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Creating and Running an Online Directory Website


Directory sites are those that post listings. These could be jobs, services offered, businesses, or any other types of listings people might be looking for. You create the directory, drive tons of traffic to it, and then businesses or individuals pay you to list them on your site.

For example, you might have a site that lists contractor services in a particular geographic area. It would then function like the Yellow Pages. People would go there when they needed a local plumber or roofing on….

Another example is to create a ride-share website. When somebody is headed somewhere by car and they want help driving or help with gas money, they post it on your site. People who are looking for rides can search listings there and hook up with someone who is driving.

What It Takes to Successfully Launch a Directory Site

It takes several things to get a site going. At first, there’s a great deal of work. You may have to offer free listings for a limited time until its traffic is up and running. Driving traffic is another huge part of it. No one is going to pay you to list them if you don’t have a great deal of visits. However, once it’s up and running and getting good traffic, much of its day-to-day operation can be automated.

The real key to success is choosing a good niche. If there’s demand for the directory you’re creating, all you need to do is let people know about it. The niche needs to be specific enough to appeal to a certain group of people or people with a certain need. However, it needs to be broad enough that you’ll get lots of listing and activity.

Coming up with Directory Ideas

Local directory sites are the most popular and easiest to get started. People increasingly search for local listings on the Internet and they don’t want a site that lists services all over the world. Think of any type of service in your local area and check to see if it already exists. If not, you’ve got a viable plan. I mentioned contractors, but it could be pet services, musicians and bands, freelance services, or anything else.

Another option is to look at popular directory sites that already exist and put a unique twist on them. Take something broad such as legal services and make it more specific – for example, drug-related legal services or family legal services.

Building the Site

Creating the site is easy. There are software programs that offer templates and help you build directory sites. Put yourself in your users’ position and imagine what design features they might need. You’ll also need to optimize for search engines.

The challenge at the beginning is to get listings. Create marketing materials that explain to prospects the benefits of putting listings on your directory site. Include hard data such as traffic stats and other detailed information. When you’re just starting out and the traffic’s not there yet, offer limited-time free listings or other special deals. Free trials work great because they can see the results for themselves.

Directory sites can be very profitable but it takes a great deal of work up front. You have to drive serious traffic to the directory in order to get listings. But once it’s up and running, profits are good with little maintenance.

Toby & Sam Russell

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