In today’s economic climate, small business owners have been feeling the pinch more than most. While word of mouth will always be our most powerful advertising tool, just about any positive exposure with a minimal or nil cost should be welcomed by the savvy Aussie small business owner.
With the rising cost and decreased ROI attached to conventional advertising such as the Yellow and White Pages, it’s imperative that Australian small business owners make the most of their advertising budgets.
There is no doubt that business today has been heavily influenced by the world wide web, and with well over 80% of the Australian population online, there’s never been a better time to start advertising your small business on the internet.
What many Australians aren’t aware of is that there are literally dozens of free business directories out there, ready to list your small business online.
Not only is directory marketing essential to reaching your prospective clients through the world wide web, adding your web address to established directories can give your site a boost in the Google search results.
Fortunately, with the sharp rise of internet access over the last 10 years, reputable, free Australian online directories catering to small business clients are well established and relatively common. Unfortunately, they’re not always easy to find, as large websites such as Yellow Pages online tend to crowd them out in the search results.
We’ve compiled a list of our favourite five reputable online directories catering to Australian small businesses, along with their respective Google page ranks so you don’t have to go hunting. All of these business directories are Australian and allow free listings, though many also have a paid function, such as bold or featured listings.
True Local – Page Rank 7
This directory has the highest Google page rank of all the directory sites that we’ve reviewed. It’s also one of the most well known directories, and offers a full listing for free.
True Local allows you to provide a fair chunk of information regarding your business, such as a huge description field, services, brands, payment options and opening hours. It also allows for a full gallery for products or a portfolio of your work.
True Local mirrors Hotfrog and others in that it allows you to provide a discount coupon exclusively for True Local users. This is great because it adds a little dollar sign to your listing on the True Local search results page. This can make your ad stand out at a fraction of the cost of paid advertising.
Start Local Business Directory – Page Rank 5
Start Local are a well established, large Australian business directory that are somewhat unique. This is simply because of the extreme detail that they require in order to list an advertisement. When we signed up for Start Local’s free online directory listing, it took us around 45 minutes to get things just right.
This directory allows you to enter just about everything related to your business, including your web address, opening hours, location on a Google map and products and services listings. In addition, Start Local encourages you to submit a voucher for products or services offered by your business. This is a win-win situation for you and the directory. They get more customers searching specifically for deals and your potential clients receive more value and as such, are more likely to purchase products from your establishment. All of this is 100% free.
Start Local does have several different paid options, including featured listings and the ability to have your listing displayed in multiple suburbs. These costs are presented as monthly and yearly charges. These guys will try to upsell you after you submit your directory listing, however it’s your call as to whether or not you wish to sign up for these services.
Local Business Guide – Page Rank 5
While Local Business Guide isn’t quite as professional appearing as some of the other listed directories, it’s well established and has a respectable Google Page Rank of 5.
Like most directories, Local Business Guide has multiple different packages available to small businesses, including a 100% free listing that includes one category, phone number, address and description. Unfortunately, free listings do not include displaying your domain name.
That being said, it’s fairly quick and simple to apply for a free directory listing with Local. It only took us about 5 minutes to sign up.
Hotfrog – Page Rank 4
Hotfrog is one of the more web known directories. With 431,000 queries every month, this site is a must have and is absolutely free.
Hotfrog listings are 100% free to submit, take about 15 minutes to put through a basic listing and do not require a reciprocal link. In addition, Hotfrog allow you to enter numerous keywords or tags, which I found particularly useful.
This directory encourages you to write a fairly large amount of information about your business, which loks great to your customers, and to Google. As always, keep this information unique and extremely relevent. Copy and paste from your existing website is bad form and is a turn off to the big G. Fantastic.
However, the biggest boon regarding Hotfrog is the fabulous reporting tool that’s provided. Not only can you see how many views your ad has seen, but you can also see how many people have enquired. In addition to this fantastic tool, when you’re logged into your Hotfrog business profile, Hotfrog let you know just how complete your listing is. Adding more information, pictures, etc, will flesh our your profile and bring you up to 100%.
Although the initial setup only took 15 minutes, after an extra half hour of tinkering with the reporting and profile completeness tool, I gave up and decided to leave my profile at around 78%.
As with most other directories, Hotfrog offer an affordable featured listing package for around $20 a month (at the time of writing this).
Directory.com.au – Page Rank 3
Website Directory Australia
Directory.com.au claim to be “Australia’s free website directory”, and while that’s true, they offer multiple paid listing options as well as the standard free directory listing.
For a small directory, the number of categories provided is quite extraordinary. Most of our time here was spent trying to find the right category for our listing to fit in.
The one big downside to Directory.com.au is that they require a reciprocal link for all free listings. Essentially, this means that they want you to link to their website from your website before they’ll link to your website from theirs. If you have a blogroll or something similar, this isn’t going to be much of a problem, but ultimately, outbound links to a random directory may look a little strange to your clients.
Use this one at your discretion, yet we liked the simple free sign up and basic but user friendly directory functionality.
Sunspire provide a full range of affordable small business web design packages for Australian businesses.
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