This profit model has so much potential I will only cover part of what is possible as it can be set up and used in many different ways, so this is my way and I think you’re going to like it.
These are websites which focus on what’s happening in the local community, then also act as a tourist guide for visitors as well as listing all of the local businesses. They really are a directory for the local area and can have tremendous profit potential if you’re prepared to put the right effort into setting them up and getting them running.
Some areas already have lots of competition but I can tell you right now VERY FEW people do it right and so by the time you get to the end of this profit model you will know the secret to quite easily getting past any competition you may have. I am going to give you the secret to making it work and generating an ongoing income from it.
It will probably surprise you how much this could generate in ongoing income and I will return to this important consideration as we progress. So let’s get started on this great opportunity by telling you that you will be spoiled for choice when it comes to selecting your first area to establish your first community website.
You can pick ANY location in the country although I suggest you begin a little closer to home. Remember this is a digital business so distance is not a BIG consideration.
My wife and I recently started a new community website …
Now I have had a number of community websites over the years and generally have sold them on for a very handsome profit so I know how they work and how to make them profitable. However, I didn’t think I would be starting another one but I think my wife became jealous of my lifestyle.
She likes the fact that I only work when I want to and I work in a very relaxed manner and tend to work in little bursts surrounded by lots of free time for myself to lead the lifestyle I have always found appealing. She kept repeating that she wants to do something on the Internet also and so I encouraged her. As a result we went through some possibilities together and when I described this profit model she almost jumped at the idea.
So we ran the profit potential figures together and I quickly developed this site on our local town which is Weston Super Mare in the West Country of the United Kingdom.
If you would like to visit it you can do so at: http://www.weston-local-pages.co.uk/
Actually, I didn’t so much develop it as I adapted it to suit our requirements because this is a word press template which has had most of the hard work done for me as it includes a shopping cart and automated monthly payments etc. …and this is just the tip of the iceberg because it comes fully loaded with all of the bells and whistles if you want to use them. I’ll show you exactly where you can get a copy of this WP theme latter.
So here it is up and running and I have given my wife the tools and formula to make it work so by the time you visit it perhaps it will have advanced much further.
No actually it is quite easy, but even for me there was a learning curve involved in mastering this software. However, it comes with tutorials and with a little application soon everything starts to drop into place. More importantly, like most things which are worth doing, NOTHING HAPPENS OVERNIGHT and you need to be prepared to put some consistent effort and work into the mix especially in the initial stages and then the magic will begin to happen.
Now as I have already mentioned there’s lots of competition for this type of business but most individuals give a poor service and are not very successful simply because they are prepared to do what it takes.
So if you look at your area and see lots of competitors don’t be discouraged or particularly bothered because these are likely to be franchises and they never seem to work that hard at their business. There is just ONE THING you need to concentrate upon in the early stages which after a few months will get you to the top Google listing for your keyword or community website area, and then it will be NO COMPETITION.
You will find many similar looking community website franchises in most areas simply because the franchisees make it look easy and appealing to do and generally such franchises only cost between £2,000 and £10,000 to get started. I’m going to save you wasting that money immediately by first of all testing if it is worth competing for a specific area. Leading field in this franchise is ‘the best of’ which has now been running for a number of years here in the UK and you can learn more about them at: http://www.thebestof.co.uk/national/uk
I suggest that you pay them a visit and see just how much it costs to get started with them because the process I’m going to show you will certainly generate higher profits than the MAJORITY of their franchisees make.
However, as an alternative to finding such websites use Google and simply type in the area of your choice and see what websites are returned in the SERP’s. Before we go any further I suggest that you spend a few minutes looking at such websites so you get a better understanding of exactly what we’re speaking about.
Now this is the bit that most people find confusing simply because there are MANY different profit streams you can plug your new community site into, so listed below are a few of the main ones.
Graphical banner adverts on the front page and in the sidebar of your community website are the profit stream you are likely to identify first. Now it’s possible to have too many of these so on the website example at Weston Super Mare you will find just one larger rotating banner ad at the top of the page and 10 down the sidebar. Actually, I can put far more banner ads into the system than can be seen at one time because this system will rotate the adverts in different locations with every new webpage view and rotate them as visitors go to different pages of the site.
Now you’re probably wondering how much you can charge for such adverts and this will be a very difficult question’s for me to answer because it has everything to do with your area and how much traffic you are getting on a daily basis. Some websites will be asking £100 – £200 for each and every month which you advertise with them, and they will also ask you to advertise for a minimum of a three month period payments upfront.
