Business directories are so popular because they provide value to a wide range of users. Let’s take a quick look at how they benefit their three main stakeholders.
- Directories allow visitors to make an informed decision by making all options available in one convenient location — if someone wants to eat out, they can find all the restaurants in their town, their locations, prices, and overall ratings.
- Directories can drive more customers for the listed businesses.
- Directories have the potential to be very lucrative assets if they drive enough traffic, which is great news for the directory owner — that’s you!
Today, I’ll be providing quick tips for setting up a business directory in WordPress, but first, let’s look at four ways you can make money from one.
1. Paid Listings
Many directories charge businesses for the privilege of being featured in the directory – either one-off fees or recurring, monthly rates.
The more traffic your directory receives, the more interest you’ll get, and the more you can justify charging.
However, personally I think there are better ways to monetize a directory. Consider this: A directory is most valuable as an all-encompassing resource for one very specific need — like listing Italian restaurants in a town. The moment you start excluding businesses who won’t pay to be listed, you’re providing less value to your visitors. In the long-run, this could restrict your directory’s potential.
2. Featured Listings
The top listings in your directory will be seen the most, and, in theory, will receive the most clicks.
Most businesses will pay for the benefits that come with being featured prominently in your directory. Allocate the space at the top of your directory for featured listings, and charge a monthly fee.
3. Referral Fees
Business directories are well positioned to charge referral fees/commissions for any business they drive.
A business owner may not have the cash to pay for a spot in a directory. Put some extra cash in his wallet, though, and most will be willing to give you a cut.
Many directories will charge referral fees for the business they drive, or a fixed fee for each click generated.
4. Sell Leads
One of internet marketing’s most timeless of mantras: “the money is in the list.”
Now, in my opinion, every website should be building an email list from day one. When it comes to business directories, things are a little bit different, though.
After all, it’s difficult for you to monetize your list directly — but the businesses listed in your directory can! Essentially, every subscriber is a qualified lead that many businesses will be interested in buying.
How to Build a Business Directory in WordPress
For WordPress users looking to build a directory, you have two solutions: theme or plugin.
A directory theme will use a dedicated design suitable for a directory website, plus all the directory functionality is built-in. On the other hand, using a plugin allows you to choose any theme you want, and you can simply bolt on the directory functionality you need.
Personally, I’d go the plugin route, simple because it gives you more design options — if you use a directory theme, there are a limited number of designs to choose from.
Whichever option you choose, WPEka club members have two great solutions: WP Directory Theme and WP LocalPlus.
WP Directory Theme is a fully loaded WordPress directory theme with which you can add business listings, pin geo locations and also earn money through ads.
WP LocalPlus is a fully automated business directory plugin for WordPress. You can add reviews, business listings, coupon offers, maps and much more with this plugin.
One of the best things about creating a business directory in WordPress is that you can decide what level of competition you’re willing to take on.
The wider your directory’s reach, the more competition you’ll face. You could go hyper-targeted, focusing on one specific industry in one small town. Or, you could aim bigger and open your directory up to a variety of industries, focusing on a wider geographical area.
This makes them a great way for people of all skill levels to make money.
Do you run your own directory? Share your tips in the comments section below!
Featured image courtesy of Sohel Parvez Haque.