A business directory helps buyers to find businesses that sell what they want. The directories used to come printed, often on yellow pages. A buyer went to the relevant category, looked through the listings, and phoned promising suppliers.
These days, the directories are more likely to come in an online form. Online business directories have several advantages. Businesses can keep their information up to date so that a prospective buyer won't find a wrong person at the other end of the phone, for example.
Business directories not only serve consumers but also businesses. They can get their businesses listed in the directories and attract the attention of buyers who browse the directories. Much business can come in this way, particularly if the directories are online directories.
Advantages of Online Business Directories
Online business directories have several advantages compared to paper-based print directories. These include:
■Users can find what they want much more easily and quickly using search and other facilities. Instead of thumbing through pages of an unwieldy volume, they just click the mouse a few times.
■Much more information can be accommodated in the online directories. This includes not only information about the listed businesses but also other relevant and helpful information. Direction maps and informative topical notes are examples of such add-ons.
■Information in online directories are likely to be more up to date, as listed businesses can edit their details.
■Users can quickly click through to the business website and get more details. They can also contact the businesses if the details meet their expectations, or look promising.
■In addition to providing more information about themselves in the directories, businesses can provide full details at their websites to which directory users typically click through. This is much better than conveying information over the phone when a print directory user phones in.
■Users are much more likely to check out websites anonymously than phone in. This means that more users are likely to become aware of your offers.
■A listing in an online directory has the incidental advantage of providing in-pointing links to the websites of listed businesses. Many businesses list their businesses in many directories to gain link popularity that boosts the search engine visibility of their web sites.
Organizing Business Directories
Making it easy to find information in different ways is one of the prime objectives while deciding on how to arrange the content, layout and navigation of the business directory.
A search facility with advanced features is a standard feature now. You can typically search by business name, category, location or product. The use of clearly visible tabs to direct visitor to major sections, and links in each section to sub-sections, etc are also standard.
The look and feel of a directory can determine whether it would become popular, provided it has an adequate number of listings to become known as a good resource.
Many directories seek a niche approach, focusing on a particular business category, such as agriculture or plastics.
A business directory helps both buyers and sellers. Online business directories offer several advantages over print directories, which tend to become unwieldy and even obsolete quickly.
Online business directories offer speedier finding and more information. For listed businesses, they also provide some link popularity.
To be successful, a business directory has to attract both businesses and directory users. They try to do this using different techniques and approaches.