Dense - Free SEO Friendly phpLinkBid 1.4 Template

Zorg Web Directory has released a new template made free by Authority Web Directory.

The template uses CSS for the layout meaning no tables were used like typical templates. This reduced the code to text ratio making it much more SE friendly.

Preview / Download Theme

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Aurora - Free table-less phpLB 1.4 template by Zorg Directory

Zorg Web Directory has released a new template made free by Authority Business Directory.

The template is free to use providing footer links remain intact. Theme is table-less so is SEO friendly as it contains a better code : text ratio.

Preview / Download Theme

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phpLinkBid mod - Add articles to your bidding directory

This post is to present the new article mod that I have created for phplinkbid version 1.2

Click here to download the mod.

The ZIP file must be extracted. Read readme.txt very carefully.

Contact me if you encounter any problems.

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While the traffic is away the income will sway

As a bid directory owner, or normal directory owner, is your main objective the right thing? Many webmasters are handing out the dollars on expensive footer links, sitewide links and blog posts on sites with a high google PR. These directory owners seem to going all out for that nice PR6. lets face it, $1000 on high PR7 links for the year can bring you PR6. All you need to do then is buy some signature links on forums and you have sales rolling in to your directory. Everyone wants a PR5 link from your categories, profits are sky high and you couldn’t be happier.

Well you shouldn’t be. You should be sad. As a web ‘directory’ owner your objective should be to bring traffic to the directory, and then give them something useful to look at. Why would my mother care about viewing a blank ‘law’ PR5 category? She wouldn’t….but she may happily sit and read about health or something. When building your directory you should always focus on content.

This is the same for a bid directory. They may not seem as big as a normal directory, due to less categories, but content can still be achieved. Unique descriptions on the category pages (see here to learn how to extend description length when using phpLB) should be added, a blog, templates, articles, whatever you can think of needs to be added. The more quality content the better.

Why bother adding content to your bidding directory? Simple - unique quality content will bring in traffic. Thats the main selling point behind a bid directory, so the more you get the more beneficial resource your directory will be.

So why is traffic so important?
As a bid directory, the only way people will bid high is for traffic. Otherwise they will just enter at the minimum bid as it wont be to their advantage to bid high in a category or onto the home page. Also the more traffic you get the more likely it is to convert. Convert into submissions or high bids that is.

Remember that when you see high bids on other bid directories and not on yours - its because they have high traffic unlike yours. I will blog in the future about a ton of methods I use to drive traffic both free and paid. But thats for another day ;)

~Mike

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phplb mod - making sure a long description does not mess up the design

This is a quick tutorial on how to mod your phpLB directory to prevent long descriptions for listed sites messing your design.

This is only releavant to those people using this mod to improve the descriptions. When someone writes a long description for their submission, it can affect the design when shown on the homepage and category page. Just look how I messed up a directory this morning.

As you can see, the long description made the nice vertically aligned listings look outof place.

To fix this, we can add a [read more…] style feature to those sites whose descriptions are too long.

This is the fix that has been applied on Zorg Links for the past few weeks.

To do this to your own bidding directory, do the following :

In FTP/File Manager mode, go to file inc/bootstrap.php

Find :


$kytoo_version = file_get_contents(PATH_BASE . 'version.txt');
$cfg->setVar('kytoo_version', $kytoo_version);

$cfg->setVar('regexp_urlsafe', 'A-Za-z0-9');

after it add :


function wordCut($text, $limit, $msg){
    if (strlen($text) > $limit){
        $txt1 = wordwrap($text, $limit, '[cut]');
        $txt2 = explode('[cut]', $txt1);
        $ourTxt = $txt2[0];
        $finalTxt = $ourTxt.$msg;
    }else{
        $finalTxt = $text;
    }
    return $finalTxt;
}

Save and upload the file.

Edit header.php

Find :


$bid_url = DIR_BASE . $bid_url;

after it add :


$rs->fields['link_description'] = wordCut($rs->fields['link_description'], 150, 
'<a href='.$bid_url.'>... read more</a>');

Save and upload the file.