On our website right now as it is not yet in number one position on Google, I would be happy to take £30 a month for the smaller advert and perhaps £70 a month for the header advert although that price would obviously go up as the dynamics and the traffic upon that site improves.
You have probably already worked out that the main income for the community website will be business listing revenue? Now I have a number of different prices and options for my advertisers to take advantage of. The cheapest was my free listing which gave anyone a completely free lineage advert. Unfortunately, this proved to be highly attractive to spammers and in the first week I accumulated over 100 non-relevant free linage advertisements so we changed that.
I changed the free listing to an almost free listing and charged £10 for our 365 day listing and since doing this spammers have not listed once. As you can see I am testing a variety of prices and have so far found that £7 a month is of most interest to the advertisers who have found the site all by themselves.
I didn’t arrive at this figure by chance but as I had a very small mailing list of local businesses which I decided to ask what they felt was a fair price for this service and £7 seem to fit well for everyone. As you can see the higher the price, the more benefits they get and so the £7 per month and £70 a year seem to be the most popular and like all of my prices automatically renew at the end of this period.
Well compared to some of the community websites I have seen I think I give fantastic value for money. For the two premium price listings I give pretty much unlimited space and you can see a short listing of one of my own services I have added to this page. If you would like to see the real listing you can do so by going to:
I give them advice on writing their advert and use this particular listing as an example because I have used it for a number of years and know that it works very well. Here is what they get:
They also get the opportunity to list their business in multiple category headings, so for instance, if it was the local bowling alley which was advertising they may want themselves listing under bowling alleys, entertainments and things to do, etc.
This is a premier listing, however linage is exactly what it says, just a short paragraph of information without pictures.
Another great way of generating additional income would be to start a discount newsletter and encourage visitors to your site to subscribe to it. This would just be a short weekly e-mail publication which would highlight a number of local companies, shops or restaurants which are offering special DEALS and DISCOUNTS.
Of course this would be a premium service and very quickly you would have companies wanting to publish in it each and every week if given the opportunity. For that reason the price would go up accordingly to match the demand. Naturally, only businesses who advertised in the listings would be invited to use this premier facility.
Every week as a perk of the job I would add a few additional listings to the email which would be my own affiliate links or joint ventures which I had arranged with local companies where I could generate an additional income. Many people overlook this more obvious income stream but as you become established I urge you not to because the income it generates will be four times a month.
You could also arrange special additional listing for specific times of the year such as school holidays with discount attraction to keep the kids occupied etc. With just a little creativity you could come up with a number of these to swell your bank account.
Now the companies which advertise will probably want to do so in the form of a coupon which can be printed out and then returned as the discount is taken advantage of. This means that advertisers can immediately see what income this is generated for them. The last discount list I developed soon grew to 6,000 subscribers. Now imagine you have 10 coupons in your e-mail and charged £30 each for one week’s insertion. This would generate an additional £1200 per month in revenue plus whatever your own joint ventures and affiliate deals return in profits.
Can you see the potential of this newsletter?
Now just as, if not MORE important would be a business Newsletter! The reason is this is your opportunity to build a relationship with them and educate them about your listing and advertising service. Sometimes it will take many exposures to your material before prospects become sales receptive, now please note I didn’t say sell, SELL, sell to them!
Like all relationships this must be no obligation value lead relationship otherwise they will simply unsubscribe from your newsletter. What I tend to do is offer them marketing advice and techniques for getting more customers, and more money from their existing customers, and of course advertising upon a local community would occasionally be part of that advice.
However, you may not feel that you have a skill in this area in which case I would simply suggest that you borrow and rewrite other people’s material, and keep it simple and friendly.
We have already covered the topic of banner ads earlier, so this would be a very good time to tell you that some affiliate advertisements will have HUGE profit potential when placed upon your website. I can’t tell you which because this is something that you will have to test for yourself. For this reason I suggest that you give the subject lots of thought and come up with a few good affiliate products or services and then test them upon your site and within your discount list.
If they get a good response you may want to keep them listing upon your site and run them again in your newsletter, but don’t overdo it.
Remember it’s your site and you can change the material as often as you wish. So my advice would be to constantly test new material and after a short while you will start to get a feel for what works well with your visitors and readership, and what does not.
