Tag Archives: home based business directory

Where Do Web Directories Fit Into the Internet Picture?

directories

Web Directories serve many purposes, whether you are a consumer visiting the web directory to find a solution to your problem or a company wanting to gain exposure for your brand. Either way, the web directory helps to meet those objectives.

Web Search and Web Directories

Many times we refer to “Googling” something, performing an internet search with a tool like Google, Bing, or another search provider. There used to be quite a few search engines that were used regularly, like Alta Vista, Hot Bot, and others. For an interesting read, check out this article showing the search engine timeline.

Years ago, the directory that you wanted on your list was the Yahoo Directory.  Since then, other qualified web directories have joined the ranks.  The playing field has changed a bit, but the basic concepts have remained constant.

In web search, there is usually a box where you enter your query and “search the internet” for that word or phrase. The same type of process is used in site search. In the case of web directories, it is more of a browse and click process, drilling down from the main category to the desired web site or resource.

Quality Matters

A little over a decade ago, there used to be what was called FFA (“free for all”) pages. It could be that the intent was truly to share a resourceful link, and definitely that practice is not beneficial in SEO today (not sure that it was back then, really!). However, one could watch these FFA pages as people submitted their link and those same people repeated the submission process hundreds of times (filling the FFA page with their link alone). Those of us that considered the we “knew better” quickly realized that there was no long term benefit and these pages were spam pages that gave little ROI in the overall scope of link building.

I tell you that to give you an example of what would not be acceptable for the average marketer or consumer when it comes to web directories.  More specifically, spamming a directory would not be beneficial to the brand or the consumer.  Some of that is the responsibility of the web directory, to ensure that they are not spammed and to have technology in place to help alleviate that possibility and mitigate the risk.

quality matters

When looking for a web directory, quality matters. Do you really want to waste your time looking at junk links, dead links, or just overly-promotional sites that don’t deliver on the content?

Web Directories for the Business

Directories are not just there for the consumer of resources (personal or professional). They also present an opportunity for you to list your resourceful site. Check out “5 Key Benefits of Business Web Directories to understand some of these benefits.

There are SEO concerns, as well. For example, as mentioned above, you want to ensure that it is a quality directory, for the sake of your brand.  Also, vary the keywords that are used. As with the point about quality, you really only want to submit your site to quality web directories. You would not want to associate your site/link with spam directories. A great article on what to pull together for your listing is on the Growmap blog: “How to Use Local Business Directories to Increase Visibility and Sales.”

Here is a slideshare, by George Chavs,  listing some benefits of using web directories for your business:

Example of Web Directory That Meets the Criteria: Directory Journal

Directory Journal is a web directory that meets the criteria listed above, as a resource and as a directory that would be well worth adding to your business strategy. This directory is well established and has a focus on quality. There are a wide variety of categories to choose from, with the most popular categories showing up on the home page. Also, Directory Journal isn’t “just” a web directory, but also offers resources like webmaster tools (IP lookup, CSS sandbox, and more), as well articles on various topics, like an article, “5 Practical (and Fun) Ways to Use Trello” by yours truly (Deborah Anderson), and our very own Ann Smarty’s article, “How to Be Protected from Internet Scams.”

So, whether you are looking for something or looking to be found, web directories are worth adding to your list … to see if what they have to offer fits in your strategy.


How to Start a Business Online -7 tried and true steps for attracting visitors to your site–and getting them to buy.

There is a proven sequence of steps you can follow to guarantee your success when you’re starting a small business online. I’ve seen thousands of people start and grow successful businesses by doing the following:

  1. Find a need and fill it.
  2. Write copy that sells.
  3. Design and build an easy-to-use website.
  4. Use search engines to drive traffic to your site.
  5. Establish an expert reputation for yourself.
  6. Follow up with your customers and subscribers with e-mail.
  7. Increase your income through back-end sales and upselling.

Anyone, from newbie to seasoned online entrepreneur, can benefit from this process in learning how to start a business online.

Step 1: Find a need and fill it

Most people who are just starting out make the mistake of looking for a product first, and a market second.

To boost your chances of success, start with a market. The trick is to find a group of people who are searching for a solution to a problem, but not finding many results. The internet makes this kind of market research easy:

  • Visit online forums to see what questions people ask and what problems they’re trying to solve.
  • Do keyword research to find keywords that a lot of people are searching, but for which not many sites are competing.
  • Check out your potential competitors by visiting their sites and taking note of what they’re doing to fill the demand. Then you can use what you’ve learned and create a product for a market that already exists–and do it better than the competition.

Step 2: Write copy that sells

There’s a proven sales copy formula that takes visitors through the selling process from the moment they arrive to the moment they make a purchase:

  1. Arouse interest with a compelling headline.
  2. Describe the problem your product solves.
  3. Establish your credibility as a solver of this problem.
  4. Add testimonials from people who have used your product.
  5. Talk about the product and how it benefits the user.
  6. Make an offer.
  7. Make a strong guarantee.
  8. Create urgency.
  9. Ask for the sale.

