For quite some time I’ve been working on a new project, called “Leveranciers.biz”. This website is meant to be a kind of starting page for business in the B-2-B-sector in Flanders and in the Netherlands.
The “why” of this project
I started this project after being shocked by the prices other guides asked their users. Just having the name, address and phone number of your company in one of this guides can cost a company about 800 euros/year. (That’s equal to 1100 US dollars or 560 British pounds).
When we take a look at today’s server rental pricing, you can hire a good and reliable server for about 1500 euros/year. When we take this sum, and add a royal programmers fee of about 1700 euros, we can conclude that you have to got 4 customers to reach the break-even point. The rest is (roughly said) pure profit.
Strangely enough, this kind of websites aren’t so difficult to make or to maintain, and besides that, you don’t need a state-of-the-art server to run one mySQL-database using a php-based user interface. This means that the break-even point can (with some efficient programming) be reached by having only one or two customers. (using the prices stated above)
Kindly as I am, I made this remark to one of the account managers of one of this guides, when I met her being by one of my clients. (He asked me to come over, to advise him)
When she answered, I couldn’t help thinking that the answer she gave, was one they drilled in to her during her training as an account manager.
Her answer was :
-advertising in our guide helps to improve the Google ranking of your website.
-Potential customers can find your company using our website in a very fast and easy way
For a person who has a company, this sounds like music in their ears. Imagine getting the top position in Google ! Being ahead of all your competitors…
Although, I wasn’t so easily convinced and decided to take a closer look at some of these wonder-guides…
Her first statement, that it improved your Google-ranking was right… for people who haven’t got the knowledge of internet-programming…
I remarked, as I searched for some product using Google, that indeed the company was ranked high in Google. They weren’t ranked high with their own proper website, but with their advertisement in this guide. At first this doesn’t seem to be a problem, but taking a closer look at the advertisement, I saw that the link they had to the proper company website wasn’t one that should improve the Google ranking of the company website. This is because the link is an encrypted link. It should be forwarding to www.company-domain.ext, but it linked to www.guide-domein.ext/1351577854 . Because Google doesn’t see this as an actual link to the company-website, it doesn’t improve the ranking of the company-website.
Secondly, I tried to search the company by using the company guide website. I typed in one of the keywords the company subscribed to, and I clicked the search button. The results-page gave me about ten different directory’s in which company’s were listed that subscribed to this keyword. I start clicking them, and afterwards I got a page listing some sub-directory’s… Clicked again, got some other subdirectory’s… and finally, after clicking about ten times I found the company…. This I don’t call easy and fast…
Conclusion : your company website was only listed high in Google for the time you subscribed to this guide, and it certainly wasn’t to be found easily.
Now, I have to say that most company-owners don’t give a damn that their website is only listed high because they are subscribed to this guide, as long as they get their monthly visitors, but it still isn’t as efficient as having your own company website listed high. Still remaining the fact that the listing is very expensive…
That’s why I thought I might be able to develop an improved version of these guides.
My trying to improve
I started developing my guide with three points in mind, first of all: it has to improve your Google ranking. Secondly, you should be able to find the right company in less than five clicks. And last but not least; it hasn’t to be so expensive.
To improve the Google rankings of the sites listed in the directory, the first step is to have a good Google ranking yourselves. Developing a guide, this isn’t so hard. In this post I don’t go into the things you have to do to get a good Google ranking, (it will be one of my future posts), but using good programming and updating regularly combined with the proper content, this isn’t as hard as it used to be. Once you got a good position in Google (and other search engines), the ranking of the pages you link to will also improve, using the right method to link to their website.
In the matter of giving the right results within a few clicks, I decided not to use a directory structure when searching, (although visitors who want to browse directory’s are given this possibility), because in my opinion it isn’t possible to put a company into a narrow directory.
In my guide, company profiles are based on keywords, and searching for a keyword, the website will give you company-profiles subscribed to these keywords, immediately after your search, no matter in what kind of directory they are listed.
Finally, using a very effective programming, I try to use as less server-capacity as possible. In this way I don’t need a state-of-the-art server, but a modest and reliable one. (which costs less)
After some months of programming and testing, a first beta-version is being tested. The official release is planned on the first of January 2008. I’m really looking forward to the test-results. If they are positive, I can begin to fill my database and making it accessible for all internet-users….
To be continued…