How to Build a Membership Website Easily

how to build a membership websiteYou’ve heard the buzz. More and more people are researching how to build a membership website.

Why? Membership websites can provide a great new source of recurring revenue, so it’s no wonder they’re exploding in popularity.

So then, which one of these are you?

1) It’s all in my head: You have a really great idea for a membership website you want.

or…

2) I’ve got the content: You’re a pro at something and already have a ton of content you’d like to monetize.

Whether you’ve only been thinking about doing it or you’ve already been building an online knowledge base, you’re onto something big…

Because regardless of the path you walk now, starting a successful membership website has never been easier. 

Yes — running a successful membership site takes work, but luckily, there are some great tools out there to help you along the way (and give you access to amazing features you can use to grow your business online).

So in this article, we’ll show you exactly what a membership website is, what it does, and how you can build one (no advanced technical skills required).

Ready to explore this ultimate guide to membership websites? Let’s jump in.

What Is a Membership Website?

A membership website is a platform that offers exclusive content to members only. Usually, that content exists on the other end of a paywall.

Simply put, in exchange for signing up for the site, members can access gated content that’s not available elsewhere. Only members can access and use the information you put “behind” your membership sign-up.

Pricing for a membership site can be free, paid, or tiered. Most notably, a membership website takes advantage of the booming subscription-based model of recurring revenue.

Meaning, site owners can expect to see repeated income. Which is extra enticing since 76% of businesses now look at subscription-based pricing as a way to improve their customer relationships and retention.

how to build a membership website

Sure, numbers like this are super exciting if you’re just starting to learn how to build a membership site. However, it’s important to point out that building this kind of website is no small task. Business owners who make money online through a successful membership site put a ton of work into it.

So, let’s see how people end up making money with a successful membership site next.

How Membership Sites Make Money

It’s likely you’ve heard about people making good money from running a membership website. And you may be thinking that income is just from repeating monthly or annual fees. In reality, many successful membership sites make money using a mix of different methods.

So now you’re probably wondering…ok then, exactly how do membership sites make money?

Well, here are the main ways membership sites can earn money:

  • Membership Dues: Get recurring revenue month after month (or year after year) when people pay you to be a member of your site. This can be set up in tiers so the highest-priced plan should also include the most perks for your members.
  • Affiliate Sales: Collect revenue from sales you send to your affiliates. Insert affiliate links to partner products within your website content.
  • Google Ads: Make money from your web traffic by displaying 3rd-party advertisements in banner areas with Pay-per-Click advertising.
  • Selling Digital Products: Courses, guides, and other downloadable content that’s valuable to others can be sold on your website. You can set up an eCommerce shop or bundle these products with specific membership plans.
  • Selling Directory Listings: If you’re using a robust membership tool, you’ll have access to other revenue-generating features like online directories and classifieds. Selling these listings to advertisers and sponsors can be a fantastic way to generate income.

As you can see, there’s more than one way to make money using a membership site. And using a solid membership tool that offers features that support these revenue streams makes it much easier to tap into these different ways to generate income from your website.

WordPress Plugin vs Dedicated Membership Tool

When you’re learning how to build a membership site, you’ll see there are WordPress membership plugins that developers install and use to give normal website membership capabilities.

Some people look up how to build a membership website with WordPress and dive right in, trying to do everything at once and all by themselves. This could cost months of time setting up a DIY website and configuring a WordPress plugin. And after it’s up and running, many people realize they simply don’t have the time or energy it takes to continue to build every feature their membership site needs.

Because for the average business owner, installing, setting up, and maintaining a made-from-scratch website plus a membership plugin can be very time-consuming and not beginner-friendly.

For those that plan their membership site, use a dedicated membership site tool like eDirectory, and stay committed, the possibilities for growth can be astounding. This dedicated membership site tool offers everything you need to launch and grow a successful membership and online directory website like a blogging system, banner advertisements, online recurring payments, and more.

how to build a membership website

If you’re serious about setting up a successful membership site and looking for a one-stop solution, a dedicated membership tool is the way to go.

So now that you know why people prefer dedicated membership tools over DIY solutions like WordPress membership plugins, let’s cover exactly how to build a membership website.

How to Build a Membership Website

When you’re ready to make your own membership website, follow these easy steps to get it up and running in no time.

1. Determine Your Industry

When you’re first learning how to create a membership program, it can feel overwhelming. Luckily, this step is not only fun, but it will also help clear a path for where your website is headed.

The very first thing you’ll want to do to build a membership website is to pick your niche.

You may already have an online presence that you want to monetize, like a blog or podcast. In that case, you’ve already carved out your niche.

If not, some great membership website ideas can include (but are not limited to):

  • Niche online business directories.
  • Specialized gated content like stock photos, how-to’s, recipes, etc.
  • Local classified listings.
  • Event calendars for specific interests and groups.

…and a lot more.

So, what do you know a lot about? What are you passionate about? The answers to these questions can help inspire ideas for your membership website.

Start Your Online Directory2. Choose the Right Membership Tool

Next up, you’ll want to sign up for eDirectory. Using a dedicated membership tool is the best way to easily build and manage your website (plus access features that let you generate additional income.)

how to build a membership website

And unlike a WordPress membership site, eDirectory is a cloud solution that provides everything you need to build a raving online community (and without all the hassle).

After you’ve got your membership tool up and running, you’ll want to set up your payment gateways.

3. Set Up Payment Methods

Accepting secure credit card and PayPal payments over your website is a must for a successful membership site. Plus, you need a way to get paid.

So, the next step to setting up your membership website is to configure your payment methods. You’ll have many payment service provider options to choose from.

how to build a membership website

If you don’t already have one, you’ll need to set up an account with your preferred payment solution. Then, you can connect your account through your membership website.

To do so, simply head to Settings > Manage Levels & Pricing > Payment Gateways.

Once you’ve connected your payment provider(s) details, you’ll be ready to set up and customize each membership level that you offer.

4. Build Your Membership Levels

The next thing you need to do is determine the cost and features of each one of your membership levels.

Not sure what to charge? We recommended starting with a free membership level with some features included. Free members get to use your software and are a great place to find paying customers since they’re already familiar with your brand and software.

