How to Make Money with a Business Directory Website. 11 Simple Ways to Earn Great Money From the Directory Business Model — good karma


  1. Sell high dollar back end services. (web design, online consulting, SEO services, clarity consulting, social media marketing, fundraising/crowdfunding, content marketing, blog building, re-sell hosting, brand building, author marketing, you name it……you can create a high end offer that a small segment of your audience will truly need, and use your directory to build the appeareance of authority/expertise, to establish yourself as the go-to “guru” in that niche, market, industry, vertical or locality)
  2. Create a marketplace (using something like WC vendors) and earn a commission on every transaction
  3. Sell JV deals/ product promotions (link from your store to your vendors products, and earn a commission on every sale you make (with tracking links). Note: This has the extra added value of allowing you to actually CREATE the affiliate program for your vendors, as most of them will love the idea, but will NOT have an affiliate program, nor have any idea what tools, tech or steps are required to facilitate it on their own.
  4. Sell ordinary affiliate products. (contingent on your niche, you can sell and refer hosting services, email autoresponders, domain name registrations, ecommerce platforms (like Shopify, for example, which pays very well) — depending on the industry you’re in, you can pre-populate your site with affiliate offers that match the needs and niche of your audience, and earn easy (albeit ancillary) income by referring them to high value services they’ll need to scale their businesses anyway.
  5. Sell featured listings. (the way most folks monetize their sites, and while it’s not my favorite, it’s the most straightforward path for sure)
  6. Use restrict content pro (or any analog) to “protect” certain content and charge for access. (create a membership style site where premium content is protected from the public, or the professionals who use the community. “blurring” out certain contact details is one form of this popular with directories, but you can do any number of variations on this approach (even restricting articles) and add an easy ancillary income stream.
  7. Sell advertising (using something like OpenAds — adsense, or direct sales)
  8. Use a content curation newsletter services like — and sell premium placement in your newsletter. Integrate this with a featured listing offer, or any of the other offers above, to really amp UP the appeal, and offer overwhelming, irresitable value that folks can’t refuse. (adding some scarcity or exclusivity into this is another great way of making this more appealing) Also note — look at for examples of how many people are doing this with shocking levels of success already. A good, simple, curated newsletter can be an authority site on it’s own — and many people are already collecting links, sharing great content, building an audience, and then charging great money for something that can take literally minutes per week. (often $500- 1K+ per issue) for advertisers thereafter.
  9. Do interviews. People LOVE to be interviewed. It makes us feel important and sexy, two things I haven’t felt since 2004. You can offer an interview on your directory, create a great looking PDF transcription of an audio, or just make the whole thing text based, and then post it on your site, let your user post it thereafter, promote it on your newsletter, let THEM promote it on their FB page, give them a great looking, highly stylized doc they can share with their audience (I use for this) and simply let your imagination run wild. Combine, mix and match this with other premium offers above for maximum impact.
  10. Sell your directory. Build it to flip it! Add 100 listings in a week or two, add 25 blog posts, build a FB page, an instagram page, get good hosting and advertise it for sale to someone who competes in that niche. This is especially effective for hyper local directories and you can literally learn the ropes, build one of these and “flip” it in a month, and earn on the job. PRO TIP. (never trust anyone who says “pro tip”) You can sell one of these and then sell your back end CONSULTING and support for a year, and turn that into an online marketing opportunity. (in other words — charge $1K for the site — and offer an option for $4k, you’ll help them build it out, develop it, and grow their community with your help. This is a great way of getting online marketing consulting customers, by actually BUILDING the thing that you’re going to be supporting — make a great guarantee — help others succeed and let them help YOU build buzz for your brand and business as a result)
  11. Lastly — build an affiliate program for your OWN offers. Let other people earn great money recommending your services (above) and promote THAT on your directory. Use a banner ad on every listing (you can add an ad block with something like MYLISTING that shows up on EVERY listing on your site, promoting your affiliate program. This works really well, and helps turn your professional peers, into eager evangelists for your site, services and high end offers. Every time they refer one of their readers back to their listing on YOUR site? More eyeballs are being introduced to your offers — and your income opportunities as as result.)



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Ian Hollander

Ian Hollander

Occasional thoughts about mindfulness, marketing & Mojo