Thursday, May 1, 2008

How to turn a BLOG SITE into a Business Referral Directory

I've been using the BRIAN BUFFINI online Referral Directory but am finding it to be complicated and not really user friendly. I was reading another blog the other day and something I read sparked this idea and I tried it out and I like the look MUCH BETTER and it seems more user friendly to me.

I'd love your comments after you take a look at the directory.

Everyone knows that networking includes creative methods of:

  1. Keeping your name in front of your network.
  2. Keeping your network in the public eye to maximize their exposure for referrals from you and your clients.

Keeping a Business Referral Directory is an important networking tool and excellent value to your clients. You can turn a FREE BLOG site such as www.blogspot.com (Google's FREE blog site) into your ONLINE BUSINESS REFERRAL DIRECTORY.

Here's the steps. (I've only done this at Blogger.com but I'm guessing the process is similar at other sites)

  1. Set up a blog.
  2. Each of your "listings" is an individual post.
  3. Do a WELCOME POST (see mine here)
    • PUBLISH the post, then go BACK INTO THE POST TO EDIT
    • Adjust its posting date to a date about a year in the future (you'll see why in a minute)
    • RE-PUBLISH the post
  4. Set up the side menu to list the LABELS (AR Calls them TAGS here) but NOT the ARCHIVE (that's the chronological listing of your posts).
    • This will allow you to assign any number of labels to each business. For example, you can label your plumber as HOME REPAIR, PLUMBING, and HANDYMAN if you'd like.
  5. Set the blog to only show 1 post on the first page. This will display only your post with the most recent date (or furthest in the FUTURE) ie the WELCOME PAGE
  6. Encourage your clients to come back and add COMMENTS for each vendor. (hopefully they'll all be positive)
  7. Add a place on the side menu to encourage others to talk to you about being added to the Directory.

OPTIONAL....

  1. I also put in a LINK section at the very top to return people to one of my two web pages as that's likely where they came from to get to the Directory.
  2. I put a 'post' titled AND LABELED "**Click here if you can't find what you want" that asks clients to call me if I don't have what they need listed. This keeps you in the loop and helps you find needed additional vendors. (the ** at the beginning of the label just puts that label always at the TOP OF THE LIST)

Get creative and let the good times roll.

If you've already done this, I'd love to see your directory. Please leave the link address in your comment.

THANKS.......

dvIt's a Good Life !

Dennis Volz Insurance Agency
Spring Valley, CA
OFFICE: (619) 670-1000 - FAX: (619) 670-1121 - Cell (619) 339-1339
Email: Dennis@DennisVolz.com

Websites:
Company Site: DennisVolzInsurance.COM,
Client Convenience Site: 6701000.com

My 'Other Blogs'
The San Diego Insurance Blog
Active Rain Networking Site

Musings from California

4 comments:

Jackie | Software & Internet Marketing Training | Technology Coaching and Consulting | ProbizTechnology.com said...

Dennis, great idea and I'd love to implement it for my referral partners.

*However*, when I change my posting date to a date in the future, it schedules my post for the future date (which is a great feature, but not what I was trying to accomplish).

Could you offer some additional guidance on how to set up the welcome page?

Thanks in advance,
Jackie

Dennis Volz`~`~`~` 619-670-1000 said...

Jackie,

When in the CREATE or EDIT post window, immediately under the text you'll see POST OPTIONS.

I simply left COMMENTS at ALLOW and changed the POST DATE AND TIME to a future date.

Please email me if this doesn't work or isn't clear. dv

Jackie | Software & Internet Marketing Training | Technology Coaching and Consulting | ProbizTechnology.com said...

Dennis - there's a little tweak to make it work - I think. It looks as if you have to POST the blog entry first, then go back in to EDIT and change the date to a date in the future.

Thanks for your post - I look forward to implementing the Business Referral Directory.

Dennis Volz`~`~`~` 619-670-1000 said...

JACKIE- You're EXACTLY right. I've made a change in the text to reflect your insight. THANKS