Friday, June 23, 2006

Six Ways to Prep for a DMOZ Submission (and improve your site)

Now that I have a couple of sites in DMOZ, I thought I'd take note of what similarities and qualities they had upon getting in and summarize it in a nice little list. (I actually posted something similar in my old blog that was DELETED by Blogger, and thought it was worth reposting).

Why? Because it is worth something to get into DMOZ, it improves your trust rank with Google, counts as a good backlink with other engines, and sends you extra traffic. And might I add that the only sites of mine that are getting regular Google traffic are the ones in DMOZ.

Memo to myself: Work on these sites.

1. Make your site UNIQUE!
This is something the editors look for, so browse other sites in your category and ask yourself, "what can I do to make my site unique?" You might even want to announce the fact with a declaration like "Welcome to For the Birds - the only backyard birding site with a forum and photo gallery that also tells you how to attract different kinds of birds." (And yes, this is the topic of one of my DMOZ sites).

2. Don't just make it unique, also make it look unique.
Having a cookie-cutter affiliate site probably won't help you much, remember, many of these editors browse lots of affiliate sites, and seeing the same template over and over might just make them dismiss them immediately. I know that some have recommended that you don't add images to your affiliate sites, but my sites that made it into this picky directory were filled with a good amount of images. People like to see a good amount of graphics anyway - I'm not talking gaudy - just attractive. Now if you're worried about people not clicking on your ads because they're distracted with pictures, then just add some to your home page and not your content pages. Although I like to add nice graphics to as many of my pages as possible.

3. Affiliate what??
The sites of mine that got in are the most hobby-ish sites I have. One looks that way because it is a pure hobby site, and was created before I had even heard the term "affiliate marketing," and the other looks that way because I decided to have fun with it when I started it. With my second site, I created my own simple design for the site, added some background color to the menu, even added a little border. I was going for an innocent, even - dare I say - countrified look. Instead of making a site that looks like it was made by a savvy internet entrepreneur, you may want to make it look a little more like it was created by Old Man Jenkins. Have fun with it, but always remember - never get too gaudy, we don't want to scare away our visitors.

4. Minimize those ads
We all know that DMOZ, and Google for that matter, doesn't like sites that are too affiliate-esque. So minimize those ads, especially on the home page, you may even want to take all of the ads off your home page before submitting.

5. Personalize
I like to sprinkle little notes from the editor here and there, or feature little "editor's tip" boxes in the sidebars of some of my sites. This will make your site a bit more unique and also add a little value for the visitor. Maybe even consider putting your own picture up.

6. Quality, quality, quality.
Has this been pounded into your head enough? We all know it, but knowing and doing are two different things. So when you're writing articles, don't just give the same information that your competitor's site is giving, give a little more, then personalize it with your own opinion, it will likely be much more captivating for the reader this way as well.

Remember, human volunteers select which sites will get in, most are good, but from browsing different categories, it's obvious that some are there just to serve his or her own purposes. There are also some that take their sweet time about checking your site... and in some categories, it will seem like your site will never be reviewed. So if you don't get in right away, don't sweat it too much, there are many other ways to get some nice backlinks... but that's another post.


Blogger Jean-Rene said...

Good post :)

Really shows that originality & quality are what people look for.

Not re-hashed info you can find anywhere.

Now I need to submit my site to DMOZ :P

8:24 AM

Blogger jenn said...

Thanks :)

7:41 AM


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