There are many ways to monetize your directory site and generate an online income. Setting up a successful directory site can take time and a lot of hard work. But due to the numerous possible revenue streams a directory site can be very worthwhile.

In this article we will look at six very effective ways to monetize your directory site. From selling listings and advertisements to businesses, to charging visitors for access to content, or setting up your own AirBnB style booking site, we will discuss multiple revenue options that you could enable on your own directory site.

Using Listify to Create a Directory Site

listify directory

Listify is our very own WordPress directory theme. Purpose built, this beautiful, stylish and responsive theme is ideal for creating and monetizing a directory website.

Listify provides specific directory site features, including built-in listing support and advanced geolocation filtering. This ensures your visitors receive a great user experience, and are shown relevant content based on their current location. Listify is also quick and easy to set up. With demo content and a live drag and drop editor, you can brand and customize your site without having to have a degree in design.

As for monetizing, Listify caters for all your needs. Whether you are looking to charge businesses for creating listings and advertising on your directory, or charge customers for access to your site, content, and bookings, Listify has all the necessary features to support these different revenue streams.

Let’s now consider the options for successfully monetizing your directory site…

1. Charge for Listings on Your Directory Site

The most obvious way to monetize your directory site is to charge for directory listings, an option that our own directory theme Listify offers through integration with WooCommerce. Listings can be anything, from restaurants, shops, and hotels, to financial services, property, and events. You can charge businesses just to place a listing, or to upgrade to a premium listing that displays extra information.

Premium listings can range in price, depending on what they offer. More expensive listings can include extra features, including images, more text, social media links, and lots more. Sought after listing positions, at the top of a page or in a featured space, can also generate higher fees.

Selling listings can be an effective way to create recurring revenue. A monthly fee can be charged per listing, with the listing on display until the subscription is canceled. Alternatively, a one-time fee can be charged for a limited amount of time.

Bear in mind, if you are trying to sell listings to businesses, you will need a to be able to show that your site is receiving adequate traffic, as people will want to see a return for their money.

2. Let Businesses Claim Their Listings

A great way to keep your site relevant and updated, as well as generating a profit, is to encourage businesses to claim their own listings. This involves less of a hard sell than simply selling listings, and ensures your site is displaying the correct information.

Both Google Business and Yelp provide the option for businesses to claim their own listing. It works by a directory site posting all the listings in their niche, or location, for free. Businesses can then claim, or purchase, their own listing.

By claiming their listing, companies have the option of adding more text, photos, and further contact links, replying to reviews, updating important information like opening hours, and lots more. This gives them control over the information displayed about their business. It also enables companies to use their listing to promote their brand.

For you, the directory site owner, this is a great way to monetize your site, generate traffic and display the correct information that your audience might need.

Listify, our directory theme, integrates with our own Claim Listing plugin. This enables businesses to verify and edit their data, keeping it up to date. It also ensures you can generate a regular revenue from listings that have been claimed.

3. Sell Advertising Space

Many site directories choose not to charge for listings, or to claim a listing, and this can be understandable. Having all businesses listed, and their information all up to date, is important if you want to run a successful directory website and provide a great user experience for your audience. If you charge for listings, then you may end up with a site that isn’t displaying all the correct content for the businesses in your niche, which may lose you return visitors.

Selling advertising space can be a very effective way to monetize your directory site. Depending on your theme, advertisements can be placed within your posts and pages. Listify, for example, allows banners to be placed in any widgetized area throughout your site. This enables you to place relevant ads with specific content, ensuring the user experience isn’t negatively affected by ads, and make money from every page of your site.

Adverts can be charged as a recurring fee, giving you a regular income, or as a one off payment for a set time period. However, as with charging for listings, you will need to show that your site is receiving substantial traffic to entice companies to place an ad. Google AdSense, or another ad service, can also be used to monetize advertising space.

AdRotate is a free WordPress plugin that can help you to sell and manage advertisements on your directory site. You can run advertising campaigns from within your WordPress dashboard, create your own adverts and monitor the results. AdRotate Pro also supports geo-targeting and mobile adverts, avoids ad blocking, and lots more. If you are looking to go down the advertisement route, then AdRotate is definitely worth checking out.

4. Make Individual Listings Private

Another way to monetize your directory site is to charge your visitors to view content. By making individual listings private, you can then charge your audience to view them.

Plugins like Restrict Content Pro enable you to hide specific listings, and then take payments from your audience to access them. This can be in the form of a one-off payment or a recurring subscription. Once they have made the payment, visitors can then view the protected listing.

If you are going to make individual listings private in this way, make sure the listings are important enough to pay for. A good example of paid for listings can often be seen on job websites. Here jobs offering a higher salary are often hidden from general view, as it is worth people’s while to buy access to higher paying jobs.

So, if your directory is in a niche where your audience will pay to see private listings, this could potentially make you some good money.

5. Set Up an Exclusive Membership Directory Site

Creating an exclusive membership directory site is a great way to generate a regular recurring revenue. Our directory theme Listify provides the option of making your directory site exclusive to paid members.

Customers will have to sign up and pay a fee to access your site and the information on it. This could be a one-off fee, but more likely to be a monthly payment. To make a directory membership site truly successful, you will need to create a site packed full of useful and interesting content, relevant to your niche.

Apart from listings, you should consider adding a blog, including videos and podcasts, running webinars, organizing live events, setting up a members forum, and lots more. By regularly updating your site with content that your community needs, they will continue to subscribe to your directory.

6. Create a Site like AirBnB

Another option to monetize your directory site is to turn it into a site like AirBnB. With Listify you can let businesses sell services and products on your site, as well as take bookings and arrange appointments. A fee for a booking or sale is then charged via WooCommerce.

Creating a site in the style of AirBnB will help keep traffic on your site and encourage recurring visitors. Your audience will be able to organize all their booking and buying needs directly on your site. This will help turn your site into an indispensable resource for your niche.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are numerous ways to monetize your directory site. Think carefully about the type of directory site you want to set up, or are already running. This will be the main factor in deciding which revenue streams you use.

How will you monetize your directory site? Please share your thoughts in the comments below…