eDirectory releases version 9.3

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
eDirectory releases version 9.3
Annandale, Virginia – May 16th, 2012 – Arca Solutions, the parent company of eDirectory.com, has launched version 9.3, which introduces new a variety of new features and capabilities in the basecode of the software.

Version 9.3 was concentrated mostly on a number of smaller, but impactful features, mostly those suggested by the customer base. One of the more notable aspects of 9.3 is a new real estate template, which can be used for those trying to create a real estate listing-driven site to showcase properties. The direction of future releases may be concentrated more on creating niche, vertical focused ‘templates’ that work off of the base code, but each offering a different set of features that are most pertinent to their respective focus. For instance, the gallery on the details page uses a slider as opposed to a popup window and the template as a whole only uses the listings, blog and banner modules.

“The Real Estate theme is the first of many beautiful, stylish new directory themes to come. This release makes eDirectory the best solution on the market for creating a professional grade, multilingual real estate site,” said Arca Solutions CEO James Chubb.

9.3 also offers category sitemaps, meaning users can now generate category sitemaps for all languages. Other additions include an email import notification, the date selection tool now supports all languages in the system and the listings section within the site manager has been tweaked to preview listings more easily.

Lastly, an RSS feed has been added to the deals module and the advertising page has been restructured to support both graphical themes as well as the newly released real estate theme. To learn more about these features, please contact a sales representative by calling (703) 914-0770.

eDirectory is a division of Arca Solutions, Inc, a digital media company headquartered in the Washington, DC metro area.

“Your software isn’t cheap..”

Having been at eDirectory for several years now, we’ve run into our fair share of competitors. We’re confident that out of most of the solutions on there on the market, there isn’t a more powerful solution for the price. With a steady growth in the market, we know we’re not outpricing ourselves, but many people come to us and say that our software is over priced, too expensive or outright not affordable.

A few things to consider:

Script Vs. Software One thing that makes me cringe is when people refer to eDirectory as a script. It’s not that a script has a bad notation necessarily. It’s just to me, a script is something you buy for $25-$200, are sent an automated email with a link to download the script, which you have to install yourself. Support is limited or non existent and you’re likely ONLY getting a program that runs business listings.

What are you getting for the price? eDirectory, a software solution, provides our clients with near 24/5 support from a global software organization. Additionally, our software has many features that simply aren’t included in most others, which include, but aren’t limited to:
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  • Daily Deals
  • Classifieds
  • Events
  • Banner Advertising
  • Automated billing
  • Click to Call
  • Send SMS to Phone
  • Advertising Package Builder
  • Multi-site feature
  • Android & iPhone Apps
  • And many, many more…

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This is what distinguishes us from the $75 script you’re looking at. Enterprise features, elite support and a product dev team pumping out new releases every quarter.

Build Vs. Buy A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to speak with a client of ours at a non profit organization, the American Ceramic Society. They have a directory of businesses in the ceramic industry and use it to not only engage more with their members and those in their community, but to also increase their visibility. For them, eDirectory was their ‘charm’ as they had first tried building the system in house and then tried going with one of our lower end competitors. While this may have been an interesting case because he had tried both an in-house solution and a competitor, I would confidently say that 30% of our clients have at some point come to us and purchased eDirectory after trying to build the solution in house. For every time one of our sales executives is told ‘We’re going to build it in house’ by a prospective client, I tell them to make sure to follow up with that prospective client in 3 months and see if they’re still as committed to developing it on their own. It’s simply not cost effective.

The average PHP developer will cost about $55 dollars an hour. So after you lay out a project proposal and spend time defining your requirements, let’s say you’ve already put in 4 hours explaining to a developer what exactly it is and how it’s supposed to work. You’re already down $220.

Our software costs $1799. So at this point, are you still confident in thinking that this developer can finish the project for less than $1579? If you are, this means your developer is capable of building something in 28 hours what has taken us 7 years and a team of 10 basecode developers to come up with.

Could you do it yourself ? Sure. Would it take 750+ hours. Yes. But why reinvent the wheel? Even if your site needs customization, at least bring the already-invented-wheel to a developer of your choice and have him customize the foundation, which has already been built.

