The key difference with smaller alternative online business directories compared to the larger players is that many offer their customers much more content for free. The longer established companies tend to charge £100’s for an advert with similar content.
There are of course many reasons for this including the (publicised) fact that they have a lot of search traffic, through to the (not so publicised) fact that they invariably have a huge workforce to feed from back office staff to sales people, not to mention the funding of their ad campaigns.
There are a few fantastic “free” search engines/directories that are completely self serve i.e. no sales people, or call centers. Businesses just register and create their own free advert. These offer predominately Free Advertising for UK businesses, and also offer some optional paid enhancements which is how they fund themselves.
They can do this because the website/directory has been built to require minimal manual intervention, and therefore these companies overheads are very low. This however does not stop them competing with the bigger players, and indeed offering a free service that is just as good as the paid entries in the larger websites.
Some are better than others of course, and only a few offer a lot of content for free. As well as your free listing on their directory, the better ones also create a “landing page” behind the scenes that is effectively a web page just with your advert on it. As part of the free service this “Landing Page” is submitted to major search engines such as Google. Yahoo, Bing, Ask etc so you not only have a listing on the directory you registered with, but also have a listing on these search engines that people can click on and view your advert.
When you consider all this, I would recommend that, even if you pay for an advert on the larger business directories previously mentioned, you also list your business with the top Free Advertising Directories (listed below) too, as every little helps, and these are generating sufficient traffic to make them a viable source of advertising.
On a final note on this, as I mentioned earlier most free directories offer paid enhancements such as a link to your website and some are as low as £9 a year. I would strongly recommend you take up the website link if it is offered, as it is a much better experience for your potential customer to be given a link through to your website, rather than just a phone number. Think about it, the customer likes looking online, that is how they found you. Don’t make them then have to call you to find out information you can give them on your website. Not only that but your website shows them everything about what you do/can offer, so by all means ignore all the other enhancements, but this is one you should never scrimp on!
The following comparison table shows you all the main players that I think are worth checking out when considering Free Online Advertising and what each offers you for free.
Please click on the links below to register your business with these directories:
NB: This comparison table was created in October 2009 and has been compiled from reviewing free content available on each site, and calling those sites where this was not obvious. If you feel any of the information in this article is inaccurate, please contact us and if necessary we will make immediate amendments.