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Old 06-20-2010   #1
David
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Default Eliminating Stub Pages and Adding Value

We've seen many great idea in the directory industry, and I thought I would make a few comments.

First of all, part becoming a success is about finding ways to get quality traffic to your site. That means eliminating stub pages, which by definition are pages containing little content, or even containing content that is rarely useful. Stub pages might include empty categories, detail pages about spammy site or sites that no longer exist, or articles that were imported or "spun" from other sources with little literary contribution to the web.

Instead you really need to focus on providing value to your business listings, and to involving your users in your site. For the business listings they need to be pages that will truly help a person to become interested in the business and want to learn more. There are many things you can do from providing images to including links to social networds, deep links, longer revues, and much more innovation that you can bring to the directory in you put your mind to it.

For the user, you need to find some ways they can interact on your site, such as through comments with Disqus, polls they can vote on, blog posts they participate in, and again, innovation that you can create with your ideas that make your directory special.

For each person it is different, but you need to ask yourself:
"What have you done to make your directory interesting?"
"What have you done to increase the quality?"

Last edited by David; 06-22-2010 at 09:55 PM.
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Old 07-15-2010   #2
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This is arguably one of the most important threads on this forum.

Any new directory owner should take David's advice on board and realise that in order to survive the cutthroat world of directories you need to build value into your listings/pages. That takes work, which many might shy away from hoping for an easy ride.

There's been a lot of discussion on blogs lately about "unremarkable" content. i.e. content that is satisfactory but which really offers nothing useful to the end user. This includes that duplicated content from imported articles and a whole bunch of metrics taken from all over the place and stuck together to try and put an impressive show of stats on display.

People (and search engines) want information. e.g. on details pages if the website you are listing is a bricks 'n' mortar business (i.e. it has a physical address) then listing it's location and opening hours and phone number, are going to be value-added information that the end user will want to see. Even if there is no provision for the submitter to do this on your directory, add the information for them.

The content on a directory is the responsibility of the directory owner NOT the submitters. A directory owner that values his/her content and treats it like gold will be rewarded with good indexation, leading to more traffic via searches, and a better brand awareness in the long run. (they are also more likely to gain listings in hard-to-get-into directory lists *hint*)
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Old 07-15-2010   #3
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Totally agree with what you guys have said. I'm being picky about the quality of the sites submitted and manually adding the meta info and adjusting the description if necessary. There is so much you can do to offer a better directory, and I'm looking forward to the new 4.1 which I think is going to help enormously.
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Old 07-20-2010   #4
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There are many ways to add value to a stub page. One thing I see on a lot of websites is pages that start out with no introduction of any sort.

Don't take it for granted that the visitor knows the function of the page. Say you have a directory page for blacksmiths and no one has submitted a site for that page. Why not put an opening paragraph on the page that says "This space is reserved for blacksmiths.

"Do you own a stable that provides blacksmith services? This page is for you! submit your site here.

"Can you recommend a good blacksmith? Let them know about RealGood Directory or contact us and we'll do the groundwork."

Even after the page begins to fill, text like above does a much better job of making a visitor feel welcome and important than any "Welcome to my site" text will ever do.

Consider adding some related categories to the page that do have entries. For instance:

stables (3)
riding equipment(7)
horseshoes (5)
veterinarians (20)

At least you will give your visitor an idea of where to go from here. If you don't, the visitor may well get his own idea—the one to leave your site and go elsewhere.

Moreover, who says that just because it's a directory you can't have a short article on the page that describes the type of business you want on the page? Even something like "10 tips on how to find a blacksmith" tells the visitor that you're doing your best to help him/her and shows your subscribing businesses that you are genuinely interested in the businesses you represent.
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Old 07-20-2010   #5
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Shyflower, great ideas! I've been meaning to add a paragraph or two to my categories over the next few weeks but was undecided on what exactly to write. Thanks!
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Old 07-21-2010   #6
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I think adding those paragraphs is a good idea, just ensure that they have some relevancy/usefulness, are on-topic and are unique for each category/page. There's no point saying the same thing over and over on every page and then just changing the category-name in each blurb.

It needs to be unique. That's very important.

If it isn't then you are creating a duplication nightmare for yourself, and your best intention is working against you, instead of for you.
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Old 07-26-2010   #7
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Agreed. You just have to start with a particular category, and make that page special. Make sure the links are relevant. Make sure the articles are worth reading. Make sure the elements on the page draw the user to want to do more on your site. Then move on to the next one and so one. If you do a really good job, you'll get some natural links to the category pages, and when you see them appearing you can start celebrating, because you are doing something that is meaningful and worthwhile.
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Old 07-29-2010   #8
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I think you have to be careful not to put too much textual content at the top of a category. You want to keep some links from that category visible 'above the fold'.

Hence what I would like to do is add a paragraph or two of keyword rich (not stuffed) text as an introduction above the links. For this I'm using the 'Description' field in the admin category page.

Then I would like to add further text and info below the final listing in that category using the 'Main area content' field. Currently in the Vivid template this puts the text below the intro text. Can anyone advise how to shift it down?

This second part is more for seo purposes than useful info for the visitor, but I think some people will scroll down the list of links and eventually find it.

Last edited by David; 08-28-2010 at 09:49 PM.
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Old 07-29-2010   #9
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Yes, I agree, and one thing we are thinking of doing more on some of the templates is eliminating the left column, and that would provide more space for content.
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Old 07-29-2010   #10
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Code:
Content visible to registered users only.
Yes please, too many widgets and too much advertising spoils a site.

Last edited by David; 08-28-2010 at 09:45 PM.
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