A business directory is a single most important tool to locate the businesses you are looking for. However, it’s the online version which is very popular and has, in fact, overshadowed the directories in the print format. The online business directory has many features which remove the limitations of the printed version. Some of the differentiating features are:
1. Huge data categorization: The data that can be organized in online business directory and is not limited to the number of pages.
2. More customer-friendly: It is more user-friendly in which a person can easily know how to look into it. It also offers a self-help guide to sift through the information it contains.
3. Multiple basis of categorization at one source: The same data can be arranged on different basis. For example, the data can be arranged on the basis of:
a) Users: Adult Directory, Kids and Teens Directory, etc.
b) Articles/Items: Computers Directory, Games Directory, etc.
c) Functions: Health Directory, Science Directory, Sports Directory, etc.
d) Area: Regional directory, Society Directory, Continent based or country based, etc.
However, the printed version may be having one or two categories of arrangement only.
4. Easy to retrieve and add data: You can simply enter the keyword in the ‘Search’ area and this will bring forth the related information in front. But, in the published business directory, you have to first sift through the index, go to the page, and then locate the listing. Further, the updating can be done on a daily basis rather than on weekly, fortnightly, quarterly, or yearly basis.
5. Open to far greater customer base at the international level: One site is open for viewing for unlimited customer base. On the contrary, the printed version has to be published and distributed to a limited number of customers only.
6. Cost effective: Online versions do not entail publishing, distribution costs, and have lower overheads.
7. Eco-friendly: Just imagine the number of pages used by the printed business directory and relate these to the number of trees felled. Therefore, the online directory is a far better alternative.
A business directory is essentially a tool of promotion. The online listed entities can also be linked to their individual sites to give an in depth glimpse of their products and services. The promoters of these directories make revenues by way of fixed yearly charges, developing individual sites for the listed entities as an additional service, sharing their data with other directories and providing additional features like banners, running ads, etc, to enhance the visibility. To inspire confidence among their customers and to maintain the credibility and authenticity of their information, these directories may also be providing the service of verification of the listed entities.
Due to these unique features, multiple benefits, flexibility, and widespread usage, numerous online business directories are now existent on the World Wide Web. These are both general, related to multiple areas, and very specific, catering to specialized, niche segments. Thus, if you have access to a computer and an Internet connection, it is better to log on to online directories to get the latest updated databases.