After your free level is set up, you’ll need to decide what you’ll include with each one of your paid membership levels.

Because eDirectory is a leader in online business directories, you’ll find a lot of options to really fine-tune what your members can and can’t do.

You can offer different features within:

  • Listings
  • Events
  • Classifieds
  • Banners
  • Articles

how to build a membership website

Just remember to save the most impactful features for your highest plan so people will want to sign up.

And don’t stress about which features and pricing to go with. It’s easy to return to this area and adjust your membership level offerings whenever you need to as your business grows and your members’ needs change.

5. Populate Your Listings

Now that your membership plans are built, it’s time to populate your directory listings. This is an important step because you’ll want to show leads what they can expect when they sign up as a member with you. That’s nearly impossible to do if you can’t visually explain it.

So, you’ll need to create some listings, by hand or by importing them.

how to build a membership website

During this step, you’ll want to customize your listing layout to match your membership website. There are many configuration options, so pick the one you like the most and keep populating your listings.

6. Create Members-Only Content 

The next step to build a membership website is to create members-only content. The psychological phenomenon known as FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) can really drive sales, so locking gated content behind a paywall can be a great business decision.

This can look different for everyone since no one membership website is the same.

You may be an expert at succulent care and have tons of helpful guides already published. Compiling this content into an organized course or workbook is a great way to source members-only content for your website.

If you don’t already have a blog, or if it aligns better with your business model, these are some popular ways to create some members-only content:

  • Business Directory: From local business directories to niche hobbyist groups, people are willing to pay to access listings specific to what they’re interested in. 
  • Classified Ads: If you’re using classifieds on your site, only letting paid members post ads is a great way to earn new recurring subscriptions. Just make sure to populate your ads just like you’ve populated your listings in the previous step.
  • Event Calendar: Only allow members to post to a public event calendar. Alternatively, set it up so only members can view the events.
  • Offer Services: Access to coaching calls, pre-recorded webinars, or courses.
  • Offer Goods: Creatives can give members access to things like custom social media graphic templates or stylized stock images.

…and anything else you can think of that may have value to someone. But to start, these are excellent sources of members-only content you can create quickly and easily.

7. Promote Your Membership Site

Next, you need to promote and market your membership website.

This is an extremely important step because, after all that hard work, you want to make sure people are coming to your website.

Head to the Blog Module in eDirectory and start writing posts around keywords related to your membership website and your intended audience. Find out your ideal customer, what they need, and how they search for it.

how to build a membership website

The easy-to-use and SEO-optimized Blog Module lets you create, monitor, and optimize your content in just a few clicks.

And if you’re planning on making money through affiliate sales, you’ll also find an option to seamlessly insert your links within your content.

On top of SEO blogging, you might also want to consider these popular website promotion methods:

  • Pay-per-Click Advertising (PPC): Pay for Google Ads advertising on specific, related keywords.
  • Take Advantage of Social: Create (and stick to) a social media posting schedule.
  • Email Marketing: Build an email list by collecting addresses on your site then promoting to those leads (great for returning traffic and high conversions).
  • Word of Mouth: In this digital world, website owners often forget how impactful telling other people about your membership site can be. This is especially important for online communities that are locally based, like a business directory.

There are a lot of ways to promote your membership site, but these are all very popular places to start. For more, make sure to head over to our article on how to market an online directory where we’ve laid out some detailed tips for powerful website promotion.

8. Keep Improving Your Membership Site

For any business to succeed, you’ll need to make sure to continually improve. If you notice something isn’t working right on your site, jump in and fix it. If you get feedback from an advertiser about a feature request, see if you can provide it. Make the customer experience pleasant and you’ll likely see members who stay subscribed for the long haul.

how to build a membership website

The great thing about easy-to-use membership website platforms is that whenever you see an area for improvement, you can jump right into your site and change it. And if you’re not sure how, reach out to us for help.

With eDirectory, you get access to a helpful support team ready to help you make your membership website a success.

Create a Membership Site with eDirectory 

Now that you know how to build a membership website, your next step is to launch yours using eDirectory. This feature-rich tool lets you build and manage a customized membership directory to meet your business goals and drive growth.

With eDirectory, your membership site can:

    • Collect Member Dues: Generate recurring revenue from membership fees.
    • Let Members Login: Display an easy-to-use login area for your members to access and manage their own account information.
    • Sell Directory Listings: Allow people and/or businesses to create listings, and automatically turn them into member profiles.
    • Featured Listings: Sell featured directory spots with a repeating revenue model.
    • Integrate with Social Media: Display your Twitter feed on your website, plus encourage members to share your brand across popular social platforms.
    • Use Classified Ads: Offer your members different capabilities inside of classified listings based on membership levels, driving sales to your higher plans.
    • Social Media Integration: Connect with social media platforms for more exposure with social sharing links and a website Twitter feed.
    • Grow with Content: Access the Blog Module to create and manage SEO-optimized content that brings you the right kind of traffic.
    • Earn Money from Ads: Easily Insert Google Ads into banner space on your site or even sell the space to members with a powerful Banner Ad System.
    • List Events: Encourage a sense of community among members by letting them create recurring or one-time event listings, complete with a Google Maps integration.
      …and more.

So if you’re wanting to build a successful membership website that’s easy to manage and gives you access to the power of online directories, eDirectory is a fantastic choice.

Asking yourself how can I create a membership website for free? Don’t wait, sign up for a free eDirectory demo today.

Join the eDirectory Facebook Group

 

How to Start A Yellow Pages Directory Website

How to Start A Yellow Pages WebsiteYellow pages are some of the most useful online directory websites, both for your visitors and local businesses. They’re also beneficial for you as the directory website owner. But what exactly is a yellow pages directory website? What are the advantages of creating one and, most importantly, what does it take to build one? Those are the questions we’ll answer in this article. We’ll also explain how to get started building a yellow pages directory site.

What is a Yellow Pages Directory Website?

A yellow pages site is an online business directory that helps visitors discover local businesses. Typically, a yellow pages directory consists of location-based listings that include businesses, service providers, organizations, and similar. If a visitor is looking for a restaurant or a doctor in their area, a yellow pages directory can point them in the right direction.

