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  1. #1
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    How Do Web Host Directories Drive Traffic to their Sites?

    What are the major ways most web host directories drive traffic to their sites?

  2. #2
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    If the question is how do web hosting directories get their traffic - I think it is an interesting question.

    Our traffic comes mostly from web hosting related searches on Google & Yahoo. Then misc levels of traffic from links on other sites & various message boards and other search engines like Altavista. A small amount comes from advertising but that is not so much.
    Andrew McMaster
    http://www.FindMyHosting.com
    Compare Prices, Consumer Reviews, Help, Guides and More.

  3. #3
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    Correct Question

    Correct Question - Thanks for your input.

  4. #4
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    Yes, paid advertising doesnt really get very far unless you advertise everywhere and that can get pretty costly. But like Nova said, search engine traffic is a plus, not to mention WORD OF MOUTH! I don't know about other hosting firms here, but word of mouth has played a big part in our recruitment of new clients. :-) It's as my fast-food manager once said. You please one customer and they tell 10 people on how good your food was and those 10 people tell another 10 and another 10. But if you have a bad customer, it works the same way. That one tells 10 the bad news and those 10 tell another 10.. and so on.

    Keep customers happy and they'll eventually make YOU happy :-)
    Geek 3 Computer Repair

  5. #5
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    Advertising will build your brand [for what that's worth] but it's hard to get an exact ROI on your ad dollar. It's usually considered an investment and not something that you should expect an immediate ROI from. [IMO]

    Word of mouth rules!!

    The smart host has carved up a niche somewhere based around some excellent keywords. They then secure top positions in the SEs with their highly targeted keywords for their niche market that they're servicing. Finding the right keywords with limited competition and sufficient demand is tricky though. So basically, you are the honey and the bees will find you.

    This is why the host has to be "smart". Most won't find this place though.
    • AussieHost.com • Aussie Bob, host since 2001 •
    • Host Multiple Domains on Fast Australian Servers!! •

  6. #6
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    Talking from experience (I own host approval) I advertise with Fineclicks, DKAds and Fastclicks to name a few. These sites are expensive to use but are all very valuable to for bringing in targeted webmasters.

    We also find it VERY(since it boosts google pageranks as well) beneficial to get webmaster related sites linking to us. We usually offer them a place in our web resources page in exchange for a link on their site.

    Finally allot of our traffic comes from Google. This is in my mind "free traffic" and the types of visitors are generally beginner webmasters. We try and make our site as search engine friendly as possible.

    I would say our percentage of visitors come in as following:

    - 50% Paid advertising
    - 35% Google
    - 15% Partner links

    Hope that helps
    ...::: HOST APPROVAL :::...
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  7. #7
    I do less of advertising. Most of the clients we get through is from Google, Lycos and Yahoo. One thing everybody has left to mention that mouth publicity is the best. It is afterall the kind of service you offer, diverts the traffic towards you.

  8. #8
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    Floppy, I think word of mouth is good if you are a web host. But web hosting directories really need lots of flowing traffic, they dont need recurring visitors or faithful vistors.
    ...::: HOST APPROVAL :::...
    Web Hosting Directory
    http://www.hostapproval.com/
    http://www.hostapproval.com/hostadmin/add_your_host.php

  9. #9
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    What you said is true, but we also get a lot of buyers from viral marketing and recommendations from websites and magazines.
    Tommy
    www.webhostdir.com - Web Host Directory
    forums.webhostdir.com

  10. #10
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    I don't know about other hosting firms here, but word of mouth has played a big part in our recruitment of new clients
    [...]
    The smart host has carved up a niche somewhere based around some excellent keywords.
    [...]
    Most of the clients we get through is from Google, Lycos and Yahoo.
    Some of you guys apparently haven't noticed that the topic is "web hosting directories, not web hosting firms.

    While some general principles are the same in bringing traffic to any kind of site, I think that Worthen is more interested in issues specific to directory sites, and the experiences of operators of those sites.

    Of course, that doesn't explain why this thread is in the "Running a Web Hosting Biz" forum...
    Last edited by JayC; 09-06-2002 at 02:40 PM.
    Specializing in SEO and PPC management.

