Yesterday, like Snoopy, I almost got the Sopwith Camel, out of the barn to get ready for one last dogfight with the Red Baron. Meaning, I almost bought a domain, directory script and hosting for it to start a directory of blogs. I had it all researched, script picked out, ideas as to how to make it good, everything, then I started writing the blog post below (italics). It’s not complete but it was my reality check.
Directories and Search Engines Do No Good if Unused
Here is the cold hard reality of search engines and directories:
- They have to have a starter set of listings. I call this “seeding” the directory. If a searcher comes to use the directory you need to provide them with something or they will never come back. This means the Editor(s) of the directory have got to add a starter set of sites to the database manually. It’s a lot of work.
- You have two sets of customers: A. searchers, the public, B. webmasters adding their URLs. The expectations are different for each set. You have to market to both.
- You have to provide traffic to sites listed. With a new search engine or directory you have to build a user base. This means you have to gain exposure, either by hard advertising or by word spreading within whatever niche you serve. Also links back, articles and search boxes on websites help. This is why it is better to start in a niche, because members of the niche are more likely to support you.
- You are not going to make any money at it for years, if ever.
I scrabbled back from the edge of the cliff.
I’m not willing to put the time and money forward to make such a directory at this moment. That and the time commitment to promote it, that is, gain traffic to it would be huge. So I scrapped the Big Plan.
As I said before, there is a need. Blog directories are a stopgap measure for a few years until the next generation can cook up better solutions to the blog discovery problem. The need will grow in the near future as Twitter and FB either decline or restrict our being able to syndicate our posts to them or both.
I do have other “clever Plans,” in the works. I’m not giving up. This is not retreat, I’m just attacking in a different direction. More when those plans are closer to launch.
(Plus I salvaged that post I started yesterday.) 😄