$1799 to invest in a business? With so much developing with the growth in online directories, dining portals and local search sites, and so much advertising opportunity accordingly, is $1799 a cost prohibitive price point to developing a successful online publication? People come to us and share great ideas about how they envision leveraging our software to create unique and information packed websites. It’s like their eyes glow just thinking about the possibility. From experience, $1799 rarely stands between a person or business with vision and ambition from developing a successful online business. If it does, maybe there’s more to consider about that venture before continuing to pursue it.

Feel free to give me or one of my sales reps a call to talk about your directory.

Jared Elder
Marketing Manager
jared at e directory dot com

Top 10 most valuable items to a local search site

  1. An ambitious site owner – If you don’t truly have a stake in the community your local search site is covering, chances are good all the rest are pretty hard to follow. It’s tough to update, write about or maintain a site that has subject matter you’re really not interested in. Think about it.
  2. A well balanced focused – Not too geographically large (a local search site for the entire state of California) but not too geographically small (a local search site for a town of 400 people).
  3. Events – Keep up to date with what’s going on in the community. Whether these are paid event listings or free, a local search site should keep their events up to date and accurate.
  4. A good hook – What makes you better than the next online site that covers your area, or for that matter, Yelp, a local newspaper or other going out guide?
  5. An editorial voice – Your site should provide some type of editorial content where necessary. Whether that’s an academic article, a blog post or human interest story, it’s important to have a focus and voice.
  6. Fresh Content – Google loves fresh content. Search engines in general like to see that you’re updating the website and producing content of some kind on a consistent basis.
  7. Blog – Similar to #5, a blog is likely what’s going to keep your finger on the pluse of a community. Whether you’re reviewing a restaurant, interviewing a business owner or aggregating local news, it’s important to keep the content flowing.
  8. Unique Content – Aggregating news and posting events isn’t enough. You should be doing your own feature stories, interviews or reviews and coming up with editorial and information content that is going to keep people coming back.
  9. Otherwise un-aggregated content – List out specials, sales, happy hours, nightlife, drink specials, lunch specials or dinner specials, things that visitors would otherwise have to go to each business’s website to find.
  10. Data/Listings – A large reason why people came to your site in the first place is to find information about a local business. Whether that’s a telephone number, hours, reviews or menu, it’s vital to keep all of your listings up to date.

Blogging: A Voice to your Online Directory

From time to time, eDirectory runs promotions that provide free sales and marketing consultation for our clients. The idea is, having seen hundreds of our customers create online directories, we’ve grown to see some of the basic approaches to creating a successful site. We’ve documented most of these in “Marketing a Directory,” “Selling A Directory,” and “Manning a Sales Team.” One question that comes up most in these 30 minute or hour long consultations is ‘What can I do to have people keep coming back to my site.” While we don’t have a magic formula to creating a dedicated visitor base, there are a few ways to use a blog as a hook to keep visitors loyal to your site.

A blog can act as the voice of your directory and set a tone to your site. This tone can often be what keeps readers coming back for more. Think about it — almost everyone today has a ‘round’ of websites they visit in the morning as they sip on coffee and dig through the inbox. What are those sites to you? What keeps YOU going back to them everyday? Here are some ideas to think about:

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  • Local Search – If you’re developing a local search site, you want your site to be the destination for all of the restaurant menus, drink specials, nightlife, local businesses and events in your region. If you are to be trusted as the go-to destination for everything that’s happening in your area, it’s good to go above and beyond cookie cutter listings on your site. Talk about what’s going on in your community. Local search sites should keep their finger on the pulse of the community, and that is one huge advantage true local search sites have over Yelp, and it’s something site owners can’t afford NOT to leverage. Yelp doesn’t list all the events in Kearney Nebraska, it doesn’t feed breaking news stories in Kearney either, so it’s something readers would appreciate having access to. Interviewing local Chef’s about their cuisine and suggested entrees, local business owners on their company and concentration of work, aggregating local news in your area – all great additions to your site that can be easily funneled through a blog.
  • Buyers’ Guides, Business Directories, Product Directories – What is going on in your respective industries? If you’re developing a business directory, or buyers’ guide that focuses on a particular industry, it’s assumed you have a certain depth of knowledge to the subject at hand, as you should. What is going on in that industry? What things are happening that would affect the way people buy a certain product? What new products are hitting the market? If you want people to come to your site regularly, it’s vitally important that you update your site constantly and a Blog is a great way to do just that.

