If you’re thinking of putting together your own directory website, then you might be scratching your head over how to go about the design of the site. After all, these sites are designed to list large amounts of information, which isn’t necessarily the most interesting or accessible way of storing information. For those who are not aware, a directory site is one which specifically focusses on linking visitors to other websites. The directory usually has to categorise these lists. Rather than searching using keywords, the visitor finds what they are looking for by searching through categories and sub categories. In many ways, it’s a bit like the Yellow Pages, but set online rather than in a paper book! This is all fine and good, but how do you design your site so that it’s easy for people to find their way around? What’s more, how do you make sure that your site is unique and easy to remember so that visitors keep coming back?
The first thing you need to ask yourself is; what is your directory for. This will help you work out most other factors in the design. To be safe, most directories are usually for things which you already have an experience of, and may even act as a supplement to one of your other sites. Equally, however, you can find success by promotion something completely different.
Once you’ve worked out what you want your directory to be for, the next step is to think of a name. You want something which both helpfully describes your directory and isn’t too vague, whilst still being a bit different. In general, it is advisable to not use phrases such as “SEO” or “Free” as generally people will associate these with directories of a lower quality. It’s also best to keep the name short and simple to spell – especially if you’re going to advertise your directory offline! After you’ve written up a list of possible names, start taking a look for domain names. If you use the .directory extension then you will save yourself from having to put the word “Directory” in your website name, freeing it up to be most catchy and interesting.
Then there is the actual building and creation of your directory. Possibly the most straightforward and least expensive option is simply to connect a content management system like WordPress, before installing a directory plugin. Alternatively, there are plenty of directory scripts to be found easily online. However, only use the code or layout if it’s continuing to be actively used by other directory websites.
As mentioned, it’s really important that you make sure that your directory stands out. There must be about a million directories available on the internet, and you want to ensure that visitors keep coming back to yours. If you look at already existing web directories, you will find that many of them look very similar. You need to ensure that yours is attractive, well laid out and engaging. Don’t just have plain backgrounds and words – throw in some pictures, interesting graphics and maybe even a background theme to help make the site more appealing to visit. If you’re not sure how to make your own theme, then there are sites online which can help you do this. Make sure that you have as many options customized as possible so that your site is completely unique.
Hopefully having read this article you have a better idea of how to create and design directory websites which are engaging, helpful and informative.