Every quarter, Web Directory Reviews Org will be evaluating twenty web directories, ten of them being the top ten directories from the previous quarter, which will be challenged by ten directories that are being assessed for the first time.
Directory Journal was among the top ten directories evaluated during the first quarter of 2013. Established in 2007, it first appears in the Internet Archive in January of that year, at which time it looked considerably different from its current look. I prefer its earlier look, but personal preferences are not universal.
Directory Journal is well respected in the web directory industry, and maintains a presence on Facebook, Twitter, and other areas of the Internet.
The main page of the Directory Journal has a Google PageRank of 5, with second-level categories dropping to a PageRank of 4. While some of its third-level categories maintain PageRank, others don't. Approximately 84,900 of its pages have been indexed in Google.
Its Alexa Traffic Rank is 25,225 within the United States, and 21,154 worldwide. Its SEMRush Rank is 33,155, and its SEMRush Search Traffic is 15,392. MajesticSEO backlinks number 7,841,362.
Its seoMoz Page Authority is 76, and its mozRank is 6.42. Directory Journal has had 17,902 StumbleUpon stumbies, 112 Twitter tweets, and 503 Google +1 clicks.
At the time of this evaluation, submissions to the directory were entirely fee-based, costing $59.95 per year or $159.95 for the evaluation of a permanent regular link, while the review fee for a featured link was $99.95 per year or $249.95 as a one-time payment. Regular links are allowed up to three deep links, while featured links are allowed five. Permanent links may also include social profiles, a phone number and address.
Aesthetics - 15%
My impression is that the main page of the Directory Journal has a cluttered look. Other than a line of advertisements at the bottom of the index page, all of its extraneous material links to its own pages, yet it gives the appearance of a large portion of its front page being devoted to advertising.
Although the index page scrolls vertically, this is mitigated by the fact that its main menu is above the fold. Its top-level categories are displayed in a three-column format, and nine of its top internal categories are displayed, and made accessible, from the front page. An interactive world map is also presented.
The Directory Journal utilizes a basic white background with black text and a blue font color for categories and subcategories, which is easy to read.
Content - 14%
The Directory Journal does not have as much content as the Open Directory Project or Best of the Web, but it has far fewer dead links than the ODP, and it does have enough content to be useful as a directory. According to Scrutiny, my link-checking tool, the Directory Journal has fewer links than the Aviva Directory but it is in that same neighborhood.
A deficiency can be found in its regional tree, which is pretty sparse. Many of the U.S. states have only one or two city categories, and even the larger states are given little more than a dozen. That seems to be the case in other parts of the world, as well.
I understand that regional trees can be problematic, as they require a huge expenditure of editor hours to populate them from within, and many submitters shy away from regional trees due to the fact that site listings tend to be buried deep into the category structure, and often without PageRank. Some directories have attempted to alleviate this problem by offering free or reduced rate submissions to their regional trees, while others are trying to increase the value of their regional categories by encouraging increased indexing and ranking of their regional categories through the addition of substantial content, such as geo-political profiles, histories, etc.
Intuitiveness - 20%
The taxonomy of the Directory Journal is familiar, yet effective. The directory makes good use of @links, and it also utilizes above and below the line features, which I believe has been added since my last review.
A clear taxonomy, the effective use of @links, and a line differentiating unalike types of categories makes for easy navigation. Additionally, for those browsing its regional categories, the interactive world map makes a good start.
Quality - 12%
First, second, and some of the third-level categories in the directory have reasonably descriptive category descriptions, which is always a nice touch.
However, the directory uses sentence fragments rather than full sentences, and site descriptions are written as if someone is paying for them by the word, or as if they were composed for Twitter.
For example, one site description states simply, "Award winning forums based on ideas surrounding a variety of topics." What sorts of topics? Looking at the site, I can see that it also features poetry, fiction, and essays, and that it is the online version of a print magazine, which may be ordered through the site, but none of this is included in the description. Another reads, in its entirety, "Compilation of news on various developments worldwide." Is that all that can be said about Forbes?
Also, far too many of its site titles use the domain name rather than the site title, even in cases where the site does have a name apart from its domain name. This robs the user of the ability to find a specific site on a search of its name, and the site of a significant keyword, as well as giving the appearance that the reviewer didn't actually look at the site.
However, many of its titles and descriptions are reasonably okay, so I don't want to give the impression that they are all like this. Nearly all of them use sentence fragments however, which annoys me, and most of them are too brief to give a clear idea of what the business or organization is about, or what the user might expect to find on the site that is being described.
I used its search feature to search on topics that I knew to be included in the directory, and the search works well. If the directory's site descriptions offered more relevant words to be searched on, almost everything would be able to be found through its search.
Lastly, and significantly, I always have trouble connecting to the Directory Journal. I don't know if the directory needs a server upgrade or if there's another problem. But once again, I had trouble reviewing the Directory Journal because page loads were very slow and it kept timing out on me. In fact, until things began working reasonably well again, I conducted parts of my review through a copy of the Directory Journal that Google had cached yesterday.
I had trouble maintaining a connection with the Directory Journal last January, when I first reviewed it, and I am having trouble now, and I am in a different city, using a different ISP, than I was then. Plus, I review websites for a living, so I am connecting to websites all over the world, nearly every day, so I don't believe that there is a connection problem on my end. If the problem is not with the Directory Journal's server, there is an obstruction somewhere between here and there, as I don't generally have trouble connecting to other sites.
Usefulness - 13%
The Directory Journal is not as large or as comprehensive as, for example, the Open Directory Project or Best of the Web, but its content is comparable to that of the Aviva Directory, and it doesn't have nearly as many dead links as the Open Directory Project.
The majority of the links included in the Directory Journal are useful, working links, of good quality.
It does appear that the Directory Journal employs editors who add new useful content to the directory, yet it contains many empty categories. It seems that the category structure within much of its topical categories is built out further than necessary for the number of listed sites. This may serve as an attraction for site submitters seeking an appropriate category to which to submit their site, but it serves as a distraction to directory users who click through its subcategories only to find them empty.
On the other hand, its regional tree is underdeveloped. The state of Texas, a huge state, and the home of the Directory Journal, includes only twenty-six city categories, while other states, such as North Dakota, have only one. I'd rather see that than empty categories, but there is a lot of work to be done before its regional tree could be considered truly useful.
Outside of its directory, the Directory Journal include some interesting features, which should attract human and arachnoid visitors. There are several actively maintained blogs, including the Business Journal, Directory Blog, Entertainment Journal, Health Journal, How-to Guides, Info Journal, Search and Social Blog, and the Shopping Journal.
Webmaster tools are also offered, and the company offers search engine optimization services and an affiliate program.
Extra Credit - 3
As a part of the criteria for the second quarter of 2013, I am allowing myself up to five extra credit points for features not adequately covered elsewhere. I am awarding the Directory Journal three extra credit points for its volume of extraneous content.
Overall Rating - 76%
After adding up the numbers, the overall rating received by the Directory Journal seemed low to me, given the good impression that I have of the directory, but I couldn't find any numbers that I could tweak without manipulating the score to a point of incoherence.
Considering the thousands of "web directories" that are available on the Internet, in my opinion, ninety percent of them are garbage, while the other ten percent are striving to serve a purpose in a changing Internet. The Directory Journal is one of these. It is among the reputable directories.