eDirectory at SMX East

eDirectory will be attending Search Marketing Expo (SMX) East on October 5th & 6th.  In addition to exhibiting alongside of companies like Bing, at&t, iContact and others, eDirectory will be giving a theater presentation on Tuesday, October 6th.  The session, entitled “Implementing an Online Directory: Strategies for Increasing Search Traffic,” will be presented by eDirectory’s CEO, James Chubb.   If you’re attending the show, be sure to visit us at booth #328 to learn more about our products and services.

eDirectory 7.0.15 now Live

The latest version of the leading online directory software solution is now live.  From improved site manager features to expanded social bookmarking settings, eDirectory’s latest version reflects feedback from our clients over the last several months.  Here is a list of the more notable changes:
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  • New Social Bookmarking - LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter
  • New Browse by Location layout: clean and organized.
  • Advanced Search box can be closed
  • The user can choose to show or hide the map on the results pages.
  • The site manager can enable/disable the google maps feature.
  • A color selector was added in the listing templates section, so now the site manager can choose the colors easily.
  • The site manager can choose the listing levels that will have promotions.
  • The site manager can refresh the Statistic Reports at any time.
  • eDirectory now works with Amazon Simple Pay payment gateway. This new gateway works with Amazon Simple Pay Standard and Amazon Simple Pay Subscriptions (the recurring can be monthly or yearly).
  • The charset was changed from ISO 8859-1 to UTF-8.

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PS.: If you’re a current client and have some suggestions on features we should include in our next release, I’d love to hear from you.  Please email me at  jared . elder @ edirectory . com

Visit eDirectory at SES San Jose, California Aug 11th & 12th

If you are on the west coast, come visit us at Search Engine Stratagies Expo in San Jose.    The eDirectory booth is #422.   Passes to the exhibition hall are free if ordered in advance, and just $50 at the door.   The conference program should be good as well.   If you are interested in signing up for the full conference, contact Owen Zhu at owen . zhu @eDirectory dot com to get the eDirectory discount on registration.  Also send Owen a note if you would like to set a time to discuss a project with a project manager.

We look forward to meeting you in person!

Becoming an Online Reseller

A lot of people know that they want to start an online company.  One of the easiest ways is to become a reseller.  The reason is that another company has done all of the hard work in the development, testing, branding, and creating the product.  The main challenge in this scenario  is to find a product that will make you money.

Your first step, obviously, is to find a source.  You can search the Internet for products, attend trade shows or find niche magazines.  If a company doesn’t have a reseller program, you can contact them to make your pitch.  Often, you may find that they would be more than happy to have another salesperson working on their behalf.

Once you have located a product to resell, you should understand how wide your audience is. Is this a product that can bring in a large volume of business?  Researching the competition, also,  is important during this stage.  Find out if there is something that you can do better than the rest – whether it’s with the price, the features, better service or some other area.

In finding a product, don’t get too caught up in the fact that you may not be a subject matter expert in the field.  Most companies will help get you trained and can give you the right tools so that you’re a success.  Additionally, you don’t need to have a great amount of passion for the product itself.  Instead, you should have a passion for the business and sales that it can possibly bring.

The ultimate attributes that you should seek when becoming a reseller are if the product is in demand; how high are the start-up costs and if the company can support you in becoming successful.

Don’t Make Me Think – Using Common Sense in Web Design

When creating your website, you should take into account what is going on today.  You may not have noticed that there are very distinct things that web designers do in order to make the web pages look modern, appealing and easy to use.  What is the key for today?  Simplicity.

Fortunately, web design evolves as everything else does and today web sites are better than ever.  More designers have more experience and finally understand how to create something better than they did even a few years ago.

Even if you don’t have the experience, you should make sure that you pay attention to the features that all great designs have.  They are:
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  • A Clean Layout
  • A Site That Goes Below the Fold (people know how to scroll)
  • A Reduction of Three Dimensional Effects
  • The Use of a Plain Background or Soft Colors Such as Grey
  • No Strong Colors
  • Clean Spaces and No Crowding the Site With Design
  • Big Easy to Read Text
  • An Orientation Towards the Center
  • The Content is Designed vs. a Designed Page
  • Few Icons – It is Clutter and Confuses People

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These are easy things to keep in mind even if you’re not an expert.  One of the best books that I’ve read and continue to use as a guide include:  Don’t Make Me Think:  A Common Sense Approach to Web Usablity by Steve Krug.   His book points out that too many small businesses, unnecessarily, create cluttered sites and, thereby, force people to think.

When you have an online business, it is critical for you to remember that people came to your site because they have a problem to solve.  If they don’t think that they have landed a possible solution within a few seconds, they will hit the back button quickly.   Make sure that your site doesn’t cause needless headaches by following the guidelines listed above and you stand a shot at increasing sales!

Inner Light Spectrum

Importance of Photos in Print and Digital Media

As cheesey as the line is ‘A picture can say a thousand words’ that line is true. A well taken, cropped, and digitized photo can provide more information and insight into a product or service than an entire written page of inforamtion can provide by itself.  Figures point that in print media only 5% of readers may notice an article title, but almost 100% or readers see and look at photos. The combonationation of good writing and great photos can help draw people to read what you are advertising. In the eDirectory system the showcase business listing allows for the listing owner to upload multiple photos into the listing photo gallery along with a large displayed logo image. These images that are uploaded into the photo gallery can help to highlight the products and services the listing is avertising to potential clients and site visitors.