This type of listing can provide them with all the necessary information they need to know about a particular business: address, hours of operation, contact information, website address, and more. They can even show reviews and ratings of any individual business.

In other words, online users benefit from a yellow pages directory because it’s an easy way to find the information they need when they need it. Businesses and organizations benefit from being listed on yellow pages because the listing can bring them more customers and clients.

Why Build a Yellow Pages Directory?

A yellow pages directory website is useful for both online users as well as businesses. But what about you, the person behind the yellow pages directory? Why should you bother building a yellow pages directory website?

There are a few reasons. For starters, it’s a good way to make money online. You can sell listings as well as advertising spots. On top of regular listings, you can also sell enhanced listings and allow businesses to claim a listing for a fee.

Secondly, it allows you to create a business without having to worry about creating a product or gaining skills to provide a specific service.

Lastly, it’s a low-risk and low-cost business idea as you don’t need a huge investment to get started. Another benefit is that you also don’t have to worry about renting an office space and paying associated bills and other fees.

What Does It Take to Create a Yellow Pages Directory Website?

The first thing you’ll need to build a yellow pages website is a dedicated yellow pages directory software like eDirectory. Using eDirectory is the fastest and most affordable way to launch a directory website in any niche without the need to hire a developer.

eDirectory Notable Features

eDirectory has a plethora of features that make it a great choice for building a yellow pages directory:

  • Build a small directory with several thousand listings or a whole network of sites with millions of listings
  • Easily create and sell listings, classifieds, events, deals, articles, blog and banner ads
  • Price listings by category, sell enhanced listings, and offer the ability to claim listings
  • Users can create detailed listings with descriptions, photos, maps, video, categories, keywords, downloadable files, and more
  • Automated listing renewal reminders
  • SEO-optimized platform
  • The ability for users to leave ratings and reviews
  • Integration with multiple payment providers
  • And more

Yellow Pages Directory Template

How to Get Started With Your Yellow Pages Directory Site

Now that you know what it takes to build a yellow pages directory site as well as what features to look for in a yellow pages directory software, it’s time to take the next step. Here are the steps to get started with your yellow pages website.

1. Decide On Monetization Method

Before you start building your yellow pages directory website, it’s important to decide how you’ll monetize it. As mentioned earlier, you can charge for listings, sell advertising space, as well as charge an additional fee for claiming a listing or selling enhanced listings.

If you’re just getting started, focus on one or two monetization methods and expand from there.

2. Get a Domain

The next step is to decide on a domain name for your yellow pages directory. There is no shortage of domain registrars where you can purchase a domain name. A few tips to keep in mind when it comes to domain names are:

  • Keep the name short and simple
  • Try to include your main keywords
  • Opt for a name that is easy to spell and remember

3. Build Your Directory

Once you have a domain name and you know how you’ll monetize the directory, it’s time to build it. As mentioned earlier, you’ll need a dedicated yellow pages directory software like eDirectory to facilitate the process. Packed with the features mentioned above, eDirectory makes it easy to launch a yellow pages site in no time.

Start Your Online Directory 4. Get Listings

A directory is nothing without listings. But it’s hard to get people to create a listing if nobody knows your directory exists. A good starting point for getting the initial listings is to reach out to local businesses and offer them a reduced rate for their first term.

5. Drive Traffic

Once your directory is live and you have the initial listings, the main task is to drive traffic to your directory. A few ideas include:

  • Being active on social media where your target audience spends time
  • Creating quality content around topics that interest your audience
  • Optimizing your directory for search engines

Conclusion

Building a yellow pages directory website might seem daunting. But once you know what’s involved, what features you need to include, and how to get started building a yellow pages directory, the task becomes easier.

Get started on your yellow pages directory website with eDirectory and see how easy it is to build one using our platform. Sign up for a free demo and explore all the features eDirectory has to offer.

Join the eDirectory Facebook Group

How to Create a Classified Website (Step by Step)

How to Create a Classified Website (Step by Step)Any idea how much annual revenue comes from digital classifieds?

It’s 2.49 billion dollars in the US alone.

So, it’s no surprise more and more people are looking up how to create a classified website themselves.

Especially because more smart business owners are realizing a classified ad website that earns money can be easy to build (with the right tool).

And the industries and niches that a classified website can help serve are nearly endless. From a regional classified site that lists rare items to a local classified site that advertises available neighborhood goods, the opportunities are only limited to your ideas.

But making sure that you have a good idea, a solid plan, and a quality classified site software are all key when learning how to create a classified website.

So, let’s jump right in and take a deeper look at the ins and outs of classified websites, so you’ll have all the knowledge you need to build yours.

What Is a Classified Website?

A classified website is an online advertising platform that connects sellers to buyers by promoting products and services.

Simply put, a classified website is a list of online advertisements. And usually, they’ll be listed by specific categories or by location.

On one end, there’s a listing owner who has a service or product to sell. On the other end, an interested buyer.

The goal of the classified site is to connect the listing to someone who wants that service or product (or in the case of a job board or a wanted ad, someone who could offer that service).

Some good classified site examples (on a large scale) include sites like Craigslist, OfferUp, and OLX. But some other places you may not realize are classified websites can include:

  • Real Estate Listings
  • Job Boards
  • Online Consignment Shops
  • Casting Notices

…and others.

Since online advertising is becoming the norm, more and more people and businesses are getting in on the action and making their own classified site.

Classified ad websites are an incredibly fast-growing type of online advertising. Businesses and people love advertising on them because a listing is usually affordable. And, if the website is being optimized and promoted well, listing owners can expect to see an awesome ROI on their investment.

For people browsing listings, it’s a great way to connect with a business or person in the exact area they’re researching. Whether someone’s looking for a new job, a second-hand bike, or something else.

And it’s not just for buyers and sellers. Classified websites are exploding in popularity for business owners wanting to start their own classified project.

That’s because a good classified website not only helps connect people, it can also earn the site owner money.

How Classified Websites Earn Money

You might be surprised to learn that classified ad sites can and do make money in more than one way.

