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Ben Knight

Due diligence with Directory websites: What to look for in a provider?

by Ben Knight
in Web Development
6 Mar 2013  |  0 Comments
 

Our consultants at The Web Showroom are often contacted regarding “Directory” websites. A directory website is essentially a website that has profiles (typically added to the site by a third party EG general public / business agent etc. For example, a car is a profile on carsales.com.au) These profiles can then be refined or filtered by the website visitor by location, type, proximity to postcode etc. and can be configured to suit the website mission. Directory style websites are exemplified by very well-known sites like domain.com.au and gumtree.com.au or the aforementioned carsales.com.au

Directory websites are a considerable project as they have a great deal of development /configuration put into them. Strategy, design and ease of use are also important, so attention to detail and therefore a little more time is required on these types of sites. The most critical aspects of directory development can be difficult to identify as it appears as only a few precent of the overall site development. The reality in fact is that this this small detail is make or break for the workings of your directory website and a considerable percentage of the build.

The Web Showroom's Suggested Considerations

  • How do people create profiles, can the general public do it, or do you have to do it manually every time?
  • What ‘engine’ will be utilised to filter and refine results?
  • Can you monetise the site? Is this automated, so you can earn cash for profiles? Do profiles expire?
  • What profiles/ levels of profiles are available? Free vs. paid profiles? Upgrade path between free and paid?
  • Can the general public be notified when what they want is added to the site EG Can I be emailed when a 2 Bedroom House within 50km of 2050 becomes available? This is great for re-engaging the public with your site, even if it wasn’t 100% on their last visit.

What all of this means is that you will invest a considerable sum of money and trust – the decision on whom to engage can be a little daunting!

So what do you look for in an agency when considering their ability to create these complex websites?

As you undertake your due diligence, do not be convinced by simple assurances that a potential developer can create this type of site. It bears repeating - whilst the directory functionality caters for a small percentage of the actual build, the directory functionality is absolutely critical in the success of your online presence.

The easiest way to discover if an agency, such as The Web Showroom, can create a successful directory style website is simple – ask them for examples! If they cannot provide a handful, say 5 to 10 examples of great looking, fully functioning websites with directory functionality, you should ask yourself if they can actually develop that final, critical 10% that is vital for your online presence success.

In truth, if they cannot provide examples, they probably should not be considered. Remember, assurances on what can be done rarely make your website a success (and at worst waste huge sums of money and take up years of your time)

So when looking around for a directory provider, ask them for examples and of course, challenge The Web Showroom team to do the same!

Author: Ben Knight

Ben Knight

Ben manages our team of web design & website development consultants. With over 10 years industry experience Ben has a wealth of knowledge across website design, development, conversion optimisation and digital marketing. 

 
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