On the market today there are may high quality photo editing software programs that allow a user to transform a well taken picture into an eye catching picture. Toptenreviews.com lists the following as the top ten free or paid for photo editing software programs:

  1. Adobe Photoshop Elements
  2. Corel Pain Shop Pro Photo
  3. Serif PhotoPlus
  4. Ulead PhotoImpact
  5. ACDSee Photo Editor
  6. PhotoSuite
  7. FotoFinish
  8. Photo Explosion
  9. PhotoImpressions
  10. PhotoStudio

Each of these programs will allow one to improve thier already taken photos and then resave the changes so they can be easily uploaded into the eDirectory photo gallery system. The eDirectory photo gallery systme requries that the photo be saved into either .gif or .jpg format, which can easly be accomplished in any of the above 10 photo editing programs.

Ad Tech in April

We are excited to be exhibiting at ad tech in San Francisco on April 21 – 23. The event will be about digital marketing and will bring in a host of experts covering SEO, SEM, local search, mobile search, and how social media and search are being utilized in concert to create entirely new marketing platforms.

The event is bringing exciting speakers who will educate advertisers, publishers and technology leaders the power of digital video, applications and widgets, local marketing and other methods to attract an audience.

We will be on the second floor, so come see us if you plan on going.

Purple Haze

Achieving Clarity in your Website Content

The content within a website is the number one tool that is used to help bring people back to your site in the future. Keeping this content as informative, yet as concise as possible, is not an easy task. Yet if this is achieved you may come to find that the vast majority of the visitors to your site are returning visitors because they have come to discover that they will consistently find clear and quality information on your site.

There are several things to remember when working to make the information on your site as clear and concise as possible:

  1. Keep your content focused on your target audience
  2. Use simple words and phrases
  3. Think about proper word choice when explaining things to your audience
  4. Express Ideas and concepts with the most simple language

One tool that many professional writers employ, that is important for web writers as well, is keep your sentences short. The average sentence falls between 15 and 20 words. When sentences begin to reach the 30 to 35 word mark they begin to feel like a run-on sentences, and the focus of the audience can be lost. When editing your website content, you should look for the same key points as those editing print media. When writing a sentence be cognizant of works such as ‘and’, ‘but’, and ‘who’. These words can tell the editor that the sentences could possibly be broken into two separate sentences and can help with clarity.

One of the last things one can do to help make sure their content is clear and concise, is have a 3rd party review the work. The 3rd party can consist of a professional editing company to your next door neighbor or friend. It is always import to have a fresh set of eyes review your content as they can provide quality feedback and information that could be helpful to a first time or returning viewer to your site.

Down

Over the past 12 months many companies and industries have felt the effects of down-turn in the United States economy and our path towards the current economic recession. Large corporations such as Circuit City and Linens and Things have closed their doors and held large sales to sell any remaining products. As many of the larger business begin to close their doors it can open up many opportunities for smaller new companies and entrepreneurs to setup shop and try to make their way in to a unique niche market.

Despite the recession, there are always opportunities to generate a small second income with a minimal investment and a good deal of effort. The online directory market is still popular because companies need to be found by potential customers who are willing to spend a little money to gain products and services and keep the economy turning. People are still spending money, and it can take a directory of businesses to help people find and be found.

With the eDirectory platform you can create an online networking community where businesses and consumers can come together. One of the most beneficial aspects of the eDirectory software during the current state of the economy is the low startup costs and how your directory will come pre-populated with information of your choice. The eDirectory startup platform offers 3 packages the basic, eCommerse, and Owned License. The basic package can be up and running for less than $1500 and includes the leased license, hosting, portal package, full day on-site training, as well as 1000 business listings to get you started.

This starter package is ample to get you started on making a bit of secondary income during times of economic depression. From there it takes a bit of patience and a lot of hard work to get your directory out to the public and make the public aware of the new products that you are offering to them.

Starter Kits to Meet Current Demands

Since money is tight, is it really a good time to start an online business? You bet, according to Entrepreneur magazine.

“To begin with, internet startups have low overhead and startup costs–as low as $3,000, thanks in part to inexpensive, yet robust e-commerce software and services on the market. What’s more, the business can be set up in a home office attended to at nights and on weekends, allowing new entrepreneurs to keep their day jobs. In addition, many budding entrepreneurs can set up their online businesses in less than one week,” outlines Entrepreneur.com.

What separates successful start-ups from those that fail during economic downturns? Wharton Entrepreneurial Programs co-director and Professor of Management Raffi Amit says entrepreneurs who get started now “will be in a better position because they will be lean and super efficient with less competition.” He notes that a positive side effect of the economy is the ability to negotiate with vendors for better deals, which helps reduce expenses.

We, at eDirectory, are one step ahead.  We are proud to announce our new Starter Kits.  With these, you get the eDirectory software, hosting, our portal package, business listings and on-site training from one of our professional trainers for a very low price.  These kits have the essentials for getting a business off the ground including the personalized advice that you will get from our customized training session.

These offering have been designed to keep your efforts simple.  You purchase the license, we populate your directory with listings and then you get trained on how to sell your directory so that you can get business advertising dollars.

While it will be challenging to compete with the major retailors, with our innovative software and the business know-how that we provide, you will have the essential ingredients during this recession while so many other people wait to ride out the current economic times.