If you are a webmaster you are wondering why lately everybody and their grandmother has a web directory. Well, today I have decided to answer such a rightful question, since after all, I own a web directory too, right? Believe it or not, the answer is quite simple. Most of the directory owners are mislead by the illusion that owning a web directory is a very easy way to make money. This is false. Below I shall outline the reasons why these people will NOT make money off a web directory, until they fix up their thinking.
Owning a web directory is a huge responsibility and requires a lot of work. Most of the people who own one, fail to realize this, thus never truly achieve success. Such web directories are easily recognizable. You can identify them easily by sitewide links to totally irrelevant sites. Or if relevant, way too many outbound sitewide links. I understand a good directory can still exist with a couple of outbound sitewides, but once you link to over 5, where is the link juice for your clients? Also, linking to gambling, pharmacy, and other stuff like that, sitewide from a directory is a big no-no. People who adhere to such measures are desperate to make money off their web directory and are making their biggest mistake in the market.
Another thing I have noticed that poor quality directories do, is mass production. By this I mean the owner will usually have over 40 directories all open to the general public. None of these directories gets the attention it needs. It is not only about approval time, I understand if you sit on your computer all day and approve sites on each one of your free directories (which hope to sell some paid featured listings), you might be able to do it. But where is the marketing? For a directory to become good it has to become perhaps your #1 priority in Internet life. Have you noticed the successful directories lately? You stop hearing about the other business these people own, and all you hear is about their directory. Their one and only directory. This is how its supposed to be. Focus your concentration on your main directory. Work on it hard until it has become a success. If you have managed to lead it’s way up there, then, you can think of starting a new directory (if you think you have the time and will to go through all the work again).
The two major points are now out of the way, however, there is still plenty to talk about. In particular it has to be mentioned that accepting any paid listing is a big mistake. Just because someone offers you money you should not accept them. Make sure you accept only sites that you would actually like to visit some day if you are looking for information. Remember that if you list a bad site, this will be a potential turn off for new customers. Which brings me to my next point.
A good web directory has to keep their customers coming back. How would you do this? Well the idea is quite simple actually, the execution of it requires work (as does everything else I have mentioned above). Make your directory unique. Give your customers something to remember you by, be it a unique layout, or some special features, coupon codes, etc… Don’t rip off other successful directories (although getting inspired by some of their ideas can be good) you need your own, signature feature that people will remember you by.
Even though already mentioned above, I’ll stress this again. Don’t forget marketing! Marketing only ONE directory, until you are successful is key to progress. And remember, it is not all about link building and getting a high PR (although its needed of course), branding is key as well. The more webmasters remember your name the better off you will be in the long run. Invest most (if not all) of your directory profit into further marketing it and you will taste success sooner or later!
I hope this post has opened a few eyes, and we’ll start seeing more quality directories pop up. It has to happen, before Google devalues all these sites into simply, link farms.