I am going to talk you through the necessary steps to create a successful business directory. Yclas has the essential features, themes as well as templates needed to achieve success in this market. We decided to create a Restaurant business directory where people can review their favorite restaurant and access to all the information about the trendiest restaurants in town. We call it: Restauranty
I will start off with the basic steps, then lead into how you can customize and personalize your site. First, If you already own a domain you can go to the next step, but for registering a new domain, go to NameCheap one of the best domain providers worldwide. With this link you will find a discount
- Registration: If you don’t have an account with Yclas, sign up now. After clicking on “Sign Up” (top left-hand corner), create your account by filling in your details.
- Confirmation of the email: Once you have finished the previous step, you will receive a confirmation email. Without a confirmation, you will be unable to use Yclas.
- My website: After confirming your email you need to confirm your Yclas account. Your account confirmation should take you to this page https://yclas.com/panel/site displaying different options.
2.- Setup your domain
You can set your own domain later, but we recommend to do it at this stage as it would be easy to focus on setting up your site, marketing, and other stuff! For using your own domain with Yclas, please go to https://yclas.com/panel/site and click "Use your own Domain". All the necessary steps are detailed there.
If you want to set SSL (only for Growth and Business plans) this is also the time to do it.
Now you have created your website, I would advise you to play around with the admin panel and get familiar with the different features. I will list a few key features that will be very useful to be aware of while you're building your business directory site.
3.- Customize your Business Directory
Let's start working on customizing your site to look like a Business Directory. As you know Yclas provide 14 fresh themes to set your online business, but you can also request a customized website here.
Go to -> https://yclas.com/panel/site and click on "Panel", you will access to your admin panel, where you can manage everything about your website.
Themes: Appearance -> Theme Options, Once you have selected a theme that you believe suits your site, you can take it further and change specific elements such as the layout, typography, color and so on.
Widgets: Widgets is an excellent way to go the extra mile to personalize your website. The Currency Converter is ideal, you can select the default currency as well as other currencies you would want to be displayed. This is very useful if you have an international customer base, this makes it possible for them to display the price in their own currency. There is the Chat widget that makes it possible for customers to have a conversation with each other; it’s also a good way to know your customers wants and needs. To access this option go to Appearance -> Widgets.
Settings: If you go to Settings -> Advertisements, you will have options to which you can choose how you want your ads to be displayed, published and shared.
In Listing Options you are able to choose how many ads you want to be displayed per page and how you want them to be displayed. You can choose whether the ads should be displayed by featured, rating, favorited, distance, newest or oldest. In Advertisement Fields, you can control what would be displayed on an individual ad, for instance, phone number, location, address and so on.
4.- Making money with a business directory.
When you are launching an online business you need to know what are the best ways to monetize it. Launching a business directory is no different from other businesses, but as per our experience creating, launching and running marketplaces and business directories the best ways to monetize are:
- Featured Ads
- Bring to top
- Pay to post
At Restaurany, we think Featured Ads, as well as Bring to the top, would definitely work better than other monetization ways. Imagine we have +1000 restaurants listed on Restauranty, it makes total sense for Restaurants to pay and be within the first positions or be featured to be highlighted.
5.- Business Development and Marketing
Online businesses such, blogs, websites E-commerce, classifieds, business directories etc need hard work to be successful. No matter what are you selling, you must pay attention to your business development and marketing once you set your site and try to see the market fit as soon as possible. If you don't work on this your site won't get any visit/traffic and you will get mad with no one asking or buying your products/services.
Here is a list of some strategies to do after a launch to attract new customers:
- Ask for feedback to your friends and family, you probably will get the first users from them.
- For a business directory the first step it to work on the supply side. Go and visit the best restaurants in town to promote your site and ask them to join your directory for Free. Offer also free services to upload their content. Within the first steps, you need to do it in order to avoid when users visit your site and listings in your platform.
- Share on social media. With billions of people out there, Social Media is the best way to spread the word. Curate your content, target your audience and don't buy fake followers. Grow your fans base slowly but be sure you are getting potential customers on board. If you want to take it to the next level, try paid ads.
- Create a group of your niche on FB, group besides your business page. For example for Restauranty we could create a group like: "LOST FOODIES in AUSTIN" (don't search for it, is an invented group name), it one of the best ways to create a community for your site. Don't use it for promotional content, use the rule 80% -20%, 80% of your content must be worthy content for your audience whilst 20% could be information about your business directory, new blog post or giveaways.
- Work on big forums like Reddit and Quora. You can get tons of traffic from it without spending a dollar.
- Create an offline campaign. With few bucks, you can develop a promotion with a restaurant. Go to the bus station or a crowded square and promote your deal like a 2x1 three meal courses if you join Restaurant within today with a fancy dress or something very provocative. Bring your laptop or iPad and signup people directly.
- Email. As you used the offline promotion to signup people, you can send them promotional content by email. Don't spam them, use it to send worth information for your audience.
- Create a blog and post receipts, foodie tips etc.. (those examples are for Restauranty). Become a foodie expert in your area, and create an audience who are looking for your next post every week.
- Ask customers and users for feedback, constantly. This is the only way to know where are you and how to guide your business to fit your customer's needs.
- Here are some more strategies and ideas: How to get 10k visitors within a month and How to get your first customers.
I just mentioned #10 strategies you can start right now to grow your marketplace, classifieds site, business directory or any online business. Just adapt it to your niche and start working hard to get results.
Well, in fact, you are not done. As any business running a business directory is a project you should invest a lot of hours constantly to get results. Until here you will have a product with some traffic and maybe some customers, but you must definitely work hard to succeed on it. We are sure that you will if you follow our steps.