Edit index.php

Find :


$tpl->assign_array_d('link_row', $rs->fields, 1);

remove it.

Find :


$bid_url = DIR_BASE . $bid_url;

after it add


$rs->fields['link_description'] = wordCut($rs->fields['link_description'], 150, 
'<a href='.$bid_url.'>... read more</a>');
$tpl->assign_array_d('link_row', $rs->fields, 1);

Thats it. All we did was add a function in a config file, and use it to snip descriptions that are too long and replace them with a …readmore feature. This has been tested and seems to work fine on Zorg Links. However as always make sure you make a backup of the files we edit before you change them, incase this mod doesn’t work out for you.

~Mike

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Things to consider when choosing a template for your bidding directory

This is another useful post in my series of articles hoping to raise the standards of bid for position directories. I have been wanting to post this for while for two reasons. Firstly i haven’t made a blog post in a while, and secondly there has been many questions raised over bidding directory templates recently. There are few bidding directory templates around at the moment, and I have yet to see any designs I like other than a few.

Where can you get templates?

The easy option is to use one of the default designs. If your directory uses phplinkbid, there around around 5 templates that come free with it. These themes are pretty blank, used by many people, and will not get your directory many sales if you are using them. It shows customers that you haven’t spent a lot of time finding a better theme, and don’t care much about how your directory looks to potential submitters.

The next option is to use a free publicly released bidding directory theme. These are usually free, providing you keep the linkback to the designer and sponsor in the footer. These free themes are a great way to give your directory a good and fresh look. The only disadvantage to these themes are two things. The themes are free. this shows visitors you are not prepared to spend any money on your directory to make it unique, therefore why should they submit? Also, free themes get used a lot over the internet, so again, if someone has seen this theme around somehwere before, they are likely to realise that you have not bothered to invest in your directory. These templates are usually released on forums. I am in the process of releasing several phpLB templates each week, see my phplb themes section of the site for more info.

The final option is to get your directory a custom theme. This involves going to a design company, giving them details of your request, and you will have a template custom made for your bidding directory. This is perfect for serious directory owners. It shows you care about your directory, want it to look good, and are willing to invest in it. The only disadvantage to this option, if any, is the cost. A custom design won’t come cheaply. For example, I paid RealWd $300 for the custom theme for zorg links, its the average price for a theme of this quality. Searching webmaster forums like Digital Point, you can expect to find designers who are willing to charge anything over $100 for the design. Its best to make a thread and wait for offers.

Things to consider when choosing/ordering your template.

The color scheme. This is vital. Get it wrong and it could be your downfall. Why? Do you think large companies are going to invest in a directory whose color scheme involves yellow text on a black background? Pink even? There are of course exceptions, IndexQueen has a very nice pink template! Most directories involve a mix of around 2-3 nice colors. It usually involves a light background with darker features and text. An example of this is DirectoryDump. It uses a light background with orange and blue as its main colors. Another professional looking directory design using this three color rule is Alive Directory. Alive uses blue to contrast with white, and then a good combination of orange and blue text on the white background to give a professional and warming effect. If you prefer to have a dark background, the perfect example of this in use is AvivaDirectory. It uses a dark background, with lighter colors like green and orange. Always remember important web design rules when choosing colors for your template. Always choose something that looks professional. The more “wow” factor it has, the better.

The page structure. This is also the most important part. Not only does it make navigating, reading and using your site easier, it effects revenue. A bidding directory aims to deliver traffic, more notably to those sites listed on the home page with the top bids. Now think, why would someone bid high on your bidding directory? They do it mostly for the traffic. Therefore the template you choose should allow top ranked sites to get the best CTR (click through rate). This can be done easily. Just look at Zorg Links for example, the top ranked sites are shown above the fold (they can be seen without scrolling). This was an intended design feature. I wanted to show categories at the side for easier reading, and to give the sites on the homepage the maximum clicks. If your users have to scroll half way down the home page to be able to see the top bidding sites, you may want to think about a re-design to give them a better CTR.