  11. #11
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    The principals are very similar to hosting sites. Find hosting buyers, get them to the directory. The quality control is the same too. Hosts measure the quality of traffic coming through to their site. A decent directory will do the same.

    Most of the traffic comes from online sources.

    As previously mentioned by NovaW, a lot of it comes from search engines.

    Some directories place highly targeted links and ads on sites that are web management related. Sites such as http://www.hitboxcentral.com/ .

    Directories compete for some of the same traffic as hosts - people who are looking to buy hosting. But futhermore, it also attracts traffic from people looking for advice on and wish to compare hosting services.
    Tommy
    www.webhostdir.com - Web Host Directory
    forums.webhostdir.com

  12. #12
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    Yeah, I completely agree that a hosting directory site is competing for some of the same traffic as host sites, and targeting some of the same keywords on search engines. I guess my point was that there have been dozens of threads here on the topic of getting traffic to host sites through search engines (I know, because I've participated in most of them) to the point where they're the same answers over and over. This is an interesting twist on the question, so I'd like to see it not have all the same answers!

    One thing: directory sites in general have a powerful built-in advantage over hosting sites in search engine positioning. I'd go as far as to say that a hosting directory should almost always be able to beat a host's site for any hosting query it targets. So I'd certainly try to take advantage of that and maximize search engine traffic -- even while a lot of hosts have practically given up on it.
    Specializing in SEO and PPC management.

  13. #13
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    One thing: directory sites in general have a powerful built-in advantage over hosting sites in search engine positioning.
    This is certainly true. Directory sites are content driven so typically have hundreds of pages of content, and are much more likely to get hundreds of incoming links by nature of being a resource rather than a web host site designed primarily to be an online sales tool. Content is a big factor in overall SE success.

    Directory sites should also further qualify the prospects for a particular hosting requirement - i,e make it more targeted than the raw search engine traffic - so it's important that the traffic arriving at the directory is targeted when it arrives. It's really pointless if a directory is simply passing on pop-up ad traffic for example.

    In terms of bringing in traffic to our site - we have found that advertising is only really useful for branding purposes - the traffic that we get from advertising does not typically generate sales for the hosting companies listed, it's more curiosity visitors (who of course may come back later) - but for the most part it is the traffic from SE that ultimately results in a sale for a host. We haven't done any PPC advertising - but one would expect that this should be as equally targeted as google or Yahoo traffic.
    Andrew McMaster
    http://www.FindMyHosting.com
    Compare Prices, Consumer Reviews, Help, Guides and More.

  14. #14
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    We won't spend money on advertising in a web hosting directory unless that web hosting directory is spending lots and lots of money on advertising.
    -Mark Adams
    www.bitserve.com - Secure Michigan web hosting for your business.
    Only host still offering a full money back uptime guarantee and prorated refunds.
    Offering advanced server management and security incident response!

  15. #15
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    We won't spend money on advertising in a web hosting directory unless that web hosting directory is spending lots and lots of money on advertising.
    hard to comprehend that logic

    Sites like WebHostDir etc get fed by targeted traffic from search engines, provide a resource & then sell advertising to support the directory.
    Last edited by NovaW; 09-06-2002 at 09:44 PM.
    Andrew McMaster
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  16. #16
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    Well here is an original method we use:


    http://www.findsp.com/hosting/?cobid=1

    (We do this only with highly targeted webmaster related sites).
    Marketing For Hosting Companies:

  17. #17
    I agree with bitserv - too many hosting dirs expect a piece of your (the hosts) ad budget, but barely have an ad budget of their own. Yes, some hosting dirs are well hooked up in the search engines, but still I think we have an obligation to re-invest as much of our revenues back into more traffic as possible.

    I confess we've looked down some useless roads for finding new traffic over the years, but are constantly trying to turn over new rocks for new visitor sources and all in all has worked pretty well.

  18. #18
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    too many hosting dirs expect a piece of your (the hosts) ad budget, but barely have an ad budget of their own. Yes, some hosting dirs are well hooked up in the search engines, but still I think we have an obligation to re-invest as much of our revenues back into more traffic as possible.
    Directories that sell advertising have one obligation - to provide what that they promise - to put hosts ads in front of people interested in hosting. If to do that the directory has spend money on advertising because they have no position in search engines then so be it - but other than that no directory has any obligation to advertise. The traffic that comes into a hosting directory from ads (except for PPC ads) is mostly not high quality & advertising is used for branding not to drive traffic.

