Directory Journal

Directory Journal was evaluated on September 2, 2013. On the basis of this review, I have rated the directory at 75%.

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Directory Journal has made it into our top ten during both the first and second quarters of 2013, placing #9 in the first quarter and #5 in the second quarter, using differing criteria.

Established in 2007, Directory Journal first appears in the Internet Archive on May 21 of that year. It is a general comprehensive web directory, offering a variety of topical categories, as well as a regional tree, the latter of which may be accessed through the main menu or interactive world map.

Its index page carries a Google PageRank of 5. Although I didn't click into all of them, it appears that its second-level categories have a PageRank of 4, while its third-level categories range from 0-2. I didn't see any fourth-level categories with PageRank, but that's not unusual.

Its Alexa Traffic Rank is 19,828, its SEMRush Rank and SEMRush Search Traffic is 108,072 and 3,441 respectively. Its MajesticSEO is 8,747,646.

Directory Journal has had 17,902 StumbleUpon stumbies, 605 Facebook likes, 227 Twitter tweets, and 609 Google +1 clicks, so it seems to have the social media bases covered.

Directory Journal offers permanent regular and featured listings, as well as annual listing plans.

Its annual listings are $59.95 for a regular listing, and $99.95 for a featured listing. Regular listings allow up to three optional deep links, while featured listings allow up to five deep links. Featured listings appear above regular listings.

Permanent listings are $159.95 for a regular listing, and $249.95 for a featured listing. On top of the amenities above, permanent listings allow links to social profiles, as well as listing a phone number and address.

Up to three thousand characters are permitted in a site description.

For the purposes of evaluation, we will be viewing the directory from the perspective of a potential directory user, so none of the SEO stuff above will count toward the directory's rating.

The directory will be evaluated in five areas: aesthetics, content, intuitiveness, quality, and usefulness, with aesthetics counting for up to 10% of the score, content 25%, intuitiveness 20%, quality 20%, and usefulness 25%. Additionally, I allow myself up to five extra credit points for aspects of the directory that may not be adequately addressed in these criteria.

Aesthetics - 6/10

There is a lot on the index page of the Directory Journal. Although, except for a line of ads along the bottom, all of the advertising is for internal pages or features of the directory itself, it has a cluttered look.

The "site of the day" is featured in one block, while another is a signup form for updates, freebies, coupons, themes and fee e-books. There is a social media block, and others for its advertising its search engine optimization services, its affiliate program, and blogs, while larger blocks highlight recent stories from its blogs, and webmaster tools.

With all of this stuff, its index page is busy. However, this is ameliorated by the fact that its main menu and interactive navigation map are above the fold, so it's not necessary to scroll in order to access the directory.

The main menu of Directory Journal is set in three columns of six upper-level categories each, using a combination of one-word upper-level categories and two words connected with the conjunction, "and."

The directory's internal pages are less busy, and actually pretty attractive. Using a white or light blue background, and black or blue text, the directory's text is easy to read, and its subcategory menus are well organized.

Content - 15/25

Directory Journal features a reasonable amount of content, or at least enough for it to be useful as a directory. Nevertheless, there are quite a few empty categories.

While this is true of many of its topical categories, it is particularly noticeable in its regional tree, where, while there is a nice complement of topical and city categories, very few of them have any websites listed.

On the positive side, there are relatively few bad links. I use a program called Scrutiny, which checks every link on the directory, internal and outgoing. Usually, I run the program for only about fifteen minutes because it is pretty aggressive and some directories haven't been able to handle it.

However, Directory Journal's server seemed to handle it just fine, so I let it run and, while Scrutiny doesn't differentiate between navigational, internal and outgoing links, a quick visual scan of the identified bad links shows that there are not very many bad links.

Intuitiveness - 20/20

The taxonomy in use by Directory Journal is well developed and easy enough to figure out. Additionally, its use of above and below the line features and @links greatly aid in navigation.

Categories in Directory Journal have descriptions, something that is missing in far too many directories, although the feature is standard with most directory scripts.

Featured listings appear above regular listings, which can be a slight negative in directory navigation; however, since its featured listings are visually set apart from its regular listings, any confusion is greatly reduced.

Quality - 15/20

Already mentioned, the low number of bad links, as well as the ability of the directory's server to withstand our Scrutiny program, are all aspects of good quality, so I want to mention them here as well.

I wanted to mention this, particularly, because the last two times that I have reviewed this directory, I have had trouble connecting to its server. This was not the case today; even with Scrutiny running in the background, navigating the directory was fast and trouble-free.

Additionally, in my introduction to the directory, I noted that the directory permits up to three thousand characters for a site description, which is excellent, and would be even more so if submitters actually used even a fourth of that.

Directory Journal uses the sentence fragment model in most of its site descriptions, rather than full, grammatically correct sentences, and far too many of its descriptions are on the low end of skimpy. This is sad, since the directory permits far longer site descriptions than do most web directories.

On many of its listings, the domain is used in lieu of an actual title, which negates the ability to search for a site by its title, and detracts from the attractiveness of the directory.

Many of its titles and descriptions are fairly okay though, given the sentence fragment model, which I hate.

Its search feature works well, hampered only by the fact that so many of its site titles and descriptions are devoid of the keywords most likely to be used in search of topics related to the site.

Usefulness - 15/25

The chief strike against Directory Journal's usefulness is its large number of empty categories. After navigating to a category only to find it empty, most potential directory users will leave.

The category structure is built out far larger than the number of included links would suggest, and this works against the usefulness of the directory.

Its regional, tree, in particular, is not at all useful, as most of its categories are empty and there aren't very many sites there.

As mentioned earlier, site descriptions tend to be on the skimpy side. Longer, more informative, descriptions would be an aid to directory users, whether they are browsing the directory or using its search features.

On the positive side, the directory does use category descriptions, although they could stand to be more informative.

In order to be competitive today, web directories may need to serve purposes in addition to listing outgoing links. Directory Journal features several informative blogs, all of which are updated regularly. Its webmaster tools also serve a purpose.

Extra Credit - 4

Under the quality and usefulness sections, I had to grade down for the preponderance of skimpy site descriptions, using sentence fragments. However, this didn't permit me to, in my opinion, give due credit for its eight active blogs, webmaster tools, and other extra-directory features, as well as the noticeable improvement in the quality of its server, so I'll do that here.

Overall Rating - 75%

Directory Journal was evaluated on September 2, 2013. On the basis of this review, I have rated the directory at 75%.

Comments

I strongly encourage directory operators to view category and site descriptions as possible sources of content for their directory rather than as purely a service to directory users and submitters.

Well-written, informative, and unique category descriptions can serve as excellent sources of spiderable content, which can, not only better inform directory users, but also bring search engine spiders into the deeper recesses of the directory.

More informative site descriptions can aid directory users in knowing what might expect to find on a listed site before clicking on it, as well as making these sites more findable from the search feature. These too, may be used as spiderable content for the directory.

As to Directory Journal's regional tree, I understand that it is difficult to populate the regional categories of a directory, as submitters don't generally want to submit to regional categories since the most appropriate category for a site listing is usually several levels deep.

Some directories have approached this problem by hiring directory editors who concentrate on the directory's regional tree. Others offer greatly reduced, or free, submissions to their regional categories.

Despite the problems that I have noted here, Directory Journal is the real thing.


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