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.)

How to Run Effective Social Media Campaigns in Under 30 Minutes a Day

social media campaigns

I know what you’re thinking, “I can waste 30 minutes to an hour on Facebook and Twitter without even thinking about it so how could I possibly run successful social media campaigns in less time than that?

The answer is simple if you focus on 3 key areas that will greatly reduce your time commitment and also bring results to your campaigns:

  1. Keyword Monitoring
  2. Scheduling Posts
  3. Create Twitter Lists

Keyword Monitoring

It’s important to keep track of two main areas when monitoring posts on social media:

  • Mentions of your brand
  • Posts including relevant keywords and phrases to your product or industry

To track the mentions of your brand you can set up e-mail notifications to help make sure you aware of any of these posts. Pair this with manual checks for each social platform individually to ensure you don’t miss anything and be sure to respond to these mentions accordingly. Interacting with your followers and being an open source of communication will always be beneficial.

For overall keyword monitoring, I would recommend using tools such as Mention or Hootsuite to track posts for the keywords you are interested in. This will help to organize your monitoring and save you the time of having to perform several individual searches manually. Try to be as targeted as possible with your keywords and set notifications for the ones that are most relevant to your site and the type of audience you are looking to reach. You can refine these keywords as you go and even target them geographically. After you have set up the initial search criteria, you will only need to do some minor tweaks from time to time. Be sure to share the posts that you find the most interesting and take note of interesting industry trends that may lead to new content for you in the future. Follow as many top influencers as you can and try to engage them in post sharing whenever possible.

Scheduling Posts

The next task that can save you a lot of time is to schedule your posts ahead of time. Hootsuite along with Buffer are great tools for doing this. At the beginning of a week or month you can set a schedule to be sent out at optimal days and times. It is a good practice to take some of your better performing post you have sent previously and resend them out with a mix of new ones. You should also make sure to not be sending too many self-promoting posts, your followers won’t appreciate this. Send out interesting articles and links to other sites to ensure you are a good user to follow and not just a link spammer.

By setting a schedule at the beginning of week or month you ensure that you will have a steady flow of content going out on a regular basis and you can check back in with your social accounts when needed or if you have some extra time here or there.

Create Twitter Lists

A great way to better organize your social media accounts and save you some time is to create Twitter lists that separate the most influential users in your industry, or the accounts that share the best content. Use these lists to ensure you only see posts from the top accounts that you follow, maybe the top 50 instead of all 500 of the users you follow.

If you can narrow these lists down to small enough groups of essential sources, you’ll be able to scan through each list very quickly and locate the most relevant content from each list. You can now retweet, share and mention these top users in a shorter amount of time and get more effective results.

Conclusion

After implementing these 3 items you can now check your mentions and top keywords, have a consistent stream of daily content going out and quickly browse your top users and most relevant content in 30 minutes or less or day.

Always keep in mind that it’s important to stay SOCIAL on your social media accounts, meaning you should always be communicating, sharing and engaging with people online. Have fun with it and use it to your advantage :)

How to Price Listings, Banners and More for a Directory Site

We received an interesting question inquiring as to what was the best way to price listings, banners and more for a directory site.

First, there is no one correct way to price your listings and there’s no one standard or uniform equation to pricing out your listings.

In our experience, having dealt with hundreds of clients and also having experience in the publishing industry, your pricing model should be competitive to your market specifically. The price of a diamond level listing on a biotech or pharmaceutical directory where sponsors include multi billion dollar companies like Amgen or Genentech is going to be drastically different than a diamond level listing on a local search site in Billings, Montana (no offense Montana).

Look at the advertisers you’re looking to attract and find out where they are advertising.

These are likely your direct or somewhat direct competitors. They’ve set a market rate for these businesses and established a standard upon which they’re used to paying. This is your best guide to determining the right pricing model for your site.

One thing to keep in mind are the differences in print and online competitors. A 1/2 page ad in a print publication that boasts a circulation of 15,000 is drastically different than a 728×89 leaderboard with 15,000 impressions.

One thing we encourage all of our clients to do is to focus on maintaining the value of your sponsorships. Here’s an example:

Let’s say you’re working on bringing in a new client and quote them $100 a month for a featured (diamond) listing. At that time, maybe you’re getting 10,000 page views a month on your site. $10 CPM isn’t that bad. Now let’s say 6 months down the road he comes back to you to purchase the advertising — or perhaps even renew his existing contract with you. The price he last saw was $100 a month for 10,000 page views.

