So, you've designed a pattern and posted it for free on the internet. Congratulations! Now, there are several different reasons to share your patterns for free, and it's important that you know what your reasons are so that you can have the best chance of accomplishing your goals. Why are you sharing free patterns? Are you looking for...
Maybe you want to see other people making something you've designed. Maybe you want to provide a pattern that fills a need or can be used for charity. Maybe you want to be famous! (Well, as famous as you can get, designing crochet and knitting patterns.) Free patterns are great for building online relationships, because everybody loves free stuff! Make sure that you post your pattern wherever you have your main online presence - your blog or personal website - and that you've left some way for the readers to contact you. Then they can reach you if they want to talk about your work, or they have any questions.
Another common reason to post free patterns is that you are trying to sell something, and you know that free patterns will increase the traffic to your site. Now, if you want to lead people from your free patterns to the products you sell, you need to make it easy for them. Place direct links to your products on the page with your free pattern. If possible, include good-sized, attractive photos. Never attempt to mislead your readers; tricking them into clicking through to your products won't do you any good if they're really looking for something else.
This also means that you should make your links as relevant as possible. If your free pattern is for a pair of crocheted socks, the people who come to that page are more likely to click links to buy sock yarn or more crochet patterns than they are to click links for plans to build a dining table. As long as your free content is closely related to whatever it is you are trying to sell, your visitors will want to see it - just let them know it is there. There's no guarantee that they'll buy from you, but at least you'll get them into your store.
You may think that we already covered this with Sales, but there is another popular way to monetize free content on your site: advertising. Advertising done carefully can be a Win/Win/Win scenario. You get what you want (money), your readers get what they want (free content) and the advertisers get what they want (targeted traffic).
I use Google Adsense for the ads on my website because I never have to spend my time finding advertisers, the ads rotate automatically and are chosen based on the the content on my pages, and the money is deposited directly into my bank account. It's very hassle-free.
To optimize your site for advertisements, separate your content onto individual pages. That means only one pattern or article to a page, but remember to add links for easy navigation to more of your content. Be sure that the placement of your ads does not make it difficult for readers to find and access your content - after all, that's why they've come to your site - but be sure they're placed where they will be seen or no one will click them. Re-evaluate your ad placement periodically; if you're not getting any clicks perhaps you've placed them in a part of the page that no one looks at or that is quickly passed when visitors come.
Tips For Publicizing Free Patterns
No matter what your purpose in sharing your free pattern, you want people to look at it. Here are a few ways to get the most traffic possible per pattern.
2. Don't forget about old patterns! If you blog, periodically remind readers of old patterns they may have forgotten. (This is also good for readers who have begun to read your blog after older patterns were published.) If you run a site, feature different patterns to help revive older content that may otherwise get buried.
3. Participate in craft-specific forums and groups. By placing links to your work in profiles and signatures, you allow the people you interact with to find their way back to your site.