Classified websites typically make money for their owners in several different ways, actually. And if you’re using a solid classified ads software like eDirectory, you’ll have all the tools you need to make money with a classified site.

Here’s how classified websites owners earn money:

  • Selling Listings: The most straightforward way classified sites earn money is by charging people to list an ad on their classified site.
  • Selling Ads: Charging a fee for placing an ad (usually a banner) somewhere on the classified site. This is often a great upsell to add when selling someone a listing so that more people will see their details.
  • Pay-per-Click (PPC) Advertising: Using a PPC platform like Google Ads, business owners can earn money from 3rd-party banner ads displayed to website visitors.
  • Membership Fees: Some classified website tools offer membership features, so site owners can collect recurring dues.
  • Affiliate Links: Inserting links to partner products that let you collect revenue off any sales you send to your affiliates.

With all these great ways to earn money, are you starting to think creating your own classified website sound like a great idea? You’re not wrong.

Launching your own classified ads site project can be a game-changer for many businesses. But, doing it on your own can have some major drawbacks to consider before you begin.

DIY Site vs a Dedicated Classified Tool

When creating a classified website, there are two main options. You can either do a DIY project and build every aspect of your site from the ground up (advanced) or keep things simple by using a dedicated tool.

We recommend using a dedicated tool to build a classified website. But for advanced users, taking the DIY route to build it yourself or by paying a developer might be a good option for you if you:

  • Are a web developer.
  • Have coding skills.
  • Are planning to continually pay a someone to maintain your site.
  • Are wondering how to create a classified website with WordPress and a plugin.

Because it’s the easier and more affordable option, using a dedicated classified tool like eDirectory is the best choice for most people. Using a software that’s built specifically for classified ad sites comes with tons of benefits like:

  • Beginner-friendly tools have made it so building and managing a classified website is easy, even for non-developers.
  • Make more money by accessing additional revenue-generating features.
  • Simple setup lets you launch quickly.
  • Integrated blog modules to keep content management easy.
  • It looks professional so you can maintain a healthy reputation.
  • Advanced search functionality so people can find what they’re looking for on your site, without hassle.

Even for people who can build a website on their own, there are tons of other reasons website owners choose a dedicated classified tool instead of a DIY site.

So now that you know how important using a dedicated classified website tool is, let’s take a look at exactly how to create a classified website.

Start Your Online Directory

How to Create a Classified Website

Ready to launch your own classified ads site project? Follow these steps to build a high-quality classified website.

1. Pick Your Niche

The first thing you’ll want to do when making your classified website is to pick your niche. This is the industry in which you’ll be making your website.

Already have a business idea? Great! Still exploring ideas? No problem. This is an extra exciting time because as directory and classified websites skyrocket in popularity, there are still tons of opportunities for different types of helpful sites.

The most common classified websites tend to be:

  • Local goods-based classified directories.
  • Industry-specific job boards.
  • Membership directories.

If you notice that your industry or your local area is lacking a strong classified site, take note. You may just notice that you’ve got a great opportunity to create an online classified community that connects people, businesses, and services while also generating revenue.

2. Choose a Domain Name

Next up, you want to pick a good domain name that’s easy to remember and spell, like www.exampleclassifieds.com.

Your niche will help inspire your business name, and your business name should be the backbone of your domain name.

You’ll choose this while you set up your website hosting. If you’re hosting your website yourself, we recommend Amazon or Digital Ocean. However, all eDirectory cloud service plans include secure hosting.

3. Sign up for eDirectory

The next thing you’ll need to do to set up your professional classified ads website quickly and easily is to sign up for eDirectory. Avoid having to hire a web developer to build your WordPress site, and never need to worry about having to pay them every time you need to change anything.

Then once you’ve got your classified ads software up and running, you can start categorizing your site.

If you’re ready to set up your classified website for free and explore all the available features, you can request an eDirectory demo here.

4. Pick Your Categories

In order to make sure your classified website is easy to navigate, you’ll want to pick and define your categories.

Not only do search engines love categories (meaning your website can rank higher when people search for specific keywords), but website visitors love to search through different categories and filters.

Your job? Build out this important section of your site by providing comprehensive details inside each category. Also, make sure to add sub-categories so you can take advantage of the advanced filtering capabilities (your website visitors will!).

With eDirectory, you get unlimited categories, so feel free to get as granular as you want.

Offering to display a listing in multiple categories is also a great way to upsell your higher membership levels, which we’ll cover next.

5. Set Your Membership Levels

If you’re taking advantage of all the ways eDirectory lets you earn money from your classified site, then the next step is to determine your membership levels.

This means you’ll decide which features each level includes plus how much it costs.

And because eDirectory classified websites are scalable, meaning you can have a small site with just a few listings to a network of sites with millions of listings, you can choose exactly how much to charge for your membership levels.

If you’re just setting up your website, we recommended starting with a free membership level.

Even though you aren’t charging them, free members can offer a lot in return. Using a free membership level is a smart way to:

  • Turn people into paying members when they upgrade.
  • Grow your email list.
  • Gather feedback about the site.
  • Get listings shared on social media.

And for your paid membership levels, you’ll want to offer exclusive benefits that are appealing. For instance, you can offer one month of “free” banner ads to anyone who signs up for your highest plan (a great incentive if you’ve got decent traffic coming to your site).

Remember, you can always adjust your offerings and pricing as your business grows and you learn more about what works for you, your audience, and your website.

6. Create Your First Listings

Before your classified website can be helpful to anyone (advertisers or otherwise) it needs to have listings.

So, the next thing to do to make a classified site is to create your first listings.

You can do this manually or import them if you have a large amount of data and want to make things easier on yourself.

Setting up your listings is where you can really have fun customizing your classified website. That’s because you can use drag-and-drop widgets to configure your pages and highlight:

  • Top-level classifieds.
  • New members.
  • Most-recently added items.

…and more.

Sure, it may take a bit of time to populate listings yourself, and you may need to get creative with the classifieds you’re listing. But until an advertiser can visualize what you’re selling, it will be hard to get them to pay to list on your classified site.

7. Create Quality Content

Once your classified site is up and running with some listings, it’s time to start creating content.

