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A directory

Why should you build one?

6:39 pm on Oct 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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hello there. two days ago i saw a classic directory with a good design. something what i first saw years ago and something what was later replaced with google, yahoo and msn search. at least i think that way.

i read forums often and everyone is discussing dmoz, yahoo and couple of big directories. i am wondering why would someone build a directory today when we all know that it is (let's be honest) imposible to compete with dmoz or yahoo and to be more honest i think that no one would really use my directory if i build one.

my questions are:

(1) if i (or you) build such a classic directory today, how would you make it profitable?

(2) how would you drive traffic there? it seems that everyone submits to dmoz and we dont bother with anything else.

i appreciate your thoughts...

[edited by: skibum at 2:40 am (utc) on Oct. 17, 2004]
[edit reason] ULR removed [/edit]

2:11 pm on Oct 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I wouldn't bother if I were you.
2:28 pm on Oct 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

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> i am wondering why would someone build a directory today

Because it is easy to do.

>how would you make it profitable

Paid inclusion, adsense etc etc

>how would you drive traffic there?

read this forum and SEO it all the way!

>it seems that everyone submits to dmoz and we dont bother with anything else.

Not true, many many webmasters will submit to every place they can.


2:35 pm on Oct 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

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It might be difficult to compete with a general directory covering the entire web. But, niche directories, in my experience, can do quite nicely.

Every site can not rank highly in the SE's. A directory that ranks highly for a particular keyword set cna serve to help those with relatively unranked sites to get some exposure at the top of the organic results. If you can prove to potential customers your ability to generate qualified traffic to their sites they will gladly pay you for it.


6:20 pm on Oct 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I feel is still possible to build a classic style free submission directory and have it be successful or at least Iím still hoping so. Directories pretty much died during the .com crash when internet advertising revenues dried up. Directories that were also good sources of traffic and profitable resources for the submitters went under quickly.

Iím from the old webmaster school when directories were king and search engines were primitive. It takes a long time to develop a good directory, with a good submission flow at least three years just to get a reasonable database.

Developing good search engine concentration is the key to bringing traffic. When a directory has top ten positions for literally millions of keyword praises it generates traffic.

Competing with the likes of Yahoo and ODP really isnít necessary. With the amount of users on the internet today we really donít have enough high quality directory style search resources.

Directories are springing up like rabbits breeding with no development that are primarily selling links. These directories are totally dependent on the Google page rank system and the value to a webmaster to have an abundance of links. Many will not be around in a year and the vast majority will never make it three years.

I look at developing a directory like raising a child. Time, patience, understanding and of course a great deal of money will have to go into it.

6:45 pm on Oct 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Everyone should build their own directory. A classic directory is fine, but so are niche directories. It's like the diy punk aesthetic. You can do it yourself. Don't let the establishment tell you what you cannot do.

Why should you build one?

It takes time to become a dmoz editor and work your way up the dmoz food chain to where you can be useful to your network of websites, as well as trade favors with friends. (just being sassy) ;)

So, while you're patiently becoming a dmoz meta, building up your own network of directories on the side will enable you to better promote your websites today, rather than tomorrow.

I've used scripts but I'm hand rolling my newest directory with the goal of ranking it better.

I love directories and will have more to say about them at the Link Development Session at the WebmasterWorld Search Conference [webmasterworld.com] in Vegas.

5:53 am on Oct 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

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MattVrecar, I own a directory and the reason that I build it is purely passion. I'm always excited to see people submit their sites to my directory. In the forums most people talk about the big 2 directories and then list some other decent sized directories. My dream is for people to talk about the big 3, mine being the 3rd one. I read in lots of forums that one shouldn't even try to compete with Dmoz or Yahoo. I think to myself when I read this, thank God for the people who think big. The internet is the new land of opportunity if you can't dream about being successful here then we should all stop building sites and leave it up to the big corporations. My belief is that money shouldn't be the driving force to building a business, passion and a hunger to serve and satisfy the customer should be the driving force. Money is the byproduct of good business. Like Ray Kroc used to say "look after your customers and the business will take care of itself". But these are my beliefs and anybody can believe what they want.

Profitability is one thing and generating revenue is another. Being profitable is managing your finances properly. Generating revenue from a directory is not too hard.

Some ideas:
any ppc engine that will permit you to integrate their listings into your site.
joining affiliate programs and placing their links within your directory.
in house advertising programs
starting an affiliate program.
charging for submissions.

I believe in branding very strongly. Build a strong brand and people will come to your site. Presently I have 40% of my traffic that are typing in or have book marked the site. 31% of which are return traffic. 40% comes from search engiine traffic and 20% from sites that have listed my site on their site.

I hope that I've answered some of your questions. I believe directories will be even more important in the future because as the internet grows we will need a system to categorize sites and directories might just be the answer.

7:31 am on Oct 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I built one directory, liked it so much I built another. They are small directories, and I believe them to be more useful to my visitors than a pages and pages of links. I must have built them fairly well since I'm ranked well on a few phrases - not yet millions of phrases. So traffic *may* be up as a result - its not something I've tried to identify yet.

Banners, AdSense, affiliates, fools with more money than sense - all are good ways to monetize even a tiny directory.

Not to forget, I was able to practice my programming by making one of them totally dynamic, and building a nice back end to maintain the thing. So, directories can be fun too.

2:25 pm on Oct 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I'm building a directory right now, and the key I find to successful directories is quality over quantity. I'm targeting a very small niche market, and I don't expect my directory to exceed 1000 entries. I've got a group of volunteers from a forum I already run in the niche market who are going to submit everything relevant out of their bookmarks, so I'm going to have an excellent selection of hand-picked, hand reviewed sites.

Revenue? It won't be enormous, but the investment is low anyway. The longest is developing the script, but that is reuseable for other sites afterwards. As others have mentioned, banners, Adsense and sponsorship in certain categories. Paid inclusion is the wrong approach for my niche, but it can work very well elsewhere. The sites in the directory will be getting a straight link from a page close to root (the categories can go deep, but the URLs are not deep directories), with the clickthrough stats done via Javascript onclick events, which gives a reasonably good representation of human visitor numbers but it doesn't count the bots.

If you're trying to build a competitor to the Yahoo directory, then don't bother, but if you have a targeted market and a good approach, building a directory is a great idea.