How To Leverage Your Community to Create Content for You

Content is King! Keep in mind that directory websites are unique from other types of online enterprises. With online directory websites clients have an amazing opportunity to leverage the power of dozens, hundreds, and even thousands of members (depending on your target market) to achieve their recurring online revenue goals.

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At eDirectory.com, we help clients leverage this powerful concept to create recurring revenue that grows with time, knowing that each new member represents more opportunity for growth.

Given the exponential power of social media, globalization, and multiple revenue streams, eDirectory.com will show you to turn this latent opportunity into active and passive revenue, so long as you understand how to leverage your community to create content for you with these 3 simple steps:

Offer incentives for clients to share valuable content

  • Feature them on your social media after sharing content
  • Give free banner ads or months of service for contributions
  • Upgrade their listing to your premium membership level for free and turn value-adding clients into brand ambassadors

Stay in touch with your community to create more opportunities

  • Send out newsletters with the integrated email system to encourage activity
  • Create online groups and communities on popular social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google+. Share what you see here to other platforms to grow your presence and attract industry-specific contributors
  • Create a referral program that invites your first members to mention your site

Be active in monitoring what your competitors and prospects are doing

  • Your community exists outside of your directory site, so stay in touch with what is going on in your industry or target market to be at the forefront. The more people you attract with authenticity the faster you will achieve critical mass and have numerous members adding content to your site
  •  Talk to your prospects about how they would best like to participate. Identify patterns and try to replicate this across your various methods of outreach. The more people you attract with similar needs, the faster you find your niche and get more clients onboarded that will help you grow by adding and sharing.
  • Early on, make your key goal to have your members and visitors “share”. A conservative measure of unique active social media accounts can have hundreds of followers, if you get shares you create the opportunity of impressions across thousands of possiblevisitors and members. The more times your community members “share” items across social media, the more likely you are to achieve your idea of “critical mass” with your online directory revenue goals.

Tapping into your community of experts to add content to your website creates lasting relationships, offers additional exposure for your advertisers and adds value to your website. Reach out today and start adding valuable content to your website.

See what’s new with eDirectory v11.1

Once again we are very proud to announce the release of a brand new version of eDirectory: the v11.1.  We’ve prepared a hard-hitting lineup for you: new features on Base Code, added Stripe, 3 new layouts to choose from, SEO improvements, and much more made to meet your expectations!

Check out what´s new on eDirectory v11.1!

Stripe – New Payment Gateway Integration & Free Trials

eDirectory has added Stripe to the list of payment gateways so site managers will now be able to not only add this as a payment option but Stripe users also can now offer the ability offer free trials to any of your listing levels and plans. Please note that the trial feature is exclusive to Stripe.

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New Theme Updates

Choose from the beautifully re-designed default theme or choose from 3 additional themes, each of which have their own home page look and feel with unique display and behavior options too: The Medical Guide, the Restaurant or Dining Guide and the Wedding Guide.

Enhanced Membership Level Editor

Strong enhancements to the Membership Level Editor which now include the ability to associate classified ads and multiple deals or coupons with their listing owners. Classified ads are perfect for job listings, merchandise, services and real estate. We are sure advertisers will love these new updates!

Enhanced Email Editor

eDirectory.com´s email editor now allows the site manager to design and send email notifications automatically right from the platform with your personalized headers and footers. Modify your automated email notification with shiny new templates and updated default messages.

Are you ready to see your site online with v11.1? Sign Up today!

Are you already a customer that wants the latest and greatest? Request your upgrade!

Read here the full list of enhancements of  v11.1

Medical Directory Theme – eDirectory.com

Since the release of eDirectory v11.1 our customers are able to select from 4 beautifully re-designed templates, one of them is the the Medical Directory Theme.

The Medical Directory Theme

The Medical Directory theme is designed to promote the health and wellness industries and features. This theme puts recent reviews front and center – an important feature when choosing a healthcare professional.

Of course you can use this theme for ANY business or industry and customize to meet your needs. All of the image sizes are consistent between themes so you may choose to switch themes at any time and will not lose the integrity or compromise the design of your directory website.

Proposal-Theme-Medical-2Interested on having this Medical Directory Theme? If you are new on eDirectory, signup today! Already a customer and ready for v11.1? Request your upgrade!

 

Wedding Directory Theme – eDirectory.com

Since the release of eDirectory v11.1 our customers are able to select from 4 beautifully re designed templates, one of them is the the Wedding Directory Theme.