Now your site has reached 30,000 page views and you’re charging $200. You’ve tripled the traffic to your site and only doubled the cost of your sponsorship and your CPM is down to $6.66. At the end of the day, you’ve created a more cost effective advertising vehicle for your sponsor, but him justifying a 2x increase in ad spend from what it was last time can be very difficult, despite the substantial increase in audience size. So what to do in these situations?

Price your ad units at competitive or slightly above competitive lines out of the gate. If you had come in at a $200 price point with 10,000 pageviews ($20CPM), it may be a little steep, but you can ALWAYS have value ads in the deal with your advertiser, such as buy 4 months and get a 5th free to make the cost sting a little less. This way, your sponsorships (listings, banners, etc) maintain their value ($200 a month) and you don’t have to worry about constantly increasing your costs to reflect the growth in your site traffic.

Many marketers can understand and justify the price increase above, but in many cases, when you’re running a local search site, you’re not dealing with savvy marketers, you’re dealing with small business owners who are trying to keep their operational costs to a minimum. Some things to remind them of when trying to reinforce the value of your site’s sponsorships:

  • Guaranteed impressions - In their print publication, they’re sold a circulation number, but this by no means reflects how many people actually read the publication or saw your ad for that matter.
  • Relevance - Use Analytics information (search terms, time on site) to SHOW your advertiser that people come to your site to FIND businesses like theirs.
  • Reporting – Provide your advertiser with a detailed report on how many page views their ad got, how long the average visitor stayed on the site, what they were searching for when they came to the site, how many people clicked on their listing, redeemed a deal, etc.

Questions? Comments? Thoughts? Leave them in the comments section or email marketing@edirectory.com

The Importance of Great Web Design

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People are going to make snap judgments. Within the first few seconds of viewing a new site, visitors will make up their mind as to whether they are going to stay and look around or head elsewhere.

This is why it is so important to get to your design right for your website. Paired with great content and engaging copy, a good-looking site with a clean design will draw new visitors in and keep them interested in what you have to say.

Your Website Defines You

How a site looks and feels will define how the visitor perceives your business and the brand as a whole. A visitor will make assumptions about the amount of success, level of expertise and overall personality of the brand based on how the site looks to them visually.

If your web site looks modern, sharp and professional, your potential clients will think you run a modern, well-organized and professional business. On the other hand, if potential clients visit your site and think it looks outdated and cheap, then that’s exactly how they’ll perceive your business as well.

This is an opportunity to cultivate a brand identity that commands respect and trust amongst potential new clients. Perception is everything, so make sure you have a clear idea of what you want your brand to stand for and make sure your site portrays that.

Navigation

The navigation of a website is a key element of its design, this is especially true for websites packed with many pages (such as online directories!). Website navigation typically includes a navigation bar and the various other page links that differentiate the sections of the website.

Good navigation should be simple, clean and inviting. It should be very intuitive and require little thought for someone to understand how to make their way around the site and find what they are looking for. This is typically achieved their proper spacing, great-looking graphics and clean, concise copy throughout the design.

High Resolution

Speaking of great-looking photos, advancements in digital photography and the screen resolution of computers, laptops and mobile devices provides website owners with a great opportunity to display some stunning images. Many of the most popular trends in current web design themes include the use of prominent, high-resolution photos or graphics that help to provide an impressive accent.

A single image can be used to define your site and your brand. The proper image can portray ambition, excellence, beauty, excitement or stature in ways that are difficult for the written word to achieve.

Content

Your content is the backbone of your site, especially for directory sites. How this content is presented can be equally as important. Good-looking design that invokes thoughts of expertise and knowledge will help your site and your brand achieve a high level of respect and trust.

This is how a site with a great visual design can command attention and provide confidence to its visitors that this is the content they have been looking for.

Looking for great web design on your directory site? Give us a call at 1-703-914-0770 or email sales@edirectory.com

9 Ways to Drive Mobile App Downloads

Business_Listings_with_eDirectory

So you have a great looking mobile app for your business with a ton of powerful features. The issue now is that you need to get users to actually download and install your app so you can start taking advantage of its capabilities.

