A lot of webmasters at one point or another have thought of starting up a directory to make some extra money. Some have even attempted a directory and failed, some have made a little, and some have succeeded. This article will give some tips on how to maximize the profit that your directory brings in.
Tip #1 - Submit to Other Directories
If you don't have a lot of money, or don't want to spend money to pay people to submit for you, this can be a hassle. Trust me, I know. But it really helps your directory, a lot. It helps with traffic a little, but will also help a ton with getting more backlinks.
Start by submitting to free directories and if you can afford it, and submit to the higher PR paid directories.
Tip #2 - Custom Template
Most directories out there use a free template, and therefore a lot of them look very similar. If you want to make your directory stand out from the crowd, get a custom template. You can either pay to have one designed, or crack open the HTML book and make one for yourself. People like to see directories where the owner invests money into it. If you are hoping to have a high quality paid directory, it is highly recommended that you get a custom temp.
Tip #3 - Mods
Continuing with the custom template, people also like to see custom mods in directories. Things like suggest a category, a stats box, thumbnail previews, etc. These things show the potential customer that the directory they are submitting to is high quality, and people are going to want to use it.
Tip #4 - Keep a Clean Directory
This one is a no-brainer. Who would want to submit (or pay to submit) their site to a directory filled with SPAM? Nobody.
As annoying as it may be, go through all of your links and check for things like keyword spamming in the title/description, adult sites, sites made for adsense, etc.
Things you can do to cut back on SPAM are things like making your directory paid, and turning on image verification. Free directories get a lot of SPAM, so go through them closely.
Tip #5 - Announce Your Directory to Forums
This brings in some great traffic to your directory. A lot of site owners check forums daily, and when new directories are announced, they submit to them. Most webmaster forums have a section for Directory Announcements. This allows you to get the word out to millions (for free), and allows for a chance at feedback, and what other people think about your directory.
Tip #6 - Spend Money to Make Money
Don't be afraid to spend money on your directory, it'll pay off in the end. Entrepreneurship, as well as internet entrepreneurship is all about taking risks. You have to risk some money if you want to make more in the end. So try experimenting with some advertising. Buy some top directory listings, buy some AdWords, try Text Link Ads, etc.
Tip #7 - AdSense and Affiliate Ads
These are both great ways to earn some extra money on your directory, if you use them properly. With AdSense, make sure your ads are nicely blended, but stand out a little so people can see them. Don't just load your site with AdSense though, it's an instant turnoff. And if the AdSense isn't blended well, it just looks bad, which makes your directory look bad.
Affiliate ads can be great too, programs like BOTW have, where you get commission off of every link that someone buys. Good placement with these links are critical too. If you just paste it in the middle of your index page, people will think "why the heck is that there?" Place it somewhere on the submit page, or have them re-directed to a page after they submit, and have the affiliate ad placed on that page.
Tip #8 - Never Stop Asking Questions
There's always experts out there on forums who know they're stuff when it comes to directories. Either talk with them personally, or just post in forums all the time. Never stop asking questions, and never be afraid to ask questions. How else are you supposed to learn? We all started out as meer peons in the world of webmastering, and even us experts ask questions all the time. No matter where you rank in the WoW (world of webmastering, not warcraft hehe), you should always ask questions when you have them.
Tip #9 - Spend Time
In the beginning, directories require a lot of time put into them. You're going to need to bust your rear if you want to start your directory the right way. So if you're not ready to spend a couple hours a day on your directory for the first few weeks/months, forget making good money with it. Most of the directories that people make fail after about 5 months, because people simply don't put enough effort into them, and they don't work, so the person gives up. I'll repeat again, if you're not willing to put a lot of time/effort into making a quality directory, forget about it.
Tip #10 - Don't Give Up
Sort of a continuation of the last tip, don't give up. If you're spending hours on your directory for the first two months and don't see any large profit yet, don't worry, that's normal. Your directory needs time to mature and grow. And once a PR update comes, all that hard work will pay off because just like *that* you'll be a PR4+.
Hopefully after reading those 10 tips, you have a better grasp on what you can do to improve the quality of your directory. Always remember, Become a Geek, Make more Money!
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