Blogging is one of the best ways to drive traffic and sales to your website. It’s an incredibly important part of advertising a business these days, and your classified website won’t be any different.

Because we know blogging is essential to a successful classified website, eDirectory includes an easy-to-use Blog Module where you can create, monitor, and optimize your content.

Once you’ve got the hang of consistently posting high-quality content, don’t forget to naturally insert your affiliate links within your content. The Blog Module also helps you insert these, which is extremely helpful if you’re planning on generating revenue through affiliate sales.

8. Market + Promote Your Site

Creating a classified website step by step is incredibly exciting. But remember, you’ll need to have traffic coming to your site before you can start earning money from it.

As a classified site owner, part of your job will be to market and promote your site. On top of blogging, this could also range from paying for advertising, using social media, and even rolling out an automated welcome campaign to your email list.

If you don’t already have an email list to promote your classified website to, email marketing is a great place to start. Did you know that more than 8 out of 10 people will open a welcome email?

Image Source: GetResponse

Whatever you do, you’ll need to prioritize getting the word out there and promoting your site.

Be sure to check out our guide on how to market an online directory for detailed tips on promoting your classified site.

9. Keep Optimizing + Improving

Your website is a business, so you’ll need to continually improve and optimize your classified ads site for success.

Connect with your community to ask questions. Find out what they love and give them more of it. And do it all automatically if you can. To automate your outreach, you can sync your classified site to your CRM.

Integration opportunities like this are just some of the reasons why having a tool that can help you create a classified site is so important. It costs a big chunk of change to pay someone to set up a classified website. And when you have to pay them to make any changes in the future to improve your site, the costs can really add up.

With eDirectory, you have tons of control to optimize your website and make it even better for yourself, your advertisers, and your visitors.

And no matter your industry, the more control you have of your classified website, the more control you’ll have over the long-term success of your business.

Next Steps: Install eDirectory and Create Your Classified Website

So now that you know how to create a classified website, it’s time to get started on your own.

If you’re looking for the best tool to help you successfully launch and manage your classified website, try eDirectory. It lets your customers sell or list anything they’d like with expertly categorized, well-organized, and beautiful classifieds.

eDirectory is packed with features that will help you grow your classified site like:

  • Flexible Customization: Access a nearly ready-made classified website that you can customize to your heart’s content, with detailed control over descriptions, photos, pricing, and contact information.
  • Professional Listings: Easily create gorgeous directory listings with images, video, and coupons inside a beginner-friendly and intuitive interface.
  • Classified Website Template: Offers a visual Listing Template editor to further customize your listings.
  • Social Media Integration: Connect with social media platforms for more exposure with social sharing links and a website Twitter feed.
  • Auto Renewal Reminders: Automate your payment collection process by notifying listing owners when it’s time to renew.
  • Blog Module: An easy-to-use area that lets you create and manage content to drive traffic and sales to your classified site.
  • Interactive Map: Our Google Maps integration lets pins automatically appear as new listings are added.
  • Optimized Images: Let your listing owners upload a variety of gallery photos, plus use a built-in photo editor.
  • Membership Site Capabilities: Create member profiles and tap into the power of recurring payments by collecting repeating dues.
  • Banner Ad System: Earn money from banner space by selling it to advertisers and/or running Google Ads on your site.
  • SEO Optimized: Rise to the top of search engine rankings with built-in SEO control.
  • Awesome Support: A robust online knowledgebase plus access to a genuinely friendly and helpful team via chat or email.

…and much more.

With your dedicated classified site tool in hand, you’ll be on your way to creating a classified ads site that earns you more revenue and grows your business.

So get started today.

Sign up for a free classified website demo today and create your eDirectory site right away.

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15 Ways To Drive Traffic To Your Online Directory

15 Ways To Drive Traffic To Your Online Directory

Getting traffic is the backbone of all websites. The same is true for online directory websites, specifically. The more traffic your online directory gets, the higher your conversion rate will be. In other words, more traffic means getting more listings which means more revenue down the line. As such, driving traffic to your online directory should be one of your main goals. The task may seem daunting, especially if your directory is brand new. However, there are quite a few ways to drive traffic to your online directory website and we’ll cover them in this article.

15 Ways To Drive Traffic To Your Online Directory

Below, you’ll find various tactics and methods for increasing the traffic to your online directory website. The good news is that most of them are free and require only your time.

1. Content Marketing

One of the easiest ways to market an online directory is through content marketing. According to HubSpot, businesses that blog get 55% more website visitors than businesses that don’t.

Focus on creating content that would be relevant and helpful to your target audience. In other words, create content that solves their problems, educates them about your offer, and answers questions they have that are related to your online website directory.

Once you’ve started creating content, it will be indexed by the search engines which means it can appear as a search result when your audience searches for relevant keywords.

In short, creating content not only boosts your website traffic but it also allows you to appear as a search result for both potential customers and people looking for the best resources or specific businesses in their area.

2. Make Use Of Social Media

Aside from content marketing, social media is another easy way to promote your directory. Facebook is one of the most popular platforms out there but don’t forget that there are many other social media platforms including:

  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • Youtube
  • And others.

Remember, you don’t have to be active on all of these. Rather, the key here is to focus on one or two platforms where your target audience likes to spend time. Then, post relevant and engaging content. You can also repurpose content from your website’s blog instead of creating all the content from scratch.

Engage in a conversation with your followers, ask questions, and reply to comments. This will boost your engagement which will increase the chances of your content being shown to people who aren’t yet following you.

Link to your directory website in your profile’s bio and point people to helpful resources on your website as well as share about the benefits of being listed in the directory. You can also create promotional posts or a special offer such as a reduced listing price for your social media followers.

3. Use Video

Video marketing has been gaining in popularity for the past few years and it shows no signs of slowing down. Video marketing is great not only for increasing conversions but also building trust and establishing a more personal relationship with your audience.

Similar to content marketing, you can use video marketing to create helpful and educational content that your audience would benefit from.

When it comes to video marketing, YouTube is your best choice for long-form educational videos. Posting content on YouTube has another benefit: it allows your videos to show up in search results and you can embed them onto your website along with a transcript as a blog post.