    If you were going to advertise in a magazine - what would be your criteria? - Their circulation, target audience etc or how much the magazine themselves advertised - think about it - your logic is flawed big time.
    Andrew McMaster
    http://www.FindMyHosting.com
    Compare Prices, Consumer Reviews, Help, Guides and More.

  19. #19
    So what are you saying - just get listed in the SE's and sit and collect money from the hosts?

    If I were going to advertise in a magazine, I'd look at their circulation and demographic, sure. But hosting dirs are a slightly different breed and I still believe have an obligation to continue to try and dig up new sources of traffic.

    What - are you telling me that besides your hosting costs and whatever costs you can ram through your business you operate at a 100% profit margin?

    Lastly - if it's all about SE's to you, then why should a host advertise with you and not just focus on the SE's themselves?

  20. #20
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    We don't sell any advertising - so my comments have nothing to do with FindMyHosting.

    My logic is simple - worry about what makes sense for your own business, not how other businesses are run. A huge amount of time and effort is needed to create a successful hosting directory. Search Engine traffic is highly targetted - that's why people pay $5 a click on overture. Traffic from Ads into a hosting directory is not nearly as targeted as SE traffic.

    I agree - if a host can get themselves listed in the SE then they have no need for spending ad$ in a hosting directory beyond perhaps branding.

    Ad based Hosting directories have an obligation to provide what they claim to - targeted traffic & branding to the host The host has an obligation to themselves to make marketing decisions based on common sense - not based on off the wall thinking.
    Andrew McMaster
    http://www.FindMyHosting.com
    Compare Prices, Consumer Reviews, Help, Guides and More.

  21. #21
    Well, ad based hosting directories are still comprehensive directories of hosts and their offerings, they just have have ways for aggressive hosts to get enhanced exposure. Nothing wrong with that model - at least not so far.

    BTW - you do have a very nice site though.

  22. #22
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    Thanks - you have a nice site also.

    I agree with your last comment 100% - there is nothing wrong with ad based hosting directories, the discussion was about how hosting directories get their traffic - my difference of opinion was about the logic that directories have an obligation to advertise themselves.
    Andrew McMaster
    http://www.FindMyHosting.com
    Compare Prices, Consumer Reviews, Help, Guides and More.

  23. #23
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    The Proof of the Pudding

    Thanks for all the excellent views and comments concerning how do web hosting directories drive traffic to their sites.

    I'm in the building mode of our hosting service and marketing is my thing.

    I have considerable experience with the major PPC SEs and I can say that in our applications the only real game in PPC is Overture. We tried the others but they can't provide the traffic. Also you must be ranked in the top 3 if you want any real traffic / conversions.

    With the current prices for top 3 listings for high count keywords at Overture, and with the current high payout structure for hosting affiliate programs, I'm keen to gather all the info I can on hosting directories and their MOs.

    When it's ALL said and done - The Proof of the Pudding is in the Eating of it. If a web hosting directory provides a good ROI for your advertising dollars, then they provide a valuable service and will be around along time. Send them a thank you note and a special gift.

    Of course us newbies have to get all our ducks in a row, know our conversion rates and be sure we can sell before we are ready to shell out smackaroos on ad budgets.

  24. #24
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    Originally posted by NovaW
    hard to comprehend that logic
    They should still be spending money on advertising, whether they are spending it on getting into seach engines or bringing even more traffic than they had before. Show me a web hosting directory that is just pocketing the money given to them, and not spending some of it to drive traffic to their own site, and we won't use them. You may not think it's logical, but it's not your money.
    -Mark Adams
    www.bitserve.com - Secure Michigan web hosting for your business.
    Only host still offering a full money back uptime guarantee and prorated refunds.
    Offering advanced server management and security incident response!

  25. #25
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    Ok - so it's an emotional issue - it must be because there is no business logic in it all. All that should matter is the ROI - not how the directory spends it's money
    Andrew McMaster
    http://www.FindMyHosting.com
    Compare Prices, Consumer Reviews, Help, Guides and More.