The Wedding Directory Theme

The Wedding Guide Theme easily allows site managers to build a beautiful wedding guide to promote wedding planners, venues, photographers, caterers and more.  This layout minimizes the category links.

Of course you can use this theme for ANY business or industry and customize to meet your needs. All of the image sizes are consistent between themes so you may choose to switch themes at any time and will not lose the integrity or compromise the design of your directory website.

eDirectory Wedding Directory ThemeInterested on having this Wedding Directory Theme? If you are new on eDirectory, signup today! Already a customer and ready for v11.1? Request your upgrade!

Restaurant Directory Theme

Since the release of eDirectory v11.1 our customers are able to select from 4 beautifully re designed templates, one of them is the the Restaurant Directory Theme.

The Restaurant Directory Theme

The Restaurant or Dining Guide allows site managers to prominently display featured listings for optimal exposure.

Of course you can use this theme for ANY business or industry and customize to meet your needs. All of the image sizes are consistent between themes so you may choose to switch themes at any time and will not lose the integrity or compromise the design of your directory website.

Interested on having this Restaurant Directory Theme? If you are new on eDirectory, signup today! Already a customer and ready for v11.1? Request your upgrade!

3 Tips on Getting Your First 25 Paying Members

Paying Members are a great way to generate recurring revenue to your online business. Every journey begins with a first step…and every business starts with its first clients.  The most important thing you can do when getting started is to focus on growth in the most cost-effective manner.

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Apply a little growth hacking and know that every hour counts in a start up and your directory site is no different.  Directory sites are unique in that you only need a small number of paying monthly or annual members to achieve profitability.  As your community grows so will your brand.  Use these proven tactics to focus on what is most important early on which is growth and proof of concept.  Forget the minutiae for now and focus your efforts with a bulls-eye.

The eDirectory platform offers plenty of value right out-of-the box to handle your day-to-day operations while you focus on doing what you’re good at – adding value where needed most.  Here are the 3 best tips you can use to get your first 25 paying members:

Start with your personal and professional network

  • Offer free premium listings to your network for 3 months with no strings attached
  • Create special offers with promo codes (free banner ads, social media mentions, and free leads)
  • Post on your social media to invite people to join and contribute to your community

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Make your first members your greatest priority and learn everything you can from them

  • Treat each new lead as your most important client and offer assistance with set up from the start, show them how easy it is to claim their listing and get started on adding valuable content to your community
  • Reach out to them regularly to learn about any other opportunities that may exist like partnerships, sponsorship opportunities, and cross promotions. You may be surprised!
  • Be flexible with the feedback you receive. Learn what you can and adapt as needed. What you originally thought was important may not be the case once you begin to gain traction. Use the data to make informed decisions that will grow your original concept into what works for the most important stakeholders – your first clients!

Define your brand characteristics, value proposition, and organize yourself for success

  • Get started on creating valuable content for your site. Members love to see directory owners active and contributing to the growth of their community. Share knowledge, provide valuable insight, and respond regularly. You will set the foundation for trust and credibility.
  • Create social media profiles on the platforms that compliment your brand best. Don’t try to be everything to be everybody, instead, focus on a niche and learn as you grow. Master your local market and make your mistakes while you’re small so you can get organized and poised for growth.
  • Visualize how you see your site adding value to its members. Understand that you are offering an additional opportunity to advertise, be a part of a growing/curated community, and that the members on your site have been vetted and approved by you…. That you are available to weigh in on important matters to your community and that their interests

5 ways to Monetize your Online Directory Website


Photo credit: free pictures of money via Visualhunt / CC BY

Creating an online directory brings an amazing opportunity to generate a recurring revenue stream. From using the built-in payment tools that eDirectory provides, to offering links to 3rd party affiliate products and services – when it comes to monetizing your website, opportunity abounds!

Here are a few ideas of how to get started making money with your website:

Paid Listings on Your Directory

Directory owners can easily create their own plans and pricing for listings across their directory. Use eDirectory’s powerful built-in tools to create up to 4 different listing levels. From simple text listings that can be offered inexpensively, to offering showcase listings which are premium listings designed to be an SEO-friendly micro-site featuring details of the business, image gallery, video, lead capture forms and more. These showcase listing can be priced at a premium based on the size of your audience, niche market and location.

Offer fully-managed or self-service advertising and make it easy for interested advertisers to sign up on your website. eDirectory’s platform tools make this easy to set up and display on your website.

