How to Create an Auto Classified Ads Website like Autotrader

In this article, you will learn how to create a website like Autotrader and turn it into a successful car classifieds website.

1. Market Research

Before you build your Autotrader website, I recommend doing some basic research on your target market to help you understand your audience.

Here’s a screenshot of Autotrader.com’s demographics

autotrader-demographics

Autotrader’s audience is made up of females who browse the website at school. I’m guessing lots of college students and young professionals search the website for cars to buy/trade/sell. I would build a demographic profile of:

  • 18 to 36
  • Female
  • Browsing from School

Here’s a few things to consider when planning your website:

  • Who is my ideal visitor?
  • What kind of cars do they like?
  • How will I market to them?

AutoTrader.com is a huge website so spend some time browsing through their website to get an idea of the content they use. Post lots of classified car ads and allow people to register accounts to get lots of traffic to your new site.

2. Get a Domain Name

You will need to acquire a short yet brandable domain name for your new website. Brainstorm a bunch of domains then try to select a domain that is:

  • Short
  • Easy to Remember
  • Brandable
  • Avoids any trademarks
  • .COM extension (or a country level domain if you want to target a certain country)

Domain Name: $9.95 per year

gd_logo1I use Godaddy for all my domain needs. Every website needs a good domain name from a reliable company. I’ve registered my domains with Godaddy ever since I got started back in 2006. They offer the best pricing and deals for repeat customers. You can also get private domain registration for an extra $3 per year. It’s the best investment if you want to keep your identity secret to the public.

What if my domain name is unavailable?

Type your desired domain in your web browser to see if it’s available. If you land on a blank internet service page, then the domain is available.

If not, then you can either choose another domain or buy the domain name from someone else.

Get a custom logo

Every website needs a custom logo to establish their brand. If you are on a limited budget, get a cheap logo from Fiverr for $5. If you have a bigger budget, I recommend 99designs.

3. Get Dedicated Hosting

Web hosting allows your users to access your website on the internet. Most people don’t have web servers in their homes, but many companies provide access to their servers for a monthly fee. Your website is 100% dependent on good reliable web hosting. If your web hosting goes down, then nobody can visit your website.

Managed dedicated hosting will handle 100% of your server’s tasks without you having to lift a finger. Good managed dedicated hosting costs between $100 to $500 per month.

Dedicated Server Hosting: $279 per month
airbnb-dedicated-server
LiquidWeb is my recommended dedicated server hosting company. Their clients include: MTV, ESPN, Michigan State University, Audi and Home Depot. LiquidWeb’s Intel Dual Process Dedicated server is the best web hosting for Pinterest-like websites. The Intel Dual Xeon E5-2603 v2 comes with:

  • 8 Cores Total @ 1.8 GHz
  • 8 GB RAM (DDR3)
  • 250 GB SSD MLC, RAID 1 (Primary Drive)
  • 1 TB 7200 RPM SATA (Backup Drive)
  • 5 TB Outbound & FREE Incoming Bandwidth

The server is fully managed. LiquidWeb takes care of everything so you don’t need a degree in Computer Science to get started. Don’t worry about server administration because they have 24/7 phone customer support and will even help you install any website script on your server.

4. Use a Content Delivery Network

A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is one of the best way to improve website performance. Unlike normal web hosting, where your content is housed on a single server, a CDN takes the website’s static content and replicates it through hundreds of servers around the world instead of a single host at one location. This technology makes sure each visitor to your site gets their data from the city closest to them. By bringing your content closer to your readers’ connection point, your website will have much quicker load times, superior scalability, and guaranteed uptime.

Content Delivery Network: $20 per month

My recommended content delivery is handled by MaxCDN, one of the biggest CDN providers on the Internet. MaxCDN is the content delivery provider for Mashable, Template Monster, BuySellAds and many other big sites.

MaxCDN charges on a pay as you go plan with no long term contract. The first 1,000GB of data transfer cost $39.95 (normal price is $99). After that, you pay 9.9 cents per gig.