Here are 9 ways to help drive downloads and get more people using your mobile app:

  1. Offer Something for Free

People always love getting something for free and you can use this to help drive downloads of your app. Offer something for free from your store or business that is inexpensive and doesn’t put you out too much, such as a small fountain drink, a bag of golf tees, a small cookie or similar. Offer it to customers who show you they have downloaded and installed your app. Continue with this strategy until you have an adequate amount of app users.

  1. Screenshots, Descriptions and Icons

Quality screenshots and icons are essential to the promotion of your app. It is the best way to showcase your app and make it appealing to potential users. Make sure to start with a solid library of high-resolution images and icons that you can use for marketing materials and advertising your app to potential users.

  1. Promote it on Your Website

One of the simplest ways to get user’s to notice your mobile app is to use the medium that you already control, your website. Use this space to create and display some visually appealing graphics that promote and describe your mobile app and the benefits that will be available to your users. You can use write some promotional copy such as “Receive exclusive offers through our new mobile app!” or “Be the first to hear about upcoming events from our mobile app.”

Be sure to provide links to download the app from the app stores to make it as quick and easy as possible for people to view the details of your app and download it to their accounts.

  1. Handing Out Cards for Your App

Another easy strategy is to create some simple cards, notes, buttons or fliers that include instructions on how to download your app. Keep them in your business and hand them out to anyone who stops in or walks by. Include the name of the app and tell them the best search term to enter into the app store to easily find and download the app.

  1. Social Media

Work to build a following and build up some momentum on all the relevant social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. Follow media members who carry influence in your specific industry or would be followed by potential customers for you business. Send out posts, links and images for you app to build up some interest and further share the app features that your users will benefit from.

  1. App Store Optimization

App Store optimization is a method of finding good keywords that people might search for and making sure to put them either in your app title, description or keywords for your app listing. If you already have users downloading your app, reach out to them and ask how they discovered your app, and if that was on the app store, which keywords they searched. Be sure to include all relevant keywords and phrases associated with this feedback and further build on them.

  1. Localize your Description and Keywords

Take #6 even a little bit further and look for ways to localize your description and keywords. If you app or business mainly serves a local or regional area then be sure to include keywords and phrases that call out this specific location. Example: “san jose shoe store” or “morris county delivery service”. This will help to increase the amount of relevant app users who can take advantage of a localized app.

  1. Trade a Download for a Service 

If your business does not have items it can give away for free (#1), then maybe you can trade a download for a service. Such as a salon offering a 15-minute massage in exchange for a download, or a cleaning service offering 10% off your next appointment after you download the app. Use what resources you have available to offer some value in exchange for an app download. 

  1. Mobile-Only Discounts

A key strategy to promoting your app to potential users is to be able to communicate the value they receive if they have the app. One of the best ways to detail this is to offer mobile-only promotions through coupons, deals or loyalty cards that can only be received and used through your mobile app. Post these promotions online or in your business for customers to see and add a tagline such as “Available to Mobile App Users Only” or something similar so they know to download your app right away to gain access to these deals.

Looking to a build an online directory with a mobile app or in need of adding one to your current directory? Send an email to: sales@edirectory.com


Interested in creating mobile apps for all kinds of business types? Looking for features that drive business, like mobile coupons, custom loyalty cards and more? Check out the new www.lumeapps.com or call 1-703-914-0770 to learn how you can start building mobile apps that people will love.

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Why Advertisers Love Directory Websites

advertisersThe last several years have seen a growing shift of advertising dollars leaving the more traditional mediums of print media and moving to various areas online. Within this realm it can still be a challenge for advertisers to sift through the expanses of the internet and find the best places to spend their money online. This is where online directories have been able to gain a solid foothold in the market. Most modern advertisers see directories websites as an attractive option, the two main reasons for this are fairly simple: highly targeted audiences and easily measurable ROI.

Highly Targeted Audiences

With common uses including local search sites, product directories, membership guides, and yellow page sites online directories by nature are highly focused sites. They typically have a common focus by geographical location, industry, subject matter or all of the above. This format tends to bring people together, typically very like-minded groups of people who share the same interests and habits. This provides the ideal landscape for potential marketers and advertisers who are looking to reach a very specific type of audience to get their ads in front of.

Think Niche

Many niche businesses and industries have benefitted through the use of online directories. They have made it easy to build sites with focused subject matter and relevant listings and pair them with a blog or set of articles and social media posts that are all related to a very specific industry or niche.

