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We've opened an almost unique specialized search directory, and we've surpassed our ideas on resources as to how we should begin getting listings added without being frowned upon. Would anyone have some positive advertising methods to start our directory?
Thank you for any ideas or advice you may have. Great forum by the way.
Thank you for the reply. A budget is always a good idea, and we definately want to try our best to ensure we spend effectively.
Doing a small ad test on google to pull in visitors has proven to be positive that there is a need for our services, we assume. But without the listings, visitors will not stay or participate, of course for understandable reasons.
The website has just launched three days ago, and google did a good job. Finding resources to bring in curious seekers I believe will not be extremely difficult, but advertising or finding that niche to the companies is another leap. We know there are ways to go about this, but we want to use good judgement on how we present ourselves. Currently we are looking into press releases from select internet resources.
So yes, we are willing to spend conservatively, and listings are free to add. Thank-you for your feedback.
Thank-you for the advice. Yes we did think of inserting some on our own to give it a kick start, but then decided it may be impetuous of us to do so. However it's certainly not an option we have left in the cold. If you think this would not be considered bad PR, please share your thoughts. Thank-you.
I agree with skibum, you need some listings before you do any promotion. It doesn't matter how much advertising you do at this point, you don't have anything to offer visitors. (Don't mean to sound harsh, just truthful.) People searching for registrars will find no info on your site in its current state.
Why not add the registrars you're familiar with? Going through directories, as skibum suggested, is also a great idea. Registrars would probably jump at the free link, just fire off an email invitation.
Thanks very much for your input, it really is appreciated. Intially our thoughts were the same, we went through every Registrar resource and contemplated emailing and adding our own listings. We just weren't a hundred percent sure if this would be considered a "no no" with the Registrar's. Especially emailing them. Aside from our own tendencies about "Spam" and junk email we didn't think this would be ethical of us. So therefore the position we put ourselves in ;)
Your feedback has helped because we really needed to hear more from other Webmasters about this issue. So thanks for that. As for sounding harsh Drastic, not at all, we thought the same thing and that's why I came in here to ask advice.
Thanks so much.
The ones I hate the most are "free" invites to join some directory or other - but on closer inspection discover that I have to pay a small fortune to actually be anywhere better than 25th position. They get my interest and then waste my time. At least the "porn and weight loss" spam I can delete and ban without even thinking :)
Your not making one of these directories are you?
One of my sites is regularly included in many directories with out my permission or request - I'm happy for that to happen. Free publicity is always welcome. Even if I get no visitors at least my page rank is helped :)
I think the registrars will have the same attitudes.
This forum is great and I hope I can be of use to someone else in the near future. What I especially find excellent is the professional mannerism on these forums. Great job to the admins, moderators, and loyal visitors.
The only slight drawback is that apparently Google doesnt like sites thgat use ODP data mainly because they do. If you had for example Other listings above the niche ODP listings you might be OK, Brett can probably tell you more about this than I can.
Anyway Good Luck :)
Actually it's not that they don't like sites to use the ODP data, what they don't rank high are sites that are simple mirrors of ODP. I've created a few of these myself and the key is in modifying the site so it offers unique content as well as the ODP style links.
There are some things to be careful of if you do opt to utilize the ODP data. Make sure when you are setting it up that when Google comes along it doesn't spider the entire ODP database through your site. Not only does this eat up a huge amount of bandwidth but it significanly clogs up cache storage. You will also severely dilute your themes. This is not to discourage the use of ODP data as I think it's ok and free.
Here is a particularly useful discussion with regards to hubs and especially ODP dump.
A question of hubs [webmasterworld.com]
I started my directory with a hundred or so targeted emails. Once your site starts getting returned in the SERPs (tm WMW :) ) and your visitors see that their competitors are listed it should then snowball.
I think that most people (especially webmasters) are pretty savvy when it comes to "spam" email. We don't like getting it, but we read it all the same just in case we are missing a trick.
I do agree with you as well. I've personally been developing websites for quite a long time now, and I have no set backs with advertising and getting visitors itself. Getting actual listings where there aren't many resources available to generate your ads for these types of listings was quite a "think through". Of course email was our first thoughts, but then you read so much net etiquette on the internet, it makes you think even harder. Will I be punished or frowned upon? What a dilemma. It's not like in the good old days when we could chat and yak about anything we wanted. Nowadays there's so many do's and don'ts and what is right and wrong etc etc...
I hate spam as much as the next person, but as gethan said there is a fine line. When do real business' feel safe to advertise their product without being punished or "poo pooed" at. Many spammers have really ruined it for legite business' who just want to advertise like the old net days. I get flyers all the time in my real mailbox, and I certainly don't penalize let's say "Walmart" for letting me know about their specials. I chuck what I don't want, same as email except it's trashed. Well this is quite a controversial topic so I won't add to much.
Anyhow on an update it was good to hear what other Webmasters felt, because it makes our actions seem more sane. We had already put together a list before I started this post but just hung on until I heard your side of it. Well we've fired them out and kudos to the Registrars that have participated already.
Thanks everyone. Your feedback has been overwhelming :)
Once you have an audience, a base of users actually searching your directory, you can rest assured that webmasters will be falling over themselves to get listed. Before that time, even if they hear of you, some may not feel it is worth the submittal time for just a few visitors per year.
Look at Overture (formerly Goto) for a prime example. Webmasters are fighting each other to PAY to get listed. They don't do that for Overture's own users so much, its the wider audience that appeals.
ODP submissions get a huge reach by means of Google, Netscape, AOL, Lycos, and hundreds of other portals and vortals. Looksmart listings claim a 60 percent audience reach through all their content provision deals. That's what draws webmasters.
Trouble is, of course, that no-one is going to do a deal for content that hasn't got content. So, where to start?
Well, to start you'll need to spend on marketing to make up for the lack of other appeal. The term 'search engine' is pretty cheap on most PPC search engines. Of course, that still costs money, and people searching for 'search engines' are as likely to be looking to use one, as they are to be looking to get listed.
So, start with ads on as many webmaster sites and newsletters as you can. Focus on features for webmasters, like easy submission tracking, or better submission proceedures than rivals have.
Think about offering the things webmasters want from a directory, like an email EVERY time a submission is either accepted or rejected that tells us what we need to know. THAT is the kind of thing that sells.
Tracking info, like the top 500 search terms used at your directory, or similar things are neat extras that make adding yet another bookmark worthwhile to webmasters.
Hell, you could even offer some kind of incentive scheme to professional webmasters or SEO firms, where they'd get a small reward for each submission. Otherwise, think about offering something like a charity donation for each successful submission. That way, you incentivise others to help build up a decent sized database.
Once you have a good database of listings to start touting around looking for content deals that will gain you a wider audience, you'd switch focus towards that aspect more. If you can gain the audience coverage, that alone will be a huge incentive to submit sites.
I must encourage you to take the time to populate your directory as much as possible before you start much promotion. You need a product before you can sell it. Upon adding each site to your index, don't be afraid to send the site administrator a personalized note letting them know you exsist, you like their site and have added it to your directory, and you will be starting a maketing effort in the near future and will send a link later to the details.
Nothing wrong with this at all. Since your dealing with registrars, you probably will get mostly professional responses. Most site administators have nothing wrong with notification emails if it deals with their site. This approach is not considered spam and is a very common practice. Just keep your email short and sweet, get to the point quickly and put longer messages on pages with a link to them. Make sure they are basic text based emails, no pretty html emails for this. Have a proffessional signature at the bottom with contact info to yourself. Use your full name and title. One important thing though is NEVER mention "this is not a spam" or "to be removed" type messages. Professionals never need to excuse themselves.