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How to make money with a local online business directory

Updated on April 15, 2013

Money Making Ideas with a Local/City Online Business Directory

An online business directory is a virtual business directory which contains the contact information of listed businesses within a geographical area such as a city, state or even a country based on category. So for instance all the restaurants in a city like New York could be listed

But unlike the regular business directory or yellow pages which were more common prior to the 2000’s the modern business directory is virtual available for people to access online.

The world is becoming a smaller place with ease of communication making it possible for people all over the world to communicate and share information in seconds over distant areas. But the intriguing thing is how people want to find businesses, products and services at the snap of a finger. That is where online city guide business directories come in.

They make it easier for people to find specific products and services within a local area without them having to leave their homes or asking too many people to find what they need.

How Local Online Business Directories Make Money

There are many ways by which a city focused online directory can make money but we’ll focus on the following which have been tried, tested and proven to be effective:

Directory Listings

Businesses in a city want to be seen by as many potential clients as possible. Directories have an advantage in being highly targeted narrowing their search for businesses to potential leads there by saving time and cost. So to both businesses and potential clients business directories are highly cost effective. So offering businesses premium listing in your directory will give a business an edge over other competing businesses in the same category and thus more exposure. There are 3 kinds of directory listings: Basic (free), featured (paid) and premium (paid). The premium listings usually appear as the top listing for each category while featured listings have more detailed description besides the usual contact information but appear below the premium listing.

Advert Slots

Because online directories tend to be popular and highly targeted they can be attractive to businesses for adverts. Here are the 3 most common advert slots you’ll likely find in online directories:

  • Banner Slots

Banner slot adverts usually contain pictures/images as well as short written messages that promote a particular product/service or business. You can charge businesses to advertise their posters etc on your directory.

  • Contextual Adverts

Contextual adverts are those adverts you’ll typically find on most monetized blogs such as adsense which is adverts tailored to rhyme with the context of web content. You can display contextual adverts on your online business directory and earn money from clicks by visitors to your website.

  • Link Based Advert Slots

These advert slots are simply links contained at the bottom, middle or top of a web page usually in very visible locations on the website. The links could point directly to a website or they could link to a review article about a product/service or business. These kinds of adverts are slightly less expensive than Banner adverts.


An online directory can also do deals with local businesses to promote their brands. A local business may offer 30% discount on select items in its inventory to attract sales and create brand awareness. The discount/rebate goes to the directory publishers.

Affiliate Marketing

This is similar to deals the only difference is the directory only gets paid a commission on every sale that comes through the directory. The online directory acts as an agent linking potential buyers with merchants and commission is paid to the directory publishers.

Product Reviews

Some businesses especially new entrants into a city would often like to have their businesses reviewed. A new product just being introduced could potentially be a hit with consumers but usually when an authoritative reviewer has an opinion or two about it. Businesses are aware of this and are willing to pay to have their products and services reviewed.

Email Marketing

Some directories have mailing lists of subscribers who are usually small businesses/business owners and consumers within a city who register to receive updates on happenings within the city

These are some of the ways to make money with a local online business directory. Of course there are still others but you’ll do just fine with these ones.


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