Every day, I receive requests from webmasters of fly fishing and other outdoor related websites for a link to their site. Generally, I’ve been happy to oblige if the website has content that is relevant to my site, All About Fly Fishing. Over the course of more than a decade, links going to external websites have increased dramatically and number quite possibly in the thousands. I’ve never counted them all.
This has been of benefit to those other websites in two ways: It helps them with clicks from my site to theirs as well, it helps them as far as search engine optimization with a backlink that the search engines can count to their site.
But it also gives me a major problem – how do I manage all of these links, especially when a business goes out of business and their website no longer exists? As well as getting those link requests every day, I also get emails from frustrated visitors telling me about a link they clicked on to some other fly fishing business only to find that the link is dead or it is now some spammy site. Being a one-man show here, it would be very time consuming for me to be checking all the links on a regular basis – and basically spending my time doing these other business a favour by ensuring the link they provided me still works for them from my site.
I’m quite proud of the fact that All About Fly Fishing has grown tremendously since it was launched over a decade ago. The site gets very high search engine rankings due to the enormous amount of content – good quality content – hundreds of pages of it. Last month, we had close to 70,000 page views – perhaps not as many as what the really big boys get – but it is significant. There are a lot of visitors that arrive at this site and are looking for both information as well as product.
To handle the issue of dead links, I decided to go with a Business Directory structure. There are now over 8,000 North American outdoor related businesses listed on About Fly Fishing, each with at the very least, basic information such as name, address, phone number and a category of products or services they offer. Links will now go to the business listing in the directory.
A business may decide to purchase at a very inexpensive monthly fee, a premium listing in which they can then add their website link and a bunch of other goodies. This way, if the business goes out of existence and they stop paying, the link (and probably the business listing as well) will disappear. Easy to maintain, and a good experience for visitors to the site not being frustrated with dead outgoing links.
In addition, we’ve also provided consumers the opportunity to write reviews of the businesses listed that they may have used. This makes the business directory and even more valuable resource to visitors who are looking for products and services. Today, internet reviews are the new “word of mouth” and all businesses should take note of that.
Coming soon with the Premium listing, business owners will be able to respond to reviews that have been left for their business.They will also get as a thank you from me, a “Featured Listing” in various prominent places as well as the ability to be found in more than one category.
While we are transitioning to this new way of linking externally, there may be a few bugs along the way and I’d ask you for a bit of patience as we work out those kinks. In the meantime, feel free to browse our Outdoor Business Directory and if you know of a business(es) that should be there but aren’t, please feel free to add them. They are of course subject to verification.
I hope you enjoy this new resource from All About Fly Fishing! If you have ideas, suggestions, criticisms, feel free to let me know or leave a comment on this post.