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On The Web: The Value Of Directories
Krangle, All rights reserved.
are that by now, if you have a web site, you've figured out you need
to promote it on the web before anyone but your family and friends
will be able to find it. There are lots of good services for this
sort of thing. One of them is offered through The Muse's Muse @ http://www.musesmuse.com/promo.html.
Not all services are created alike, however. Make sure you ask a lot
of questions - firstly about how many places you're being submitted
to. Also make sure that you're not paying any more than $50 USD for
the service. Anything more is a rip-off. The Muse's Muse, for instance,
offers a 3 month package, submissions 2 weeks apart (which means you're
submitted 6 different times) plus e-mailed reporting for that $50.
Make sure you're getting your money's worth!
there is one thing these services *can't* help you with (and shouldn't,
in my opinion): submitting to DIRECTORIES. Web Directories such as
Yahoo! and The Open Directory Project (dmoz.org)
aren't search engines. They don't "crawl" your site once
given the main url. They don't automatically catalogue your site at
all. They categorize based upon the whims of a human editor. What
does this mean to you, the web site owner?
CONTENT IS STILL KING: Your site should have some content
before they'll allow it to be placed in their directory. Try having
some information on your site such as in depth stuff about your band
or your background, a performance date listing, press clippings, maybe
even interesting trivia about the band or yourself. Try also to have
a good bunch of links that you think might be relevant to those dropping
by. One of the BEST ways to spread the word about your site (even
better than submitting to search engines!) is to exchange links with
other people and having a section set aside for that purpose just
makes it easier.
CONSIDER GETTING YOUR OWN DOMAIN NAME: I hate to tell you
this, but unfortunately, directories are less likely to categorize
a site on IUMA or MP3.com or any service like that. Even if they do,
you're likely to be low on their totem pole. MP3.com and sites like
it certainly do serve a purpose - and a valuable one at that - but
they very rarely have any appreciable content and they also are usually
only one page. I always advise those serious about promoting themselves
on the net to get their own domain name (it's not very expensive at
all these days. Try a service like http://www.register.com),
or at the very least, a web page on a free service with some actual
information present on more than a few pages. The more the site has
to offer, the better disposed the human editors at the directories
are likely to be towards it.
CHOOSE YOUR CATEGORY CAREFULLY: If you have a sizable amount
of content, try submitting yourself to more than one but try to limit
it to no more than three at the start. Once you're already accepted
and the editors have glanced around your site, it's possible they'll
consider categorizing other sections of it if you try again later
and you're certain those individual sections have merit all on their
own. For instance, I have several sections on The Muse's Muse that
are categorized separately. The classified section appears on its
own within Yahoo! and so does the Songwriting Lounge Chat page. I
also have a listing for the home url of the entire web site. This
is all legitimate because each section *does* stand alone. In any
case, the bottom line is that you should choose a category that fits
the subject matter of your web site as closely as possible and if
you have different sections with stand-alone info you feel is valuable,
submit those to the appropriate category too.
DON'T KID A KIDDER: Don't try to put one over on them. These
are human editors, remember. Yes, they display their content alphabetically,
but if you try putting an "A" in front of the title of your
entry just to get yourself listed higher, it's likely to get your
submission tossed in the figurative wastebasket instead. Think about
your title carefully. If you can start the title of your web site
with a word that has something to do with the content of your web
site and is also higher up in the alphabet, that's great. Give it
a shot. But don't be obvious about it and try to keep the title down
to five words or less. Most of the time, it's just best to go with
the actual name of your web site and leave it at that. I'd also advise
that you stick to a description that's 25 words or less. On Yahoo!
this is VERY strictly enforced. On dmoz.org, much less so - but they're
a little more likely to edit your entry if they place you. It's always
best to make their job easier. Also DON'T try to get yourself listed
twice in the same section by removing the www at the front of the
url and submitting both versions. (Ex: http://www.musesmuse.com and
http://musesmuse.com) It won't work and it will annoy the editor -
something you don't want to do if you're trying to get placed.
NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE IMPORTANCE OF DMOZ.ORG You probably
already know how important it is to be listed on Yahoo!. But how much
do you know about dmoz.org or The Open Directory Project? If you don't
know a lot, visit dmoz.org, have a look around, then visit Hotbot.com,
Lycos.com, AOL's Netfind (http://search.aol.com/)
& Netscape.com - to name a few. All of these locations use filtered
dmoz.org information for their listings - which means that if you
get placed on dmoz.org, you'll eventually find yourself in ALL of
these listings at once. There's about a week to two week delay between
finding yourself listed on dmoz.org and the filtering down of the
information to the other sites that draw their results from that location.
This is the best darned directory you never heard of. If you haven't
gotten yourself listed there, DO IT NOW. It takes a little bit less
time to get listed than Yahoo! at this point (though they're getting
slower) and the results will be amazing.
IF YOU AREN'T GETTING A LISTING, BE *POLITE*!!: After about
three weeks of waiting and not seeing your entry appear, it's pretty
safe to say that the editor is either really far behind, or you're
not in the running. Write to the editor. At the bottom of each section
you've submitted your site to on dmoz.org, you'll find a link to the
editor's profile. You can find his or her e-mail address there. On
Yahoo, e-mail email@example.com
and include your pertinent info, including site URL, your e-mail,
date you submitted your site, and the desired categories within that
communication. But above all, BE POLITE. These are real people you're
writing to, not robots. They appreciate a kind word and a polite inquiry
just as much as any of us would. They also get thousands of submissions
in a day. Give them something to smile about. By the time they read
your note, they'll need it! If you're not listed, simply ask them
why, if there's something you need to change about your listing in
order to make it acceptable, and mention the information suggested
above. It might take a little more effort to be nice, especially if
you've been waiting a long time, but it's always worth it. Trust me.
tip for getting listed faster with Yahoo is to try submitting your
site to the relevant category within a regional Yahoo. This is really
only useful if you're located in the States, unfortunately, but if
you are, it can sometimes take as many as weeks quicker to get listed
there than elsewhere on Yahoo - and those results get filtered to
the regular Yahoo! site after the next database update.
yourself on the web is getting easier all the time but while it's
possible to automate a lot of things, submitting to the directories
really should be done manually - and by YOU - the person who best
knows your web site. Give it a shot. What do you have to lose but
anonymity? Good luck!
Krangle resides in Toronto Canada (specifically Thornhill) and is
the proprietess of The Muse's Muse Songwriting Resource at www.musesmuse.com.
In her day job, she's the Marketing Director & Webmaster for a
gaming software development company called Zillions Development Corporation
Jodi is also an active musician and voice over professional. In her
spare time, she can often be found doing studio vocals, writing songs
(though not as often as she'd like), performing with her folk group,
Urban Tapestry (http://www.inkspot.com/ut),
and working on her web site until the wee hours of the morning.