See Pricing Listings, Banners and More for a Directory Site

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Paid Banner Advertising and Sponsorship

Banner ad space on a popular website can be sold as prime real estate at a premium rate.  eDirectory’s full-featured banner system allows site managers to easily offer self-service banner ad sales as well as fully managed accounts. Display banners on a home page are of high value or select categories, modules (events, articles…) or locations. Enhance your banner advertising functionality with the Geo-Targeted Banner Ad modification tool from the Mod Store and which will add even more value and put location-specific advertisements in front of your site visitors

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Sell Leads

What’s more valuable that a hot lead? Selling leads may take a bit more work but the pay-off is worth it especially for high-traffic, niche directory websites. By creating general lead capture forms on your website as well as lead capture forms on premium listings, interested visitors can request more information or request a quote.  In turn, the site manager can then offer to sell per lead or offer a subscription to a lead generation pool.

Monetize with Google Adsense

You want to monetize your website with Google Adsense to increase the bottom line for your directory website.  Google Adsense uses search technology to place ads on websites based on keywords and content of the website.  This can be a great way to produce extra income as the ads displayed will be very relevant to your visitors and Google will be sure to display the highest paying ads.

Google makes the process quite simple – once you sign up for a free Google Adsense account, you will complete the forms and be supplied with some HTML code to add to their websites.

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Affiliate Offers

Marketing with affiliate offers is a very effective way to monetize your website traffic. It allows you to present your visitors with relevant offers for products or services that they are likely to be interested in. For instance, if you have a niche directory website about skiing, find an affiliate offer that would be of interest to your visitors, such as air travel (think Expedia…) hotels and lodging, skis and snowboards or skiwear.

How this works – you would place a supplied banner or text link on your website that contained your affiliate link and directed the visitor to the offer. If they sign up for the offer, you’d earn an affiliate referral payment or commission.

Check with your current preferred vendors or partners to see if they offer an affiliate program. To research additional options, please see the large affiliate providers such as Share-a-sale.com, CJ.com (Commission Junction), Rakuten LinkShare, AvantLink or Amazon Associates.

Social Media Mentions

If you have worked hard to build a huge following on social media – why not capitalize on that and offer your advertisers a way to ride your coattails.  You can price out what you would charge your advertisers and sponsors to post messages promoting their products, services or specials at a premium price!

Content is still king.  To add value to your website and to increase your monetization options, be sure to create great quality content that will drive traffic and lead visitors to your website… and keep them coming back!

Create amazing images for Directories [Free Tool]

Create amazing images for Online Directories! Here is our favorite free tool to create awesome visual content for your website and social media posts: Canva.

How to create awesome visual content with Canva

We’ve all heard ‘a picture’s worth a thousand words’ – professional Online Directory branding and consistent, quality images across your website, social media, email and online speak volumes about your business. But let’s face it, not all of us have the design chops and Photoshop know-how or time to learn complicated software to pull this off.

Whether you have mad design skills or are new to branding and graphic design, Canva, a free online graphic design platform, makes branding and visual content design a breeze! It offers free access to a wide assortment of design tools and options, as well as premium options for paying customers.

Canva’s intuitive dashboard, drag-and-drop functionality and hundreds of pre-designed templates allow you to quickly create everything from simple website images to branded social media posts and ads.

Upload your own images or use one of hundreds of free (or cheap), searchable images Canva offers. Built-in image editing tools, filters and cropping options are powerful yet easy to use. Choose from a great selection of layouts, fonts, backgrounds, shapes, icons and more to further enhance your images.

If you are working with a team, Canva makes it easy to collaborate on designs with built-in sharing tools. Advanced team functionality is available in the premium versions of the software.

Create Images for directories websites

How to create awesome visual content with Canva

Use Canva’s custom dimensions’ option to create amazing images for your directory website sliders, default images, category images, blog headers and more. By adding branded visual content with your own color scheme, your website not only appears more professional, but adds a level of credibility and trust.

Design Banner Images

How to create awesome visual content with Canva

Monetize your directory website by offering to design and post banner ads for your advertisers across your website. If you are advertising your business or directory on other websites or using Google Adwords or Facebook Ads, create branded, professional ads with Canva’s templates which are IAB compliant banner ad sizes such as leaderboard, skyscraper and rectangle ads.