Another revenue stream which you may want to consider upon your community site is Google AdSense. Now the flipside of the coin is PPC (pay per click) advertising which means every time someone clicks upon the advert a charge is made, and the nice thing is that you get a percentage of that revenue. I would not claim to be an expert on AdSense but I do know someone who has purchased a number of properties from the AdSense revenue they have received, so you can see it can be highly profitable.
The best possible way of finding out if AdSense is suitable on your side is by testing it for a certain time and then seeing what another revenue stream generates by occupying the same space.
Now if you take the time to investigate premium press you will discover that they do a whole range of pre-developed websites which you can quickly adapt to suit your purpose. One of the beauties of running WordPress sites is under the same URL you could have a number of different sites running in folders of the same name. For instance, you could have a:
And obviously you could link directly to them from your main community site. Now the above three ideas for websites I have already placed upon our community website although they may not be immediately visible. All the fees will generate additional streams of income and also create more interest and visitors, and return visitors to the main website which means raised potential in every area.
Once you have built your business list you may want to consider developing a bimonthly or even monthly community magazine. Now you will have already developed an audience and many relationships also so a magazine would be a natural progression and possibly an easy sell to your existing customers. Now I don’t want to mention too much about a community magazine because this is not the place. What I can tell you is I have experience in this marketplace and if you get it right a community magazine can make a nice ongoing profit, so keep this idea in the back of your mind until the time your website is up and running and getting close to its full potential.
Now this may sound like a HUGE amount of work but I promise it isn’t once you have everything set up and running. Like all things there is a learning curve involved but it’s this initial effort which makes this a worthwhile opportunity because if everything was that easy everyone would be doing it.
To start off with all you need is a simple site design, something which looks decent and professional. This shouldn’t take too long to achieve and then after this point you can work on your site design and functionality in little bursts, and add new elements as and when you have time. Now the BIG MISTAKE at this point is to spend all of your time getting your site looking and working right rather than promoting it. It’s a simple formula, however good your site looks; if it’s not getting visitors IT WON’T make money.
For this reason I encourage you to spend the majority of your time promoting your website and only work on its appearance or functionality when you have finished your promotional duties for the day because at this point they are secondary.
If you follow this SIMPLE RULE you will have plenty of time to make your site work as you wish and also have visitors starting to arrive within just a few weeks.
In the initial stages SEO will be a daily ongoing task. Remember, you want your new site to register on the front page of Google’s Serps as soon as possible and then get it to first position on that page just as soon as you can. There are many ways of doing this, but due to Google’s recent ‘Penguin’ updates the playing field has now been leveled once again and it is no longer possible to buy thousands of high PR back links because they just won’t mean anything in the Google SEO game.
However, there is a simple technique in which you can engage in each and every day that won’t cost you a penny and will get you to that first page position in a comparatively short period of time, and we will be coming to that shortly.
Follow this technique and you will see yourself rising in the Serps, how long it takes you to get to page one I cannot predict because this will have everything to do with the strength of you competition and how smart you are at SEO. However, it will happen and when you hit page 1 your daily activities will need to alter.
At this point prospects will start arriving and you will need to do everything you can to keep them entertained and amused and I will tell you more about this in the next section. This is likely to be your busiest time as of all suddenly you will have a whole load of tasks to learn and master, but once you get through them the process becomes a simple routine which won’t take long at all to achieve.
Now is the time to start approaching local businesses about taking a listing on your site. The fact that your website is now on page one of Google will capture their interest. However as they may not have heard of you before this point a paid listing may not be a high priority for them at this point in time. For this reason, I urge you to offer them a free or FREE TRIAL listing while the traffic builds up on your site. Now this is very symbiotic relationship as the listing will benefit them and at the same time this new content upon your site will be appreciated by Google.
More haste less speed is the name of the game with new advertisers and what you are looking for is the opportunity to WOW them and develop a relationship with them. So at the very least you want to add them to your business mailing list so you can start educating them and offering them up front value of some sort immediately. Please remember that receiving a NO reply to a listing request today doesn’t mean NO tomorrow. Many potential advertisers will be cautious and they will want to see your website develop a little history and track record before they decide to advertise with you. However, when they realise the boat is about to sail without them many will come quickly on board.
As you start attracting advertisers a good skill to possess is creating and designing banner ads. However, it’s another steep learning curve to master so alternatively you may want to find a local graphic designer to outsource to. When a new advertiser takes space you can refer them directly to your designer to get their banner created which they pass on to you in the correct size and format for immediate use. By the way, if I was outsourcing to a designer their cost would be that of the advertisers.