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Some tips to consider when it comes to executing your blog effectively:
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  • Keep focused. It’s easy to blog about things you find interesting and want to write about, but does it fall in line with the scope of your directory? If you’re keeping your readers up to date on a new restaurant opening in Kearney one week, and going on a political rant the next, you’re likely going to lose readers along the way. Readers have expectations on what they’re going to get when going to your site and that’s why they will go there on a regular basis. If the scope of your blog is constantly changing, your readers will likely lose interest in being a loyal visitor. Make sure that you’re writing to keep your users informed , not for the sake of hearing yourself talk (or reading your own words, so to speak).
  • Check Facts. One way to lose credibility and respect pretty quickly is to post erroneous stories or ones with inaccurate facts. Read up on what you’re about to write, make sure it’s accurate and go out of your way to cite the sources you’re pulling information from.
  • Keeps a six inch voice. Just as you were told in school, it’s important to maintain a proper voice level in the world of blogging. When writing about a story, make your voice heard, but don’t try talking over people. If you’re posting industry news, breaking stories or perhaps tackling a big event, try to keep your commentary limited as you get started and get a feel for both your style and tone. Short, precise commentaries often compliment what you’re covering best.
  • Everything in moderation. Similar to the previous bullet point, it’s not only what you’re saying that is important, it’s also how often you’re saying it. Some directory sites may struggle to push 1 or 2 entries a day, and that’s sometimes all you need to keep an engaged reader. If the topic of your directory is more broad or general, you may have to consider dozens of stories to comment on. Pick the gold nuggets and always consider blogging the stories that may not get coverage elsewhere.
  • Write Responsibly. Remember everything you publish is for the world to see. If you’re writing about industry news, businesses, local events, be sure to do it with style. Remember, blogging doesn’t take accountability out of the picture, write with proper style and etiquette before you hit the publish button. For a few tips, check out: http://blogoscoped.com/archive/2006-10-11-n47.html

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Blogging is a great addition to any directory site, as it puts a voice, a face and sometimes an attitude behind a site full of hundreds or thousands of listings. It’s another way to engage with your site visitors and show them the investment you’ve made into the directory you’re developed. Reviews, Interviews, Feature Stories, Event coverage — all great elements to cover via the blog that are likely to get re-posted by others, but more importantly, it’s going out of your way to show site visitors your conviction to the subject matter.

eDirectory releases version 9.0 with new bells and whistles

Annandale, Virginia – August 5th, 2011 – In their second software release in less than a year, Arca Solutions, the parent company of eDirectory.com, has unveiled version 9.0, which introduces new features such as Click to Call, SMS listings to others, Sugar CRM Integration, Google + enabled sites and more.

Unlike most other releases, version 9 concentrated on small, but impactful features to the base code that help site owners sell the functionality of their directories a bit more. With Click to Call, site visitors can click on a listing, enter their phone number, and upon clicking enter, will be placing a call to the business. Accordingly, the ‘Send SMS to Phone’ feature will enable visitors to send contents of that listing via a text message, including the business address, phone and listing link. Both features, however require an account with Twilio, who provides very affordable levels of web API services.

Based on the request of their customers, the eDirectory.com basecode team included an integration with SugarCRM in version 9, where sales reps can automatically populate orders from eDirectory into their Sugar account. With the popularity of Google +, visitors will also be able to share listings with others.

“I’m really excited about the work we did under the hood, completely overhauling the CSS to make it much easier to customize as well as taking measure to improve the SEO of our users’ sites,” commented CEO James Chubb regarding release.