Create Mobile App Images

Brand and customize your directory mobile app by using the custom dimensions tool to easily create mobile app icons and app loading pages. Add custom pages to your app and create custom images to enhance those pages.

Design Social Media Covers, Posts & Ads

How to create awesome visual content with Canva

Visual content is more than 40X more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content and it’s been reported that tweets with images receive 150% more retweets than tweets without images.

With Canva, creating beautiful, branded social media posts has never been easier! Instead of posting a simple photo, create a template with your own style and color scheme, add your website address and logo and put your own touch on it to make it your own.

Design Email Marketing Headers

Continue the branding across your email marketing as well. Create email marketing headers and footers to be used in your directory promotions from the website or if you are using a 3rd party email provider such as MailChimp.

Saving & Sharing Images

How to create awesome visual content with Canva

Save your images for web or in high resolution or save as PDF for further distribution. For printed materials, download in high resolution with crop marks to send to your printer.

Premium Features – Canva for Work

Upgrade to Canva for Work and gain access to advanced features and amazing branding tools and templates. The branding kit allows you to set your color scheme, fonts and logo to quickly and easily apply to all of your marketing materials.

And that’s not all – the magic resizing tool is just that – magic! Once you create an image just the way you want it, choose the magic resizing option and instantly create an exact replica perfectly sized for all social media, email, documents, marketing materials and more.

To get stared creating your own visual content, we highly recommend using Canva and Canva for Work to create professional quality visual content.

How to create awesome visual content with Canva

For more information or to get started, visit canva.com and be sure to share your websites to show off your amazing new graphic skills!

NEW GOOGLE UPDATE ON MOBILE SEARCH RESULTS BENEFITS RESPONSIVE WEBSITES

NEW GOOGLE UPDATE ON MOBILE SEARCH RESULTS BENEFITS RESPONSIVE WEBSITES

On April 2015 Google announced their plans to boost the ranking of responsive websites on mobile search results by using mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. Today there is no turning back, go mobile or go home. If your directory website isn´t mobile-friendly, don´t panic. We are here to help you.

Directories, searches and internet usage

One report from comScore put Google Search as the 4th most used Mobile App, with over 81 million unique visitors. A Google report shows that 48% of mobile purchases started on Search Engines and 26% on Branded Apps. Are you still in doubt about going mobile?

People are always searching for goods and services and the amount of time spent on mobile searches will keep growing. Is your online directory ready to appear on all first page´s search results?

Mobile App or Responsive Design: what is the best choice?

The actual scenario moves pretty fast. Users behaviors too. Some of your next customers are web-browsing fans, some are app-addicted. Both methods are essential for brand awareness over the internet. The main goal here is to be where your audience is.

How can eDirectory.com can help me on this journey?

Our software is always aligned with internet´s best practices, whether it’s our SEO center or our Design Templates. We also offer an app builder and app publishing service for you to have a complete platform ready to please any user and member.

10 of Our Favorite SEO Tools

10 Favorite SEO Tools

Keeping track of your site’s search engine optimization (SEO) can be difficult enough without having to spend so much time compiling the data for your links, page/domain ranks, indexing status and more. Luckily there is an abundance of tools online to make sure your data is accurate and organized while saving you an abundance of time.

These tools are critical to your organic search strategy because they allow you to focus on the elements of your site that Google and other search engines deem important.

Here are 10 of our favorite SEO tools:

1) Google Webmaster Tools

Cost: Free

A no brainer, right? Google’s Webmaster Tools is probably the best way to understand the way Google sees your site and get insight into how your site will rank. The Tools include beginner-friendly resources and data that help to explain the fundamentals of Google search and give you a good base to start your SEO research.

Use the Tools to check on your number of pages indexed or use Google’s Fetch as Google tool that allows you to see a particular URL as Google sees it, which is critical when troubleshooting for poor SEO performance. Use the information it provides to modify any pages in question to improve results.

Another great feature of Google Webmaster Tools is PageSpeed Insights. This tool measures the speed of both your desktop and mobile site, which is valued by Google. The PageSpeed scores range from 0 to 100 and the higher the score the better.

2) Moz Pro Tools

Cost: Free 30-day trial, then plans from $99/mo – $599/mo

Moz Pro is an advanced all-in-one SEO tool that will help you track and improve your site’s rankings. Moz has a great set of research tools that enable subscribers to identify SEO opportunities, track links, examine social reach, identify errors, compare against competitors and optimize your overall efforts.

