5 things to do before adding your business to an online business directory website

Most online business directories are open to accept listing from owners of various businesses from owners living in areas targeted by their websites (note that some are exclusive to particular counties, towns, cities or industries): brick and mortar, online only, new or ones that have been in existence for long, small or big.

The motivation to list your business with a business directory

Listing in a directory can increase the visibility of your business online and offline  and expose you to clients and customers who would otherwise not get the chance to know about you, your products or services.

When people search through a category in a business directory, they are ready to pay attention to the businesses that might grab their attention.

Usually they decide to learn more about a company by visiting their blog, website or making a phone call, details which many directories allow you to add to your listing.

Even if you don’t have a blog or website (click here to learn how Niabusiness.com can help you start one), adding your listing to the best business directories gives people more opportunities to find you.

These people can later become clients, customers or fans recommending your products and services to their friends, family and strangers alike.

To some, a business directory is…

To some people, a directory is where they write one paragraph about their business and post it to get a free link back to their website, hoping that this one link will increase their authority and rankings in search engines – and in some cases this strategy works for them…but for awhile.

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This trend is common in free business directories in many countries and niches, where some business owners don’t even take the time to update their listing or write descriptions that draw more customers to get in touch and work with them.

That’s not what you should be doing as a business owner – even if you hire someone to do the submissions on your behalf.

I encourage business owners to do the following instead:

  1. To take their time when writing the description for their business and to update their listing whenever their business takes a new direction: new or improved products and services, new name, new website, new phone number, new business model, new prices, new email address or new free ebook or guide to attract people to their email list.
  2. To list their business thinking about the people who will read the listing. It is good that your listing leaves a good impression on whoever reads it. It doesn’t hurt – I know that you appreciate the importance of going the extra mile – to be clear about who you are, what you sell, to whom and why… the benefits one gets for paying attention to your business – and providing further information that helps  people feel more at ease and likely to call you, email you, check your site, buy from you, remember you, recommend you to others or simply send a thank you note just acknowledging the great work you do.
  3. To be truthful in their listings. Trust is important. Very important. Your listing can have it. It can convey trust. Knowing the importance of trust, I’m sure you will do your best to not miss the opportunity to create a listing that earns you even more of it – before someone reading your listing even gets in touch with you.

In most business directories, listings can be added in categories like

Accounting, Advertising & Marketing, Automotive & Transportation, Commercial Real Estate, Education, Employment, Health Care, Insurance, Legal, Manufacturing – Industrial, Nonprofit Organizations, Professional Services, Recreation and Leisure, Residential Real Estate, Restaurants and Catering, Retail – Shopping, Telecommunications, Arts and Entertainment, Fashion – Clothing, Business Services, Computers and Internet, Training and Consultancy, Financial Services, Hotels, News and Media, Online Business, Shipping – Storage – Logistics, Society and Culture, Travel and Tourism, Taxi – Car hire, Security

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So, what are the other things you should pay attention to if you want to create and publish a great business listing on a directory.

1. Submit legitimate businesses only (to the business directories of your choice)

The business you are listing should exist in the territory targeted by the directory you choose and be involved in legitimate activities. This is so important, not only to the owner of the online directory (where you are submitting your listing to), but to you and the people who will come across your listing as well.

The business you want to list should be able to do what it says it does, charging reasonable amounts for its services and products.

2. Choose the appropriate category to list your business in

Find the category that best describes your business and when submitting your listing ensure that it goes in the right one.

So when crafting your description, special attention should also be paid to the relationship between your products, services and the category you choose.

3. Include a detailed description of your business in the ‘about’ section of the directory

Even if you don’t have the time to be very detailed in your listing, trying will be fine.

Your description should not be too short or too long. Just enough words to say what you know should be said.

A six hundred to one thousand word description is fine, but not a must.

Aim for that though.

Also take the time to edit and proofread all these words you type to ensure that no error escapes your attention.

You can get help with the editing part – read more here.

4. Include correct contact details for your business when submitting your listing

Information that is meant to help others reach you should be double checked for omissions or additions.

Pay special attention to the following:

  • Phone numbers. Are the numbers in the right order? Does your phone ring when you dial the number you just added in your listing?
  • Physical address. Check to see that the details are correct – the words and numbers.
  • Email address. Ensure you have a custom email with your blog’s or website’s domain name in it. Check if you have used the correct letters, numbers if any, a period instead of a comma and that the @ symbol appears in the right place.
  • Web address. If you have a blog or website – which you should have, ensure that you type the address correctly so people who click it or type it in their web browser’s address bar are not taken to another site or webpage  that has totally nothing to do with your business.
  • Your name. Keep it short. Spell it right. And let it be your real name.
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5. Add no links anywhere apart from the web/URL field provided by the owner of the business directory

If your description is well written, edited and proofread and you include a call to action, adding your link, once, in the appropriate field will be enough.

No need to keep pasting different links to the same blog or website in your listing especially after a warning against such – usually in the terms and conditions section of the website (which most never even bother reading…you know how it goes!).

Choose one page on your site where you want to link to and link to that page.

You can link to your home page, about page or a landing page where you give something for free (coupons, pdf guide or ebook, free trial for one of your products) in exchange for emails from people interested in the freebie, what you sell or what you share generally with your blog readers and email subscribers.

How do you add a listing to most websites that are now the online versions of the thick paper (book) business directories of a few years ago?

When you are ready with your detailed description, submitting your listing is easy. Most of the websites have a submit (add your business) button or link on every page.

So, click that and follow the prompts.

Make sure the information you key in is correct.

When your listing meets the standards above, it will be approved by the website admin and made viewable to any person who visits the directory.

Your thoughts on this? Share your own tips in the comments below.

PS: Download the free PDF guide: 10 Things to Look At if You Are Thinking of Starting a Business.

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