There's a plethora of directory websites that claim to increase the number of hits to your website.
Websites like yell.com, thebestof, inyourarea, KellySearch, aboutmyarea, BT CustomerStreet are usually database-driven websites that emphasise the large number of hits they receive. They often use aggressive marketing methods in trying to persuade you to sign up to an entry in their directory.
However like any marketing campaign you need to 'look before you leap'. It can quite easily eat into your marketing budget with no real effective increase in business to show for it.
But it is Free!
yell.com insist on giving us a free entry but any of the very few leads we have ever had from yell.com have been frankly a waste of time (and money).
We have asked yell.com to remove our entry several times in the last 3 years - They say it's free but that we could attract a better quality of lead if we paid for an enhanced advert (but then they would say that wouldn't they?)
Monitor the Effectiveness
If you are going to spend some money marketing your website try to ensure that you do not do anything else at the same time. (e.g. a newspaper advert or email a newsletter) Monitor the hits and visits to your website for at least 28 days before (to get a baseline) then start try one campaign and run it for 28 days and see if it has any observable effect on hits, visits and crucially whether is actually provides an increase in business. Don't forget - always ask how new customers found you.
Before you consider using a particular directory ask them if they can provide you with regular statistics on how many impressions (the number of times your ad was displayed) and click throughs (the number of times visitors actually clicked through to your website) Ask for a trial month - do not be talked into signing up for a year - after all if it works you will probably consider continuing.
Fewer Quality Leads are better than Many Poor Quality ones
Remember hits aren't everything! It is obviously better to get 50 quality leads than 500 clicks from people who might only be vaguely interested in your services. Instead on getting links on big impersonal directory websites consider the smaller targetted sites or offering reciprocal links with synchronous non-competitors.
Directory Advertising is not Search Engine Optimisation
See the use of Directory websites for what it is - Advertising. Do not confuse this with Search Engine Optimisation which comprises an array of techniques and careful ongoing honing and refining of your website(s) and can take many months, indeed years to achieve effective marketing results.
Easykey offers a regular training course entitled How to use the Internet to Promote Your Business