The Moz Pro dashboard will provide you with data on your search visibility, domain authority, site visits over time, keyword rankings, external links and more. There is also a Crawl Test tool that employ’s Moz’s own web crawler, nicknamed RogerBot, to analyze up to 3,000 links on a URL of your choice. Once completed, you will then receive an email report that details the data for each page the site links to. This is very useful to identify crawlability factors such as duplicate content and redirects that could be influencing your SEO performance.

3) Woorank

Cost: Free 14-day trial, then $49/mo for a Pro Plan or $149/mo for a Premium Plan

Woorank’s provides in-depth site analysis to help site owner find opportunities for improvement. This analysis is easy to understand and divided into eight sections: Marketing Checklist, SEO, Mobile, Usability,Technologies, Social, Local, and Visitors.

Such a wide range of information and insight makes it easy to always find new opportunities and discover areas for improvement with your site.

4) Check My Links

Cost: Free

Check My Links is a browser plugin that allows you to check if the links on your webpage are functional and working properly.

While checking for broken link it easy for anyone controlling a site to make corrections or double check before a page goes live. The tool will highlight all the good links in a green color, and those that are broken in a red color, which makes it easy to spot the ones that don’t work or are no longer active and need to be updated or removed.

5) SEO Report Card

Cost: Free

With SEO Report Card you can analyze your site to determine how well it stacks up against some chosen competitors.

The SEO Report Card will supply you the following:

  • Rank Analysis: A snapshot of how your website ranks on Google, Yahoo, and Bing! based on the keywords you provide.
  • Link Building: The number of websites that link back to your site.
  • On-Site Analysis: Tracks how well you have incorporated your main keyword throughout your site.
  • Website Accessibility: Data on your site’s speed and ease of accessibility for crawlers.
  • Trust Metrics: Information on your domain’s level of trust and authority.
  • Current Indexing: Data for how many of your site pages have been indexed.

6) HubSpot’s Website Grader

Cost: Free

HubSpot, the pioneers of inbound marketing, created the Website Grader. It is an online tool that creates personalized reports based on these areas:

  • Performance: Tracking your site’s page size, requests, speed, and more.
  • Mobile Readiness: A check to see if your website is mobile-friendly in terms of responsiveness and viewport settings.
  • SEO. Tracks data like page titles and meta descriptions to see how easily your site can be found on search engines.
  • Security. This checks on the SSL certificate as well as the overall trustworthiness and security of your domain.

Your website URL and an email address is all that you need to get started and they will then provide you with a score (1-100) as well as a detailed report.

7) Screaming Frog SEO Spider

Cost: The Screaming Frog SEO Spider LITE version is free and the paid plan is $160/year

The Screaming Frog SEO Spider is a program that crawls the URLs of the domains you enter for common SEO issues. It saves a ton of time by compiling the data and examining all of the URLs for you.

The Java program is fairly intuitive, with easy-to-navigate tabs. Plus, you can export any or all of the data into Excel for further analysis.

8) Found’s SEO Audit Tool

Cost: Free

The SEO Audit Tool is a tool for site owners looking to identify and fix any SEO errors that may be on their website.

Simply enter your URL and receive an SEO audit with information for three main areas:

  • Technical issues: This looks for errors with things like domain canonicalization and XML sitemaps.
  • Content issues: This focuses on keywords and meta data for your site.
  • External link analysis: This evaluates the quantity and quality of your external links.

9) Varvy’s SEO Overview Tool

Cost: Free

This SEO auditing tool provides users with analysis for your domain strength, links, image SEO, social counts, page/technical SEO, page speed, and more.

The complete report dives fairly deep into different aspects of your website’s performance and provides colored indicators to help you identify any issues.

One of our favorite features is the detailed image overview. This section focuses on the images on your website by analyzing the alt text. It checks to see if you are using too many words, missing alt text, or if the alt text appears weak, the tool will notify you so that you can make any necessary changes.

10) Remove’em

Cost: $249 per domain or a subscription option starting at $99/mo

Artificial or unnatural links (such as purchased links and spammy content) can seriously damage your SEO and do harm to your search rankings. Remove’em is a tool to help you clean up any of these damaging links.

Remove’em will scan your backlink profile and create a list of contact information for the links and domains that you should reach out to have removed. Plus, you can also use the tool to export the list of links to have Google disavow them using this tool. (With this tool you can ask Google not to take them into account when assessing your site.)