Let’s start by getting the obvious out of the way first. The main purpose of web directories is to promote web sites. This isn’t usually done directly, by directing users through their links, since web directories don’t get that much traffic, but indirectly.
The way this indirect promotion works is that, after a website is registered in several web directories, search engines‘ crawlers see the links and count them, increasing the page rank and search results for the specific web page.
Ok, this is fine, but what about the surfers? Let’s be honest, 99 percent of the people that visit web directories are web masters that want to promote their web sites by getting a few extra links. Web directories have never been too attractive to surfers. But can they become attractive? Well, my guess is they can. And the only way to do so is to become more user friendly and to provide surfers with useful content.
What I mean by this is that web directories can become popular websites if, instead of providing a list of mediocre websites, ordered by the amount of money each one of them payed for their listing in the web directory, they would provide a list of the top websites the internet has to offer for each category. Such a list should be maintained by the web masters, by searching the web and choosing the top websites.
Of course, this means that you can’t just wait for people to submit any websites to your directory. You will have to get working on finding the websites surfers might be interested in. Another cool thing one could add is to allows users to rate the websites that are listed. This is a very nice addition, since it adds an interactive element to the website and orders the websites by the ratings given by surfers.
My previous experiences with web directories or ‘Top 100’ websites have been appaling. All of those websites were filled with second grade links, the kind of websites you are expecting to receive malware from to be honest. Well, this type of ‘Tom’s top 100 websites’ linking to ‘Jerry’s top car magazine’, containing 2 months old news simply doesn’t work. This is not what surfers want to see. Neither the MS-Dos type graphics in 32 colors, nor the sponsored links or suggested websites.
I really hope that the future will bring better web directories to the scene. Let’s be honest! There are so many great websites out there that surfers don’t know about, and so little places where you can find out about them.