  26. #26
    I guess Nova - but I think any business that is not making a serious reinvestment in itself to offer more and better service to their customers is overlooking one of the most fundamental rules of business. I don't care what the industry is.

    I personally feel that in our industry traffic and branding are one of the best reinvestments we could make. -

    But, I guess if I knew it all I'd be rich!

  27. #27
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    I agree with lpguitars here. Hosting directories need to re-invest back.

    Hosting directories should think of the general web hosting users and make up a model which keeps in mind their needs..

    Whenever i am browsing a hosting directory, all i am mainly seeing are ads...how about some education? Many of us do not know the basics of hosting..how about trying to educate them on general terms...

    I mean there is nothing wrong with advertising only hosting dirs but then it should not be tooo commercial..

    just my 2 cents...

  28. #28
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    Wow that was an old thread back from the dead

    Agree 100% that any resource site should continually re-invest back in itself.

    The best thing a directory can do is strive to be a great consumer resource - then everybody wins. The consumer, the directory & the host who can then use the resource as a platform for promotion.

    The discussion in that thread was around the logic that a hosting directory has an obligation to advertise itself (which I disagreed with) - if a directory is selling ads to hosts then a directory has an obligation to be a great resource which attracts the right type of visitor.

    Recently a new directory is popping up every week & they are trying to sell ads before they have already even launched - this is where it gets crazy & generally is bad for the web in general imho
    Andrew McMaster
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  29. #29
    Eh, maybe "obligated" is a a poor choice of words. Maybe I should have just said, "I think it is wise for dirs such as ours to try and reinvest as much as possible back into our own businesses as possible. Obviously it not only provides a better service to our advertisers but duh helps us grow our businesses as well.

    And yeah, there's about as many dirs as there are hosts these days. I'm sure any day now we'll see a directory of hosting directories. LOL - In fact I'd put money on it!

  30. #30
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    too late http://www.hostdirs.com haha lol.. funny

  31. #31
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    give it some time and you'll probably see hostdirdirs.com
    Marketing For Hosting Companies:

  32. #32
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    lol..

    I actually quite like the idea of a hostdir dir. I think www.hostdirs.com have alot of potiental.

    Add alexa results to each listing proving their traffic and give the ability for web hosts to add plans to multiple hosting dirs using one form.
    Last edited by vSector; 12-28-2002 at 07:59 AM.
    ...::: HOST APPROVAL :::...
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  33. #33
    This thread got so far without me noticing

    My turn ... we drive 300,000 visits through HostAZ largely through http://www.w3exit.com and our partner sites. Our traffic are 100% webmaster, site owners, etc.
    Web Hosting Stuff - Over 10,000+ Hosting Companies Listed
    http://www.webhostingstuff.com

  34. #34
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    nice thread

    can you please list some of your best host directories here?

    Shikha
    “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” - Anais Nin
    + + http://goo.gl/FueXnz

  35. #35
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    that hostdir site is a nice idea - they just need to make the info in it accurate & maybe add the alexa ranking stuff
    Andrew McMaster
    http://www.FindMyHosting.com
    Compare Prices, Consumer Reviews, Help, Guides and More.

  36. #36
    Nice idea ... just browsed their site ... it's useful for web hosts wanting to compare ad rates ...
    Web Hosting Stuff - Over 10,000+ Hosting Companies Listed
    http://www.webhostingstuff.com

  37. #37
    Nice idea Vsector and Nova - thanks for the good feedback. We've added the alexa data to our listings.

    We're also working on sort of a "traffic verification" system for dirs to gain an added traffic endorsement. If any dirs wish to try the beta please let us know.

    Thanks again for the ideas. I hope you will submit more.

    Happy new year all!

  38. #38
    Yes the Alexa rankings will add value to the list.
    Web Hosting Stuff - Over 10,000+ Hosting Companies Listed
    http://www.webhostingstuff.com

  39. #39
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    You might want to order your list by the alexa data. The other data is just what sites tell you & it is fairly meaningless data that you have there right now. Alexa is a consistent approach & is good for comparative rankings.
    Andrew McMaster
    http://www.FindMyHosting.com
    Compare Prices, Consumer Reviews, Help, Guides and More.

  40. #40
    "fairly meaningless data "

    thank you Nova.
    HostDirs.com
    The Directory of Web Hosting Directories

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