Friday, August 1, 2003


===========Volume 5, Issue 11, August 1, 2003 
Subject: Portal Partner Press
Volume 5, Issue 11, August 1, 2003 

Date: Sent: Monday, August 04, 2003 4:31 PM

Portal Partner Press: Volume 5 Issue 11, August 1, 2003
ISSN 1545-3499
In this Issue:
Editor's Notes (Lynne Scott)
Hot in the Forums Ask Paynt (Debra Paynter) 

This week we have some great stuff from Debra Paynter. She's really rising to the challenge of answering your questions on portal building. Thanks Debra, we truly appreciate having you share your expertise with us!
Housekeeping: I forgot one tasty little tidbit last week. SearchKing is offering free, brandable games to portal partners. You can see the game server at Contact to ask for yours.
Coming Soon: watch for the launch of the Independent Niche Directory Network. INDN aims to "lay the foundation for a community dedicated to the advancement, promotion and profitability of human reviewed data presentation serving niche markets."
Hot in the Forums:
> Portals Get a Good Kick in the Pants: it seems some people think that portals are trying to do too much, instead of concentrating on their core product. What do you think? Should portals dump their community tools, or should they keep trying out "sticky stuff"?
Talk Back:;act=ST;f=4;t=380;st=10;&#entry13
Lynne Scott is a graphic designer and partner in Optical Resolution, a Winnipeg, MB design house. She runs the Graphic Design Portal, Eye on Winnipeg, and as well as serving as editor for the PPP. 

Ask Paynt
Debra Paynter
We received three questions this month, thanks for taking the time to write.

• What is the easiest way you've found to fill your database? Where do you get your sites when starting out? First create a content rich product. Make sure it's within a defined niche or theme. Present your linking policy in very clear terms and provide both a form and an email address for submissions or communication. Think about what you are going to offer your listings in return, and if there is a cost involved. Given you have a product to offer that is what your linking audience is interested in linking to; creating the appropriate bait is half the battle. 
The next step is to determine who the linking audience is. More often than not, people limit their options by not keeping an eye open to the peripheral markets. When I am marketing linking towards a body care product, such as hand lotion, I'm going to think of complimentary lines. I'm thinking about what else the person who is looking for hand lotion might also be looking for. Those are all open to linking possibilities if you have the content to support it. 
People are eager for opportunities to link. Those offering higher levels of linking opportunity, not just a link page, are in a better position to draw in link submissions. Create a hub or niche portal that offers information, resources and community and your product will be more likely than others to succeed. Success still comes down to the passion and drive behind the product. People can feel that. 
Make it personal. Ensure that you method of communication is clearly defined, encouraged and easy to follow. Communicate with your audience. Don't be afraid to change and adapt content to what you see your visitors wanting more of. Much of this information will come through your logs but you can establish other methods including chats, message boards, newsletters and even polls. 
Initially I attempt to seed each category with 5 links, the best I find for that category. I let the sites know I've listed them and then I make my plea or plug or sale as the case may be. Remember to personalize your initial contacts. Ask for input and feedback. See if they would like to contribute in other ways. You never know where one link can take you. 

• There seems to be a lot of negative comments about the ODP lately. Would you care to comment on what you see as the future of the ODP? I am not a mind reader and I have no inside scoop, but, if I were to put money on it, I don't see ODP going away and I do see the benefit of a link there continuing to hold an important rank. It's a link worth getting and worth waiting for. In the mean time you want to be hustling related industry and directory linking. When the ODP link finally comes through it's gravy. 
ODP has developed through trial and error and, with contributions from very talented volunteers, into quite a directory. We can learn from its example and use it as a guide for both structure and potential listings when developing a directory of our own. Look at the niches within the ODP and imagine what you could do to perfect them. 

• If you could create your own spider for building a niche directory, what features would you like it to have? Could you briefly describe your "dream" admin control panel for such a spider? This is a great question and warrants more space than available this month so I would like to carry it over to next month. Thank you for writing. I'd promised more on structuring the hub and we have three excellent questions as well this week. I don't want anyone of them to be slighted. 
To continue, as I promised, with last month's discussion on structuring the hub, I'll introduce channels for you to think about. Not everyone wants to or should use canonicals (subdomains) in their structuring, but I do. Canonicals make it very easy to structure content and organize information, giving each a potential boost in positioning. There are secrets wrapped up in my canonical strategy but it's not too hard to imagine they include content. 
I organize my hubs by channels of either related information, a related presentation of information such as a glossary or directory, sometimes even by product or manufacturer. Initially themes are what start the process, based on what content we have to support that channel's development. If the whole directory or hub strategy is to divide it into channels, then I break them into complete topics. Last month I introduced the skateboarder into punk music as a possible hub idea. That doesn't seem to threaten any of you and it's a current interest of mine so I'll continue to use it as an example. 
Let's assume I've done my research, I know who my audience is and I've decided to divide the information into individual sections of thought. One channel is for the artists, the musicians and bands. Once I have determined the topic of the channel itself there are still decisions. I need to consider the section in complete terms, brainstorming, filtering, sorting and then strategizing the sub categories. Will I divide the sub categories based on the alphabet, genre, bands, and location? What fluff do I need to support the channel beyond the listings? What bait can I offer to draw listings, attract search engines and build returning traffic? 
In structuring the site consider the housekeeping pages. I've followed different strategies and now just include robots noindex, follow in the Meta tags for pages that offer no content to convert traffic.
If you want me to share more on structuring please let me know. 
Debra Paynter
Send your questions and comments to Ask Paynt:
Debra Paynter of is now blogging daily. Contact Debra for an affordable Foundation Plan to structure your online promotional strategies. She is accepting new projects from small websites to larger portal development. 
Feedback: your comments, suggestions, beefs, bouquets, etc. are very welcome. 
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