|How do you handle empty categories?|
do you still showing an empty page for them?
I recently launched a directory with a bunch of categories. Many of these categories are empty of course, and exactly those pages are shown at google as "url only" without title or description.
I have some dobuts :
1.- When I have some data on them, will google pick them and show them? or are these pages marked as duplicate forever?
2.- If I prefer to don't show them, in order to don't ruin my design I want to still having them listed with a "link looking". Am I safe to put a "#" as link?
Should it be better to keep the link empty ""?
Personally, I wouldn't have 'empty' anything on a site.
When visitors come and see nothing, then it serves no purpose. No info, no content equals no value. Better to have at least 20 companies in each category, then people have something to search..... Some add on services wouldn't go a miss - like links to popular SE's, associated portals, new members, link exchanges etc etc.
Golden rule is if you have lots to do and look at, this increases the chance of a return visit.
Hope this helps you out.
They are particularly irritating if one has to visit a category before finding out that it's empty. Otherwise, they merely make the directory look very green.
I wouldn't have an empty category in my directory. It serves no purpose except to get on your users nerves. If you must have all your categories from day one then I would recommend hand picking some good authority links to seed that category. Even if you have just 2 or 3 links it will give your users a choice. I add categories as required and will add extra quality links to populate that new category.
There is no benefit in rushing things from the get go. Let your directory build itself natuarally and it will do much better.
What if I put a link count besides each category, so if a zero is shown, the user learn no listings are there.
In my software, I can't remove the empty categories because they are part of the submission form. I mean, you need to be in the empty category page, to click "submit link" to get the site listed.
A link counter may or may not work in your favour. It also would draw attention to 0 sites in a category or very few (if you have none that is). It's really one of those 'should I or shouldn't I' questions that have to be dealt with.
I guess link counters are considered useless extras. I've never seen much sense in them myself. Yahoo had them, then Google etc, like email it's just another idea that's been copied over the years, and might get the response of 'yet another one'. A word of advice:
If something doesn't add value - don't waste time and possibly cash to include it. Things get slated quickly on the web....... Be careful not to set yourself up.
When I started my directory I also had some empty categories but started very soon to delete them and created new ones along the way whenever I felt that certain submissions did not fit into any of the categories I already had. I just think it looks better if there is someting in each category for the users to browse through.