I've built up an open web directory of companies as well as added a classifieds listings to the site. Its built such that anyone can log in and create their company profile and post classifieds listings. I've kept all this open and free but I am facing problems on two areas:
1 - Getting visitors to the site I haven't done much except for rely on emailing contacts and a facebook page as well as enlisting in directories but it only brings in a trickle of visitors. What other strategies should I employ here. Consider that my website targets a specific niche and I have prepopulated thousands of company profiles. How effective is banner advertising your site and what considerations do I have to make here?
2 - Earning money from my site I've thought about having ad space for sale on my website but its all dependant upon visitor volume. I've kept everything free on my site to begin with and don't consider chanrging people to post their ads or company profiles at all.
I don't want to go down a business model of getting people to pay for directory listings, heard too much against that kind of model to begin with.
Any advice would be most appreciated here