5. Build Your Auto Classified Ads Website

Autotrader is one of the most popular websites in the world because people can buy and sell their cars on the website. You will need a robust auto classified ads script to give your users to power to complete several tasks:

  • Register an account and create a profile
  • Browse car listings and make inquiries
  • List cars for sale along with photos and specific details
  • Allow dealers to sell cars and create listings
  • Provide vehicle information to users

High End Custom Website Solutions

If you want the full functionality of a website like Autotrader, then you will need a massive budget to get the website up and running. I found this helpful advice over at Merchant Circle:

If you really want all the functionality and content of AutoTrader, you would have to hire a custom-programmed script from a team of analysts and programmers. That cost would probably be between $200,000 and $1,000,000. Then you would have to hire site administrators, webmasters, and an army of salespeople to make the strategic alliances with all the auto dealers who list their cars for sale and an army of researchers to create all the information content about all the cars. If your startup budget is $10,000,000 or so you should be able to get it launched.

If you want a high end custom website, then find a good web programmer at Elance or Freelancer.com.

Budget Auto Classified Ads Scripts

If you don’t have a large six figure budget, then there are some cheap alternatives to help you get started.

Each of the above scripts provides you with enough functionality and features to build an auto classified ads website like Autotrader.

6. Add Users and Cars to Your Website

Once you choose between a custom website or an auto classified ads script, you will need to add lots of content to your website. Contact lots of dealers and create as many relationships as you can to help your website get free content in the beginning.

In the beginning, nobody will use your website. You need to add content yourself to make your website look busy. That means uploading cars for sale and adding dealerships yourself. You also need basic car information to help your visitors read about car specs, parts, models, makes and other automobile information.

In the process, I recommend adding lots of fake users. Many big websites start off with fake users accounts that the original founders create. You can advertise your growing user base through the fake accounts you created. This will help your website look better once you submit press releases and start getting public attention.

7. Step Up Social Networking Profiles

Social media is a really important factor in website traffic so be sure to create social media profiles at the following sites:

  • Facebook Fan Page
  • Twitter
  • Google+ Page
  • Pinterest

8. Drive Traffic to Your Website

Before you begin driving traffic to your website, make sure you have plenty of good content hosting and are able to support a flood of traffic. Your website should be able to handle a viral spike in traffic because it happens when you least expect it.

The best ways to drive traffic are:

  • SEO
  • Social Media
  • Adwords/PPC
  • Email Marketing

When you start a website like Autotrader, you need a simple yet effective marketing strategy for each major traffic source.

SEO Tips

  • Use static URLS – don’t use dynamic URLS that have ?
  • Create clear page titles including the Make and Model of each car
  • Reach out to local car dealerships for links. Encourage them to post their vehicles on your website
  • Update your website regularly. You should be adding new cars for sale on a daily basis. Weekly at the very least.
  • Consider adding a blog to your website. Write articles about most common problems in the automotive industry and provide clear cut solutions
  • Use ALT image tags for your images. This will help your photos rank in Google image search and send you free traffic.

Social Media Tips

  • Focus your efforts on Facebook. Autotrader’s Facebook page has over 1 million likes.
  • Use Facebook Ads to boost your likes. Start with a small budget then increase it over time to get cheaper clicks.
  • Post car images to keep your fans engaged. Use FPtraffic to schedule your Facebook posts in advance.
  • Pinterest is another good traffic source. Create a profile and pin all your car photos. Pinterest is very popular with females.

Pay Per Click Advertising Tips

  • Use Google Adwords and Facebook Ads to drive traffic to your website.
  • Identify your best performing car models and make then send paid traffic to those pages.
  • Create compelling ads to improve CTR and decrease CPC. Use SEMrush to perform competitor analysis and steal their best performing ads.

Email Marketing Tips

  • Build a list using a lead magnet in exchange for your visitor’s email address. Write a simple report about a common car buying problem to get more signups.
  • Allow users to create an account using social networks. This is the easiest way to build a list fast.
  • Create a monthly newsletter and allow people to subscribe to it.
  • Email alerts to users when a car they prefer is offered for sale

9. Make Money with Your Website

When you build a base of stable traffic, you have several ways to make money with your website.

