Paid or Free Directory Inclusion

Most business webmasters are aware of such high profile directories as the Open Directory Project (DMOZ) and the Yahoo! Directory. DMOZ is a free option, while the Yahoo! Directory offers paid inclusion for commercial sites. There are other directories that are well worth your consideration. Today, we’ll be looking at a couple of paid and free inclusion directories: Business.com and JoeAnt.

Alternative directories, whether offering free or paid inclusion, provide some highly visible promotion for your website. Many of the less popular directories offer added PageRank, in the form of a strong back-link. The directories also provide qualified referrals, which use the listings to find the goods and services offered by your business.
 
The potential offered by alternative directories is worthy of consideration. While the paid inclusion options may not fit your budget, you certainly want to be aware of whether your competitors are listed. One example of a good paid inclusion directory is the Business.com directory.If budgetary restrictions are a concern, you need to look seriously at some free directory options. A well-regarded free inclusion directory is the JoeAnt Directory.

{mospagebreak title=Business.com Directory}
Business.com offers a multi-category paid inclusion business website directory. With a home page resembling a portal, the directory includes a large array of product and service providers. Inclusion in the Directory provides a great PageRank benefit: five deep links to your pages, helpful for referrals.
 
For additional referrals, the Business.com directory listings are also featured by such prestigious organizations as Business Week, Inc.com, FastCompany.com, C|Net, Internet.com, and others. The Directory claims that 24 million business professionals are in the Business.com network.
 
If you are a new business, there is always a need to establish credibility as a reliable supplier of goods and services. Longer term companies require maintenance of that established credibility factor. If a business is searching for linking partners, a directory is an ideal location to find them. There are also many good sources of industry information within the directory listing categories.
 
How to Get Listed with Business.com
 
There are three ways to get listed in the directory. Each business needs to consider which one of the inclusion methods is most beneficial for it.
 
Standard Listing
 
To acquire a standard listing in the directory, simply go to the Business.com home page, and click on the “Get Your Site Listed Today” link found at the top of the page. This takes you to an options page, which provides information on the various paid inclusion methods.
 
The inclusion fee for a Standard Listing in the directory is $99.00 US for the year. The charge is an annually recurring one. You may list as many businesses in the Directory as you choose. Each additional Standard Listing carries an annual charge of $99.00 US as well.
 
Included in the annual fee is the opportunity to use several keywords, suited to your listing. The listing provides a clean and direct URL right to the landing page of your choice. In addition, you receive an additional four links per listing. Inclusion within five business days is guaranteed by the editors of the directory.
 
Required information for each listing includes the full URL, the website title (official company or website name), and a description of fewer than 150 words (examples of suitable descriptions are provided). You may also list your city, region, country and e-mail address, although they are not required. You are given the choice of directory category.
 
Sponsored Links
 
Sponsored links are available on a pay per click basis. They appear only on the Business.com com website, on the right hand side of the page, and on Directory search results. You may create and write your own wording for the pay per click listings.
 
The charge for pay per click sponsored links includes a one time set-up fee of $25.00 US. It remains in good standing as long as your links remain in the directory. The price per click starts at $0.20 US, but can range higher, depending on the popularity of the keywords and category. You are always able to view your account online, to keep track of your pay per click balance, for budgeting purposes. A sponsored link appears in the Business.com directory, complete with live hot links, within one business day.

To create a sponsored link, click on the “Sponsored Link” option that appears with the standard listing. All of the listing choices are available on the same page. You will be asked to provide the complete URL for the chosen landing website landing page, the proper website title, and a brief description not exceeding 85 characters. For writing website descriptions, a link to directory guidelines is provided.

Featured Listings

Business.com featured listings, according to the directory information, are for websites planning to budget $500.00 US per month or more, to enhanced directory listings.

Unlike the sponsored links, featured listings appear throughout the entire Business.com network, including the affiliated business websites. As with sponsored links, the results appear on the right hand side of the page and on directory search results.