No longer would you need to read a national golf publication to find the best local courses and instructors in your area, instead you could a find local site like LakeNonaGolfDirectory.com and be able to quickly find golf course and instructors right in the area of Lake Nona. This level of targeting is beneficial for both the user and for potential advertisers. From the advertisers perspective they would be able to know that any ads listed on this directory site would be targeting a predominantly male audience between the ages of 35-55, who live in the Lake Nona area and are interested in golf. Gaining access to this highly targeted audience is something that many would be willing to spend their advertising dollars on.

Additionally, platforms such as eDirectory utilize a search feature. This can help potential sponsors to know exactly what keywords and phrases site visitors are searching for and which ones they would like to pay to be found under.

Let’s see an example:

There is an online directory site for Los Angeles area salons. Right off the bat, advertisers would already know that these site visitors are from or near the Los Angeles area and that they are interested in things that a salon can offer, such as beauty products, hair styling, make up, manicures, pedicures and more. Taking it one step further, the directory site owner can share with potential advertisers that the most frequently searched term on their site is “gel manicures”. This can provide a perfect opportunity for a local Los Angeles based salon to post ads related to their gel manicure pricing options and upcoming specials. Plus they could pay for a Premium listing on this directory and make sure they include “gel manicures” as primary keywords in the settings for their listing, ensuring they would show up during searches of this term.

Measurable ROI img-newsletter-how-to-monetize-3 As a marketer, web banners, sponsored content, and email newsletter sponsorships provide keen insight into the success of promotional messages, advertising offers and how responsive a given audience is to that message and offer. These are key factors for marketers and advertisers to be able to gauge their success and determine whether they find their spending to be worthwhile and something they will continue to invest in. A lack of such data can be nerve-wracking at best for an advertiser and lead to rash, uninformed decisions being made.

Luckily, this data is easily attainable through online directory site analytics and reporting, plus pairing your site with platforms like Google Analytics and Saleforce can provide an even higher level of insight. This nformation will provide a directory site owner with valuable selling points that can be shared with potential advertisers to portray the potential for success and gaining a favorable return on investment (ROI) from their ad.

How many people see the ads? How many people clicked on them? Of those people, how many people visited the ad’s website? Which pages did they click on when they were there and at what point did they abandon the site? How many people opened the email, how many people that opened that email came to the company’s site, or furthermore, how many people made a purchase because of that ad? The ways to break down and dissect the numbers into cost per lead, cost per conversion, cost per click—they’re all limitless.

Here is a good article by Forbes about the 10 Online Marketing Metrics You Need to Be Measuring. As a directory site owner, one can use these metrics to not only learn from the data and improve their site but also to gain insight on their site users and gather information that can be shared to help sway potential advertisers and sponsors to become involved with the site.

Interested in developing a profitable directory? Want to discuss ideas about how to better monetize your existing site? Send an email to: marketing@edirectory.com

8 Marketing Ideas to Help Grow Your Directory Site

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There are a lot of important steps to undergo when setting up your directory project: developing a unique brand, pairing it with a clear value proposition, building out a great looking directory site, filling it up with listings and content to just name a few. However, the set up is only half the battle. The next and equally important phase for getting your directory site off the ground and gaining traction is to find ways to market and promote your site to potential visitors.

Your goal in this phase is to improve your overall site traffic and increase the number of member sign-ups and paying promotional accounts you add to the site. You will accomplish this by getting your site in front of as many relevant, potential visitors and sponsors as possible. This is a major step towards how you are going to grow your revenue and turn your site into a success.

Below is a list of 8 marketing ideas to help get you started and grow your directory site:

1.    Unique Promotional Materials

There are standard promotional materials that people see all the time and just don’t pay much attention to (how many branded sticky note holders or cheap pens have been thrown out over the years?). An opportunity exists here to take a short moment and come up with ideas that are relevant to your site and the potential target audience you are looking to attract.

Some examples would include: handing out bottle openers or drink koozies for a directory of microbreweries, offering tape measurers or levels for a contractor directory or giving away guitar picks or drum sticks for a music services directory.

Use a unique touch to put a memorable spin on your brand. Try to find items that you know your target customers will use or will stand out and make them take notice. A small, inexpensive item can have a lasting impact. 

2.    Twitter Contests / Creative Hashtags

Twitter is the perfect tool to help generate some quick and easy interactions. Use this medium to hold contests or form creative hashtags that are fun for people to participate in. It can be useful in garnering some communication and sharing amongst your customer base and help drive some traffic to your site if you remember to include links in your tweets.

