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Pick a City - any City
by: Stephen Bucaro
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Pick a City - any City

By Stephen Bucaro

Operating your own city guide on the Web can be interesting
and very profitable. Almost every city already has at
least one city guide. But there is always room for one
more. For example, I live near Phoenix, Arizona. I could
call my site "The Best Guide to Phoenix", "The Official
Guide to Phoenix", or "The Complete Guide to Phoenix".

How do you generate revenue from a city guide? 1. You
charge a fee to list restaurants, accommodations, and
other businesses that are located in the city. 2. You sell
books and videos about the city, and city souvenirs and

You should develop your city guide in phases.

Phase 1. Create the non-commercial sections of the Web
site. Some cities, like Chicago and New York, are popular
for their cultural attractions. Some cities, like Phoenix,
are popular for nearby natural attractions. Some cities
are popular for their artisans, monuments, or history.
Create an attractive front page that displays photographs
related to the unique attractions of the city.

Develop an "Attractions" section of your Web site. You
might also want to develop a "Maps" section. When you have
a reasonable amount of content, begin promoting your city
guide to start generating some traffic.

Phase 2. Create the commercial sections of the Web site.
You should develop an "Accommodations" section, a
"Restaurants" section, and a "Businesses" section. You
might also want to develop a "Search" section.

Contact all the large businesses that you want to list in
your city guide and offer them free listing. Yes - free.
In order to get things rolling, you will have to fill up
the commercial sections by offering free listing. Don't
tell them you are going start charging as soon as you get
the sections filled out.

This is how you approach the business owners; "I'm
developing a new city guide web site and I'm listing every
important business in the city for free. Can you provide
me with some information about your establishment?" People
have less resistance to free, and this will get you access
to the decision makers of the businesses.

Phase 3. You contact every business listed in your city
guide and ask them if they want to renew their listing for
one year for $1 (or some incredibly low fee). You can
also approach businesses not yet listed with the offer to
list them for the same incredibly low fee.

If you were a restaurant owner or hotel manager looking at
a guide that has all your competitors listed, wouldn't you
be willing to pay a small fee to remain in the guide? The
reason that you have such a low fee is because you want
your customers to take the important leap from a free
listing to a paid listing.

Phase 4. After their renewal expires, you present each
business with your listing options for the next year. You
can offer anything from a small advertisement to a
multi-page Web site. You are now an established city guide.
Even your minimal listing - an entry in the search section
only - costs $50.00 to $500.00 or more per year. The leap
from paid to a price increase is not as wide as the leap
from free to paid.

The potential earnings from a Web city guide varies with
the size and popularity of the city. Even a small town
with some attraction should provide you with a moderate
income. A large city with many popular attractions could
earn you much more.

For good examples of city guide web sites visit:
Explore Dickenson North Dakota
Glenwood Guide
Santa Fe Always Online
Resource Box:
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