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I suggest that you start by reading the threads in the Directory Forum Library [webmasterworld.com]. There should be some good tips and ideas in the Library.
So far as checking for backlinks you might search Google for 'reciprocal link checker / -ing' or similar terms for software that can help automate the process.
[edited by: Webwork at 5:36 pm (utc) on May 24, 2007]
For example: How do I keep track of backlinks to see if they're still in place?
That probably should not be one of your primary concerns. It sounds like you may be approaching this from a perspective that may have you chasing your tail as they say. ;)
After browsing the Directories library, you can head on over to this topic which will give you a good idea of do's and don'ts in directory development. :)
The Don'ts of Directory Development
You've chosen a tough path my son and have a long journey ahead of you. Are you prepared for the future?
I know of one directory that featured on the BBC TV last year and did quite well media-wise, has now disappeared and haven't heard a peep out of them since. Like the Million dollar homepage, once the buzz has gone, you are dead in the water my friend, unless you have those ideas flowing - it's death time.
I jacked my small directory in ages ago, and had I known what actually takes to run and maintain these things, I wish I hadn't of bothered (and I had healthy cash to work with too).
I'm saying, just be careful, as even with a great idea behind you, - you are doomed without new ideas, tons of traffic and constant advertising. People forget all things new, unless you stick in their minds, and constant media attention is a must - beware this is not cheap.
I'd think about it, because it's a learning experience from hell, and once you start a directory, you are commiting yourself in a major way, with many pitfalls too many to list I'm afraid!
I'll say this though -
It's NOT a game
It can be very EXPENSIVE
The idea needs to be PERFECT
Cost to your personal life cannot be PLANNED out
Most importantly though:
1. Nobody will help you (and I don't mean forums)
2. People will help you but only if you pay them retainers
3. You will need a tough skin.......
Chances are you will fold within a few years, usually down to lack of motivation, and time factors.
Just my 2 penny's worth.
Teach on brother/sister(?)! I just never know if I'm talking to a mister or a misses. ;)
Now there are some 'nice' directories on this web, but they won't get any offline media attention, as the X-Factor isn't there. Okay, that applies to any fresh, new business, and a directory with only general links to offer, is nothing special, and people get bored easily.
Er, how can I explain this - ok, take an ordinary advert say: 'Dave's Rotator Maker Gives you a Lift'
Simple and it links to a site, but it's only like all the other text links out there, it lacks that pulling power, and it's really not that special. What we want on the web is something that 'seperates' you from the rest.
Something original that says "We are #*$!XX brand, and this is what is special about us, and nobody else offers this"
And that is the basic reason why others will pick you over all the others. Got to be special, and if you can find that one thing that grabs their attention and gives punters that wow factor. And the wow factor beats all, I wouldn't lie to you.
The Million Dollar Homepage, had the wow factor, and the pulling power and thus got the media attention. This is the kind of thing that wins, it's a case of getting that great idea, combined with the media buzz. But that buzz has to end, and if you want to keep people's interest you have to keep thinking of those new ideas. Just like Google does, infact exactly like they do.
If I think of a new way to advertise something, some day that new way will become ineffective and maybe even cease to work at all. Then as an entrepruneur, I have to think of the next big idea to keep the interest going - ok, that's the very basics of this entire thing, but people will get bored and seek something better.
I hope I've explained ok.