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Some examples would be a recipe or cooking directory asking people to tweet out photos of what they are making that week and have them use the hashtag “#itswhatsfordinner”, or a golf course directory asking players to tweet photos of their golf clubs and equipment and use the hashtag “#inmybag”. Post the feed for these tweets on your site and highlight some of your favorites, you could even offer prizes for the best posts to encourage more people to participate and build some buzz.

3.    Printing Door Stickers for Storefronts

Yelp! and Zagat use this tactic at restaurants all around the world. If you are running a localized directory site then this is a great marketing tactic for you to use as well. Ask all the local companies to place stickers on their storefront windows if they are listed on your site. Additionally, it’s a great conversation starter or icebreaker for businesses that aren’t listed on your site just yet and can now become potential leads for you. Use this tactic to promote your brand and your site while gaining a solid foothold in your local market with lasting visual appeal.

4.    Newsletters

Use email marketing campaigns and newsletters to stay in touch with your customer base. Use these emails to promote your site and new content, offer new deals and specials or just share interesting news in your industry.

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It’s important to provide value in some manner to your audience. Send a newsletter that your target audience will be interested in and will look forward to reading whenever they see it in their inbox. You can achieve this by offering newsletter-only discounts or sending out white paper quality content that will be valuable to your readers. Offering them a little something extra will keep them coming back for more.

5.    Google Adwords

For online advertising Google AdWords is the standard on the web. With an account, you can pay Google to have your site’s advertisement show up whenever someone searches for keywords that you are interested in. You can choose the specific keywords and phrases you want, how much you are willing to spend, the location of the searcher, the time of day searched and more to ensure you optimize to reach your ideal customers. This is an extremely high level of targeting and a great way to garner relevant site traffic.

Local Search site owners also have the luxury of advertising relatively cheaply through Google AdWords. With keywords and phrases as low as 5-10 cents per click, and Google periodically offering $100 credits to start a new account, this can be a great way to drive traffic to your site and build repeat visitors at a lower cost.

Learn more about Google AdWords and how it works here.

6.    Bartering

Advertising and promotional campaigns can be costly and many of the available options are just too expensive or unreasonable for a new directory site. This is why its important to work with the resources and assets that you do have (such as the ad space on your site or connections you have within the industry) and work on trading and bartering these to your advantage.

Trade free advertising on your site to a business in exchange for being able to put up flyers or hand out branded materials in and around their business location. Trade free listings in exchange for a link on their corporate site or a shout out on their social media accounts. Use what you have available and see if you can find some opportunities to make some new deals and gain some value back for your business.

7.    Drive Traffic with a “Best of…” Program

Run a “Best of …” promotion by naming winners for different categories, decide on the winners yourself or use feedback from your customers or social media followers to vote for the winners. Local magazines and newspapers do similar awards programs and they can garner a lot of attention.

A local directory could reward the “Best Bakery”, “Best Happy Hour”, “Most Dog Friendly Park”, and much more. Feed off the interests of your target audience and choose the restaurants, businesses, people or locations that will fit into your niche and drive some interest. It will help to bring traffic to your site from both customers and businesses while encouraging people to interact more and stay connected through your site.

8.    Guest Blogging

Find other websites and blogs where you can write articles and share ideas in areas that are relevant to your site and your target audience. Use this avenue to share your subject matter expertise and gain influence while also spreading the word on your own site.

Be sure to provide links back to your own directory site whenever possible but make sure the content you are writing is of high quality and is interesting to your target audience. Give them a reason to want to check your site out to find other blog posts or content you have written and see what its all about.


Have any questions about eDirectory and how it can help you build the site you are looking for? 

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10 Tips to Creating Successful, Revenue-Generating Online Directories

Revenue-Generating Online Directories

Whether you have recently purchased an eDirectory license or are thinking about creating online directories, it’s very important to understand what is involved in developing, building, launching and marketing your site in the first year and beyond.

There are two main areas to focus on when starting an online directory:

  • Developing the business plan or idea behind the directory
  • Getting the word out and promoting your directory

First is the development of the directory as a business itself, which will be covered in the first 5 steps. This aspect focuses on what you are providing to people and how effectively you are providing it. It’s all about your business model and how well you are executing it.

