An Introduction to Directory Websites for Fun & Profit: Part 2
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In part 1 of our two part series covering the topic of directory websites I got you started off by introducing what goes into these types of sites, their viability to turn a profit, and a few action steps to get the ideas flowing.
In this part of the series I’m going to cover the actual creation of these sites. The post will share templates and procedures when, if followed, should have you up and running one of these sites within a few days of your time.
To close things out I’d also like to share a few ways to market these directory sites and keep them going (since they can be fickle and easy to let it go to waste).
That’s enough of the intro. Let’s get into it.
Part 2: The Creation of a Directory Website
The creation of these types of websites couldn’t get any easier due in part to the wonderful work of designers and developers that have put in effort to create website templates.
I really wouldn’t recommend trying to start a directory website using an HTML/CSS template because it’s going to be an absolute nightmare keeping it updated so stick with the CMS’s for this one.
Here are a few other lists compiled by others showcasing directory themes:
- 75+ Best Classifieds Directory WordPress Themes
- Best Directory WordPress Themes For Business Listings, Job Boards, Classifieds and Others
- 24 BEST DIRECTORY WORDPRESS THEMES
Once you have the theme installed (you can read one of our guides) it’s all a matter of:
1. Upload the data you’ve compiled (using the theme documentation) to create the individual listings for the directory.
2. Create the basic structure of the site (Home, Blog, Contact, Etc) along with installing any other essential plugins for security, social, and flexibility.
3. Fill in a small amount of blog content to help the site begin getting indexed and so you have fuel for your social media profiles (which you should create around this same time).
For more in-depth discussion and overviews give these two links a look over:
- Starting A Local/niche Directory Site (forum discussion)
- Create a Paid Directory using WordPress (guide)
Most of what you’re doing is very much in line with other projects if you’ve developed sites before with the exception that this time around you’re creating listings which are pulled and displayed based on categories, keywords, and other parameters.
The better themes generally give you a data set you can upload to see how everything works on the backend so be sure to look into that if you’re getting stuck.
In terms of marketing the new directory website …
There are a few ideas that pop up that should be worth your while:
A. Get in contact with the company you’ve included in the listing, by email, to let them know they are now part of your listing (for free) and that you’d love to keep open dialog to see how you can help drive them more business (and if they can help in driving you traffic). This may get a few of the companies to include you in one of their social shares or link back.
B. Create a “Top List” which might become a defining award in the industry. First create a badge and then allow people to vote on the top 10/20/50/100 individuals or companies within the industry. Compile that data and send the badge code to those individuals. This badge will help give you branding awareness but can also be used as part of link building.
C. Product a ton of long-tail keyword content that goes after the individual companies and products/services they offer which keeping up with a strong interlinking campaign. Once you’ve create this “base” content begin to compile and share top & list posts, reviews, and pros and cons.
D. Work on building your social presence and let people know your site is always open to feedback and user submissions (hopefully your theme supports this) which should create a stronger sense of community because they are able to contribute. Besides the listings you should regularly accept guest posts.
And then, of course, do your normal routine of advertising and marketing to help build the brand, social following, and search ranking.
End of Part 2
And there you have it.
In two posts you’ve been given all the basics needed to get started with directory websites. Now you’re primed to introduce all forms of new profitability to your business. You can go hyper-local within your town (or others) or go big and make an attempt at dominating the big markets. It’s up to you.
Do remember one thing though: if you’re serious about building a directory site you have to keep up on it otherwise it becomes outdated and easily forgotten.
Other than that … best of luck!