Other things to consider is how you will display the listed sites. They need to be spaced out well, and iam to give the user as much information as possible. An example of a bidding directory I like that does this well is Ventedoy. It shows the sites nicely, they are easy to read and well spaced out. This is perfect for an end user looking for quality sites to visit.

Always remember these key things when choosing your template. Whats best for the users? Whats best for the submitted sites? Keep it professional, and don’t forget a good looking template can go a long way when wanting to boost sales.

~Mike

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Bugs to fix in your phpLB bidding directory

At the time of writing this post, phpLB is still only on its second release. As all scripts do, phpLB still has some bugs to iron out if you want your bidding directory to perform as it should do for users.

Bug 1 - Broken page after paypal payment This bug is incredibly simple to fix. Log in to your admin panel, go to site configuration, and edit your site URL. Make sure the url is in the following format : http://www.zorg-links.com/ - make sure you remember the trailing / at the end of the URL. Otherwise when your customer has paid for their listing, they will be sent to a broken URL such as www.zorg-links.comlink123.html - which is obviously an invalid page.

Bug 2 - Minimum Bid not showing up in the input box This bug was a mistake by the programmers, they forgot to remove some code during the building of the script. Even when setting a minimum bid-up amount, the text box where the user types the new bid amount will still show $1 rather than what you set in the admin panel.

In your file manager or FTP program, edit index.php.

Find :

if((!empty($_REQUEST['bid'])) &&

(is_numeric($_REQUEST['bid']))){

$bid_default = intval($_REQUEST['bid']);}else

{

$bid_default = 1;

}

replace with :

if((!empty($_REQUEST['bid'])) &&

(is_numeric($_REQUEST['bid']))){

$bid_default = intval($_REQUEST['bid']);}else

{

$bid_default = $cfg->getVar('minimum_bidup');

}

Save and upload the file. When you view the detail page of an existing listing, the text box to enter a bid should now show the price that was set in the admin panel rather than $1.

Bug 3 - Minimum bid for new listings has no effect This is probably the worst bug in the script. The admin panel allows you to change prices for newly submitted links, and existing listings that want to bid higher. The problem is that the minimum bid for new listings doesnt work, so new links end up paying what an existing link should be paying.

To fix this, go to your file manager or FTP program and edit index.php

Find :

$kForm->addRule('amount', 'bid');

Delete it.

Find :

$kForm->addCurrency('Bid Amount (minimum bid is$' .

$cfg->getVar('minimum_bidup') . '.00)',

'amount',$bid_default, 3, 4);

Replace with :

if(empty($rs->fields['bid_amount'])){

$kForm->addCurrency('Bid Amount (minimum bid is $' .

$cfg->getVar('minimum_bid') .

'.00)', 'amount', $cfg->getVar('minimum_bid'), 5, 5);

$kForm->addRule('amount', 'bid');} else {

$kForm->addCurrency('Bid Amount (minimum bid-up is $' .

$cfg->getVar('minimum_bidup') .

'.00)', 'amount', $cfg->getVar('minimum_bidup'), 5, 5);

$kForm->addRule('amount', 'bidup');

}

Save and upload the file. What we did here was write an if statement to check if the listing was new, and if it was apply the minimum bid for new listings, else use the minimum bid up for existing listings. We also used the addrule() function to validate the bid amount, which prevents people adding less than is allowed.

Bug 4 - Broken URL displayed after paypal payment This bug happens when a user has payed the bid amount at paypal, clicked the “Return to Merchant” button, and returned to your site. The users sees the bid success message, then sees a hyperlink that is supposed to take them to their site. This hyperlink is broken in version 1.2, and if not fixed will show “http://www.zorg-links.com/link/0.html” - which is obviously a dead link as it does not contain the ID of the submitted site.

