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Is there such a thing as free advertising?

What is it about the allure of free advertising that keeps people looking? Sure it's free, I get that. But as we all know nothing is free, especially advertising. It will cost you something, maybe it's your time, or staff time, or costs down the road associated with contracts. It might even cost you credibility, which is one thing you do not want throw out with the bath water.

So, with that said, here are a few ways to advertise your business or company on the web without spending a whole lot.

1. Craigslist. You need to be creative here, and it's really dependent on your business. A small accounting firm for instance could pick up some work through free advertising in the services offered > financial services section. Cost: time posting, re-posting and answering inquiries.

2. Forums. If you are active in forums, put your website and business information in your profile and signature for that forum. If you aren't using forums, you might want to try some related forums - it's near free advertising. Cost: Time, but you can learn a lot too.

3.Bizsheet.com! Of course - it's fast. Cost: 3 minutes of your time.

4. Talk a lot. The best advertising, and the most referrals you'll ever get is from telling people what you and your company/business do. Cost: your shyness. It's a quick way to get over inhibitions about your work.

5. Google Adwords. It's not free - but keep your eyes open for the $50 intro special. Look for opportunities in areas that have cheaper click cost, such as parts of Europe, middle east etc. (if it works for you.) Cost: Time and .10 - $2 a click.

Finally, the best thing you can do is throw a wide net. Try everything, but remember to do it thoroughly enough that you are doing it well. For instance, if you start a blog, you need to keep at it for quite a while before you start to see results. If you post two blog entries and never do it again, chances are that's not free advertising, that's wasting your time.