Promoting your web site with ODP!
If ever there was a prize for the web's least sexy-looking portal it has to go to dmoz - the Open Directory Project.
OK: it's not sexy and you may never get a hit from it directly - but it does feed the directory for Google, AOL, Netscape and hundreds of other search engines. Best of all - it's free - it won't cost you a penny to submit your site as the whole thing is run by volunteers.
An added bonus is that search engines like Google will tend to use all the links into your site to improve its ranking. Cool, huh?
So how do you go about getting listed in the ODP?
Well, firstly get your web site looking polished and up-to-date. Change the front page to get some recent content in. Imagine you were inviting a buyer to see your house - brush the dirt under the carpet, give it a new lick of paint and get the fresh coffee brewing. Otherwhise known as: clear out the broken links, double-check your spelling and text and get some shiny new content.
Secondly, find the right category. Spend some time looking through ODP to find the best place to put your site.
Thirdly, write a good site description. ODP Editors may be very busy, so make life easier for them by writing good copy. Don't use overly promotional wording (it'll be removed), don't repeat the site name, do check your spelling, punctuation (always end with a "."), do check capitalization and be sure to include all the relevant keywords while keeping the description concise.
Finally, cross your fingers, and don't be afraid to resubmit after a month or so (but don't try to spam the directory). Some editors log on infrequently, but inactive editors will get removed and eventually replaced. If your site isn't accepted, go and look at it again and polish it some more. (Note that you probably won't get an email to tell you if you have been accepted or rejected - ODP protocol is to avoid direct contact with webmasters).
There are certain sites which won't get listed by ODP. The main one is "link farms" - you're going to have to get some content if you want to get listed. Also, if it's strictly amateur it may get relegated to the hell that is the Personal Homepages section.
Understand also some of the ODP culture - a lot of editors are quite ambitious and would like to "earn" the right to edit more sites by picking up a lot of good site additions - make it easy for the editor by doing the work for them.
It's worth reading ODP's guidelines for editors - these are the criteria the editors themselves use for adding sites. There are a number of editor tools that ordinary users can use too.. a useful one is called ViewUnrev and you can find it in the Bookmarklets category. You'll need to read the instructions to use the tools properly, but ViewUnrev is hihgly useful as it will tell you how many unreviewed submissions there are in that category - if there are hundreds waiting, then that's probably why you haven't been Submited. If there are only a few, it's likely that your site has been rejected.
Finally, if you don't get accepted, try Submiting to the next level up of the Directory to see if you can get some attention, or email the category editor with the link on the ODP page. Either way, keep trying, but always remember to be polite!
This article is courtesy of Conrad Longmore www.dynamoo.com
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