Now to develop interest as well as developing the SEO possibilities of your website you will want to keep adding new content to your site is one way of doing this is with an ongoing blog posts were you write about aspects of your local area. Another way is to have a LOCAL NEWS category which obviously local people will find interesting and may trigger them to start sending you their local news stories and items. A diary or WHAT’S ON section is also really important because as it develops this will attract a flow of local people to your website on a regular basis to see what is on.
As I have already mentioned a smart choice of action would be to begin a weekly discount newsletter for local residents from an early point. You don’t have to make money out of it in the initial stages as you can use this to build business relationships which are later turned to ongoing profit. Your list will not happen overnight and is an ongoing task which you should pay attention to. Send them a short e-mail every week to build a relationship and just make sure that you put plenty of benefits in it and links back to your website so they get used to visiting you.
Just as important is sending out regular e-mails to your business list and let me repeat DON’T try to sell to them in every e-mail. Talk about lifetime values of customers and how discounts often help to acquire new prospects, as well as being a good method of locking customers in. You could also offer the first 10 businesses which reply to your email the opportunity to include a discount voucher in your newsletter.
There are no hard and fast rules and you will need to become creative and keep your short newsletters interesting. However at the same time there are no shortage of ideas and relationship building potential so these are two weekly e-mails that you should pay a LOT of attention to because they will build your business!
Perhaps you are starting to understand what I meant when I said that there is a lot to do and keep your eye on when your website start to become successful. However, and to reiterate an important point, it will get much easier as you go forward and the day-to-day running of your website will take only a short time once you get used to the weekly workload.
So now you understand that it is a balance between keeping visitors to your website happy and entertained, and providing a relevant audience for your paying clientele which will be your local businesses.
The entertainment side of the equation is loads of fun and can be achieved by providing your visitors with the information which they want and then getting them involved. Aim to keep your website fun and controversial, but not outrageous! Make sure that you contact all of the clubs and associations in the area and put them in a list of their own so you can send them a weekly e-mail asking them if they have any upcoming events for your what’s on diary, or news items for your local news section. Eventually you won’t have to ask them anymore and you will start receiving news and what’s on dates from lots of different areas and associations you would have never thought of contacting.
As part of adding interest, you may want to do monthly restaurant and business reviews! Now you will simply love this side of the business because before you can do a restaurant review you will have to experience their cuisine and quite quickly you will have lots of local restaurants queuing up to entertain you so you can do a review of their restaurant.
When a business fails to promote themselves a terrible thing happens,
For this reason you will need to think outside of the box and look for ways of promoting yourself and getting your website address everywhere. Now this is not as hard as you may think as it is very easy to do deals in the early stages with companies that have influence and lists.
You need to be everywhere, and the more places you can get your name highlighted the more visitors you are going to get in the future.
Local businesses will soon notice the banner ads on the front page of your site and may investigate further the possibility of advertising themselves. So it is very important that you have attracted banner ads in place to generate this interest and the way to do this initially is by highlighting a few local companies for absolutely nothing to build a relationship with them. Or, link to affiliate products you are promoting, or even your own products and services as I do.
As I have already mentioned it may be necessary to give local businesses a free time limited listing to get them on board, this would generally be for three or six months before the monthly payments kick in. Often they will find this offer very acceptable and take you up on it immediately. An additional incentive you may want to offer is setting their page up for them. The way to do this will be to send them a questionnaire which they have to fill in and return digitally via e-mail. Then, all you have to do is copy and paste their information directly into their listing. As you advance you can make this a paid service, however, in the initial launch of your website it will be a benefit which will gain new customers.
It’s up to you to print your own brand upon your business and if you make it fun and you are easy to approach, as well as making it a habit of always giving up front and ongoing value you will be successful. So remember to always stick at it, never give up, smile lots and always say thank you.
Earlier on I promised you the secret to making your site successful so let’s go through it right now. Part of this secret is making sure that you can compete competitively in this marketplace and there is a little tool which I use and you can download it for free. It’s called Traffic Travis and it can be downloaded in just a couple of minutes from: http://www.traffictravis.com/register
Now I have the pro version of this software, and you may decide to invest into this useful piece of software also, but first let me show you how I use it to make sure I can complete.
As you can see from this illustration traffic Travis will tell you how easy or difficult it is to get number one position for different keywords. On this occasion my keyword is: Weston Super Mare which is the main keyword to attract visitors to my site. Traffic Travis goes out and finds the first 10 listings for this keyword and also lots of other information about this site.
