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Your Secret Weapon: The Web Design Directory

By Michelle Echevarria
Posted Thursday, September 30, 2004

"How can I get more hits?", "I need leads!" These thoughts run through web designers heads all the time. How can a web designer get their services in front of people who are actually looking for web design services? The answer is the web design directory.

What is a Web Design Directory?

These directories are specifically designed to bring together web designers and showcase their work on one site. The people who visit these sites are actively looking for web design services, thus they are all potential clients. Some of the directories categorize sites by either state, county and/or web specialization. This is a grand advantage because it allows you to hit your target market more efficiently than if you were to submit your site to just a general business directory. What's even better is that all of the sites I have listed in this article are absolutely free to post your link.

Finding Web Design Directories

Well where the heck do I find these directories? Besides the ones I have listed here your best route would be to log on to Google.com, type in the key phrase "web design directory" and you'll bring up a ton of listings. Shift through them and decide which ones you feel will help your web site get hits. And just as an aside even if the site doesn't get you hits it will help you with your search engine ranking. So it's a win win situation. Try several different search engines with that same key phrase or any alternatives you can come up with and submit to your heart's desire.

What do I have to do to get listed?

Some directories will ask for a reciprocal link, which is not much to ask given the amount of new traffic your site will draw in as a result of being listed. I know as a designer you may fear that adding someone's banner, icon or slogan to your site will look tacky or even make you seem like a novice. The majority will not ask you for a banner, none of the sites listed here do, but if they do it's up to you as a designer to make that decision. This was a concern for me at first but I figured out a way to get around this.

Most of the link confirmations are automated so no one will physically look at your site, so adding just a text link will do the trick. Once the link is confirmed it's automatically approved and listed on the site. This way they have their link and your have your listing. Everyone is happy. I haven't had any complaints yet so reciprocal links can work for you as a designer. The only other challenge is finding a tasteful way to present the links on your site. The way I handle it is by creating an "affiliates" link on my contact page this way it's embedded in the site. The user has to go to a separate page specifically set up just to display reciprocal links. There's no need to disrupt the aesthetic value of your site by placing a link on your homepage.

Submission Must Do's and Tips

Here are a few things you should prepare before you start submission frenzy. You will want to have the site title, URL, description, keywords and contact information ready in a word processing program so all you have to do is cut and paste into the online form. It will make the process a million times faster if you have the information ready because while you're submitting it will be requested time and again. In addition to your regular description you may want to have a truncated version just in case the site doesn't accommodate lengthy descriptions.

Another tip for submittal is to submit your own domain name link like (www.yoursite.com), not (www.somebodyshost.com/yoursite). Your link may be rejected and not to mention it's unprofessional. Also keep in mind that some of the submissions may take a while. Any where from instantaneously to a couple of months so don't get antsy when you don't see your link after a week. However, if you feel it's taking too long to see your link on their site feel free to email the administrator and inquire about when they think the link will be up. After all you're generating business for them by having their link on your site. It's only fair. If you don't get the response you want or no response at all feel free to delete the link from your "affiliates" page and make room for a reciprocal link that is going to bring you potential clients.

Web Design Directory List

Below are some of the sites that really worked for me. All four combined provided an at least 200% increase in my site traffic and resulted in a surge in client inquires:

(http://www.marketingtool.com/) [optional reciprocal link]
(http://www.firmlist.com/)
(http://www.1234-find-web-designers.org/) [reciprocal link req.]
(http://www.designfirms.com/)

Other Web Design Directories:

(http://www.topdesignfirms.com/)
(http://www.comparewebdesigners.com/)
(http://www.webdesign.ittoolbox.com/)
(http://www.a2zwebdesignsource.com/)
(http://www.aaadesignlist.com/)
(http://www.find-webdesign.com/)
(http://www.webmasterfind.com/)
(http://www.edezines.com/)

About The Author
Michelle Echevarria has been in the interactive industry for over five years as a web designer and developer. She is currently freelancing and plays a vital role in helping small to medium sized businesses bring their venture to the Internet. Portfolio site: (http://www.bronxplanet.com/), corporate site (http://www.davilldesign.com/). Email info@davilldesign.com