Determining Your Directory’s Direction: Guest Author Paul Rothbein shares useful tips for Directory / Pages Plugin

Thursday August 9, 2012   |   Tips & Tutorials , FAQs   |   Leave a Comment

This is a guest post by Paul Rothbein, founder of, a SocialEngine focused marketing and consulting firm. He is also the owner of which is currently in a redevelopment stage. He has also been featured on’s main website:


It is not a mystery why the Directory / Pages Plugin is the most popular and highest rated plugin in the SocialEngine marketplace. It can be the greatest benefit for your site if you use it wisely. You need a road map with clear and concise directions.

Fortunately, every SE publisher can make a website directory successful. Just like anyone make the best chocolate cake in the world if they follow the right recipe step by step. Making a directory successful is as much a science as it is an art.

Importing CSV:

A CSV allows SE publishers to easily create thousands of Pages for their social network in minutes. This is obviously a more efficient method of creating a directory of Pages compared to adding Pages manually.

Time is needed to organize the CSV. A car brings you to work in a much quicker amount of time than walking. But in order to use your car you first need to learn how to drive. Just like how in order to import the CSV properly you need to learn how the CSV is to be imported.  Make sure you read SocialEngineAddOns instructions carefully before you upload a CSV in the Admin panel. Learning how to organize and import a CSV to fit your website’s theme might be annoying. Just like how I found it annoying to go to driving school and apply for a license before driving. However, it is unquestionably worth it.

Don't Turn Off Visitors:

Let’s say you have on the menu bar of your website Directory/Pages, and only 20 businesses have Pages in the directory. Viewers might ask "why is the directory so small", "why is the directory so limited", "is this website brand new and not established yet", etc. Chances are many viewers might not take your site seriously. Fortunately, this issue is easily fixable with the CSV import. Before you put the Directory section open to the public first have at least 100 entries/businesses listed, and get feedback from other people about your directory. Also, really focus on getting reviews.

People like to browse websites if they know that they will always find a review about a place from multiple people. If it is only one person on your site posting reviews that might appear suspicious to viewers. Social networks must follow this simple guideline. Content comes from the community.


Be cautious about legal parameters when adding Pages. It is required by most spam laws around the world to not expose email addresses without the email owner's permission. Do not post any business email in your directory Pages to the public. Even if it is directly for the business listed on the Page. Posting business name, business address location, and phone number is ok.


The Directory/Pages works very well with Viglinks and other affiliate programs. Normally, affiliate programs require you to put in special url's for tracking for you to earn commission. It can get annoying since you need to manually click on each paste each specialized url to make money. With Viglink if anyone clicks on the url you will earn commission.  This obviously saves you a lot of time and allows you to focus on improving your website’s directory.

You control what owners/businesses need to put in order to create a Page in your Directory. As an SE publisher you have control over the Page Field Requirements that need to be filled out. You can demand in the Page Field Requirements inserting Page name, Page category, sub category, the physical address of the business, a Page photo, and a link to the business website. Not all business website links will give you a commission via Viglink.  Make sure all businesses have to put as a Page Field Requirement a link where you can make money.

For example, does not offer any commission but does offer affiliate commissions through Viglink.  For example, Samsung has a Page for $3000 TV in your website’s directory. If someone clicks to learn more and buy the TV via (affiliate) you can earn commission. However, if someone clicks to learn more and buy the product via (non-affiliate) you are guaranteed to not earn a dime.

You can prevent this from happening. Create a Page Field Requirement in the Electronics section to include a link for product information via If is only asked in Page Field Requirements to put the link for product information through their main website you are guaranteed to lose money. This way every Page for every electronic product on your site has an affiliate link. This is just one example. If you would like more info about this please email me at info ( at )

Utilizing The Extensions:

What is great about the extensions is that almost every extension can have a home page. For example, here is the home page for the Reviews extension: By having extensions with their own home pages allows your site to have multiple directories. Each directory extension with home pages only cost $19. For $19 you can add a whole new directory to your site. You can create a directory for browsing photos (Albums extension), for browsing menus or brochures (Documents extension), browsing reviews (Reviews extension), and browsing songs (Music extension), and browsing events or fundraisers (Events extension).

SEO and Marketing:

Make use of the free Short URL extension. It is essential for your Pages to meet basic SEO requirements. The word "pageitem" in the url (example: sitename/pageitem/businessname) for Pages take up more space than needed. It is best to have URL’s only include the domain name of your website and the keyword. From the admin panel of Directory/Pages, you can also change "pageitem" to something relevant for your directory.

Email businesses that have a Page on your site. Ask the business owner to become the Admin of their Page. The business owner will feel a need to monitor their Page. Also, encourage the business contacts to invite people they know to write reviews on their Page. Once the business owner joins your site to have full control over his fan page you have a new subscriber to your newsletter. Thanks to the free Contact Page Owners extension.

Make use of the Events extension for the fan page. Provide the business/organization free advertising if they require visitors to register for events, meetups, parties, fundraisers, etc. through your site. If free advertising doesn't appeal to them provide them another free service. It can be as simple as providing simple SEO support, or some form of barter.

Also, use LinkedIn as a tool to build connections by becoming a LinkedIn Open Networker. Remember there are only "6 degrees of separation". You can end up building a relationship with a Mashable journalist (whom can write about you on the website), an advertiser, investor, a website moderator, etc. I like to follow the advice of Lori Ruff who I am connected with on LinkedIn. She is an open networker on LinkedIn (, and is also a Forbes 25 Social Media Power Influencer. To learn about her advice on building LinkedIn connections this article provides interesting info:

Don't forget to make use of the Embeddable Badges extension.  There are popular restaurants that can get at least 100 loyal customers visiting their site daily. Associating your site with a business someone is already loyal to is a great first impression.  The embeddable badges extension offers potential for a lot of free publicity plus branding support.

Final Note:

The Directory / Pages Plugin has a lot of potential, and obviously the better planning and understanding you have of the plugin the more publicity you can receive, the more money you can make, and a stronger SEO presence you can have. Feel free to ask questions and request for information about how to market and earn money through this plugin by contacting me at info ( at ) For a free SEO audit please mention this article.