Another great way to make money online is to start a membership or directory website. Low start-up costs, and the potential to generate years of relatively passive income.
There are hundreds of successful directories online like job listing directories, directories for hotels, classified ads directories, travel directories like TripAdvisor, Yelp is a big directory, Airbnb is a directory, there are thousands of them. Businesses pay a fee, sometimes hundreds of dollars a month, to be included in these directories as it provides visibility for their business.
Its actually quite easy to set up an online directory, there are out of the box solutions now that you can set up in 10 minutes, we’ll cover that shortly. You don’t need to build to the size of Yelp or Airbnb to make money, a smaller, more localized or niche directory is the best way to start.
Why are directories a good online business? Firstly, when you start any business you should always have your exit in mind. If your plan is to sell your business in a few years, a business with recurring revenue will always sell for more money. Recurring revenue is also the best way to generate income. With an online directory you will have businesses that pay you month after month just for a listing.
Businesses need to advertise, and they are always looking for ways to find customers. Most businesses today have no idea how to promote themselves online. Most dont have the time to learn internet marketing. So if you can help them with their online promotions and client generation, they will gladly pay you a monthly fee.
So let’s say you build a directory and you have 100 business listings paying you $99.99 each a month. Thats $10k a month with almost zero overhead just your costs for hosting.
You can make additional revenue by selling banner ads on the website. If your online directory gets a lot of traffic you can charge hundreds of dollars a month for banner ads that rotate around the site. Most of the out of the box directories have built in banner advertising or add-one that is just a matter of clicking a button and adding your customers banner.
You can also ad Google AdSense to your website, Google will place contextual advertisers on your page and you get paid a portion of the clicks from the links.
Before you begin you’ll need to do your research to find what niche is under served. Now there are several hyper competitive niche markets, lawyers, hotels and travel, restaurants, doctors, & real estate. These segments are are very competitive and filled with million dollar companies. Not a good place to start.
But segments within these markets are possible. So instead of a general Airbnb site, what about a local or regional directory, so “best places to stay in Columbus”. Or best lawyers in Maine. Or segmenting by lawyers who handle a specific niche, like fashion law. There are thousands of possible directories in hundreds of industries and more and more people are searching all the time.
It is a good idea is to add some listings for free to get started. get some reviews, pay for small ads to incent initial reviews. SEO the pages. The more specific your niche is, the easier it will be to get indexed by Google. So if you have a directory that has 50 or 60 medical malpractice lawyers in Iowa, Google will start to index you as a quality website. Once your directory gets traction, you will appear high in search and businesses will call you to be included. Now some directories actually charge per lead which is much easier to get clients to sign on. Depending on the industry some leads can sell for $100 or more each.
When we started our directory we used a company called Brilliant directories. its an out of the box solution, so you basically just install it, set the pricing, and you are ready to go. Customers can click to choose different plans that you set including upgraded listings, front page placement and other options. if you have the budget Brilliant Directories is the easiest way to create a directory and they have thousands of directory owners. Link below to Brilliant Directories, you can set up a free directory as a demo to do a test drive. The paid version will run $145 a month which includes all your hosting, upgrades , security and up to 100,000 members.
If you lack the budget there are also WordPress directory options, but we found it was just easier to not have to worry about all the add-ons, the hosting, security and everything else.
Now once your directory is up you’ll need to do the SEO, promotions, incent reviews, this is where the work takes place, but it takes effort to make money online, or anywhere else!
Brilliant Directories Free Demo: https://shrsl.com/25z1c (Affiliate link. You price is not affected. If you purchase we receive a referral fee)