Charge a fee to list cars for sale

Autotrader’s business model is to charge dealers and sellers a fee for listing their cars for sale. This is probably the easiest and most profitable way to make money. Here’s a screenshot of how much Autotrader charges people to list their cars:

autotrader-ads

Find a good payment gateway then accept payments on your auto classified ads website. Don’t just use Paypal. Offer a variety of payment methods because some people don’t trust Paypal.

Banner Advertising through Google Adsense

Google Adsense pays publishers on a CPM basis per 1,000 pageviews. It’s easy to grab some code and paste it on your website. Best of all, you get paid for impressions, not sales. This is a simple way to monetize your website.

5 Steps to Starting a Successful Outsourcing Company

There’s one secret to every successful company – they outsource almost everything to outside vendors. Yes, that includes payroll, bookkeeping, virtual assistance and other information technology services. Businesses want to lower their expense rate and by outsourcing, they don’t have to provide employees with an office, which is a huge cost.

There are several benefits to using a third-party supplier – cost, convenience and a great working relationship are some of them. Once a client is satisfied with your services, this can lead to referrals and a long-term repeat business, which can be bountiful if you consider the overall earnings.

So, now that we know that almost every other business is searching for an outsourcing company to automate their work, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how you can start a successful outsourcing company.

Step 1 – Market Research

Whether you’re starting a company, or just publishing an eBook, market research is the key to whether your new venture would thrive or die within the first couple of months.

In this case, you should research and determine the services that have the highest demands in established companies. You should research and find out whether the companies are outsourcing human tasks such as employee training, or maintaining payrolls. Or if the companies are more focused towards outsourcing manufacturing related tasks such as product design and its development.

This research will help you form a mindset and build upon those demands.

Step 2 – Do You Specialize OR Offer a Variety of Services?

This is the stage where you have to decide whether you want to provide businesses a wide variety of services or only one niche-focused service, such as maintaining payrolls, or designing products and developing them.

If you decide you want to offer product designing as a service, then you will also have to decide whether you want to offer the service in every sector (technology, food, marketing, etc.) Or if you want to just offer marketing-focused product designing services.

Step 3 – Calculate Capital

Now that you have decided what you want to offer, now is the time to decide how much capital/money you will need to get started.

Once you decide a particular amount that will help you successfully launch your outsourcing company, there are two options to get that financing – outside investors, or personal investment. This cost includes everything, ranging from business permits and facility costs, to staff wages and everything in between.

Step 4 – Your Marketing Plan

Nothing can be achieved without marketing. This is the way you let companies know that you are better than your competition (this is crucial).

The primary focus of your marketing plan should be to focus on understanding your target market and then finding out your competitive advantage over other competitors. Once you find that out, you should then plan on how you should reach that market to leverage that advantage to make a sale.

Step 5 – How Much Are You Charging

One thing you should remember, is that you won’t be able to get clients who are willing to pay a top-notch price right when you get launched. You should focus on building your reputation and also surviving.

At this stage, your fees should be able to cover the basic costs so that you’re not starting at a loss. A good rule of thumb, is to charge on an hourly basis on an estimate about how long a project might take to complete.

Once you’re established in your target market, then you can increase your rates to, of course, increase your profits.

Lastly, if you’re planning to start any business, you should remember one thing – the people who are the most patient, are the ones who get to the top.

How to Create a Website like Huffington Post

Huffington Post is a top 100 website in the world that publishes breaking news and opinion articles. Some people consider Huffington Post the largest blog on the planet.

In this article, you will learn how to create a website like Huffington Post and turn it into a successful news portal.

Market Research

Huffington Post caters to a specific demographic of readers that want late breaking news updates from all over the world. Let’s take a look at Huffington Post’s demographics:

huffingtonpost-demographicsI can tell from the image above that Huff Post is mostly:

  • Female
  • Average Education
  • Reading from School and Work

Looking at these numbers will help you decide to build a competitor to Huffington Post or choose a different niche like sports (ESPN), entertainment (TMZ), or niche news (NewsOne).

Either way, try to understand who you are building this site for and what your audience wants to read about.

