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How Web Directories Might Remain Relevant Today & In the Future

Relevancy is a big issue on the internet, especially for web directories. When looking for more information, first stop is usually Google or Bing rather than a business web directory. How can web directories remain relevant, given the fact that the number of web sites on the Internet is ever expanding, and people are more time compressed than ever before?

Trying To Be All Things Is A MistakeHow Can Web Directories Remain Relevant

Yahoo used to be the premier search engine until Google came along and took over. Yahoo used to do search, a bit of email and their Yahoo! Directory, but the site was fairly contained; you knew why you were visiting and how to find what you were looking for. Then Yahoo added dating and news, and more and more subjects believing that this was the way to a portal-based approach with a web site that sucked visitors in and kept them there a la AOL.

The trouble with this approach was that visitors stopped caring, were confused about too many choices and Yahoo lost its mojo. Search seemed to take a back seat to pulling in visitors and more relevant results seem to be coming from Google. So traffic moved to Google and Yahoo has never fully recovered since.

Small is the New Big

Many types of businesses are finding considerable success online by “niching down.” This means scaling down their marketing and their message to target a small niche or sub niche of potential customers. The web designer who only makes sites for authors; the motorcycle repair shop that only works on Harley motorcycles.

The concern is that the business won’t make enough money, but quite often if the market is large enough then the business will establish itself quickly and generate a strong reputation.

Go Deep Rather Than Wide

With web directories, a similar approach is likely to be the most successful. A focused approach on an industry or a location can bear more fruit. Rather than being just another web directory, distinguish the platform by its exclusivity, accurate analysis or reviews, and its honesty. It’ll include the best business providers rather than all of them. It’ll set a high bar on quality and make it known to everyone that they’re serious about enforcing it.

Distinguish The Site Offering From The Competition

Whereas large sites cannot be experts in any one area nor change their site design sufficiently to truly tailor each portal to a certain subject, this is one of the advantages of a focused web directory. Just as a small business can have a real human answering the phone instead of a computer where callers have to dial “1” to speak to someone in English, a web directory can really drill down to the details of what their core visitors want to see.

Add Knowledge Rather Than Just Listings

Insightful news and commentary on the market covered can inform visitors. These visitors are then more likely to return to read more and will also make better decisions about which business listing to access and following through to the listing company’s web site. This better serves the visitor and makes it easier for the businesses to start a new relationship with prospects that arrive from the web directory. A win-win.

Answer The Question: Why?

Why this web directory instead of another one? Why this web directory instead of a general search engine? Why would the new visitor return and does the web directory currently offer the right incentives for current visitor to want to do so?

Pay attention to some of these details and this kind of web directory is likely to be respected, remain useful, maybe even innovative, and experience considerable success.

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Pete Daniel is a contributing author to Web Directory Digest.

'How Web Directories Might Remain Relevant Today & In the Future' have 4 comments

  1. January 5, 2015 @ 10:58 pm Jenna

    I wish more directory owners would read this article. I firmly believe that going with a niche and going deeper rather than wider are the factors that will make or break a directory. Specializing is almost always the ticket to more revenue and it’s also true of the web directory industry.


    • January 6, 2015 @ 5:40 am WDD-Admin

      There’s room for a lot of different kinds of directories but, too often, people try to build a general web directory by themselves, and it just can’t be done. Someone might be able to build a good quality niche directory by themselves, however; depending on the niche.


      • January 17, 2015 @ 5:45 am Neil

        Another potential advantage to building a web directory based on a specific niche is that you can eventually market yourself as an authority web directory in that particular niche. When you’re targeting a specific niche, establishing yourself as an authority in that niche becomes more doable. And in addition to the traffic being highly targeted, I’d assume that visitors would place more value on the links in a niche web directory because it specifically caters to what the visitor is searching for.

        Building a general web directory on your own doesn’t seem feasible at all. Unless you have the resources to get it to where it needs to go, it’ll just end up becoming the next “jack of all trades, master of none” type of directory.


        • January 17, 2015 @ 6:38 am WDD-Admin

          Very true. I have seen several well intended people fail, thinking that they were going to build the next best thing in a general web directory. That takes a great deal of time, money and work, more than anyone person can handle — and even then, there are others with more than a decade of a head start on you. A niche directory is the way to go for most people.


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