If you prefer shorter video content, platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels are great for showing your brand’s personality and making a connection with your audience.

4. Optimize Your Site

In 2021, nobody likes a slow-loading website. It hurts your user experience and search engines typically favor websites that load fast. That’s why it’s crucial to optimize your site as higher rank in search engines leads to more traffic. Not to mention, your existing users and visitors will be more inclined to recommend and share your online directory website if it loads fast.

Start by running a speed test with a tool such as Pingdom Tools to determine how fast or how slow your website loads. Then, work on getting the load time to 2 seconds or less. A few recommendations include:

  • Using a Content Delivery Network to serve static content such as script and style files
  • Optimizing images and compressing their file size
  • Making use of caching techniques

5. Work On Your SEO 

Search Engine Optimization is one of the best ways to drive traffic to your website. When you optimize your site for SEO, you’ll get organic traffic — visitors who are already interested in what you have to offer and are actively looking for it.

In addition to that, having an SEO-optimized site means you don’t have to rely on the ever-changing social media algorithms and you don’t have to pay for ads.

The downside of using SEO is that it’s a long-term strategy. However, once you start ranking for your desired keywords, you’ll reap the benefits for years to come. The first step in optimizing your online website directory is to use an SEO-friendly directory platform. Aside from that, here are a few more tips for optimizing your site for search engines:

  • Publish relevant, quality content on a regular basis
  • Link to other pages and resources on your site
  • Optimize your site to load fast
  • Use keywords naturally
  • Optimize page titles
  • Optimize images with SEO-friendly titles and alt tags

Start Your Online Directory6. Comment On Relevant Sites

Most websites that allow commenting have a field where you can enter your website. By leaving comments and contributing to a discussion on relevant websites in your industry, you can get people to click through to your website.

This not only helps you build relationships but it also puts your online directory in front of new audiences that might be interested in creating a listing for their business and website.

7. Be Active On Forums Or Communities In Your Niche

Similar to leaving comments on websites in your industry, you should get involved in forums in your niche. This gives you an opportunity not only to reply to others but also to start topics and become one of the top contributors in the specific forum which is bound to get your profile viewed by other users.

However, don’t make the mistake of joining a forum and then posting a link to your online directory every chance you get. Instead, focus on providing value first. You can include a link to your directory as a helpful resource or when someone asks for it directly.

Another way to point users to your online directory is to include it in the forum signature. That way, it’s always present but it’s not obtrusive.

If you can’t find a forum that’s related to your industry, try finding a community in Facebook or LinkedIn groups. With Facebook and LinkedIn groups, you’ll want to make sure that your profile is optimized and links to your online directory or to your Facebook business page.

8. Take Advantage Of OTHER Directories

Another way to market your online directory is to put it in another directory. Places like Google My Business and Bing Places For Business make it easy to get started and list your directory.

In addition to that, getting listed in either Google My Business or Bing Places For Business can also help improve your SEO. Once you list your directory, it can show up as a relevant local search result when people enter keywords and topics that are related to your directory.

9. Paid Advertising

If you have a marketing budget, you could consider investing in paid advertising. Both Google Ads and Facebook Ads are a great way to expose your directory to new audiences and gain visibility.

Facebook ads are a great choice if you want to get really detailed with your audience targeting. They also allow you to use images, video, and text ads so you have more choices when it comes to creating a compelling ad for your business directory.

If you want to keep it simple, you can opt for Google Ads as they make it easy to create text ads that drive traffic to your directory.

10. Post On LinkedIn, Medium, And Similar Sites

We’ve mentioned earlier that content marketing is a great way to drive traffic to your online directory website. Another benefit of content marketing is that it gives you plenty of material to repurpose as social media content or to repost on other websites.

LinkedIn and Medium are great places to repost your blog posts without having to pitch your article idea and go through the approval process.

There are a few ways to approach this:

  • You can repost the article in its entirety and say it was originally published on your website
  • Repost a part of the article and encourage readers to go read the rest over on your website
  • Expand on the original article and end with a call to action that points them to a landing page on your site where they can explore all the features your online directory has to offer

11. Use Guest Blogging

Guest blogging is a common marketing practice where you submit a blog post or an article to another relevant website in your niche. This method works really well for driving traffic to your website, especially if you link to a landing page with a special offer.

Once you submit a guest post, you’ll get a link back to your website through your byline that appears at the bottom of the article. As a result, you get traffic to your website and you build authority and brand awareness at the same time.

When it comes to guest blogging, the biggest challenge is finding websites that accept guest posts and making sure they’re relevant to your industry. It does you no good to publish a guest post on a popular site with millions of readers if that website has nothing to do with your niche.

Instead, you need to focus on websites that your target audience would visit as this will result in getting visitors that are interested in getting listed in your directory. Luckily, you can find plenty of suitable websites where you can submit a guest post with a quick Google search.

All you have to do is type in a keyword related to your industry along with a few search operators to find guest posting opportunities. A few examples include:

  • KEYWORD intitle:”write for us”
  • KEYWORD “submit a guest post”
  • KEYWORD inurl:/guest-post/
  • KEYWORD “accepting guest posts”
  • KEYWORD “guest post guidelines”
  • KEYWORD “become a contributor”

Keep in mind the list above is not exhaustive but it should serve as a good starting point.

12. Invite Others To Guest Blog For You

Speaking of guest blogging, it’s a two-way street. Just like you can write content for others, they can write content for you too. Consider inviting your directory members to write a blog post for you that would be interesting and relevant to your audience. Or, create a page on your site that outlines the guest post submission process.

This is another method that has a twofold benefit. For starters, it gives you fresh content for your site and takes content creation off your plate. Secondly, the guest blogger will more than likely promote the article they’ve written which brings in more traffic to your site.

13. Provide Your Customers With A Badge That Links To Your Directory

When someone signs up to be listed in your directory, give them a code for a badge they can embed on their website. The badge should link back to your directory. The benefit of this approach is two-fold. For one, your customers can use the badge to boost their credibility and showcase where their website or business has been featured.

Secondly, it allows you to get a backlink from another, relevant website which can boost your SEO authority. Lastly, since the website will feature a badge with a link to your directory, every visitor who lands on the website can click through to visit your online directory which results in more traffic.

