How can I start an online business directory?
I want to start an online business directory in Afghanistan. Please guide me how to start and what are the important steps I should take first. I have already managed the below items.
1. Brand name = Zoom Afghanistan
2. Website = http://zoom.af
A business directory is a great idea, congratulations! A few activities you'll need to get started would be (i) network with other business directories (ii) get listed in same places as them (iii) in person, promote your new service via business cards, join local, regional and/or national business chamber, network with other business owners (iv) promote online. (v) add a blog, offer helpful advice and tips. Be a 'bridge' for business and consumers. A few ideas.
Think about these items first:
1. Most important = WHY are you doing this business,...answer this...helping people, connecting them, making them feel connected, informing them, education them...
2. WHO is your audience - is it men over the age of 15 and under 25, or girls who like to dance....
Know your niche or if it's broad... try to focus on the areas you are passionate about
3. TEST, TEST, TEST....Gather data, store them in AirTable.com as your database...from doing Surveys, asking questions on Quora, going to Facebook Groups, asking LinkedIn groups..
start asking what do people want inside this directory
4. Tools the help you below for your directory
1. Place to Store stuff (Database) - Check out "AirTable.com"
2. A Membership Site - What you can use is "Slack.com" for paid members
3. Payment Solution - Stripe.com or SquareUp.com
4. A Customer form or Sales Landing Page - Use TypeForm.com
5. The Glue that puts all parts 1-4 together, Zapier.com
6. Marketing - try ConvertKit.com
7. GoPocket.com to store links and URLS
Hi Nazir, great question!
First let me congratulate you getting on your business name and website. Your website looks great. In addition to the advice you've been given above, I would suggest you focus on a niche, industry or category e.g. Arts and Entertainment.
For your directory to make a solid impact it needs to be focused on a particular niche. In that way it will be easier for you to attract businesses in that particular niche to list their business in your directory.
Also focusing on a particular niche would be better for you directory from an SEO perspective because it will be easier for your directory to rank higher in search engines for your particular niche.
As your directory is as at now, you have too many categories and it will not be easy for you to get a large volume of businesses to fill up all those categories.
Rather than buy a list of businesses and pre-populate your directory - which unfortunately is what some directories do - it will be better for you to attract these businesses to signup themselves or get their permission to sign them up. This would give your directory more credibility and you can then monetize your directory by getting the businesses who list on it to advertise.
Hope this helps?
You already seem to have a directory. I think the question is how to market it.
Directories have a poor reputation in search engines and online. Follow a few to see how they are still making a mark. Joeant is one.
Get a business database and use smart email marketing.
Begin with your personal network and share it with them
Use social media (Linkedin is good)
Contribute to places how your directory is a good place and what people will get after submitting their listing.
You'd get submission when you're getting good traffic (buyers and prospects). Buying signatures and offline promotion will be a good help.