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Thread: Providing Business Advertising as a spur from your existing site

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    Andy101's Avatar
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    Providing Business Advertising as a spur from your existing site

    My idea is to call businesses listing in the Yellow pages etc and propose that they let me build them a home page as a sub-directory on my site that outranks them for the main keyword.

    With SEO and great content, it should be possible to also rank above the Yellow pages style of directory that doesn't even provide an email contact.

    So, how much could be charged for this kind of service? $997 + x per month

    Another idea would be to approach the business with an idea (obtain permission, photos etc.), build the sub-directory, get it ranking well, and then get back to them to see if they want to pay to keep it up.
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    This is one possibility. Another thing is that a lot of these businesses don't have websites. If you had a few wordpress templates you could offer a site for $997 + x per month. Any graphics, logo, and content are "a la carte"

    x per month could be lucrative to charge for new content and link building.

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    TopDogger's Avatar
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    About 6 or 7 years ago I ran into a local company that was doing something similar. The guy set up a business portal site and was charging businesses $100 per year for setting up and maintaining a basic 3 page web site. Beyond that, he charged for additional services. He wanted to offer a $500 per year SEO option that would guarantee that a businesses' 3 page site would rank #1 in Google. I declined to participate in that. At the time he had almost a thousand clients.

    Today we would call a site like this a local business directory.

    I have never seen any of the guy's portal sites show up in search results.

    I think this could be done successfully if you maintained separate sites for each industry so that each site has a specific industry focus and provides enough combined content focused on a single keyword theme. Trying to develop a successful local business directory can be very time consuming and expensive. Also, given the nature of successful local business directories, it would be hard to charge a fee for participation in the directory when the most popular directories are free.

    Andy, my gut feeling is that your idea might work for mid to large sized businesses, but small businesses have been scammed too often by Internet advertisers and they are hesitant to spend money. In the USA, you might be able to get a small business to pay $100 to $200 per year. Larger businesses are much more likely to pay the $997 setup fee and a monthly fee if you can demonstrate top 10 rankings.

    Just my humble opinion.
    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." -- Benjamin Franklin


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    Andy101 (26 October, 2012)

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    Mike30's Avatar
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    Maintaining 3-5 pages websites for $100/year to local business is not expensive for small business owners. At least they have an online presence.

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    You are right. It is not expensive. But even the minimal cost is a waste if the mini-sites never show up in search results.

    I had to decline to participate in the project because even 6 or 7 years ago it was impossible to guarantee anyone that their 3-page site would rank well for industry keywords, especially when all the sites were under one domain name. I don't think that any of the local SEO companies partnered with the guy. As I said, I have never seen any of the sites in his portal show up in search results. It might have worked if he set up several industry-specific localized sites, but then there was no way to guarantee that any one customer's site would rank well for anything other than their company name.

    The idea is still workable if enough small businesses just wants a customized 3-page brochureware site so that they have an online presence. A custom 3-page site gives them more flexibility than a business directory, and there is always the opportunity to use additional pages as an upsell item. It would basically be structured as a customized local business directory.

    Even with 1,000 clients at $100 per year, I don't think the guy was making any money, because that had to pay the operating expenses and salaries for him, his in-house designer and his in-house tech. One person could do well, but three people spread the profits too thin.
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    Mike30's Avatar
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    It can also be added as a side service for web designers.


    I did find out, that many local business are not interested or they don't know why they should be on the search engines. And many don't care about search engine as long they have their business name as a domain. lol.. sometimes there are very long long names. If they are close to their client base, they simple give the address. For tasks as checking their accounts on the website. Or simply updating their details about the service. Another... a simple menu of the day. stuff like that.

    There are many types of interest to have a simple page available to customers, without worrying about search engines.

    ~Mike

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    Yeah, I sometimes run into the same thing where a small business wants a web site, but either doesn't care about traffic or thinks that as soon as they have a 5-page web site they will automatically pick up hundreds of new leads every month. That is why I always ask, "What is your goal for this web site?"

    It is almost hard to believe that so many people have no idea how the Internet works or have hopelessly unrealistic expectations for a web site. I find that the secret to happy clients is in the closing of the expectations gap so that the goals are realistic and they know about potential ongoing or future costs. I lose some of these people to the scammers who promise them everything and deliver very little, but that helps keep things sane on my end.

    The business portal or custom local business directory idea would work as a sideline service for small businesses, but at $100 per year, you would have to spend a considerable amount of time to pick up a lot of clients or would have to put a large effort into promoting the site. The problem is that you have to make it cheap enough to get the "Internet challenged" business owners to invest in the idea, and need to show them that you can drive new business their way.

    I think Andy's idea is good, but I don't see very many small businesses willing to pay $997 + $x per month, except for perhaps attorneys, physicians and other deep-pocket businesses. There is service in the USA called Find Law that manages to extract several thousands of dollars per month from attorneys for building, hosting and promoting their web sites. The service is grossly overpriced, but they manage to snag thousands of attorneys. There are niches where riches can be found.
    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." -- Benjamin Franklin


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