At WebKite, we’re creating a lot of cool features to make the WebKite platform versatile and flexible. While great features are added every week (like location search or integrated payment processing), one thing WebKite is outstanding for those that are looking for directory software.
The directory space is something that hasn’t seen too much evolution. Think of current directory software like a 419 million year old fish and WebKite like a fish from 419 million years in the future! While we’re working to make some cool and innovative changes to the world of directories, we thought we’d put together a Directory 101 guide. You know, so you know why you want to invest in directory software.
Just like fish, directory software comes in all shapes and sizes. Yelp, Urban Spoon, City Search, Health Grades, and Zagat are all outstanding examples of what a directory can strive to be. They help their visitors make decisions and filter through mountains of data without feeling overwhelmed. With no shortage of data on the Internet, online directories are sometimes the first line of defense when it comes time to make a decision. And, as an expert in your field, isn’t that why you exist?
When you’re looking for a directory you’re sometimes looking for those specific tools that will make you a success in your field. That could be things like easy to update entries, claim a listing, or that elusive “SEO.” But what does it all mean? And why would you want these extra bells and whistles?
At the fundamental level directory software does one thing and does that one thing well: it allows you a place to upload information and then allows your users to sort and filter through that something. For example, it’s perfect if you happen to be obsessed with pizza and want to build a pizza directory.
It’s simple, right? Absolutely. But, sometimes, there’s just more you’d like to do to make a directory fun to explore. Otherwise it’s just a bit too static.
So let’s run through some features so you know what to look for when it comes to directory software. A resource. An oasis of information that your visitors will want to share.
Claim a Listing
This is something you’d want to use if you have a large set of items that you need help curating, or, looking for a way to profit. Bonus if you’re building a business directory and want businesses to own and update their own page.
By allowing businesses to claim a listing you’re giving them a chance to contribute in the ecosystem you’re constructing. Meaning that they become ambassadors for your directory, spreading the word, and keeping their profile up to date. And when you have users you have a community. Which leads us too…
User Submitted Items
Users are the heart and soul of a good directory. They’re the ones sorting through items, adding reviews and ratings, telling their friends about your resource, and, of course, adding new items.
Because most directories are ever-growing, like a fountain of information that never dries up, it’s best to empower the user to contribute to that growth. So, by having anyone suggest a new item you’re crowdsourcing your information and data.
You’ll have the opportunity to approve (or not approve) every item submitted to your directory. This keeps the quality high, the spam low, and the content plentiful.
User Reviews and Ratings
Social equity is as important as ever these days. Social proof and a solid rating system can help your site stand head and shoulders above someone elses. Plus, it’s a meaningful way to help your visitors make an educated decision.
Ratings and reviews allow you to give your visitors a familiar way to interact with your content and contribute to your site. When users contribute they become invested in your directory—they’ll spread the word and bring users back to your site.
Easy Filtering System
One hallmark of an outstanding directory is the filtering mechanism. After all, what’s the point of having data at all if your visitors can’t find exactly what they’re looking for?
Offering users the tools to discover new items or sort through a mountain of data is invaluable. Helping a visitor pinpoint the exact item or business they’re looking for through a directory, while allowing them to look at only the information they want to look at streamlines the decision process.
It really puts the “direct” in directory. Hilarious, I know.
At WebKite, you’re able to build a filtering system based on any information you have access to. You can create a sidebar that sorts by things like user ratings, location, price, color, or a combination of any of that.
So That’s the Basics of Directory Software
When you’re looking for directory software these are some of the things to keep in mind. These features are what we think should come standard with any type of directory software solution.
As you explore the world of directories, it’s important to know what you’re looking for. Directories have evolved to be more than an online version of the Yellow Pages.
In the next installment we’ll talk a little bit about the best ways to make money with a directory. If you’re a “go-getter” type you’ll be excited about the opportunities to explore new revenue streams.
Interested in building a directory? Start your 7 Day Free Trial with WebKite today.