The Back Link Builder incentivizes listing owners to link back to your directory with increased visibility. In short, when a listing owner links to their directory, the software will verify the link and increase the exposure of their listing in the directory. Other SEO changes to the software include now having a description field available for categories, where site owners can add in SEO friendly text. Lastly, all listing images are now tagged for Google Images, increasing your directory’s presence on the search engine.

A few final features changes include overhauled CSS to simplify customizations, entirely redesigned mobile html versions to look even better on more hand helds, in addition to overhauling the URL structure for multi-lingual sites. To learn more about these features, please contact a sales representative by calling (703) 914-0770.

eDirectory is a division of Arca Solutions, Inc, a digital media company headquartered in the Washington, DC metro area.

eDirectory releases version 8.1, increases mobile profile

Annandale, Virginia – April 15th, 2011 – Following up the most paramount release since launching the product 7 years ago, eDirectory, the leading online directory software solution, has announced the release of version 8.1, which features new functionality in both the iPhone and Android, in addition to a revamped import tool, SEO-friendly URL structures, new language support and more.

Following up on the blockbuster release of version 8.0, which included multi-domain management, a revampled deals section (previously coupons), iPhone and Android feature updates, Package builder and GEOIP, the eDirectory basecode team focused their development efforts more on growing and improving existing features of the system as opposed to adding a slew of new functionality as they had in version 8.0. Perhaps the most notable change for existing users is a revamped import too, which includes a brand new interface, new import types and the ability to update listings, too. Additionally, version 8.1 will have a few improvements on the SEO of the software, specifically creating more SEO-friendly URL structures across the site, specifically those pulled from search queries within the database. Furthermore, eDirectory will have W3C validation to ensure all directory sites are crawled error-free.

Another notable feature based on demand is having Turkish language available for translation in the top corner of each site. The platform already provides a Spanish, French, Italian, English, German and Portuguese translations. Site owners can now provide category descriptions when visitors click on a category in order to better explain how the site is organized. The deals section will not only provide discounts by dollar value, but also by percentage of the cost, and user profiles now include a few new fields, all in addition to several other minor changes and fixes made to the platform.

eDirectory is a division of Arca Solutions, Inc, a digital media company headquartered in the Washington, DC metro area.

eDirectory for iPhone now available

eDirectory has recently launched “eDirectory for iPhone” to help site owners create yet another way to generate traffic and ad revenue by publishing sites directly to the iPhone, who currently holds over 21 million users.

While eDirectory’s solution has always been mobile friendly, the app empowers site owners to produce a feature rich, easy to navigate application directly on their mobile phone.  eDirectory, who will assist their customers in publishing their site to the app store, are excited to bring their software through another medium in digital media

“Today there are an estimated 21 million iPhone users, and a private label iPhone application is a great addition to the eDirectory product line. The additional traffic generated through the iPhone apps will be a valuable asset to eDirectory site owners,” said eDirectory CEO, James Chubb.

To learn more about eDirectory for the iPhone, go to the eDirectory website https://www.edirectory.com/mobile/ or call us directly at (703) 914-0770 x1.

eDirectory releases version 8.0. Increases mobile profile

Annandale, Virginia – November 18th, 2010 – In their most paramount release since launching the product 7 years ago, eDirectory, the leading online directory software solution, has announced the release of Version 8.0. The most recently version will see a widely robust feature set that includes multi-site management, mobile check ins, a new Android app, package builder, deals engine, GEO IP and more.

Version 8 quickly addressed a long standing issue many directory site owners faced; Managing multiple domains with both ease and affordability.eDirectory’s new Multi-core feature will allow users to add domains on the fly, manage multiple sites within one Content Management System, and up-sell your advertisers for sponsorships across all of your sites. For example, when an advertiser goes to purchase a sponsorship on your Chicago Pizzeria directory, the site owner can present that advertiser with the opportunity to also advertise on their Chicago Nightlife directory at a discounted rated. Along those lines, version 8 also includes a Package Builder feature, giving site owners the ability to develop bundled or packaged sponsorships where advertisers can purchase a mix of listings, banners, events, classifieds or articles.