Throughout your copy, you need to focus on how your product or service is uniquely able solve people’s problems or make their lives better. Think like a customer and ask “What’s in it for me?”

Step 3: Design and build your website

Once you’ve got your market and product, and you’ve nailed down your selling process, now you’re ready for your small-business web design. Remember to keep it simple. You have fewer than five seconds to grab someone’s attention–otherwise they’re gone, never to be seen again. Some important tips to keep in mind:

  • Choose one or two plain fonts on a white background.
  • Make your navigation clear and simple, and the same on every page.
  • Only use graphics, audio or video if they enhance your message.
  • Include an opt-in offer so you can collect e-mail addresses.
  • Make it easy to buy–no more than two clicks between potential customer and checkout.
  • Your website is your online storefront, so make it customer-friendly.

Step 4: Use search engines to drive targeted buyers to your site

Pay-per-click advertising is the easiest way to get traffic to a brand-new site. It has two advantages over waiting for the traffic to come to you organically. First, PPC ads show up on the search pages immediately, and second, PPC ads allow you to test different keywords, as well as headlines, prices and selling approaches. Not only do you get immediate traffic, but you can also use PPC ads to discover your best, highest-converting keywords. Then you can distribute the keywords throughout your site in your copy and code, which will help your rankings in the organic search results.

Step 5: Establish an expert reputation for yourself

People use the internet to find information. Provide that information for free to other sites, and you’ll see more traffic and better search engine rankings. The secret is to always include a link to your site with each tidbit of information.

  • Give away free, expert content. Create articles, videos or any other content that people will find useful. Distribute that content through online article directories or social media sites.
  • Include “send to a friend” links on valuable content on your website.
  • Become an active expert in industry forums and social networking sites where your target market hangs out.

You’ll reach new readers. But even better, every site that posts your content will link back to yours. Search engines love links from relevant sites and will reward you in the rankings.

Step 6: Use the power of e-mail marketing to turn visitors into buyers.

When you build an opt-in list, you’re creating one of the most valuable assets of your online business. Your customers and subscribers have given you permission to send them e-mail. That means:

  • You’re giving them something they’ve asked for.
  • You’re developing lifetime relationships with them.
  • The response is 100 percent measurable.
  • E-mail marketing is cheaper and more effective than print, TV or radio because it’s highly targeted.

Anyone who visits your site and opts in to your list is a very hot lead. And there’s no better tool than e-mail for following up with those leads.

Step 7: Increase your income through back-end sales and upselling

One of the most important internet marketing strategies is to develop every customer’s lifetime value. At least 36 percent of people who have purchased from you once will buy from you again if you follow up with them. Closing that first sale is by far the most difficult part–not to mention the most expensive. So use back-end selling and up selling to get them to buy again:

  • Offer products that complement their original purchase.
  • Send out electronic loyalty coupons they can redeem on their next visit.
  • Offer related products on your “Thank You” page after they purchase.

Reward your customers for their loyalty and they’ll become even more loyal.

The internet changes so fast that one year online equals about five years in the real world. But the principles of how to start and grow a successful online business haven’t changed at all. If you’re just starting a small business online, stick to this sequence. If you’ve been online awhile, do a quick review and see if there’s a step you’re neglecting, or never got around to doing in the first place. You can’t go wrong with the basics.

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What Are Web Directories?

Web directories are collections of links which are organized by topic for the convenience of people browsing the Internet looking for information and resources. Using a web directory, Internet users can find lists of websites on related topics which complement each other. For example, someone who is interested in a hobby like building dollhouses could use a web directory to find resources organized by type, such as hobbyist sites, suppliers, and so forth.

These directories are not search engines, although users can search a web directory to find the topic that they are looking for. Rather, they consist of static collections of links which are periodically updated to ensure that they are relevant and useful. Many search engines maintain supplemental web directories which users can take advantage of, with the search engine using the results of regular searches and user feedback to strengthen its web directory.

There are a number of ways in which web directories can be assembled. Some are built entirely by hand, with editors personally checking each link which is included in the directory, using submitted links as well as the results of searches. These directories can be established collaboratively, with people all over the world editing and updating the directory.

Others are built by computer, with the computer using a variety of methods to determine whether or not a link is useful, and where it should be placed. Computers can also be designed to set up weighted web directories, such as directories which allow people to pay for placement of their sites in a directory.

The organization of web directories has been a topic of debate. A directory’s main page may not necessarily disclose how links are chosen, which means that people may not realize that certain links are sponsored through direct payments or link exchanges, and that more relevant links may have sunk to the bottom of the list. Failure to disclose this can bring a web directory’s reputation and validity into question, as people may legitimately ask how useful the directory is when it is not neutral in nature.

Web directories can be immensely useful for quick research and information gathering, especially for users who manage to find a reputable web directory, ideally one which is primarily human-edited and which does not allow sponsored links. Users can often directly improve such directories by rating links up or down, submitting new links, or suggesting that links be re categorized.

 

If you offer a Home Based Business opportunity and want to get started in an Home Based Business online directory click here!

 

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