I’m still convinced that the most fruitful area for web directories is in niche directories, that is single topic directories.  For example: it could be about fishing, bass fishing, fly fishing, keeping tropical fish, or fishing in your area.*  (*Fishing in your area is more of a business type directory with addresses and maps, but that’s great too.)

What you are doing in a niche is: A. establishing yourself as an expert on that topic as it exists on the web, B. you want to either draw people in because of your knowledge, or C. draw in a community of people that share the same interest.  It’s the people of B or C that will use the directory.

But there are some things you need to look out for:

  1. You need to really like the topic yourself and have some knowledge about it.  Directory building is hard work and you need to stay interested.  You don’t have to be an expert, if you are willing to learn your expertise will grow as you build
  2. You need a topic that people are passionate about.  Passionate enough to make websites and blogs on the topic, not just post to Facebook.
  3. The topic needs to be filled with arcane knowledge that people want to share and find.  It can’t be a topic that one Wikipedia article can cover everything people want to know.  Topics like pen and paper role playing games, US Civil War history, various collecting hobbies, UFO’s etc. are all topics that amateurs write about and endlessly discuss and debate.  Those are the kinds of topics that generate blogs and websites.
  4. The topic needs to be broad enough to collect an audience, if you go too narrow you won’t find enough websites to list.
  5. You are going to need more than just a directory.  Combine your niche directory with a blog, wiki, knowledge base, big site of static pages, forums, maybe even three of these.  You need some other content that can be added to and updated to combine with your directory.  This is 2018 and  people don’t seek out directories like they used to,

Except for mentioning “fishing in your area” I’m not going to go into local business directories yet.  They are a slightly different animal and I’ll save that for another post.

Finally, don’t compete directly against Google and Bing.  Don’t fill your directory up with the same sites the search engines have on the first 3 pages.  Dig deeper.  Bring to light websites that the search engines overlook but are good sites.

If you have any questions just ask in the comments below.

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