With the release of eDirectory for the iPhone nearly a year ago, there has been a significant investment in the company’s mobile development team, adding an Android app in the new version. Now coined ‘eDirectory mobile’ to house both brands, the organization’s mobile team is pushing to keep their Android app features at par with their more developed, longer standing iPhone App. The iPhone now has mobile check ins and reviews, which while currently not in the Android framework, will be expected to follow in the months to come.

Another significant addition to the features within the system is the Deals Engine. Previously referred to as “coupons” within the site manager, the revamped Deals Engine will allow listing owners to create a “deal” or limited time discount on their products or services, which can then be posted and claimed through Facebook.

“eDirectory v8 is a pivotal release, with the ability to run multiple sites under one CMS, up-sell advertisers, a new Android app platform, iPhone-Facebook check-ins, a revamped Deals Engine, and too many smaller improvements to name. Site owners using eDirectory v8 will quickly generate more page-views and revenue than ever before.” says eDirectory CEO, James Chubb.

Other features that round out the release include a WYSIWYG navbar and footer interface on the site manager, giving site owner’s the opportunity to change the elements in these areas, previously not available. GEO IP will pre-load the location of visitors who come to directory sites, adding personalization to the user experience.

eDirectory is a division of Arca Solutions, Inc, a digital media company headquartered in the Washington, DC metro area.

eDirectory releases 7.5, .net version

Annandale, Virginia – June 30th, 2010 – Just two months after its’ most recent release, eDirectory, the Leading Online Directory Software Solution, will be releasing its’ newest version, 7.5 and a .net platform of the system along with it.

With one if it’s quickest back to back releases in company history, eDirectory 7.5 will showcase new blockbuster features such as the integrated blog tool, visitor registration and visitor profiles. While eDirectory can still be integrated with wordpress and other external blogging systems, the most recent version has added a fully integrated blog tool that has most features available in bloging platforms. Visitor can now register through the system and create user profiles to create a basic community for their sponsors and members.  Members and sponsors can add reviews and create users profiles, and sponsors can share their listings, articles and other elements through Facebook.

“7.5 is a significant release for eDirectory. The visitor profiles and blog feature will go a long way to engaging traffic and building a successful directory site.” says eDirectory CEO, James Chubb.

Uploading images into your content has become significantly easier as they can now be imported with a new tool on WYSIWYG editor.  Upload and create  thumbnails of those images and setting your main images are now tasks that can be completed in a centralized location where you add listings.. Restrictions on both listings and categories have also been lifted as now you can have an unlimited number of categories with listings, and categories with an unlimited amount of levels.

eDirectory is a division of Arca Solutions, Inc, a digital media company headquartered in the Washington, DC metro area.

eDirectory releases .net version

Annandale, Virginia – June 11th, 2010 – After a year long initiative to open up its’ platform to cater to more development arenas, eDirectory has announced the release of it’s .net version of the software.

While the original version was developed in, and since refined in PHP, the staff has recognized the importance to create a version of the system that can cater to more developers who are accustomed to a Microsoft enivronment.

“While it hasn’t been extremely detrimental to the growth of the software, we realized that the PHP platform was restricting to those more comfortable with, or used to developing in a Microsoft environment. As a company with a diverse backgrounds in software development, we appreciate the value of a system that can appeal to more than one platform” says eDirectory CEO, James Chubb.

Because eDirectory’s base code team has been so aggressive in releasing new features in the PHP version of the software in both 7.4 and 7.5, the .Net version will be contain all of the features through version 7.3. The most notable features not available in the .net version are the series of new graphical templates released in 7.4, the visitor login and profile creation, as well as Site Manager interface upgrades, access to a few payment gateways and other minor changes. Because version 7.4 was launched a little over two months ago, the .Net version of the system (7.3) will be as high, if not higher than a majority of all users.

With significant interest generated in the first week of it’s release, the .net version is now available on eDirectory.com Any questions about the new version of the system can be directed to sales@edirectory.com
eDirectory is a division of Arca Solutions, Inc, a digital media company headquartered in the Washington, DC metro area.