Now my first aim is to get on the front page of Google and then to the top of that page and I will achieve this by gaining backlinks to my site from blog commenting. Now there are other ways of achieving this, but this is the quick and simple way of doing it. You will notice that the top listing has got 2,291 back links to their site, although a lower listed site has 11,440 back links so you may be asking why is this site not listed higher and the answer will be the quality of back links.
Now do you recall me mentioning the ‘Penguin’ update that Google recently instigated? …this is all about keyword relevance. Also I mentioned that I write blog posts upon my site which may be very keyword specific. So let me try and make sense of this for you!
It would be great if I could find thousands of blogs post written on the subject and keyword: Weston Super Mare, but that is unlikely. However, I will find lots of blog posts and relevant keywords and keyword phrases such as: short holiday breaks, walking on the beach, places to visit, etc. There are no shortages of blogs with related keyword articles on which I can make relevant comments. Now you don’t need to link all of your back links to the front page of your website, in fact, I don’t link any of them to the front page of my websites.
What I do is this, write a relevant blog post or article, for example 400 words on ‘walking on the beach’ and make it entertaining and then find a beach related blog posts and then comment and link them back to this! Now you may not even be able to find this article on my website because there are no obvious navigation links leading to it because it may not be relevant to my local visitors. However, the articles will have comment links to them which Google will know about and will get the rest of your site spiders by their search engine.
So this action is likely to bring lots of visitors to your site and at the same time get you a high Google listing, so the most important action as you begin to build your website is to get these VALUABLE back links. Now I have written a WHOLE module on back linking so I’m not going to go over the same information again here. However, I do want to mention that you may not need to get 2,000+ back links to take top position. Remember, what you are doing now if you follow this process is getting relevant HIGH VALUE back links which will make a HUGE difference, and if these back links also have a high Google PR rank you could end up taking number one position in the listings with just a few dozen back links, so QUALITY IS EVERYTHING!
I should also mention that getting listed is not an overnight happening, in fact it can take many weeks or even months as well as having your site involved in the Google dance which means it may appear on the front page of Google one-day and then disappear the following one before returning again a few days later, this is not unusual.
What Google loves is consistency, so it would be far better to start by getting 10 back links a day, EVERY DAY than going mad and getting 50 one-day and then doing no more for another week. Do a little every day and be patient and in just a few weeks if you have picked the right keyword you will see your website starting to rise in the Serps.
I think you already understand THE SECRET is getting your website to position number one in Google. When it has top listing you will find getting advertisers so much easier and so this must become your main preoccupation. Let me reiterate it will not happen overnight so be prepared for this today as it may take a number of months to happen.
If you live in a large town or city it may be impossible to get top listing for the name of that location. However, you may find listing for an area a suburb of your city quite a simple task to achieve. Have you got the idea?
To help you understand the potential of this profit model I did a few calculations and the first one I have called small thinking for the reason that this would be very easy to achieve.
Six adverts, and 100 paid listings as well as a few jobs and coupon listings would be very easy to achieve. In fact, childishly simple!
As I have mentioned I would expect to make a profit from my business list by promoting additional products to them so I have added this into the equation. After achieving a page 1 position in the Google SERP’s I would imagine I would achieve this minimal success in a matter of weeks and you can do exactly the same.
So let’s look now at a costing based on BIG thinking!
Actually, it’s not really big thinking so much as BIGGER thinking, and quite achievable because the main income is derived from 400 business listings which would be very achievable inside the first year
One example of a non-franchise community website I found has 1,600 paid listings at £7 a month which without any other profit streams generates a monthly income of £11K. But they do have lots of other profit streams plus they run an 80 page monthly magazine making them extremely profitable.
Once you are up and running as I have already mentioned you will not find that the daily or weekly tasks difficult to achieve and for that reason you may want to start expanding and developing similar websites for adjacent areas. Now these will be far easier to develop because you will already have a template which you can clone and reproduce and you will find that many of your existing advertisers will want to advertise on this new website also.
In fact, once you have your first website up and running and gained your experience you will find it quite easy to add additional sites to your business. For that reason I have created a costing based upon the small thinking illustrations but with multiple websites and you can see the income which generates is very worthwhile. This is a good time to remind you that the overhead and running costs for such a business are extremely low and it can all be operated from the comfort of your own home.
This is a big and fun project that will benefit from that personal touch which franchise websites find difficult to install. The theme I have adapted in the Weston Super Mare example is: Directory Press at: http://www.premiumpress.com/directoryscript/