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Starting a Niche Specific Directory for profits
Back in the day, we had DMOZ, which was the directory everyone wanted to be listed on solely because it was a powerful backlink that helped us rank. But what about those smaller directories where specific businesses can list their sites and gain some sales because of it? There are a lot of these out there, and they span from small sites to multi-million dollar businesses.
One directory that comes to mind is clutch.co, and it lets people list their websites/businesses as long as they're in the digital arena such as web design, online marketing, software design, programming, etc.
If you build something like this, target just the right people, you will likely have a successful directory on your hands in a short amount of time. I'm not saying you're going to be a millionaire, but you could use your directory to pay a few bills down the road lol.
Just like anything online, you'll want to do the proper keyword research to see if people are looking up anything within the niche you want to target. I would target smaller niches because those websites tend not to have a full grasp on what internet marketing is. So when you tell them, "I can help you generate some traffic" they will likely sign up because traffic = sales.
Offer Free and Premium Listings
You will want to offer free listings to anyone that wants to show their business to the masses, but these free listings likely won't get much traffic because the premium listings will be seen much more often. A premium listing can come in many variations like a category feature, homepage feature, highlighted listing, email sponsorship, on-site announcement, banner advertisements, etc. You can set up dozens of options for premium listings, but I would stick with the homepage, category, and maybe a banner advertising option, so your directory doesn't look flooded with paid listings.
The free offers will still need to be advertised to get people to come in and list their business. While they're listing their company, you will need to have something set up to explain how many views their business can get if they upgrade to a premium listing. If you can subtly show them the potential of a premium listing, without gouging them on pricing, you will get more signups than if you were to have the premium option sit there collecting dust because you never push it. Remember, you're in this to profit so you should be recommending people to upgrade if they want the most significant benefit from their listing.
Explain Your Spending Habits
Not many companies will go into detail about what they're doing with their money, and this is where you differentiate yourself from the masses because you're an open book, right?
Let the users know what you plan to spend your money on from all the premium listings you've gotten. Tell them about your adwords campaigns, what you set up on bing ads, how much of a percentage of profits you plan on putting into Facebook advertising, etc. Let the people know you're not just sitting on their money and guarding it like a dragon lol. If they know you're going to spend the money to help them out, they will more than likely sign up quicker than if you were to be the most untransparent website in the world and take their money with not even a thank you afterward lol.
Rotate the Listings
If you're not rotating the listings within the directory, then you're not giving anyone a fighting chance at traffic. You'll need to have the listings be sortable, but you will need the default listing setup to be rotated, so everyone gets seen at least a little. The premium listings are a bit different since they will be paying for top placement, but you'll still need to rotate them as well if there are a couple in a category or on the homepage. The worst thing to happen is having someone complain because they paid just as much as Sallys Hair Studio, but their website has been stuck at the bottom of the premium listings for 30 days.
If you rotate the listings, you won't have this problem. You may have someone complain because they tend to see their website at the bottom, but if you know it's rotating, then it's likely bad timing on the business owners part, and they happen to see the site near the bottom when they're checking.
In the end, you need to pick your niche first based on the keywords you're researching. You can always jump into this method if you don't mind setting up countless directories and emailing thousands of people, but why not take the time and do it successfully the first time? Even though this is an old method, it still makes people plenty of money, and that's why I suggest you try it out if you're looking for a decent passive income stream that will pay out relatively quick.
Thanks for reading
- Tommy Carey