FREE Lists

Over the past year, received 81,403 pageviews, making it the most popular non-homepage on Do512. Beyond just the pure numbers, this is the type of content that makes Do512 a “must visit” site for a lot of its users. Every day, 100s of people add these events to their calendar, thousands read free-only tweets, and countless people join the tight-knit Austin community dedicated to finding free events, all thanks to Do512’s list.

Besides helping you hang on to the users you have, a well maintained free list is an excellent method to grow your fan base. Using Austin as an example again: Of the 80,000+ pageviews for its free page, more than 56,000 of these were unique. This is a 100% increase from the previous year, compared to a 13% increase for the site as a whole. Check out the instructions and tips below to help turn your free list into a similar success story. 

What to Post

  • This seems obvious: free events. What might not be as obvious is that you should be selective. 
  • Keeping relevant and interesting free events up to date will keep users coming back by proving that your site is a reliable source
  • Your job should be two fold: finding all of the free events in your city, then curating the list so that people see events that they actually would want to attend
  • Still unsure of the difference?

Cool Free Event

Not Cool Free Event

Successful free lists strike a delicate balance: they should give users a good range of choices, but ideally be audience specific. You should have a good pulse on your market and its priorities, so let this guide your list curation. Free booze is the end all be all in Austin, but it likely varies from city to city. Yours might be free concerts or free food. Keep tabs on which events get popular and let that inform what you feature on the list.

Maintaining Your List

Four steps to success:
  • 1) Remember to vote on excellent free events whenever they're created.
    • This will save you time in the long run and will be the best way to ensure that these events don't get forgotten.
  • 2) Check through recently approved events.
    • Navigate to Radmin -> Events -> Approved
    • Comb through as many events as have been created since you last checked for free events (ideally since the last work day).
    • Identify winning candidates to add to your list.
    • Whenever an awesome new free event is identified:
      • Click the cogwheel on the right-hand side of the screen
      • Select 'Voting'
      • Enter the email of the free list user account to vote on the event for the user.
  • 3) Filter by 'Free' in Radmin Search
    • Navigate to Radmin -> Events -> Search
    • Select the 'Free' filter under Misc. Options (screenshot) to reveal all upcoming events with the 'Free' box checked. 
    • Comb through the upcoming events to find candidates to add to your list.
    • Once you've exhausted the free filter, try removing the filter and searching by 'Free', 'Complimentary', 'No Cover', etc.
    • Whenever an awesome new free event is identified:
      • Click the cogwheel on the right-hand side of the screen
      • Select 'Voting'
      • Enter the email of the free list user account to vote on the event for the user.
  • 4) Check out your competition.
    • Odds are someone else in your city is trying to be the resource for free events too
    • Set a repeating Asana task to remind your team to regularly visit their blog or website to see if there are any worthwhile events that you can add to your free page.
For more info on populating lists, view this page.

Making Your List a Big Deal

Once your free page is in good shape, start building its audience. An easy solution is putting the free page under “Featured Stuff.” 

Your free list should be ever-present on your social media channels:
  • There are numerous opportunities to organically incorporate your free list into the kind of things you already post. Any time you post something free, consider including a second link to nudge users over to all the fantastic free stuff. Do512 Free Post.png

  • If all else fails, you can always do a shameless plug for your free list
  • Do512 has the bandwidth to run a Twitter account dedicated to posting free events. This is by no means a necessary aspect of your free list promotion, but can be a worthwhile endeavor if you have the manpower. 
    • Created in late 2011, Do512’s twitter account now has 6,250 followers.
    • When there is an especially awesome free event going on, the Do512_Free account tweets the event that is linked to Do512’s website, then retweets it from the main Do512 account
    • Do512 doesn’t do any sponsored posts from the free account, ensuring users have a more pure list of only free things with no other static noise

Do512 Free Retweet.png

Make it abundantly clear to your users that you want to be their personal concierge for finding great free stuff and are always open to them sending their own tips on free events your way
  • Once you regularly have someone dedicated to the free list, they should own the user engagement aspect of this. Go to a bunch of free events, know the venues that frequently put on free stuff, and be the frontline contact with users on all things free.
  • Not everybody has the time to set up their own events on the site. Make sure their free events don’t go slipping through the cracks by encouraging users to tweet/Facebook message/email the person running the list. Do512 lists Lawrence’s email address on their free page, since he’s the one that runs it.
Lawrence Info.png


  1. Great free lists are built on quantity AND quality. Scrimp on either of these and users won’t find this list valuable, which means a large part of your potential audience will likely be less interested in the rest of your site as well. 

  2. Good list content depends on methodical maintenance and should be a daily task to make sure all of the popular big events and cool hidden gems make it on to your page. Preferably one dedicated person (CM or trusted intern) owns all aspects of this list and is responsible for its upkeep.

  3. Success of your list hinges on regular, thorough promotion. Put it in your featured stuff, and then create a plan to consistently incorporate it into your existing editorial schedule. 

  4. Ultimately, a winning free page enables your metro to sell the page to advertisers, as Do512 has done with “powered by Yerdle.”