14. Make Use Of Ratings, Reviews, And Testimonials

People buy from businesses and people they trust. Nothing builds trust faster than ratings and reviews from other people. According to research, 87% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses. As such, your directory should make it easy for others to leave reviews and share their experiences.

Another way to build trust is to showcase testimonials throughout your directory website. Featuring testimonials will increase the trust potential customers have in your directory. You can invite your users to send you a testimonial or leave a review on Google My Business or even your Facebook business page if you have one.

Once you start getting testimonials and reviews, you can add them to your homepage as well as the main sales page. Don’t forget to make the most of your testimonials by also sharing them on social media profiles.

15. Invest In Email Marketing

Don’t wait to build your email list. Email marketing has one of the best returns on investment, with several sources citing that for every dollar spent on email marketing, you’ll get $42 in return. Email marketing gives you direct access to your audience where you can establish a relationship with them and educate them on all the benefits of being listed in your online directory.

It allows you to build trust and reach them without the fear of social media algorithms burying your posts.

To start building your list, include sign-up forms on your website. Consider offering an incentive such as a discount for their first listing or a special bonus such as a top spot in the corresponding category for the first month.

Final Thoughts

Like with any other website, driving traffic is crucial if you want to generate income with your online directory business. With the tips laid out in this article, you’ll be able to get more traffic to your website.

Keep in mind that you don’t need to use all of these tactics at the same time. Start with one or two and then slowly introduce other methods and keep experimenting. By doing so, you’ll be able to understand which traffic-generating method works best for your online directory website and double down your efforts. Good luck!

 

How to build a 50.000 business listings online directory

How to build a 50.000 business listings online directory

How to build a 50.000 business listings online directory

Your online directory is already up and running, which is fantastic! However, an empty directory will not bring you any clients. We’ll explain how and where to find your first business listings for your online directory in this article.

As an online directory owner, you probably have a clear idea of what you want to offer your clients. Regardless if it is a job advert wall where companies can advertise their vacancies, or a pet guide with redeemable deals and listings for the best pet shops, veterinarians, and various service providers, the main thing you will always have in common is the business listings. Without business listings, an online directory is pretty much good for nothing.

For a moment, let me put myself in your shoes. Surely, you’re wondering where and how to find quality business listings for your new directory, and this is indeed important for many reasons. The main ones being SEO (search engine optimization), because you want Google to index your online directory and show it in SERP (search engine results page), generating revenue, as this might be the key reason why you sent time building an online directory in the first place but, also, to attract more clients. Think about it, as customers ourselves, we want to go to places where other people are going, making recommendations, hiring services from other people.

In this article, you will learn about three different ways to earn your initial business listings, which will set you off on the road to reaching 50.000 listings within a few months of starting your business. Continue reading this post for more information about improving your online directory.

Table of contents

  • Building your business listings online directory database from scratch
  • Buying business listings from vendors
  • Scrape business listings with a scraping tool
  • Conclusion

Building your business listings online directory database from scratch

At first glance, this might look intimidating, but it is the safest way to post your first business listing online. By doing research and checking the accuracy or updated status of all the information there, you can ensure the quality of the information there. You will see more success if you are supported by a team, as that will increase the speed at which you populate your database.

If you are working alone and have a budget to invest in this task, don’t be afraid to hire help to grow your database. Set quality standards for your listings, remember that every bit of information counts, especially the description (put some effort into it) and contact information. Also, focus on creating and promoting features your clients might find valuable to attract more leads right away. Be creative with the titles in order to drive more clicks to your listings, be clear with every bit of information you put there. Also, be sure to make your images and photos as eye-catching as possible. Aim for professional photos (hire a photographer if possible).

Buying business listings from vendors

You might find that this is the most direct and reliable way of populating your online directory. You can streamline the process of expanding your directory in a few steps by purchasing directory listings from a reputable vendor, in addition to ensuring high-quality content.

As a downside, you could find those trustworthy vendors are not always the cheapest option. To help you further on your research for business listings, we’ve selected the top data vendors on the internet. Take a look:

The top tier business listings online directory database vendors

Acxiom

Acxiom, pronounced “a-xee-um”, is a database marketing company based in Conway, Arkansas. A reliable source for consumer and market data, this organization ranks among the best in the business. In addition, you will have access to a wide range of additional services such as customer segmentation, analysis of market trends (in several countries), and a Global Data Navigator service, which allows agencies to choose global data elements by country. Prices are subject to quotation.

Data Axle USA

Data Axle USA previously known as InfoUSA, Data Axle has been in business since 1972, making it one of the leading database providers in the United States. In 1986, they became the first company to digitize all Yellow Pages listings on floppy disks and CD-ROMs, so customers could consult information easily. Providing reliable databases on customer and marketing information, they are today able to help small and big businesses across the country. Prices are subject to quotation.

Dun & Bradstreet

Another database provider in the USA, DnB offers B2B contact data, leads data, business and company data, as well as corporate credit ratings. Get in touch with them via LiveChat to request a quote on their services. A distinctive feature of Dun & Bradstreet is its Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS numbers); these are used to generate business information reports for more than 100 million companies around the world. Prices are subject to quotation.

Datarade

Think of Datarade as an aggregator of database solution providers. With only a few clicks, you’ll be able to compare several data vendors worldwide and save yourself months of searching. It allows you to compare different suppliers side by side, even showing you the competitors.

Other vendors you should consider are Hoovers, Citygrid and Yelp.

Start Your Online Directory

Scrape business listings with a scraping tool

The term scraping data refers to an easy and fast way to gather database information from an existing website. What they do, in summary, is crawl other directories and deliver the data collected in an Excel file, therefore, you could upload that database to your online directory. There are other formats available such as JSON and CSV.

How does a web data scraper tool work?

  • As soon as the URLs are loaded into the application, the tool begins scraping.
  • In the next step, the scraper loads the full HTML code from the destination page.
  • The web scraper will then either extract all the data from the page or select the specific data the user desires.
  • In the end, the scraping app outputs all of the data it has collected into a usable file format chosen by the user.

