Heating Oil Website

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Shutout

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Thoughts on my website? It is essentially a website where heating oil providers post their company contact information in a table and then they update the table with their most recent heating oil price. It is created for the United States (slowly growing state by state, starting in New England, Penn, and New York). It is free for the companies advertising their prices and free for all users.

The one idea I have been toying with is having the most recent blog post showing up on the home page, just so it gets a little more attention.

Although we have 60 companies throughout the 8 states, I am still working on the recruitment.

findcheapoil.com
 
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elcidofaguy

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Interesting idea, not sure why you're doing it without a long term vision... Have you thought about how you are going to monetize it further down the line? Also have you investigated the web search stats/traffic for the niche? I mean if there isn't a massive number of people searching for such info - then ask yourself is it worth investing all that time and effort?

That aside I think the website is at a good starting point.. I would increase the font, add images as well as focusing on highlighting the benefits of using your website to your various target audience (dealer, consumers etc)... I would also think about a newsletter as a means to build an email list...

Overall I certainly commend you for taking on such an idea! Best of luck!!
 

Shutout

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My plan is to offer banner advertising down the road. The site is only a couple months old, so I am still trying to recruit oil provider's, which in turn will draw in more consumers. My focus right now is growth over profit. I need oil providers to draw in oil consumers, once the consumer's get drawn in I can sell advertising to providers.

I have a couple ideas in regards to monetizing the site (featured dealer posts, tweets, etc) but I will be offering all of that for free for now.

The niche does get organic traffic... in fact, that's where most of it comes from in regards to competitors. I have been tracking the organic searches via Google Analytics. My Google page for relevant search terms is creeping higher and higher since competition isn't too great and very localized.

Font size is something I have considered. I will have to do it for specific pages as I don't want the tables to stretch too much more.
 

professorrosado

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About monetization, I am sure these companies will offer you a referral fee for any new customer or conversion to oil heating contract gained through your site. Incorporate some Amazon items related to oil based heating systems and reach out to plumbers, welders, and heating related businesses.
 

webhostau1

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I like it. Its simple, clean and runs fast here downunder. Well done.
 

EpicGlobalWeb

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I don't mean to be a "debbie downer" about your website but you asked for it so here goes:

Pros:

1. Unique concept, very robust business model, seems like it genuinely offers a good solution to a noteworthy problem. You have positioned yourself to be an oil authority by being the platform for other companies.

2. You have many ways you can earn money from this site. You can direct controlling influences with news / blog content (especially with oil, oil has a huge political back-end that "elites" will be interested in).

My suggestions to amplify your site and success:

- Place a section on the main page called "Top Providers" or "Trusted Providers" and charge a yearly license fee for it. In this sense, you make yourself the "BBB" of oil heating prices and companies.

- When you get "too big to fail" you should develop a structured training course of compliance standards or something similar about price structuring, maybe become an educator of sorts for heating companies - get them to standardize to conform to your site in some way, and make it easy for them to do so. Eventually, your company will become a standard also.

- Don't dilute your site with cheap looking banner ads. I would go "banner video" instead banner ads.

- Your listings only support their business name, contact info, and price. Can you think of anything else they should put in there? Perhaps something they can contribute that helps your rankings?

- You need an app for this site and it needs to be much easier for consumers to view information.

- Only some of the website is responsive. Listings are cut off in mobile view. Mobile friendliness will help your rankings a little.

- On the home page, the green background, blue text for "read more" is hard to read. Though this isn't an urgent issue, it is an easy fix

- I said this already -> more user contribution

- Don't discount other types of energy for heat, some people use propane, solar, etc. Could be an exciting branch off for you. In fact, open discussions of this by competing industries and companies will skyrocket your user contribution, and therefore content. Who knows what can come of this?

- Collect as much information as you can about your company providers, ask them ways that, say, software or web apps can solve problems for them, fill the gap.

You have an excellent concept that needs excellent execution. I think you're really on your way to something.
 

Developer

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I realize the OP is dated some time ago, but regardless...

Coming from someone who has extensive experience with these types of sites, here are a few suggestions.

First off, YOU have to sell the site yourself. You can not count on your customers (oil companies or visitors) to do ANY of the work for you. Your site is TOO new for that.

You have to be extremely pro-active in building the site, listings included, yourself and obtaining a massive amount of traffic to the site. Traffic, for a site like yours, will be the only true way for you to generate some serious revenue, especially, if you're expecting to be able to sustain the site on monies made from advertising.

The only way any company will be interested in paying you for their listings is if you can provide proof that the site is working and is drawing more customers to their site or offerings.

One change I would make right off the bat is the formatting of the listings pages and how you present the information. Right now, looking at it from my PC, it looks very crammed, confusing and overwhelming.

I would cut down on the information you provide on the listing page, limited to simply name of company, base location (city,state), pricing and phone number. Instead of linking to their site, I would create a page for each listing (and since you are using some sort of CMS, that should not be difficult to do) and link to their "Listing" page. The "listing page" is where the real money will come in...

Within THAT page, you can list as little, or as much, information as you want because it will be a full page for just that 1 company's information.

Within the individual page, you could list just the basic information, to start, and then contact the company personally, asking if they'd like to purchase a "personalized" version of the page which would then include much more information. The personalized versions could consist of a "base" format and then you could offer upgrades and add-ons from there...

But, again, in order to be able to sell something like that, you have to make them WANT to pay for it and the way to do that is to have enough traffic to the site to warrant ANY price (little or great) that you plan to charge.

I have created many sites like the one you have there (directory sites) and I'd be happy to give you a hand with the mechanics of it. If you're interested, send me a PM and let me know.
 

Joe B. Ray

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Your site look good. The only thing I want to mention is the footer is kind of empty.

You should put some stuff there. Terms of Service, Privacy Policy, Company details
and whatever else you can think of.
 
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