The next group of 5 steps will touch on the promotion of the site and growing its readership. Even the best and most original of ideas and businesses need to get noticed and must constantly work to find new ways to spread the word about their idea or product.

If you put the work in to develop a solid business plan, bring more awareness to your site, develop the right network to increase your visibility and continually develop rich, relevant content, you can start to see financial success within 6-8 months of your launch.

1. Patience

Any business, even an online business, is rarely an overnight success story. Honing vision for a site, developing content, getting indexed by Google and building lucrative business partnerships are all critical elements to building a successful online directory, and each of those steps take time. There’s a very good chance you likely won’t see ROI in the first few months, but if you invest your time wisely, and treat your venture as a business, not just a side venture, you have the opportunity to generate significant recurring revenue.

If you throw in the towel after three months, however, you’ll likely never know what potential your vision had, and in that short span of time, you’ve never really given your business a chance. Every good thing takes time to blossom and flourish, and your directory site is no exception.

 2. Do Your Homework

It’s important to do some online research on the line of business, industry or theme that pertains to your directory. Take the time to research a large amount of keywords and topics throughout the web that are related to the same type of subject matter that you will be presenting.

Learn from what you find. Take note of what and how much is out there. Is it a very competitive landscape? What are they providing their audiences? Are there gaps or opportunities in the marketplace?

Think long and hard about what you will be able to offer and how you can use your directory site to offer it better than anyone else. Look for the things you like and can implement in your own site. Also take note of the things you saw that didn’t quite work and make sure you know how to avoid them yourself.

 3. Develop a Strong Value Proposition

Based on the homework you’ve done, you should develop a very poignant value proposition. This should include the strengths and attributes that your site offers that others don’t. You should continue to develop your site with this value proposition in mind. Build to your advantages and apply what you have learned from your research.

This proposition will be the answer to the question “Why should I come to your site?” or “Why would I want to list on your site?” Having a definitive and persuasive answer to questions of this kind will be an important tool when lobbying for your initial sponsors.

4. Establish a Brand

As you start to develop your directory, you should make it your goal to make a name for yourself, and establish your site as the leading media vehicle for your area of interest. If you’re developing a Ski Resort Directory, you should be known as the “go-to source” for skiing information. If you are creating a local search site, you should make a name for yourself locally and be the voice of your town, someone who has the finger on the pulse of what’s going on in the area, day in and day out.

Developing a brand is similar to putting a personality on your business or project. Align your brand with the things you learned from your research and your value proposition.

What do you want people to think of when they see your logo or your site? Do you want to be seen as informative, discerning and serious or open, knowledgeable and friendly? Make these decisions first and keep them in mind when decided on a brand name, logo, color scheme, typeface, catchphrase (if you have one) and overall writing style. You want all of the visual elements of your site and your brand to convey the symbol of the brand that you are creating.

5. Listings

Listings are the building blocks of your directory and the bulk of the data that will drive future visitors and sponsors. You should heavily, but honestly populate your directory as best you can. Fill your site with the type of listings that you want your site to be the main resource for. eDirectory’s “Claim this Listing” feature will allow these listing/business owner’s to claim them at any time and become paying members of your site if they want to edit or promote their information.

Because each page has its own mini ‘website’ with a unique, SEO-optimized URL, it’s important to have listings in your directory, so these URLs can be crawled and indexed by Google even before your site is launched.

Speaking of SEO, its now time to move away from the planning and setup phase of your directory and onto the marketing and promotional aspects that will drive traffic and help you start generating revenue.

6. SEO

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO as it is more commonly called, can be a daunting task and confuse even the most tech savvy of business owners. SEO can be made simpler if you focus on just a few key factors for optimizing your site.

a. General Setup

First, there are a few things to set up for your site:

  • Install Google Analytics and set up Google Webmaster Tools and link the Analytics account to your eDirectory site. This will help you to track your site traffic, indexed pages and more so you can see your site’s progress.
  • Create a robots.txt file and upload it to the root directory of your site.
  • Create a sitemap.xml file and submit your sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools for indexing. Your sitemap can be found in the SEO Center of your eDirectory under the Sitemap tool.

b. Keywords

To be most effective in being found by your customers in search engines its vital to optimize your website with keywords and phrases that are most important to your business. Drawing on the homework and research you did earlier, gather the keywords you will want to be related with and use these tips to optimize them throughout your site:

  • Include keywords in the description fields and headings on the Basic Information area of your site in the Configuration section of eDirectory
  • Include keywords within the content itself especially the Listings, Article and Blog posts. Use the “SEO” tab for each item in eDirectory to include relevant keywords in the Title, Page Name, Keywords and Description fields.
  • Include keywords when adding images: keywords in the Image Title and Image Description.
  • Link keywords in your content to other pages on your site: creating internal links by attaching URL’s to a keyword on one page to other pages on your site such as blog posts and articles is a great SEO tactic
  • Include links to your site on social media posts, email signatures and newsletters whenever possible (but not spammy!)

