I have spent the past few days reading up on how to be an online merchant. Selling text links is quite a rewarding experience compared to Pay-Per-Click revenues but being an online merchant is probably the most rewarding (could very well mean the most risky venture).
If you search the Internet for online merchant, you will be amazed by the sheer number of resources available at your disposal. My advise to you is to make sure you read up as much as you can and take everything written with a pinch of salt.
Having said that, in order to be an online merchant, you will basically need to fulfill the following steps:
- Start an e-commerce site
- Select the products or services you want to sell
- Establish an online credit card processing facility
- Market your e-commerce site
- Get traffic, increase your product/services offering and enhance your e-commerce site
Well, wish me luck! I’m going to need lots of it to make it big on the Internet.
Selling text link spots and putting a value to that particular link spot are indeed subjective. The value of your text link ad spot depends on placement, traffic, type, size, etc. Some advertisers place high value on Google PR and DMOZ listing; you may want to include these in your valuation.
To make my life easier, as a rule of thumb, I use TLA’s calculator located at:
Also, you can cross check against LinkWorth’s:
Do use these calculators as a guideline only and not to value your links solely based on what these calculators churn out. Always remember that advertisers will expect substantial discount for a long term advertising duration as well as multiple site advertisements. For returning customers, don’t forget to give them a discount too; they may actually list additional sites (happens to me).
I have received a number of emails from webmasters asking me various directory-related questions such as if I have developed directories, whether these directories are making money and what directory scripts I use. Instead of replying individually through email, I have decided to put it down here in a blog post. The answer to the first question is easy – yes, I do own 2 directories at the money. One is a free travel related niche directory and the other is a paid directory. I had a general directory once but have since decided to sell it off because it is taking too much of my time.
Now, for the second question; this is a little tough. Yes, I am making money from my directories but not as much as I would like. Why, you ask. Well, for starters, it takes up a lot of my time reviewing sites and I hate it when I had to reject the listing fees of “spammy” sites.
How do I make money from directories, you asked. It is obvious that a paid directory will make its money from listing fees but for a free directory, there are other methods of monetizing, such as Google Adsense integration. If you ask my personal opinion, Google Adsense is probably not a good method of monetizing your directory as the click-through rate is low and generally yield low paying clicks. The best method from my experience is through text link ads (aff link).
How do I start a directory, you asked. First, get an appropriate domain name; forget about those funny unpronounceable domains and forget about setting up your directory on a subdomain if you are really serious about this venture. Next, get hold of a free directory script or if you prefer, go for a paid one. Make sure that the script you chose is a SEO-friendly directory script. Setup your directory and do your newly created directory a favour by putting a custom logo to differentiate your directory with the other thousands on the Internet. Start marketing your directory, review all submissions and approve quality submissions. Remember that submitters will not pay to list their website alongside spammy ones.
Directories are not a get-rich-quick method. You will need to put a lot of effort and love into your directory in order to create a branding and “authoritative” perception. Lots and lots of marketing efforts are required to build your directory and get ready to reinvest your money you earn from listing fees into advertisements. Lastly, you will need lots of patience and discipline to diligently review submissions.
[tags]free PHP directory script, directories, directory, web directory[/tags]