Channeling Your Revenues into the Right Direction: A Guide to Directory Site Monetization
The pestilence that hit the world at the end of the previous year not only caused major shifts in many businesses and even whole industries whose profit suddenly plummeted, but altered people’s personal habits and social practices in general. The outliers of the pandemic tsunami that has spread across the globe reached even the most secluded spots in ripples or even waves, keeping survivors marooned in their isolated lodgings. Having plenty of time to ruminate on the vicissitudes of fortune, we started to reassess our values and our way of life and learned to appreciate other things than the fleshpots of Egypt – health, family, relationships, and serenity of mind.
However, the theme of physical survival remains the top priority for people imprisoned in their dwellings, so many of them are trying to find a reliable source of income without leaving their premises. Modern digital technologies and available internet connection offer plenty of opportunities to earn a living from home. One of the surefire recipes in this vein is launching a directory website. Having it is nothing short of owning Klondike goldfields once you have figured out how to make money with a business directory website.
Fundamentals of Directory Site Philosophy
Before you shape a far-reaching strategy of financial success with a view to monetizing your directory site, you need to become aware of the directory website basics.
Directories are essentially search engines. Yet, instead of helping the inquisitive to find information of any nature, directory sites are geared to sift out traffic in order to find names and titles within a certain niche. The latter can include either companies and individual entrepreneurs working in a certain industry (automotive, home appliances, traveling, beauty, sports, restaurants, real estate, etc.) or all available enterprises in a particular area exhibited in a local business directory.
Both entrepreneurs and consumers find this kind of reference site extremely useful. Companies benefit from one more promotion channel that informs potential clients of their availability. Customers are spared long and tedious Google searching or reading through numerous blogs, but can instead zoom in on a narrower scope of businesses that provide the requisite merchandise or service.
What makes such guides especially attractive is their round-the-clock accessibility and frequent updates, so that consumers and companies find their respective demand and supply interests and needs taken care of.
Creating a Directory Website: A Provisional Algorithm
Earning money with directory website actually starts with spending a lot of time and effort, since building such a platform is a time-consuming and onerous job. Here is the sequence of steps you should take to create a top-notch directory website:
- Identify the right niche. A profitable niche is one with good traffic, low competition, and high advertising bids. Finding one is not a problem once you learn how to use Google Adwords Keyword Planner. This tool allows you to search for new keywords using a phrase, category, or site, so detecting a niche that ticks all the three boxes will be quite doable.
- Select the right focus. It won’t do to put thousands of products and global vendors on site. So you should focus either on a very specific category (like restaurants serving only raw dishes or enterprises manufacturing wooden puzzles) or a small geographic area (preferably one that you know perfectly). Otherwise, you will find yourself inundated by a deluge of data to be processed and verified.
- Assemble the database. Don’t delegate this task to users, otherwise, your directory will be expanding at a snail’s pace. You should collect the content yourself and enlist your friends’ and colleagues’ help, if possible. If you want your listings to be ranked by Google, their content must be better than that of other sites. How can you achieve this? Make it original with detailed descriptions of companies and services or goods they offer, high-quality pictures, and plenty of reviews.
- Initiate and cull reviews. Get the people you know to provide reviews and try to expand the number of reviewers. Users are likely to be active in submitting reviews if they have a sense of belonging to a community. Such communities are launched through forums, but running one is a job of work in itself, so you will definitely need a special person to attend to it.
- Let them see you. High SEO ranking and active social media marketing are surefire recipes for attracting people ready to invest in your site. By contrast, being out of sight spells staying out of mind, so the low traffic will make your directory worthless. There are several ways to improve your ranking. Install an SEO plugin, provide backlinks, be active on social media, and – once again – publish great content full of unique pictures and videos – in a word, do whatever you can to be visible.
- Have a high-quality page. Typically, your directory site should feature a search bar, result filters and sorting parameters, and a dedicated user cabinet. Other elements depend on your imagination and the templates your site-building tool has in stock. Yet, creating a first-class page is a task to be handled by experts in the field, so it will be wise to hire a team of seasoned professionals.