To fix this bug, open your file manager or FTP program and edit index.php

Around line 107 find :

$bid_message .= ‘<p><b><a href=”‘ . $cfg->getVar(’site_url’)
 . ‘link/’ . $link_id . ‘.html”>’ . $cfg->getVar(’site_url’


) . ‘link/’ . $link_id . ‘.html</a></p>’;

Replace with :

$bid_message .= ‘<p><b><a href=”‘ . $cfg->getVar(’site_url’)
 . ‘link/’ . $this_id . ‘.html”>’ . $cfg->getVar(’site_url’


) . ‘link/’ . $this_id . ‘.html</a></p>’;   

Thats all! Fixing these bugs will cause less confusion to customers. It will prevent them from not submitting again in the future, and gives a better image about your site if everything works correctly. I tested and fixed all of these bugs on Zorg Links, and on a test site where no sites were listed, so everything should work ok.

~Mike

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What script should power your bidding directory?

Once you have decided on a good brandable and keyword rich domain for your bidding directory, the next step is to get a script installed. There 3 well known scripts, and custom developed scripts that could possibly power your site.

Firstly, lets talk about why the script you use will matter.

It will affect how easy your site is to view for visitors. Yes thats right, a badly designed script can cause navigation problems or slow down your site. This could cause your precious visitors to head straight for the big red X.

It can affect the amount of submissions you get. This could potentially be a big problem if you get it wrong. A script with no automatic payment processing, no form to submit site details, or giving little benefit/attention to listed sites and the top bidder will not do you and your sales any favours.

It is important to be as user friendly as possible. These include making payments automated and run smoothly, rather than the user manually sending you the payment. Giving listed sites good benefits such as their own detail page is another necessary feature. As the site is a bidding directory, one of its main features is to send traffic. This initiated by displaying top sites on the homepage. Part of this feature can be done through the design, however the script plays an important role in this. The link leader should be displayed on all pages of the site. It gives them the maximum benefits of being listed there, such as more backlinks and being displayed on every page.

Now i will go into more detail about different types of scripts, and their advantages and disadvantages.

The first types of scripts available are “on the shelf” scripts. These are available to the public both free and paid.

Firstly we have the newly popular “link bid script“. This can be downloaded at http://www.linkbidscript.com/. The advantages of this script are quite numerous. Its free; you can get it installed for free; you can get free furture upgrades; and there are many free templates to download. This script looks quite promising. Any downsides to this may be lack of support as the script is free, lack of development due to no sales revenue, and perhaps lack of user contributed modifications and templates as the script is new on the market.

Next we have the phpLD bid script. The script is based off the market leading php link directory script, which can be downloaded for free at http://www.phplinkdirectory.com. The advantages other than it being free include that it is based on the most widely used web directory script available, so there is an enourmous amount of mods, templates, support and help available out there. That includes a huge official forum with thousands of members to help you out. There are however some big disadvantages. Firstly the script is free so may lack future developments. Also, the biggest worry i feel is, the script was never made to be a bidding directory script. There are little advantages to be listed on the homepage other that you may be listed on a page with higher page rank. Bidding directories are supposed to give traffic to listed sites, and the way this script was built, this is not maximised to good effect. Top bidding sites are often shown towards the bottom of the page under a hughe amount of categories. Of course, this could easily be changed by re-arranging the design, however I feel as the script was never made to be a bidding directory script it does not offer directory owners the potential to maximise their earnings using this script.

The next script is the market leader in bidding directory scripts - phplinkBid. It is my personal favourite which is why i use it on Zorg Links. It is packed with features, and those it lacks look set to be added in the soon to be released version 1.4. The script can be downloaded at a tiny amount of $30, available at www.phplinkbid.com. The $30 is a small price to pay for what could ultimately earn you several thousand dollars a year. There are many mods and free templates around already, and the site includes a nice active forum to help new users get established.

The next type of scripts arouund are bespoke/custom “off the shelf” scripts. These are made just for the directory owner, specifically as to how they want the script to work. The advantages of these scripts are that your directory will be unique. It shows you have spent time and money trying to look different from other directory owners. Good examples of custom made scripts are the popular big web links and ventedoy. They look great and have all the features that other bidding directories have, plus more such as the ability to be notified when your listing gets out-bidded. The disadvantages of these scripts are few, mainly it will be quite expensive to get one made for you, and they are not publicly used so any bugs may not be found and fixed as quickly.

