How to Start Your Own Local Business Directory Website in 5 Easy Steps
Step -by-step instructions for launching a local online business directory website.
1. First, Find Your “Niche"
The first step is to determine what kind of directory website you should launch. Your “niche” is the area of focus for your directory site. While you can create a general business directory that covers all industries and categories in a given area, it's sometimes better to choose a specific niche or theme such as a restaurant business directory, medical business directory, wedding vendor directory, or home services directory. Choosing a specific niche or directory theme allows you to cater your site, its content and even marketing towards a specific industry or profession.
For example you can set up a directory website for Long Island Wedding Vendors, Long Island Roofers, Long Island Restaurants, etc. Ideal Directories offers multiple themes to choose from, or we can even help you customize your own.
Not sure which theme to choose? Here’s a tip: Look for opportunities in your local market. Maybe your city needs a good local restaurant directory? Or maybe you can start a local home services directory? Or better yet – launch multiple “niche” directory sites and multiply your earning potential.
2. Focus on a Geographical Area
Even though you may have the potential to grow your directory to a national or even a global audience (and that may be your long term goal) it’s generally best to focus on a specific geographical area or region to start. Focusing on a specific city, county or state will help you start building local traffic to your directory website by appealing to both local consumers and local businesses. This approach tends to be the most cost effective method and you will be able to focus your marketing efforts on a specific area.
3. Get Started Right Away
Don't delay the launch of your directory website. The Ideal Directories platform makes it easy to launch your directory website in less than 1 hour. No need to hire a web developer or learn any complicated software. Ideal Directories is the fastest and easiest way to get your directory website live, AND it comes packed with all the must-have features from the beginning, so there's nothing to add on later. The sooner you launch your directory website, the faster you can start getting traffic and getting results. Don't wait!
4. Set Your Plans & Pricing
There are several ways to generate revenue from your directory website. The most popular way to generate income is to charge businesses to be listed on your site. You might offer a free listing option as an entry level package or as introductory offer, but the goal is to up-sell members to one of your paid or premium plans. You can also generate additional revenue by selling your own banner ads on the site or implementing Google AdSense. Google AdSense allows you to earn a small commission for displaying Google ads on your directory website. As you start to grow your directory website, it's wise to explore additional revenue opportunities such as writing premium content or promoting your members on social media. Remember, like any business, a directory website takes time to grow and your patience and persistence will pay off. There’s no “get rich quick” formula. The key to success is staying committed and growing your business at a steady pace. In the beginning it’s best to focus on populating your directory, offering some free listings and generating traffic. As traffic increases, more businesses will be willing to pay for a premium listing and the pay off can be huge. Running a directory website is also a great opportunity to cross-sell complimentary services such as web design, search engine marketing, print advertising and more.
5. Promote Your Site
Promoting your directory website is an important and never-ending step in running a successful directory website. As the directory owner, you should always be proactive with marketing your directory website and look for new ways to drive relevant traffic to your site and attract new members. Promoting your site should include both online and offline tactics including SEO, search engine marketing, social media, email marketing, face-to-face selling, networking, promotional material, print advertising, blogging and much more. The more visitors you have coming to your site, the more valuable it is for businesses to advertise on your site. Not only do businesses want you to have traffic before paying to be listed, they want to know that other businesses (ie.their competitors) have also agreed to be listed. Getting your first paid listings is the hardest, so try calling some well known businesses in your city or area and offer to list them for free on your site. Then contact other similar businesses and tell them that their competition has already signed up to be listed, and they should to.