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Finding additional content for directories

Want more than just listings on the page

     
3:45 pm on Nov 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I'm looking at launching a niche-market/regional directory and I'd like to add some additional (and hopefully useful) content to the pages in addition to the listings.

Any thoughts on what I should add to the pages to flesh them out a bit? I've seen people add local weather links but that doesn't have much to do with the niche I'm in.

Ideally I'd like to have something somewhat automated but I can if neccessary hand edit (the entire directory and structure is hand edited).

Thanks!

5:16 pm on Nov 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I spend an hour or two each morning searching for news stories relevant to my regional industry-specific directory site's theme. I provide links to those stories and write my own unique, creative headlines in the link text. The news links appear on a news page on my site.

There is no other source for my kind of news on a daily basis that can compete with me, nor is there likely to be one. I have a growing mailing list and send out the headlines with story links in a text-only email once each week. I'm surprised by how many people the weekly mailout brings in, considering that the news is there on the site every day for everyone to find.

The news that I choose to report is almost always related to my industry. I highlight stories from my region as I find them. I also take stories from outside my region when I think that they will interest my readers.

The reaction has been extremely positive and has turned my directory into a much more interesting, sticky site that keeps people coming back for more. This makes advertising much easier to sell and much more effective.

9:08 pm on Nov 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Finding additional content for a site is the hardest thing you can do. It must be a form of content that noone else has done before, and for every 1 thing you think of you'll actually need to multiply that by 20. Even when you have such content, the site can still fail.

It also costs major cash and research to do this properly. If you get the content side wrong,then it can really screw up (what was) a pretty good site. Most site owners don't have any experience of their site's industry eg - never worked in the industry or even related industries, which is why they can't put content ideas together, as they just don't know what people are looking for/or how to make the site helpful. I've spoken to numerous people who want to get on the web and launch some great site, and I ask them what experience have they got, and the answer is mostly either none or very little.

9:51 pm on Nov 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I've got twenty years experience in the industry which should be good enough?

In this niche most visitors will actually be looking for the directory listings and little else. It'll be in, get into their city/town, grab a listing and leave. The niche is that narrow.

However I'd like to flesh out the pages a bit, make them a bit more relevant for the SE's and try and avoid any potential dupe content penalties or filters.

10:38 pm on Nov 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

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How about hiring someone to interview some of the business in the directory and write articles about these businesses? Seems like good SE fodder as well as great information for your visitors.
1:26 am on Nov 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Services like Associated Press (AP), United Press Intl (UPI) or All Headline News (AHN) can all provide you with news search links on just about any topic.
2:16 pm on Nov 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

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There are also many industry-specific news sources available for a wide range of industries. These have been a great help to me.
1:28 am on Dec 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Services like Associated Press (AP), United Press Intl (UPI) or All Headline News (AHN) can all provide you with news search links on just about any topic

A news feed? hmmmmmm, that costs for the service. And the free feeds are just no good, as the feed operator can easily withdraw or not update the news as you aren't paying for anything hehe.

Problem is a directory with a news feed is JUST a directory and nothing more. It won't drive much more traffic and might begin confusing people as to a site's purpose. You can't be everything at once or at all - I've seen really nice sites get ruined by opting into the this portal game. Very difficult to get right.

3:14 am on Jan 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

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"Most site owners don't have any experience of their site's industry eg - never worked in the industry or even related industries, which is why they can't put content ideas together, as they just don't know what people are looking for/or how to make the site helpful. I've spoken to numerous people who want to get on the web and launch some great site, and I ask them what experience have they got, and the answer is mostly either none or very little."

Couldn't agree more. Having a personal knowledge of the industry a site is targeting is sometimes "key" to anticipating the search patterns and behavior of the target audience, i.e. figuring out which keywords and keyphrases to shoot for. And I don't mean the keywords and phrases that you can find using the google tool, but the kinds of phrases that really come from knowing your audience and what they are looking for.