How to start a classified ads business website like Jiji (A-Z Guide)

by | Sep 28, 2019 | Start & Grow Business | 3 comments

Classified Ads website businesses like Jiji are one of the simplest & most profitable ways to make money on the internet from your bedroom.

Since you are here, I’m guessing you’ve probably been researching different kinds of online business you can start on a low budget.

So let me show you everything you need to know about Classifieds Ads websites.  

This article may seem long for some readers, so here are the sections I’m going to cover. Feel free to skip any section if you don’t need to read about it.

What are Classified Ads Websites?

You probably already know what they are… especially because of the brand name-”Jiji” 

But just in case you’ve been in a coma for the past 5 years and have never heard about Nigerians biggest Classifieds Ad website – Jiji (your major competitor), 

Classified Ads websites are platforms where people post short, precise adverts that could be just about anything – from cars for sale to teaching services for hire.

They create an online opportunity for buyers and sellers to meet for exchanging goods and services.

Now that you know what they are, you next big question is…

How do they Make Money?

Good question. I’m glad you asked.

It is always better to ask than have “hilarious” ideas in your head like this case –

I was riding home one evening in a taxi and the driver told me that websites make money from our “browsing data” – I mean the Megabit your data provider awards you 🙂 

That is wrong… No website owner is paid a kobo from “browsing data”

Rather, online businesses make money based on their revenue model and in the case of a classified website, there are different ways you can make money fast.

We would consider some of the common revenue models to help you decide what is best for your business. (Also note that you can use anyone or a combination of two or more models)

There is no silver bullet revenue model- you would have to learn what is best by yourself, through research and possibly testing different variables.

So here are some Common ways Classified Ads Websites Make Money: 

  • Selling Subscription plans: This one is simple. Ask people to pay to post their classified ads on your website. For instance, 5 Ads per month for N500 (This model would be suitable for some business types, but I do not recommend it)


  • Selling Featured Ads: If you want to allow your users to post free ads on your site, then ads posted could easily get to hundreds and thousands meaning that you can ask your users to pay to boost their Ads position on your website and being features on your other available media (such as via email newsletters, or paid advertising)


  • Selling Advertising Space:  Getting a lot of website visits (traffic)? You can monetize this by showing adverts from ad marketplaces like Google Adsense, Facebook Advert Network, or by creating an Advert rate page

If you don’t know what a rate page is?

A rate page simply shows the different ad spaces you have available and how much you collect to show someones advert for a period of time (e.g N3,400 per week for 215 x 215 ad on your home page)  

Like you are already suspecting, my list of revenue models is not exhaustive… You can come up with a unique revenue model.

Now let’s now consider…

[CASE STUDY] The success of

If you want to succeed in any niche, It is probably a good idea to look at what the most successful businesses in that niche are doing.

While you may not copy them, at least it should give you an idea of what is obtainable and possible things you should try.

Jiji is the foremost classified ads company in the country and are a good example of what you can become,

…and possibly exceed!

Let’s look at their stats…

Website URL:

Website Users: 7,000,000 (Seven Million)

Ads Posted: 800,000

Monthly Traffic: 5,000,000

Sellers: 160,000

Subsidiries: Olx Nigeria, Olx Ghana, Olx Tanzania, Olx Uganda, Olx Kenya

Revenue Model: Featured Classified Ads & Google Adwords

How much does Jiji Make?

If you notice, I did not mention how much the company makes in revenue because this information is not publicly available.

So I would try to estimate based on the data available to the public:


Jiji’s Revenue from Featured Ads

Jiji has over 160,000 sellers. Let’s assume 5% of this number use premium services –

That means they pay to get more eyeballs on their ads using the Top Ad or Boost Ads packages available on Jiji.

The cheapest package cost about 10,000 for a 30 days promotion… Let’s do the Math

5% of 160,000 = 8,000 premium sellers

8,000 sellers pay 10,000 = N80,000,000 (Monthly income) *don’t forget that this is the cheapest plan.

So I expect that the few others buying higher plans, would help us average out a lot of assumptions

N80,000,000 x 12 months of the year = N960,000,000.00 (Nine hundred and sixty Million Naira only :D)

Now let’s check out the second revenue stream…


Jiji’s Revenue from Google Adsense –

On the average Google Ads pays Ad publishers based on 3 different factors I cannot talk about here…

A basic metric to measure earnings is the RPM. It means Revenue per thousand visitors. This value is usually between $2 – $5.

What this means is that…

Google would pay you anywhere between $2 & $5 dollars each time 1,000 people view Google ads on your website.

So, let’s do the math –

Jiji has approx. 5 million visitors every month.

5,000,000 monthly visitors divided by 1,000 = 5,000 (if this is too complex for you, just skip to the answer)

If you use the base payment of $2 for 1,000 impressions

5,000 X $2 = $10,000 per month (N3,600,000)

This means that Jiji collects anywhere around $10,000 – $50,000 monthly and…

In a year that could easily become $120,000 (N36,000,000)- $600,000 (N216,000,000)

If we pick an average of the two estimated figures, we get a total of N126,000,000 (One hundred and twenty six million naira)

Total of N126,000,000 (One hundred and twenty six million naira) from Google Adsense

Whoa! Imagine that…

Let’s conclude our Revenue estimation by adding both revenue figures together —

REVENUE STREAM 1 (Featured Ads) = N960,000,000

REVENUE STREAM 2 (Google Ads) = N126,000,000

TOTAL EST. REVENUE = N1,086,000,000 (1 Billion, 86 Million Naira only :D)

DISCLAIMER: Jiji does not report its financials publicly – I have done this estimate based on the data shared publicly. I do not in anyway claim that these are actual figures & that you can replicate similar success.