I think thats it for a longish post. Feel free to leave a comment with your feedback as usual, and let me know if i have missed anything.

~Mike

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Choosing a decent domain for your bidding directory

This article was written to help you choose a domain for your bidding directory, but can apply to any kind of directory, or even any new website, blog or forum you start up.

Once you’ve made the decision to start a bidding directory, the next thing to do is get a domain. If you already own a general web directory, you may decide its a lot easier to add a sub-domain. The advantages of doing this is any pagerank your main domain has will flow into the subdomain easily. It means no link building is required to get a high PageRank, as it will automatically be given PageRank if linked from your main domain. It also means the traffic your main directory is getting can be leveraged into the subdoain, benefiting the top sites listed there. Sites using a subdomain to good effect for their bidding directory include Blaze Bidding Directory, Ask Bidding Directory, and Voisd Directories Bidding Directory.

Next you have 2 options. To register a new domain, or buy an older aged domain. The advantages of using an old domain mean its more “trusted” so search engines will rank you high quite early on. It means you will get good search engine traffic as the search engines dont believe you are a newly created spam site. The disadvantages mean you are stuck with this domain, and it may be a problem applying a brand to this domain. More about branding is discussed later. Another thing to note is, don’t just get a domain name if it currently has some PageRank on it. It will may make you look like you are trying to make a quick buck if you don’t promote it well. Domains with PageRank will nearly always loose 60-100% of their PageRank as the backlinks to that domain have usually been removed, so there is nothing to support its PageRank any more. I advise getting a new domain. Its like a clean start and you can choose whatever you like, as long as its available to register.

Personally, i would get a different domain set, it just seems more professional than using a subdomain which won’t be promoted as heavily. If you are going to get a main domain, you need to find a cheap registrar. Don’t forget to check out the domain renewal fee- it may seen great that the domain only costs $4 to register, but it may cost $12 every year after that. My favourite registrars are namecheap, godaddy, domainsite and dynadot. They are cheap and offer good control panel options.

Once you have found your registrar, you need to find a domain for your bidding directory. Try and register a good domain, such as a .com or .net. They just seem more professional to many webmasters rather than the cheaper .info domains. There is also a debated theory that google gives more “power” to websites with .com and .net top level domains.

Choosing your domain is vital. Make sure you choose something with a bidding directory releated keyword in it, with something brandable in it too. There are far too many domains out there without a brand placed in it effectively. I chose Zorg as my brand, its easy to remember and nobody else has anything like it. A brandable domain name like dream2bid.com, friendlydirectories.com, used for a bidding directory can work well. It helps people distinguish your site from the rest. Try and do what i did, get a brand name in there, and also a keyword in there. These types of domains are the best. Don’t worry about your brand, if it sounds silly so do many others. 50 years ago people would have thought yahoo and google sounded daft.

Once your domain is chosen, and is available, register it. If you have the funds at the time, register it for many years to make it your own, and to ensure it will never expire any time soon. make sure you are happy with your domain. Its part of your brand now. Link building, theme design, banner design, promotion and branding will all depend on your domain name.

Hope this helps you when choosing yourself a new domain.

~Mike

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Free phpLB template :: Warm Red

Today i finished creating my first phpLB free template. Its not bad for a first attemp, i hope to get better at them. These themes are grat for the people running on a tight budget, or who have too many other projects to run, or simply who arn’t bothered about making millions from their bidding directory.

I have attached a screenshot of the theme, or you can see the live demo here.

ScreenShot

To go ahead and download the theme, click here.

The theme is free for you to use on your bidding directory, as long as you keep the 2 designer links as they are in the footer.

Please note i designed the theme with the original files from version 1.2, so the deep links and longer descriptions mod are not installed yet. Also I created the theme for use with categories only, not letters. If you are using letters pull yourself out of the old times and get updated! Theme is designed by me, mike owner of zorg links bidding web directory, and is sponsored by Smub of Genuine Paid Web Directory

~Mike

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