7. Content

If you run a business or website then you have a certain expertise that can be shared with your prospects. You can show you are knowledgeable and have a chance to build up trust in your ability as a potential product or service provider. Content provides a great opportunity to become the first stop for any kind of information in your market.

Articles & Blogging

The simplest, yet most effective, way to leverage this expertise is through business articles and blogging. It allows you to demonstrate your know-how and become your own micro media company, able to publish your knowledge for others to see. Educating your readers is key, it will be easier to sell your site’s benefits when people trust your authority and see you as a thought leader.

This type of content will help you to build up your inbound links and also help to raise your website’s rank for main keywords and phrases, which are crucial for SEO and growing your site’s organic traffic.

 High Quality Content

High quality content is meant to go a step deeper than articles and blogging and really drill down into some topics for your visitors. The goal of this content is to convert a lead to a customer.

An example of this is that your blog may have brought in a visitor to your site and helped them to understand what your business is about. Now you can introduce them to a case study that shows them direct benefits of your services and provides them with a clear success story that they can relate to. Sharing a real-life success story will help them feel more comfortable with becoming a customer themselves.

Besides case studies some other examples of high quality content that can be highly affective includes webinars, white papers, eBooks, tutorials, slide decks, demos, videos and infographics.

8. Invest wisely

It’s important to understand what your budget will be and how much you will be able to spend. If you want to help get the word out about your website in person, it might require making an investment in marketing collateral, promotional materials, or your business may benefit more from online advertising in order to gain significant traction to your site. Plan your spends accordingly and stretch your budget as much as possible.

Some of the lower cost options for physical marketing collateral would include business cards, fliers, napkins, buttons, window stickers and more. Resources like Vistaprint and Fedex Office can be great places to find professional yet affordable materials.

For online advertising Google Adwords is the standard on the web. With an account, you can pay Google to have your site’s advertisement show up whenever someone searches for keywords that you are interested in. You can choose the specific keywords and phrases you want, how much you are willing to spend, the location of the searcher, the time of day searched and more to ensure you optimize to reach your ideal customers.

Local Search site owners also have the luxury of advertising relatively cheaply through Google Adwords. With keywords and phrases as low as 5-10 cents per click, and Google periodically offering $100 credits to start, this can be a great way to drive traffic to your site and build repeat visitors at a lower cost.

9. Shake Hands

Many people often ask the best way to make a sale to a business in their directory. The important thing to remember is that before you make a sale, you need to build a solid relationship with potential advertisers. Rather than walking into a business, slides in hand, trying to pitch them on a sponsorship opportunity, it’s better to form business relationships first and foremost. Introduce yourself as THE person who has started a directory where
people come to find businesses like theirs and explain to them the opportunities that they can take advantage of (free listings, guest blog posts, etc).

In making a name for yourself and getting the word out about your directory, it’s important to get in front of most, if not all decision makers in your industry. The best way to get yourself introduced to businesses that are populating your directory, or other potential advertisers, is to take a journalistic angle. Rather than go in to pitch them advertising or talk up your directory, try asking them to do a feature story, article, or interview. These are
things that add value to your site and also make for a great ‘in’ to any business you’re pursuing.

10. Never Stop Working

The success of your site is directly correlated with how much work you put into that site. Our most successful clients have been on board with us for a few years, and they constantly work at improving their site on a daily basis, and they’ve all at one point or another, followed most, if not all of steps 1-9.

Even after your site becomes profitable, you shouldn’t be putting your site on cruise control. The only way to maintain the success and exceed it is to strive for continuous improvements and to always be on the look out for new market trends and opportunities.

You should be meeting new businesses, updating your listings, posting news stories or writing whitepapers in addition to finding new markets, creating new marketing campaigns and finding innovative ways to strengthen your brand.

eDirectory has provided you with the tools, now its up to you to build your idea into a success!

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