How Do You Choose a Category?
When you are submitting your website to a directory, most directories will ask that you specify or suggest a category to which your site should be listed. How do you decide which category to submit your site to?
Get to Know Your Way Around the Directory
Before submitting your site, particularly to one of the better directories, it’s a good idea to learn your way around the directory. By doing this, you can learn a few things. First, you might be able to determine if this is a directory you want to be listed in. If it is, then you will be able to view other listed sites, which can tell you how long site descriptions generally are. Over and again, I have come across directories whose written guidelines allow for five hundred characters in a description, yet fewer than that are actually allowed, as editors tend to prefer that all of the descriptions in a category be roughly the same length. You may also determine whether the directory uses, or even allows the use of, full sentences and proper grammar.
Search for other sites whose topics are in the same genre as your own, and see where they are located. This won’t necessarily be the best location, but it is a probable indication of one category into which your site will probably be accepted. It is not at all unusual for a given site to be an appropriate placement in more than one category. Some directories permit placement in multiple categories, but most don’t, and many that do will charge a premium price for it. Check the submission guidelines to see what the specific guidelines are.
Browse the directory’s categories and subcategories to see if there are any other categories to which your site might be a good fit. In most cases, your site will be better off listed in a subcategory far down in the category tree, along with a few other sites whose content matches that of your own site, than to be listed higher in the category tree along with thirty other sites that bear little relation to your own site.
There are exceptions. If this is a directory that no one is likely to ever browse, and if your only interest is in getting PageRank from the referring category, then it might make sense to see if you can get your site listed in a higher category. In any well maintained directory, however, it is best to find the most appropriate category and submit your site there.
Regional or Topical
If the directory has both topical and regional categories, you may have to determine which would be the best placement for your site. First, however, refer to the submission guidelines. Many directories that have both topical and regional trees will allow dual placement, once in an appropriate topical category, and again in a regional category. Some otherwise fee-based web directories allow free submissions to their regional categories.
Otherwise, if you are permitted only one category in the directory, then you will have to make a choice. Is your site regionally specific? If the chief topic of your site is local history, you might benefit more from a local regional category than in a topical history category. If the purpose of your site is to sell a product, are you trying to get people to come into your store or are you trying to sell your product online? If a large part of your business is walk-in traffic, then a regional category might the best selection, but if you are trying to develop an online shopping site, then you might want to go topical. If you decide to submit to a topical category, be sure to mention your location, if it has any pertinence to your business, within the description; and if you submit to a regional category, be sure to specify your product in the description. In this way, your site may be found through site searches even if potential customers don’t browse the category that it is eventually listed in.
On the subject of regional versus topical, one thing you might want to consider is that it is generally far easier for a site to be accepted to a regional category than to a topical one. I create a lot of local regional sites, and have had Yahoo pick up some of my sites on their own, and they have also accepted free submissions to their regional categories, whereas I have had only one free submission accepted to a topical category in Yahoo.
Finally, the good news is that your choice of a category is unlikely to make the difference between whether or not your site is accepted into a directory, although some directories will reject submissions that are made to obviously inappropriate categories. In most cases, though, if you submit your site, in good faith, to a category that the reviewer believes is not the best choice, he will probably just move it to a more appropriate category. Most legitimate directories will not reject submissions that are made in good faith.
Choosing a Category in the WDR Directory of Directories
The WDR Directory of Directories operates on a DirectoryPress script. By default, in DirectoryPress directories, parent categories will display all of the sites listed beneath them, whether they are listed directly beneath the parent category or to one of its subcategories, however many levels deep.
Thus, in the WDR Directory of Directories, if your site were to be listed three levels deep in the category structure, it would be listed beneath three categories, not just one. Conversely, if your site were listed directly beneath the parent category, it would show up only in that category, and it would be mixed in with all of the sites listed in all of its subcategories.
For example, the General Directories tree has three main subcategories: Comprehensive, Regional, and Topical. At this time, there are no subcategories beneath Comprehensive but Regional has three subcategories: Australia, Europe, and North America. Australia and Europe have no subcategories, but North America has two: Canada and United States. In time there will be further divisions of these subcategories.
At this time, if your directory were listed directly beneath the General Directories tree, it would be listed among twelve pages of directories from General Directories, Comprehensive, Regional, Topical, and all of their subcategories and sub-subcategories.
If your site were listed directly beneath the Regional subcategory of General Directories, it would be listed among two pages of sites that are listed in Regional, as well as those that are listed in its Australia, Europe, and North America categories, and any of their subcategories. However, it would be among the sites listed directly under General Directories.
If your site were listed directly beneath North America, it would be listed on the first page of that subcategory, along with only eight other sites, at this time; and it would also be listed among the other sites listed beneath the Regional category and its parent, the General Directories category.
However, if your site is listed at the deepest level; for example, within the Canada subcategory, it would be one of only two sites listed in that subcategory, one of nine listed within its immediate parent, the North America category, and it would also appear among the sites listed beneath Regional and the top-level General Directories category.
What this means is that, in the WDR Directory of Directories, it is better, in every way, for your site to be listed in the deepest, most appropriate, category that is available. This is likely to be the case in other directories powered by DirectoryPress, although some may have tweaked their directories to display otherwise. I like it this way.