All the above-mentioned moves are the necessary prerequisites of having a first-rate directory site. Once you have built one, it is time to start reaping revenues.
The Best Ways to Monetize a Directory Website
Your directory site is sure to bring you considerable profits if you implement the following measures:
1. Selling Site Listings
It is the most natural way of earning money with such sites. You can charge both for simply including a company in the directory or for upgrading it to a premium class. Moreover, you can introduce a flexible pricing policy for the latter group listings, depending on the extra options companies receive (the so-called field monetization). These options may include pictures, social media references, extended descriptions, and even advantageous page placement. Flexibility is your asset in charging schemes as well, so companies may either pay for listing as long as their subscription lasts, or pay a one-time fee charged for a limited period.
2. Offering Businesses Listing Claims
This one sounds un-businesslike, since you publish listings for free. Yet, it is what comes after that will bring a steady flow of cash into your coffers, since companies are encouraged to buy their own listing. Why do they do it? Because in this way they can post whatever content and contact information they like, being in full control of what they display to the public. In this case, you will score twice, since in addition to the profit you get you will ensure your directory always posts correct information, which is regularly updated to boot.
3. Selling Space for Advertisements
The previous two ways may not appeal to some site owners, as they are afraid that businesses may use the paid listings to publish incorrect information, which will ultimately impact viewers’ trust and affect the traffic negatively. The viable alternative is posing all listings for free but selling advertising space. Thus, you will be able to position relevant ads within posts or in any place on the page. You can institute a flexible pricing policy for advertisers, but they will flock to you only if they make sure your site receives significant traffic.
4. Advertising Affiliate Products
This type of advertising is more specific, since it is related to the niche your site targets. For instance, if your directory site deals with travel and tourism, advertisers will find it an attractive option for placing information on travel accessories or special events in a certain tourist destination.
5. Going AirBnB-Like
It is a further development of the previous tactics, when your site stops being simply informative and turns into a venue where businesses can sell their products and services, as well as accept bookings and arrange appointments. It will definitely broaden your audience and attract companies who will receive another contact point with their customers and be ready to pay for it.
6. Charging Visitors for Viewing
This is achieved by making some listings private. Then viewers buy a subscription or pay once to peruse the protected position. However, this tactic will pan out only if viewers find the listing sufficiently important to pay for reading it. Such an approach may justify itself in (for instance) premium job offers where the high salaries promised are a good enough incentive to make visitors fork out for viewing them.
7. Launching Exclusive Membership Site
In fact, this is a hardcore version of the previous strategy where viewers do not pay not seeing certain listings but for access to your website in general. This approach will work in case the site is full of engaging and interesting content that makes it prominent in your niche. It means adding a blog, maintaining a members forum, updating your site regularly, publishing podcasts and videos, organizing webinars and live events – in a word, working hard to make the subscription worthwhile.
8. Publishing Sponsored Posts
This source of revenue is more of a perk than a staple. However, every little thing helps, so writing sponsored articles (especially when they are tailored to your specific niche) may attract companies that may further start claiming listings or buy advertising space. The only rule of thumb if you decide to go for it is to clearly identify such posts as sponsored. Otherwise, you may alienate your viewers (and attract official bodies like FTC) with a hidden sales pitch.
9. Introducing Price Per Category
If you have noticed that some categories on your site display a more robust performance, it is sensible to set up a higher charge for them.
Whatever ways of monetization you opt for, the principal lifehack is not to overdo it with trying to get maximum revenues right from the start. Building a loyal audience and attracting companies is playing a long game that should be centered around providing value to both viewers and businesses. Once you have succeeded in it, the financial boons will not be late in coming.
Directory sites are extremely convenient tools used by both consumers and businesses. If you learn how to monetize directory website to the maximum, you will get a source of stable revenues that will serve you in good stead in precarious times of the pandemic and afterwards.