Consider this before going this route

Before doing this, we strongly recommend that you check your country’s copyright laws regarding what information is considered royalty-free and what is not. Business listings usually include custom descriptions and images, which can be protected by copyrights.

Let’s get to know 3 data scraping tools you can use to add more depth to your online directory:

OctoParse

Octoparse allows people without any programming knowledge to extract data from websites. By simply following the steps on their website, you will be able to collect the information you need from any directory, in a highly efficient way.

It has an easy user interface, and you can begin downloading databases within minutes. It allows you to schedule tasks based on a specific date and time when you want to scrape data.

OctoParse pricing

  • Free plan: you can use Octoparse right now for free! These are the features you can enjoy; unlimited pages per crawl, unlimited computers, 10,000 records per export, 2 concurrent local runs, 10 Crawlers, community, lazy support.
  • Standard – $75/month: This plan offers unlimited data export,100 crawlers, scheduled extractions, Average speed extraction, auto IP rotation, task Templates, API access, and email support. This plan is mainly designed for small teams.
  • Professional -$209/month: This plan offers 250 crawlers, Scheduled extractions,20 concurrent cloud extractions, High-speed extraction, Auto IP rotation, Task Templates, and Advanced API.
  • Enterprise plan: You will need to contact a sales agent for a quotation.

Mozenda

Mozenda targets enterprises looking for a simple, fast, and all-in-one solution to scrape data from the web, and is trusted by CISCO, Tesla, Oracle, IBM… The list goes on, and as with OctoParse, you do not need any coding skills to boost your online directory’s business listing.

Mozenda has an easy-to-use “click-and-advance” interface, making your job a whole lot easier. With a free 30 day trial and one of the best customer service experiences in the segment, you can test it out and see if it’s right for you. The company offers four types of plans covering small projects and enterprise levels, and you can request a quote from the company’s website.

Webhose.io

Webhose is ideal for platforms or services that require a fully customized web scraper and data provider for use in marketing, sharing, etc. Growing companies can avail themselves of the platform at an affordable price. Uncover hidden insights with NLP, machine learning, and sentiment analysis. You can easily build and train machine models based on extensive data dating back to 2008.

Webhose’s database offers a huge collection of resources including blogs, forums, and news. You can create datasets based on particular topics, organizations, and time periods. Webhose lets you run a search query, and you’ll get JSON or XML results.

Regarding the prices, Webhose offers a 10-day free trial and 3 different plans:

  • Open Web Data Feeds: Provides enterprise-level coverage, real-time monitoring, engagement metrics, and clean  JSON/XML formats.
  • Cyber Data Feed: Includes Real-Time Monitoring, Entity and Threat Recognition, Image Analytics, and Geolocation as well as access to TOR, ZeroNet, I2P, Telegram, etc.
  • Archived Web Data: This plan offers a 10-year archive of web data, Sentiment and Entity Recognition, and Engagement Metrics. The pricing model shown here relates to prepaid credit accounts.

Conclusion

We already know the importance of a well-populated online directory for a myriad of reasons. If the data is already alive and moving, it is easier to convince more clients to join. However, the quality of the data is crucial. Invest time in finding eye-catching professional pictures (look for stock images) or hire a photographer to help you out, this will make your website look more professional and attractive to users. Also, do not copy and paste a standard piece of text into your descriptions. Make your descriptions as concise and informative as you can, and consider SEO strategies (search for keywords that apply to your business listings).

eDirectory’s services will help your business create, manage and monetize your own online directory. If you need more information, please contact us for more information. With an intuitive user interface, best-in-class resources, and robust customer support, you can start a free trial today

Tips for building a successful Home Page

The webinar Tips for building a successful Home Page covers some strategies to display curated content on the home page of your Directory.

The home page is the most important page of an Online Directory and it deserves special attention. From a minimalist home page to a full modules model, there is a lot you can build.

Learn with our CEO James Chubb how to optimize the elements to improve visitors’ engagement while you increase the advertiser’s exposure.

This session took place on October 13th, 2021.

Watch the past webinars here.

Want more tips for building a successful home page? Shoot us a note at marketing@eDirectory.com and join our Facebook Group.

Check our webinar schedule at https://www.edirectory.com/webinars/.

Pricing Strategies for Online Directories

Pricing strategies for Online Directories are important since launching your site.

There are different approaches and methods to determine how to charge for listings, banners, classifieds, and other elements in your online directory. Set prices too high, and you miss out on valuable sales. Set them too low, and you miss out on valuable revenue.

In this webinar, eDirectory’s CEO, James Chubb, shows the best pricing strategy that maximizes profit and revenue.

This session took place on September 15th, 2021.

Watch the past webinars here.

Questions? Shoot us a note at sales@eDirectory.com and join our Facebook Group.

Check our webinar schedule at https://www.edirectory.com/webinars/.

Revenue Strategies for Online Directories

Revenue Strategies for Online Directories can be different depending on your niche.

Creating an online directory brings an amazing opportunity to generate a recurring revenue stream. From using the built-in payment tools that eDirectory provides to offering links to 3rd party affiliate products and services, opportunity abounds when it comes to monetizing your website!

In this webinar, our CEO James Chubb shows the main methods of monetization used for businesses to generate revenue online.

This session took place on August 18th, 2021.

Questions? Shoot us a note at sales@eDirectory.com and join our Facebook Group.

Check our webinar schedule at https://www.edirectory.com/webinars/.

Keyword Research for Online Directories

Keyword research for online directories is a key element to understand the opportunities your website has to rank higher on search engine result pages (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc).

eDirectory’s code was written with SEO in mind. The structured code makes it easy for search engines to index and understand what is important.

On this webinar, our CEO James Chubb will show you how to determine which strategic keywords to target in your website’s content, and how to craft that content to satisfy both users and search engines.

This session took place on July 7th, 2021.

Check our webinar schedule at https://www.edirectory.com/webinars/.

Agency Services to Increase Revenue

In this webinar our CEO James Chubb shows how to offer agency services as a way to build additional revenue. He discusses different offerings, how to price them, and execute the services.

This session took place on June 9th, 2021.

Check our webinar schedule at https://www.edirectory.com/webinars/.