Directory Websites can be a great way to generate passive income, especially if you have a good domain name to go along with it. At the same time, it’s important to understand that unless you already have a steady stream of traffic just putting up a directory won’t suddenly send people to your site – that’s your job.
There are entire books about how to get organic traffic to your website so I’m not going to cover that here, but I do want to make one important point before going any further. Most directory sites never make any money because the owners put up a directory with no listing and then “hope” that people will just start populating it for them. Even with traffic your initial listings really aren’t going to just appear, you have to do some work.
The most successful directories start by putting a few hundred listings up themselves for free. Then they often make an investment in advertising (or build-up organic traffic over time) so that when people come to the site they see listings there and feel comfortable adding theirs.
In case these three paragraphs still didn’t hit it home, let me make my point very clear. It is very hard to make money with directory sites, it takes times, and often and investment in marketing to get them off the ground. On the plus side, it is easy to setup a directory website and no, you don’t need to know how to write a single line of code. There are two solutions I recommend for building directory websites and I’ll cover each below.
Vantage is a great way to put a well-designed directory website on any domain name powered by WordPress. Vantage is fully responsive so it looks great on smartphones and tablets and it was built by a professional designer so it looks great. If you are comfortable with WordPress this will be an easy one for you – just install the Vantage theme and set it up in the good old WordPress Dashboard.
Not a WordPress nut? Don’t worry, there’s a great directory solution for you. PHPMyDirectory is one of the most robust directory platforms on the planet and yes, you guess it, it’s written in PHP. Luckily you won’t need to know PHP to use it but you might need to know some of the basics for setting-up and installing code and databases on a web server.
If you really want to run PHPMyDirectory but you don’t know much about server configuration there are plenty of people who can set it up for you all for under $50 so there are other options. The big advantage to PHPMyDirectory is speed since it does have a very low page load time and less bulk than WordPress.
No matter which of the two solutions you pick above it’s a reasonable expectation to have your site up and running in a day. Just remember that you’ll need to be responsible for getting the initial listings up, attracting visitors to your site, and building-up more traffic over time. Both Vantage and PHPMyDirectory have great ways to easily charge for listings and listing upgrades so that once you do build-up traffic it’s easy to layer on revenue and kick your passive revenue generator into action.
Just don’t expect it to be easy. Most people I know who built and run successful directory sites spend over a year and a few thousand dollars in marketing to get the site off the ground, and no, they’re not planning on striking it rich. That being said, if you have a dormant domain sitting around that you think would be a good fit for a directory site, this could be a good way to generate passive income over time, if you take the time to do it right.