This is some feedback and advice we received about creating a directory in 2006. Many of the points made are still true today!
After I purchased phpLD, inside the phpLD forum and also at DP and other places, i noticed even though there were several directory owners, very few had a proper idea how they would present their directory to the people they were going to attract - the visitors. About at least 40% of the people had a single question in mind - what categories they were going to create and how? As i had mentioned before, finding and buying the directory script was the easy part, as every second there was a webmaster was building a directory.
In my opinion .... one of the major reasons so many members are building directories is simply to get more backlinks , reciprocal links or in other words SEO optimization purposes . It is by now a well known fact that Directories are often easily crawled , especially if they are SEO friendly like phpLD. Some of the Directory owners also make it big by getting good PageRank, and even getting enough submissions and promotions begin to charge money for the submissions. But in my opinion, a directory would primarily be built for making the web surfing / browsing easier for the novice or general visitor . There are by now millions and millions of websites and web pages, blogs, forums , article repositories, services and products available on the web and the search engines like Google, Yahoo, MSN and many others are undoubtedly making sure that they unearth new sites every day. However, as we painfully find out that just indexing the pages hardly makes it any easier for the surfer, due to various unethical SEO and spamming processes. Hence the directories .... but not just directories, but a well categorized directory, so that the user can easily and without any tricks manage to find exactly what they wish to find should be the objective.
Unless a web directory has a proper categorization, or a proper theme in mind, it is simply not worth making the directory. As a webmaster, we are doing our duty to educate and aid the layman visitor, but unless we ourselves are not educated enough, should we be attempting it? As I had mentioned earlier , several wannabe directory owners (mind you i am not saying I am a master :P by a long shot), ask around the question of what categories should they be creating in their directory and often they are even ready to buy complete category structure of another directory or even custom categories (I might get flamed for this, lol) . If this was the case, why not simply use the DMOZ RDF dump, like many many other sites, which is available for free ?
If I may say so, what role are we playing as directory owners, if we are buying the software to create the directory base, buying the category structure and probably even buying links ... and keep on cloning one General Directory with another? In my opinion, if we are going to build web directories, we should best be building niche directories with niche and detailed to detailed categories as much possible and trying to promote them and collecting links the hard way ... by hand . If you dont have a idea, the least one can do is choose a section from DMOZ and carry forward on its branches of sub categories and list as many sites as you can and request other websites of that particular genre to submit to your directory . Maybe in this way , we will be able to actually share the load out of the search engines and continue to profit even as every other directory will be having its own importances.
DMOZ truly is not a bad place to start, as it is undoubtedly very neatly categorized with appropriate descriptions, and rules for each individual sub category , which can be implemented on our own sites a well. I have been creating categories for my own directory and still I feel I am not even 15% through in creating branches to accommodate every kind of site which can fall under Entertainment ; and have also noticed, I think one of the mod developers has a real estate directory with over 2,550,000 categories. David, if I am not wrong has a Directory for Dance related websites. Maybe these can give a example of what i have tried to rant about in the above passage .
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