WordPress Theme: $49

Huffington Post is basically a blog website so I recommend using WordPress to make your website. I found the best WordPress theme for a website similar to Huff Post. It’s called WPHuffingtonPost.

WPHuffington Post is the perfect theme for developers. Develop a high quality news portal with striking features and a clean, fresh look to grab the eyeballs of your visitors.

WPHuffington Post News Portal WordPress Theme

The template design is based on the fixed layout, with numerous widgets for posting current news and updates. Breaking news headlines as one-liners, delivery of latest news reports wit h images, separate widgets for Featured post and recent post, Facebook comment option for each news post, search field for quick search for related news are standout features of the WPHuffington post template. The theme contemplates to monetize with a separate widget for posting ads. Facebook widget and facebook and twitter icons enables social share.

Download | Demo

Dedicated Web Hosting: $279 per month

airbnb-dedicated-server
LiquidWeb is my recommended dedicated server hosting company. Their clients include: MTV, ESPN, Michigan State University, Audi and Home Depot. LiquidWeb’s Intel Dual Process Dedicated server is the best web hosting for Pinterest-like websites. The Intel Dual Xeon E5-2603 v2 comes with:

  • 8 Cores Total @ 1.8 GHz
  • 8 GB RAM (DDR3)
  • 250 GB SSD MLC, RAID 1 (Primary Drive)
  • 1 TB 7200 RPM SATA (Backup Drive)
  • 5 TB Outbound & FREE Incoming Bandwidth

The server is fully managed. LiquidWeb takes care of everything so you don’t need a degree in Computer Science to get started. Don’t worry about server administration because they have 24/7 phone customer support and will even help you install the SocialPinBoard script on your server.

Email Marketing: $250 per month

aweber1Aweber is my favorite email marketing company for people who want to build a website similar to WorldStarHipHop.

Aweber pricing start at $19 per month (get your 1st month for $1) and goes up to $149 per month if you have 10,001 to 25,000 names on your list. I have more than that so it cost me even more. The reason I estimate $250 per month is because your list will likely grow fast if you post good videos on your site.

It’s 7 times harder to acquire a new visitor than to market to an existing one. Place a simple signup form on your website to collect your visitor’s emails. You can also use this subscriber list to generate revenue from advertisers and sponsors in the future.

Content Delivery Network: $100 per month

A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is one of the best way to improve website performance. Unlike normal web hosting, where your content is housed on a single server, a CDN takes the website’s static content and replicates it through hundreds of servers around the world instead of a single host at one location. This technology makes sure each visitor to your site gets their data from the city closest to them. By bringing your content closer to your readers’ connection point, your website will have much quicker load times, superior scalability, and guaranteed uptime.

My recommended content delivery is handled by MaxCDN, one of the biggest CDN providers on the Internet. MaxCDN is the content delivery provider for Mashable, Template Monster, BuySellAds and many other big sites.

MaxCDN charges on a pay as you go plan with no long term contract. The first 1,000GB of data transfer cost $39.95 (normal price is $99). After that, you pay 9.9 cents per gig.

Find Staff Writers : $1,000 per month

At some point, you need a team of writers to outsource your content needs. Doing everything is almost impossible in the news business because your content is the most important key to your success. My favorite method for hiring list post writers is TextBroker.

TextBroker is perfect for news portal websites. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Create a Textbroker Account
  2. Add Funds
  3. Create a Project
  4. Project gets accepted and writer starts working
  5. Writer sends you the final draft for your review
  6. Submit any changes and you’re done!

Another strategy is to create a team of writers in Textbroker. Potential candidates will submit to you a writing sample plus reasons why you should let them join. Once you build a team, you can submit projects to team members and one of them will complete it for you.

Make Money

HuffingtonPost generates revenue with banner ads, contextual ads and CPC traffic. They blend ads around content to make money with obstructing their articles.

If you are just starting out, I recommend Google Adsense for CPC/CPM advertising. For contextual ads, I recommend RevContent.

Total Project Cost: $1,500 per month

$1,500 is a rough estimate of how much it will cost to build a website like Huffington Post. That’s enough to get started with hosting, WordPress theme, email marketing, and a team of staff writers.