Business.com offers professional writers to help word your advertisement, should you require their services. The startup fee of $25.00 for sponsored listings is not required, but the pay per click starting fee is $0.40 per click. The directory offers a toll-free telephone number as well, where you can request a pricing proposal.

Along with your featured listing, you also receive an additional free listing, without the added $99.00 US annual charge.

To create a featured listing, go to the listing option page by clicking on the “Get Your Site Listed Today” link on the home page. You will be taken to a page that gives you two choices. You can contact the directory sales office and receive a pricing proposal, or you can fill out a short form.

The form requires your name, your telephone number, your e-mail address, your company’s name, and the website URL. They also want to know if you have purchased cost per click advertising in the past, and how much you paid. They also would like an estimated monthly amount budgeted for cost per click advertising. A directory representative will then make contact with you, and provide a proposal.

{mospagebreak title=Are There Any Free Directories?}
  
If after surveying your company’s budget and deciding that a paid inclusion listing is just not right for you, you have some free alternatives. If you have already applied to the Open Directory Project (DMOZ), and you are looking for some other choices, there are a few available that are not only free, but provide good referral traffic as well. One such free directory is the JoeAnt Directory.
 
JoeAnt Directory
 
You’ll want to get your website listed in JoeAnt for a number of reasons.
 
Every directory that lists you is a valuable incoming link. Each link into your website adds to its Google PageRank. That’s the way Google measures the importance and authority of your site. Google believes the more links the better, as they are votes for your site; the higher the incoming PageRank, the better it is for you. Those are sites that are weighted as more important. Directories fall under that category of important links.
 
The JoeAnt Directory also provides a good steady rate of referral traffic. That should make you sit up and take notice!
 
For bloggers, JoeAnt features a “Blog of the Month” section. For regular websites, there is a highlighted “Sites of the Month” area, featuring two websites for the entire month. They are prominently placed on the JoeAnt home page. That could be you!
 
How to Get Listed in the JoeAnt Directory
 
The first step, to a free directory listing, is to become a volunteer editor of a category. In effect, by becoming an editor, you are working off your entry fee.
 
At the JoeAnt site, look for and click on the link that asks you to become an editor. Some information will then be requested from you. Your information is private and password protected, so only you can access your personal editing area (called an “ant hill”).
 
You will then be asked to choose a primary topic. As a new editor, you’ll only be permitted to have one topic area. The best idea is to select the category where your site will be listed. All topic applications are approved, so you don’t have to fear rejection of your choice!
 
Once approved, you can enter your site for listing. Search through the sub-categories, in your chosen topic area, for the right one for your site. Write a brief and objective description of your website. Don’t bother filling the description with sales talk and flowery wording. The senior editors, who approve your first submissions, will only send it back to you for revision.
 
On the other hand, the senior editors are more than happy to provide advice for your site submissions. There is also an Editors Forum where you can post questions. Other more experienced editors will help to steer you in the right direction.
 
Let’s say, by way of an example, you decide to become an editor in the Real Estate category. You are free to add other sites under the Real Estate category. There is no limit to the number of other sites you add. They must be sites not already listed, be placed in the proper category, and have their descriptions written in the appropriate manner.
 
As you add entries to your topic area, you build up editor points. Once a certain level is reached, you are permitted to add another category to your ant hill. For example, as a Real Estate editor who has reached the required points level, you can add the Travel category (or any other of your choosing) to your ant hill.
 
As your point total increases, you’ll receive additional privileges as well. The JoeAnt Directory also runs a number of contests and competitions to encourage more editor participation and site submissions. 
 
{mospagebreak title=Which Directory is Right For Me?} 
When you are faced with choosing between paid or free directory inclusion, the answer is dependant on your needs. You have to consider whether your business requires immediate exposure. If waiting on the free directories takes too long, you will have to seriously consider paid inclusion. Should your budget be unable to handle the financial requirements of paid inclusion, especially the unknown totals of pay per click, you will have to look seriously at free directories. If you lack the time to spend editing a directory category, you may have to choose paid inclusion as well.

 

There is no right answer for every business and website. The final answer is what is right for you and for your business.

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