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Help with directory site..........

design ideas......



6:55 am on Aug 26, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I would like to know how to design a directory site.I have a domain name that will invole the sport of fishing.I have Frontpage 2000 and I also have coffee cup html editor.I'm completely lost on where to start and what excatly I need.Help is appreciated.Thank You.


8:08 am on Aug 26, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Hi macaveil, Welcome to WebmasterWorld.

As this is your first post, you might want to check out the Welcome To WebmasterWorld [webmasterworld.com] thread put together by one of our moderators, paynt.

Getting to your question,

>where to start and what excatly I need.

Well put your editing programs away for a while because there is a lot to think about and prepare before you can start to design your pages.

They say that success is 95% why, and 5% how, and it is about the same when you are setting up a new directory.

1) - Topic, and breadth of topic.
This is important and not as simple as it seems. It is very important to think about the overall topic of you directory, and what other topics are related, and where to set the boundaries.

For example, you mention fishing. [small}(normally we are not specific about subjects here but in this case I don't think "widgets" will cut the mustard)[/small] What different types of fishing are there? Fly, Deep water, etc. Are you going to cover all types of fishing or restrict yourself to fresh water fishing? That will make a big difference to the size of you directory straight away.

Now, what about related topics such as camping, boating, etc. And if we take it further, what about off road vehicles, global satellite positioning, satellite phones, out door clothing, and so on. What about Hunting? As you can see, if you are not careful about setting the scope of you directory you could go on forever and two things would happen - you would end up doing another Yahoo, and it would never be finished.

So think carefully about you topic and set you boundaries.

2) - Classification, or Ontology. How are you going to organise your directory? If you only have a small subject and a small number of sub-sections, then you could perhaps simply have, say, 10 subsections hanging off your main topic.

For example - Widgets!
Widget Manufacturers, Widget Sales, Widget Repairers, and Widget Usage. Fairly simple.

But for more complicated directories, perhaps a heirarchial approach is warranted. For example,
Level 1 - Computers
Level 2 - Computer Hardware, Computer Software
Level 3a - Computer Hardware Manufacturers, Computer Hardware Designers
right down to
Level 42 - Computer HardWare Manufacturers from Koera who specialise in battery clips for use on motherboards for PC clones built before 1995.

Get the idea? Each level down gets more specific.

3) - Static/Dynamic?

Are you going to build a static directory where you have to hand code each page and therefor recode for each addition/deletion/change, OR
Are you going to set up a tamplate system which draws specific information from a database for each individual category?

If only a small directory, then you could get away with static pages, but one you get beyond a few hundred links the you should really be thinking about a database driven system. This means you only need to edit the information in the database and all occurences for that entrey are immediately reflected throughout the directory.

Of course if you are going to do a dynamic directory, then you need to make decisions about which database, which language to code in, are you going to build the system yourself, or are you going to use a prebuilt syste, and so on.

When you have all that sorted out, whew, then you can start to go about collecting your links and resources, and then you can start to think about implementing it which is when you can get you website editors out again.

Probably not the answer you wanted, but if you are going to build a successful directory, then you need to take a step back and do a Lot of Research before you get Gung Ho. One of the biggest traps is starting to build a directory without the research and then either finding that you need to go back a few steps and start again as new information comes to light, or you find it is a lot harder that you thing and you give up.

So, decide the scope of your directory, research similar sites, look at how they have the information organised, look at the large directories such as Yahoo and ODP and see how they do it, look up information about the Dewey Decimal system and the Library or Congress system to see how the categories are arranged there, and so on.

I hope this helps you macaveil, if I have made it sound a bigger job than you expected, well it can be if you are not careful. Bit with thoughtful preparation you can build the best fishing directory ever. Go Do It!


8:29 am on Aug 26, 2002 (gmt 0)

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go to hotscripts or cgi-resources and look over some scripts used for directories once you go over what woz said (very important). if your directory is going to have thousands of links then you will most likely need a good database backed script (Dynamic) to keep the links organized, searchable, and up to date.
9:15 am on Aug 26, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Hi macaveil and welcome to Webmaster World. Nice topic.

Good advice so far. You may wish to note that many of the discussions you’ll find here in their individual parts, apply to putting together a directory. I wanted to applaud Woz at the mention of research and you would do well to listen to it. I’d throw in a few tips in the stew and suggest in the thinking stage when you are imaging which direction you want to go, you think about the quality of the product you want to produce and your motives behind that.

Ask yourself these questions:

The purpose for creating the directory, was it a passion for fishing or do you have professional experience in fishing products or were you were given an affiliate opportunity, know what drives you. That will help put in perspective the direction your research takes.

Each of the above will help guide you and determine the amount of energy you’re willing to put behind the project. Building a fishing community could be a great idea, or a tip column, offering current and ‘fresh’ – haha articles about fishing, or jokes and then a glossary of fishing terms to lure them in, <hint – hint>. What’s the extra kicker and how much time are you willing to spend.

Which leads to content. Can you produce it yourself, have backup or hire a great copywriter? Each of those cost time and/or money so there’s that to consider. Creating a directory takes a lot of time and energy and it costs and all of those issues need to be considered up front.

I would like to share two articles I wrote for Webmaster World recently on researching for links, Research your Competition - Fodder for developing a link campaign [webmasterworld.com] and Linking Campaign Research - Tips for industry research [webmasterworld.com] Woz is right, don’t slight the research.

11:39 am on Aug 26, 2002 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Administrator brotherhood_of_lan is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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Don't think I can add to the "approach!"

I'm sure FP2000 has a DB results section. If you are not familiar with dynamic content then it might help you get started.

You can create a template page, where the only variable of the page is the actual URL. If the rest is called from a database, you can have a uniform layout of content and navigation that will be easy to update when your directory grows. I guess it depends on how big it will be.

This is what I do, albeit its a mediocre directory (still looking for better ways to make it).....where all that I have to change for a "new category" page is a two letter "category" ID sitting in an SQL statement.

If you can use MS access and FP extensions its easy to setup. FP XP can also set you up a "database editor" in minutes...adding you a "live" backend ;) This orta thing can be made up in an hour.

I'll 100% agree on the research thing, though I'm going to save this page and read it again thoroughly :)

macaveil, if youre interested in this way fire me over a stickymail, I wanted to start a thread in the FP forum asking if anyone uses this function in FP and what it can be used for. This could help me instigate it

All of the above- I write it thinking about planning. You don't want your excellent resource, acquired links from everywhere, high traffic to run into a brick wall purely because the mechanism that runs it simply isn't up to the task anymore.

4:38 pm on Aug 26, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I have to ask. Can you let us know why you want to design a directory? Are you not satisfied with what is already available, want to do it better, personel satisfaction? What features are you looking for?
So far you have received some of the best advice I have ever read.


12:23 am on Aug 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I just happen to have a domain name which invole fishing,instead of let the domain go to waste I decided to put it to use.I was going to make it a site with content on fishing that would've easier i see now,then i said go for a directory site.LAN what you want me to send via sticky mail........Thank You all for the feedback i know where to start now.
12:35 am on Aug 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

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macaveil, I'll post that thing I mentioned in the WYSIWYG forum....it'll have to be a long and awkward post, but its good for getting a database started up.

It would help if you had IIS or some sort of webserver on your computer too. I installed a search engine to plug results into mySQL, but frontpage is more suited to Access. It will create the global.asa and vb script needed to go dynamic in an hour or two.

IMHO its not the best way, for the long run anyway, unless you choose to get more knowledge on databases,ASP,PHP and the like....it really is inevitable ;)

At least if you have a working model on your home computer, you can work out what you will need that little bit quicker hopefully!