There are two ways you can make money online with website directories – you can either join them or start your own. But before we get into the details, let’s take a look at just what website directories are and how they operate.
Website directories are lists, or indexes, of websites and the listings are broken down into categories, sub-categories and further if necessary. These lists of websites are a resource for people searching for information. You can go to your favorite search engine and type in a search time and you’ll see pages and pages of results. But if you go to your favorite website directory you’ll see results that have been edited to filter out the garbage. Ideally, a website directory contains links to sites that contain quality information and these sites have been selected by human editors.
There are literally millions of website directories out there. You can find general directories or niche-specific. To find them, just do a search for ‘
website directories YOUR NICHE‘. The best general example is dmoz. This is an open directory project where real people, just like you and me, actually edit the listings. It’s purpose is to help categorize the Internet and separate the wheat from the chaff. Not all sites that are submitted are accepted.
Website directories promote themselves to searchers as being the best place to come to find quality websites in whatever niche – they save time and they weed out the riff-raff. They promote themselves to you, the webmaster, as being someplace where you can get a valuable backlink and traffic. They need your quality website so they can attract searchers (who will click on their ads) and they need searchers (traffic numbers) so they can attract your website to their index. It’s one big circle and, like everything else on the web, success depends on quality.
Submitting Your Site To Website Directories
Like I said, there are two ways you can make money online with website directories and one is to submit your site. Submitting your site to a directory isn’t like submitting to article directories. You don’t have to write an article. You just submit the link to your home page and fill in tags, keywords and a description. If you’re accepted then you get a link back to your site and you’re listed in the index.
But here’s where that ‘quality‘ thing comes in. The whole point of submitting to directories is to gain a link back from a quality, relevant site. I could put up a page of website links on my PR0 iguana blog and call it a directory but what’s that going to do for your investment blog when I include it on my index? Nothing. In fact, it will probably do more harm than good in the eyes of the search engines. That link will just look like low-ranking spam. But hey, I accepted your site for my directory! Yippeeee!
OK, you can probably see where I’m going here. Good website directories are going to be choosy about what sites they accept. But you have to be just as choosy about the directories you submit to. Here’s what to look for:
Relevance – Submitting to general directories like dmoz.com is great, because they already have a reputation and page rank. But there are some pretty high-ranking directories out there that are niche specific, too.
Authority – Look at the directory’s page rank. While it’s not the only concern you should have you do need to be aware. New directories hit the web every day so not everybody has a high page rank. If they don’t, though, what’s their traffic look like? Are they a growing site or are they just out to make a buck? It’s important to know this because when that site goes down the tubes for being spammy, it may very well have an affect on your site.
Fee vs Free – And speaking of bucks, do you have to pay a fee to be listed in that directory? Some do charge for the privilege. That can be a good thing or a bad thing. If they’re not collecting money from you then how are the making money? You need to look at that because if they’re not getting it from you then they’re probably running ads. And that’s next on the list…
Ads – A quality directory, just like any quality website, will be concerned about the service they provide to the people who come there looking for information. That’s what brings them their PR and that PR is what attracts you. So take a look at the ads on the site. Are they plastering Adsense all over the page? Do searchers have to scroll through dozens of banner ads before they get to the categories? Yeah, you get a backlink out of it, but you also want people to be able to find you on that directory. And a poorly run directory isn’t going to attract any searchers anyway.
Setting Up Your Own Website Directory
If you’ve read this far then you can probably figure out the rest. If you’re going to try to make money with your own directory then you need to think quality and SEO, which essentially go hand-in-hand anyway.
When you start looking around you’re going to find plenty of crap directories out there. They’re just big link farms sandwiched in between a lot of Adsense and affiliate marketing ads. The people who set them up are thinking – “Cool! I’ll set up this directory as a way to lure in a bunch of traffic and when they get here they’ll click on my ads!”
But you and I both know you have to get the traffic first. And the only way to do that is to provide quality, relevant information. The reason searchers use website directories is because they know that some editorial process has been used to provide a list of quality websites. If they wanted to see everything that was available, they’d just stick with Google. They’re counting on you to show them the best.
For that reason, you need to be choosy about what sites you accept. If your directory is full of poor quality sites and spammers then searches won’t hang around long.
Be diligent with SEO. Use keywords for categories, use tags, use your meta-tags. Your success depends most upon your visibility in the search engines. Without it, searchers can’t find you. If searchers can’t find you, you have no traffic. No traffic means nobody wants to list their website in your directory. There’s that circle again!
Be very careful about the sites you accept. You’re going to be linking to them and you definitely don’t want to link to porn or spam or poor quality content.
So there you have it. In a nutshell, if you want to make money online with website directories, the keyword is Quality, whether you’re submitting your site or building your own directory.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!