who want to download to wait in a queue for a certain period of time, and offer them a button that lets them download instantly for a relatively small amount of money. You'd be surprised just how many people will click that button – the cost of a gigabyte of bandwidth will easily repay itself five times over.
The queue approach will, however, have the effect of reducing your site's popularity, as most of the people will just leave instead of waiting or paying. This is the irony of free downloads: offering them for free will get you thousands of clicks, but you'll be losing money on it because of the bandwidth costs. Now, you need to decide what you should do. Consider offering free downloads as a form of advertising for your website. One way you can keep your costs lower is you offer limited number of items for download at a time and keep on changing the products regularly. This way, the users will get newer free downloads on a regular basis and you’ll not have to spent too much on bandwidth cost too as you replace the older downloads with newer downloads. This will also generate re-visits to your sites.
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