I know by now, you are likely already calculating what you can make in your little corner. 

A parable says don’t spend the money before it comes, so I think your first step is to launch your business and since you likely don’t have an MBA, let me give you actionable steps you can follow to…

Start your rapidly successful Classified Ads website like Jiji Fast

First, let’s do some mind work –

A research was carried out for the most successful entrepreneurs of all time and they all had one thing in common…

Do you know what that was?


The ability to implement ideas and build companies at the speed of thought!

The first rule, to building a successful classified business – or any business at that, is to…

→ Act on it as fast as you can!

Do you know why?

It is because inspiration or motivation to do a thing reduces as time passes… and you become discouraged and never implement it or worse – do it haphazardly 

If you are not ready to act fast, then the steps I have written out below would make no difference for you… just close this page right now!

Still here?

Great, I knew you were one of the smart ones – who want to succeed!

So, let’s get to it….

STEP 1: Choose the right domain name –

Did you notice I didn’t say business name? –I said domain name. The reason is that…

Your domain can be different from your business name.

Take jiji for example, their business name is “Genesis Technology Partners” but their domain name is

Or Jumia who operates as “E-cart Solutions Ltd” – but their domain name is

What this means is that…

Your domain name and your business name does not have to be the same.

The most important thing for an internet company is to choose a good domain name because…

choosing the right domain name is critical to its success. 

There is no definition for “good” domain – 

As a rule of thumb, your domain name should be short, easy to spell & easy to remember

I suggest you make a list of 50 different domain names because most of them might already be registered by other people.

Once you have your list, it’s time to check if they are available (that is no one else owns it at the moment)

To do this, you can use a domain name registrar, I recommend you use Namecheap because they provide the cheapest rates and free WHOIS privacy

*If you don’t want your personal information flying all around the internet, using WHOIS privacy is a must!

When you finish your availability search, Quickly order the domain name to secure it because…

Available today, doesn’t mean “available later today” or when you are finally ready to launch your business

So lets move to the next phase which is…


STEP 2: Choosing your Hosting Provider –

Projects as big as Jiji require a very good hosting server possibly a cloud server or a dedicated server

With options like that, you could easily be talking hundreds of thousands to millions for a years hosting…

But you don’t need to start with that. Do you?

At the same time you don’t want to get stuck with some dirt cheap shared hosting server that cost N5,000 a year… 

So you could start with something that is affordable but stable & fast – I recommend you use BlueHost (they are arguably the best shared hosting provider in the world)

And finally, we have to…


STEP 3: Set up the classified Ads website platform…

This is the real deal.

Having bought a good hosting and domain name. You need to put up the website.

To do this you have three options:

Firstly, you could employ some Andela boys (software engineers) for your company or learn how to type a bunch of codes.

While this is supposed to be the best option, hiring employees at this early stage means you have to pay salaries (a good engineer would take 300k/mo avg.)

And deciding to learn to code might delay your plans till the next year (and then the next year, and then the dream dies)

Secondly, you could outsource the development to a company to build a customized website from scratch. This could cost you – your hands & feet – probably $4,000 (N1,440,000) upfront payment. 

Thirdly, you could hire a freelancer to build you a standardized Classified Ads platform in few days for a little token (say anywhere between N50,000 – N200,000).

They are able to do this at a lower cost and in a short time frame because they customize standardized frameworks to suit your brand design & needs (If this is not clear… then just ignore it)

Of these three options, which one is easiest for you?

For me, “C” the third option is No brainier

The major reasons I think this option is great is that…

1. It Affords you the opportunity to launch your online business very fast (remember my point on SPEED?)

In as little as 2 days you can have your own classified website up and running without having to struggle with website development woes

2. It gives you the opportunity to spend the least possible amount to test out the business before going all in… which minimizes your risk of losses

3. You can always opt for a more sophisticated platform once you are making enough profits- Jiji’s website today is not how it looked 5 years ago. Learn from that!


[RELATED OFFER]: Start your Classifieds Website like Jiji in 3 days by hiring an Expert Freelancer HERE for 79% less the normal cost

Conclusion – Key Points “Steps to Launch Your Site Like Jiji”

Classified Ads websites are among the most profitable online businesses you can launch on a low budget  – We estimated Jiji’s revenue to be over 1 billion Naira yearly.

Follow these steps to start your own classified Ads website and start making money fast -2019 

  1. Write out a list of possible domain names for your website (
  2. Search if the domain name is still available, You can do this FREE today on Namecheap 
  3. Secure the domain by registering it. You can use Namecheap as well
  4. Get a good hosting server – I recommend BlueHost for small budgets and AWS for the best performance servers and by all means avoid dirt cheap N5,000/yr hosting
  5. Finally, get your Classified Ads website up and running as quickly as you possibly can. Which is only possible when you hire a freelancer to do it in a few days.

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