Masterclass in creating and promoting a web directory

  • 1
  • December 27, 2007
Patrick Altoft

Patrick Altoft

Director of Strategy

This week a new web directory launched and made the Digg front page as well as gaining links from a host of other social bookmarking services. Since a lot people associate web directories with webspam they usually struggle to gain many links. In this post I will take a look at Open Source Living to see what we can learn from their marketing strategy.

First of all the site is a niche directory dedicated to a subject that social news junkies & bloggers love to link to. The target userbase is passionate and will happily promote good content when they see it.

The site itself has used a number of tactics to appear trustworthy:

  • It doesn’t look like a web directory
  • It has a nice logo/header
  • All the listings are trusted sites we know about
  • Each listing has a logo
  • Some listings have deep links to save people time

Take a look at the web browsers section and compare it to a standard directory.

OS Living

Despite launching in a quiet week the owner has gained over 1800 Diggs. Notice how the site didn’t quite make it the first time but with a subtle change of title and url it reached the homepage a few days later.

Initially I was surprised that the site had Adsense included from the outset but then I remembered that most Open Source fanatics probably use Ad Block plugins so they won’t ever see the Adsense.

A site like this can spend 6 months gaining viral links through social media and then start charging a review fee in the same way as Yahoo (ie within the Google guidelines) and it will suddenly be a hugely valuable place to get a link from.

Finally they also have a forum to allow anybody to suggest new ideas and discuss what sites should be included, how many web directories do that?