Subscription Website Publishing

Plug in a Classifieds Content Business Model to Boost Revenue Easily

The classified content business model is the modern day equivalent of what used to appear in the back of many newspapers and B2B magazines

Listings for products, services, and jobs are the backbone of the classified content business model. They are, as we are fond of saying, a great way to take lots of small checks (as opposed to sponsorships where publishers take fewer, larger checks).

These websites are typically open and free for users. Revenue is generated by taking payment for listings, although some categories of listings may be free to post as well. For example, most job listing sites charge employers for listing job openings but a person seeking a job may be able to post a “position wanted” listing for free.

As with the calendar content business model, classified listings are usually fairly short and not easily optimized for search engines. Not to mention, they often expire just as quickly as they’re indexed. So, while some large freestanding classified websites exist in the general consumer market, most niche sites are associated with an SEO-driving content Portal and other content business model sites as a way to attract traffic and email sign ups.

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The desire for classified advertising still exists in many markets. Just like newspaper “want ads,” companies seek qualified job applicants in specialty markets. Niche community members seek business opportunities or qualified partnerships. Universities and foundations seek applicants for specialty programs.

When you combine a differentiated standing in the market, and the need for the service that still exists, it’s easy to see why more niche publishers are leveraging classifieds as another method to drive traffic, and revenue.

Classified ads are an especially good opportunity as part of a web portal designed to drive traffic using valuable free content – a fundamental piece of any Mequoda System. Through channels such as search, email and social, niche publishers can increase their visibility for all their paid product options, including classified ads. Around a strategy of attracting new users to your content within your niche, classified ads can be a particularly apt service – and monetization – model.

A stand-alone example of a classified business model is Craigslist. Craigslist was a simple community classified site started in 1995 by Craig Newmark (yes, Virginia, there is a Craig). The original non-profit site was incorporated in 1999. There are hundreds of versions of the website—localized by city—throughout the world, featuring free classified advertisements (jobs, housing, for sale, services, personals, gigs and community) and forums.

When plugged into a multiplatform magazine business model, you might look toward Boating magazine, which has Boating Classifieds. You can access this section of their website through the main navigation titled “Classifieds” next to Marketplace and Videos.

How to plug in a classified content business model

There are lots of options when choosing which classified ad system to feature on your website. Several services, such as yClasBravenet, and ClassifiedsNetwork offer to host and help integrate an ads program onto your website. The administrator has to enter some information, but these services claim to be able to take care of the rest.

If you use WordPress, there are several plugin options, including ClassipressClassifiedEngine, and Another WordPress Classified Plugin. For these types of services, you’ll need to go through the settings, customize the site, switch functions on until you get the feel you are looking for.

To help publishers take advantage of this opportunity, Mequoda developed the Haven Classified module as part of our Haven Nexus customer experience management system (CXMS). The system provides all the same information paper classified ads have, but with the additional functionality inherent in online systems.

Remember to spend some time testing your classifieds section and customize it so it works well with the other parts of your site. As with anything on the web, fast loading times and search engine optimization matter. So, make sure your site loads quickly and comes with SEO options.

By Bill Dugan

Senior Vice President

Bill Dugan is Senior Vice President for Mequoda Systems and the Mequoda Systems Content Network which includes more than 60 websites and serves more than seven million daily email subscribers. Bill and his team market more than 200 premium subscription products including magazines, newsletters, memberships and clubs for systems that include the Biblical Archaeology Society, Cabot Wealth Network and University Health News. Bill is a veteran subscription marketer with more than 30 years of experience. Prior to joining Mequoda Systems, he held senior positions at a number of leading subscription marketers including Center for Science and the Public Interest, publishers of Nutrition Action, the world’s largest subscription-based premium health advisory service.

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