If you want to scale, then increase these numbers gradually while focusing on maximizing your CPM rates.

 

How to Stop Comment Spam in WordPress

Comment Spam is an annoying part of blogging that forces some bloggers to either turn of comments or quit blogging altogether.

I cannot agree with this because blogging is a necessary content marketing strategy to attract leads and build an online platform.

I hate comment spam just as much as anyone so I’m going to show you how to stop it.

Download These 2 WordPress Plugins

The two plugins are Anti-Spam and Sucuri. I don’t get any more comment spam after installing these 2 plugins.

Anti-Spam only allows people to enter comments by accessing their browser. If the comments don’t come from a browser, then Anti-Spam blocks the comments. They install a javascript file to verify the user.

Sucuri adds additional security to your WordPress site by closing certain leaks in your database with hardening. I use both these plugins on every WordPress install.

Need help installing WordPress? Read about my Free WordPress Installation service for more info!

How to Create a Daily Fantasy Sports Website like Fanduel

Fanduel is the leader in daily fantasy sports with millions of sports fans logging in daily to enter professional and collegiate sports contests. Of course, the website is making a lot of money.

In this article, you will learn how to make a website like Fanduel and turn it into a successful daily fantasy sports business.

1. Domain & Hosting

You will need to acquire a short yet brandable domain name for your new website. Brainstorm a bunch of domains then create a list of 5 potential domain names. If you need domain ideas, use Namestation to generate some domain ideas.

I recommend following these general domain guidelines:

  • Short (12 characters)
  • Easy to Remember
  • Easy to Spell
  • Brandable
  • Avoids any trademarks
  • .COM extension (or a country level domain if you want to target a certain country)

Once you have found a good domain, head over to Hostgator and see if it’s available. You’ll get a free domain name and unlimited hosting space for just $3.96 per month.

Here’s a list of domains in the DFS community to give you some ideas:

  • DraftKings
  • Victiv
  • FantasyAces
  • Fanduel

The best domain choice is 2 words and easy to remember. Your domain needs to indicate the sports niche as well or it could be confusing to users.

2. Choose a Website Script

Your two main choices for CMS are: WordPress and a custom built PHP solution. I had trouble finding a quality script for sale so Elance is probably your best choice for finding a PHP programmer.

WordPress Themes & Plugins

Find a custom PHP script developer

Get a custom logo

Every e-commerce website needs a custom logo to establish their brand. If you are on a limited budget, get a cheap logo from Fiverr for $5. If you have a bigger budget, I recommend 99designs.

3. Add Contests

You have to decide which sports to offer on your website. Here’s a list of sports offered by Fanduel:

  • NFL
  • MLB
  • NBA
  • CFB
  • CBB

Other competitors like Draftkings offer soccer and golf to attract more players. It’s your decision on which sports to include. The more sports you add, the more chances you have of building your customer base.

Tip: Sports go by season so you can attract NBA users who will eventually play MLB once basketball season ends. Think long term about customer acquisition. Players often play for years after they initially sign up.

4. Drive Traffic

Driving traffic in DFS is hard because your product is based on gambling skill games instead of content. It’s essential to start an affiliate program to drive the majority of your traffic.

Fanduel runs a successful affiliate program to attract new users. Another good way to get traffic is to partner up with the big strategy websites like Rotogrinders and Rotoexperts. Sponsor a page or show to get lots of clicks.

5. Payout Prizes

Fanduel typically pays out its users within 6 to 12 hours of the contest closing time. The sooner you pay out, the better. Take extra time to sort out stats to make sure everything is working fine. If you pay out, then it’s hard to admit you made a mistake and request the money back. Always verify your contests before making payouts.

6. Make Money

Fanduel generates its revenue from a small fee called a rake. Fanduel’s rake is 10%. They keep 10% of all the money each night then payout 90% of the money.

10% is the industry standard in daily fantasy sports. If you build a great website, then more users will play and increase the daily spend on your website.

Thus, your revenue increases along with more users and higher stakes.