A much-requested feature of Crunchy Family is our directory. The reason we first took it away was because an update to the plugin broke it and the rest of our site, and I haven’t had the chance to test it and bring it back. Now, it’s back, but since it’s been so long since it’s been up and several other things have changed on the site, all listings have been removed.
It’s not as bad as you think, so please keep reading.
This decision benefits both parties—us and you—for a few reasons:
We’re aiming for quality here over quantity.
A hundred outdated directory listings is useless to and for people who are browsing the directory not to scope out their competition, but to find someone who fulfills their need. I don’t know about you, but if I visit a directory and the first three links I click on lead to error pages, I start to lose my patience—and I start to devalue the directory itself and second-guess the trust I put into it.
Many of the listings are also half-assed—just slapping a link and a logo in, and hoping for the best—and again, we aim for quality here. Our directory will only work for you if you put your best into it. It’s for people who mean Serious Business, not those who just want a few clicks.
We now require registering and logging in.
It’s better and easier for everyone involved, because you guys needn’t depend on us to update your listings for you, which saves us all time. We also spend less time trying to verify you’re the listing poster and not just their competition trying to make the field work in your favor. (Yes, really.)
Broken links help no one.
Search engines frown upon broken links, which not only hurts us, but you as well. You lose potential business, and search engines blame us for outdated links.
We may change our system in the future, but we’re going to test this one for a while and see how things go.
Tips for your Crunchy Family Directory listing
We want your listing here to work well for you, because if we don’t both benefit, what’s the point?!
Fill out as much information as possible.
Add link text, more commonly known as anchor text. This is a contributing factor toward making your listing search engine-friendly. Optimizing it to the best of your ability—but not stuffing it with keywords—is crucial to ensuring your listing isn’t ignored by search engines (or people).
Do not clog the tags.
Tags are not keywords.
Say it with me this time: Tags are not keywords.
Once more, a little louder: TAGS ARE NOT KEYWORDS.
Adding numerous tags only clogs the database and creates more work for Yours Truly, all while slowing down the speed of the site overall. Tags do not tell search engines what keywords your listing contains. If you want your listing to be recognized via certain keywords, you need a keyword density of 0.5 percent to 2.5 percent. You can calculate it via a generator, which is best if you are unfamiliar with how keyword density works.
Instead, think of it as a means of common ground among other listings. Say someone visits a doula’s listing and clicks on one of their tags—doulas. (Plural is best; do not include singular and plural.) They’re clicking that tag to view other listings tagged “doulas”.
If I were a photographer or someone location-based, I’d tag the county (USA), state (Texas), city and/or metroplex (DFW), and then possibly “photographers”.
Properly name your images.
Instead of clogging the tags, prepare your image(s) for search engine optimization (SEO).
My example listing is a bad example of this, but I’ll fix it whenever I get around to optimizing all our images for search engines (unless we hire a virtual assistant (VA) to do this for us, because that’s a time-consuming endeavor, and I’ve got my own blog to focus on and worry about.
I should have named Crunchy Family’s logo “crunchy-family-logo” and the screenshot “crunchy-family-screenshot”.
I always recommend lowercase letters, because 1) capital letters don’t matter and 2) it’s much, much, MUCH easier to read when it comes to reading a lot of them in one location.
Always use dashes to separate spaces. Don’t use commas for images you’re uploading to the Wild, Wild, Web. Don’t keyword stuff.
Include your email.
Your email is hidden from visitors, but including your email allows potential customers to email you directly from the listing. Despite how 8 out of 10 Americans online use Facebook, not everyone has Facebook or uses it on a daily basis. Email is easier for some. Other times, email is easier to keep track of long-term, when planning, and so on and so forth.
Point is, it establishes a means of communication other than Facebook or a website with a broken contact form and no available email. We mean Serious Business here, remember? ;)